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In Memory of . . . John F. "Jack" Hayward (1918-2012)

Posted By Administration, Friday, November 9, 2012

The Rev. Dr. John F. "Jack” Hayward died on September 24, 2012. He was 94 years old.

Rev. Hayward was born in Winthrop, MA on May 8, 1918 to Catherine and Frank Hayward. He graduated with an A.B. from Harvard University in 1940. He went on to attain a B.D. from Meadville Theological School in 1943 and a Ph.D. from the University of Chicago Divinity School in 1949. Finally, in 1968, he earned a D.D. from Meadville Lombard Theological School.

Rev. Hayward was ordained on June 10, 1943. He served as a military chaplain in the United States Naval Reserve and later, in the Marines, from 1943-1946. He was called to serve as minister of the First Unitarian Church in Columbus, OH from 1948-1951. He then began his career in higher education at the University of Chicago, serving as an Assistant Professor of Religion and Art from 1951-1956 and as an Assistant Professor of Philosophical Theology from 1956-1961. He went on to work as an Associate Professor of Theology at Meadville Lombard Theological School from 1961-1968. In the years spanning 1968-1983, he served as the Chair of the Department of Religious Study at Southern Illinois University. He retired in 1983.

A passionate writer on the power of the ongoing relationship between art, mythology and religious life, Rev. Hayward’s words were published in Through the Rose Window: Art, Myth and the Religious Imagination (Skinner House, 1980), a collection of sermons that span over 30 years. Earlier in his career, he also wrote Existentialism and Religious Liberalism (Beacon Press, 1962).

Rev. Hayward was a proud, founding member of Prairie Group. He served as the Scribe for over 20 years, and received Emeritus status from them upon his retirement from the group after 54 years.

Rev. Hayward’s chief delight while at Harvard University was being in the Harvard Glee Club. He sang in public concerts, including a few with the Boston Symphony. A life-long devotion to the arts – specifically classical music – led Rev. Hayward and his first wife, Muriel Sternglanz Hayward, to establish the Southern Illinois Chamber Music Society, which still performs at the Carbondale Unitarian Fellowship today.

Regarding a performance of Hamlet that he attended when he was much younger, Rev. Hayward once wrote,

I can still see in my mind’s eye an almost totally dark stage where an invisible Hamlet was speaking with the equally invisible ghost of his royal father. All of heaven, hell, life, and death had to be visualized by the movement of Hamlet’s two small hands. Nevertheless, the eloquence was there to prove it possible that each of us, before we die, may hope to believe that life is beautiful, terrifying, and self-justifying, and that gratitude for life itself is our best way of saying farewell.

Rev. Hayward is survived by his loving wife, Lois Hayward; daughter, Miriam Hayward and her husband, Rick Herbert; son, David Goodward and his wife, Margaret; grandchildren, Megan Hayward, Zachary Hayward, Joseph Herbert, Gina Hayward, Gavin Goodward, and Jenna Goodward; and great-grandson, Jaden. He was predeceased by his sons, Peter Hayward and Steven Hayward; and his beloved first wife, Muriel Sternglanz Hayward.

A memorial service will take place on November 3, 2012 at 1:30 p.m. at the Carbondale Unitarian Fellowship, 105 North Parrish Lane, Carbondale, IL 62901.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to any of the following organizations:

Southern Illinois Chamber Music Society, School of Music, Altgeld Hall, Mail Code 4302, Southern Illinois University, 1000 S. Normal Ave., Carbondale, IL 62901;

TIP Hospice of Southern Illinois, 707 Walnut St., Murphysboro, IL 62966;

Paul Simon Public Policy Institute, 1231 Lincoln Drive, Mail Code 4429, Southern Illinois University, Carbondale, IL 62901;

Good Samaritan Ministries of Carbondale, 701 South Marion St., Carbondale, IL 62901.

Notes of condolence may be sent to Lois Hayward at 1020 Villa Ct., Carbondale, IL 62901.

