The Rev. Albert Francis Ciarcia died on Friday, July 26, 2013 at the age of 89. Rev. Ciarcia was born in Brooklyn, New York in May 18, 1924. In 1952, he earned a Bachelor of Divinity degree from the Lawrence Seminary in Canton, N.Y., where he preached at area churches.
Rev. Ciarcia was ordained September 7, 1952 at the First Universalist Church of Norwich, CT, followed by pastorates in New York City, Greater Bridgeport/Stratford, CT, where he was minister for 32 years and named Minister Emeritus. Upon retirement, he held monthly pastorates for the Unitarian Fellowships of Bernardston, MA and New Britain, CT as well as serving as guest minister for other fellowships and churches in Connecticut and Massachusetts until his death.
While serving in New York City, he founded America’s first All-Faith Chapel, which was open daily for meditation or prayer for adherents of any religion in the world. In addition, he initiated a series of "Religion in American Life,” which included Steve Allen, Frank Lloyd Wright, JC Penny, Victor Riesel and others. He also had the distinct honor of being appointed by King Paul and Queen Frederika of Greece to serve as Chaplain to a group of American dignitaries visiting their sister cities in Greece.
Throughout his ministry, Rev. Ciarcia was active in various denominational affairs and social concerns projects. He founded the Social Action Department of the Council of Churches in Bridgeport and also formed Hope Center for addiction recovery. His dedication and efforts to make city sidewalks and parking ADA compliant earned him a special Commendation from the Governor of Connecticut.
Known by his parishioners for his heartfelt ministry with words, he wrote the following:
Whatever the need that brings you to this special place and hour, know most surely that it is best served through eager receptivity of mind and heart.
If it be to take a firmer step toward the lifting horizon of high thought; if it be a desire to give assistance to feelings that should range and are true; if it be to challenge the way of your life; if it be to find your place as part of a caring and serving community; - then let your mind consider well what is here thoughtfully given, then let your heart accept freely what is here lovingly shared.
The Rev. Albert Ciarcia is survived by his wife of fifty-five years, Jane Ciarcia, his daughters Holly McCann, Joyce Ciarcia-Levy and his son Christopher.
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