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In Memory of . . . Connie Pirnie Sternberg (1929-2012)

Posted By Administration, Friday, June 22, 2012

The Reverend Connie Pirnie Sternberg died on May 27, 2012. She was 82 years old.

Rev. Sternberg was born in Exeter, NH on November 18, 1929 to James and Harriette (Farrell) Pirnie. Rev. Sternberg attained her Bachelor of Arts degree from Cornell University in 1951. She then went on to earn a Master of Arts from Columbia University Teacher’s College in 1954, and a Master of Divinity from New York Theological Seminary in 1988.

Rev. Sternberg was ordained by the Community Church of New York on May 7, 1989. She was called to the Unitarian Universalist Society: East in East Manchester, CT in 1989, and there, she stayed, until her retirement in 2001. She remained a member of the UU Society: East for the rest of her life.

Her fondest memories of growing up in Exeter, NH included singing in the choir at the Unitarian Church (which she joined as a teenager), and organizing an interfaith youth group which brought Protestant, Catholic and Jewish youth together for socializing and supporting American troops during World War II.

During her time in Manchester, CT, Rev. Sternberg was a leader of the Connecticut Council for Inter-religious Understanding and was active in many causes, including maintaining the separation of church and state and supporting civil rights for the lesbian and gay community.

Rev. Sternberg met her husband, Hal, in New York City in 1976, and they were married a year later. Hal provided dedicated support throughout her ministerial career, and often said that he loved being "married to the minister.” He died in December, 2007.

In a sermon given on May 9, 2010, Rev. Sternberg spoke of, her final year at the New York Theological Seminary. Her theology professors offered the UU students the opportunity to pick topics other than the traditional Holy Trinity. She and her classmates "refused and tackled the same subjects as the rest of the class.” She went on to say, "Each evening two students were called upon to read their papers. When the topic was the Trinity, there was a loud call: ‘We want to hear from the Unitarians!’ We were both applauded and appreciated. By then, we had all decided that even though our theologies, rituals, and sources of reflection were different, we were in the same business. We were unity in diversity.”

Rev. Sternberg is survived by a step-daughter, Jill Sternberg; a step-son, Carl Sternberg and his wife, Virginia; as well as a grandson, Michael; her brother-in-law Morton Sternberg and his wife Ruth; and her sister-in-law, Marilin Sternberg.

A memorial service will be held on June 30, 2012 at 1 p.m. at Unitarian Universalist Society: East, 153 West Vernon St., Manchester, CT 06042.

Notes of condolence may be sent to Jill Sternberg, 123 Seventh Ave., Mailbox 251, Brooklyn, NY 11215.

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