The Rev. Dr. Eileen Bonnie Devlin died on March 1, 2018 at the age of 65.
Bonnie was born on September 27, 1952 in Plainfield, NJ to Edward and Helen. She earned three degrees from Rutgers University in NJ. First, at Rutgers’s Douglass College, Bonnie earned a Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy in 1974. Then at the Graduate School of Education, she earned two Master of Education degrees: in Social and Philosophical Foundations of Education (1978) and in Creative Arts Education (1984). In 1986, Bonnie earned her Ph.D. in Aesthetics and Humanities (Sacred Arts) from New York University. Over the years she served as an academic, as a counselor and expressive therapist, and as a professional artist—especially in percussion and theatre. And after following her call to ministry, Bonnie earned her Master of Divinity from MA’s Harvard Divinity School in 1990.
Rev. Dr. Devlin was ordained on April 14, 1991 by the First and Second Church of Boston, MA. She was a consulting minister at the First Church of Roxbury, MA from 1989 until 1991. In that year she was called to serve two MA congregations simultaneously: the First Congregational Parish Unitarian, Petersham (1991 – 1995); and the UU Society of Amherst (1991 – 1997). Bonnie then carried out a series of vital interim ministries at the following congregations: MA’s Brookfield UU Church (1996 – 1997), NH’s Kearsarge UU Fellowship (1997 – 1998), NH’s UU Congregation of Franklin (1997 – 1999), RI’s First Universalist Church of Woonsocket (1999 – 2000), MA’s Unity Church of North Easton (2000 – 2001), and MA’s Unitarian Church of Barnstable (2001 – 2002). Rev. Dr. Devlin was then called to the First Parish in Kingston, MA, where she served until 2006. In that year she became the first minister at Manatee UU Fellowship in Bradenton, FL where she ministered from 2006 until 2013. Rev. Dr. Devlin helped bring many new members to MUUF, performed outreach to the local homeless population, and established small group ministry at the congregation. During those years, Bonnie also ministered to the UU Congregation of Lakeland, FL from 2008 to 2010.
Outside of her parish ministry, Rev. Dr. Devlin was a devoted participant in UUA district and regional activities—especially with New England’s Ballou Channing District. She was a presenter and workshop leader on such topics as multicultural awareness through music, arts, and expression; integrating spirituality and the arts within congregational life; and “Creating Percussion Choirs in Congregations.”
Bonnie’s music was featured on several albums, including as principal percussionist with The Songweavers and the Barmidele Dancers & Drummers, and on her solo albums “Action of Grace” (1999) and “The Drum and the Chalice” (2016).
Bonnie carried a lifelong love for world music, dance, poetry, theatre, and visual arts. She also enjoyed rowing and canoeing, appreciating nature and the sea, journal writing, and reading. Best of all she loved relaxing and laughing with her family, friends, and pets.
Bonnie is survived by her sister Kathy, for whom she was the primary caretaker.