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In Memory of . . . Steven C. Reinhartsen (1951-2012)

Posted By Administration, Thursday, September 20, 2012

The Reverend Steven C. Reinhartsen died unexpectedly at home on September 14, 2012. He was 61 years old.

Rev. Reinhartsen was born in Amityville, NY on June 7, 1951. He attained his Bachelor of Science degree from Valparaiso University in 1973. In 1981, he went on to earn a Master of Education from the University of North Carolina, Greensboro. Finally, in 1997, he earned a Master of Divinity from Duke University.

Rev. Reinhartsen was ordained on January 12, 2003 at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Greensboro, NC. A community minister, he spent over two decades as a career counselor to students at Alamance Community College. Recruited by a small group of Unitarian Universalist residents to help form the UU Fellowship of Twin Lakes in January 2000, he also provided spiritual leadership and preaching to the Unitarian Universalist group at Twin Lakes Retirement Center in Elon, NC.

Rev. Reinhartsen’s life experiences were vast, including years of travel and adventure. During and after college, he hitchhiked across the U.S. twice; studied for a semester in Germany; and spend two years teaching in Australia. He and his wife, Mary, travelled extensively throughout their years together. They visited nearly every major national park, and also travelled to places such as Paris, London, Santa Fe, Costa Rica, Niagara Falls, Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver.

Rev. Reinhartsen enjoyed jogging, hiking, golfing, landscaping, fantasy baseball, and a good bottle of red wine. Described as a "quiet, wise, kind man,” he made those that knew him "feel at ease from the beginning” with his "calm nature.” A friend noted, "Steve was such a thoughtful person and so many people will always remember him for that.”

Rev. Reinhartsen is survived by his wife, Mary Davis; a son, Karl Reinhartsen; a brother, Paul Reinhartsen; a brother, Lars and his wife Gretchen Reinhartsen; as well as nieces Rois, Maja, and Zoe.

A memorial service was held on Tuesday, September 18, 2012 at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Greensboro in Jamestown, NC.

As many of his friends, colleagues and family knew, Rev. Reinhartsen was passionate about the work-study program at Alamance Community College and how beneficial it was for students to hone their skills before entering the workforce. In honor of this legacy of passionate advocacy for students, the College has created the Steven Reinhartsen Memorial Scholarship. This scholarship will benefit work-study students at ACC and help with tuition, books and emergency expenses. Donations for the Steven Reinhartsen Memorial Scholarship may be sent (with "Reinhartsen Scholarship” in the memo line) to ACC Foundation, P.O. Box 8000, Graham, NC 27253.

Donations may also be made to the Unitarian Universalist Church of Greensboro, 5603 Hilltop Road, Jamestown, NC 27282

Notes of condolence may be sent to Mary Davis at 120 Forestview Dr., Elon, NC 27244.

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In Memory of . . . W. Edward Harris (1935-2012)

Posted By Administration, Friday, August 31, 2012

The Ministries and Faith Development staff offers our condolences to the family and colleagues of the Reverend W. Edward Harris who died on August 10, 2012. He was 77 years old.

Rev. Harris was born in Tampa, FL on June 17, 1935 to Ira Walter Harris and Ruth Hope Duss. Soon after, his father remarried and he was raised by Mary Elizabeth (Smith) Harris, whom he referred to as his mother. He attained his Bachelor of Arts degree from Birmingham-Southern College in 1957. In 1968, he went on to earn a Master of Divinity from Tufts University’s Crane Theological School. He received a Merrill Fellowship from Harvard Divinity School in 1980.

Rev. Harris was called by the Arlington Street Church in Boston, MA in 1967 (where he was also ordained on November 3, 1968) and served as the minister there until 1970. He was then called to the Unitarian Universalist Church of Urbana Champaign in Urbana, IL from 1970-1983. He experienced another long run as minister of All Souls Unitarian Church in Indianapolis, IN from 1984-1992. There, he was bestowed with the title of Minister Emeritus in 1992. He worked as an interim minister at Cedar Lane Unitarian Universalist Church in Bethesda, MD from 1992-1993; the Unitarian Church of Evanston, IL from 1993-1995; the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Shelter Rock in Manhasset, NY in 1997; and the Unitarian Universalist Church of Indianapolis, IN from 2003-2004. He also consulted on health care issues at the UUA from 1997-1998, and helped found the Unitarian Universalist Community Church of Hendricks County in Danville, IN.

