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In Memory . . . Berjouhie “Berjie” Andreassian Bergler

Posted By Jessica Cambio, Thursday, May 13, 2010

The Reverend Berjouhie A. Bergler died on July 10, 2008 at the age of 86.

Rev. Bergler was born on January 18, 1922 in Musa Dagh, Turkey, to Rev. Dikran and Araxie Andreassian.  Her family, along with other Armenians, fled Turkey and settled in Lebanon.  Their story, written by Rev. Bergler’s father and published by the Armenian Missionary Association, is called Escape to Musa Dagh or The Banishment of Zeitoun and Suedia's Revolt.

In Beirut, Lebanon, Rev. Bergler attended the American Junior College for Women.  She transferred to Keuka College in Keuka, NY, sent by her family to continue her education. She graduated as class valedictorian from Keuka with a BA in Sociology in 1948.  She earned her BD in Ministry from Colgate-Rochester Divinity School, Rochester, NY, in 1951, again graduating as valedictorian as well as the only woman in her class.  She continued her studies in a PhD program jointly sponsored by Union Theological Seminary and Columbia University. 

While pursuing her PhD from 1953 until 1959, Rev. Bergler was Assistant Professor of Religion at Mt. Holyoke College in South Hadley, MA.  Her students at Mt. Holyoke considered her an excellent teacher and she was well-respected by her departmental colleagues.  She also preached regularly at the Unitarian Universalist Society of Amherst, MA.  Her preaching was characterized by a congregant as "meaningful, filled with beauty and dignity.”

Rev. Bergler served as Director of Religious Education at All Souls Unitarian Church in New York, NY, from 1960 to 1961.  In 1961, she was the first woman to preach at that church in its 142 year history.  On May 6, 1962, she was ordained at Community Church of New York City jointly by five New York churches as Minister to College Students.  During the three years of her Metropolitan Ministry to College Students, Rev. Bergler established campus ministries at Columbia University, New York University, Hunter College, Adelphia University, and Vassar College, among others.

In 1965, she married Robert Bergler and they settled in Highland Park, NJ.  Rev. Bergler joined the faculty of Douglass College of Rutgers University as Assistant Professor of Religion and continued teaching there until her retirement in 1984.  Rev. Bergler considered her teaching to be a "calling” and her presence on the faculty to be a "specialized ministry” which enabled her to contribute to the growth of the Unitarian Universalist movement.  Even though her work was primarily academic, she often conducted weddings, dedications, and memorial services.  Her friend, Laura Felker, said that as Berjie performed weddings and dedications, "it was the unusual combination of intelligence, grace and gentle kindness which made these occasions all the more special.  She took care in the way she interacted with others and made a lasting impression on all who knew her.”  She and her husband were also active members in the Unitarian Society of New Brunswick, NJ.

In a letter of reference for Rev. Bergler’s application for Fellowship, Rev. Sophia Lyon Fahs said "Her personal integrity is of the finest.  Her philosophy of life is wholehearted and all-encompassing; and she is forthwright [sic] in expressions of her thoughts, as well as unusually capable intellectually in expressing them”.  

Rev. Bergler is survived by her sister, Alice Rabah, and niece, Naddia Libbus of North Carolina, her nieces, May Rabah of Belgium and Cynthia Brook of England.  She is missed by friends across the country whose lives she touched with her gentle, intelligent, and caring nature, especially by Laura Felker who provided support and care to Berjie in her last years.  

At Rev. Bergler’s request, a simple graveside service has been held.  Donations to honor Rev. Bergler may be made to a fund named for the aunt who raised her - the Isgouhie Andreassian Fund for Scholarship Aid of the Children of Ainjar, Lebanon who are the descendants of the People of Musa Dagh.  The donations should be sent to the Armenian Missionary Association of America, 31 West Century Road, Paramus, NJ  07652.

Messages of remembrance may be sent to Rev. Bergler’s sister, Alice Rabah, 401 Ironwood Dr., Chapel Hill, NC 27516 and her friend and caregiver, Laura Felker, 12 Shady Brook Ct., Hillsborough, NJ 08844.

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In Memory . . . Roy A. Ockert (1921-2008)

Posted By Jessica Cambio, Thursday, May 13, 2010

With his family beside him, the Reverend Roy A. Ockert died of pancreatic cancer at his home in Salem, OR, on July 16, 2008.  He was 87.

