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In Memory . . . Joseph Ira Craig (1926-2009)

Posted By Jessica Cambio, Thursday, May 13, 2010

The Reverend Joseph Ira Craig died on June 11, 2009 at the age of 82. Rev. Craig was born on October 9, 1926 in Youngstown, Ohio, to Ira B. and Dorothy D. Craig.  After graduating as valedictorian of his high school class, Rev. Craig joined the US Army Air Force.  He served as an aerial photographer in Italy from 1944 to 1946.

After attending Youngstown University, and the University of Dayton, he graduated from Muskingum College in New Concord, Ohio in 1953.  He earned his Sacred Theology degree from Harvard University in 1957 and a Master in Library Science from the University of Maine in 1971.

Rev. Craig served Methodist Churches in Somerton, OH, and Enfield, NH, before being ordained at The Congregational Parish of Norton, MA (Unitarian) in 1957.  In addition to the Norton Church, Rev. Craig served the First Parish Unitarian Universalist of Fitchburg, MA and All Souls Church Unitarian in Augusta, ME, before returning to school to earn his library science degree.  He worked as a librarian at the Augusta Mental Health Institute for more than 20 years.

Rev. Craig answered the call from Martin Luther King, Jr. with many other UU ministers to participate in the civil rights march from Selma to Montgomery, AL, in 1965.  He was a member of the Maine State Advisory Committee to the US Commission on Civil Rights from 1962 to 1969.  He served the denomination as a member of the Unitarian Historical Society; as secretary of the Maine Unitarian Association from 1962 – 1965; and as a member of the Board of Directors of the Northeast District of the UU Ministers’ Association from 1966 – 1968.  In 1966, he held the position of Northeast District president.

Rev. Craig’s many interests included reading, theology, history, painting, fencing, and music.  He played viola in the Augusta Symphony for many years.

Survivors include his daughter, Leslie Flores, and her husband, Rudy Flores, of Augusta, ME; his stepson, Daniel Cake, and Daniel’s companion, Karen Thompson, of Auburn, ME; his stepson, Jeffrey Cake, and Jeffrey’s wife, Laura Cake, of Bar Harbor, ME; and another stepson, Basil Cake, and Basil’s wife, Mia, of Augusta, ME.  He also is survived by six grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.  He was predeceased by his parents, two sisters, five brothers, his wife, Rachel, and his ex-wife, Jacqueline.

A celebration of Rev. Craig’s life was held in July 2009 in Hallowell, ME, with Rev. Helen Zidowecki officiating.  

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In Memory . . . Arnold Farrow Westwood (1921-2009)

Posted By Jessica Cambio, Thursday, May 13, 2010

The Reverend Arnold Farrow Westwood died on Sunday, August 16, 2009, at Bay State Medical Center in Springfield, Massachusetts, as a result of injuries sustained in a fall the previous day.  He was 88. Rev. Westwood was born on May 19, 1921, in Toledo, Ohio, to Unitarian minister Rev. Horace Westwood and Elizabeth Farrow Westwood.  He attended the University of California, Berkeley, and Tufts University graduating in 1942.  He earned his STB from Crane Theological School at Tufts in 1948.

While attending Tufts, Rev. Westwood served as continental president of the Unitarian Young Peoples Religious Union.  He also served as student minister under the Rev. Harold G. Arnold at the Theodore Parker Unitarian Church (now First Parish) in West Roxbury, MA. It was there that he met Carolyn Freeman Arnold, daughter of Rev. Arnold.  They were married in 1945.

In 1944, he served as Student Minister of the First Parish (Unitarian) in Brewster and the Universalist Church in Yarmouthport, both on Cape Cod, MA.  He was ordained in 1947 in the Brewster church by both congregations. Rev. Westwood was called to the Unitarian Church of Urbana, IL, serving from 1948 to 1958.  He established the Channing-Murray Foundation at the University of Illinois, at the time one of the most active and best organized liberal religious organizations in the country.  Rev. Westwood also served the Unitarian Church of Westport, CT; the First Unitarian Church of Cleveland, OH; the Unitarian Universalist Society of East Manchester, CT; and the Unitarian Universalist Society of Amherst, MA.    

Both the Westport and Manchester congregations built their own buildings under his leadership, the first for each congregation; in Westport he worked with the noted architect, Victor Lundy.  He served the Manchester, CT, and Amherst, MA, congregations at the same time and both named him minister emeritus upon his retirement in 1984.