Rev. Harris was a passionate civil rights and political activist. He was a founder and president of the Alabama Civil Liberties Union and also served on the board of the American Civil Liberties Union. He pioneered voter registration campaigns in Birmingham, AL following 1964’s Civil Rights Act. He was a board member of the Birmingham Council on Human Relations and served on Birmingham’s first Anti-Poverty Committee. Rev. Harris also worked on both the Kennedy-Johnson and the Johnson-Humphrey campaigns of the 1960s. He was chairman of the Illinois Committee for Jimmy Carter, and also served on the Democratic National Committee on the Platform and Credentials Sub-committee.

A dedicated and engaging writer and poet, Rev. Harris published seven books: Life Will Never Be the Same (1989); A Religion of the Heart (1990); A Garage Sale of the Mind (1991); A Midwife’s Tale and Other Christmas Stories (1994); How You Can Have a Good Day Everyday (even if you made other plans) (1995); The Way It Happened: Five Christmas Stories (1996); Miracle in Birmingham: a Civil Rights Memoir, 1954-1965 (2004); and The Wine of Astonishment (2010). Four short articles by Rev. Harris can also be found in the Walt Whitman Encyclopedia (1998).

Known to many as an "impressive, yet humble, man,” Rev. Harris has been described as having "enjoyed the fine art of good conversation” with "wonderful humor and storytelling.” He was noted to be "an ideal model for ministers who wonder how to maneuver through emeritus status.” To some he was a "wise mentor and teacher,” and to many, he will be remembered as "a man generous with joy.” His wife of 56 years, Sandra, remembers him simply as "a magnificent human being.”

Rev. Harris is survived by his wife, Sandra (Gutridge) Harris; two sons, Mark Emory Harris and Phillip Stone Harris; three grandchildren, Tabitha Grace Camp, Ian Dougherty-Harris, and Maya Dougherty-Harris; a brother, James Tyra Harris; a sister, Ruth Reader; a son-in-law, Steven Camp; and former daughter-in-law, Deborah Dougherty. He was predeceased by a daughter, Edith Harris Camp.

There will be a memorial service on September 8, 2012 at 2 p.m. at All Souls Unitarian Church, 5805 East 56th St., Indianapolis, IN 46226.

Notes of condolence may be sent to Sandra Harris at 5705 Crestview Avenue, Indianapolis, IN 46220.

This church is not a place of right convictions, a fortress of truth or even a bastion of philosophy.

The church is a community of those who have suffered loss, lived through it, and learned true compassion.

We have a sense of awe and mystery about this world and this enterprise of living.

Our church is where we hear music and sing it ourselves, where we serve one another and the world, and where the strands of our beliefs, our lives and hopes are in a cable strong enough to bear us across the valleys of pain, despair, grief, doubt and disillusionment.

Each has experienced these, or will. We learn from each, and for these reasons we come to this special place, infusing it with hope.

- W. Edward Harris, adapted

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In Memory of . . . William R. Jones (1933-2012)

Posted By Administration, Wednesday, August 15, 2012

The Reverend Dr. William Ronald Jones died on July 13, 2012 at the age of 78.

Rev. Jones was born in Louisville, KY on July 17, 1933 to Henry and Lannie (Brogsdale) Jones. Rev. Jones attained his Bachelor of Arts degree in Philosophy from Howard University in 1955. He then went on to earn a Master of Divinity from Harvard University in 1958, and a Ph.D. in Religious Studies from Brown University in 1969.

Rev. Jones was ordained by the Unitarian Society of Wellesley Hills, MA on June 15, 1958. From 1958-1960, he was the Assistant Minister and Director of Religious Education at the First Unitarian Church in Providence, RI. From 1977-2012, he served as a community minister at Florida State University. Notably, he was a member of the UUA Board of Trustees from 1993-2000, and worked with the Liberal Religious Educators Association (LREDA) to develop resources for professional religious educators.

