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In Loving Memory of Richard L. Allen (1924-2017)

Posted By Administration, Friday, November 10, 2017

Dr. Richard “Dick” Lovett Allen died on October 22, 2017 at the age of 93.


Dick was born on July 14, 1924 in Cleveland, OH to parents Marion Ream Allen and Clifford W. Allen, and grew up in Columbus. He served in the U.S. Army from 1943 until 1946, in which year he married Emma Lou (née Burgoon). Dick then earned two degrees in Ceramic Engineering from Ohio State University: a bachelor’s in 1948 and a master’s in 1949. He worked for 15 years as a production engineer and then as a sales engineer; but during that time Dick discerned his call toward ministry, and in 1964 he entered Harvard Divinity School. After the untimely passing of Emma Lou, Dick married his beloved wife Lois in 1967, in which year he also received his Bachelor of Sacred Theology from HDS. Finally Dick earned his Ph.D. from Berkeley’s Graduate Theological Union in 1971.


Rev. Allen was ordained on May 2, 1968 by the Palo Alto Unitarian Church (now the UU Church of Palo Alto), and he carried out his first parish ministry at the First Unitarian Church of Honolulu, HI from 1972 to 1980. In that year he was called to the First Unitarian Church of Oklahoma City, OK. Rev. Allen dedicatedly served the Oklahoma City church for 14 years, until his official retirement in 1994; the congregation honored Dick as their Minister Emeritus and Lois as Choir Director Emeritus, and named the church’s new courtyard in their honor. Rev. Allen then performed interim ministries at two California congregations: Throop UU Church in Pasadena (1994 – 1996) and the UU Church of the Monterey Peninsula in Carmel-by-the-Sea (1996 – 1997). Finally he served for a short time as the minister of Napa Valley UUs in Napa, CA (2000 – 2001).


In addition to his parish ministry, Rev. Allen performed much service to the denomination. He was the secretary of UU Advance from 1982 to 1984. Rev. Allen also served on the board of the Southwest UU Conference from 1983 to 1985, and in that year he was program chair for the Conference’s Summer Institute. He also served as president of the Southwest Chapter of the UU Ministers’ Association from 1989 to 1991. In 1994 Rev. Allen was a chaplain at the Institute for Religion in an Age of Science’s summer conference on Star Island, NH. And both he and Lois were active for many years and in several capacities with the UU Retired Ministers and Partners Association.


Outside his denominational work, Dick belonged to several community organizations. He sat on the boards of the Oklahoma Alliance for Children and of the Friends of the Library of Central Oklahoma. A pro-choice advocate, Rev. Allen twice served on his local Planned Parenthood boards—for Hawaii and for Central Oklahoma—as well as on the policy council of the Oklahoma Religious Counsel for Abortion Rights.


He self-published two books while serving in Oklahoma City: Loving a Kind of Light in 1985 and Deeper into the Cave in 1991. In his spare time, Dick enjoyed reading, watching films, visiting art museums, and engaging in conversation. 


Throughout his ministry, Rev. Allen was known for a warm spirit coupled with a keen intellect—an appreciation for life’s deep questions, which resist easy or black-and-white answers. Dick once mused: “On my tombstone, there could be my name, my dates, and the sentence, ‘It is more complicated than that.’”


He is survived by his wife of 50 years Lois Allen; children Bruce Klickstein, Laura Crowder, Robin Klickstein, and Joe Allen; grandchildren Crystal Allen, Maile Allen, Emily Hunt, Kristina Koberg, Cameron Ito, Grace Bancroft, and Joe Bancroft; six greatgrandchildren; and siblings Margaret Starbuck, John Allen, and Joseph Allen. He was predeceased by his first wife Emma Lou.


In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Ministerial Discretionary Fund of the UU Fellowship of San Luis Obispo, 2201 Lawton Ave., San Luis Obispo, CA, 93401; and to the UU Society for Ministerial Relief, c/o the Rev. Dr. David Hubner, 192 Boston Post Rd. #29, Sudbury, MA 01776.


A memorial service will take place at 2pm on Saturday, December 16 at the UU Fellowship of San Luis Obispo County, 2201 Lawton Ave, San Luis Obispo, CA 93401.


Notes of condolence can be sent to Lois Allen at 1691 Seabright Ave., Grover Beach, CA 93433.

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In Loving Memory of Donald W. McKinney (1927-2017)

Posted By Administration, Thursday, November 2, 2017

The Rev. Donald “Don” William McKinney died on October 1, 2017 at the age of 90.


