Ministers and Staff

The Reverend Dr. Pippin Whitaker (she/her)


Rev. Dr. Pippin Whitaker (she/her) is settled minister of the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Athens, GA. Rev. Pippin began her post August 1, 2022. Previously, she was Executive Director and Co-Founder of the South Carolina Unitarian Universalist Justice Alliance (SCUUJA), a statewide action network for Unitarian Universalists to coordinate and promote social justice in South Carolina. She also served as Affiliated Community Minister at the UU Congregation of Columbia.

Before moving to South Carolina, Rev. Pippin served as Minister of the Accotink UU Church in Burke, VA. In addition to service in congregations and state-level UU organizing, she also served the national level in our faith as Co-chair of the Commission on Social Witness of the Unitarian Universalist Association from 2019-2022. 

To the UU ministry, Rev. Pippin brings extensive experience in community and organizational change to prevent both individual and structural violence and to build communities focused on mutual liberation. She holds a Master of Divinity from Meadville Lombard Theological School, in Chicago, IL. She also holds a PhD in Social Work and a Master of Social Work with a focus in nonprofit administration and policy from the Florida State University, in Tallahassee, FL. 

Rev. Pippin now lives in Athens, GA with her spouse Steve and three children, along with two dogs. She enjoys time with family, reading, running, playing piano, cooking (mostly) healthy food, and admiring the outdoors.

Contact Rev. Pippin by email or at the UUFA office (706-546-7914, ext. 3). 

Kahla Childers (she/her)

Director of Religious Exploration

Kahla Childers joined the UUFA staff in 2022. Kahla first started connecting with children at the YMCA as a summer camp counselor and later became assistant director of youth programming. Passionate about supporting children and families, Kahla has worked in various roles such as crisis counselor for The Trevor Project, professional nanny, infant sign language instructor, and homeschool co-op educator. Currently, she leads a prenatal support group with Athens Parent Well-Being, providing resources and community for new parents.

Kahla lives in Athens with her encouraging husband, two wonderful children, eight chickens, and three cats. She received a Bachelor of Science in Psychology from the University of North Georgia. A lover of movement and play, she enjoys performing dance and aerial arts, reading, and spending time in nature. 

Contact Kahla by email or through the UUFA office (706-546-7914).

Amber Fetner (she/her)

Music Director

Since 2001, Amber Fetner has led the Chalice Choir, Palms of Fire drum circle and small vocal ensembles, and coordinates additional music activities. Amber regularly takes Fellowship musical groups into the Athens community in support of local organizations and justice activities, such as the Human Rights Festival. Amber is an active member of the Association for Unitarian Universalist Music Ministries (AUUMM).

Amber successfully completed a credentialing program sponsored by the AUUMM which then recognized her with its ‘Certified UU Music Leader’ designation in 2014. Previously, Amber completed her Master’s work in Ethnomusicology at the University of Chicago. She earned a Bachelor of Music and a Bachelor of Music Education from Shorter College in Rome, GA

Contact Amber by email.

Anunnaki Ray Marquez (all pronouns)

Spiritual Care Chaplain Intern

Mx. Anunnaki Ray Marquez is our first intersex person who has been appointed for the next two years as UUFA’s Spiritual Care Chaplain Intern while they work diligently on their Master of Divinity with Meadville Lombard Theological School while also receiving their Chaplain Pastoral Education through Sankofa. He currently is a member of the UUSCM (Unitarian Universalist Society of Community Ministries) and hopes to become a fully certified Spiritual Care Chaplain by 2026. It is his aspiration to pursue their Ph.D. at Meadville Lombard Theological School in Social Justice Leadership.

Their biggest achievements as a Gender/Intersex Activist have been receiving Colorado’s first intersex birth certificate in 2018. As well as becoming a TEDx Talk Alumni with their talk, Born Intersex: We Are Human! He is known for sharing with this world, “My ministry is my transparency” with his blog, podcasts, and social media presence. He has been fighting for intersex bodily autonomy and self-determination since 2015 and has educated at many Universities, Churches, and through Podcasts; this proudly includes Harvard Medical School. In addition, their story and activism in the documentary “Stories of Intersex and Faith,” where his team of intersex friends, allies, and colleagues show that our society needs to be fixed, not the bodies of intersex babies.

As a proudly out intersex, nonconforming, queer, transgender man, Anunnaki hopes UUFA will help him grow in his spiritual formation as he offers to us his own wisdom, strengths, and talents to this fellowship. As an intersex person, he will share a new perspective on combating white patriarchy, endosexism, cissexism, heteronormativity, and ableism. As a visionary, it is Anunnaki’s hope to help this congregation and world normalize being born different and become a safe home for LGBTQIA+, BIPOC, and neurodivergent people.

Contact Anunnaki by email.

Shaye Gambrell (she/her)

Congregational Administrator

Shaye Gambrell has served in the UUFA office since 2002 under several job titles. As Congregational Administrator, she is responsible for the smooth operation of the office and internal and external communications.

Shaye is a long-time member of  the Association of Unitarian Universalist Administrators and has served on the board and later as their administrator.

Her love of travel has taken her all over the world, often as a teacher of English as a Second Language. A decades-long resident of Athens, Shaye is active in local politics and with several non-profit organizations.  Most recently, she and several friends formed the Athens Gingerbread Guild for the purpose of hosting Athens’ first and only Gingerbread House Competition. 

