Who we are
Crown of Life Discipleship Ministry
Crown of Life Discipleship Ministry (CLDM) developed out of need for mentoring. Dr. Berry started the ministry in 2006, because although as she was graduating with her second master’s degree and teaching Greek, she needed training in practical ministry. At this time, she found that other women would come to her and quietly say to her, as if it was a secret, “I think God is calling me into ministry too.”
In response, she prayed and then drew up a 2-year program for women already serving in church ministry, but seeking ministerial training called, “Women of the Word.” Participants met monthly for live (and later online) biblical, theological, historical, speaking, and writing training. As a group, community-wide retreats were held where the students offered classes, traveled for group training to Princeton, New Jersey and also Big Bear, California. The ministry took a break from 2010-2020, but now, CLDM has come to life again through a social media ministry.
At the beginning of 2020, Dr. Berry started reading the Bible and praying online everyday live on Facebook. This turned into a page and reignited the passion of the CLDM board of directors. Media projects are being planned, new opportunities for discipleship are opening around the globe, as well as a trip to Israel in late June of 2020.
Melisa Ortiz Berry
“The most important thing about me is that I love Jesus,” says Dr. Berry. Because of this, she followed the call of God in her life, which led her to acquire the following degrees:
Ph.D. Claremont Graduate University, Claremont, CA
Major: History of Christianity, Religion in North America; Minor: Christian Origins
M.Div. Princeton Theological Seminary, Princeton, NJ
Concentrations: New Testament and Women’s Studies
M.A. Knox Theological Seminary, Fort Lauderdale, FL
Major: New Testament; Concentration: Church History
M.A. University of Nevada, Las Vegas
Major: United States History; Minor: Greco-Roman History
B.A. Loyola Marymount University, Los Angeles, CA
Double Major: Classical Greek and History
Dr. Berry is the Assistant Professor of History and World Christianity at Bushnell University in Eugene, Oregon. She has also taught at Azusa Pacific University in Azusa, CA, and Calvary Chapel Bible Institute in Fort Lauderdale, FL.
Although she has many degrees, Dr. Berry would tell you that her most important title is “Mommy.” She shares the joy of being a parent to two beautiful daughters with her husband and fellow scholar, James Berry.
You can find Dr. Berry online daily with her Live videos broadcast over Facebook and YouTube at 9:30am PST, and on Instagram with her Daily Bible devotional @drberrydaily.
Michele has been married to Hector for 34 years and has four children and one granddaughter. She is originally from Los Angeles, but has been residing in South Florida for 33 years.
Cheryl Parra was born in Pomona, California and has spent most of her life in Southern California. She has been married for 33 years and has two grown children.
Cheryl has been a born-again Christian from age 16. She has followed God’s call to grow in His Word and help other women know Jesus as their personal Savior. She is passionate about sharing His love with broken women and seeing God transform them from broken, shameful and fearful to a beloved child of God.
Cheryl began the Women's Ministry at Purpose Church Claremont. Where she leads, facilitates and runs all aspects of the ministry. Including planning many events, workshops and Bible studies. She enjoys the opportunity that a Bible leader gives her to meet many women, helping them grow in God’s Word by inductive, topical, self-help, and book studies. She has the gift to meet women in whatever stage they are in their personal walk with God and leading them to go deeper.
Cheryl currently mentors female Bible study leaders at Purpose Church Pomona. Assisting them to building relationships and community with their groups. Cheryl also works as a full charge bookkeeper and accounting manager at Internal Tools, Inc. She enjoys working with numbers and helping the company grow and stay on track financially.
Director / Prayer Team
As a pastoral counselor, I have had 25 years of experience helping people cope with life changes. For the first part of my career, my focus was on hospice nursing where I spent 15 years helping families face death and dying issues.
I coach clients from a faith-based approach. I am non-judgmentally with clients as they work out who they are, why they feel the way they do, and where is God. Lending support as they figure out what's going on and finding healthy ways to cope.
In addition, I developed the program Eva's Footprints helping parents navigate life- limiting diagnosis in the womb.
If you are feeling overwhelmed with the changes that are happening in your life, my coaching can help develop new ways of coping with the situations that you are facing. My passion is to help people achieve a new healthy normal. This looks different for everyone. Transitions can be difficult to face. Let me help you re-define, re-image, and re-focus your life after loss. Whether it is through death, divorce, job, children, or globe pandemic which has changed everyones world, I can help you develop a plan.
I look forward to working with you.
Board Certified Christian Counselor
Member of the American Association of Christian Counselors
Masters Degree in Pastoral Counseling, Liberty Theological Seminary
Certified in Perinatal Loss Care by Hospice and Palliative Care Organization
Co-Author of Perinatal and Neonatal Bereavement Guide
Register Nurse license in North Carolina and Florida
Master Degree in Christianity and Culture, Knox Theological Seminary
Certified Enneagram Coach
Director / Prayer Team
Alicia has been in ministry since 1984. She has been a Sunday school teacher, youth leader, women’s ministries, inner-city missions, prison ministries, assistant professor, and is now serving as Senior Pastor at Shepherds Gate San Pedro California. She resides in Redondo Beach, CA. She is married to Efrain Vargas, they have 5 children and 8 grandchildren.
Alicia has been a part of Crown of Life Discipleship Ministry since 2006 where she had the privilege to grow in God’s word and in her leadership role. She was ordained through Crown of Life Discipleship Ministry. Her heart's desires are to see all come to the beautiful knowledge of their salvation in Christ Jesus. She believes greatly in the power of prayer and watching God move through His Holy Spirit as He transforms lives before her.
Graphic Designer / Secretary
Elise Aleman (b. Havana, Cuba) currently lives in Savannah, GA. She is a Christian artist who desires to share her faith through her art. Many of her works are inspired by her personal experiences and the journey that brought her to know Christ.
Elise creates art because it fulfills an inward need to inspire and encourage others. She hopes her work arouses a transcendent experience in the viewers heart and soul leading them to ask sincere questions and explore a deeper knowledge of the Bible before making their eternal choice. Elise also enjoys creative writing and often combines the two expressions
B.F.A. Savannah College of Art and Design. (Fine Art)
A.A.S. Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale (Illustration)