Friday News – May 19, 2023

Happy Friday!

Wednesday morning, there was a buzzing in the building – search team members gathering to make an offer to a potential Transitional Minister, staff pacing the halls waiting for any news. I was meeting with Brian in my office when we heard an excited cheer come from a few doors down and we knew that someone had accepted our offer.

When we were told that our Transitional Minister was going to be Rev. Dr. Terasa Cooley, I could feel a collective sigh of relief from all gathered. Rev. Terasa was the keynote speaker at the Spring Minister’s retreat for ministers in the Ohio Meadville District. I had unfortunately come down with the flu and was unable to attend, but when I spoke with colleagues after the retreat they were excited and inspired by Rev. Terasa’s leadership and knowledge. Colleagues from around the country have reached out to express their excitement that we are hiring “the perfect candidate” for what we’ve been through.

We have been through a lot this church year and I have been inspired and moved by the ways this community has stepped up and supported one another. Through times of high anxiety and confusion, we have risen to the occasion to continue welcoming in an incredible number of visitors both online and in-person, welcome back familiar faces that we haven’t seen in awhile, we’ve had an unbelievably success fall auction and spring rummage sale, our senior luncheons have resumed with over 80 people rsvp’ing to our most recent lunch, and so much more. There is already so much hope and optimism in our community, and I’m so excited to see where we are going to be going in the next few years. The possibilities are truly endless, and I can’t wait to take this journey with you all.

A Few Announcements and Reminders

Sunday Service Time (Fall) – Thank you to all of you who submitted preferences for our Fall service time. We are in the process of reviewing all of the information we received, and we still need to speak with more stakeholders before we can make an informed decision on whether our services will be at 11:00 or 10:00 in the Fall. We will let you all know as soon as we have a decision.

Congregation Engagement Sessions – With the help of the UUA’s Hope for Us Conflict Engagement Team, we will be holding a congregational engagement session on May 28th. This is the first of several opportunities in which more information about the previous year and events leading up to them will be shared, as well as spaces and places for processing. You will be receiving an email in the next couple of days with more information about this meeting and what to expect. 


  • If you scroll to the purple box titled “Announcements at a Glance,” you can click on a heading to jump to that section.
  • Or click the word “summary” in the purple box to go to the overview of that section.
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  • the asterisk (*) indicates ….

Blessings friends,
Rev. Kelli McNeal
Minister of Congregational Life

  • The deadline for Friday News submissions is 8:00pm Wednesdays. To request a submission to the newsletter, email 
  • Deadline for Sunday service materials is 11:00am Thursday morning.
Announcements at a Glance

Click a Heading or Summary to Jump to that Group of Announcements!

*Indicates New or Updated Announcement

  • Greetings From Your Board of Trustees
  • Go, Search Team, Go!
  • Stewardship and Generosity Update
  • This Sunday: This is Me, Coming of Age class 5/21*
  • May Share the Plate: Friends of the Lower Olentangy Watershed (FLOW)
  • SUMMARY: Upcoming Services
  • Concerts at First UU! – 5/19, 5/21, 6/4
  • Funeral Consumers Alliance – 5/20
  • Meet the Candidates! Board and Nominating – 5/21
  • Celebration of Life: Carole Wilhelm – 6/10 *
  • First UU Camping in June! – 6/16-18
  • Youth Group Art Show – Ongoing
  • Auction Experiences Still Available
  • Read Dangerously! Banned Book Library
  • BREAD Actions
  • SUMMARY: Events Calendar
  • Join the Coffee Team! *
  • Living the Pledge Spring Classes Cancelled
  • SUMMARY: Classes and Groups
  • Get Roller Derby Tix Before They Sell Out! – 5/20
  • SYC City BBQ Fundraiser! – 5/17 *
  • Register Now for Summer Camp!
  • Deb’s Quilts at Audubon!
  • SUMMARY: Community Events
  • This Sunday, 5/21*
  • Volunteer to Teach Next Year!
  • SUMMARY: Family Events
Greetings From Your Board of Trustees

The board has been busy this week in all areas of our lives. That being said, at this time we don’t have much that is new to share with you. However, we are anticipating two informative emails to be sent to you from Hope for Us about the May 28th service/engagement session and from the Ministerial Search Team with updates.

Save the Date reminders

  • May 28 – Hope for Us service & congregation engagement session
  • June 11 – Annual Congregational meeting
  • The next board meeting is June 7th at 7:00pm in 301 or hybrid on zoom..
  • Email

May is giving off Summer Vibes and Memorial Day marks the unofficial start of Summer. Summer allows for a time of reflecting back on the year and growing forward into the new opportunities. The UUA’s Hope for Us Conflict Engagement team, with support of the board and staff, will begin congregational engagement sessions with our First UU Columbus community starting Memorial Day weekend. The sessions will be recorded. A digital repository to house the recorded sessions and resources will be created and made available. The overall focus of the series is “Reflecting Back, Growing Forward, Healing and Accountability.” Learn more about the Hope for Us conflict engagement team.

