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.“
MITRA SASHURI, Children and Family Ministry Coordinator
Mitra is extremely excited to be working with our community to build our children and families ministry up into a beacon of light for the entire community.
Mitra says “I have felt so welcomed already! First Church has been a place of love and acceptance for so long, and I cannot wait to dive in with such a wonderful church family.”
Mitra attended Carson-Newman University and earned my Bachelor’s Degree in Religion and Political Science, after which she attended Yale University’s School of Divinity for one semester until she was called to a different career and place.
Mitra has been working with kids for about 4 years now, mainly specializing in working with children with disabilities. For the past year, Mitra has been teaching full-time, first in a special education classroom and then in a 3rd grade classroom.
Mitra has been married to her wonderful wife for two years, and they have the best dog, Lily. She enjoys the outdoors and nature, sports, books, and anything to do with animals.
MARIA SANGIOLO, Music Director
Maria is an accomplished musician, performer, and educator. She is creative, spiritually centered, and seeking meaningful ways to minister to congregants and the greater community through music.
Prior to joining FCCW as Music Director, Maria occasionally shared her gifts of song in worship. She works at Rectory School as a learning specialist and has coordinated the music program for the Vanilla Bean Café for 14 years.
Maria has also recorded several children’s CDs and toured nationally, early in her career. You can find out more about Maria on her website http://mariasangiolo.com/
Maria helps us explore the intersections of music, spirituality, justice, and life.
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.