Don was born on June 9, 1927 in Manchester, NH to parents Victoria R. and William L. McKinney. In part because his father was himself a Unitarian minister, Don grew up very active in the church. He participated in religious education and youth groups at the First Congregational Society, Unitarian of Bridgewater, MA (now First Parish Bridgewater Unitarian Universalist Church)—where he would later be ordained. Don served in the U.S. Army for a year after high school, then attended Harvard College on the G.I. Bill, graduating in 1949 with a Bachelor of Arts in Social Relations. Don then earned his Bachelor of Sacred Theology from Harvard Divinity School in 1952.


Rev. McKinney was ordained on June 8, 1952 by the Bridgewater congregation. He first served as Assistant Minister at the First Unitarian Congregational Society in Brooklyn, NY from 1952 to 1957, during which time he married his beloved wife Julie. In 1957 he became the senior minister of the Brooklyn congregation. Don ministered to his church for almost 40 years, ever a strong advocate for civil rights and responsible action. Upon his retirement in 1992, the First Unitarian Congregational Society in Brooklyn named Rev. McKinney their Minister Emeritus.


In addition to his parish ministry, Rev. McKinney was very active in denominational and community organizations. He served for a time as President of the Middle Atlantic States Branch of the Unitarian Ministers’ Association. Additionally he was a member of the UUA’s Budget Committee and UN Advisory Committee, and of the UU Service Committee. Rev. McKinney also chaired his district’s Committee on Social Responsibility, and in 1965 chaired the Skinner Sermon Award Committee.


Don served as president of Concern for Dying, a right-to-die organization which he was instrumental in creating. He also sat for a time on the Planned Parenthood Committee of Brooklyn, the Brooklyn Board of New York’s Civil Liberties Union, the board of Brooklyn Heights Youth Center, and the advisory board of the Urban League of Brooklyn. Finally he served on the long range planning committee and board of Long Island’s Southold Free Library, and later was a member of the resident health committee at Peconic Landing.


In his spare time, Don loved to travel and to attend the theatre. He also enjoyed gardening, as well as watching TV news—especially on MSNBC. And he would often visit friends and neighbors in the health center at Peconic Landing.


Writing in 1966, 14 years into his ministry at the Brooklyn church, Rev. McKinney offered the following reflection on their shared endeavor:


Minister and congregation together accept it to be their task to raise and probe life’s deepest questions, to be reinforced in cherished traditions and shared convictions, to face and wrestle with unpleasant and difficult realities in themselves and the larger community… [T]he liberal church must sound the rallying call for free minds, open inquiry, responsible action, and in all ways possible nurture individual human dignity.


He is survived by his wife of over 60 years Julie L. McKinney, children Bruce B. McKinney and Barbara McKinney Sow, and grandchildren Omar and Adama Sow.


In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the First Unitarian Congregational Society in Brooklyn, 48 Monroe Place, Brooklyn, NY 11201 and to First Universalist Church of Southold, P.O. Box 221, Southold, NY 11971.


A memorial service will take place at 3pm on Sunday, November 12, 2017 at the First Unitarian Congregational Society in Brooklyn, NY (address above); another was held on October 28, 2017 at Jamesport Meeting House, 1590 Main Rd., Laurel, NY 11948.


Notes of condolence can be sent to Julie McKinney at 1500 Brecknock Rd. Apt 302, Greenport, NY, 11944.

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In Loving Memory of John B. Wolf (1925-2017)

Posted By Administration, Thursday, November 2, 2017

The Rev. Dr. John Burton Wolf died on September 19, 2017 at the age of 92.


John was born on September 6, 1925 in Bloomington, IL to parents Walter and Helen (née Young) Wolf. He served in the Navy during World War II, and then received his pre-med Bachelor of Science degree from Illinois Wesleyan University in 1949. Having heeded a call toward ministry, John went on to earn his Bachelor of Divinity from Meadville Lombard Theological School in 1952. He completed additional studies with the University of Chicago’s Federated Theological Faculty in 1953, and was later awarded an honorary Doctor of Divinity from Meadville Lombard Theological School in 1976.