Below is a brief overview of what you can expect. More specifics will be shared as we have the logistics solidified.

  • Sunday May 28th – Save the Date! Hope for Us will speak on that Sunday service. After the service will be the first congregational engagement session

    The board has been busy this week in all areas of our lives. That being said, at this time we don’t have much that is new to share with you. However, we are anticipating two informative emails to be sent to you from Hope for Us about the May 28th service/engagement session and from the Ministerial Search Team with updates.

    Save the Date reminders

    May 28 – Hope for Us service & congregation engagement session

    June 11 – Annual Congregational meeting

    The next board meeting is June 7th at 7:00pm in 301 or hybrid on zoom..


    . This session is the biggest of the series. Some of the specifics are still in flux but we know the session will be a collaborative effort to share and clarify information regarding the timeline of events from this year.

  • June Sessions (online through Zoom). Several topics and sessions will be offered. The sessions will be structured through listening circles with pastoral care support, as well as an educational training. Session titles, dates and times are TBA.
  • Sunday July 2 – Closing Worship Service, “Looking Back, Looking Forward.” A time to reflect as a community on what we’ve learned and / or how we’re healing.

It is our intention to support the whole community in reflection, growth, healing, and accountability with as many ways as resources will allow, while acknowledging the various levels of emotional complexity regarding this past church year.

The Annual Congregational meeting is on June 11, 2023. More information will be sent later in the month.

Transitional Minister Survey. We are still compiling a summary of your survey responses. You gave us a lot to work through, thank you for participating! In the meantime while we are working, here is a word cloud generated from the results.

Your First UU Board of Trustees,

Jan Phillips, Billy Davidson, Shelly Casto, Jim Conlan, Julie Pinsonneault, and Cindy Whicker

The next board meeting is June 7th at 7:00pm in 301 or hybrid on Zoom.

Go, Search Team, Go!
In case you haven’t heard, Rev. Dr. Terasa Cooley has accepted our letter of offer, and is in contract negotiations! Her employment at First UU begins August 1st, and she will be visiting the congregation on Sunday, May 28th. You can read more about Rev. Terasa in our announcement, here! The Search process was fun and enlightening, and our team worked together very well. Thank you for your support!

Your Search Team,

Jim Conlan and Myra Hartmann (chairs), Shirley Lange, Meg McGuire, Erin Reilly-Sanders, and Amber Scott (ad hoc)

Stewardship and Generosity Update
Yesterday, we met with the finance committee to talk about our proposed budget and what we are expecting our pledge budget to be based on all of your generosity. And holy moly! All we can say is THANK YOU!

This was one of the most successful pledge campaigns that we have had! Because of each one of your and your generosity and dedication to this community, we received a pledge increase of over $50,000!

While this doesn’t help us fully replace our need for one time pandemic relief funds, it has significantly decreased our need for these funds in the upcoming budget.  Join us at the Annual Meeting on June 11th to learn more about our financial situation.

If you haven’t submitted your pledge form yet, we will still gratefully appreciate receiving your pledge information.

For more information, or to submit your pledge form online, visit our website.And please don’t hesitate to reach out to Rev. Kelli with any questions! Thank you again for your incredible generosity!

YOU can still pledge!
This is Me – Coming of Age
Join us on Sunday, May 21st, for our 11am worship service!

This service is a special one– it is the capstone of the rite of passage that we call Coming of Age. Over the last 9 months, our Coming of Age youth have gathered for weekly religious exploration classes, as well as multiple retreats and special events. During this time, they’ve explored their beliefs, values, hopes and concerns. They’ve explored questions like- to whom or to what do I belong? Who am I becoming? And what is beyond me?

This morning, each member of the Coming of Age class will share a credo- a statement of who they are today, what they believe, and what they promise to themselves. The youth have also co-created every aspect of this morning’s worship, picking the music and hymns, as well as creatively adapting the flow of the service.

Worship Presenter: Our 2023 Coming of Age class

May Share the Plate

Friends of the Lower Olentangy Watershed

In May, we will be sharing our plate with Friends of the Lower Olentangy Watershed (FLOW). 

FLOW’s mission is to keep the Olentangy River and its tributaries clean and safe for all to enjoy, through public education, volunteer activities, and coordination with local decision-makers.

