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In Memory . . . Polly Laughland Guild (1924-2009)

Posted By Jessica Cambio, Thursday, May 13, 2010
Updated: Thursday, May 13, 2010

It is with a sense of loss that the Ministry and Professional Leadership Staff Group informs you of the death of the Reverend Polly Laughland Guild. She died peacefully at home in Weston, MA, on Saturday, November 7, 2009. She was 85.

Rev. Guild was born on September 1, 1924 to James A. Callard and Marjorie C. Bachrach. She graduated with a BA in Biology and Chemistry from Colby College in Waterville, ME, in 1945 and an MRE from Andover Newton Theological School in 1964. She also attended Crane Theological School of Tufts University for one year.

A Unitarian by birth, Rev. Guild entered the church school of the First Unitarian Society of West Newton, MA, as a kindergartener. Her association with that church would continue for the next 50 years. After she graduated from divinity school, Rev. Guild served the church as minister of religious education for many years. In 1972, one year before her acceptance into preliminary fellowship by the Ministerial Fellowship Committee, the congregation ordained her. She shared parish ministry duties at the West Newton church for the next two years.

From 1974 until 1976, Rev. Guild served as interim minister to the UU Society of Wellesley Hills, MA. In 1976, she was called to the Follen Community Church in Lexington, MA, where she served for 16 years. Under her leadership, the Follen Church grew into a strong, effective, and caring community. She was named minister emerita upon her retirement in 1992.

Rev. Guild also provided leadership to Unitarian Universalists around the world. In 1986, during her sabbatical, she served as interim minister in Adelaide, Australia. In the 1980’s she and her husband, Ted Guild, served as volunteer international coordinators for the UUA. She was one of the founders of the International Council of Unitarians and Universalists (ICUU.) She was also a long-time member of International Association for Religious Freedom (IARF) and attended their triennial congresses in many countries. She organized and led four church-related group trips to Egypt, India, Eastern Europe, and Britain. With her husband, she endowed a Unitarian school in the Khasi Hills of India. She established a micro-lending organization in the Philippines called the Ted Guild Village Bank.

Rev. Guild is survived by her children, Lorna and Bruce Winthrop of Deltona, FL; Linda Laughland and Dan Downing of Lincoln, MA, and Andrew Laughland and Barb Gage of Arlington, MA; Todd and Yasuko Guild of Tokyo; Sylvia Guild of Alaska; Katherine Guild and husband James of Texas; and Lina Guild of the Virgin Islands; her sisters, Harriet Cowdery of Boothbay Harbor, ME, and Margo Callard of Needham, MA; and seven grandchildren. Her husband, Ted, died in 2002.

Two services were held at Follen Community church to honor Reverend Guild. On November 10, there was a Candlelight Service of Loving Memory for her immediate family and everyone from Follen. On November 11, 2009, a memorial service designed by Rev. Guild with her favorite hymns, solo musical pieces, and readings was held.

Gifts to honor Rev. Guild’s memory may be made to the following organizations:

  • Follen Community Church, 755 Massachusetts Avenue, Lexington, MA 02420
  • International Council of Unitarians and Universalists (Make check payable to ICUU and send to David Shaw, Meadow Hey, Adlington Lane, Grindleford, Hope Valley, Derbyshire, United Kingdom S32 2HT [postage to England is 98 cents]. Please include your name, mailing address and an email address, if available, and David will send acknowledgements personally.)
  • Parmenter/Wayside Hospice (Make check payable to Parmenter with hospice program in memo and send to Parmenter Community Health Care, 266 Cochituate Road, Wayland, MA 01778.

Please send messages of condolence to Rev. Guild’s family in care of Linda Laughland, 15 Sunnyside Lane, Lincoln, MA 01773.

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In Memory . . . Rev. Laurel Sheridan (1940-2008)

Posted By Jessica Cambio, Thursday, May 13, 2010
It is with a sense of loss that the Ministry and Professional Leadership Staff Group inform you of the death of the Reverend Laurel S. Sheridan. She died on May 15, 2008following a hospitalization for numerous ailments. She was 67.

