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In Memory of . . . John David Scheyer (1928-2014)

Posted By Administration, Thursday, March 13, 2014

The Rev. John David Scheyer died on February 7, 2014 at the age of 85.

David was born in Philadelphia, PA, on April 28, 1928 to Dr. Frederick L. Scheyer and Synette Swensen Scheyer. He served the United States Marine Corps from 1951 to 1953, and was honorably discharged in 1957. He graduated from the Starr King School for the Ministry with a Master of Divinity in 1967.

Rev. Scheyer was ordained to the Unitarian Universalist ministry on February 9, 1968, by the Unitarian Church of Fort Lauderdale. He was first called to serve the Unitarian Universalist Church of Fort Lauderdale in 1967, and served there until 1971. He was then called to the Church of the Mediator in Providence, RI, at which he served from 1977 to 1978. He went on to serve the Unitarian Universalist Church of Marblehead, MA, from 1979 to 1982. He then served as an Interim Minister for eleven years; serving the First Parish Church of Ashby Unitarian Universalist, of Ashby, MA, from 1983 to 1984; the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Raleigh, of Raleigh, NC, from 1986 to 1987; the Unitarian Church in Charleston, of Charleston, SC, from 1987 to 1989; and lastly, the First Unitarian Universalist Church of Austin, of Austin, TX, from 1989 to 1990.

Active within the denomination, David served as President of the Billings Unitarian Universalist Fellowship, of Billings, MT; President of the Massachusetts Bay District of Unitarian Universalist Congregations, Board Member of the Florida District of Unitarian Universalist Congregations, and member of the Florida Chapter of the Unitarian Universalist Ministers Association.

David was deeply committed to ending domestic violence, and as such, spent a large part of his later years volunteering at Resources Education Assistance Counseling Housing (REACH) of Macon County, in Franklin, NC. He spent many nights in hospitals, talking with domestic violence victims and offering comfort and companionship.

David was passionate about backpacking, hiking, and sailing. He took week long backpacking trips in California during his time in seminary, and completed a month long hike through the Alaskan Wilderness in the early 1960’s. Each summer, he and his wife, Fia, moored their sailboat off the coast of the Bahamas. They lived on board and enjoyed the water, sunsets, and people they met. They also spent time sailing in Massachusetts and Florida, living first on their boat, and later in their homes on shore.

David is described by his stepson, David Cefkin, as having “a passion for equality, and a very low tolerance for injustice.”

David is survived by three step children, David Cefkin (Mia), Suzie Della Penta (George) and Beverly Calobrace; eight grandchildren; five great grandchildren, and was the brother of Warren Scheyer. He was preceded in death by his wife, Fia B. Scheyer.

A memorial service was held on February 22nd at 1:00 p.m. at the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Franklin, N.C., 28734. Walter Burnette officiated

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to REACH of Macon County, PO Box 228, Franklin, NC  28744.

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In Memory of . . . William Harper Houff (1928-2014)

Posted By Administration, Monday, February 17, 2014

The Rev. Dr. William "Bill” Harper Houff died on January 26th, 2014 at the age of 85.

William "Bill” Houff was born in New Hope, VA, on April 27th, 1928 to Harper P. Houff and Anna Elizabeth Willberger. He graduated from The College of William and Mary in 1950 with a Bachelor of Science in Chemistry. In 1952, he received a Master’s of Science in Chemistry, and in 1955, a Ph.D. in Chemistry, both from Michigan State University. He then worked as a chemist in Michigan, New York, and California, respectively, from 1958 to 1964. Rev. Houff graduated from Starr King School for the Ministry, with a Bachelor in Divinity, in 1964.

Ordained to the Unitarian Universalist ministry in 1964, Rev. Houff served the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Redwood City, CA from 1964 to 1968, the Shoreline Unitarian Universalist Church of Shoreline, WA from 1968-1973, and the Unitarian Universalist Church of Spokane, WA from 1973-1988. Rev. Houff was certified as an Accredited Interim Minister in 1992. He served as interim minister for the First Unitarian Universalist Church of Winnipeg, MB from 1988-1989, the Unitarian Universalist Church of Greensboro in Jamestown, NC from 1989 to 1990, the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Asheville, NC from 1990-1991, the Unitarian Church of Vancouver, BC from 1991 to 1993 and the University Unitarian Church of Seattle, WA from 1997 to 1999. In 1988, he was honored with the title of Minister Emeritus by the Unitarian Universalist Church of Spokane. Rev. Houff wrote a book entitled Infinity in Your Hand: A Guide for the Spiritually Curious; the book was published by Melior Publications in 1989 and Skinner House Books in 1990.

