Staff Directory

Photo of Rev. Dr. Cathy Harrington

Rev. Dr. Cathy Harrington

Interim Lead Minister

Rev. Cathy comes to us from an interim ministry in Traverse City, MI.  She was ordained to the Unitarian Universalist ministry in 2004 after receiving a Master of Divinity degree from Starr King School for the Ministry, affiliated with the Graduate Theological Union. Cathy later earned a Doctor of Divinity degree from Meadville Lombard Theological School, affiliated with the University of Chicago in 2012.

Decades of working with people, raising children, co-founding a UU congregation in Seward, Alaska, and a lot of life, provides a wealth of experience to bring to her ministry.
828-254-6001 x203

Rev. Claudia Jiménez

Minister of Faith Development

Claudia has served as UUCA’s Minister of Faith Development since 2018.  Prior to her ordination, Rev. Jimenez served as Director of Religious Education at the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Vero Beach, Florida from 2001 to 2018. She has 10 years of teaching experience in middle school science and in elementary schools in Colombia, Brazil, Canada, and Florida. While in Vero Beach, she also was elected for two terms to the Indian River County School Board from 2008 to 2016. She is a certified Religious Educator through the Liberal Religious Educator’s Association and is a trained Our Whole Lives (OWL) Facilitator and a certified sexuality educator.  She is married and has two adult daughters.  
828-254-6001 x202

Dr. Leslie Downs

Music Director

In addition to serving as Music Director for UU Asheville, Leslie is active as both a solo and a collaborative pianist. He has performed in solo, lieder, chamber, and choral concerts throughout the United States and in Canada. He has also served as music director for regional musical theatre productions. For 16 years he worked as a freelance pianist/teacher/vocal coach in New York City and was principal accompanist for the New York City Gay Men’s Chorus for six seasons.  Dr. Downs holds degrees from Centenary College of Louisiana, Yale University, and the University of Oklahoma. He enjoys hiking, movies, theater, and murder mysteries. 
828-254-6001 x216

Kim Collins

Religious Educator

Kim is a San Diego native and life-long UU. She grew up attending First Unitarian Universalist Church of San Diego and was a member of Summit Unitarian Universalist Fellowship prior to moving to Asheville and beginning her work at UU Asheville. Kim has lived on both coasts and is now happy to call the mountains her home. She enjoys cooking, reading, exploring Asheville and the surrounding areas, and tending to her pack of 3 dogs and 3 cats.
828-254-6001 x210

Jen Johnson

Religious Educator

Jen revels in the energy of a group kids bonding, having fun, growing, and learning together. She is honored to be part of a nurturing and enriching RE program.  Jen has two instructions for you:  read the RE Section of the  Weekly eNews (it’s the best way to get informed!) and reach out to someone you want to meet! Getting connected and being involved is sooooooo gratifying and beneficial.  Being a nature lover, Jen likes to be outdoors to hike, run, soak in the sun. She also loves the chance to curl up with a good book, to make and eat a good soup, get competitive on family game night, or hear and watch the high school marching band perform. She also loves chocolate and listening to The Moth podcast.  
828-254-6001 x205

Wendy Director


Director of Administration

Wendy serves as our Director of Administration and relocated with her family to Asheville in 2018.  Wendy worked in recreational administration before joining the UU Congregation of Asheville.  She is deeply committed to doing the hard work towards creating more equitable, diverse, and inclusive spaces.  She has provided leadership at local and national levels to help organizations assess their current landscape, develop strategic plans, create policies, and deliver training to foster equity, diversity, and inclusion.  Wendy has a strong background in organizational administration and she holds a Master of Science in Personnel Administration and a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and Kinesiology.  Wendy is blessed with an amazing wife and three loving dogs.  She loves to hike and travel, and she and her wife love mountain fishing, cooking, the excitement of mystery and action movies, tv shows, and games, and hosting friends and family for dinner parties and game nights.
828-254-6001 x201

Tish Murphy

Office Manager and Database Coordinator

North Carolina native Tish grew up on the NC coast and first moved to Asheville in the 1970’s. After many wonderful stops working at resorts around the country, she returned to western NC in the 1993 with her husband, Leon and now resides in Madison County. Tish is a Certified Blue Ridge Naturalist and a Master Gardener. In addition to her love of the outdoors, cooking and the exploration of new cuisines keeps her busy in her spare time. Tish has worked for UU Asheville since February 2011. 
828-254-6001 x200

Venny Zachritz

Connections Coordinator

Venny  moved to Asheville in January 2016 from Cumberland, MD with the idea that she would be living the easy, relaxing life of retirement.  But, alas, she found out that she was terribly bored and driving her poor husband crazy with the “honey-do” list.  So fortunately for her the job as Connections Coordinator came to her attention and here she is.  Venny loves to garden, educate and interact with people so this job was a perfect fit for her (except for gardening, she gets to educate and interact with the good folks at UU Asheville).  Come and talk with Venny if you want to volunteer at UU Asheville and she will connect you with the program that fits your talents.
828-254-6001 x219


Communications and Technical Specialist

Open position.

Connect with us on Facebook

We are solar powered