Rev. Kathryn Aikins, Pastor
Born in Bristol, Pennsylvania, Katie moved to Reykjavík, Iceland at the age of four where her parents were missionaries. She spent the better part of her childhood in Iceland, and continues to maintain ties there. She has returned often in her adult life, including for theological studies and as a leader of art and music programs for Icelandic youth.
Katie completed a B.A. in Theology at Colorado Christian University and a Master of Divinity at Candler School of Theology at Emory University in Atlanta. Upon graduating from seminary, Katie stayed in Atlanta for several years and served as co-pastor at Mercy Community Church, a congregation of mostly poor and homeless members. At Mercy, she led worship, Bible studies, and addiction recovery meetings. Katie also served as Associate Pastor at Druid Hills United Methodist Church where she focused on creating opportunities for spiritual nurture, social justice, and community building among young adults. She was ordained at Mercy Community Church in 2009 and received standing as a minister in the United Church of Christ in 2011.
Katie strives to be faithful to the call of Jesus Christ and advocates for the church to live out its call to be a sanctuary for all people, especially those most excluded in our society. While living in Atlanta, Katie visited regularly on death row in Jackson, Georgia and continues to work for the abolition of the death penalty as one form of the powers of death and dehumanization in our midst.
Katie also has a love for music, especially gospel and hip hop, and enjoys playing drums, baking, and spending time in God’s creation.
Katie’s office hours are Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, by appointment.
Holly Phares, Music Director
An accomplished professional singer, voice teacher/clinician, choral director and composer, Holly has appeared extensively as a concert artist in the tri-state area, as well as in Italy. With over 28 years of experience as a professional singer and teacher, Holly has directed music programs in public and private schools, including New Hope-Solebury Jr./Sr. High School, Friends Select School, Temple University (Music Director of Temple U. Music Prep Children’s Choir), Hotchkiss Summer Portals Vocal Music Program (voice faculty and member of resident quartet), Academy of Vocal Arts (theory/solfeggio instructor and Director of Opera Outreach education program), and St. Joseph’s University (adjunct Vocal Faculty member). Presently, Holly is celebrating her 20th season with Tabernacle United Church as Director of Music.
When not making music at Tabernacle, Holly is immersed in the work of the extraordinary Umbrian Serenades Italian summer choral/cultural program (Artistic Director and Co-Founder), leading ensemble and voice-building clinics and workshops for choirs, as well as maintaining an active private studio in voice and theory.
For the past 17 years, Holly has led unique and inspirational vocal workshops to enable all humans to find their authentic voices through sound and movement, through various “heart-opening” vocal exercises and group singing experiences – facilitated in a safe, creative, and fun atmosphere of exploration.
The underlying objective in all that she does is her passionate belief that all can experience healing, transformation and re-awakening of our extraordinary divine natures through “sounding” and moving together.
Barbara Purdom, Office Manager
The church office is open Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday from 11:30 AM to 4:30 PM. General email for the church can be sent to "tabernacle" at this domain.