Rev. Jones authored articles regarding oppression and the church’s role in social change. His work has been the subject of a vast number of newspaper and journal articles as well as dissertations. In 1978, he co-edited Black Theology II, and in 1973, Beacon Press published Rev. Jones’ controversial piece, Is God A White Racist? A Preamble to Black Theology.

In his seminal work, Is God A White Racist?, Rev. Jones introduced the thesis for his life’s work:

It has often been said that asking the right question is as important as supplying the correct answer. Whether correct or incorrect, this generalization describes the purpose in the following pages. To paraphrase Kant’s admonition, my objective is to force the black theologians and their readers to pause a moment and, neglecting all that they have said and done, to reconsider their conclusions in the light of another question: Is God a white racist? My concern throughout is to illuminate the issues this pregnant question introduces into the arena of black theology and religion. The black theologian, I contend, cannot avoid this issue of divine racism, because it is implicit in his theological method, purpose, and content.

An internationally recognized and celebrated activist, scholar, philosopher, theologian, and educator, Rev. Jones dedicated his long career to the analysis and methods of oppression, and to working with others in their anti-oppression initiatives. A fundamental part of his work was the exploration of religious humanism and liberation theology.

Rev. Jones’ academic and professional endeavors were broad and vast. He helped found and became the Director of the Department of African-American Studies as Florida State University. He was also an associate professor at Yale Divinity School, a visiting lecturer at Howard University, and a visiting professor at Brown University, Princeton University, and Union Theological Seminary, among others. Some of his professional affiliations included the American Academy of Religion, the American Humanist Association, the American Philosophical Association, the Religious Education Association, the Society for the Study of Black Religion, the Society for the Study of Christian Ethics, and the Unitarian Universalist Ministers Association (UUMA).

Rev. Jones received a vast number of awards over the years including the Urban League Family of the Year Award (1963), the Richard Allen Award (1972), Yale’s A. Whitney Griswold Award (1974), the Martin Luther King, Jr. Distinguished Scholar Award(1986), the Bragg Humanist of the Year Award (1989), the American Humanist Association Humanist of the Year (1992), the UUA’s Holmes Weatherly Award (1995), and the African American Culture and Philosophy Award (1996), to name just a few.

Rev. Jones is survived by his former wife of 35 years, Lauretta H. Jones; sons Jeffrey Jones, Esq. and Darrell Jones; brother, Cecil Jones; sister, Gilmer Jones Callender; as well as many nieces, nephews, cousins, and friends.

A celebration of the life of the Rev. Dr. Jones will be held on August 19, 2012 at 2 p.m. at the Nancy Smith Fichter Theatre in Montgomery Hall at Florida State University, 130 Collegiate Loop, Tallahassee, FL 32306.

Notes of condolence may be sent to The Jones Family, 2410 Limerick Drive, Tallahassee, FL 32309.

The Rev. Dr. Jones is, perhaps, most lovingly remembered for a principle by which he lived: "You show your love through actions, not words alone.”

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In Memory of . . . Gaston M. Carrier (1920-2012)

Posted By Administration, Monday, July 16, 2012

The Ministries and Faith Development staff offers our condolences to the family and colleagues of the Rev. Dr. Gaston Marcel Carrier who died on June 20, 2012. He was 92 years old.

Rev. Carrier was born in Montréal, Québec, Canada on January 14, 1920 to Alfred and Adelina (LaPierre) Carrier. Rev. Carrier attained his Bachelor of Arts degree from McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario and Acadia University in Wolfville, Nova Scotia in 1941. After studies in theology at the Montréal Divinity School and Emmanuel College, he received his B.D. from Meadville Theological School in 1947. He then went on to earn a Master of Education from the University of Bridgeport, CT in 1959, and a Master of Arts in French Literature from the University of Vermont in 1968. He received an honorary Doctor of Divinity from Meadville Lombard Theological School in 1973.