Reverend Sheridan was born in Boston, MA on July 9, 1940 to Solomon Siegan and Gertrude Stone Siegan. She attended Simmons College in Boston for a year before entering Children’s Hospital School of Nursing where she earned an R. N. in 1962. After graduation, Rev. Sheridan worked at Lying-In Hospital in Boston. When her children were young, Rev. Sheridan worked part-time as a nurse, teaching natural childbirth education. Upon her return to formal hospital work, she became disenchanted with what she perceived as a lack of focus on patient care in favor of a focus on technology. In 1978 she received a B.A. in Communications from Bridgewater State College and as her commitment to ministry developed, Rev. Sheridan entered Andover Newton Theological School, earning an M. Div. in 1982.

Rev. Sheridan was ordained by The First Parish Church of Duxbury, Massachusetts on September 19, 1982. She served The First Church in Barre, Vermont, The First Universalist Church in Bangor, Maine, and the Unitarian Universalist Church of the Restoration in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania before returning to Massachusetts to serve the All Souls Unitarian Universalist Church in Braintree for 10 years, from 1987 to 1997. Rev. Sheridan then served First Parish Universalist in Canton, Massachusetts and while there became seriously ill and physically disabled. In spite of these challenges, Rev. Sheridan continued to preach part-time while her health allowed. 

Survivors include her husband, Terence Sheridan as well as her children, Holly Sakariason and partner Bethie Stoller, Julie Romero and husband Robert Romero, and Alison Sakariason. She also leaves five grandchildren: Samuel, Max, Rebecca, Myles, and Sarah.

A service to honor Rev. Sheridan’s life will be held at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Tucson, AZ on August 9, 2008. Rev. Diane Dowgiert will officiate. Donations in honor of Rev. Sheridan may be made to Star Island Annual Fund, 10 Vaughan Mall, Suite 8, Portsmouth, NH 03801. 

Please send messages of condolence to Mr. Terence Sheridan at 6250 S. Commerce Ct. #1110, Tucson, AZ 85746 and Ms. Holly Sakariason, 322 E. 30th Street, Yuma, AZ 85364.

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In Memory . . . Rev. Ric Masten

Posted By Jessica Cambio, Thursday, May 13, 2010
It is with a sense of loss that the Ministry and Professional Leadership Staff Group inform you of the death of the Reverend Ric Masten. He died on May 9, 2008 at his mountain home near Carmel, California of prostrate cancer. He was 78.

Rev. Masten was a "troubadour minister” who performed his music and poetry before congregations throughout the United States over a career spanning five decades. He is the author of 23 books, a dozen song albums, and the popular hymn "Let It Be a Dance.”

Rev. Masten was born in Carmel on June 20, 1929. He graduated from Montezuma High School in Los Gatos, California in 1946, and attended several colleges, but never received a degree, due in part to undiagnosed dyslexia and a severe hearing impairment. He is perhaps the only fellowshipped Unitarian Universalist minister never to have graduated from seminary or college.

A promising artist, Rev. Masten studied briefly with Millard Sheets and Millford Zorn at Pomona College, and with famed cubist Fernand Léger at the Ecole des Beaux Arts in Paris in 1949. He also wrote and produced musical comedies in Carmel, and became a contract writer for Warner Brothers, ultimately having seventy-eight of his songs recorded in the 1950s and early 1960s.

Rev. Masten began his ministry in 1968, offering guest services in California churches with the backing of Rev. Howard and Rosemary Matson, culminating in an impressive performance at the Unitarian Universalist Association’s General Assembly in Cleveland. The UUA then awarded Masten a Frank Billings Lectureship with the express aim of "taking the spirit of liberal religion to college campuses and churches around the country.” Many of his poems explored how race, religion, women’s liberation, alcohol abuse, aging, and other social issues impact the most intimate personal relationships.

Rev. Masten was ordained in 1972 at the Unitarian Universalist Church in Arlington, Virginia as part of an effort of the Ministerial Fellowship Committee to address the need for non-parish ministers engaged in social action. The first of these so-called Specialized Ministers was Howard Matson, who began working full-time with Caesar Chavez and the United Farm Workers in 1969. The category of Specialized Ministers was terminated in 1974, but Rev. Masten received his Final Fellowship in 1975. 

