Ordination of Rev. Kelli McNeal

We congratulate Reverend Kelli McNeal who was ordained into Unitarian Universalist ministry on Saturday, August 27th.  Kelli was being co-ordained by her current congregation, the First Unitarian Universalist Church of Columbus and her home congregation, the First Unitarian Universalist Church of Richmond.

Answering the call to ministry is more than just a career choice.  Being ordained into professional religious leadership is a life-changing event.  Ordination is an opportunity not only to celebrate this profoundly transformative moment, but also to embody our Unitarian Universalist history and theology in meaningful and just ways.  A congregation’s decision to ordain someone represents the congregation’s faith in, and support for, the ordinand’s ministry.  As a formal recognition of entry into service as a Unitarian Universalist minister, ordination offers an invitation to individual and communal transformation, as well as an opportunity to serve our faith in the world*.

*Explanation of Ordination taken from UUA Ordination handbook

Ordination Order of Service

Contributors & Thank Yous to my Ordination


Amanda Hays Amanda is the Social Justice Coordinator at First UU Columbus. She also served as ministerial intern, honing her gifts, talents, and love of ministry with this community. Amanda has a fire for social justice unlike anything I’ve seen before. Amanda, you have been such a good friend to me and Jay. You, Jim, and River are an inspiration for me and Jay as we continue on our adoption journey. Thank you for the love and support you have shown me. I am so excited to continue working with you and make this the world we know it can be.

Amber Scott Amber serves as the Director of Religious Exploration at First UU Columbus. Amber brings her love and passions for Unitarian Universalism into her work with our kids and youth. Amber, it has been a crazy couple of years! I know that neither of us expected our first years here to be so chaotic and unpredictable, but through it all, I always knew that you were there for me when I needed help. I can’t wait to see what the next several years will bring. Thank you for all that you do!

Andi Mocharski Andi is the Program Assistant and Tech Coordinator at First UU Columbus. Andi, you have gone above and beyond to help not only myself, but all of the staff. I’m so thrilled with the beautiful slides that you put together and your help in making sure that there is food for people to enjoy. You have not only helped this congregation to run smoothly, but you’ve also helped Jay and myself to have our preparation for adoption supervision run smoothly. We are so grateful to you, and I can’t wait to keep working together! Thank you, friend!

Billy Davidson Billy is one of First UU Columbus’ Board co-chairs. Billy has been a member of First UU since 2011 and was instrumental in helping us transition to online services throughout the pandemic. Billy’s tech wizardry has helped us to connect with each other in so many ways. I am so grateful for your huge heart and the support that you have shown me and this congregation. Thank you for all that you have done, and for being a part of my ordination!

Dr. Brandon Moss & First UU Columbus Choir Dr. Brandon Moss is the Director of Music and Chalice Choir here at First UU Columbus. We are blessed to have so much amazing music here and I am grateful to each and every one of you for sharing your talents. I know you put so much time and energy into your pieces, and it shows. You all have the power to make us think, cheer, cry, and celebrate – sometimes, all at the same time! Thank you all for being here and being not only a part of this ordination service, but part of the fabric of this congregation.

David Robbins & First UU Richmond Choir David Robbins is the Music & Worship Director at First UU Richmond. I am so grateful to David and the rest of the First UU Choir for sharing two beautiful songs for this ordination. I loved being able to look over my right shoulder while in the pulpit and see you listening intently to what was being said. You all graciously share your gifts on Sunday mornings and I love and miss you all!

Denise Rimes Denise is the President of the Board of Directors at First UU Richmond. She has served in almost every role imaginable within the congregation as well as within the larger UU world. She served as Moderator of the Unitarian Universalist Association, and in 2019, was awarded the President’s Award for Volunteer Service to the Association from President Susan Frederick-Gray. She is a powerful force for good in this faith tradition and in the world. Denise, I am unbelievably humbled that you not only allowed me to come to a Board meeting to ask for ordination, but that you also served on my Ordination Committee. Thank you for all that you have done for UUism and for me!

Rev. Eileen Hix Rev. Eileen is the Associate Pastor at Sidney First United Methodist Church. Rev. Eileen has a very special place in my heart, as she’s the one who performed my wedding ceremony. Rev. Eileen has a heart bigger than anyone’s I know. Eileen, thank you for all the love and support that you have shown to me and my family. I have always been moved by your sermons and Bible study lessons, and you have taught me what it means to love one another and to be vulnerable. Thank you so much for being an important part of so many of the amazing (and difficult) moments of my life!