Rev. Carrier was ordained by the United Church of Canada in Montreal on September 10, 1943. In the early years of his ministry, he worked at Unitarian churches in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada and Cohasset, MA. He then went on to work at the First Grace Universalist Church in Lowell, MA from 1952-1957; and the Universalist Congregation of Danbury, CT from 1957-1961. In 1961, he was called to the First Unitarian Universalist Society of Burlington, VT. He stayed there until his retirement in 1978 when he was also voted Minister Emeritus of the church.

Rev. Carrier was active in the Civil Rights Movement and helped found Planned Parenthood in Burlington, VT. He was a member of the American Association of Pastoral Counselors, the Community Council of Greater Burlington, the Burlington Council of Churches, and the Champlain Valley Clergy Association.

A true bibliophile, Rev. Carrier enjoyed adding to his library whenever possible. Throughout his long life, he pursued an abiding love of all things French Canadian including history, literature, language, culture and antiques. A writer, he published a book, Prayers, in 1971; and in 1973, he wrote and published a children’s story entitled Johnny Peanut.

Throughout his ministry (and in all these endeavors), Rev. Carrier was supported by his wife of 64 years, an active Unitarian-Universalist, Mary (Archibald) Carrier. Although Mary had a demanding full-time career of her own, she was the Director of Religious Education at both the Burlington and Danbury churches, and was tremendously active on committees and in the life of both churches, as well as in Lowell.She accompanied Rev. Carrier to General Assembly, and hosted "Thursday Night Suppers" for small groups of parishioners to encourage community and discussion, rotating through the entire congregation and then starting all over again.A true ministerial partner, she supported her husband’s ministry in extraordinary ways throughout his career and their lives together.

In a personal statement, Rev. Carrier once noted that he established his ministry "upon a foundation of personal dedication, utter sincerity, and rich inner resources of a kind and generous spirit.”

Rev. Carrier is survived by daughter, Michèle Carrier; daughter, Natalie Carrier and her husband, David Ackerman; daughter, Jill Carrier and her husband, David Duncan; daughter, Hilarie Terebessy and her husband, David Terebessy; grandchildren, Samuel and Sarah Duncan, and Matthew and Nina Terebessy; his brother, Jean-Paul Carrier; and many nieces and nephews. He was predeceased by his wife, Mary (Archibald) Carrier.

In lieu of flowers, donations in Rev. Carrier’s memory may be sent to the Committee on Temporary Shelter, P.O. Box 1616, Burlington, VT 05402.

A memorial service, overlooking Lake Champlain, will be held on Saturday, September 1, 2012 at 2 p.m. at Bishop Booth Conference Center, 20 Rock Point Circle, Burlington, VT, 05408.

Notes of condolence may be sent to Jill Carrier, 113 Ocean St., Dorchester, MA 02124.

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In Memory of . . . Nancy Morgan Shaffer (1950-2012)

Posted By Administration, Tuesday, June 26, 2012

The Reverend Nancy Morgan Shaffer died on June 5, 2012 after a year-long battle with cancer. She was 61 years old.

Rev. Shaffer was born in Modesto, CA on August 11, 1950 to Marjorie Ruth (Tallmon) and Lee Murphy Brooks. Rev. Shaffer attained her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from the University of California, Davis in 1973. She then went on to earn a Master of Science in School Counseling from California State University, Sacramento in 1977, and a Master of Divinity from Starr King School for the Ministry in 2004.

Rev. Shaffer was ordained at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Annapolis, MD on October 10, 2004. In that same year, she began her ministerial career as an Interim Master Religious Educator (MRE) at the UU Church of the Monterey Peninsula in Carmel, CA. She was then called to the UU Community Church of Glen Allen, VA from 2005-2007. She became the Interim Minister of Religious Education at the Unitarian Church of Evanston, IL from 2007-2008. She was called for the final time to the First UU Congregation of Ann Arbor, MI from 2008-2012.

