Dr. Michael Kelly
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Dr. Michael Kelly has been our music director since May 2005. He has many years of experience, not only as a music director, organist, and choirmaster in several large churches but also as a performer and professor. In addition to serving as our Music Director, Michael is the pianist for the Portland Symphonic Choir and is an active vocal coach and accompanist. Michael performed at Lincoln Center in New York City as winner of the 1982 Bach Society Competition. He has taught piano and music theory at the Manhattan School of Music, the Brooklyn College of CUNY, and the University of Puget Sound. He earned a Master's degree in piano at the Julliard School and a Doctorate in piano at Manhattan School of Music in New York City. We are thankful for Michael's dynamic ability that reaches across style and genre.
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Cara Rothe joined First Congregational in October, 2013. She is responsible for promoting the church's activities to the public, coordinating special and educational events, and building partnerships with other organizations. Previously, working in health care, Cara developed an interest in nonprofit management and decided to switch gears. While working on her Bachelors in Business Management from Portland State, Cara worked as a Marketing and Development Assistant and as a Volunteer Coordinator.
Cara is excited to apply her love of organizational behavior and marketing to First Congregational. Cara enjoys kayaking, backpacking, and attending meditation/spiritual retreats. She plays Native American flute and loves to act and sing.
Musician in Residence firstname.lastname@example.org
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Grant Edwards has been organist of First Congregational since June 1995, on occasion of the 100th anniversary service of the landmark building. He holds a BA in Organ from Lewis & Clark College. Grant has also studied at the Ludwig-Maxmillians-Universitat in Munich and as a Deutsche-UNESCO scholar in Weimar, East Germany. An organ builder as well, he has been a craftsman at Bond Organ Builders since 1993. Grant installed his first self-designed organ at the Episcopal Church of the Nativity in Fort Oglethorpe, Georgia. In collaboration with Bond, he also constructed the organ in our sanctuary, incorporating mechanical portions of the original 1951 instrument as well as an ornate 1877 organ case. He is currently completing a large-scale choral work based on the poetry of Emily Dickinson and has created and performed several original compositions for our worship services. Grant has performed for three National Conventions of the Organ Historical Society. In 2003, he recorded an eclectic album, Musical Feast, (ProOrgano CD7181) at St. Stephen's Episcopal, Seattle. Active in the local chapter of the American Guild of Organists, Grant is currently that organization's Sub-Dean and chair of the Program Committee.
Steve Eggers - Facilities Manager
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Steve Eggers joins our staff after having worked for many years in East Africa, training people affected by HIV in sustainable farming and nutrition. He enjoys singing and playing guitar in a local bluegrass band. Please join us in welcoming him to the First Congregational family!
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Batya Podos discovered Greek Myths at age nine, and ever since then, she has been chasing a good story. For over thirty years, she has been a storyteller and performer, workshop leader, teacher, and playwright. She worked as an artist in residence and educational consultant in the U.K. where she lived for over a decade, and later when she returned to the U.S. as a middle school drama teacher.
Batya is an ordained maggid, a teacher and storyteller in the Jewish tradition, and now that she has retired from teaching middle school, she works with young people who are about to have their Bar or Bat Mitzvah and is one of the directors of "Abraham's Tent" - an interfaith summer camp for Christian, Jewish, and Muslim children. Her goal is to have children connect with the Divine through their personal experience of the stories within their tradition. Batya also leads services, facilitates holiday celebrations, and has taken the pulpit on more than one occasion. She has written her own book for middle level readers, Rebecca and the Talisman of Time.
Child Care Provider
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I am delighted to join the community at First Congregational United Church of Christ, and I can't wait to get to know all of you and - of course - your children! I moved to Portland four years ago from Cleveland, Ohio; where I spent five magical years as a nanny to three children. My last four years have been spent both in administration and in the classroom at ChildRoots, where I've built wonderful relationships with families, children, and teachers. In my free time, I enjoy swimming, painting, singing, and snuggling my sweet dog, Rooney.