Born on April 3, 1921 in Orofino, ID, to Anthony Lewis Ockert and Mary Jane Johnson, Rev. Ockert was the oldest of six children.  After graduation from Orofino High School, he attended the University of Idaho.  His studies were interrupted by World War II and he served in the US Army from 1942 to 1946.

Motivated by a desire to work for economic justice, Rev. Ockert studied economics and political science at the University of California, Berkeley, and graduated in1948.  Rev. Ockert first worked as a public school teacher, and then began a career as a researcher and economist for several unions, including the United Rubber Workers and AFL-CIO. While with the AFL-CIO in Washington, DC, he prepared the data used in developing the War on Poverty program. 

After a time, Rev. Ockert was no longer satisfied with the impact he could have as a union economist. To pursue his self-stated interests in "civil liberties, social progress and public well-being” he determined to become a Unitarian Universalist minister.  At the age of 43, he moved with his wife, Virginia, and their six children from Washington, DC, to Berkeley, CA, to attend Starr King School for the Ministry.  

Rev. Ockert was ordained in 1967 by the First Unitarian Church of Berkeley, CA and installed later that year as co-minister with Rev. Stephen Fritchman at the First Unitarian Church of Los Angeles.  Along with Rev. Fritchman, Rev. Ockert joined in one of the most heated 20th century controversies within our religious movement – the Black Empowerment movement in the late sixties.   He was one of three white members of the Black Affairs Council in the first year of its existence.  Rev. Ockert also served the Unitarian Society of Orange County in Anaheim, CA and the Unitarian Universalist Church in Fullerton, CA.

In 1972, Rev. Ockert returned to union work as chief economist for the International Woodworkers of America.  He retired in 1985.  At the time of his death, he was a member of the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Salem, OR.

Rev. Ockert’s friend, Rev. Rick Davis, says about him: "Roy knew that each one of us can make a difference, that we can leave the world a better place by planting seeds of hope and kindness and watering this with love and compassion.”

He was preceded in death by his wife, Virginia Mikulik, in 1989 after 39 years of marriage. In 1999, he married Delta Duke McClung, who survives him.  Other survivors include two sons, Roy Ockert Jr. (Pat) of Jonesboro, Ark., and Karl Ockert (Carole) of Lake Oswego, Ore.; three daughters, Janet Zobrist (Norm) of West Linn, Ore., Maureen Bell (Jim) of Ithaca, N.Y., and Kristin Ockert (Greg Gillespie) of Olympia, Wash.; three step-children, Bruce McClung (Leslie) of Fremont, Calif., Patty Ryan (John) of Castro Valley, Calif., and Jamie McClung (Carol) of Salem; 21 grandchildren; and 14 great-grandchildren.

A memorial service for friends and family, officiated by Rev. Rick Davis, was held on Saturday, August 16 at the Unitarian Universalist Church in Salem, OR.  Donations in Rev. Ockert’s name may be made to the UU Service Committee, 689 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge, MA 02139-3302.

Please send messages of remembrance to Delta Duke McClung, 4311 Vasend Ct NE, Salem, OR  97305-4703.

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In Memory . . . Donald Warren Male (1926-2008)

Posted By Jessica Cambio, Thursday, May 13, 2010

It is with a sense of loss that the Ministry and Professional Leadership Staff Group inform you of the death of the Reverend Donald Warren Male.  He died from complications of Alzheimer’s disease on August 14, 2008 at Boulevard Terrace Nursing Home in Murfreesboro, TN.  He was 86.

Mr. Male was born on April 12, 1922 in Niskayuna, NY, to Charles Thomas and Mildred Schairer Male.  He attended Union College in Schenectady, NY, graduating in 1943 with a BS in chemistry.  He was recruited by NACA (now NASA) in Cleveland, OH, to help design airplanes. He tried to join the U.S. Air Corp, but was blocked by The War Manpower Act because his work was considered vital to the war effort. He attended night classes at Case Western Reserve and received an MS in physics in 1950.

In 1952 he was recruited by the Department of Defense and worked in an advisory capacity at the Pentagon.  Mr. Male moved to Manchester, TN, in 1954 to work for the U.S. Air Force as a Long Range Planner at AEDC (now Arnold Center). He was a consultant to several corporations on space research, and he presented papers at conferences in various U.S. cities and London, England.  The U.S. Air Force selected him as a fellow to the Sloane School of Management at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he received an MBA in 1958.

During his scientific career, Mr. Male met Orville Wright who attended a presentation Mr. Male made; he also met Senator John F. Kennedy, Dr. Theodore von Karman, astronaut Neil Armstrong, and Dr. Norman Weiner, father of cybernetics.