Rev. Dr. Elaine Strawn Rev. Elaine is the Minister Emerita for the UU Fellowship of Wayne County. Elaine, I cannot even put into words how grateful I am for you. You have stood beside me, encouraged me, and given me space to just be myself. Your clarity around UU ministry and who we are called to be is an inspiration for me. I’m so grateful for the relationship we have built and the trust that you have shown to me. Thank you for being here and helping me to celebrate!

Greg Greenway Greg is a singer/songwriter based out of Richmond, Virginia. Greg performed several times during services while I served as Ministerial Intern and I fell in love with his music and his energy. As I was nearing the end of my internship, Greg told me that he would love to be able to contribute a song to my ordination whenever that day arrived. When I called Greg to ask him to participate, he so graciously agreed. Greg, the song you have chosen to perform touches my heart and speaks to the importance and wonderful nature of Unitarian Universalism. Thank you so much for gifting us with your talents today!

Rev. Dr. Isabel Call Rev. Isabel is the Minister at the UU Fellowship of Manhattan. I met Rev. Isabel when she became the Pastoral Care Minister here at First UU Columbus. Isabel is a kind soul who cares deeply about the world. I have gotten the opportunity to share some of the most important moments of my ministry career so far with Isabel, journeying alongside her. Isabel, you have taught me what it means to care deeply for ministry. Your example showed me that with grace, humility, and belief in the inherent good, UUs can be an unstoppable force in this world. We have unraveled the messiness of ministry together, and I don’t think I would be where I am today without your love. Thank you!

Jan Phillips Jan is one of First UU Columbus’ Board co-chairs. Jan has been a member of First UU since 2005 and has been involved in almost everything here in Columbus! Her impact and dedication to this faith tradition and this community are a beautiful example of lay leadership. Jan, I am so grateful for you and all the support you have shown me personally in my time here. Thank you for being a part of this special day!

Nathan Hamm Nathan is First UU Columbus’ master pianist. I am always amazed at Nathan’s extraordinary skills. Whenever I give him a random request for a song for service, he always responds, no problem! Your talent is such a special gift, and I am so grateful that you have given your time to play for my ordination. Thank you so much Nathan!

Rev. Pat Owen Rev. Pat is the Assistant Director of Outreach and Assessments at the University of South Florida. I met Pat when I traveled to Tampa for two weeks to learn from her. We bonded over our love for all things Ikea and our passion for Unitarian Universalism. Pat, you have shown me what it means to stand up for yourself and fight for what is right. Your example and ministry lessons have helped to make me the minister and person I am today. Thank you for all that you have done for me and for Unitarian Universalism. I built an Ikea desk in my new office in your honor!

Rev. Sherman Logan Rev. Sherman is the Acting Senior Minister at First UU Richmond. Rev. Sherman served as my supervisor for all things bookkeeping in Richmond. But beyond that, Rev. Sherman was my confidant, my spiritual advisor, my advocate, and most importantly, my friend. Sherman, I know that whenever I need you, you will be there. I miss the conversations in your office, or your trips over to mine to just breathe. You were instrumental in encouraging me to step into the pulpit for the first time and you spent time with me discerning my call. I will thank God all the days of my life that you were there with me through so many highs and lows. Thank you for coming all this way to preach. I love you, friend.

Rev. Dr. Susan Ritchie Rev. Susan is the Minister at North Unitarian Universalist Congregation. Rev. Susan also leads the Unitarian Universalist House of Studies at the Methodist Theological School in Ohio. Susan, your care, guidance, and love have gotten me through some of the toughest days. I know that you love Unitarian Universalism deeply and you are so busy teaching those who take your classes and leading a congregation. Yet, you make time when I ask. Thank you for all that you have done, and are continuing to do, to help this world be a better place. Thank you for trusting me, and thank you for being here today!

Rev. Walter Clark Rev. Walter is the Minister of the UU Fellowship of Wayne County. I met Walter in Richmond as a past intern who was always so kind to provide feedback and advice on how to navigate as an intern. Walter, you sat beside me, held my hand, guided me, and cried with me on so many occasions. When Rev. Jeanne passed, you were who I wanted to talk to and you didn’t hesitate to answer the phone. Thank you for being my friend and one of my fiercest advocates. I can not believe that we are only a little over an hour away from each other! I am planning many road trips to come hang out!

First UU Staff Thank you for welcoming me with open arms. Working with you has been a joy. Thank you for everything you do to make this space a place where I can be myself. I love you all!