Rev. Mark Ward
Rev. Claudia Jiménez
Minister of Faith Development
Dr. Leslie Downs
In addition to serving as Music Director for UUCA, 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.
Religious Education Coordinator
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 UUCA. 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.
Religious Education Coordinator
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 your RE 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.
Dr. Linda Topp
Director of Administration
Linda has been UUCA’s Director of Administration since 2011, much to her surprise. In previous periods of her life she earned her BA and MA from Allegheny College and her Ph.D. from Kent State University. She has worked as a junior high science teacher, a civil engineering assistant, a technical writer, and a training manager along with several stints as director of religious education in three UU congregations. Since marrying Jim Smith in 2001, she’s learned that she enjoys having new adventures, fine dining and economics. Linda became a Certified Church Administrator in 2016 through The Church Network.
Database Coordinator and Office Manager
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 UUCA since February 2011.
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 UUCA). Come and talk with Venny if you want to volunteer at UUCA and she will connect you with the program that fits your talents.
Lead AV Technician
Jason is a musician and producer who has recorded and released eight albums of original music under the name Night’s Bright Colors. He graduated from UNCA in 2001 and has since been active in the Asheville community as a film composer with over a dozen credits. He also is a professional close up magician who performs regularly in WNC.