Union Congregational Staff
Director of Music
Rev. Dr. Aaron Shepherd
Rev. Dr. Aaron Pratt Shepherd joined Union Congregational as Pastor in July, 2019. Pastor Shepherd is also Professor Shepherd, teaching ethics and philosophy at the University of Massachusetts Lowell. Author of peer-reviewed journal articles and a frequent presenter at national and international conferences on philosophy and religion, he is currently working on his first book, Challenging the New Atheism (coming to an academic library and/or professor's office near you in fall 2020!).
Pastor Shepherd earned his doctorate and completed his seminary training at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia in 2017. He and his wife Whitney moved to Atlanta in 2012, and celebrated their marriage and the birth of their two sons Brady and Jett during the 6 years they lived there prior to coming to Massachusetts. Aaron also holds degrees from the University of Oregon (Go Ducks!) and Pacific University, which are both located in Aaron and Whitney's home state of Oregon. Prior to coming to Union, Pastor Shepherd served as a Chaplain Intern at the Atlanta VA Medical Center, and as pastoral associate for congregations in Atlanta and Lowell, Massachusetts.
When he's not teaching or preaching, Aaron can usually be found at the playground at Bird Park with his kids, exploring New England with his family, or travelling to visit friends and relations on the West Coast.
James Myers (pictured here with his husband Justin) joined Union in November 2020. He also serves as Assistant Professor of Opera (vocal coaching) at Boston Conservatory at Berklee, and Principal Lecturer with Boston Lyric Opera. Raised in Portland, Oregon, Jim studied piano, cello, composition, music theory, German, poetry, and played baseball, racquetball, mountain biked, swam, and acted in local plays. He and Justin still both enjoy anything outdoors and travelling internationally (pre-COVID, anyway). Jim graduated With Distinction from the Eastman School of Music, Rochester, New York, in collaborative piano, organ, and harpsichord; earned his Master’s of Music in piano performance and literature from University of Colorado, Boulder; and a Doctor of Musical Arts ABD (All But Dissertation) also at the Eastman School of Music. He also
holds a minor in Baroque Performance Practice and was apprenticed to Maestro Benton Hess as Opera Coach/Pianist. This led to operatic tours in Italy, France, and performances in Den-mark, England, and Switzerland. He has also worked with many prominent musical artists, including composer Philip Glass, conductor Marin Alsop, mandolinist Chris Thile, and singers Christine Brewer and Renee Fleming (just to name a few!).
Jim has served previously as Music Director, Choral Director and Keyboardist with a wide range of faith communities in New York, California, Colorado, and Tennessee as well as Massachusetts.