Dr. Wolf was first called to the Church of the Good Shepherd Universalist (now Olympia Brown Memorial UU Church) in Racine, WI in 1952. It was in Racine that Dr. Wolf was ordained on February 19, 1953. John was then called to serve Meadville, PA’s Independent Congregational Church - Unitarian (now the UU Church of Meadville) from 1954 until 1960. In that year Dr. Wolf was called to All Souls Unitarian Church in Tulsa, OK, where he would minister with passion and dedication for 35 years. John was a fervent advocate for civil rights and racial justice. In 1965, after the civil rights marches in Selma, AL, Dr. Wolf hosted Tulsa’s first interfaith and interracial worship service—followed by a solidarity march through the city’s downtown. John further helped lead the fight for integration in Tulsa’s schools, which finally came in 1973. Through his leadership, All Souls grew to become one of the largest UU congregations in the country, and John helped found two new UU churches is Tulsa: Hope Unitarian Church in 1969 and Church of the Restoration UU in 1988. When Dr. Wolf retired in 1995, All Souls elected him their Minister Emeritus.


Dr. Wolf carried out a vast array of service to the denomination. He was an officer of the Midwest UU Conference, served on the Ohio Meadville and Southwest Districts’ Boards of Directors, and was Vice-President of the Unitarian Universalist Ministers Association. Dr. Wolf also represented his region on the UUA’s Board of Trustees (1989 – 1993), and was a member of many other UUA boards and committees including the Board of Review, the Commission on Appraisal, the Ministerial Fellowship Committee, and the Panel on Theological Education.


Dr. Wolf was a co-founder of the Oklahoma branch of the American Civil Liberties Union, and served on the National Board of Planned Parenthood. And Dr. Wolf was a pioneer of television ministry: His program “Faith for the Free,” though originally only aired on local access, was later broadcast nationwide. Dr. Wolf also authored the book The Gift of Doubt(1983), along with many published articles. A treasured member of the Tulsa community, Dr. Wolf was inducted into the city’s Historical Society Hall of Fame in 2015.


In his spare time, John loved to read—most especially about President Abraham Lincoln. For a few years he became a devoted crossword-puzzler. But his greatest avocational passion was for golf; he once remarked that “Retirement is a word for golf.”


Rev. Wolf will perhaps be remembered most for his powerful gifts of oration. His beloved wife Barbara believed that John was “the UUA’s best preacher in a long time. His timing at the pulpit was outstanding.” Preaching at All Souls’ pulpit 50 years after he was first called there, Dr. Wolf offered this fond recollection and call to action:


“By the time [I] got here, seeds had already been sown in abundance. … No longer could prejudice be preached in the guise of principle, or ignorance paraded as piety, or kindness killed in the name of virtue. Not in this town. … But we are not done yet—not by a long shot. We have stood our ground; often as not we stand alone. … But look out these windows: Behold, we have planted a garden in the wilderness.”


He is survived by his wife of 65 years Barbara N. Hudgins Wolf, son John David Wolf (Anita Jacobson Wolf) and daughter Catherine Elizabeth Wolf, grandson Aaron Michael Wolf-Johnson (Kayla Wolf-Johnson), and great-granddaughter Willow Rose Wolf-Johnson.


In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the John B. Wolf Memorial Fund, c/o All Souls Unitarian Church, 2952 S. Peoria Ave, Tulsa, OK 74114. The memorial fund will be distributed based on Rev. Dr. Wolf’s wishes and the wishes of his family.


A memorial service took place on Monday, September 25, 2017 at All Souls Unitarian Church.


Notes of condolence can be sent to the family at All Souls Unitarian Church (address above).

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In Loving Memory of Beth E. Cooper (1975-2017)

Posted By Administration, Wednesday, October 25, 2017

The Rev. Beth Ellen Cooper died on September 2, 2017 at the age of 41.

Ellen was born on December 8, 1975 to parents Margaret and Gerald Cooper. In Connecticut, Illinois and New Jersey she grew up active in the Methodist faith, but later found her spiritual home in Unitarian Universalism—first at the UU Church in Cherry Hill, NJ. Ellen was an accomplished performer in community and high school theatre, and in 1994 she successfully auditioned for and completed the clowning program at Ringling Brothers, Barnum & Bailey Clown College in Baraboo, WI. Ellen then attended Rowan University, graduating in 1997 with a Bachelor of Arts in Communications. Over the next several years, during which she became a member of the First Unitarian Church of Portland, OR, Beth pursued work in several different fields. But after heeding her call toward ministry, Ellen earned her Master of Divinity from Meadville Lombard Theological School in 2008.