In retirement, Rev. Westwood and his wife, Carolyn, operated Windfields Farm Bed and Breakfast in Cummington, MA.  In addition to hosting hundreds of guests from all over the world, they produced maple syrup which won four blue ribbons at the Cummington Fair.  Rev. Westwood also organized The Friends of Windsor, Inc., to publish the town of Cummington’s community newsletter, Windsor Now and Then, as well as the town's free annual community telephone directory. He served as editor and publisher until 2002.

After Carolyn died in 2001, Arnold found comfort, support, and a new outlet for his talents in the West Cummington Congregational Church. He instituted the church's newsletter and annual directory, organized and ran the annual goods and services auction, and worked enthusiastically on the conversion of the parish house into a heated, year-round, handicapped-accessible center for church functions and other community events. In all these endeavors, he gathered and groomed others to take over after him. He made many beloved friends through his experience in the church, including the second love of his life, Mary Hale, with whom he loved talking, reading, traveling and just being together.

Rev. Westwood was a devoted supporter of Rowe Camp and Conference Center in Rowe, MA, where he served eight years on the board of directors, four as chair. He was an enthusiastic early supporter of Shakespeare and Company in Lenox, MA, and of VIA Dance Collaborative, a New York-based company founded in 2001 by his granddaughter, Adrienne Westwood. He was thrilled to witness the company's performance at Jacob's Pillow the night before he fell. Beloved by family and friends, he lived life with zest and enthusiasm and embraced death without fear or regrets.  

In addition to his wife, he was predeceased by three older siblings, Horace, who was also a Unitarian Universalist minister, Florence, and Lucy. Survivors include son John F. Westwood of Plainfield, MA; son Jefferson Westwood and his wife, Wendy, of Fredonia, NY; daughter Phoebe Bushway and her husband, Stephen, of Plainfield, MA; son Harold A. Westwood and his wife, Barbara, also of Plainfield; and seven grandchildren, Jody and Ethan Westwood; Adrienne Westwood and her husband, Seth Easter; Phoebe Westwood; Hannah Bushway and her husband, Felipe Aedo; Mason Bushway and Willow Westwood.

Please send notes of condolence to Jefferson Westwood, 53 Maple Ave, Fredonia, NY 14063.

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In Memory . . . H Kyle Nagel (1929-2009)

Posted By Jessica Cambio, Thursday, May 13, 2010

The Reverend H. Kyle Nagel died on November 18, 2009, at the age of 80. Rev. Nagel was born on May 4, 1929 in Houston, Texas.  He graduated from Southwestern University in 1949 and earned his divinity degree from Duke University in 1952.  He also studied at Harvard Divinity School and Tufts University in the 1960’s. 

Rev. Nagel was ordained by the Southwest Texas Conference of the Methodist Church on May 30, 1954, in San Antonio, Texas, and served congregations within the Conference from 1952 to 1962.  He entered Unitarian fellowship in 1962, serving First Church, Unitarian, in Jamaica Plain, MA, and St. Paul’s Church, Unitarian Universalist, of Palmer, MA, before moving to North Carolina in 1968.  There he served as Ministerial Superintendent of the Universalist Convention of North Carolina, Inc.  As superintendent, he ministered to several churches throughout eastern North Carolina including those in Clinton, Red Hill, Outlaw’s Bridge, and Kinston.  Later, he resigned as superintendent and ministered exclusively to the Outlaw’s Bridge and Kinston congregations. While living in Kinston, Rev. Nagel served as president of Environment Unlimited and taught World Religions and Philosophy at Lenoir Community College.   

After moving to Houston in 1974, Rev. Nagel became a financial planner as there were no suitable ministerial positions available.  However, he never stopped thinking of himself as a minister and continued his ministry through many community activities and by officiating at weddings and memorial services and occasional preaching and counseling.  He was a founding member and president of the Humanist Association of Houston and served as president of the Tomball Area Shrine Club for 5 years.

When the Outlaw’s Bridge congregation celebrated their centennial in 2006, he and his wife, Barbara, were invited to the celebration.  Although they were unable to attend, Rev. Nagel’s sermon was delivered during the service by Gerald Simmons, one of the congregants.

Rev. Barbara Cheatham, a former congregant, said of him, "Kyle was an inspiration and a role model to me… Kyle courageously practiced and preached the principles of Religious Liberalism in a part of the country which feared and denounced such principles… Every Sunday morning, no matter how many members were in the pews, he gave us all that he had to give.”

