Servant leaders share their time, talents, prayers, and passions to help our congregation be a positive presence and make a positive difference in the community, Quiet Corner, and world.
Working together to support the mission and further the vision of the congregation
REV. DR. KEVIN DOWNER, Pastor
A positive, joyful leader; Rev. Downer teaches, preaches, pastors, and ministers in spiritually-grounded, practical ways. Bio for Rev. Downer
An openly gay man, Rev Kev believes our challenges present opportunities to express, extend and experience grace, love, compassion and justice. He welcomes and affirms everyone, “wherever you have been or may be on your life or spiritual journey.”
He grew up in the area; spent a decade as a business consultant; started an emerging church in Chicago; and pastored diverse congregations in East Hollywood Los Angeles, Minneapolis, San Antonio, Toronto, and Worcester. He has worked with interfaith, ecumenical, and social-justice organizations; was a member of the Chicago LGBT Substance Use and Abuse Task Force and the LGBT Asylum Task Force.
He enjoys running, gardening, baking and exploring life’s journey with his spouse Toby and their two cats. You can address him in whatever way you feel comfortable, e.g., Rev. Kev, Kevin, Pastor Kevin, Rev. Downer, etc.
LISA MORELLI. Communications Coordinator
Lisa moved to the Quiet Corner in Dec of 2021 to be near her grandsons.
Previous to that she was an educator, school counselor and social worker for 30 years in the Manchester NH school district. During that time she worked with elementary students & their families. Her focus was on providing support to the school community through advocacy, teaching skills, and creating a welcoming and acceptable environment.
Lisa says: “I am looking for a new purpose in my new home. I am a wife, mother, grandmother, daughter, sister and friend. And I am excited for the opportunity to begin my time with all of you.“
Gretchen D'Andrea, Music Director
Gretchen has held choir director positions in church music ministries of various denominations since her college days at UMass Lowell in the 1980s, including Roman Catholic (Northbridge, MA); Unitarian Universalist (Mendon/Uxbridge, MA), and Congregational (Princeton, MA). She founded and directed early music performing group Clepsydra in the 1990’s, and taught Choirfest Summer Program at Fairlawn Church, Whitinsville, from 1999-2019. Gretchen also directed the Whitinsville Christian High School Vocal ensemble, and produced and directed musical theater performances.
From 1997 to present, Ms. D’Andrea has been a public school music teacher in various MA and NH public school districts. She specializes in band, choral and general music.
Some may remember Gretchen D’Andrea from our FCCW musical production of Scrooge’s Christmas in 2014, raising funds for Pomfret Congregation when their church building was destroyed in a fire the previous year.
Her musical passion is for sacred music of all genres, and she looks for examples from different musical traditions that resonate deeply with a love of God and for each other.
Gretchen married husband David Worden ten years ago at FCCW on August 18, and was a choir member around that time. She is a proud Mom to Lauren-Rose; Lauren’s husband, Peter, and two beautiful granddaughters, Noelle and Eva. Gretchen also has five cats; Horatio, Bela, Pangur Ban, Ike, and Miss Bunbury.
Ms. D’Andrea’s goal is to serve our congregation with love and the best she has to offer as a musician. Soli Deo Gloria!
LEILANI NIXON, ORGANIST
Leilani has been the organist at First Congregational Church or Woodstock since 1995.
She began her organ studies at Eastman while she was an undergraduate at the University of Rochester and later studied at Northwestern University and the University of Chicago. She has been organist of several churches in the Chicago area before moving to the Quiet Corner in 1988. She is a member of the American Guild of Organists and enjoys participating in master classes and playing in member and solo recitals.
She likes to hike and kayak when she is on vacation where she’s frequently found in music stores searching for new music.