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.
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.
Supporting the Spiritual, Care, and Prayer needs of the Congregation
Each deacon was asked to answer the same three questions about themselves. The questions were:
- Why did you choose to become a deacon at FCCW?
- Where were you born and raised?
- What kind of activities bring you joy?
I was a deacon here several years ago and enjoyed serving God, my congregation and community in this capacity. I am enjoying it even more this time around!
I grew up in Oakland, California and was associated with a very diverse community.
I enjoy working with children and their families. I like cooking, sewing, gardening and making handcrafted items.
RICK RAMDATHSINGH (SINGH)
Having met a church that was very welcoming to my family and me, I felt a need to help in a way that can benefit many. I chose to become a Deacon to share my support and ideas, and give back for the many that shared interest in my family growing up. I was honored to be approached to serve as a Deacon.
I was born in Trinidad & Tobago and grew up in many parts of NYC, Lived and went to College in RI and now started my family in Dayville, CT.
I enjoy traveling, spending time with my family: Ashley, my wife, our son Hunter, our daughter Aurora, and my step daughter Alanna doing various sports, hiking, technology, music, photography, festivals, and art.
I chose to become a Deacon because being a part of the FCCW community has been so meaningful to me. I was honored to be asked and grateful to have the opportunity to give back as much as I’ve received. Serving as a Deacon has deepened my relationships within the community and allowed me to extend God’s love through supporting others on their spiritual path.
I was born and raised in Wrentham, Massachusetts. Although I enjoyed growing up and being part of the community there for most of my life, moving to Woodstock, CT in 2014 felt like coming home to me.
Spending time with my husband, Dennis, and our son, Collin, brings me incredible joy. I love family game nights and attending Collin’s soccer games. One of my favorite activities is playing in the woods. I enjoy hiking with Dennis on almost a weekly basis from October through May. I also love backyard birdwatching and I am an avid reader – anything from spirituality and health to science fiction and love stories.
Why did I become a deacon? Well, I was asked, and it’s hard to say “no” to Bob Kirk! I was a deacon in the distant past, and then served the church in multiple other capacities more recently. We believe that “God calls us to celebrate the fellowship of a loving, supportive community of friends,” and I can think of no better way to both celebrate and complete my service to this congregation than by serving once more as a deacon.
I was born in Glens Falls, N.Y., raised there and in Poultney, Vt. and New London, Conn. I continue to be drawn to the Adirondacks and the Green Mountains, but Woodstock has been our home for over 43 years.
What do I enjoy? Being in service to others – as a physician during my professional life, and helping with our Community Kitchen meals during retirement. Getting outside into “God’s big book,” as Jamie Harrison once described it, by walking or running, hiking, or even doing yard work. And singing, or listening to good music, especially if performed by one of my children or grands! Joys abound, actually.
Why did you choose to become a deacon at FCCW?
I served as a deacon several years ago and I am pleased to take this role again. I have found that participating in worship has been a way to strengthen my faith and I hope that I can help welcome others more fully into this community.
Where were you born and raised?
I was born in Erie, PA and raised in Rockville, MD where I attended a UCC church throughout my childhood. Though I am not a native of Woodstock, I have lived here over 40 years and have family ties to the area. My grandfather was the pastor at Putnam Congregational Church and my mom was born in Putnam.
What kind of activities bring you joy?
I enjoy outdoor activities such as hiking, swimming, and gardening. One of my favorite things to do is to visit with my three grandchildren, Ben, Ham, and Josie.