Rev. Cooper was ordained on June 1, 2007 by the UU Church of Bloomington-Normal, Bloomington IL. In August of 2008 she was called to serve Northwoods UU Church in The Woodlands, TX, outside Houston. Ellen’s two beloved daughters were both born near the beginning of her ministry—Lilith just before, and Ingrid shortly after. Rev. Cooper ministered to Northwoods for seven years, during which she led the congregation through a deeper discernment of their mission, a restructuring of church staff, and an embrace of shared ministry. Under her leadership the church also increased its social justice work and strengthened its connection to the larger community, becoming home to more families and children. And Ellen regularly employed her theater background in her ministry, even donning her clowning costume or bringing in a puppet for special events. Rev. Cooper ministered to the Northwoods church until 2015.

Rev. Cooper was known as a spiritual leader across Texas and the country; her “online” congregation, through Twitter and Facebook, was far greater than what could fit in a church. She was a religion columnist for the Houston Chronicle, a reproductive justice liaison, and a member and spokesperson for the Texas Freedom Network’s Clergy Advisory Board.  Ellen was also a founding member of “Faith Voices for Choice,” a standing group of people of faith working for access to comprehensive reproductive healthcare for all people. In 2010, she was asked to lead the convocation of the Planned Parenthood Annual Luncheon, along with Houston Mayor Annise Parker. Rev. Cooper was also frequently invited to speak on topics related to social justice and faith. 

Ellen’s greatest personal interests were in performance—especially theatre, clowning, and puppetry—as well as applied arts, music, and teaching.

In the family’s own tribute to Rev. Cooper’s life and ministry, they offered these moving final words:


For those who loved her, and those who never had the chance, she would have wished the following: Find beauty in the everyday. Look skyward in the rain, and jump in a puddle. Breathe the mountain air, and wonder at the expanse of the ocean. Leave a treasure to be discovered by a stranger. Collect people and their experiences. Listen for the voices that are not heard. Write the poetry of the ordinary moment. Laugh, sing, create, play, and above all else, love.


She is survived by her husband Rev. Dr. Kirk Jeffery; daughters Ingrid and Lilith Cooper-Davis; parents Margaret and Gerald Cooper; and siblings Chris Smith, Kathy Perry, Phil Cooper, and Rebecca Coleman.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the UUA’s Disaster Relief Fund. If you prefer to donate by mail, please make your check payable to the UUA with "Disaster Relief Fund" on the memo line, and send to UUA Gift Processing, 24 Farnsworth St, Boston, MA 02210.

Notes of condolence can be sent to Rev. Dr. Kirk Jeffery, 2625 Trail Rider Dr., Reno, NV, 89521.

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In Loving Memory of Marguerite C. Clason (1941-2017)

Posted By Administration, Tuesday, October 24, 2017

The Rev. Marguerite “Peggy” (née Carlson) Clason, died on August 29, 2017 at the age of 76.


Peggy was born on April 3, 1941 in New Britain, CT to parents Arvid and Dorothea (née Walleen) Carlson. She graduated Summa Cum Laude from Upsala College with a Bachelor of Arts in English and Religion in 1963—the year in which she married her beloved spouse Don Clason. The couple settled in Lake County, OH, where they lived ever since. Peggy worked in publishing before serving as the Director of Religious Education at East Shore Unitarian Universalist Church in Mentor, OH from 1972 to 1981. In that year, having long heard the call toward professional ministry, Peggy earned her Master of Divinity from Meadville Lombard Theological School. She would later attain certificates in Clinical Pastoral Education (1984), Hospice Chaplaincy (1986), Marriage and Family Counseling (1990), and Bereavement Counseling (1991).


Rev. Clason was ordained on October 4, 1980 by East Shore UU Church, where she served as Minister of Religious Education until 1988. She was then called to serve the UU Society of Cleveland in Cleveland Heights, OH, where she would minister with dedication and distinction for seventeen years. Upon her retirement in 2005, the Cleveland congregation honored Rev. Clason’s service by naming her their Minister Emerita.


Outside of her ministry, Rev. Clason performed other vital service in the field of religious education. From 1988 to 1991 she worked as an Education Consultant to the UUA’s Ohio-Meadville District (now part of the Central East Region). There she coauthored the adult RE curriculum Consider the Basics, published in 1992. And in 2006 she became a member of the Liberal Religious Educators Association.


In her spare time, Peggy loved to travel, and enjoyed reading, writing, and swimming.


While pursuing her call to ministry in 1980, Rev. Clason offered the following vision of what religious education—when shepherded by passionate souls—can accomplish:


I believe that in our religious education programs persons can be supported, and the search for truths supported. I believe our Unitarian Universalist concept of a religious person, including being free and responsible, sensitive, honest, autonomous, can be conveyed. I believe time for centering on individual thoughts and feelings can be found, awareness of the natural world can be awakened, and that connections between the search for meaning and daily living can be made.