Rev. Houff dedicated much of his time to Unitarian Universalism, and served the denomination in various capacities. He was a regular participant in Pacific Northwest Division Unitarian Universalist Ministers Association chapter meetings from 1968 to 1988, and was a member of the Pacific Northwest Division Nominating Committee. Rev. Houff served as President of the Bay Area Ministers Association from 1964 to 1965, Chair of the Pacific Central District Personnel Committee from 1964 to 1965, Member and Chair of the Student Affairs Committee at Starr King School from 1967 to 1970, and Workshop Leader for the Unitarian Universalist Minsters Association Continuing Education, Network, Training, Enrichment and Renewal (CENTER) Committee from 1968 to 1988.

Rev. Houff was deeply committed to social justice. Along with other Unitarian Universalist ministers, he traveled to Selma, Alabama in 1965 for the Selma to Montgomery March. Several years later, he marched in San Francisco to protest the Vietnam War and the use of Napalm on the people of Vietnam. In 1984, at the Spokane Unitarian Universalist Church, Rev. Houff delivered a sermon titled, "Silent Holocaust,” in which he described the life-threatening negligence of the nuclear industry. The sermon served as a catalyst for the formation of the Handford Education Action League (HEAL), a grassroots nuclear concern group. Rev. Houff was a founder and leader of the group.

Rev. Houff’s friends and family remember his strong connection to his rural Southern roots, despite his departure from his family’s working farm at age eighteen. Following his move to Spokane in 1972, Rev. Houff acquired a forty acre farm, which he named "The Still Point.” He constructed the main farmhouse and several other outbuildings. He was interested in photography, reading, carpentry, farming, and backpacking.

Rev. Houff is survived by sons Konrad Crist (Karen Campbell), Gregory Houff (Starla), Robert Houff, and by his stepchildren. He is also survived by his grandchildren Torin, Marina, and Trevor. Rev. Houff was preceded in death by his parents, his sister Anna Lee, and his beloved wife, Patricia "Patty” Meagher McTigue.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Inland Northwest Land Trust, 33 W. Main Ave. Spokane, WA 99201-1017.Notes of condolences may be sent in care of Greg Houff, 1002 Golden Hills Drive, Cheney, WA. 99004.

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In Memory of . . . Gordon B. McKeeman (1920-2013)

Posted By Administration, Thursday, January 16, 2014

The Rev. Dr. Gordon Butler "Bucky” McKeeman died on December 18th, 2013 at the age of 93.

Gordon was born in Lynn, MA, on September 12th, 1920 to William Neil and Lena Mabel (Goodridge) McKeeman. He graduated from Lynn English High School in 1938, and from Salem State College, with a B. S. in Education, in 1942.

Gordon went on to receive his Masters Degree in 1945 from the Universalist School of Religion at Tufts University. In 1969, he earned an Honorary Doctorate from Meadville Lombard Theological School.

Ordained to the Universalist ministry in 1945, Rev. McKeeman served All Souls Universalist Church of Worcester, MA from 1944 - 1950, First Parish Universalist Church of Stoughton, MA from 1950 - 1955, St. Paul’s Church of Palmer, MA from 1955 - 1961, and the Unitarian Universalist Church of Akron, OH from 1961 - 1983. In 1984, he was named Minister Emeritus of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Akron, OH. In 1983, he accepted the invitation to serve as the President of Starr King School for the Ministry in Berkeley, CA, and he did so faithfully until 1988. His influence on the nature and shape of Unitarian Universalist ministry endures.

Rev. McKeeman engaged civic life with zeal. He held various offices on the Unity Community Council, served as a Board member for the Akron Rotary Club, founded the Fair Housing Contact Service, and founded the Planned Parenthood Association of Akron OH. He was also an adjunct faculty member at the University of Akron, OH.

Heavily invested in and committed to the denomination, Rev. McKeeman served as Vice President of the Massachusetts Universalist Convention, and President of the Massachusetts Universalist Ministers’ Association. Along with his wife, Phyllis, he served as Youth Leader at Ferry Beach. Additionally, he was the President of the Ohio-Meadville District, Vice President and President of the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee, and Vice Moderator of the Unitarian Universalist Association’s Board of Trustees. Additionally, he ran for Presidency of the Unitarian Universalist Association. Rev. McKeeman received the Angus H. MacLean Award from the Unitarian Universalist Association in 1982, and was the Berry Street Conference Essayist in 1993. Together with his wife Phyllis, he was awarded the UUA Distinguished Service Award in 1993.