Over the years, Rev. Masten, usually accompanied by his wife, Billie Barbara Masten, toured the country in their Toyota camper, "The Homesick Snail,” giving concerts and staying at the homes of the ministers and parishioners they befriended along the way. Rev. Masten thus earned the distinction of preaching in more Unitarian Universalist churches – over five hundred in 49 states – than any other minister in history.

Rev. Masten presented his poetry in a variety of other venues as well, including schools, prisons, and civic clubs. He had a regular call-in spot on a talk radio station in Denver in the 1980s and produced a weekly newspaper column, "Words and One-Liners” for the Monterey Herald in the 1990s. These columns became the inspiration for three illustrated volumes of poetry.

Rev. Masten was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 1999 and chronicled his battle with the disease in a series of poems and blog entries, which expanded his ministry to a new community, cancer survivor groups. Rev. Masten published six books since his diagnosis, including Words and One-Liners: Take Three (Sun-Ink Presentations, 2008) and Going Out Dancing (Skinner House Books, 2008). 

Masten’s other titles include Who’s Wavin’? A Thin Body of Work (1970); Sunflowers (1971); Speaking Poems (1977); Voice of the Hive (1978); His & Hers: A Voyage Through the Middle Age Crazies, with Billie Barbara Masten (1978); Stark Naked (1980); Even As We Speak (1982); The Deserted Rooster (1982); They Are All Gone Now (1985); Notice Me! (1986); Looking for Georgia O’Keeffe (1987); Ric Masten Speaking (1990); I Know It Isn’t Funny But I Love to Make You Laugh (1996); Pacific Light: Images of the Monterey Peninsula, with Douglas Steakley (2000); and Parallel Journeys, with Dr. Larry Lachman (2003).

In addition to his own books, Rev. Masten is the subject of Troubadour and Poet: The Magical Ministry of Ric Masten (Trafford Publishing, 2007), by Rev. Stephen Edington.

Largely ignored by literary critics throughout his career, Rev. Masten received numerous honors toward the end of his life. He was named Troubadour and People’s Poet of Carmel in 2003, Poet Laureate of Prostate Cancer by the National Prostate Cancer Coalition in 2005, Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters by California State University, Monterey Bay in 2007, and Champion of the Arts – Luminary by the Arts Council of Monterey County in 2008. "All you have to do is catch a fatal disease and the awards just fall out of the trees like apples,” he joked.

Rev. Masten is survived by his wife of 56 years, Billie Barbara, their four children, Jerri Masten Hansen, Dr. April F. Masten, Ellen Masten, and Stuart Masten, and five grandchildren, nearly all of whom were with him at the end, singing. Other survivors include his brother Warren Masten, sister Olga Masten, half-brothers Don Hare and Lee Hare, and step-brother James Hare.

A memorial service will be held June 20, 2008 at 1:00 p.m. at the Community Church of the Monterey Peninsula 4590 Carmel Valley Rd, Carmel, CA 93923. Memorial donations in honor of Rev. Masten may be sent to the National Prostate Cancer Coalition, 1154 Fifteenth Street, NW, Washington, DC 20005.

Please send messages of remembrance to Ms. Billie Barbara Masten, 37931 Palo Colorado Rd, Carmel, CA 93923-8115.

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In Memory . . . Rev. Hvezdon "Don" Kafka

Posted By Jessica Cambio, Thursday, May 13, 2010
It is with a sense of loss that the Ministry and Professional Leadership Staff Group inform you of the death of the Reverend Hvezdon "Don” Kafka. He died at his home in Marlborough, MA on March 16 at the age of 86. 

Reverend Kafka was born in Czechoslovakia to Jan and Marie (Picat) Kafka. As a child, he attended Reverend Norbert Capek’s church in Prague where Reverend Capek celebrated the first flower communion, a ritual now practiced widely throughout our denomination. Reverend Kafka began his formal education at the University of Prague. When the Nazi occupation began, they placed him in forced labor in southern Germany. After his release, he received a scholarship to study in England at Oxford University. He continued his studies at Meadville Lombard Theological School and at Tufts University where he earned his master’s degree in religion.