She is survived by spouse of 54 years Don Clason; children Eric Clason (Victoria) and Christine Briede (Mark); grandchildren Nicholas, Natalie, and Lauren; as well as several nieces and nephews. She was predeceased by parents Arvid and Dorothea Carlson.


In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the UU Society of Cleveland, 2728 Lancashire Rd, Cleveland, OH 44106; to East Shore UU Church, 10848 Chillicothe Rd, Kirtland, OH 44094; and to the Life Care fund of Ohio Living Breckenridge Village,36855 Ridge Road, Willoughby, OH 44094.


A memorial service took place on Saturday, September 30, 2017 at East Shore UU Church.


Notes of condolence can be sent to Don Clason at 5665 Grace Woods Drive, Unit 209, Willoughby, OH 44094.



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In Loving memory of Rebecca M. Blodgett (1933-2017)

Posted By Administration, Friday, October 20, 2017

The Rev. Rebecca “Becky” Morton Blodgett, died on August 12, 2017 at the age of 84.


Becky was born on April 16, 1933 in St. Paul, MN to parents John and Helen Driscoll. She graduated from Vassar College in 1955 with a Bachelor of Arts in Geology and Conservation, following which she and her husband, Timothy Blodgett, started a family in Concord, MA. While her children were young, Becky was a dedicated volunteer to many organizations—including Planned Parenthood, the American Red Cross, Concord Family Services, and the First Parish in Concord. Later in life, she discerned her call to ministry, and earned her Master of Divinity from Harvard Divinity School in 1989.


Rev. Blodgett was ordained on March 17, 1991 by her home congregation: the First Parish in Concord, MA. Becky’s calling was chaplaincy—a pastoral ministry “Beyond the Walls of the Meetinghouse” (the title of her senior essay at HDS). Rev. Blodgett’s vital community ministry led her to serve as a hospice chaplain at several Boston-area nursing homes and hospitals, including Mass. General Hospital. From 1996 to 1997 she served as Interim Assistant Minister to the Concord congregation, after which they named Becky an Affiliate Minister. Though continuing her chaplaincy work, she would often return to the church: performing wedding ceremonies and memorial services, training lay leaders, preaching from time to time, and offering pastoral counseling.  Rev. Blodgett retired in 2002.


Outside of her ministry, Rev. Blodgett served for a time as a Board Member of the UUA’s Church of the Larger Fellowship. In her spare time, Becky fostered a powerful love of music: singing, playing the piano, and appreciating classical music and opera. Always placing deep value in nature, she enjoyed going on walks and birding. And she adored travelling abroad. But most of all, Becky treasured time spent with her children and grandchildren.


In 1995, Rev. Blodgett offered this stirring and inspiring insight into the esteemed service she provided as a hospice chaplain:


As a chaplain I hear people’s stories and offer them the opportunity to express their fears, anger, concerns, grief, hopes and joys. An attempt is made to create a safe space where confession and tears and prayers may be commingled, held, and honored, and where the possibility of reconciliation may be glimpsed. … As a chaplain I represent a loving, gracious, and caring God who is present in suffering. I seek ways to encourage people to find and nurture the seeds of hope and faith and healing within themselves and in partnership with God. 


She is survived by husband of 61 years Timothy Blodgett; children Sarah Blodgett, Amy Walker (Jonathan), Jeffrey Blodgett (Emily), and Katherine Duffy; eight grandchildren; and brothers Frederick and Andrew Driscoll.


In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Concord Free Public Library, 129 Main St, Concord, MA 01742, in support of children’s services.


A memorial service was held on Friday, September 29th at First Parish in Concord.


Notes of condolence can be sent to First Parish in Concord, 20 Lexington Road, Concord, MA 01742.

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In Loving Memory of Richard Rodda Gay (1920-2017)

Posted By Administration, Friday, October 20, 2017

Richard Rodda Gay passed away peacefully on Aug. 13, 2017, in Bend, Ore., surrounded by family members.
He was born on May 23, 1920, to Thomas Ward Gay and Lydia Reaver Brower in Phoenixville, Pa. He graduated from Phoenixville High School in 1938. He attended Ursinus College, where he met Averill Virginia Fox. He graduated, in 1942, with a Bachelor of Arts degree, and married Averill in 1943. He went on to receive a Master of Divinity degree from Drew University School of Theology, in Madison, N.J., in 1945.

He began serving Methodist churches in eastern Pennsylvania after graduation from Drew, and moved to First Methodist Church in Pittsburgh, Pa., in 1946, where he served until 1950. While there, he concurrently attended the University of Pittsburgh and received his Master of Education degree.