Contact Shaye by email or at the UUFA office (706-546-7914, ext. 5).

Meredyth Howard (she/her)

Youth & Young Adult Coordinator

Prior to working at UUFA, Meredyth earned a BA in religious studies from Georgia State University and her Master of Divinity from Candler School of Theology at Emory University. During her time at Candler, Meredyth focused on religious education with youth and young adults. She is especially interested in creating and supporting exciting and inclusive programming so that everyone has a place at UUFA to call home.

When she isn’t hanging out with the youth or young adults, Meredyth enjoys spending time with her husband, James, her son, Ledger, and their cat, Taro. Meredyth also enjoys gardening, reading, cooking, creating fiber art, and documentary movies and podcasts about anything, but especially about people pursuing their passions.

Contact Meredyth.

Kendall Kookogey (she/her)


Kendall joined UUFA’s staff in June 2023. 

Contact Kendall.

Neil Golden (he/him)


Neil joined the UUFA staff team in August 2019. As the oldest of 5 children in a musical family, he started playing piano and other instruments at age 7, was South Carolina Music Teachers Association (SCMTA) solo recitalist winner at age 17, and eventually earned a degree in Music from Lander University in Greenwood, SC. Neil moved to Athens in 1999 to play rock ‘n roll and soon after began touring with The Glands, Elf Power, Shonna Tucker and many other musical acts. He released an album of his own tunes in 2015 with his band Golden Eels, and also works as a network operations center engineer when not playing music.

Contact Neil through the Music Director Amber.

Carley Reeves (she/her)

Childcare Coordinator

A native of Athens, Carley enjoys spending time with her ten nieces and nephews, performing onstage, growing pumpkins, and cuddling her sweet dog, Gomez. Carley is a current MSW candidate at the University of Georgia and plans to graduate in May 2023. She hopes to work with individuals in recovery from substance abuse and addiction (and their families). Carley is excited and grateful for the opportunity to be a part of the UUFA team!

Contact Carley through DRE Kahla.

Erica Strout (she/her)

Audio/Visual Coordinator

Erica Strout (she/her/hers) joined UUFA in 2020 as a Video Tech. She is thrilled to now serve UUFA as the Tech Coordinator. As a UGA alumnus with a degree in Visual Art and a longtime Athens resident, she wholeheartedly loves the Classic City and the people who live here. In addition to being a part of the UUFA team, she works in the film industry and loves creating music videos. A founding member of We Rock Athens (formerly Girls Rock Athens), she is also a lifetime musician and songwriter and has been a part of several bands since 2002.

Contact Erica.

Childcare Providers

UUFA has long been fortunate to have the best providers caring for the very young in the community. In addition to Carley Reeves, we are also grateful for Jazmin Nagorski who came on board in 2022 with the reopening of UUFA’s Seedlings Room.

Contact members of the childcare team through DRE Kahla.

Audio/Visual Team

We are grateful for the outstanding team of audio and video techs who support, not only UUFA’s widely-viewed Sunday morning live stream, but also a myriad of special events throughout the year.

Audio: Gene Woolfolk, John Neff, Michael Dwyer, Ryan Petty

Video: Erica Strout, Emma Schell

Contact members of the A/V teams through Erica or contact the office.

Don A. Randall (he/him)

Community Minister Emeritus

Rev. Dr. Don A. Randall retired from his service as UUFA’s Community Minister in February, 2023.

Don received his divinity degree from Candler School of Theology of Emory University. He also holds a master’s degree in rehabilitation counseling from Georgia State University and a doctorate in counseling from the University of Georgia. He served the Athens community first as executive director of Athens Family Counseling Service, Inc. and then as a licensed marriage and family therapist and professional counselor with Athens Associates for Counseling and Psychotherapy. His special interests were marital therapy, spiritual development, mind-body healing, and hypnosis. Don also served as adjunct faculty in the College of Family and Consumer Science and the School of Social Work.

Over the course of his career Don was executive director at two social service agencies, and was a program director at the Atlanta YMCA., He has also served two United Methodist congregations and was originally ordained by the North Georgia Conference of the United Methodist Church over 50 years ago—past time to retire!

Don and his wife Sally, a retired educator, have three adult daughters and six grandchildren. Don is an avid reader and spiritual-practice golfer, and now looks forward to re-visioning himself as a regular member of UUFA!

The Reverend Alison Eskildsen (she/her)

Minister Emerita

The Reverend Alison Wilbur Eskildsen served as UUFA Parish Minister from August 1, 2010, through July 31, 2020. Prior to her arrival she was Assistant Minister and Director of Religious Education at the Unitarian Universalist (UU) Church in Reston, Virginia. A fourth generation UU, her family moved around during her childhood but joined Unitarian churches in each place they lived.

Rev. Eskildsen and her husband, Paul Eskildsen, a former attorney, retired to Chapel Hill, NC, to be near their older son and his family. Their younger son and his family reside in Cambridge, MA. Paul and Rev. Eskildsen enjoy spending time with their four grandchildren and getting to know a new UU community. They miss their fellow UUs in Athens and look forward to visiting and staying in touch.


December 2023
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