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