In 1950, he and his family moved to Delaware, Ohio, where he accepted a position as Professor of Religion at Ohio Wesleyan University. He taught there for 10 years. While there, he was also the minister at the Warrensburg Methodist Church in Warrensburg, Ohio.

Reverend Gay was invited to serve on the original faculty of Alaska Methodist University in 1959. Having made a successful career with a speech titled "Life is a Challenge" at baccalaureate services, youth forums, etc., he decided that he could never use that topic again if he turned down this opportunity.

He arrived in Anchorage, Alaska, on Sept. 1, 1960, to begin his career with AMU, where he served as Chaplain and Professor of Religion, Philosophy and Logic. He was with Alaska Methodist University from 1960-1975, and came to serve as Vice President, and eventually, Executive Vice President before he resigned in 1975. He was one of the most popular and sought-after professors. His class, "Man's Religions," had to be held in the auditorium at AMU, because it was the only space large enough to accommodate all of the students registered for the course.

Throughout his time at AMU he also served in many capacities within the Anchorage community, including the Anchorage School Board, Red Cross, the United Way and March of Dimes. Rev. Gay was also the permanent minister for a number of local churches, including St. John Methodist Church - which he established - and the Anchorage Unitarian Fellowship. He was an interim minister for several others.  He received affiliate status with the UUA and was a member of the UUMA.


Through the years, he continued to teach courses at Chapman College and Alaska Pacific University (formerly Alaska Methodist University). He and his wife, Averill, moved from Anchorage to Hope, Alaska, in 1986. He moved to the Pacific Northwest in 2015, to be close to more family members. He was in demand as a speaker, and could address a widely diverse group, brilliantly articulating his thoughts on an extraordinary range of topics. Within each of Richard Gay's messages was a sense of humanity and a sly use of humor.
He was preceded in death by his parents; an infant brother; his sister, Margery Jane Woodruff; and his beloved wife of 67 years, Averill. He is survived by his brother, Thomas Ward Gay Jr.; his daughters, Judy Blake (Greg Joannides), Patti Thorne (Ron), Sherry Ellis (Glenn) and Jerilee Drynan (Steve); son, Rick; 15 grandchildren; 15 great-grandchildren; nieces and grand-nieces; and nephews and grand-nephews. He is also survived by his loving companion, Doris Lagging.

At his request, there will be no service.


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In Loving Memory of Carl H. Whittier, Jr., 1929-2017

Posted By Allison King, Thursday, September 28, 2017

Rev. Carl Haycock Whittier, Jr. died on July 7, 2017 at the age of 87.


Carl, Jr. was born on October 15, 1929 in Providence, RI to parents Hilda Wilkinson Whittier and Carl Whittier, Sr. He grew up in Nahant, MA and attended Lynn English High School. Carl graduated from Harvard University in 1952 with a Bachelor of Arts in History, and then earned his Bachelor of Sacred Theology from Harvard Divinity School in 1955.


Rev. Whittier was ordained on June 13, 1955 by Westminster Unitarian Church of Providence, RI, where he carried out his first year of ministry. Carl was then called to the First Unitarian Church of Sioux City, IA, where he would serve from 1956 until 1960. In that year Rev. Whittier was called to serve the First Parish Unitarian (now UU) Church of Scituate, MA. Rev. Whittier lovingly ministered to the Scituate congregation for twelve years. Then from 1972 to 1976 Carl ministered to the Unitarian Universalist Church of Springfield, MO, following which he was called to the First UU Church of Columbus, OH. Rev. Whittier served the Columbus Church for eleven years, until his retirement in 1987. In retirement, Carl was a member of the UU Fellowship of Falmouth, MA and later of the Unitarian Society of Northampton and Florence, MA.


In addition to his parish ministry, Carl carried out other vital service on behalf of the denomination. He served as President of the UUA’s Ohio-Meadville District from 1977 to 1979. Rev. Whittier was also a member of several committees within the district, including the Program Committee and the Youth Adult Committee. Finally, Carl served on the UUA’s Board of Trustees from 1985 until 1989, during which time he was an ex officio member of the Ohio-Meadville Board of Trustees.


Rev. Whittier also labored tirelessly on behalf of the communities to which he belonged through many non-denominational service organizations. He was a founding member of Massachusetts’s’ South Shore Community Action Council, and served as the organization’s president from 1962 to 1964. Rev. Whittier also sat on the boards of two community mental health groups, and while ministering to the Springfield congregation he served as President of Southwest Missouri Planned Parenthood from 1974 to 1976.  In Columbus, Carl chaired the Citizens’ Advisory Committee of the Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission, in addition to working with the commission’s and other city-wide interfaith clergy groups.