After taking early retirement, Mr. Male enrolled in Vanderbilt University Divinity School, and in 1976 he received a D. Min.  He was ordained and installed as minister of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Tullahoma, TN, in December 1973.  He served that congregation for 25 years and was honored as minister emeritus upon retirement.

He was elected to the Board of Trustees of the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) in 1977 and served in this position for ten years, the last two years as Secretary of the Board.

His hobbies included canoeing and astronomy. He taught canoeing at a boys’ camp in Vermont; he founded and was president of the Middle Tennessee Astronomical Society and led workshops across the Southeast.

His friend and UUA executive vice president Kay Montgomery said "Don was a devoted Unitarian Universalist, involved locally, with his district, with the Southeast Summer Institute, and at the continental level, serving on the UUA Board of Trustees for ten years.  He was a beloved figure in all those venues, a charming raconteur, and was doggedly determined that small congregations be given support by the Association.  I knew him for decades, beginning with district work in the southeast, where he was omnipresent!”

Survivors include his wife, Sue Anderson Male, of Murfreesboro, TN; his three daughters, Sherry Male (Terry Komp) of Nashville, TN, Peggy (Jay) Lenny of Tampa, FL, Connie McCormick of McMinnville, TN; his two step-children, Jennifer Nourse of Richmond, VA, Carl E.P. Williams of Moore, SC: his sister Janette Burger and brother Kenneth J. Male of Niskayuna, NY.  He also leaves three grandchildren and four step-grandchildren.  Rev. Male was predeceased by his parents and three brothers, Charles T. Male, Jr., William J. Male and Theodore Male.

A memorial service will be held Nov. 29, 2008 at 2:00 pm at the Tullahoma UU Church, 3536 New Manchester Hwy 55, Tullahoma, TN.  Rev. Dan Rosemergy will officiate. Donations may be made in Rev. Male’s name to the Alzheimer’s Association, Caris Healthcare (hospice), 805 S. Church St., Ste 1, Murfreesboro, TN 37130 or to the Tullahoma UU Church, Box 331, Tullahoma, TN 37388.  Please send messages of condolence to Sue Anderson Male, 1420 Mohawk Trail, Murfreesboro, TN 37129-6506.

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In Memory . . . David M. Blanchard (1932-2008)

Posted By Jessica Cambio, Thursday, May 13, 2010

The Reverend David M. Blanchard died on August 18, 2008 following a fall and subsequent hospitalization at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston.  He was 75.

Rev. Blanchard was born on November 12, 1932 in Wilmington, NC, to the late Rev. Myles D. and Rachael (Wood) Blanchard.  He received his Bachelor of Arts degree from Tufts University in 1955 and his Master’s Degree in Theology from The Crane School of Theology, also at Tufts University, in 1958.

Ordination was conferred upon Rev. Blanchard by his father, Rev. Myles Blanchard, at the First Universalist Church of Assinippi in Norwell, MA on September 21, 1958.  Rev. David Blanchard was honored this year by the Unitarian Universalist Ministers Association upon his 50th anniversary of ordination and fifty years of active service.

After his student ministry in Norwell, he was called to serve the Unitarian Universalist Church of Greater Lynn in Swampscott, MA, and St. Paul’s Universalist Church in Palmer, MA.  In 1965, he became the minister of the North Parish Unitarian Universalist Church of North Andover, MA, where he served until his retirement in 1997, when the congregants named him minister emeritus.  To celebrate his retirement, the congregation published a book of thirty of Rev. Blanchard’s sermons called "Reflections of a Suburban Preacher:  A Collection of Sermons.”  Rev. Lee Bluemel, current minister at North Parish, said that after his retirement, "David continued to quietly serve the congregation in many ways - visiting elders, preaching, and leading rites of passage for 11 more years.  It is hard to imagine the North Parish without his presence, his smile and easy laugh, his voice and wise counsel.  It was always so good to see him.”

Rev. Blanchard had a long career in service and volunteering to help others. He served as chaplain of the North Andover Fire Department, was one of the first members of the Samaritans, and was president of the Board of Family Service Association of Greater Lawrence.  He was also building chair for A Better Chance, a program designed to enable black youth from underprivileged areas to live and attend school in North Andover.  During the 1960’s, Rev. Blanchard organized a march against the Vietnam War in Lawrence, MA.

