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Kimberlee Tomczak Carlson, Minister of Religious Education.

This month First Unitarian Society of Milwaukee will be ordaining me! I want to thank you all for this recognition of my journey in becoming a minister and bestowing me with the honorific Reverend.

I am incredibly grateful to the countless people who have worked with me in serving our faith. It is my honor to introduce Michael and Elandria,* dear friends on my journey who will be a part of my ordination ceremony on October 18, 2020. The three of us began as a morning coffee club getting up at dawn during UU young adult conferences to share the French press and quiet company before the hubbub of the day began.

I met my dear friend Michael when I was hired as a regional consultant for young adults by the UUA in 2004. Michael was the director of the Young Adult Office for the UUA at the time and a seminarian with a doctorate in biochemistry. I was a bit intimidated as a public-school teacher but Michael’s warmth, dedication to humanity, and keen appreciation of art put me at ease. Michael has been a source of wise guidance on many occasions, a fellow Generation Xer who appreciates snark and trusted colleague. My family likes to call him the Carlson Family Pastor, but his career has been much more than that.

Rev. Dr. Michael Tino (they/them) is the minister of the UU Fellowship of Northern Westchester in Mount Kisco, NY, and a member of the Lead Ministry Team of the Church of the Larger Fellowship. Michael has served our faith as a member of the UUA staff and the UUA Board; he currently serves on the Ministerial Fellowship Committee. They live in Peekskill, New York, with their husband, Eric, and their seven-year-old daughter, Nora. Michael will be preaching the sermon, “Our Collective Power,” at my ordination and his honorarium will be donated to the UU Church of the Larger Fellowship’s prison ministry which serves 1200 incarcerated Unitarian Universalists.

Elandria Williams and I also met when they were an Anti-Oppression teacher, and soon I became one of her conference organizers and friend. Elandria always shows up when I need her, and I know I am not alone in that. She is a source of strength and courage for me and will be offering the prayer at my ordination.

Elandria loves Unitarian Universalism and has done an enormous amount for our faith. They served as co-moderator of the UUA from 2017-2020. Elandria is a member of the Tennessee Valley UU Church in Knoxville, Tennessee. Over the past twenty years they have served on UU boards and Anti-Racism Transformation Teams, as DRUUMM GA Coordinator, and as a founding member of Black Lives of Unitarian Universalism. Elandria spent a decade working at the Highlander Center and is currently the Executive Director at Peoples Hub.

I cannot wait to hear what each of them share during my ordination on October 18 and I hope you are looking forward to joining us too!

Minister of Religious Education

*Elandria died unexpectedly on September 23, 2020 at the age of 42. Her death is a tremendous loss. There will be both grief and joy in the room during this ordination ceremony, and we send our care to all Elandria’s loved ones, including Kimberlee and her family.

Find more details about the ordination HERE.

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