Ministers & Staff
The Reverend Alison Wilbur Eskildsen
Parish Minister, Rev. Eskildsen joined the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Athens, Georgia, in August 2010. 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 each place they lived. Formative experiences at the Unitarian Rowe Camp and in Rev. Eskildsen’s Liberal Religious Youth group during high school drew her to ministry. Upon graduation from Albion College Rev. Eskildsen began working at the National Geographic Society (NGS) expecting to stay long enough to earn tuition for seminary. Somehow 25 years passed while directing elite photographers and developing books, articles and other projects. In 2001 she left NGS and began her pursuit to ordained ministry.
Rev. Eskildsen graduated from Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington, DC, and was ordained in 2009. During her training she served as Summer Minister at the UU Congregation of Fairfax, VA, and Intern Minister at the UU Church of Arlington, VA. She served as Student Chaplain at Georgetown University Hospital in Washington, DC, and participated in a housing mission at South Dakota’s Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. Rev. Eskildsen describes herself as a humanistic religious naturalist. She derives spiritual renewal from the vast wonder of nature and aspires each day to live out our UU principles. She is passionate about energetic and meaningful worship and is committed to transforming lives and making the world more just.
Rev. Eskildsen and her husband, Paul Eskildsen, an attorney, have two children. Their older son, Scott, is an orthopaedic surgeon in Cary, NC, where he lives with his wife, Dr. Jenny Feldman Eskildsen, an anesthesiologist at UNC Hospitals, and their children. Rev. Eskildsen’s younger son, Brian, is an Assistant Coach for Harvard University’s Men’s Basketball program in Cambridge, MA. He is married to Natalie Chladek, a Product Manager for Harvard Business School Online.
Please contact Rev. Eskildsen by email (that’s best), or by cell phone (706-424-9449), or by phone at the Fellowship (706-546-7914).
The Reverend Dr. Don A. Randall
Affiliated Community Minister, Rev. Randall is a licensed marriage and family therapist and professional counselor with Athens Associates for Counseling and Psychotherapy. He has special interests in marital therapy, spiritual development, mind-body healing, and hypnosis. Don provides consultation to the pastoral care team and occasional pulpit supply. He and his wife Sally have three adult daughters and six grandchildren.
As a service to members of the Fellowship, Don offers a free consultation session to those seeking a referral to the most appropriate psychotherapist.
Contact Rev. Randall at his Counseling Office: 706-353-0709 or at home: 706-769-7540
Music Director at UUFA since 2001, Amber Fetner leads the Chalice Choir, Palms of Fire drum circle, 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
Director of Religious Exploration, Ms. McConnell joined UUFA in mid-May 2017 after serving the Girl Scouts of Historic Georgia for three years. During her prior career, Kelli has worked with children in a variety of ways, including as a substitute teacher for Waseca Montessori School. In addition to being an integral part of our staff team Kelli continues teaching Reiki and counseling at the Heart Path Studio. Kelli shares our UU values and enjoys getting to know the children, youth, and adults of the Fellowship.
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 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.
Congregational Administrator, Ms. Gambrell began as a quarter-time bookkeeper in 2002, Shaye Gambrell has served in the UUFA office over the years under several job titles. As Congregational Administrator she is responsible for the smooth operation of the office and internal and external communications.
Shaye holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Drama and Journalism from the University of Georgia. In addition to her work at UUFA, she is a member of the Association of Unitarian Universalist Administrators (www.AUUA.org).
Her love of travel has taken her all over the world, often as a teacher of English as a Second Language. Shaye has been active in local politics and with several non-profit organizations over the more than twenty years she has lived in Athens.
Contact Ms. Gambrell at UUFA: 706-546-7914
Nursery Caregiver, Erin Prince has taken care of UUFA’s youngest members since 2011.
Nursery Caregiver, Marcus Prince has taken care of UUFA’s youngest members since 2011.