Rev. Nagel is survived by his wife of 54 years, Barbara, of Spring, TX; his son Louis Nagel and wife, Patsy, of Morgantown, WV; and four grandchildren, Louis Martin Nagel, Jr. of Fort Worth, TX, Daniel Scott Nagel of Morgantown, WV, Steven Lee Nagel of Houston, TX, and Karen Alicia Nagel of Baytown, TX.  His son, Curtis Lee Nagel died several years ago.

Please send messages of condolence to Barbara Nagel, 8423 Burwood Park Dr., Spring, TX 77379-5703.

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In Memory . . . Timothy Ward Jensen (1956-2009)

Posted By Jessica Cambio, Thursday, May 13, 2010

The Reverend Dr. Timothy Ward Jensen.  He died on Sunday, August 9, 2009 of lung cancer in the presence of family and friends at the University of California Davis Medical Center in Sacramento, CA.  He was 52. Rev. Jensen was born on October 22, 1956, in Seattle, Washington, to Gerald and Betty Jo Jensen.  After graduating from Newport High School in Bellevue, Washington, he attended the University of Washington earning a BA in English in 1978, the first of his five college degrees.  He moved east, attending Harvard Divinity School where he earned an M Div degree in 1981.  While at Harvard, he interned at First and Second Church in Boston under the supervision of Rhys Williams, a relationship that continued to inform his ministry for years to come.   He was ordained there in 1981.

Returning home, Rev. Jensen enrolled in a Masters program in English and Creative Writing at Western Washington University in Bellingham.  He also served as intern assistant minister at University Unitarian Church in Seattle.  In 1985 he was called to the UU Church of Midland, Texas where he served for 3 years.  In 1988, he was appointed New Congregation Minister for the Unitarian Universalist Community Church of Washington County in Hillsboro, Oregon, and served there until 1990.

Rev. Jensen then held a series of part-time ministries, worked as a bookseller, and held graduate teaching fellowships while earning his last two degrees, an MA in Interdisciplinary Studies at Oregon State University and a PhD in American History from the University of Oregon.  He also spent a semester as a visiting scholar at Aalborg University in Aalborg, Denmark.

Returning to full-time ministry, Rev. Jensen was the interim minister to the Second Congregational Meeting House on the island of Nantucket, Massachusetts.  He was then called to the First Religious Society of Carlisle, Massachusetts where he served for 4 years.  Shortly after being called to the First Parish Portland Maine Unitarian Universalist, he was diagnosed with lung cancer.  With support from the congregation and his colleagues, Rev. Jensen continued to serve until his health forced him to retire.

Rev. Jensen loved to read and write.  His library numbered over seven thousand volumes and since 2006 he shared his wisdom and his wit through his blog, The Eclectic Cleric. He also enjoyed sailing, playing basketball, and playing with his loyal Boston terrier, Parker.

Rev. Jensen is survived by his father, Jerry Jensen, and Jerry’s wife Debra; his two brothers, Kurt and Erik; his former wife Margaret Weddell; and his two children, Stephenie and Jacob. He was preceded in death by his mother, Betty Jo.  Rev. Jensen wished any remembrances to be made to the American Cancer Society or the SPCA. Messages of condolence may be sent to Jerry Jensen, 5043 Primrose Drive, Fair Oaks, CA 95628.

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In Memory . . . Stephen Davies Howard
 (1930-2009)

Posted By Jessica Cambio, Thursday, May 13, 2010

The Reverend Stephen D. Howard.  He died on Monday, July 15, 2009, of cancer at Fisher House Hospice in Amherst, MA.  He was 78. Rev. Howard was born on November 26, 1930 in Greenfield, MA to Lee and Rachel Howard.  He graduated with a BA in History from American International College in Springfield, MA in 1953 and from Harvard Divinity School in 1959.

He was ordained in 1957 while serving as assistant minister to the First Congregational Church, Binghamton, NY.  While seeking fellowship as a Unitarian minister, Rev. Howard served the First Religious Society of Carlisle, MA in the early 1960’s, In 1964, he was called to All Souls Church in Greenfield, MA where he served for 18 years. 

From 1982 until 2003, Rev. Howard served numerous congregations as Interim Minister including those in Worcester, Lincoln, Salem, Littleton, Leominster, Fitchburg, Northborough, Amherst, and Palmer, MA.  He also served in Akron, OH; Woonsocket, RI; Harrisburg, PA; Oneonta, NY; and Keene, NH.  He preached his final sermon at St. Paul’s Church in Palmer, MA on Father’s Day of this year.