Rev. McKeeman placed tremendous value on lay ministry. The Ohio Meadville District’s Commissioned Lay Leader program is an outgrowth of his grounding in Universalism and his understanding regarding the importance of strong lay leadership and the need for leadership that emerges from within congregations.

His unceasing commitment to Universalism led to his being a charter member of The Humiliati (the humble ones). The group, formed in 1945, "stressed that human beings are impelled, not compelled, by the power of God to fulfill the good potential of their lives. The impulse toward wholeness in humanity is predisposed to good, though it can be weakened or distorted by chaos and conflict. Authentic worship keeps it alive and restores its integrity.” By the time The Humiliati disbanded in 1954, Rev. McKeeman was elected as their lifetime Abbot. During the last few years of his life, Rev. McKeeman wistfully reflected upon being the last living member of The Humilati.

Rev. McKeeman belonged to the ministerial study group, The Fraters of the Wayside Inn. The group was founded by Universalist ministers in 1903 and succeeding the 1961 merger of Universalism and Unitarianism, expanded to include individuals ordained in the Unitarian ministry as well as those ordained in the new denomination. Rev. McKeeman advocated for the election of women into the group; in 1989, The Fraters’ membership expanded to include women. The Fraters of Wayside Inn was very important to Rev. McKeeman, and into the last few years of his life he treasured mementos and keepsakes he gathered during his years with the group.

Rev. McKeeman’s passion for ministry impacted innumerable lives. In the beloved meditation manual Out of the Ordinary: Meditations, he wrote:

Ministry is
a quality of relationship between and among
human beings
that beckons forth hidden possibilities.

Inviting people into deeper, more constant
more reverent relationship with the world
and with one another.

Carrying forward a long heritage of hope and
liberation that has dignified and informed
the human venture over many centuries.
Being present with, to, and for others
in their terrors and torments
in their grief, misery and pain.

Knowing that those feelings
are our feelings, too.

Celebrating the triumphs of the human spirit
the miracles of birth and life
the wonders of devotion and sacrifice.

Witnessing to life-enhancing values
speaking truth to power
standing for human dignity and equity
for compassion and aspiration.

Believing in life in the presence of death
struggling for human responsibility
against principalities and structures
that ignore humaneness and become
instruments of death.

It is all these and much, much more than all of
them, present in
the wordless
the unspoken
the ineffable.

It is speaking and living the highest we know
and living with the knowledge that it is
never as deep, or as wide
or a high as we wish.

Whenever there is a meeting
that summons us to our better selves, wherever
our lostness is found
our fragments are united
or our wounds begin healing
our spines stiffen and
our muscles grow strong for the task

There is ministry.

Gordon is survived by his loving wife of 69 years, Phyllis; sons, Bruce, Glenn, and Randall; four grandchildren; and sister, Gloria King. Gordon was preceded in death by his parents.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee or to the charity of donor's choice. To share a special memory or condolence, please visit http://www.ranfranzandvinefh.com/obits/obituary.php?id=417633

"We are lovers, we say Yes to each other. Yes to life—to more and more of life—to its brevity, its grief, its disappointments. To its possibilities, its magnificence, its glory. We quarrel—because we glimpse further possibilities, the non-sense—and wish to lay claim to it. We remember death, and that life is brief, and that the time for love is now and more is possible. One more step toward the holy. It is to know the peace that passes understanding and that there is no peace. It is to love others as they are, warts and all, and to believe that more is possible, and to bespeak that wanting. It is to pray "Give us this day our daily bread….” and to know that we do not live by bread alone. It is to remember death, and to love life and to accept them both as holy.”

The Reverend Gordon Butler "Bucky” McKeeman, Berry Street Lecture, 1993

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In Memory of . . . Robert L. Hadley (1928-2012)

Posted By Administration, Thursday, September 12, 2013

The Rev. Robert L. Hadley died on December 28, 2012. He was 84 years old.

Rev. Hadley was born in Leominster, MA on February 21, 1928 to Eleanor and Lawrence Hadley. He graduated with a Bachelor of Arts from Yale University in 1950. He went on to attain a Bachelor of Sacred Theology from Harvard Divinity School in 1956 and a Master of Sacred Theology from Boston University School of Theology in 1977.