Rev. Whittier’s collected papers—including all his sermons and the majority of his newsletter columns—will be preserved in the Harvard Divinity School archives.


Carl was known by all for his dry sense of humor. In his spare time, he collected antique clocks, mostly acquired in his younger adulthood. He also read voraciously, and was a skilled crossword-puzzler. And Carl always had a cat to whom he was keenly devoted.


In reflecting upon the task of his denomination in 1965, Rev. Whittier expressed an aspirational vision for his ministry and faith—a vision that he would strive to realize throughout his decades of dedicated service:


We must see ourselves as a people united for a purpose. We would create a richer, more meaningful life for ourselves, both as individuals and as members of society. We would do all in our power to create a more perfect community in which all may attain their full potential.


He is survived by daughters Sarah Whittier and Nancy Whittier (Kate Weigand); and grandchildren Jonah, Eva, and Isaac Weigand-Whittier.


In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to VNA and Hospice of Cooley Dickinson, P.O. Box 329, Northampton, MA 01060.


A memorial service took place on August 8, 2017 at the Unitarian Society of Northampton and Florence, 220 Main St, Northampton, MA 01060.


Notes of condolence can be sent to Sarah Whittier at 190 Chestnut St, Florence, MA 01062.

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In Loving Memory of Edwin A. Lane (1928 - 2017)

Posted By Administration, Thursday, September 7, 2017

The Rev. Edwin “Ed” A. Lane died on July 19, 2017 at the age of 89.


Ed was born on June 19, 1928 to parents Lester Lane and Vera Lewis Lane, and was raised on a hog farm in Kingman, OH. He graduated from Kingman High School in 1944, in a class of eight students, following which he earned a Bachelor of Arts from Wilmington College in 1951. Though raised in the Methodist faith, Ed converted to Unitarianism while attending Drew University Divinity School, from which he received his Master of Divinity in 1954.


Rev. Lane was ordained on May 12, 1957 by Church of the Unity (now UU Church of Winchendon, MA), where he carried out his first year of ministry. He was then called to serve as the first minister of the UU Church in Cherry Hill, NJ; he ministered there from 1958 to 1967, during which he helped the small fellowship grow into a thriving church with over 400 members, 12 acres of land, and four congregational buildings. Rev. Lane then accepted a call to the Unitarian Church in Westport, CT, where he served from 1967 to 1978. In that year Ed began ministering to the First Parish in Cambridge, MA, he serving the congregation for nine years. He then carried out a year-long Interim ministry at Washington’s Bellingham Unitarian Fellowship before being called to Massachusetts’ First Parish in Waltham UU Inc. Rev. Lane served the Waltham church from 1988 until his retirement in 1996, at which time the congregation honored Ed as their Minister Emeritus. Post-retirement, Rev. Lane became an active member of First Parish in Needham, MA, where he often served as a guest preacher and congregational leader—particularly around issues of social and racial justice—and where his wildly popular homemade bread, key lime pie, and cheese pennies brought in many dollars for church fundraisers.


Rev. Lane’s service on behalf of the denomination was extensive. He chaired the editorial board of the Register Leader (now UU World) from 1957 to 1963.  Ed also sat on the board of Beacon Press for ten years beginning in 1962, serving as chair from 1969 to 1971. It was under Rev. Lane’s chairpersonship that the decision was made for Beacon Press to publish the classifiedPentagon Papers in 1971, detailing how the United States became involved in the Vietnam War (during the subsequent controversy and lawsuit, taps were found on Rev. Lane’s telephone). Additionally, Rev. Lane served on the Unitarian Universalist Association’s Ministerial Fellowship Committee (1965 – 1969), as a Ministerial Consultant to the UU Service Committee (1963 – 1964), and the Massachusetts Bay Chapter of the UU Ministers’ Association.


Beyond his parish ministry and denominational activities, Rev. Lane was socially active throughout his life in a multitude of issues, from civil rights to the environment. He took part in protest movements against the Vietnam War; supported women’s rights, abortion rights, and same sex marriage; and fought for income equality and environmental issues. In March of 1965 Ed took part in the Selma to Montgomery March in support of voting rights for African Americans—one of many Unitarian Universalist ministers and congregants to march. And twice he travelled to Africa to build houses with Habitat for Humanity. In his spare time, Rev. Lane also did a bit of acting, and enjoyed woodworking, bicycling, and hiking.