Rev. Howard was a member of the Unitarian Universalist Ministers’ Association, with terms as President and Vice President of the Connecticut Valley Chapter in the 1960’s.  He served as an incorporator and trustee of Rowe Camp; trustee of Big Brother-Big Sister Association; and Advisor for Parents Without Partners.

An avid reader, writer, and outdoor enthusiast, he enjoyed the local libraries, bookstores, and beauty of western Massachusetts. Over the years, he loved hiking with his dogs at Highland Pond, Notch Mountain, and the Warwick Swamp. He most loved the writings of Thoreau, Robert Frost, and Emily Dickinson. An ardent football fan, he followed Greenfield High School, local college, and Patriot's games. More than anything, he loved time with his five grandchildren.

Rev. Howard is survived by his wife, Ann Jolly Howard; his three children, Catherine Howard Nicholas of San Diego, Dr. Elisabeth Davies Howard of Providence, R.I., Matthew Anson Howard and daughter-in-law, Tammy, of Southampton, MA; and grandchildren Casey, Annelise, Emily, Nicole and Jackson.  He is also survived by his brother, Carl, and sister-in-law, Beverly, of Albany, N.Y., his nephew, Craig, and niece, Wendy.

Please send messages of condolence to his wife, Ann Howard, 68 McClellan St, Amherst, MA 01002-2039.

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In Memory . . . Kenneth C. Hawkes
 (1913-2009)

Posted By Jessica Cambio, Thursday, May 13, 2010

The Reverend Kenneth C. Hawkes died on July 26, 2009, while in the loving and gentle care of staff from Allegiance Hospice. He was 96. Rev. Hawkes was born to Maurice W. and Inez Clark Hawkes on June 3, 1913 in Portland, ME. He attended Gorham Teachers College and graduated from Colby College in 1942. While serving as acting pastor of the Pride’s Corner Union Church of Westbrook, ME, and the Universalist Church of Scarborough and South Buxton, ME, he trained for the Universalist ministry under the Rev. Dr. Harry E. Townsend using a program of studies outlined for him by John Murray Atwood, Dean of the Canton Theological School of St. Lawrence University. Rev. Hawkes was ordained by the Universalist Convention in Livermore, ME, in 1938 and served the First Universalist Larger Parish of Canton and Livermore and the First Universalist Church in Waterville, both in Maine.

In 1942, Rev. Hawkes was elected Superintendent of the Universalist Churches in Maine and served in that capacity for 8 years in the 1940’s and for two additional years in the 1960’s. His parish ministry took him to Massachusetts where he served at the First Universalist Church in North Attleboro, the Unitarian Universalist Church in Lawrence, and the First Church in Leominster, Unitarian Universalist. Rev. Hawkes also served as a District Executive in the Northeast District of the UUA from 1962 until 1967.

Rev. Hawkes participated in many denominational activities, serving as vice president of the Maine Young Peoples Christian Union, trustee of the Universalist Publishing House, executive board member of Ferry Beach Park Association, and vice president of the Massachusetts Universalist Convention, among other roles.

Rev. Hawkes took satisfaction in recalling that in 1965, he was one of a few persons from Maine who supported the civil rights movement of the late Rev. Martin Luther King by marching with him in Selma, Alabama.

After retirement from the Leominster church, Rev. Hawkes served as treasurer and trustee of the endowment funds of the Northeast District and as Elder of the Maine Society of Mayflower descendents. He was also honorary director of the Adam Hawkes family association in Saugus, MA.

June A. Wheeler, Rev. Hawkes first wife, died in 1987 after 53 years of marriage. In 1989, he married Janet Hall Beiling Hawkes, who survives him. He is also survived by his son, Dr. Roland K. Hawkes of Gorham, ME; his daughters, Carolyn Gaines of Tucson, AZ, and Margaret St. Pierre of Falmouth, ME; a sister, Claris J. Russell of Portland, ME; two step-daughters, Leslie Erikson of Leominster, MA, and Audry Shea of Ware, MA; and 33 grandchildren, step-grandchildren, and great grandchildren.

Please send messages of condolence to Janet Hawkes, 229 Flaggy Meadow Rd Apt 3, Gorham, ME 04038.

