Clergy and Staff
Director of Youth, Young Adult & Community Outreach
AJ Shortley earned a Master of Divinity (M.Div) and a Master of Theology (Th.M) from Columbia Theological Seminary in 2017 and 2018. He has been involved in ministry since 2008 when he began volunteering with a local college and young singles ministry. AJ has served several churches in the Atlanta area, as well as provided pastoral care to families as a chaplain for Northside Hospital, Grady Memorial Hospital, and Capstone LLC. AJ is an avid reader, and his favorite subjects are history, science, theology, and biblical studies. He is passionate about seeing and sharing the relevance and beauty of scripture, and especially scripture's amazing God. AJ and his wife Lindsey were married in May of 2016. They love spending time with their Australian Shepherds and mountain biking.
Dr. James Kohler
Director of Music
Dr. James J. Kohler has a full-time position as Assistant Professor at Emory University School of Medicine in the Department of Pediatrics and is Assistant Director for Emory Center for AIDS Research (CFAR) Scientific Working Group for Viral Eradication with a research focus on HIV and antiretroviral therapy. He is a member of the American Guild of Organists and has served as a church musician/organist over the past 27 years in Methodist, Presbyterian (PCUSA) and United Church of Christ (UCC) congregations. A native of Minnesota, Dr. Kohler’s alma mater is the University of Florida (Go Gators!) where he earned his B.S. in Microbiology and Cell Sciences with a minor in Organ Performance, and his Ph.D. in Biomedical Sciences. While in Florida, James sang with the Willis Bodine Chorale, the University of Florida Chorus, and Jacksonville Symphony Chorus. James currently lives in Decatur and is a member of Collegium Vocale (an Atlanta community chorus). James’ hobbies include music, reading, movies, theatre, travel and dining.
Mauro Ronca is the Organist of Northwest Presbyterian Church (since January 2017). He studied Piano, Composition, Organ and Conducting at the Conservatory in Italy and he then specialized in Vocal Accompanying at the University of Georgia (MM 2014) and the Manhattan School of Music, where he received the Harold Bauer Award in recognition of outstanding accomplishment. Recent collaborations include the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, the Atlanta Opera 24 Hour Opera Project, the Lyric Opera of Chicago as an assistant conductor, and the Marcus Institute for Vocal Arts at the Juilliard School. In New York City, Mauro also worked as staff accompanist and coach at the Manhattan School of Music and as a freelance pianist, harpsichordist and opera coach. He was also Director of Music at St. Mary’s Episcopal Church in Brooklyn. For many years Mauro has served as an organist and music director in the Catholic Church including “Santa Maria Assunta” Cathedral of Asti. While at the Cathedral, he played the inaugural recital after restoration of the “Grisanti” organ (1768).
Scott began working at Northwest in October 2007, serving as the administrative assistant. In September 2010, he was promoted to administrative manager. He received a BA from Clayton State University and Masters of Music from The North Carolina School of the Arts, where he also completed a fellowship with the A.J. Fletcher Opera Institute.