The Rev. Dr. Mary J. Harrington died at home in
Sheepscot, Maine, on October 26, 2010, after a courageous
struggle with ALS. Her husband and children were with her and her passing was
peaceful. She was 58 years old.
Rev. Harrington was born on January 2,
1952 in Grand Rapids,
Michigan, the oldest of six
children. She attended Middlebury
College and graduated, in 1974, from
William James College of Grand Valley
State University in Allendale, Michigan with a BS in Social Ethics and Social
She served as executive director and consultant to
numerous non-profit organizations including executive director of Home Hospice
of Sonoma County, one of the first hospice programs in the United States.
In 1995, Rev. Harrington received her M. Div. from
King School for the Ministry. After
graduation, she was ordained jointly by the First UU Church of San Francisco and
the UU Congregation of Santa
Rosa. She served the Santa Rosa church for a year and a half and as
Interim for First UU Church of Houston before being called to the UU Church of
Marblehead, Massachusetts in 1998. In 2004, she was called to the Winchester
Unitarian Society, Winchester, Massachusetts and served for two years until
retiring due to her illness. In 2007, the Winchester congregation named her Minister
Rev. Harrington participated in denominational
activities throughout her years in ministry. She was an active member of the
Massachusetts Bay chapter of the UU Ministers
Association serving as vice president for programs. As a member of the
Greenfield Group, a clergy study group, she held the position of moderator. In
2005, in the aftermath of hurricanes Katrina and Rita, Rev. Harrington was moved
to co-found and serve as president of Gulf Coast Volunteers for the Long Haul,
an all-volunteer organization with the "commitment to keep returning until
residents there have been able to put their homes, schools and communities back
together.” Rev. Harrington led 14 trips to the area, many from a wheelchair.
At the invitation of then UUA president Bill Sinkford,
Rev. Harrington delivered the sermon at the Service of the Living Tradition at
the 2009 General Assembly in Salt Lake
City. Her sermon was called "A Lifetime Isn’t Long
Enough.” Rev. Harrington wrote an online journal, Duck Dreams http://duckdreams.blogspot.com/, and
with the help of her scribes, her final entry was made just two days before her
In 2009 Rev. Harrington was awarded an honorary
Doctorate of Sacred Theology from Starr King for "her outstanding service as a
parish minister and her inspiring leadership as president of Gulf Coast
Volunteers for the Long Haul.”
On the Starr King Facebook page, her friend and
colleague, Rebecca Parker, posted "Mary was a splendid preacher
and writer; a quiet, persistent and wise advocate for compassion, justice, and
common sense; ever and always a tough and loving witness for
Rev. Harrington is survived by her beloved husband of 30
years, Martin Teitel, of Sheepscot ME; her children, Julia Teitel of Malden, MA,
and Samuel Teitel of Sheepscot, ME; stepson, Jason Teitel of Berkeley, CA; her
five siblings Terry, John, Douglas, Scott and Sarah; as well as numerous beloved
cousins, nieces and nephews.
Memorial contributions may be made to
The Reverend Mary J. Harrington Fund of Gulf Coast Volunteers for
the Long Haul, 478 Main
Street, Winchester MA 01890.
Notes of condolence may be sent to Marty, Jason, Julia,
and Sam Teitel, at 657 Sheepscot
Rd, Newcastle, ME 04553 or by visiting www.stronghancock.com.
A service in celebration of the Rev. Dr. Mary J.
Harrington’s life will be held at 11:00 am on Monday, November 8, at the
Unitarian Church, 478 Main Street, Winchester MA
information about the service is available at www.winchesteruu.org.