He enjoyed a variety of interests from gardening, fishing, golfing, travel, reading, writing, music and photography, but his greatest enjoyment was the time spent with his family.

Rev. Blanchard is survived by his wife, Joan (DesJardins), with whom he would have celebrated 51 years of marriage in September; two sons, David and his wife, Elizabeth (Driscoll) Blanchard, of Bradford, MA, and James Blanchard of Andover, MA; a sister, Carolyn Woodman of Florida; and several nieces and nephews.  He was the beloved grandfather of Shannon and Meaghan Blanchard of Bradford, MA.

Family and friends are invited to memorial services on Saturday, September 13, 2008 at 10:00 a.m. at the North Parish UU Church, Academy Road, North Andover, MA.  In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the North Parish Restoration Fund, 3 Great Pond Road, North Andover, MA 01845 or to Big Brother-Big Sister of Greater Lowell, 45 Merrimack St., Suite 227, Lowell, MA 01852.

Messages of condolence may be sent to Joan Blanchard at 163 Elm Street, Andover, MA 01810-1630; to Dave, Beth, Shannon and Meaghan Blanchard at 100 Haseltine St, Bradford MA, 01835-7726; and to Jim Blanchard in care of his mother's address. 

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In Memory . . . Penelope (Penny) Anderson Binger (1926-2008)

Posted By Jessica Cambio, Thursday, May 13, 2010

It is with a sense of loss that the Ministry and Professional Leadership Staff Group inform you of the death of the Reverend Penelope Anderson Binger.  She died following a brief illness on June 1, 2008 at Oldorf Hospice House of Mercy in Hiawatha, IA.  She was 82.

Rev. Binger was born on May 1, 1926 in Omaha, NE to Frank and Penelope (Hamilton) Anderson.  She attended Cornell College in Mt. Vernon, IA and graduated from the University of Nebraska in 1946.  As a young woman, Rev. Binger married and raised 6 children.  She also managed the Sanfords, Footnote, and Walden bookstores in Cedar Rapids.  She returned to school, attending the University of Iowa School of Religion from 1972-1976 and eventually received her Masters of Divinity from Starr King School for the Ministry in 1985.

Rev. Binger was ordained by the First Unitarian Church of San Jose, California on November 10, 1985.  She served the First Unitarian Church of Sioux City, Iowa from 1986 until 1996.  Upon her retirement, the congregation honored her as Minister Emerita.  She then returned to live in Cedar Rapids where she served as part-time Administrative Assistant for the Inter-Religious Council of Linn County.

Rev. Binger was active in her community throughout her adult life, serving as the President of the Cedar Rapids branch of the American Association of University Women (AAUW) and as the Vice President of the Iowa Division of AAUW.  She was president of the Cedar Rapids Altrusa Club and Vice-Chair of the Linn County Republican Committee from 1955-1968.  Appointed by Governor Robert Ray, Rev. Binger served five years on the Iowa Child Labor Committee.  Appointed by Mayor Robert M.L. Johnson, she also served as Chair of the Cedar Rapids Commission on the Status of Women.

While living in Sioux City, she served as the President of AAUW, Chair of the Board of the Center for Women at Morningside College, Board member of the NAACP, and Board member of the local Planned Parenthood.  Rev. Binger organized and chaired the Siouxland Diversity Council and organized a Siouxland Chapter of the Iowa Civil Liberties Union.  As a member of the Board for the ICLU, Rev. Binger served as a plaintiff in the case against prayer at graduation in public schools.  Rev. Binger incorporated and served as Vice-President/Secretary for the Unitarian Universalist Network for Process Theology from 1988-1999.  In 1989, she was recognized with the Siouxland Women of Excellence Award.

In addition to her large and loving family, the main passions in Rev. Binger’s life were the fight for Civil Liberties /ACLU, support for the drive to increase diversity and inclusiveness in our society, and working to improve the status of women.

Upon returning to Cedar Rapids after her retirement, Rev. Binger was president of the Unitarian Universalist Ministers’ Association of the Prairie Star District from 1997-1999.  She served as the Legislative chair of the ICLU and was Co-President of the Hawkeye Area Chapter of the ICLU until 2004.  She was a member of the Jewish-Christian Dialogue and, after much thought, prayer, and discernment made the decision to convert to Judaism on January 23, 2004 when she became a member of Temple Judah in Cedar Rapids.

