Our Minister and Staff
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Rev. Debra Guthrie came to us fresh from her internship in Leominster, MA; before she was even ordained. The match has proven to be beneficial to both the church and Debra. She was ordained in Jan 2018 and the church renewed her contract beginning August 2018 with an increase in time to ¾ time. We are growing together.
Her current ministry has a very southern flavor, relies heavily on story and metaphor; it centers on relationships, vulnerability, and holding tension in the middle. She received her M.Div. from Andover Newton Theology School in 2015, with an additional certificate in pastoral care. She completed Clinical Pastoral education at Hebrew Senior Life She has a Bachelor’s degree in fine arts from East Carolina University. Her concentration was in ceramic sculpture but she abandoned the medium after graduation. She enjoyed a number of years as a relatively successful gourd artist.
She decided to pursue ministry in her late forties after having a myriad of jobs including floral designer, corrections officer and dish washer, among others. She believes opportunities to meet people and make friends across lines of difference as one of the greatest blessings in life.
David Brown, our part-time Music Director, is working hard to fill our sanctuary with music on Sunday mornings as accompanist, solo pianist and director of the Principle Singers. David is a member of the Adjunct Faculty in the Fine Arts Department of USC-Aiken. He received a B.M. in Piano Performance from the Crane School of Music, SUNY, Potsdam, NY and a Masters in Music Education from Columbia University, Teachers College, NYC. He teaches piano privately in Aiken, and has accompanied the Young People’s Chorus of New York City and the Montclair State University Chorale, as well St. John’s Methodist Church Chancel Choir, and the USC-Aiken Concert Choir. He performs regularly in jazz and other groups in the region.
Heather Nall, our part-time Office Administrator, is happy to join the AUUC family! She is a senior at USCA majoring in psychology and a volunteer at several local organizations that support the needs of the Aiken community. Heather is active on campus with groups such as Horticulture Club, and Neuroscience Club. You can always connect with Heather over a good book, a beautiful flower, or anything science fiction.
Debbie Brown, our interim Youth Religious Education Coordinator, is continuing to develop the faith community among our school-aged congregants. Her focus is to create a Montessori-style environment of love, respect, fairness, and creativity in which children can safely explore their own spiritual and artistic voices. Debbie retired this year from a career as a teacher of Visual Art, Photography, and Puppetry at Davidson Fine Arts Magnet School, in Augusta, and public and private schools in New York City. She received a BFA from The Art Academy of Cincinnati and an MFA in Sculpture from Syracuse University, with additional coursework in adolescent development and teaching children with special needs. Debbie is a plein air watercolorist and teacher/performer of Bunraku-style puppetry. In 2016, her Puppetry class performed an original Bunraku play about forgiveness, adapted from Jon Muth’s book, Zen Shorts, as part of an Intergenerational Service at Aiken UU.