UU Savannah Minister and Staff

Rev. David Messner - Minister

Rev. Dave was called by the Unitarian Universalist Church of Savannah in May and began serving in August of 2012.  Themes of his ministry include how our spiritual beliefs and commitments directly impact our choices, enliven our relationships and transform the real experience of living.  He believes that an active faith life and a caring church community can make all-the-difference, even for devoutly ‘non-religious’ people. He believes that church can do more, if we expect more, invest more and open ourselves to the possibilities.


Dave was born and raised as a Unitarian Universalist and has been part of a number of UU congregations, large and small, over the past 40-plus years.  He was ordained by the First Unitarian Church of Rochester where he served as a ministerial intern and as a consulting assistant minister for membership development. His training has also included being a chaplain intern and resident at the University of Rochester Medical Center and as a weekend minister with the Green Bay Area UU Fellowship.  He earned his Master of Divinity from the University of Chicago with particular emphasis on theology and religious ethics.  His education also includes an MBA from Yale University with concentrations in marketing, strategy and organization and an undergraduate degree in psychology from Reed College.


David’s prior professional life was in business, primarily working in corporate strategic planning and partnership development. Relationships and growth remain part of his core commitment to congregational development and making sure that the church is meaningfully connected to the world around it. 


David and his wife Jennifer have two children and one large dog.  They all love food, travel, the outdoors and books.  They live in Savannah.

Rev. Dave can be contacted at [email protected]

Kelly Blackmarr Carlile - Music Director 

Kelly Blackmarr Carlile has been a member of UUCS since 1991 and its part-time Music Director since 1993.  Her musical background includes, since her teens, working in a variety of denominations (Baptist, Episcopal, Presbyterian, First Christian and Methodist) as well as in Reform Jewish Temples.  In addition to serving UUCS, Kelly currently also provides keyboard and vocal music for Wesley Oak United Methodist Church and Congregation Mickve Israel. 


Kelly is a Suma Cum Laude graduate of Florida State University where she majored in Music Education with an emphasis in Choral Music, and she is a recipient of the prestigious Robert Shaw Choral Conducting Award.  Truly a Renaissance woman, she is an accomplished pianist, organist, singer, flautist, guitarist, percussionist and penny whistle player, plus choral arranger and composer.  Kelly is well known in Savannah as both a performer and director. 


Kelly also has a Master’s Degree in Social Work, with a license in clinical social work, and in the past she served Savannah’s military veteran population in that capacity.


The UU Church of Savannah has been Kelly’s spiritual home of more than twenty years.  She believes in the church’s principles, loves its people, and thrives on serving them the best way she knows how…with beautiful music!


Kelly and her husband, Larry, have two daughters, Lillian and Nina.

Kelly can be contacted at [email protected]

Nancy Arteberry - Director of Religious Education


Nancy has been a member of UU Church of Savannah since 1999.  Her first love is religious education, and she has continually served in a variety of RE roles including Sunday school teacher, RE Committee member, RE Committee Chair, and former DRE.  She has also served as a member of the Worship Committee and as a Board Trustee. 

Nancy has her master's degree in special education and is currently teaching at White Bluff Elementary School. She resides with her partner, Jim, and her two miniature poodles in beautiful downtown Savannah.  She has two adult sons, Joey and Thomas, who grew up attending RE classes at UUCS. 


Nancy can be contacted at [email protected]

Alan Kindler – Office Administrator  


Alan was raised outside of Pittsburgh, Pa but has lived in Virginia, North Carolina and New York City.  He and his wife, Rev. Susan Karlson came to Savannah in 2015, drawn by her rough-around-the-edges charm and a chance to lower their environmental footprint.  He and Susan have four daughters, all grown, and one cat.  Alan has run several remodeling companies including his current day job as the handyman WorkerB.  He has also worked in electronic sales and mobile phone customer service and tech support.  When not working, Alan is biking, hiking, kayaking or painting.


Alan can be reached at [email protected]






 

Kelsey Buckner - Special Projects


Kelsey Kate Buckner has been a member of UUCS since 2013. Kelsey was born in Detroit and spent her childhood in Guam & Illinois. She graduated cum laude from Mount Holyoke College with a degree in Critical Social Thought. After working as a journalist & union organizer in New York City, Kelsey was an event coordinator for study abroad programs in London and the YMCA of San Diego County. She subsequently earned her MA in Holocaust history at San Diego State University, where she was a California State University Pre-Doctoral Scholar. She has been awarded numerous fellowships and grants to study Holocaust history, particularly memorialization, at the Institute for the Study of German Jewry in Hamburg, DE, Northwestern University, Indiana University, the Auschwitz Jewish Center in Poland, and the Museum of Jewish Heritage in New York City. Since 2010, Kelsey has been a freelance writer and editor for numerous online and print publications. She has participated in multiple church ministries, including music, pastoral care, denominational affairs, and storytelling - as well as serving on the worship associate team. She currently assists with special church administrative projects. Kelsey and her husband Sam live in the Starland District. Kelsey can be contacted at [email protected]