Rev. Hadley was ordained on June 17, 1956 at the First Congregational Society in Leominster, MA. In 1956, he began a remarkable 31 years of service to the First Church Unitarian in Littleton, MA, finishing his time there in 1987. Then, from 1987-1991, he served as minister of the Maumee Valley Unitarian Universalist Congregation in Perrysburg, OH; and from 1991-1994, he served as minister of the Universalist Meeting House in Provincetown, MA. Lastly, he served as minister of the First Parish Church in Fitchburg, MA from 1995 until his retirement in 2002. The First Unitarian Church in Littleton, MA and the First Parish Church in Fitchburg, MA named Rev. Hadley Minister Emeritus in 1998 and 2002, respectively.

Committed to the denomination, Rev. Hadley served as: a member of the UUMA’s Member Insurance Committee from 1974-1977; a Ministerial Settlement Representative in the Massachusetts Central District from 1982-1985; and a member of the UUA AIDS Task Force from 1985-1986.

Throughout his life, Rev. Hadley was also heavily involved in his communities. He served as president of the Central Middlesex Mental Health Association from 1974-1977. He was also a founding member of the Emerson Hospital Hospice, and served on its board from 1978-1981.

Those who knew Rev. Hadley, will remember his love of nature and his passion for restoration. He restored the gardens around a housing complex in which he lived during Hurricane Wilma. He and his life partner, Jimmy, took on all of the costs and labor, themselves, as well as the upkeep afterwards. They also restored a historic, landmark house and garden in Provincetown, MA. Certainly both a natural and spiritual experience, Rev. Hadley once referred to his garden as "an expression of God.”

Rev. Hadley is survived by daughter, Amy Hadley; son, Thomas Hadley; son, Peter Hadley; grandchildren, Maya and Rosa; former wife, Pat Hadley; and life partner, Jimmy Sullivan.

A memorial service took place on March 16, 2013 at 11:00 a.m. at the First Church Unitarian, 19 Foster Street, Littleton, MA 01460.

Notes of condolence may be sent to Jimmy Sullivan at 130 Dartmouth St., Apt. 407, Boston, MA 02116.

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In Memory of . . . Philip R. Giles (1917-2013)

Posted By Administration, Wednesday, August 7, 2013

The Rev. Dr. Philip Randall Giles died on July 2, 2013 at the age of 96. Dr. Giles was born in Haverhill, MA on January 23, 1917 to Ina (Butler) and Nelson Giles. He graduated with a Bachelor of Arts from Tufts College and a Bachelor of Sacred Theology from Crane Theological School, both in 1942. He is the recipient of honorary degrees from Tufts College in 1958 and St. Lawrence University in 1961.

Dr. Giles was ordained by the Massachusetts Universalist Convention in Southbridge, MA on May 10, 1942. He served the Universalist Church in Southbridge, MA from 1939-1942. From 1946-1949, he served the White Memorial Universalist Church in Concord, NH.

In 1949, Dr. Giles began a 25-year career in the executive offices of the Universalist Church of America (UCA) and the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA). From 1949-1951, he was Director of the Unified Appeal of the UCA; from 1953-1954, he served as Assistant to the General Superintendent of the UCA; and from 1954 until his election as the UCA’s General Superintendent in 1957, he served as Director of the UCA’s Departments of Ministry and Extension.

Charles Howe’s book, The Larger Faith, states:

The new superintendent was determined that whether or not it eventually merged with the Unitarians, the Universalist Church of America should be strengthened in every possible way. His efforts bore fruits. By the time Giles left office, many of the detailed recommendations made by a management consulting firm has been implemented; a number of congregations had erected new buildings, and others had renovated their existing facilities; a development program had been initiated to strengthen the denomination’s financial base; the format and contents of both The Universalist Leader and the annual yearbook had been significantly improved; the Universalist Publishing House had been revitalized, and several basic books on Universalism had been produced; and communications within the denomination had been substantially strengthened.

In 1961, after helping to steer the final stages of the consolidation of the UCA and the American Unitarian Association (AUA) to form the UUA, Dr. Giles became the UUA Vice President for Field Relations. He remained in that position until 1963, when he became the District Executive of the Joseph Priestly District. In 1970, he returned to UUA headquarters as the Vice President for Development, remaining there until 1974.