Rev. Binger is survived by her six children: Penny Brisson of Santa Clara CA; Ginna Himschoot (Robert) of Cedar Rapids; James Binger of Oakland CA; Elizabeth Binger (George Dowker) of Niantic CT; Paula Binger of Waterloo IA; and Julia Daugherty (Darren) of Cedar Rapids; her brother Frank Anderson (Dorothy) of Eugene OR; a niece Patricia Allard (Robert) of Marion; a nephew Keith Binger of Irving TX; eight grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren.

Donations may be sent to Temple Judah, the Iowa Civil Liberties Union or the Mercy Hospice House.  Arrangements are being handled by Cedar Memorial in Cedar Rapids. Messages of remembrance may be sent to 3227 Riverpointe Circle NE, Cedar Rapids, IA  52411.

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In Memory . . . Paul H. Bicknell (1923-2008)

Posted By Jessica Cambio, Thursday, May 13, 2010

It is with a sense of loss that the Ministry and Professional Leadership Staff Group inform you of the death of the Reverend Paul H. Bicknell.  He died on May 31, 2008 at the Life Care Center of Medina, OH, from complications of a heart attack.  He was 84.

Rev. Bicknell was born on September 5, 1923 in Potsdam, NY to Herbert and Lula Bicknell.  He graduated from Canton Theological School of St. Lawrence University in 1949.  He was ordained by the Northern New York Conference of the Methodist Church and served that denomination for several years before affiliating with the Universalist Church of America.  He was granted full fellowship with the Universalist Church on November 15, 1958.

Rev. Bicknell was called by the Unitarian Universalist Church of Elgin, IL in 1957 and served there until 1972.  The history of the Elgin church says that during Rev. Bicknell’s term as minister, the church "began a decade of activism and community involvement... the local Mental Health Clinic was born in our church. The Community Concern for Alcoholism had its initial meetings in our building... The church and its members were active leaders of social change in such issues as women's rights, support of abortion reform, open housing, civil rights and the American Indian rights movement. The church facilities were loaned for peace groups and draft counseling during the Vietnam War.”

Following his time in Elgin, Rev. Bicknell held several Community Ministry positions, working with older adults.  He then served a number of congregations as Interim Minister, including First Unitarian Church of Hobart, IN; Community Unitarian of White Plains, NY; All Souls Unitarian Church of Kansas City, MO; the Unitarian Society of New Haven, CT; West Shore UU Church of Rocky River, OH; Jefferson Unitarian Church of Golden, CO; the Universalist Church of West Hartford, CT; and the Unitarian Fellowship of London, Ontario.

Rev. Bicknell is survived by his sons, Richard (Carmen) and Brian, by his daughter, Deborah Leader, and by seven devoted nieces and nephews.  He also leaves his long time friend, Mary Anne Kehoe Ford of Manchester, IA.  

A memorial service for Rev. Bicknell was held at West Shore Unitarian Universalist Church, 20401 Hilliard Blvd., Rocky River, Ohio on June 9, 2008.  The service was led by Rev. Midge Skwire, assisted by Revs. Wayne Arnason and Kathleen Rolenz.

Please send messages of condolence to Mary Anne Kehoe Ford, 170 Prospect St. Manchester, IA 52057.

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In Memory . . . Suzanne Pike Meyer (1953-2010)

Posted By Jessica Cambio, Thursday, May 13, 2010

It is with a sense of loss that the Ministry and Professional Leadership Staff Group informs you of the death of the Reverend Suzanne Pike Meyer. She died on January 23, 2010, in the presence of loving friends. She was 56. Rev. Meyer was born on Nov. 24, 1953 in the Florence Nightingale wing of Baylor Hospital in Dallas, Texas, the only child of Robert and Pansy Pike. She was a graduate of the University of Houston (Broadcast Journalism 1976) and Meadville/Lombard Theological School (M.Div. 1983). She was ordained to the Unitarian Universalist ministry on June 19, 1983 by the Unitarian Church of Vancouver, British Columbia, where she had completed her internship. She went on to successfully serve Unitarian Universalist churches in Texas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Georgia, Missouri, and Wyoming, along with postgraduate Clinical Pastoral Education at St. Luke’s/Texas Children’s Hospital in Houston and Austin State Hospital in Austin, Texas.