Reverend Kafka was ordained on September 17, 1950 by the First Congregational Unitarian Church in Harvard, MA and served the congregation until 1954. He also served churches in Uxbridge, Mendon, and Pittsfield, MA, before moving to the First Parish Church, Unitarian Universalist, of Stow and Acton in 1970. He served there until his retirement in 1986 when the congregation named him Minister Emeritus.

Don, as he liked to be called, was a scholar and a gifted pastor whose extraordinary life experience helped him to assist others through difficult times. He was a very warm and personable individual, who made it easy for others to seek his assistance, and he was always ready to be of help. Balancing his busy life as a minister was his love of nature, music, and athletic activity. His family and his heritage were very important to him. He had a true sense of adventure, and in his retirement years he and his wife, Vera, were able to enjoy traveling together. Don was very active in the life of the community and in recent years Reverend Kafka had remained as active as his health allowed at the First Parish Church of Stow. Reverend Tom Rosiello, present minister of the Stow and Acton church, described him as a real inspiration, saying, "In spite of the many physical challenges Reverend Kafka faced over the last several years, he remained positive in spirit and strong in his faith and always offered words of support and encouragement to me for my ministry at the church. It was an honor for me to learn from him and get to know him. He will be missed at First Parish.”

Survivors include his wife of 62 years, Vera (Martinacova) Kafka, and their sons: Jason and his wife, Barbara, and daughter, Emma, of Parkman, ME; and Thomas, and his sons, Orion and Alex of Enosburg, VT. Messages of remembrance may be sent to Ms. Vera Kafka, 400 Hemenway St. Apt 212, Marlborough, MA 01752-6772. Donations in memory of Reverend Kafka may be made to the First Parish of Stow and Acton. Contact the church at (978) 897-8149 for further information.

A service of celebration and remembrance will take place on Saturday, May 10, 2008 at 11:00 a.m. at the First Parish Church of Stow and Acton. The service will be conducted by Reverend Thomas Rosiello and will include special music by the church’s choir and guest musicians. A reception will follow the service.

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In Memory . . . Rev. Thomas McMullen (1932-2008)

Posted By Jessica Cambio, Thursday, May 13, 2010
It is with a sense of loss that the Ministry and Professional Leadership Staff Group inform you of the death of the Reverend Thomas D. McMullen. He died on February 26, 2008 at the Big Bend Hospice House in Tallahassee, Florida. He was 76.

Reverend McMullen was born in Bradenton, FL. He was a graduate of the Florida State University School of Music, where he studied music theory and composition with John Boda, Carlisle Floyd, and the renowned Hungarian composer and pianist Ernst von Dohnanyi. He served in the U.S. Air Force from 1953-1957, first as an instructor of music theory at the U.S. Air Force School of Music, Lackland Air Force Base, San Antonio, Texas, and later as conductor of the Strategic Air Command Chorus and musician in the Strategic Air Command Band, Offutt Air Force Base, Omaha, Nebraska. His professional life in the Bradenton/Sarasota area included work as band director, teacher of brass instruments, choral conductor, retail music store owner, and publisher of music and musicology manuscripts.

In midlife, he earned a Doctor of Ministry from Meadville Lombard Theological School in Chicago. During the 1970s and 1980s he served as minister of the Unitarian Church of Studio City, CA; North Shore Unitarian Church in Plandome, NY; and the First Unitarian Church of Orlando, FL. He was actively involved in the social and political issues of the day. Most recently he worked in the program planning and evaluation unit at the Florida Department of Elder Affairs in Tallahassee.

Family members include his wife, Barbara Stansell, with whom he shared a life rich in meaning; two sons, Tom McMullen (and partner Julia DeHoff) of Tallahassee and Nathan Blane McMullen (and wife Karen Brady McMullen) of Nantucket, MA; sister Jeanne McMullen Parrish and nephew Paul Parrish of Bradenton, FL; Helen McMullen Aderhold (and husband John Aderhold) and nephew Tom Aderhold of Atlanta, GA; grandchildren, Evan McMullen and Caitlin McMullen of Tallahassee, FL; and Brynny, loving dachshund.