Wishing to return to parish ministry, Dr. Giles served as minister of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Muncie, IN from 1974-1978. He then served the First Universalist Church of Denver, CO from 1978-1982; and the Unitarian Universalist Church of Corpus Christi from 1982-1983. He began a career in interim ministry and served the Unitarian Universalist Meeting House in Providence, RI from 1983-1984; the Croydon Unitarian Church in Croydon, England, from 1984-1985; First Parish in Needham, Unitarian Universalist, in Needham, MA from 1985-1986; the Melrose Unitarian Universalist Church in Melrose, MA throughout 1986; the First Unitarian Universalist Society of Middleboro, MA from 1987-1988; the Unitarian Universalist Church of Corpus Christi during the winters of 1988-1990; and the Unitarian Church of Barnstable, MA from 1992-1993. He was named Minister Emeritus of the First Universalist Church of Denver in 1988.

A veteran of World War II and the Korean War (during which he was a Wing Chaplain at James Connolly AFB in Waco, Texas), Dr. Giles retired in 1977 with the rank of Colonel in the United States Air Force Reserve.

Dr. Giles came from a family of outdoor enthusiasts. He enjoyed camping, birding, fishing, and swimming. He and his family spent summers at various Universalist and Unitarian camps, institutes and retreat centers around the country. He led workshops at Ferry Beach and Star Island in Maine, Camp Unirondack in the Adirondack Mountains of New York, Bridgman on Lake Michigan, and the Rocky Mountain District summer institute at Estes Park, CO.

A family member noted,

His commitment to the liberal religious movement mirrored his philosophy that each generation is responsible to help succeeding generations move forward. He always said, "Your generation doesn’t owe anything to mine. We hold you on our shoulders and you will do the same for your children.”

Dr. Giles’ tract on liberal religion, The Liberal Way in Religion, was published in 1963 by Beacon Press.

In a letter of sympathy to an old friend, Dr. Giles once wrote,

I have never been able to bid adieu, even for a time, gracefully and easily. It has always been easier to take refuge in a casual "See you later.” But that won’t do now…I have often wished I could take comfort in the Christian myth of immortality. But my mind won’t permit it. My comfort has to be with those we leave behind—immortality enough for me—but it does not assuage the hurt, the grief, the loss when dear ones go on ahead. It’s a lonely business, made tolerable only by the evergreen memories and pride of having been the recipient of their trust and love and friendship.

Dr. Giles is survived by his daughters, Lee Giles Hirstein and Susan Giles Godsey; two grandchildren; and one great-grandchild.

A memorial service will be held at a later date in St. Albans, ME.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to The Society for Ministerial Relief c/o Glen Snowden, Secretary, 34 Meeting House Ln #201, Stow, MA 01775.

Notes of condolence may be sent to Lee Giles Hirstein at 2442 Charleston Drive, #6, Schaumburg, IL 60193; or Susan Giles Godsey at P.O. Box 128, Nehalem, OR 97131.

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In Memory of . . . Frederick E. Gillis (1940-2013)

Posted By Administration, Wednesday, August 7, 2013

The Rev. Frederick Ellsworth Gillis died on July 14, 2013 at the age of 72. Rev. Gillis was born in Cambridge, MA on December 12, 1940 to Amy (Mann) and Raymond Gillis. He graduated with a Bachelor of Science from Tufts University in 1962. He went on to earn a Bachelor of Sacred Theology from Harvard Divinity School in 1965.

Rev. Gillis was ordained at the Channing Unitarian Church in Rockland, MA on April 24, 1966 where he also served as its minister from 1965-1969. He went on to serve as minister of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada from 1969-1977; and the Westminster Unitarian Church of East Greenwich, RI from 1977-2003. He then served as interim minister of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Rutland, VT from 2003-2004; and the Peterborough Unitarian Universalist Church of Peterborough, NH from 2005-2006. He was honored with the title of Minister Emeritus of the Westminster Unitarian Church of East Greenwich, RI in 2003. Rev. Gillis officially retired from ministry in 2006.

Rev. Gillis faithfully served both his denomination and his community. He served as Chair of the Fair Housing and Human Rights Association in Rockland, MA from 1966-1967; and as a board member (1971-1973) and then as the Vice President (1972-1973) of the Metro Area Family Planning Association in Halifax, Nova Scotia. He also served on the Board of Directors of the Canadian Unitarian Council from 1974-1977; and was an active (and founding) member of the Unitarian Universalist liturgical group, the Congregation of Abraxas from 1975-1988. From 1978-1982, Rev. Gillis served on the UUA Commission on Common Worship; as well the Board (1979-1982), Vice President (1979), and President (1980-1983) of the Memorial Society of Rhode Island. Later, he was elected Treasurer (1968), Vice President (1986-1988), and President (1988-1989) of the Ballou Channing Chapter of the Unitarian Universalist Ministers Association (UUMA); and served on the Executive Board of the UUMA at large from 1989-1991.

