We our condolences to the family and colleagues of the Rev. Dr. Christine “Chris” M. Wetzel, who died on October 14, 2019, at the age of 91.
Chris was born on May 6, 1928 in Auburn, ME to Chester A. McKenney and H. Christine Dearing. She graduated from St. Lawrence University, Canton, NY in 1950 with a Bachelor of Arts in Greek and Religious Education, following which she earned her Certification of Religious Education from St. Lawrence Theological School in 1951. Later in 1992, Chris received her Doctor of Divinity from Meadville Lombard Theological School.
Rev. Dr. Wetzel was ordained on May 6, 1979 by the North Shore Unitarian Society, Plandome, NY (now UU Congregation of Shelter Rock). Prior to her ordination, she served the First UU Church, Claremont, NH, as a Director of Religious Education (DRE) (1956-1958). She then served her parish ministry at Murray UU Church, MA (1959-1970) and the UU Congregation at Shelter Rock, NY as a Minister of Religious Education (1971-1992). On August 31, 1992, Rev. Wetzel retired from her ministry, and upon her retirement the Shelter Rock congregation honored her as their Minister Emeritus.
Rev. Dr. Wetzel performed an array of services to the denomination. She served on the Advisory Board for the Universalist Heritage Foundation; was a Charter member of the UUA Accreditation Committee of Religious Educators, UUA Panel on Theological Education and UUA CEPEL (a commission on grant giving for the Theological Schools). Furthermore, she functioned as a faculty for the Meadville Lombard summer schools and for the Star Island RE weeks.
In addition to her denominational service, Chris was a member of several community organizations including Planned Parenthood, the League of Women Voters, the Association of University Women and the Phi Beta Kappa Society.
In her spare time, Chris loved traveling, mainly to Greek Islands. She also enjoyed studying abroad and attended St. George’s College in Jerusalem, Manchester College in Oxford, England and several summer schools at Starr King and Meadville Lombard.
Chris is survived by her two sons Peter Wetzel, Dr. Gayle D. Wetzel and his wife Esther Spirgi Wetzel; her sister Pearl McKenney Silvernale; and her three grandchildren Benjamin Wetzel, Sabine Wetzel and Niels Wetzel.
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