Our people are the essence of what we are. Without people, there is no religion, no thought, no virtue, no meaning, no hope, no love, no reason, no truth.
By sharing our gifts of caring, time, dedication, financial support, and personal efforts, the people of our congregation come together in community and do the work and business of our faith. For these gifts we offer our continuing thanks.
Christina has a strong background working with non-profit organizations in Houston, Texas including the Linda and Jerry Strickland Family Foundation, Urban Harvest, Catering For Kids, Hospice Care, and Planned Parenthood. She has extensive Unitarian Universalist religious education experience working as an advisor and staff at the Summer Institute YRUU, SWUUSI, and SEUUSI programs. She was the Director of Youth Programs at the Laforet Summer Institute in Colorado for two summers. She has coordinated and led intergenerational events and worship services. Christina has served in many UU religious education volunteer positions including as OWL co-facilitator, RE committee member, Coming of Age mentor and RE class leader.
Christina has her B.A. in Philosophy and Biology from the University of Houston. She is studying for her Masters of Divinity and Certificate in Religion and Human Rights at the Candler School of Theology at Emory University. She will be continuing her study while working with Northwest as our Director of Religious Education. Christina lives in Decatur with her husband and two daughters, who are 16 and 4 years old.
Dr. Philip J. Rogers
Dr. Philip Rogers joined Northwest as Director of Music this summer.
Philip is an alumnus of Kentucky State University with a B.S. in Music Education as well as a Master of Music in Choral Conducting and Doctor of Musical Arts in Vocal Performance from the University of Illinois. Philip resides in Atlanta, maintains a studio for vocal performers, performs as a soloist, recitalist, conductor, and is the President/Executive Director of Adagio Productions, Inc., a 501(c)3 non-profit whose mission is to utilize the creative arts as a platform to observe American history through the interpretive eye of its creative artists.
His professional mission statement is, “I strive to educate, motivate, inspire, and support singers interested in achieving their optimum level of vocal performance health, stamina, proficiency, and longevity.”
After six years at the helm of Northwest’s music program, Tom Godfrey stepped back to focus on his real loves, the band and his music students.
Tom joined the congregation in 2004 and since then has sung in the choir, played for services, run the Hungry Ear Coffee House (TM). Prior to becoming Northwest’s Director of Music, Tom was a high school band director, conducted musicals, and played the trombone professionally with touring acts, the Air Force band, and the Ohio Light Opera Company. As a music engraver, Tom has typeset more than 1,400 pieces of music–everything from lead sheets to symphonies to operas–for various publishers and composers.
Tom teaches an extensive roster of private guitar and piano students and continues to work as a freelance music engraver. Active as a jazz guitarist and singer, Tom is the guitarist with the Sentimental Journey Orchestra and performs frequently as half of the Godfrey and Guy duo.
Visit www.godfreyguitar.com to read more about Tom’s performance schedule, recordings, and video clips, and check out his blog at www.godfreyguitar.blogspot.com for a peek into the unusual life of a working musician.
Shirley Banks joined Northwest as the congregation’s part-time Office Administrator in June of 2013. She handles general office and administrative tasks, provides member and ministry support, and coordinates space rental and facilities management. She reports to Rev. Terry Davis.
Shirley brings superior skills to her role in customer service, program administration, record keeping, database management, and desktop publishing. Prior to joining Northwest, Shirley served as a health educator with college students. She also provided technical support and training for college health programs, nonprofit organizations and federally funded clinics.
Shirley earned a Master of Theological Studies at Emory’s Candler School of Theology. She is writing a book about Buddhism and American Protestant culture. Shirley leads workshops and classes on spirituality and religious history, mostly in Episcopal churches.
Dr. Grace Tian Meng Fowler and William Fowler, Service Accompanists
Dr. Grace Tian Meng Fowler has been with us for several years. She received her Doctor of Musical Arts from the University of Georgia and her masters degree and Artist Certificate in piano performance from Georgia State University School of Music.
Grace is a graduate of Renmin University of China’s School of Music which sponsored her to study and perform throughout China. She held the position of Music Director at Beijing Dance Academy’s (BDA) Music Department from 2005-2009 and was vocal and instrumental coach at Renmin University, School of Music from 2007-2010. As the youngest faculty in BDA, she directed numbers of musicals, such as West Side Story, The Lion King, Chicago, and so on. She was also invited to be the music director and choral conductor of most of these musicals’ Chinese version premieres in Beijing, China.
Grace also serves as the music director of Sino-America Music Association, which she co-founded with conductor-pianist (and her husband) William Fowler, who is the organization’s executive director.
Will studied piano performance and orchestral conducting at Georgia State University. There he performed regularly as a pianist with the school’s choirs, wind ensemble and orchestra before becoming the assistant conductor of the University orchestra. He also conducts several Atlanta area youth orchestras, the Atlanta Musicians’ Orchestra and modern music ensembles.
As a pianist, he has performed with chamber groups and as a soloist in Europe, Asia and the United States. He has also worked extensively as a vocal coach both at home in Atlanta, as well as at the Three Bridges International Music Festival in Duluth, Minnesota, and La Musica Lirica in Novafeltria, Italy.
Will is also a student at the Emory University School of Law.