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.
This fall we welcomed Dana Poss as our new Interim Director of Religious Education. Dana was the volunteer Youth Advisor for the UU Church of Birmingham before becoming the Youth Programs Director at the UU Congregation of Atlanta, where she served for five years.
Following this period, Dana moved to Idaho, where she served for two years as the Director of Lifespan Religious Exploration at the UU Church of the Palouse. Dana returned home to Georgia in 2015 and has spent the last year as an Acting DRE at both the Athens and Roswell congregations. She has served on the district board and is a trained Healthy Congregations Consultant as well as a member of the Liberal Religious Educators Association. She has led numerous trainings for new youth workers and DREs as well as volunteering at The Mountain and Camp deBenneville Pines in California.
In addition to her professional experience, Dana is a voracious reader of fantasy. She also enjoys gardening, DIY projects and spending time with her three children.
Tom Godfrey took on leadership of Northwest’s music ministry in 2011 with a commitment to developing and sustaining a dynamic, vibrant music program that make members and visitors want to keep coming back.
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.
If you have a passion for singing and would like to take part in the Northwest Choir, you can contact Tom or just show up on a Wednesday night at 7:30 when the choir rehearses. If you are an instrumentalist and enjoy playing in a more contemporary setting, you may be interested in learning more about the Northwest Band.
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
We are fortunate to have two very talented musicians as our 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 new 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.