Minister Biographies

Dale Cohen

Family: Dale is married to Ann Hill Cohen. In their blended family, they share three children, two daughter-in-laws, and a granddaughter:  Andrew Cohen and his wife, Kristin and their daughter Addison; Adam Cohen and his wife, Kelli, and Isabel Klibanoff.  Andrew works for IMS, Adam is a Pediatric Resident at Children’s Hospital, and Isabel is a student at UAH.

Areas of Ministry: Dale sees his calling in ministry as helping people develop into the greatest version of "them Selves" that most reflects the image of God in which they were created. Dale has responsibility for working with the church’s leaders in shaping the spiritual vision of the congregation and reinforcing that vision through preaching, teaching, and interacting with people in the ups and downs of life.

Educational Background: Dale graduated from Birmingham-Southern College with an interdisciplinary degree in Psychology and Sociology.  He completed a Masters of Divinity (M.Div—not the Candy!) at the Candler School of Theology at Emory University, Atlanta, GA.

Favorite Books: Robert Benson, Wendell Berry, Brené Brown, Walter Brueggeman, Frederick Buechner, Rachel Held Evans, Margaret Feinberg, Edwin Friedman, Ron Heifetz, James Hollis, Rabbi Lawrence Kushner, Patrick Lencioni, John Ortberg, Parker Palmer, Richard Rohr, Barbara Brown Taylor, Dallas Willard

Hobbies: Iron Tribe Fitness, Woodworking, Traveling in a Convertible, Backpacking (in a former life!), Guitar, Live Singer/Songwriter Concerts (Living Room Concerts especially)


Warren Nash

Family: Married to Valerie Nash; Three sons: Wilson (married to Callie Stone Nash), Graham, and Dixon

Areas of Ministry: Warren works closely with Canterbury's senior minister, Dale Cohen, in the overall institutional management of the church. He has specific responsibility for Canterbury's business affairs, directing the financial, property, personnel management, and legal issues of the church. He works directly with the Church Council, Finance Team, Trustees, Staff Parish, and the Canterbury Foundation.

Educational Background: Warren attended the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis and holds a B.S. in Banking and Finance from Mississippi State. Graduate degrees include an M.B.A. from the University of Alabama in Birmingham and a Masters of Theological Studies from the Candler School of Theology at Emory University in Atlanta. Warren has completed graduate studies at The Stonier Graduate School of Banking at Georgetown.

Ministerial Background: Warren is a “second-career” minister, entering the ministry after a 25-year career in banking which included running his own banking consulting firm. Warren joined Canterbury’s staff in 2001 and was ordained as a deacon in full-connection in 2008.

Hobbies: Warren is a private pilot and enjoys golf and scuba diving with his boys, as well as backpacking/high adventure trips with Canterbury’s Troop 63, where he serves as chaplain.


Bishop B. Michael Watson

Family: Mike is married to Margaret Lee Watson and they have one daughter, Canterbury member Elizabeth Riddle (her husband Zac and their children Camilla, Watson and Emmaline), and one son, Riverchase UMC member Ben Watson (his wife Angela and their children Alex and Andrew).

Areas of Ministry: Serving as Bishop-in-Residence at Canterbury allows Dr. Watson the opportunity “to be engaged for Christ both globally and locally.” He retired as an active bishop on August 31, 2016, and began work the following day as Ecumenical Officer for the Council of Bishops at the United Methodist Building in Washington, DC. From there, he and his staff coordinate the United Methodist ministries with all other faith communities in the world.

Educational Background: Mike Watson graduated from Dothan High School, received a Bachelor of Science degree in finance and real estate from The University of Alabama, a Master of Divinity degree from Emory University’s Candler School of Theology, and a Doctor of Ministry degree from Vanderbilt University. Prior to being ordained as elder, he was ordained deacon by Bishop W. Kenneth Goodson, father of Canterbury member Nancy Richie.

Favorite Books: “The Bible”; “The Rule of Benedict: A Spirituality for the 21st Century” by Joan Chittister

Hobbies: Morning Walks and Quiet Time.



Drew Clayton

Family: Drew is married to Joanna Clayton.

Areas of Ministy: Minister to Young Adults and New Members.

Education Background: Drew graduated from Birmingham-Southern College in 2007 with a B.A. in Religion and Psychology. In May, he completed his Masters of Divinity at Duke Divinity School.

Ministerial Background: Some of you may remember Drew, as he served as an intern here at Canterbury in 2009. While this is Drew's first full-time appointment, he has worked in the church in a variety of capacities. He served as a youth director in North Alabama in 2006 at Clay United Methodist Church. While at Duke, he served at an urban church in Houston one summer and most recently, a rural church in North Carolina. Drew also worked with the Admissions Office at Duke Divinity School, where he welcomed prospective students and helped guide them through their seminary discernment process.
Hobbies: When he isn't reading or writing, Drew is an avid golfer and plays in Birmingham's Ultimate Frisbee League.

Sam Williamson

Family: Married to Paula; one daughter, Samantha; stepdaughter, Stephanie Fehn; stepson, Mark Fehn, Jr.

Areas of Ministry:
• Disaster Response Team Leader
• Preaching, Teaching, Pastoral Care

Educational Background: Sam graduated from Birmingham-Southern College and received his Master of Divinity from Candler School of Theology at Emory University.

Ministerial Background: Prior to coming to Canterbury in 1995, Sam served at Anniston First UMC and Birmingham First UMC.

Hobbies: Sam relaxes by spending time on the open road riding his motorcycle. He enjoys most anything in the great outdoors.

Sheryl Thornton

Family: Married to Wes. We have two children, Danny and Sophie, and a 55 lb puppy named Lulu.

Areas of Ministry: Radical Hospitality Ministries

Educational Background: After completing a BS degree in Finance at the University of Alabama, Sheryl attended Asbury Theological Seminary and received her MA in Christian Education. She is an Ordained Deacon in the UMC, and has served Helena, Vestavia Hills, and Canterbury.

Favorite Bible Verse: “I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another.” John 13:34

Influential Authors: Richard Foster, Brennan Manning, and Ron DelBene.

Hobbies: Sharing good conversation over a meal or cup of coffee, taking walks with the family and dog.

Tori Hastings

Family: Tori is married to Rev. John Carl Hastings. They have one son, Brooks.

Educational Background: Tori graduated from Auburn University with a degree in Economics and Political Science. She completed a Masters of Divinity at Duke Divinity School at Duke University.

Ministerial Background: Tori graduated from Auburn University with a degree in Economics and Political Science. She completed a Masters of Divinity at Duke Divinity School at Duke University.

Hobbies: Tori enjoys reading, running, gardening, and sharing good food and good coffee with good friends.