Rev. Shaffer grew up in a small, agricultural town where many of Steinbeck's "Okies" had established small peach acreages and first-generation Portuguese immigrants worked tiny 20 - 30 cow dairies. She had the same set of four close friends throughout elementary and high school; loved a succession of guppies, guinea pigs, cats and dogs; enjoyed cooking and sewing; played piano, wrote poetry and was her high school yearbook editor.

The program insert for her memorial service read, "As a minister, Rev. Shaffer was known among her colleagues and congregants as a deeply spiritual person. Her work with children invited them gently into mystery and awe, especially through art and through original stories that presented possibility far more than conclusion."

Rev. Shaffer's writing led her down the path to ministry. The late Rev. Dr. Forrest Church once wrote, "Nancy's world is riddled with epiphanies, her kitchen table an altar set for communion, her anger pure, her sorrow sacramental. Nancy reaches my soul." A manual of her meditations, Instructions In Joy, was published by Skinner House in 2002. A volume of poetry and journal entries written throughout her year with cancer, entitled Large Enough Thanks: Ministry After a Brain Tumor, is expected to be published by Skinner House as well.

Rev. Shaffer is survived by her parents Marjorie and Lee Brooks; a brother, Michael Brooks; and an uncle, Robert Tallmon.

A memorial service was held on June 15, 2012 at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Davis, CA.

Notes of condolence may be sent to her parents at 600 Edgebrook Court, Modesto, CA 95354. Notes may also be sent to the people of the UU Church in Davis who tended to Nancy with steadfast care in the final months of her life. Please send those notes c/o The Rev. Elizabeth Banks, UUCD, P.O. Box 73710, Davis, CA 95617.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the UUA Living Tradition Fund, P.O. Box 843154, Boston, MA 02284.

ALCHEMY from Instructions In Joy
by Nancy Shaffer

That distillation of soul-which,
of all possessions, is most precious-
comes, if we are faithful,
out of sorrow.

This is the gift with which we
escape, stumble out:
we know the essence of this life
and who we are.

Ever after, whatever we have,
we have enough: begin complete,
even with nothing, even though
aching. In our lifetime we learn this,
while still we can cherish. Come
complete to the end, and are full.

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In Memory of . . . Connie Pirnie Sternberg (1929-2012)

Posted By Administration, Friday, June 22, 2012

The Reverend Connie Pirnie Sternberg died on May 27, 2012. She was 82 years old.

Rev. Sternberg was born in Exeter, NH on November 18, 1929 to James and Harriette (Farrell) Pirnie. Rev. Sternberg attained her Bachelor of Arts degree from Cornell University in 1951. She then went on to earn a Master of Arts from Columbia University Teacher’s College in 1954, and a Master of Divinity from New York Theological Seminary in 1988.

Rev. Sternberg was ordained by the Community Church of New York on May 7, 1989. She was called to the Unitarian Universalist Society: East in East Manchester, CT in 1989, and there, she stayed, until her retirement in 2001. She remained a member of the UU Society: East for the rest of her life.

Her fondest memories of growing up in Exeter, NH included singing in the choir at the Unitarian Church (which she joined as a teenager), and organizing an interfaith youth group which brought Protestant, Catholic and Jewish youth together for socializing and supporting American troops during World War II.

During her time in Manchester, CT, Rev. Sternberg was a leader of the Connecticut Council for Inter-religious Understanding and was active in many causes, including maintaining the separation of church and state and supporting civil rights for the lesbian and gay community.

Rev. Sternberg met her husband, Hal, in New York City in 1976, and they were married a year later. Hal provided dedicated support throughout her ministerial career, and often said that he loved being "married to the minister.” He died in December, 2007.

In a sermon given on May 9, 2010, Rev. Sternberg spoke of, her final year at the New York Theological Seminary. Her theology professors offered the UU students the opportunity to pick topics other than the traditional Holy Trinity. She and her classmates "refused and tackled the same subjects as the rest of the class.” She went on to say, "Each evening two students were called upon to read their papers. When the topic was the Trinity, there was a loud call: ‘We want to hear from the Unitarians!’ We were both applauded and appreciated. By then, we had all decided that even though our theologies, rituals, and sources of reflection were different, we were in the same business. We were unity in diversity.”