With a passion for music – especially organs and organ music – he designed and built his own organ, and helped to design and build the organ at the Westminster Church in East Greenwich, RI. He loved the outdoors and could often be found hiking, kayaking and bird watching on camping trips with his family in Newark Pond, VT.

Rev. Gillis was a 42-year member (as well as a "saint”) of the Greenfield Group: the oldest Unitarian Universalist study group in North America.

Rev. Gillis is survived by his wife, Judy Stewart Gillis; former wife, Kate Gillis; son Andrew Gillis and wife, Karen; son Duncan Gillis and wife, Vanessa; stepdaughter, Tracy Terry and husband, Marc; stepdaughter, Gillian Edeus and husband, Leif; stepdaughter, Erin Stewart and husband, Jeff; and grandchildren, Meghan, Bailey, Fiona, Lizzie, Caroline, Maddy, Matthew, Cate, Philip, and Henry.

A memorial service will be held on Saturday, September 14 at 2:00 p.m. at the Westminster Unitarian Church, 119 Kenyon Ave., East Greenwich, RI 02818.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the UUA Living Tradition Fund, P.O. Box 843154, Boston, MA, 02284; or to Lewy Body Research, MGH Development Office, Attn: Shawn Fitzgibbons, 165 Cambridge St., Suite 600, Boston, MA.

Notes of condolence may be sent to Judy Gillis at 6 Wildemere Terrace, Concord, NH 03301; or via email at jsgillis@comcast.net.

May the Love which overcomes all differences,

which heals all wounds,

which puts to flight all fears,

which reconciles all who are separated,

be in us and among us

now and always.

- The Rev. Frederick E. Gills

Reading #694, Singing the Living Tradition

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In Memory of... Andrew G. Rosenberger (1918-2013)

Posted By Administration, Friday, July 12, 2013

The Rev. Andrew George Rosenberger died on May 31, 2013 at the age of 94.

Rev. Rosenberger was born in Oak Park, IL on August 21, 1918 to Emily Williams and Andrew Fretz Rosenberger. He graduated with a Bachelor of Arts from Harvard College in 1941. He went on to earn a Bachelor of Sacred Theology from Harvard Divinity School in 1944.

Rev. Rosenberger was ordained at the First Congregational Unitarian Church of Northborough, MA on June 25, 1944. He served the First Congregational Unitarian Church of Northborough, MA from 1944-1950. Later, he served the First Parish Church of Groton, MA from 1963-1979. He was honored with the titles of Minister Emeritus of the First Congregational Unitarian Church of Northborough (now the First Parish Northborough, Unitarian Universalist) in 1950; and of the First Parish in Groton in 1979. He officially retired from ministry in 1979.

An early advocate of healthy living, in 1961 Rev. Rosenberger published Eat Your Way to Better Health (Bobbs-Merrill, 1961), a healthy food and lifestyle manual. He continued to lecture across the country on health and nutrition.

In 1983, Rev. Rosenberger purchased Hillbrook Orchards, an apple orchard in Groton, MA. He became a committed conservationist. Rev. Rosenberger would often lead sunrise worship services among the apple blossoms from the top of the Orchard’s highest hill.

Rev. Rosenberger spent a lifetime actively involved in various civic causes. For over 50 years, Rev. Rosenberger served as Chair of the Board of Trustees of the Protestant Guild for the Blind, which served children at the Perkins School for the Blind as well as other visually handicapped and blind people. He was also President of the Wellesley, MA School Board; a founding member of the Unitarian Christian Fellowship in Groton, MA; and President of the Groton Council of Churches, also in Groton, MA.

