All members of First Church are “ministers,” called to share their gifts and commitments in church and community.
“God is doing amazing things in this time at First Church. We have a remarkable history, yet this is also a time of newness. Together, we are welcoming new people, finding a new home at 10th and G, and discerning new ways to be church in the midst of the District. Now’s the time to discover First.”
Rev. Sidney D. Fowler, Senior Minister
Sid Fowler has served as interim senior minister at Westmoreland Congregational UCC in Bethesda and Hope UCC in Alexandria. He directed the online scripture project of the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), and teaches with Shalem Institute for Spiritual Formation. Prior to 2005, he served for 14 years on the national UCC staff in areas of curriculum, spiritual formation, worship, and church vitality. Sid is author of What Matters to You? Matters to Us: Engaging Six Vital Themes of Our Faith and numerous curriculum projects. Recently he was one of three UCC representatives to the Reformed and Roman Catholic seven-year dialogue that led to mutual recognition of baptism. He has an M.Div from Duke Divinity School and earned his Ed.D. in religion and education from Union Theological Seminary and Columbia University. Sid has been a member of First Church since he and his husband, Jeffrey Catts, moved to the District in 2005. Click Here for a welcome from Sid Fowler.
Sam McFerran began his work with us in September, 2015. He is gifted, sensitive, and creative. He loves being father to his two young children – and is excited about working with our congregation’s own children and youth. He has worked across the age span and is particularly interested in working with the Christian Education Commission in enriching the faith formation for all ages. Here is Sam in his own words:
G’day! My name is Sam McFerran, and I’m very excited to be joining the First Congregational Church community in September as your Minister for Faith Formation. I look forward to getting to know each of you and learning from each other in the months ahead. I came to DC in 2003 to work for the city under Mayor Anthony Williams. During that time, I was encouraged by my pastor at New York Avenue Presbyterian Church to go to seminary. I am a proud graduate of Union Presbyterian Seminary in Richmond, where I developed my passions for urban ministry, pastoral care, and helping people of all ages grow in God’s love.
In my previous call, I served as a Chaplain and Administrator at Christ House, a medical respite facility for homeless men. It was a very rewarding ministry, and I particularly enjoyed the community-building aspects of the work, fostering relationships between the patients, the staff, community volunteers, and the young adult volunteers who lived on site. I look forward to being part of a different, but equally vibrant and diverse community here at First Congregational. I am particularly excited about getting to return to working more directly with children and youth, which I was blessed to do early in my career, and which has always been close to my heart.
I bring with me to this new call my amazing wife, Lauren, and our two enthusiastic boys. I look forward to learning more about First Congregational’ s approach to faith formation, getting to know each of you, and discerning how I can help build a robust program for our spiritual formation that meets us at our specific point of need in our life’s journey with God. Please don’t hesitate to contact me at email@example.com, on my cell (202) 294-5437, or on Facebook!
Rev. James D. Ross, II, Minister of Justice Formation
James D. Ross, II joined First Church as Social Action Community Organizer in August, 2015. In this role, James will partner with the church to strengthen its already significant social action work in the community and develop new relationships. He will work in close consultation with the Social Action Commission and other church bodies. James was a ministerial intern at First Church during the 2014-2015 school year. He recently earned a Master of Divinity from Wesley Theological Seminary. James also holds a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from the University of Alabama and a Master of Arts in American Culture Studies from Bowling Green State University. An Alabama native, James serves as director of communications at the Campaign for the Fair Sentencing of Youth. He is a licensed minister and an associate minister at Covenant Baptist United Church of Christ.
John Horman, Director of Music
John Horman is retired from teaching after twenty-six years with the Montgomery County, Maryland Public School System. John served Warner Memorial Presbyterian Church in Kensington, Maryland for forty three years as Organist and Director of Music. He directed three choral groups and two bell choirs. Over 80 members of the congregation participate in the music groups of the church. He retired in August 2013 from that position. John’s compositions are found in the catalogues of over 10 nation-wide publishers, and they have been heard on national television in both the United States and Great Britain. He presently has over 250 anthems for children, youth and adults in print. He also wrote songs for both Silver Burdette and Macmillan publishing houses for their 1988 school music series. More recently his compositions have also been geared toward virtuoso solo artists, both vocal and instrumental. Over the last decade John has served as clinician for children or youth choirs at national conferences held by Presbyterians, Reformed Presbyterians, American Baptists, Methodists, Lutherans, United Church of Christ and Disciples of Christ. His work as a choral clinician has taken him to over 60 children’s choir festivals in the last 20 years. He has taught Children’s Choir Techniques at the Church Music Institute held by the Shenandoah Conservatory of Music.
Ann Bushmiller, Moderator
Andy Raver, Assistant Moderator
Byron Adams, Building Manager
Byron Adams is familiar to almost everyone around First Congregational UCC. He is a long-term member and served as the Office Manager for the first 18 months the church has been back into our new building at 10th and G. In this new position, he will concentrate on ensuring proper maintenance of the building, room set-ups, and in marketing the use of the space to the wider community. He brings solid experience to the job – highly valued by so many who have used or leased our building. He loves the building. He was active in the congregation’s site development committee. Byron is a graduate of Georgetown University with a degree in economics and he has professional experience in marketing. Byron hopes that his skills will provide First Church with “a unique opportunity to maintain existing building operations as the church transitions to a more proactive phase in promoting the use of its space as part of its extravagant welcome.”
Cindy Dobbs, Administrative Assistant
Cindy Dobbs joined the staff of First Congregational UCC in March of 2015. After having lived in the DC area in her youth, she moved back to the area from Connecticut in 2015 to be closer to family. She served as the administrative assistant at two churches in Connecticut, along with holding several positions in the legal field and teaching private piano lessons for over 25 years. Cindy is happy to be a part of the staff at First Church. Please stop by the office and say hello!
Nursery & Childcare Staff:
Luis Murillo, Timur Murillo, Nora Parisi