Rev. Sternberg is survived by a step-daughter, Jill Sternberg; a step-son, Carl Sternberg and his wife, Virginia; as well as a grandson, Michael; her brother-in-law Morton Sternberg and his wife Ruth; and her sister-in-law, Marilin Sternberg.

A memorial service will be held on June 30, 2012 at 1 p.m. at Unitarian Universalist Society: East, 153 West Vernon St., Manchester, CT 06042.

Notes of condolence may be sent to Jill Sternberg, 123 Seventh Ave., Mailbox 251, Brooklyn, NY 11215.

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In Memory of . . . John M. Coffee, Jr. (1928-2012)

Posted By Administration, Thursday, May 24, 2012

The Rev. John M. Coffee, Jr. died on May 8, 2012. He was 83 years old.

Rev. Coffee was born in Tacoma, WA on November 20, 1928 to John M. and Lillian S. Coffee. Rev. Coffee attained a Bachelor of Arts degree from Yale University in 1951. He then went on to earn a Bachelor of Sacred Theology and a Master of Sacred Theology from Harvard Divinity School in 1954 and 1956, respectively.

Rev. Coffee was ordained by the First Unitarian Church of Tacoma, WA on August 15, 1954. From there, he was called to the First Church in Roxbury, MA and served as its Minister from 1955-1977. He served the Church of Our Father in East Boston, MA from 1961-1974; and the Benevolent Fraternity of Unitarian Universalist Churches from 1978-1982. As an interim minister, he served at the First Universalist Society of Providence, RI from 1977-1979. He was Minister Emeritus at the First Unitarian Church in Roxbury from 1977 until the end of his life. He also served as president of the Boston Minister’s Association.

Rev. Coffee taught for 39 years (1966-2005) at Emerson College in Boston, MA. As a longtime faculty member and eventual Professor Emeritus of History, Rev. Coffee was known by colleagues and students, alike, as a "talented storyteller who brought history alive in his classroom.” He was also one of the authors of A Century of Eloquence, a large volume on the history of Emerson College.

Rev. Coffee was an avid collector of transportation tokens. In fact, at the time of his death, he owned the world’s largest collection of transportation tokens. He was the author of several books on the matter including Land Company and Real Estate Tokens, Automobile Washing Tokens, and The Atwood-Coffee Catalogue of United States and Canadian Transportation Tokens.

Rev. Coffee is survived by loving friends, colleagues and students. At this time, a memorial service has not been scheduled.

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In Memory of . . . Ruppert L. Lovely (193327-2012)

Posted By Administration, Thursday, May 24, 2012
The Rev. Dr. Ruppert L. Lovely died on May 3, 2012. He was 78 years old.

The Rev. Dr. Lovely was born in East Greenwich, RI on May 9, 1933 to the Rev. Napoleon W. and Doris Mae (Johnson) Lovely. Rev. Lovely attained his Bachelor of Arts degree from Tufts University in 1963 and his Bachelor of Divinity as well as his Doctor of Divinity from Meadville Lombard Theological School in 1966 and 1998, respectively.


Rev. Lovely was ordained by the Countryside Unitarian Universalist Fellowship in Palantine, IL on October 7, 1966. There, he held the office of parish minister for 35 years, not counting the 18 months he served as a student minister prior to accepting the full-time call to the pulpit. After his retirement from Countryside, he accepted an interim position with the First Unitarian Church of St. Louis, MO from 2001-2003.


Working together with Countryside UU church members to raise funds and devise a plan that resulted in the construction in of the beautiful Countryside Church in Palatine, was one of the highlights of Rev. Lovely's working years. It was a milestone in his life and in the life of the church.


Throughout his life, Rev. Lovely was a faithful Boston Red Socks fan. No daily activity ever took precedence over watching Red Socks games during baseball season. He was also an avid reader, John Irving novels being among his favorite books. He loved music, especially classical and jazz. He was even known to leave the stereo or radio on all day so that when he returned, he would be greeted by music.