On the subject of gratitude, Rev. Rosenberger once noted:

If I were to make a short list of my gratitude to others at this time, it would include: my mother and father whose faith, hope, love and benevolent spirit inspired me to enter the ministry; Harvard College and Harvard Divinity School which helped me to prepare for that sacred calling; my marriage to Willamena Parks whom I had courted for three years at Radcliffe before our wedding at Christ Church in Cambridge a week after graduation; and the intimate contacts with men and women and children in the churches I served in nearly every condition and circumstance, sharing their births and deaths, hopes and fears, joys and sorrows, successes and disappointments, as I tried in some small measure to help make their lives a little better and more meaningful… The longer I live, the more important it seems to me for all of us to be engaged in some form of human service. To find real satisfaction and true peace of mind, we have to recognize at least a few of the endless opportunities to fulfill our obligation to life by tangibly reaching out to the physically and mentally challenged – the often forgotten people who need our help so badly, more than ever, because of the systematic reduction in public funding for their care and support. When Billie and I look at our fifty five years of happily married life together with our four children and their spouses, our ten grandchildren, and our great grandchild, all of whom have filled our lives with abiding joy, we enter our golden years together with heartfelt thanks for all our blessings and with great expectations for the days ahead.

Rev. Rosenberger is survived by daughter, Wilhelmina Gustavson; sons, Eric Rosenberger, Karl Rosenberger, and Leif Rosenberger; ten grandchildren; and five great grandchildren. He was predeceased by his wife, Willamena "Billie” Rosenberger.

There was a memorial service June 8, 2013 at the First Parish Church in Groton, MA.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the First Parish Church, 1 Powder House Rd., Groton, MA 01450.

Notes of condolence may be sent to Eric Rosenberger at 29 Auburn St, Concord, NH 03301; or via email at edfirst@aol.com.

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In Memory of . . . Richard E. Benner (1942-2013)

Posted By Administration, Monday, June 17, 2013

The Rev. Richard Elden Benner died on May 18, 2013 at the age of 70.


Rev. Benner was born in Bangor, ME on May 30, 1942 to Anne and Elden Benner. He graduated with a Bachelor of Science and a Master of Education from the University of Maine in 1964 and 1969, respectively. He went on to attain a Master of Divinity from Bangor Theological Seminary in 1974.


Rev. Benner was ordained at the First Universalist church of Westbrook, ME on June 16, 1974. He was first called to the Unitarian Universalist Church of Fort Myers, FL from 1974-1979. He then went on to serve the Unitarian Universalist Church of Central Nassau in Garden City, NY from 1979-1987. In 1987, he began 11 years of service as the minister of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Sarasota, FL. He left there in 1998 to begin his final ministry at the First Unitarian Church of Omaha NE. He served there until his retirement in 2005.


Rev. Benner faithfully served both his denomination and his community. He spent two terms as President of the UUA’s Florida District. He also served as President of the Sarasota Council of Concern; founding member of the Sarasota Interfaith Education Coalition (SURE); and served on the Board of Directors of the Sarasota Family Counseling Center. Due to his belief in preserving and promoting freedom of choice and dignity at the end of life, he served as the President of the Hemlock Society of Florida as well as is first Floridian chapter, Suncoast Hemlock.


A devoted follower of the renowned psychotherapist Carl Jung, Rev. Benner taught classes based on Jung's work and attended the C. G. Jung Institute in Switzerland. He was also a founding member of the C.G. Jung Society of Sarasota, FL.


Rev. Benner enjoyed foreign films, British and Scandinavian television series, and Civil War history. A true dog lover, he would often fondly recall memories of his late, beloved, golden retriever, Josh, named after Civil War hero and Maine native, Joshua Chamberlain. Many knew of his poetic gift, and the "humanity, compassion, and wit he was able to convey through his work.” He published several books of poetry based on his experiences in the state of Maine: Maine Moods, Living Double, and Night Songs.


Rev. Benner is survived by his loving wife of 47 years, Susan Benner; sons, Christopher Benner and Andrew Benner; and granddaughter, Sophia Benner.


There was a memorial service on May 25, 2013 at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Sarasota, FL.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Unitarian Universalist Church of Sarasota.

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In Memory of . . . Byron E. Kelham (1927-2013)

Posted By Administration, Monday, June 17, 2013

The Ministries and Faith Development staff offers our condolences to the family and colleagues of the Rev. Byron E. Kelham who died on April 14, 2013 at the age of 86.

Rev. Kelham was born in Troy, ID on February 28, 1927 to Alva (Cartwright) and Edward Kelham. He attained his Bachelor of Science degree from Lewis & Clark College in 1952. He went on to earn a Bachelor of Divinity from Star King School for the Ministry in 1955.

Rev. Kelham was ordained at the First Unitarian Church of Dallas, TX on October 17, 1955. He was first called to serve the First Unitarian Church of Pittsburgh from 1964-1968. He also served the First Unitarian Society of Pueblo, CO from 1981-1988. He retired from ministry in 1992.