Rev. Lane wrote many articles that appeared in Church Management magazine—where he served as editor from 1955 to 1957—and in UU publications. Ed also had several letters-to-the-editors published in The New York Times and The Boston Globe. And he won the Skinner Award for “Most Significant Sermon of Social Concern” in 1967 for a piece he wrote on gun control legislation.


In the family’s own obituary for Ed, they wrote of him:


He was known as a caring, intelligent, wise, kind, loving minister with a great laugh and sense of humor. His sermons were memorable and thought-provoking.  He helped nurture churches in their growth and served as a cheer leader to those that needed it.


To his family he stands as a patient, loving, intelligent, kind, thoughtful, amazing and huggable husband, father, brother, uncle.


And to close with Rev. Lane’s own lovely words: “Life is a gift of grace, not something we have earned. We have a responsibility to use it with wisdom and to share it with love.”


He is survived by wife of 28 years Helen, sons Michael and John, four grandchildren, three great-grandchildren, and one great-great-grandchild.


In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to First Parish in Needham, 23 Dedham Ave, Needham, MA 02492.


A memorial service will take place at 11am on Saturday, September 30, 2017 at First Parish Needham (address above).


Notes of condolence can be sent to and to 66 Hastings St. Apt 106, Wellesley, MA 02481.

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In Memory of Martha L Munson (1953-2017)

Posted By Administration, Wednesday, September 6, 2017

The Rev. Martha Lois Munson died on July 2, 2017 at the age of 64.


Martha was born on April 24, 1953 in Cortland, NY to parents Charles G. Munson and Mary B. Munson. Her mother was a second-generation Unitarian Universalist, and the church became Martha’s second family from a very young age. After moving to Rhode Island when she was five, Martha began attending the First Unitarian Church of Providence—the congregation that would later ordain her. Martha graduated from Ithaca College in 1977 with a Bachelor of Arts in Planned Studies; having heeded the call to become a minister, Martha created a custom curriculum in order to prepare herself for the seminary. And indeed she then attended Andover Newton Theological Seminary, receiving her Master of Divinity in 1980.


Rev. Munson was ordained by the First Unitarian Church of Providence, RI on May 4, 1980. In that year she began her first ministry position—as a resident chaplain at a University of Virginia Medical Center, where she served for two years. She was then called to the Unitarian Universalist Church of Olinda in Ruthven, ON, serving the congregation from 1982 to 1987. Rev. Munson then agreed to minister simultaneously to two new congregations in Ontario: the Church of the Unitarian Fellowship (now the Unitarian Congregation of Niagara) in St. Catharines (1987 – 1991), and the First Unitarian Church of Hamilton (1987 – 1992). Rev. Munson was then called to the UU Church of East Aurora, NY, returning to the Finger Lakes region of her early childhood. She served UUEA for twelve blessed years. After moving on from UUEA, Rev. Munson carried out a series of vital Interim Ministries at the following congregations: the First UU Society of Syracuse, NY (2006 – 2008); the First UU Church of Youngstown, OH (2008 – 2009); the UU Church of the North Hills in Pittsburgh, PA (2009 – 2011); and finally the First Universalist Church of Rochester, NY (2011 – 2014).


Outside of her ministry, Martha performed much essential service to the denomination. She served as the Vice President and later as President of MSUU—the UU women ministers’ association. Rev. Munson also chaired the UU Ministers of Canada association for several years. While ministering to the UU Church of East Aurora, Martha took on the additional role of the congregation’s Social Justice Chair from 2003 to 2006. Finally, Rev. Munson led the UU Ministers’ Association Iroquois Chapter from 2008 to 2009.


In her spare time, Martha greatly enjoyed cooking. She also held a deep love for the outdoors, going on walks and camping in the great forests of New York State and Canada. And whenever fellow players were on hand, Martha relished a good game of bridge.


She is survived by siblings Harold Munson (Sarah) and Kay Weaver (Don), stepchildren Matthew Franke-Singer and Michele Barringer (Tom), and 3 grandchildren. She was predeceased by spouse Rev. David Franke.


In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Planned Parenthood – Batavia Health Center, 222 W Main St, Batavia, NY 14020 (operated by Planned Parenthood of Central and Western New York, Inc.), and to Habitat for Humanity of Genesee County, NY.


A memorial service was held on Saturday, July 15 at First Universalist Church in Rochester, 150 S Clinton Ave, Rochester, NY 14604.


Notes of condolence can be sent to

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