A long-time member of Prairie Group, Rev. Lovely was known, loved, and respected by many. Described as "candid, big-hearted, humorously realistic, brimming with energy and enthusiasm for the ministry," Rev. Lovely's "gracious and generous spirit," as well as his "solid sense of tradition and firm voice" endeared him to many who came to call him a friend.


Rev. Lovely is survived by his wife, Patricia Mumm-Lovely; his daughter, Jessica Lovely and husband, Jason DeSwarte; daughter, Karen Lovely and husband, Michael Leach; Sister Alicia Lovely; and grandchildren, Eli

Lovely; Elijah Lovely; Grace Umek; and Jordan DeSwarte. He was predeceased by son, Kirk Lovely; and brother, the Rev. Dr. Brandoch Lovely.

A memorial service for the Rev. Dr. Lovely will be held at the Countryside Unitarian Universalist Church, 1025 N. Smith St., Palatine, IL 60067 on Saturday, June 16, 2012 at 11:00 a.m.


Notes of condolence may be sent to Mrs. Patricia Mumm-Lovely, 933 W. Heritage Ct., Apt. 101, Mequon, WI 53092.

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In Memory of . . . Virginia Vaught Sparling (1925-2012)

Posted By Administration, Monday, May 14, 2012

The Rev. Dr. Virginia Vaught Sparling died on February 23, 2012. She was 87 years old.

Rev. Dr. Sparling was born in Caddo Gap, AR on Feb 3, 1925 to Grace (Davis) and Chester Allen Vaught. Education was very important to Rev. Sparling and she attained quite a few degrees throughout her life. In 1946, she earned a Bachelor of Arts in Zoology from MacMurray College in 1946. She went on to attain a Master of Social Work and a Master of Education from the University of Washington in 1969 and 1979 respectively. MacMurray College gifted her with an Honorary Doctorate in 1981. And in 1991, she earned her final degree: a Master of Divinity from Northwest Theological Union.

Rev. Sparling was ordained at East Shore Unitarian Church in Bellevue, WA in 1992. She was called to the Pacific Northwest District where she served from 1990-2000. She also served as a ministerial consultant at the Olympic UU Fellowship in Port Angeles, WA from 1993-1995; and the Skagit UU Fellowship in Mt. Vernon, WA from 1991-1999.

In 2004, Rev. Sparling’s deteriorating health forced her to begin using a wheelchair. Despite, the disability, she helped found the Methow Valley Unitarian Universalist Fellowship (currently non-UUA affiliated), and was its minister for several years following its inception.

Rev. Sparling felt deeply passionate about education and community building through the arts. She was a vocal advocate of public education, and was elected to the National Parent Teacher Association (PTA), becoming its President in 1979. An enthusiast of opera, ballet, and theatre, she became involved in the Confluence Art Gallery in Twisp, WA. There, she served as Board President, organizing shows, and leading capital drives to buy an additional building and install a monument in a public park.

In a letter to family and friends, her husband, Gerald, noted, "Life had given her many adventures and challenges which she took on with verve and gusto. Although she is gone; she still lives on in our hearts and minds.”

Rev. Sparling is survived by her husband of 61 years, Gerald Sparling, MD. She is also survived by son, Gerald Jr., and his wife, Andrea; son, Eugene, and his wife, Marta; and three grandchildren, Isaac, Nina, and Joslyn.

There will be two memorial services for the Rev. Dr. Sparling. The first will be held at the Eastshore Unitarian Church, 12700 SE 32nd St., Bellevue, WA 98005 on Sunday, June 17, 2012 at 2:00 p.m. The second will take place at the Winthrop Barn, 51 N. Highway 20, Winthrop, WA 98862 on Saturday, June 23, 2012 at 2:00 p.m.

Notes of condolence may be sent to Dr. Gerald Sparling, P.O. Box 954, 865 Wolf Creek Road, Winthrop, WA 98862.

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