Upcoming Services Summary
  • 5/21 – Coming of Age Service
  • 5/23 – Hope for Us
  • 6/4 – Elaina Ramsey, Faith Choice Ohio
  • 6/11 – Rev. Kelli McNeal (Services move to 10:00am)
  • 6/18 – Pride Service
  • 6/25 – UUA General Assembly service (streaming in our sanctuary)
  • 9/10 – Ingathering / Water Ceremony (All Ages, No RE)

Monthly Themes

  • May: Creativity
  • Summer: Delight
  • September: Welcome
All Soles Contra Dance Tomorrow!
Beginners’ Session 7:30 to 8:00 PM
Dancing 8:00 to 10:30 PM

Our next All Soles Dance is tomorrow evening, May 13th. We will dance to the calling of Margaret Goodman and Zampa Provenzale and the music of Root Cellar String Band: Lucy Long on fiddle, Dave Strickler on guitar, Steve O’Regan on banjo, and Will Strickler on bass (some of you may know the Stricklers from Summer Institute)!

Masking is required indoors. New dancers are welcome, all dances will be taught, and no partner is needed. Please bring your own refillable water bottle. We are not yet able to provide child care.
For more info, visit:

Upcoming Concerts at First UU!
As spring arrives, we have a host of in-house concerts coming your way at First UU!

  • We have a long partnership with Chamber Music Connection, & the we will host their 31st Spring Festival performance tonight, Friday, May 19 at 7:30 pm with the Cavani String Quartet. Ticket donations at the door are $20 for adults and $40 for families.
  • Our own First UU Choirs will hold a Spring Concert this Sunday, May 21st at 4:00 pm. All choirs (Peace Pals, Spirit of Life Choir, Chalice Choir) will perform a variety of music, including a feature of music by American composer Randall Thompson. The concert is free and open to the public.
  • Finally, Sunday, June 4 at 4:00 pm, our own church member Willow Otten will be playing a French horn recital. Willow is currently a Masters student at the New England Conservatory of Music and has been offered an exciting opportunity to play in an opera festival orchestra in Italy this summer. Willow’s recital on June 4 will help raise money to fund her trip to Italy! We encourage you to attend and help her out with this exciting adventure! She will also be playing at First UU during the May 28 service.

If you have any questions about concerts or music at First UU, please email our Director of Music, Brandon Moss.

Funeral Consumers Alliance
This Saturday May 20 – Funeral Consumers Alliance will hold its annual meeting in Beach Hall starting with lunch at noon. There will be a speaker and business meeting. All interested are welcome.

Funeral Consumers Alliance of Central Ohio is a subcommittee of our Caring Committee. Questions? Contact Cathy Elkins.

Meet the Candidates! Board, Nominating
It’s time to meet this year’s slate of candidates running to fill open positions on the Board of Trustees, Nominating Committee, and as Church Moderator. These individuals will be selected for terms of one, two or three years at the Annual Meeting coming up in June.

The current Nominating Committee is hosting its second candidate meet-and-greets after the service on Sunday, May 21. Candidates will be available in person in Beach Hall, and/or Zoom access may be arranged. You are free to come with questions or simply to say hello. We will also provide informational candidate flyers to take home.

Candidates (listed alphabetically): Board (vote for 3): Su Ann Farnlacher, Sarah Mayabb, Chris Sullivan; Moderator (vote for 1): Lisa Brandt; Nominating Committee (vote for 3): Nathan Griffith, Linda Loesch, Joan Matyskella, Karla Rinto, Judith Vasquez, Glenn Waring.

Please reach out if you have questions, and contact a member of the Nominating Committee:

Patricia Boughton, Debra Boyd, Julie Carr Smyth, Christine Davidson, Susan O’Donnell, and Mattie Reitman

Celebration of Life: Carole Wilhelm
Date: Saturday, June 10th.
Time: 1:30 pm

At First UU Columbus.
Reception to follow the service.

Go Camping with First UUers in June!
Camping at Delaware State Park, June 16th-18th! $40 for 2 nights to share a spot. Great for families, singles, couples. Contact Facebook group – First UU Columbus Camping
Youth Group Art Show – Ongoing
The Youth Group raised over a thousand dollars at their gallery opening last Sunday! There are still many paintings and photos available for purchase – which will help fund the group’s upcoming Pittsburgh trip to General Assembly this June.
Available Auction Items
To read a full description of this event, please go to the auction website. If you would like to purchase a spot or spots, please contact the Auction Team.

Spring Nature Hike / Mound Excursion
Saturday May 13th at 9am
$20 per spot (19 available)
We Read Dangerously! Banned Book Library
The First UU Youth Group is so grateful for the congregations support of the First UU Banned Book Library. We continue to partner with the Book Loft, a local bookstore in German Village, to build the First UU Banned Book Library! Please join us by clicking here to purchase a book to add to our library. During the spring the library collection is focusing on YA and childrens books. Please click the link above to see what’s new on our wish list!
BREAD Actions
Thank you once again to everyone who turned out for BREAD’s Nehemiah Action. We had 1650 people in attendance, and at least 185 of those were from the First UU community! This is 350 more people than last year’s action, and our largest total since the pandemic began. Here are two follow up actions to help us continue to push forward:

Municipal ID: If you haven’t signed the OneID Columbus letter of support for a municipal ID yet, you can do so here.