As a child Rev. Meyer taught herself to read, which fueled a lifelong ambition to become a writer. She would realize this in ministry as many colleagues considered her as one of the finest writers of her generation, as well as an outstanding preacher and pastor. Her early career in broadcast journalism was sidetracked when in the fall of 1977, she was hired by Offender Aid and Restoration (OAR), a national nonprofit criminal justice reform organization headquartered in Charlottesville, Virginia. While at a Memorial Service at the local Unitarian Universalist Church she had what she would later describe as a conversion experience. Raised in the Southern Baptist Church, Rev. Meyer had fallen away from the church in her early adult years as she found the church "irrelevant” to the pressing social, economic, and justice issues of the day. But, at that memorial she was so profoundly moved by an experience of the love of God that she found herself called to service in ministry. After a year at Union Seminary in Richmond, Virginia, she made her way to Meadville/Lombard, where her intellect and her faith grew to be an inspiration to so many, and where she later served on the Board of Trustees.

Rev. Meyer was as devoted in her affection to others as was the Biblical Ruth, as deep in her allegiance to the Free Church as Hosea, and as sharp in her "truth-telling” as Jeremiah. She was held in esteem by colleagues and congregants for her deep insight into the religious issues of culture, and harbored a long love for the spiritual insights of Southern authors, especially Flannery O’Connor. She will be missed by so many because she embodied the balance between the love a pastor gives to others, and the truth she must tell about humanity. She knew both God’s love and judgment, and knew when to call forth the one or the other.

She was diagnosed with late-stage colon cancer in August of 2009. During her illness she was lovingly cared for by her friends from previous congregations, her colleagues, members of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Cheyenne, and others. Memorial Services for her were held in Unitarian Universalist churches in Cheyenne, Wyoming; Tulsa, Oklahoma; Atlanta, Georgia; New Orleans, Louisiana; and St. Louis, Missouri. Contributions in her memory can be made to the Unitarian Universalist Church of your choice, or to one of the churches she so ably served.

Lovingly written by Rev. Jack Bryant, Rev. Melanie Morel-Ensminger, and Dr. Brent A. Smith

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In Memory . . . Polly Laughland Guild (1924-2009)

Posted By Jessica Cambio, Thursday, May 13, 2010
Updated: Thursday, May 13, 2010

It is with a sense of loss that the Ministry and Professional Leadership Staff Group informs you of the death of the Reverend Polly Laughland Guild. She died peacefully at home in Weston, MA, on Saturday, November 7, 2009. She was 85.

Rev. Guild was born on September 1, 1924 to James A. Callard and Marjorie C. Bachrach. She graduated with a BA in Biology and Chemistry from Colby College in Waterville, ME, in 1945 and an MRE from Andover Newton Theological School in 1964. She also attended Crane Theological School of Tufts University for one year.

A Unitarian by birth, Rev. Guild entered the church school of the First Unitarian Society of West Newton, MA, as a kindergartener. Her association with that church would continue for the next 50 years. After she graduated from divinity school, Rev. Guild served the church as minister of religious education for many years. In 1972, one year before her acceptance into preliminary fellowship by the Ministerial Fellowship Committee, the congregation ordained her. She shared parish ministry duties at the West Newton church for the next two years.

From 1974 until 1976, Rev. Guild served as interim minister to the UU Society of Wellesley Hills, MA. In 1976, she was called to the Follen Community Church in Lexington, MA, where she served for 16 years. Under her leadership, the Follen Church grew into a strong, effective, and caring community. She was named minister emerita upon her retirement in 1992.

Rev. Guild also provided leadership to Unitarian Universalists around the world. In 1986, during her sabbatical, she served as interim minister in Adelaide, Australia. In the 1980’s she and her husband, Ted Guild, served as volunteer international coordinators for the UUA. She was one of the founders of the International Council of Unitarians and Universalists (ICUU.) She was also a long-time member of International Association for Religious Freedom (IARF) and attended their triennial congresses in many countries. She organized and led four church-related group trips to Egypt, India, Eastern Europe, and Britain. With her husband, she endowed a Unitarian school in the Khasi Hills of India. She established a micro-lending organization in the Philippines called the Ted Guild Village Bank.

Rev. Guild is survived by her children, Lorna and Bruce Winthrop of Deltona, FL; Linda Laughland and Dan Downing of Lincoln, MA, and Andrew Laughland and Barb Gage of Arlington, MA; Todd and Yasuko Guild of Tokyo; Sylvia Guild of Alaska; Katherine Guild and husband James of Texas; and Lina Guild of the Virgin Islands; her sisters, Harriet Cowdery of Boothbay Harbor, ME, and Margo Callard of Needham, MA; and seven grandchildren. Her husband, Ted, died in 2002.