Memorial contributions may be sent to the Florida State University College of Music, Heather Cairns, Director of Development, Tallahassee, FL 32306 or the Big Bend Hospice, 1723 Mahan Center Blvd, Tallahassee, FL 32308. 

A memorial service was held on March 17, 2008 in the Jubilee Cottage at Goodwood Museum and Gardens in Tallahassee. Messages of remembrance may be sent to Barbara Stansell-McMullen, 1603 Seminole Drive, Tallahassee, FL 32301-5737.

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In Memory . . . Rev. Roy Phillips (1941-2008)

Posted By Jessica Cambio, Thursday, May 13, 2010
It is with a sense of loss that the Ministry and Professional Leadership Staff Group inform you of the death of the Reverend Roy D. Phillips. He died on April 24, 2008 of a heart attack, while visiting family in Morocco. He was 66.

Reverend Phillips was born on June 23, 1941 in Somerville, Massachusetts to Dennis S. and Emily A. Phillips. He studied chemical engineering at Northeastern University in Boston before transferring to Boston University where he earned a B.A. in Philosophy in 1963. In 1967 he earned a B.D. from Meadville Lombard Theological School in Chicago. 

Reverend Phillips was ordained and installed in 1967 at what was then the Unitarian Universalist Church of Racine and Kenosha in Racine, Wisconsin (now Olympia Brown Unitarian Universalist Church) where he served until 1971. In May of 1971, he began his service to Unity Church-Unitarian in St. Paul, Minnesota concluding his ministry to that congregation 27 years later when they honored him as Minister Emeritus. He then served as interim minister in Cleveland, Ohio, and Pensacola and Valparaiso, Florida, before being called to the Unitarian Universalist Church of Tucson, Arizona from which he retired in 2004.

In an article published in the St. Paul Dispatch in 1984, Reverend Phillips’ preaching was praised and characterized with these words, "His sermons are intricate weavings of the thoughts that have troubled his heart and mind during the week. He believes the things that bother him are bothersome to the people who come to hear him preach”. Reverend Phillips was the author of two books: Letting Go: Transforming Congregations for Ministry and Transforming Liberal Congregations for the New Millennium. He also served on the board of the Starr King School for the Ministry.

Reverend Phillips was a dynamic individual with great curiosity according to his partner, Patricia Harmon. He had recently renewed his interest in nature and liberal politics. He loved to travel and visited Egypt, China, Mexico, and Italy as well as Morocco where his young grandchildren delighted him.

Surviving Reverend Phillips is his loving partner of 14 years, Patricia Harmon, of Tucson, Arizona. He also leaves his children: Joe Phillips and wife, Leila Safi, of Rabat, Morocco, and their children, Kenza and Selma; Luke Phillips and wife, Aide Phillips, of Albuquerque, New Mexico; Lisa Phillips of Asheville, North Carolina; Nicolas Phillips of Queens, New York; Laura Sanborn and Blair Harmon both of Minneapolis, Minnesota. A sister, Diana Saunders, her husband, Terry, and their child, Meghan, of Charlottesville, Virginia, also survive. 

Reverend Phillips’ life will be celebrated at two services. Unity Church-Unitarian will hold a service to honor their former minister on Thursday, May 1, 2008 at 4:30 p.m. in their sanctuary at 732 Holly Avenue, St. Paul, MN 55104. On Friday, May 2 at 10:00 a.m., the Reverends Charles Gaines and Earl Holt will officiate at a service of remembrance at Sunstone Healing Center, 2545 N. Woodland Rd., Tucson, Arizona. 

Donations in Reverend Phillips honor may be made to Sunstone Cancer Support Centers, 2545 N. Woodland Rd., Tucson, Arizona 85749 where he liked to volunteer, having been a four and a half year survivor of pancreatic cancer. Please send messages of remembrance to Ms. Patricia Harmon, 333 S Via de los Campos, Tucson, Arizona 85711-7447.

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In Memory . . . Rev. Robert Botley (1923-2008)

Posted By Administrator, Thursday, May 13, 2010
It is with a sense of loss that the Ministry and Professional Leadership Staff Group inform you of the death of the Reverend Robert D. Botley. He died peacefully and with dignity on March 28, 2008 at age 84 with his wife, Anna Mae Botley, at his side.

