Who We Are



Living Shalom

God has put on our hearts a vision of His shalom being present in our neighborhoods. “Shalom” is the Bible’s word for wholeness and flourishing and being as God intended. “Shalom” is what happens when God is present. 

Under the leadership of Jesus, we strive to be loving, welcoming, and accountable to one another. We love our neighbors – from all over Boston – and long to see everyone experience the love of Christ.


What We’re About

Our Mission

We strive to be followers of Jesus who invite our neighbors to pursue and experience the fullness of God’s Shalom with us.

Our Values

Our values are undergirded by these guiding principles:

We rely completely on God as our source and strength.

We collaborate with others when possible for the Kingdom of God.

We encourage people to creatively live out these values.

Our Context

While Jesus calls every Christian church across the globe to live out his biblical purpose (worship, service, discipleship, and evangelism), a local church can also have a unique mission and vision that focuses their work within their community context. Our context, geographically, is the Dorchester area of Boston – initially the neighborhoods along Talbot Avenue from Blue Hill Ave to Codman Square. We welcome people from all places to join us in living out our mission here in this particular neighborhood and within their own context (neighborhood, work, family).

Our Vision

We envision God’s Shalom reigning in our community! Shalom means hope, wholeness, right relationships, justice, salvation, and righteousness. Our neighborhood will have safe streets, effective schools, healthy homes, and a thriving local economy. Neighbors will share meals together, children laugh and play freely, the elderly honored and cared for. Healthy and caring families will model God’s healing power. And our local church will be flourishing and multiplying, working with the greater body of Christ to demonstrate the tangible love and message of Jesus. [Watch a short, 4 minute video on Shalom from The Bible Project.]

Relationship with God

We live Jesus-centered lives.
  • Cultivating our relationship with God through study, prayer and worship

  • Experiencing God’s power and healing in our mind, body, and spirit

  • Celebrating and worshipping God as an outward expression of what we believe internally

Relationship with Body

We are committed to growing strong, healthy, caring relationships
  • Sharing life together in practical ways (friendship, meals, helping hand)
  • Submitting to one another in accountable relationships
  • Leading by serving others as Jesus did
  • Being generous towards those in the body of Christ and our neighbors

Relationship with Neighborhood

We love our neighbors as much as we love ourselves.
  • Practicing hospitality with our neighbors
  • Pursuing justice for those who are marginalized and oppressed
  • Participating in local community development and ministry initiative


Leadership Team

Our church is led by Pastor Valerie Copeland and a team of Elders made up of godly women and men from the church who are invested in the unique way God is using Neighborhood Church in Dorchester. Under the leadership of Jesus, this team guides the church in her mission and vision and serves as the primary teaching team, develops leaders, and provides pastoral care.

Valerie Copeland

Valerie Kim Copeland serves as Pastor of Neighborhood Church.  Val is passionate about helping people know, love, and follow Jesus.  She loves Scripture and Jesus’ call to manifest God’s shalom and justice in tangible ways.  Prior to becoming our Pastor, Valerie worked for MassHealth and served as president of her local SEIU union chapter.  Val is married to Al Copeland, and together they have lived in, and served, Boston in many capacities.  Val enjoys Southern cooking.

Paul Malkemes

Paul Malkemes serves as an Elder.  Paul has a big heart for shalom in neighborhoods. He loves to see youth and families develop into leaders in the community. He also loves gardening. He is the Executive Director and co-founder (with his wife Glenna) of The Boston Project Ministries.  Together with their four daughters they have served the Talbot-Norfolk Triangle Neighborhood for over 25 years.

Mako Nagasawa

Mako Nagasawa serves as an Elder.  Mako is excited to share about Jesus and explain how Jesus is behind every good story, and relevant to every issue. He loves to teach, write, develop people, and help them grow in their gifts. He and his wife Ming have lived in Dorchester since 2000, and have done community gardening and neighborhood organizing. He founded The Anástasis Center for Christian Education and Ministry to develop restorative justice and healing atonement materials.