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In Memory . . . Jean Lois Witman Gilpatrick
 (1925-2009)

Posted By Jessica Cambio, Thursday, May 13, 2010

The Reverend Jean Witman Gilpatrick died on June 4, 2009 in Bethesda, Maryland.  She was 84. Rev. Gilpatrick was born on April 4, 1925, in East Orange, New Jersey, to Margaret Jeanetta Nietman and William Uhler Witman.  She graduated with a BA in Sociology from Connecticut College for Women in 1947.  After college she received a Danforth Graduate Fellowship for one year of interdenominational religious work at the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign.  In 1949, she traveled with her husband, Thomas Gilpatrick, to Denmark where they participated in a Danish program called Folkhighschool.

During the 1950’s and 60’s, while raising her children, Rev. Gilpatrick earned a Bachelor of Divinity degree from the University of Chicago.  She also held a variety of positions.  She was Assistant Minister for the Wesley Foundation in Chicago; directed the Interns in Industry program for the American Friends Service Committee in East Chicago, Indiana; and taught bible classes through the Universal Christian Association at Penn State University, among others.  In 1966, she traveled with her family to Hyderabad, India, where she conducted independent study in the philosophies and religions of India.  Upon her return, she was Assistant Professor at both the Virginia Seminary of Lynchburg, Virginia, and Central Virginia Community College teaching courses in Philosophy and Religion.

Early in the 1960’s Rev. Gilpatrick, with her husband and his colleague from Sweet Briar College, drafted a letter to the editor signed by about 70 faculty and staff members from three white Lynchburg area colleges supporting the rights of blacks to picket stores, lunch counters, and movie theaters.  Many black leaders later said this was the first evidence they had seen locally of group support for civil rights.  She continued her college teaching during the 1970’s; worked as an art therapist; and offered workshops in Death, Grief, & Loss, and Feminist Theology.  In 1977 she earned a Doctor of Ministry from Meadville Lombard Theological School. 

In 1981, Rev. Gilpatrick was ordained at the First Unitarian Church of Lynchburg, VA.  She was called to the First Unitarian Church of Alton, Illinois and served there from 1983 until 1985.  In 1987 she served as Interim minister to the UU Society of Northern Fairfield County in West Redding, Connecticut.  When she wasn’t serving these congregations, Rev. Gilpatrick was a visiting and consulting minister to various congregations.  She preached, taught adult education classes, chaired district committees, was an active member of the National Organization for Women and the UU Women’s Federation and served on the executive committee of Citizens to Save Civil and Religious Freedom.

Rev. Gilpatrick is survived by her daughters, Diana Gilpatrick of Potomac, MD, and Morgan Gilpatrick of Bowie MD; her grandchildren, Charlotte Andrea Albrecht, Thomas Brian Gilpatrick Dagget, and Samuel William Gilpatrick Dagget; her brother, William P. Witman of Locust, NJ; and many nieces and nephews.

Memorial contributions may be made to the Jefferson Choral Society, P. O. Box 4623, Lynchburg, VA 24502, the Alzheimer’s Association, 225 N. Michigan Ave, Fl 17, Chicago, IL 60601, or the Unitarian Universalist Retired Ministers’ and Partners’ Association, c/o Nancy Doughty, 12055 S Woodwinds Circle # 13, Traverse City, MI 49684.

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In Memory . . . Forrest Church (1948-2009)

Posted By Jessica Cambio, Thursday, May 13, 2010

The Reverend Forrest Church, acclaimed author of more than two dozen books and longtime minister of the Unitarian Church of All Souls in New York City, died on September 24, 2009, following a three-year battle with esophageal cancer. He was sixty-one years old. Church is survived by his children, Frank, Nina, Jacob and Nathan, and by his wife, Carolyn Buck Luce.

"I join thousands of Unitarian Universalists and Americans in mourning the loss of Forrest Church,” said Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) President Peter Morales today. "We have lost a brilliant and articulate thinker, a champion of democratic values, and a compelling advocate for liberal religion. More importantly, we have lost a kind, thoughtful, and loving spirit. What courage and grace he showed in his final years. Even as we feel our loss, let us be grateful for his enduring legacy.”

The son of former U.S. Senator Frank Church (D-Idaho) and grandson of former Idaho Governor Chase A. Clark, Forrest Church earned his Ph.D. in early church history from Harvard University in 1978, and began his career at All Souls that same year. Selected from approximately twenty-five applicants for the position, Church was twenty-nine years old. He served All Souls from then until his death.