Reverend Botley was born on November 17, 1923, in Springfield, Ohio to Elizabeth and Robert D. Botley, Sr. After graduation from Shaker Heights High School in Cleveland, Ohio, he served in the Army Air Corps in World War II. He earned a BS from Ohio State University in 1947 and a BD from Yale Divinity School in 1950. 

Reverend Botley was ordained into the United Church of Christ in 1951 and served Congregational Churches in Sedgwick CO, Pinedale, WY, and Rapid City, SD. In 1959, he attended Iliff Seminary in Denver, CO and the Pacific School of Religion in Berkeley, CA for post-graduate work in counseling. In 1961, he joined the Unitarian Universalist Association and was called to the San Mateo Unitarian Church in San Mateo, CA, where he served for nine years. While in San Mateo, Rev. Botley was active in the Civil Rights movement and marched with Martin Luther King, Jr. in Selma, AL. He also took a stand against the Vietnam War and offered counsel to many conscientious objectors. Additionally, Reverend Botley served for six years as president of the board of directors of Mental Health Recovery, Inc. in San Mateo.

After a long illness with cancer, Reverend Botley retired early from formal ministry. As his health improved, he started his own business, Specialized Yachting Services. In 1980, he and Anna Mae sold the business and "retired” to the country, Willow Creek. In his "retirement,” Bob started an accounting business in Willow Creek and became an active and dedicated member of the Humboldt Unitarian Universalist Fellowship in Bayside. In 1999, the Botleys moved to McKinleyville. In the ensuing years, Reverend Botley devoted his energy and time to the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship, serving on many committees and on the Fellowship Board.

Reverend Botley loved the wilderness and in his younger years enjoyed mountain climbing and backpacking. As an amateur landscape photographer, he won awards for some of his work. He loved wildlife and was an avid bird-watcher. He became a sailor, built a boat and sailed the boat to Mexico and back. During his years as a sailor, Reverend Botley was part of the Farallon Island Patrol, transporting Point Reyes biologists and supplies to the Farallon Islands off the coast of San Francisco.

Reverend Botley is survived by his wife of 59 years, Anna Mae Botley. He also leaves two children, Steve Botley of Cave Junction, OR and Becky Blackshaw and her husband Tony Blackshaw of New Zealand; two grandchildren, Matthew and Kerry Blackshaw; his sister Suzanne Koch; and nieces Caroline Toops and Kathy Simmons. He is also survived by Anna Mae’s family, Ann Burkhart, Ella Faye Scott, Roy and Lee Burkhart, Eileen Burkhart, and nieces and nephews. 

Reverend Botley’s love of life and people and his service to community is a legacy that will long be remembered and cherished. A celebration of his life will be held on May 31 at 2:00 p.m. at the Humboldt Unitarian Universalist Fellowship in Bayside, CA. 

Donations may be made in Reverend Botley’s name to either the Humboldt Unitarian Universalist Fellowship, 24 Fellowship Way, Bayside CA 95524 or to Hospice of Humboldt, 2010 Myrtle Avenue, Eureka, CA 95501.

Please send messages of remembrance to Ms. Anna Mae Botley, 1815 Oak Place, McKinleyville, CA 95519-8200.

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In Memory . . . Rev. Frank Robertson (1936-2008)

Posted By Administrator, Thursday, May 13, 2010
It is with a sense of loss that the Ministry and Professional Leadership Staff Group inform you of the death of the Reverend Frank E. Robertson. He died February 6, 2008 at his home in Plymouth, MA at the age of 71.

Mr. Robertson was born on September 15, 1936 to John and Mildred Robertson in Greenfield, MA. He received a BS in Chemical Engineering from the University of Lowell in 1959 and a M. Div. from The Theological School of St. Lawrence University in 1962 where he was certified in Religious Education. At Colombia University he studied World Religions, specializing in East Indian studies. His interest in world religions persisted throughout Mr. Robertson’s life leading him to participate in the creation of a World Religions curriculum, published in 1987. In 1979 he studied and traveled in India. He participated in a study tour of Japan and in The International Association of Religious Freedom Congress in Tokyo in 1984. 

