Our Minister and Staff
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Debra Guthrie, our part-time minister, is working hard to bring us great worship services while increasing our presence in the Aiken community and helping us GROW! Debra joined us in August 2016 fresh from an internship at First Church Unitarian Universalist in Leominster, Massachusetts and with a Master of Divinity degree and certification in Pastoral Care from Andover-Newton Theological School. Originally from Harker’s Island, North Carolina, Debra completed a Bachelors of Fine Arts at East Carolina University in 1991. Her varied career adventures have included, among others, floral designer, corrections officer and dish washer. She converted to Unitarian Universalism in 2005 and has been a vocal advocate for our movement ever since. At her home church she held numerous volunteer positions and was active in her local PFLAG group. When she lost most of her worldly possessions in a fire in 2011, she decided to pursue her calling to ministry and moved to Newton, MA to enter Andover-Newton the following year. While at Andover-Newton, Debra stood out as a leader, serving on the campus UU student group, as a resident representative, and working on Night Watch. Debra’s passion for the ministry grows from her own testimony: “Unitarian Universalism transformed my life.” Debra believes that Unitarian Universalism has the power to change lives, helping to make a better world.
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 The Pacer Times, 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.