Two services were held at Follen Community church to honor Reverend Guild. On November 10, there was a Candlelight Service of Loving Memory for her immediate family and everyone from Follen. On November 11, 2009, a memorial service designed by Rev. Guild with her favorite hymns, solo musical pieces, and readings was held.

Gifts to honor Rev. Guild’s memory may be made to the following organizations:

  • Follen Community Church, 755 Massachusetts Avenue, Lexington, MA 02420
  • International Council of Unitarians and Universalists (Make check payable to ICUU and send to David Shaw, Meadow Hey, Adlington Lane, Grindleford, Hope Valley, Derbyshire, United Kingdom S32 2HT [postage to England is 98 cents]. Please include your name, mailing address and an email address, if available, and David will send acknowledgements personally.)
  • Parmenter/Wayside Hospice (Make check payable to Parmenter with hospice program in memo and send to Parmenter Community Health Care, 266 Cochituate Road, Wayland, MA 01778.

Please send messages of condolence to Rev. Guild’s family in care of Linda Laughland, 15 Sunnyside Lane, Lincoln, MA 01773.

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In Memory . . . Rev. Laurel Sheridan (1940-2008)

Posted By Jessica Cambio, Thursday, May 13, 2010
It is with a sense of loss that the Ministry and Professional Leadership Staff Group inform you of the death of the Reverend Laurel S. Sheridan. She died on May 15, 2008following a hospitalization for numerous ailments. She was 67.

Reverend Sheridan was born in Boston, MA on July 9, 1940 to Solomon Siegan and Gertrude Stone Siegan. She attended Simmons College in Boston for a year before entering Children’s Hospital School of Nursing where she earned an R. N. in 1962. After graduation, Rev. Sheridan worked at Lying-In Hospital in Boston. When her children were young, Rev. Sheridan worked part-time as a nurse, teaching natural childbirth education. Upon her return to formal hospital work, she became disenchanted with what she perceived as a lack of focus on patient care in favor of a focus on technology. In 1978 she received a B.A. in Communications from Bridgewater State College and as her commitment to ministry developed, Rev. Sheridan entered Andover Newton Theological School, earning an M. Div. in 1982.

Rev. Sheridan was ordained by The First Parish Church of Duxbury, Massachusetts on September 19, 1982. She served The First Church in Barre, Vermont, The First Universalist Church in Bangor, Maine, and the Unitarian Universalist Church of the Restoration in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania before returning to Massachusetts to serve the All Souls Unitarian Universalist Church in Braintree for 10 years, from 1987 to 1997. Rev. Sheridan then served First Parish Universalist in Canton, Massachusetts and while there became seriously ill and physically disabled. In spite of these challenges, Rev. Sheridan continued to preach part-time while her health allowed. 

Survivors include her husband, Terence Sheridan as well as her children, Holly Sakariason and partner Bethie Stoller, Julie Romero and husband Robert Romero, and Alison Sakariason. She also leaves five grandchildren: Samuel, Max, Rebecca, Myles, and Sarah.

A service to honor Rev. Sheridan’s life will be held at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Tucson, AZ on August 9, 2008. Rev. Diane Dowgiert will officiate. Donations in honor of Rev. Sheridan may be made to Star Island Annual Fund, 10 Vaughan Mall, Suite 8, Portsmouth, NH 03801. 

Please send messages of condolence to Mr. Terence Sheridan at 6250 S. Commerce Ct. #1110, Tucson, AZ 85746 and Ms. Holly Sakariason, 322 E. 30th Street, Yuma, AZ 85364.

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In Memory . . . Rev. Ric Masten

Posted By Jessica Cambio, Thursday, May 13, 2010
It is with a sense of loss that the Ministry and Professional Leadership Staff Group inform you of the death of the Reverend Ric Masten. He died on May 9, 2008 at his mountain home near Carmel, California of prostrate cancer. He was 78.

Rev. Masten was a "troubadour minister” who performed his music and poetry before congregations throughout the United States over a career spanning five decades. He is the author of 23 books, a dozen song albums, and the popular hymn "Let It Be a Dance.”

Rev. Masten was born in Carmel on June 20, 1929. He graduated from Montezuma High School in Los Gatos, California in 1946, and attended several colleges, but never received a degree, due in part to undiagnosed dyslexia and a severe hearing impairment. He is perhaps the only fellowshipped Unitarian Universalist minister never to have graduated from seminary or college.