After being ordained by the First Grace Universalist Church in Lowell, MA, Mr. Robertson served congregations in Barneveld and Shelter Rock, NY, and Paramus, NJ. He served as Minister of Religious Education in Washington, DC, Santa Barbara, CA, and Evanston, IL. In 1998, after serving in Evanston for 12 years, he was honored by the congregation as Minister Emeritus upon his retirement.

Mr. Robertson was a founding member of Interweave, an organization affiliated with the UUA to address the concerns of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender (GLBT) concerns. In doing so, he greatly helped other GLBT persons to claim their identity. Through their efforts, the General Assembly was lobbied to pass resolutions concerning GLBT rights and the UUA Office of Bisexual, Gay, Lesbian, and Transgender Concerns was established.

In 2006, Mr. Robertson was awarded an honorary degree of Doctor of Divinity from Meadville Lombard Theological School. In bestowing this degree he was celebrated "as an outstanding Unitarian Universalist minister, as a faithful religious educator, as an exceptional leader in many and sundry public institutions, and finally as a courageous pioneer of human rights.” The Angus H. MacLean Award for excellence in religious education was bestowed on Mr. Robertson in 1998.

Mr. Robertson’s other contributions were many. From 1978 to 1980, Mr. Robertson was a member of the UUA Board of Trustees where he was both soft spoken and effective in lobbying for human rights causes. He also served on the board of the Liberal Religious Educators Association (LREDA). He founded and chaired the Unitarian Universalist Religious Education History Group and served on the boards of the St. Lawrence Foundation and the US Chapter of the International Association of Religious Freedom. He was an Elder of the Massachusetts Society of Mayflower Descendants. 

He is survived by his partner of 36 years, Mr. Rick McDonald, of Plymouth, MA, his daughters, Lydia J. Robertson of Brooklyn, NY and Denene Ray and husband, Jeff, of Charlotte, NC. His son, Joel, died in 1993. He also leaves his grandchildren, Charlotte Juergens of Brooklyn, NY, and Emma, Jennifer, and Maddy Ray of Charlotte, NC.

His friend, the Reverend Abhi Janamanchi said of him that "Frank was a mentor, friend, cheer leader, and family member. We will miss his wonderful sense of humor, bad puns, deep dedication to our faith, and universal spirit that embraced all regardless of culture, race, gender, religion, or sexual orientation”.

A celebration of The Reverend Frank Robertson’s life will take place on April 19 at 2:00 p.m. at First Parish Church in Plymouth, MA. Memorial gifts may be made to the First Parish Church (memo Frank Robertson Memorial), 19 Town Square, Plymouth, MA 02360-3351 for the establishment of a Celebration Garden in Frank’s name.

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In Memory . . . Rev. Carl Thitchener (1932-2008)

Posted By Janette M. Lallier, Thursday, May 13, 2010
It is with a sense of loss that the Ministry and Professional Leadership Staff Group inform you of the death of the Reverend Carl F. Thitchener. Mr. Thitchener died February 15, 2008 in the presence of loving family at the House of John Hospice in Clifton Springs, NY. He was 75. 

Mr. Thitchener was born on March 31, 1932 in Rochester, NY to Charles P. and Dorothy M. Thitchener. He received a B.S. degree in Speech from Northwestern University in 1953. After a successful business career where he was a pioneer in the early microfilm information retrieval industry, he transitioned to ministry. He earned an M. Div. degree from Starr King School for the Ministry in 1980.

Ordination took place at the First Unitarian Church in Rochester, NY on May, 18, 1980, where Mr. Thitchener had been an active layperson for more than 20 years. His activities as layperson included teaching in the church school, chairing the annual fund drive, advising the youth group, and serving on the Board of Trustees. In 1981, he was called to serve the UU Church of Amherst in Williamsville, NY. He was joined there as co-minister, by his wife, the Reverend Maureen Thitchener, in 1991. Their ministry continued until 2003 when they were honored as Ministers Emeriti. Mr. Thitchener also served congregations in Fairfax, VA, Rochester, NY, and Waterloo County, Ontario, Canada. At the time of his death, Mr. Thitchener was co-minister with his wife of the UU Church of Canandaigua, NY.