During Church’s tenure at the congregation, All Souls flourished. Over the past three decades, membership at All Souls has more than tripled. With over 1,400 members, All Souls is one of the largest congregations in the Unitarian Universalist Association today.

As All Souls grew, so too did Church’s prominence as a public voice for Unitarian Universalism and for social justice. He was a strong proponent of both religious and political liberalism. In 1985, he led All Souls Church in learning about AIDS and providing direct services to AIDS sufferers. New York reporter Bernice Kanner wrote that year, "The mobilization of All Souls was among the first religious responses to the disease.”

In 1986, Church told the Boston Globe, "…generally, politicians try to change society for the betterment of the individual. I like to change the individual for the betterment of society.” Through his work as a minister and a public intellectual, Church profoundly influenced both individuals and society.

Church reached a wide audience through the approximately two dozen books that he authored or edited in the course of his career. He published his first book, Father and Son: A Personal Biography of Senator Frank Church of Idaho, in 1985. His other prominent works include Our Chosen Faith: An Introduction to Unitarian Universalism (1989, co-authored with John Buehrens), The American Creed (2002), So Help Me God: The Founding Fathers and the First Great Battle over Church and State (2007), and Love and Death (2008). Church’s final book, The Cathedral of the World: A Universalist Theology, will be published by Beacon Press in November.

At the UUA’s 2008 General Assembly, Church received the Award for Distinguished Service to the Cause of Unitarian Universalism, the most prestigious award given by the UUA. "Let us never forget what a privilege it is to be part of this great movement and to pronounce its saving faith: one Light (Unitarianism) shining through many windows (Universalism),” Church remarked upon receiving the award. "Let us continue our quest together, with awe and humility, with saving openness and saving doubt, never forgetting to honor those who charted our way.”

New York Times reporter Cara Buckley talked with congregants at All Souls in the fall of 2008. "They spoke of Mr. Church’s gift with words, his ability to connect with others and his seemingly endless capacity for empathy and compassion,” she observes. "Unitarian Universalism is a theologically liberal religion, and to many, Mr. Church embodied the very best of the religion.” His friend, NBC newsman and former Nightly News anchor Tom Brokaw said, "Forrest Church made all of our lives so much richer with his friendship, his faith and his optimism. He was a leading citizen in the world of all of God's children.”

Church spent his final years reflecting on the importance of living each day with love and gratitude. He writes in Love and Death, "The goal is to live in such a way that our lives will prove worth dying for…The one thing that can’t be taken from us, even by death, is the love we give away before we go.”

All Souls has posted a web page in tribute to Forrest Church; all are invited to view photos, post remembrances, and more. Those who wish to make a donation in Dr. Church's memory may do so by contributing to the Forrest Church Fund for the Advancement of Liberal Religion.  Galen Guengerich preached a sermon on Sunday, Sept. 27, in honor of Dr. Church:  Amen.  I love You. (pdf) The sermon is also available on YouTube:  Part 1 and Part 2.  

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In Memory . . . James Madison Barr III
 (1919-2009)

Posted By Jessica Cambio, Thursday, May 13, 2010

The Reverend Dr. James Madison Barr died on June 10, 2009 at his home in Hot Springs, Arkansas. He was 90. Rev. Barr was born on March 17, 1919 in Belhaven, North Carolina to James Madison Barr, Jr and Alice Way Barr. His family relocated to Virginia, where he attended Fork Union Military Academy, graduating in 1935. He continued his education at the University of Virginia, studying accounting and business before graduating with a law degree in 1947.

Following graduation, Rev. Barr taught at the School of Economics and Commerce at the University of Virginia. He also worked as an attorney, an accountant, and an auditor, was elected to the Charlottesville, Virginia city council and served as president of the Charlottesville Junior Chamber of Commerce. While in Charlotte, Rev. Barr became an active member of the Thomas Jefferson Unitarian Universalist Church and in 1952, he entered Starr King School for the Ministry.

In 1954, Rev. Barr was ordained and installed at the Church of the Unity in Winchendon, MA, where he served for 2 years. In 1956, he was called to the First Unitarian Church of Albany, NY.

In 1962, he returned to the South of his childhood, serving the First Unitarian Church of Memphis from 1962 to 1982. Under his leadership, the congregation built an award-winning church designed by church member, Roy Harrover. Located on the banks of the Mississippi River, its wall of windows allows full view of the Mississippi. Upon his retirement from the Memphis "Church of the River," Rev. Barr was named minister emeritus by his congregants.

