PASTORS & STAFF
MEET THE PASTORAL TEAM
Rev. Gerald “Jay” Williams, Ph.D.
Hailing from Buffalo, New York, Jay despises the snow and dreams of life in Wakanda. To wit, he is pretty much obsessed with “Black Panther” — as well as the 1980s cartoon series “The Thundercats.”
Rev. Dr. Jay Williams returned to Union as lead pastor on July 1, 2018, having guided this congregation September 2012 – June 2017. An ordained Elder in The United Methodist Church, Pastor Jay has served congregations in New York City, Boston, and San Francisco.
Williams holds a Master of Divinity with highest honors from Union Theological Seminary in the City of New York (2009) and the Bachelor of Arts magna cum laude from Harvard College (2003). In May 2017, Dr. Jay received the Ph.D. in the Study of Religion from the Harvard University Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. Dr. Williams’s work explores the meaning of “Spirit” in black cultural discourse at the intersection of race, class, gender, and sexuality: particularly how spirit-talk has been a marginalizing language of power. The dissertation, entitled Unholy Ghosts in the Age of Spirit: Identity, Intersectionality, and the Theological Horizons of Black Progress, develops a constructive theology of spirit that rethinks hope, courage, and vitality, premised on insights from W.E.B. Du Bois, Zora Neale Hurston, and Howard Thurman. Through his pastoral and academic work, Williams strives to help more disinherited folk find their voices.
Rev. Dr. Jay, a queer cisgender man, lives in Boston’s Roxbury neighborhood with his two energetic yorkie-chihuahuas, Bentley and Hurston.
Rev. Kyle Walden
As Union seeks to live out its mission to promote Christ’s gospel of liberation, Kyle brings his creativity and organizational capacity to build sustainable ministries and nurture others’ callings to ministry. He believes that our role as the church is to live into Christ’s vision of the Kin-dom of God, being a place where we practice personal and social holiness and live in radical solidarity with one another across social barriers.
Kyle is a commissioned elder in provisional connection in the North Texas Conference of The United Methodist Church. He graduated from Boston University School of Theology with his Master of Divinity in May 2021. After growing up in Texan suburbs, he completed undergraduate studies at The University of Texas at Austin (B.A. Psychology and Plan II) and served a year with Americorps in Austin.
In his free time, Kyle enjoys playing music, binge-watching “The West Wing,” and spending quality time with his partner, Angie, and family.
Rev. Ashley Renée Johnson
Minister of Worship & Faith Formation
Ashley attended Spelman College in Atlanta, GA where she studied Psychology and Child Development. Upon Graduation in 2007, she entered the Department of Education at Brown University. She received her Master of Arts in Teaching from Brown and has had the pleasure of serving as an elementary school teacher for seven years.
Ashley’s mission in life is to help young people, especially children of color, to flourish and to encourage them to listen for and respond to the voice of the Divine as we all work towards greater peace and justice in our communities and in the world.
Rev. Adama Brown-Hathaway, Ph.D.
Minister of Connection and Care
Adama is a sociologist by training and earned a bachelor’s degree in sociology from the University of Texas at Austin and a PhD in sociology from Iowa State University with an emphasis in medical sociology, research methods and statistics, and social policy. She also earned an MDiv from Iliff School of Theology with a specialization in pastoral counseling and spiritual care.
Adama is a sixth generation Texan who is passionate about genealogy, jazz, and intersectional justice. She currently serves on the board of the Reconciling Ministries Network, an organization dedicated to the full inclusion of LGBTQIA+ persons in the life of UMC congregations. She also loves talking about womanist theology and encouraging people to reimagine sacred texts in ways that embolden us to love, compassion, and justice.
Solomon Teye Alipoh
Solomon Teye Alipoh hails from Ghana, West Africa, and currently lives in the Roxbury area of Boston. He is a third and final year Master of Divinity (MDiv) student at the Boston
University School of Theology (BUSTH) while also pursuing ordination in the United Methodist Church.
Solomon became Lay minister in Christ Apostolic Church (CAC) International after he graduated with a diploma in Theology from Christ Apostolic University College (CAUC), serving in two local
assemblies of the church from 2016 to 2018. (CAC is a Ghanaian Pentecostal and first indigenous church in Ghana and has several branches all over the world.) Being a television and radio panel guest, Solomon featured in theological and pastoral ministry discussions on shows like the “Eti Sen Show” on one of Ghana’s national media stations while in Ghana.
Solomon is the founder of the Teye Alipoh Worldwide Ministries, a non-denominational outreach
ministry started in 2015, geared to preaching Christ and making disciples for Christ through meeting the material and financial needs of the poor and needy in the hinterlands and deprived communities in Ghana. Alipoh has a strong appetite for education through which he seeks to make the world a better place for all.
MEET THE STAFF
Director of Music
A Berklee College of Music Scholarship brought Plamen to Boston in January 2001 where he found a whole new world of musical adventures. In the United States he has performed with some of the most respected jazz musicians currently on the scene including Randy Brecker, Gene Perla, George Garzone, Hal Crook, Dave Liebman, Jimmy Cobb, Richie Barshay and many more.
Director of Radical Praise