Mr. Thitchener served the denomination in many roles. From 1993 to 2000 he served as Secretary to the Unitarian Universalist Association's Board of Trustees. He also served on the Boards of Trustees of the Buffalo Area Metropolitan Ministries and of the Starr King School for Ministry in Berkeley, CA. Additionally, he served on the Executive Committee of the Unitarian Universalist Minister's Association and as President of the St. Lawrence Foundation for Theological Education.

Survivors include his wife of 53 years, Maureen Quinlan Thitchener, their children Karyn Taylor and her husband Alan, Lynn Thitchener, Susan Levine and her husband Jeff, and Michael Carl Thitchener. He also leaves two granddaughters, Tegan Thitchener Kehoe and Kelley Levine.

A service to honor and celebrate Mr. Thitchener's life will be held on Saturday, March 29, 2:00 p.m. at the First Unitarian Church of Rochester, 220 Winton Road South, Rochester, NY.

Messages of remembrance may be sent to 3895 Green Rd, Bloomfield, NY 14469-9725. Donations in the Reverend Carl Thitchener's name may be sent to Compassionate Care, P.O. Box 123, Canandaigua, NY, 14424.

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In Memory . . . Rev. Peter Weller (1926-2008)

Posted By Jessica Cambio, Thursday, May 13, 2010
It is with a sense of loss that the Ministry and Professional Leadership Staff Group inform you of the death of the Reverend Peter Weller.

He died on January 22, 2008 at his home in Fort Collins, Colorado. He was 81.The Rev. Peter Weller was born on February 10, 1926 in Holland, Michigan, the son of Peter Weller, Sr. and Gertrude Weller who had emigrated from the Netherlands. Mr. Weller received his B.S. in Electrical Engineering from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor in 1948. After serving in both the U.S. Navy and the U.S. Army, he decided to become a Unitarian minister at the age of 26. Mr. Weller received his M. Div. from the Starr King School for the Ministry in Berkeley, CA in 1957.

Mr. Weller served Unitarian Universalist congregations in Laconia, New Hampshire; Seattle, Washington; Hanska, Minnesota; Muskegan, Michigan; and Pittsfield, Massachusetts. In Pittsfield, he ministered for 12 years and was honored with the status of Minister Emeritus. He then served as interim minister in Birmingham, Alabama and Bloomington, Indiana. 

A longtime advocate of peace and justice, Mr. Weller was active in the civil rights movement and marched in Selma with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. He was also active with the anti-war movement during the Vietnam era and recently served on the board of the United Nations Association in Fort Collins, CO where he was a member of the Foothills Unitarian Church. Mr. Weller was also an active participant in the Unitarian Universalist Ministers' Association where he was respected as a "gentle, kind presence."

Mr. Weller married Carol Reed Weller in 1958. She preceded him in death in 1973. 

He then married Jennie Parker Weller in 1977. Survivors include his wife, Jennie Parker Weller of Fort Collins; three daughters, Cathleen Hamilton (Oakland, NJ), Julia Smith (Fairbanks, Al), and Gretchen Weller (Fort Collins, CO); five stepchildren, Marian Ware (Amherst, MA), Carl Hildebrandt (Pittsburgh, PA), Janet Hildebrandt (Boulder, CO), Jay Hilt (Burbank, CA), Lisabeth Almgren (Tucson, AZ), seventeen grandchildren, and six great- grandchildren. He is also survived by his three brothers, John, Peter Anthony "Tony," and Hubert "Herb" Weller, all of Holland, Michigan. 

A memorial service will be held at a later date at Foothills Unitarian Church. In lieu of flowers, memorial gifts may be made to Foothills Unitarian Church, 1815 Yorktown Avenue, Fort Collins, Colorado 80526 or the Hospice of Larimer County in care of Bohlender Funeral Chapel, 121 West Olive Street, Fort Collins, Colorado 80524. 

Please send messages of remembrance to the family in care of Bohlender Funeral Chapel, 121 West Olive Street, Fort Collins, Colorado 80524.

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