Affordable Housing: Monday, May 15th: Demonstration at City Hall. Join our housing committee at the Columbus City Hall (90 West Broad Street, 43215) at 5:00 pm on the 2nd floor in Council Chambers, as we continue to push for more American Rescue Plan money to be used for affordable housing.

For more details on these demonstrations and to be informed of future actions, sign up here!

Event Calendar Summary
  • 5/19, Friday – Chamber Music Connection spring festival performance
  • 5/20, Saturday – Funeral Consumers Alliance annual meeting
  • 5/21, Sunday – First UU Choirs spring concert
  • 6/4, Sunday – Willow Otten horn recital
  • 6/11, Sunday – Annual Meeting
  • 6/21-6/25 – UUA General Assembly
  • 7/9-7/15 – CER Summer Institute
  • 9/2-9/4 – Labor Day Retreat
Join the Coffee Team!
What is the best part of waking up on Sunday? It’s coffee in your cup! Come support or community by joining our Coffee Team! Training is available. Please sign up by clicking this link, or reach out to Andi Mocharski with any questions.
Living the Pledge Spring Classes Cancelled
This year’s spring session of Living the Pledge will be cancelled. Our leaders who helped make our Fall and Winter sessions a success this year are tired, and so instead of pushing through and doing a so-so training this spring, we are going to work on planning two really excellent trainings for next church year. Click here to receive updates about upcoming Living the Pledge trainings.
Classes and Groups Summary
Recurring – Click to Email the Group Leader!







Get Roller Derby Tix Before They Sell Out!
DRE Amber Scott was named MVP Jammer (offense) at her last home game!

Get your tickets for 5/20 now – before they sell out! Doors open at 4pm, followed by the A-level game at starting at 5pm. Amber plays in the B-level game, which begins around 7pm! See you there! Also mark your calendar for 6/3!

Register Now for Summer Camp!
First UU Peace Camp!

Sign up now – by filling out our 2023-2024 permission and interest form! We will be in touch shortly with information about payment, and to let you know whether you are on the roster or the waitlist. Cost: $100 suggested per child.

Session A: for 6-8years (9am-12noon, Monday 7/31 – Friday 8/4)
Session B: for 9-11years (9am-12noon, Monday 8/7 – Friday 8/11)

School for Young Children Play Camp

Please contact Jenifer Bojanowski for camp session availability.

Red Oak Elementary Camps

Deb’s Quilts at Audubon!
Check out 51 fiber works in the show “Sanctuary,” featuring art by Deb and Mary Kotter. On exhibit at the Scioto Audubon Center May 4- July 5!
Community Events Summary




COA Service, End of Year Class Parties

This Sunday, 5/21, is the Coming of Age class service, and will also be the last day of RE for this church year. We will be having a popsicle party on the playground to celebrate with our children’s classes, and our COA youth, graduating teens, and other new church members will have the opportunity to sign the membership book!

There is no RE next week (5/28) due to the holiday weekend. Summer RE begins in June, which will consist of a “one room schoolhouse” Spirit Play style class for early childhood and elementary kiddos, run by Jen Bojanowski and Cara Seidt. Middle and high school aged youth will have the choice between free range board games and art activities in A/B and Beach Hall during the service. Reminder to all that parents / caregivers need to know the whereabouts of older children who are not being formally supervised. Also, don’t forget that the summer service moves to 10am, starting June 11th!

This Sunday, 5/21

Please plan for playground time, and dress for the weather!

  • 10-10:30am Breakfast!
  • 10:30am-12:30pm Toddler Care
  • 11am Coming of Age service, HS Get Real ending celebration
  • 11:15am (after story) Spirit Play, In the Middle class popsicle party
  • Coffee Hour, and Snack after the service ends
  • 12:30-1pm Peace Pals Choir Rehearsal (4pm Spring Choir Concert!)
  • Register for Next Year, and Fill Out Annual Emergency Paperwork Here!

Volunteer to Teach Next Year!

Join the dream team – hanging out with our young people is the most fun you can have on a Sunday morning, and changes lives! We need classroom assistants, leads, and subs for all age groups! Sign up here!

Family Event Summary
  • Coming of Age Service, RE end of year parties, 5/21
  • No RE, holiday weekend, 5/28
  • Summer RE begins, 6/4
  • Youth trip to General Assembly, 6/21-6/25
  • CER Summer Institute, 7/9-7/15
  • Peace Camp, 7/31-8/4 and 8/7-8/11
  • Labor Day Retreat, 9/2-9/4
  • Ingathering / Water Ceremony (All Ages, No RE), 9/10
  • Fall RE begins, 9/17