The Rev. Christine E. Hillman died on August 7, 2015 at the age of 65.
Christine was born on September 29, 1949 in Kokomo, IN, to Melba and Eugene Morr. She graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Education from Indiana University in 1971; a Master of Arts in Religious Studies from the University of Detroit in 1989; and a Master of Divinity from Meadville Lombard Theological School in 2000.
Rev. Hillman was ordained by the Birmingham Unitarian Church of Bloomfield Hills, MI and the Unitarian Universalist Church of Olinda, Ontario, in June of 2001. Christine served as summer minister to the First Unitarian Church of Rochester, NY during the summer of 2000, and went on to serve a rich and meaningful pastorate as minister to the Unitarian Universalist Church of Olinda, Ontario, from 2001 until her death.
Prior to entering the ministry, Christine worked as a religious education professional. She served as Director of Religious Education (DRE) to the Unitarian Universalist Church of Farmington, MI from 1983 to 1986; and co-interim DRE to the Birmingham Unitarian Church of Bloomfield Hills, MI from 1986 to 1987. After graduating from the University of Detroit, she taught at the university for ten years as an adjunct professor of Religious Studies.
Rev. Hillman participated in many denominational activities. She led and co-led several Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) Renaissance Modules, including History and Philosophy; served on the former Unitarian Universalist District of Michigan (UUDOM) Religious Education Committee; held membership with the Liberal Religious Educators Association (LREDA); served as co-leader of the UUA Long Range Planning Program; held membership with the Unitarian Universalist Ministers of Canada Chapter of the Unitarian Universalist Ministers Association; and participated in Train-the-Teacher for the women honoring adult religious education curriculum, Cakes for the Queen of Heaven. She served as chair of the Canadian Unitarian Council’s Theological Education Funds Committee from approximately 2005 to 2010, and was honored to hold that position. From 2007 to 2010, Christine served as a board member of the Canadian Unitarian Council Board of Trustees; and she served on the Leamington District Memorial Hospital Pastoral Committee until her death.
Christine first heard about Unitarian Universalism from her college roommate, and attended a service five years later, with her husband, Arthur. Christine and Arthur were living in Kokomo, IN at the time and the closest Unitarian Universalist congregation was located fifty miles from their home. They decided to take matters into their own hands. In 1975, along with ten other people, Christine and Arthur helped to organize and establish the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Kokomo, IN.
Prior to entering the ministry, in the 1970’s, Christine started a women’s support group designed to enhance and increase the amount of information provided to women; promote examination of women’s rights; and lead women toward feminist ideals. The group came to be known as Women in Religion. Throughout her life, Christine advocated for equal pay and opportunity for all, and stood as a strong proponent of social justice.
Christine is remembered lovingly by family, friends and colleagues. Arthur Hillman explains, “I think that the people who come to Christine’s memorial service and listen to what is said about her will think that she was ten feet tall. In reality, she was much taller than that.”
Christine is survived by her beloved husband, Arthur Hillman; loving daughters, Courtney (Derrick), Lee, and Blythe Wood; cherished granddaughters, Kaylee and Anaka Wood; dear sisters, Anne Morr and Susan Bienz; and many nieces and nephews.
A memorial service will be held on Saturday, August 22, 2015 at 6:00 P.M. at Northwest Unitarian Universalist Church, 23925 Northwestern Hwy, Southfield, MI 48075. Another memorial service will be held on September 20, 2015, at 10:30 AM, at the UU Church of Olinda, 2953 Olinda Side Road, Ruthven, Ontario.
Memorials appreciated to the Unitarian Universalist Association Living Tradition Fund, PO Box 843154, Boston, MA 02284-3154 or to Christine’s daughters, C/O Lynch & Sons Funeral Directors, 1368 N. Crooks Road, Clawson, MI 48017.
Notes of condolences may be sent to Arthur Hillman, 2847 Rossmoor Circle, Bloomfield Hills, MI 48302.