A promising artist, Rev. Masten studied briefly with Millard Sheets and Millford Zorn at Pomona College, and with famed cubist Fernand Léger at the Ecole des Beaux Arts in Paris in 1949. He also wrote and produced musical comedies in Carmel, and became a contract writer for Warner Brothers, ultimately having seventy-eight of his songs recorded in the 1950s and early 1960s.

Rev. Masten began his ministry in 1968, offering guest services in California churches with the backing of Rev. Howard and Rosemary Matson, culminating in an impressive performance at the Unitarian Universalist Association’s General Assembly in Cleveland. The UUA then awarded Masten a Frank Billings Lectureship with the express aim of "taking the spirit of liberal religion to college campuses and churches around the country.” Many of his poems explored how race, religion, women’s liberation, alcohol abuse, aging, and other social issues impact the most intimate personal relationships.

Rev. Masten was ordained in 1972 at the Unitarian Universalist Church in Arlington, Virginia as part of an effort of the Ministerial Fellowship Committee to address the need for non-parish ministers engaged in social action. The first of these so-called Specialized Ministers was Howard Matson, who began working full-time with Caesar Chavez and the United Farm Workers in 1969. The category of Specialized Ministers was terminated in 1974, but Rev. Masten received his Final Fellowship in 1975. 

Over the years, Rev. Masten, usually accompanied by his wife, Billie Barbara Masten, toured the country in their Toyota camper, "The Homesick Snail,” giving concerts and staying at the homes of the ministers and parishioners they befriended along the way. Rev. Masten thus earned the distinction of preaching in more Unitarian Universalist churches – over five hundred in 49 states – than any other minister in history.

Rev. Masten presented his poetry in a variety of other venues as well, including schools, prisons, and civic clubs. He had a regular call-in spot on a talk radio station in Denver in the 1980s and produced a weekly newspaper column, "Words and One-Liners” for the Monterey Herald in the 1990s. These columns became the inspiration for three illustrated volumes of poetry.

Rev. Masten was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 1999 and chronicled his battle with the disease in a series of poems and blog entries, which expanded his ministry to a new community, cancer survivor groups. Rev. Masten published six books since his diagnosis, including Words and One-Liners: Take Three (Sun-Ink Presentations, 2008) and Going Out Dancing (Skinner House Books, 2008). 

Masten’s other titles include Who’s Wavin’? A Thin Body of Work (1970); Sunflowers (1971); Speaking Poems (1977); Voice of the Hive (1978); His & Hers: A Voyage Through the Middle Age Crazies, with Billie Barbara Masten (1978); Stark Naked (1980); Even As We Speak (1982); The Deserted Rooster (1982); They Are All Gone Now (1985); Notice Me! (1986); Looking for Georgia O’Keeffe (1987); Ric Masten Speaking (1990); I Know It Isn’t Funny But I Love to Make You Laugh (1996); Pacific Light: Images of the Monterey Peninsula, with Douglas Steakley (2000); and Parallel Journeys, with Dr. Larry Lachman (2003).

In addition to his own books, Rev. Masten is the subject of Troubadour and Poet: The Magical Ministry of Ric Masten (Trafford Publishing, 2007), by Rev. Stephen Edington.

Largely ignored by literary critics throughout his career, Rev. Masten received numerous honors toward the end of his life. He was named Troubadour and People’s Poet of Carmel in 2003, Poet Laureate of Prostate Cancer by the National Prostate Cancer Coalition in 2005, Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters by California State University, Monterey Bay in 2007, and Champion of the Arts – Luminary by the Arts Council of Monterey County in 2008. "All you have to do is catch a fatal disease and the awards just fall out of the trees like apples,” he joked.

Rev. Masten is survived by his wife of 56 years, Billie Barbara, their four children, Jerri Masten Hansen, Dr. April F. Masten, Ellen Masten, and Stuart Masten, and five grandchildren, nearly all of whom were with him at the end, singing. Other survivors include his brother Warren Masten, sister Olga Masten, half-brothers Don Hare and Lee Hare, and step-brother James Hare.

A memorial service will be held June 20, 2008 at 1:00 p.m. at the Community Church of the Monterey Peninsula 4590 Carmel Valley Rd, Carmel, CA 93923. Memorial donations in honor of Rev. Masten may be sent to the National Prostate Cancer Coalition, 1154 Fifteenth Street, NW, Washington, DC 20005.

Please send messages of remembrance to Ms. Billie Barbara Masten, 37931 Palo Colorado Rd, Carmel, CA 93923-8115.

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