Rev. Barr was active in denominational affairs, serving in the Southwest District as Settlement Representative, Good Offices Representative, member of the Southwest District Board of Directors, and as Chair of the Summer Institute. His community activities while in Memphis included membership on the boards of Tenn-Ark-Miss Council of the Girl Scouts, Urban League, and the Heart Association. He was also a member of the Memphis Community Relations Commission.

His friend and colleague, Rev. Burton Carley, current minister in Memphis, said "any minister stands on the shoulders of the minister who precedes him. Jim's shoulders were very broad. He had a deep mind and wonderful spirit. It was a privilege to succeed him."

Rev. Barr is survived by his daughters, Betty Barr McClure and husband, Clifton McClure, of Charlottesville, VA; Mary Alice Barr Colo and husband, Michael S. Colo, of Rocky Mount, NC; and Sally Barr Alexander and husband, Arlie A. Alexander, of Monticello, IL. He leaves his grandchildren, Sarah McClure Gfroerer and husband, Wesley Gfroerer, of Charlottesville, VA; Catherine E. Colo of Atlanta, GA; Christian A. Colo and wife, Amber, of Morristown, NJ; Craig M. Alexander and wife, Leslie, of Monticello, IL; and Lindsay Barr Alexander of Monticello, IL. He also leaves six great grandchildren and his beloved cat "Jesse".

Please send messages of condolence to Betty Barr McClure, 309 Dover Rd Charlottesville, VA 22901.

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In Memory . . . James Marshall Bank (1943-2009)

Posted By Jessica Cambio, Thursday, May 13, 2010

The Reverend James Marshall Bank died on July 23, 2009, after three years of living with cancer.  He was 65. Rev. Bank was born on November 10, 1943 to Rev. Milton Harold Bank, a Methodist minister, and Fern Richey Bank in Hancock, MI.  He graduated from Baldwin Wallace College in Berea, Ohio, in 1965.  He earned three graduate divinity degrees from Boston University, an STB in 1968, an AM in Church History in 1969, and a second AM in New Testament Studies in 1976.

In 1971 he was named Lucinda Bidwell Beebe Fellow by the Boston University School of Theology and was invited to study at Cambridge University with Rev. Charles Moule, G. W. H. Lampe, and Ernst Bammel.  During the last four years of his academic work, he served as a lecturer and assistant professor in New Testament and Patristics in Boston University’s College of Liberal Arts.

Rev. Bank was ordained to the Unitarian Universalist ministry at King’s Chapel in Boston in 1976 and later that year was commissioned as chaplain in the United States Navy.  He served three years on Okinawa where he administered an alcohol and drug abuse prevention program and provided marriage and family counseling in addition to his other pastoral responsibilities.  He then served aboard the aircraft carrier, Constellation (CV64), which was deployed to the Indian Ocean and Persian Gulf during the height of the Iranian hostage crisis.   

He entered parish ministry serving the UU Church of Melrose, MA; the First Unitarian Church of Baltimore, MD; the UU Church in Silver Spring, MD; and the UU Fellowship at Easton, MD.  As interim minister, he served the UU Society of Hartland Four Corners, VT; the UU Fellowship of Winston-Salem, NC; the First Unitarian Society of Exeter, NH; and the UU Congregation of Erie, PA.  

Rev. Bank was active in issues of social justice, especially issues of gay rights and AIDS ministry. He was a strong advocate for inter-denominational cooperation on a local level wherever he served.  During his years of ministry, Rev. Bank served in the Unitarian Universalist denomination’s Minister on Loan Program to First Unitarian Church of Salem, OR, and as a member of the Religious Education Futures Committee.  He served on the AIDS Community Review Panel of the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene for six years, chairing the Committee in his sixth year.  He was a member of the National Cancer Institute’s Institutional Review Board for ten years where he oversaw all protocols involving human subjects; he counted this as one of the most meaningful and significant contributions of his lifetime. 

His family remembers him as a true renaissance man who loved history, books, films, music, gadgets, animals, story-telling, and being a good Dad.  He is survived by his wife, Cathy Miller, and his three daughters, Julia, Sarah, and Sasha Bank.

Messages of condolence may be sent to Cathy Miller, 29170 Woodridge Dr., Easton, MD 21601-4616.

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