Because serving his communities and social justice were such important causes to Rev. Kelham, he found meaning in his time served on the boards of the Danbury, CT branch of the NAACP and the Human Relations Council. He also served as the Chairman of the Chaplains’ Association of the Carnegie Institute of Technology.

About the roles of minister and congregation, Rev. Kelham once wrote:

As I see it, it is the prime functions of the church to help its members find a core of meaning around which the various fragments of their lives may be unified. Ideally, the minister should exemplify such a unified, "whole” life. Out of the strength and experience this gives him, he should, by means of ritual, preaching, and counseling, help others to achieve the same.

In so doing, the church and minister must at times vigorously protest and seek to correct those elements in our society, those demands, which are truly incompatible with such wholeness; prejudice, injustice, etc.

Rev. Kelham is survived by his wife, Ethyl Kelham; daughters, Rebecca Claussen, Cara Henderson, and Leslie Kelham; seven grandchildren; and one great-grandchild.

A memorial service was held on Thursday, April 25, 2013 at the First Unitarian Society of Pueblo, 110 S. LaCrosse Ave., Pueblo, CO 81001.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to The Society for Ministerial Relief C/O Glen Snowden, Secretary, 34 Meeting House Lane, #201, Stow, MA 01775.

Notes of condolence may be sent to Leslie Kelham at 135 Vernon Pl., Pueblo, CO 81004.

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In Memory of . . . Charles O. Richardson, Jr. (1915-2013)

Posted By Administration, Monday, May 20, 2013

The Rev. Charles O. Richardson, Jr. died on April 5, 2013 at the age of 97.

Rev. Richardson was born in Weston, MA on August 26, 1915 to Laura (Woodworth) and Charles O. Richardson. He graduated with a Bachelor of Arts from Harvard College in 1937. He went on to attain a Bachelor of Sacred Theology from Harvard Divinity School in 1949.

Ordained at the First Parish Church of Stow, MA in 1949, Rev. Richardson served as its minister until 1953. He then went on to serve the First Parish Unitarian Church in Canton, MA from 1953-1957. He served as interim minister of Unitarian Universalist Church of Nashua, NH and the First Parish of Stow, MA in 1957 and 1958, respectively. He moved on to serve the Unitarian Universalist Church of South Acton, MA from 1958-1960; and followed that with interim ministry positions at the First Parish of Groton, MA in 1960; and the Unitarian Church of Dublin, NH in 1961. From 1962-1972, he served the First Unitarian Congregational Society of Wilton Center, NH; and from 1974-1976, he served the Brookfield Unitarian Universalist Church in Brookfield, MA. Finally, in for a few months in 1982-1983, he returned to the First Unitarian Congregational Society of Wilton Center, NH and served as their interim minister. The church had previously honored him in 1972 by bestowing him with the title of Minister Emeritus. He officially retired in 1985.

Having explored other careers and pathways in his earlier life, Rev. Richardson worked for the Boston Herald Traveler newspaper for several years after receiving his undergraduate degree. He eventually left to join the Navy during World War II.

Rev. Richardson’s interests ran the gamut, and he was actively involved in various organizations throughout his lifetime such as the Freemasons and Lions Club. A man with a dynamic and inquisitive mind, Rev. Richardson truly enjoyed reading about and debating theological and political subjects. He was also an eager fan of the Boston Red Sox as well as the Harvard football team. He absolutely loved live theatre, and performed for years in local, community theatre productions.

"Corry” (as he was known to friends and loved ones) vacationed with his family for many wonderful years at his home in Kennebunk Beach, ME. His family, friends, and caregivers at Summerhill Assisted Living will remember him fondly.

Rev. Richardson is survived by his son, Charles O. Richardson, III; daughters, Penelope Richardson Tarrant and Elizabeth Richardson Paré; grandchildren, Joshua C. Tarrant, Callan E. Richardson, Alexander G. Paré and Carter C. Richardson; and sisters, Mabel C. Richardson, Laura R. Payson, and Lucy Rand and her husband Theodore G. Rand. He was predeceased by his wife of 60 years, Elizabeth H. Richardson.

There was a memorial service on Saturday, June 1, 2013 at the First Unitarian Congregational Society of Wilton Center in Wilton, NH.

Notes of condolence may be sent to Charles O. Richardson, III at 305 Guyette Rd., East Montpelier, VT 05651.

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