Print Page | Contact Us | Your Cart | Sign In | Join
Remembering the Living Tradition
Blog Home All Blogs
Search all posts for:   


In Loving Memory of Bets Weinecke (1936 - 2017)

Posted By Administration, Tuesday, January 30, 2018

The Rev. Elizabeth “Bets” Wienecke died on December 28, 2017 at the age of 81.


Bets was born on December 22, 1936 in Evanston, IL to Eliza Rittenhouse Wienecke and Robert Henry Wienecke. She married William Gourley Jr. in 1955, and they had three children together: Ann Michelle (deceased,) William, and Elizabeth. Bets graduated from the University of California, Santa Barbara in 1975 with a Bachelor of Arts in Law and Society; and in 1980 she earned a Master of Arts in Educational Psychology Counseling from California State University, Northridge. She worked for many years as an office manager, a Volunteer Coordinator for the Santa Paula, CA School District, and as Executive Director of the Santa Paula Youth Employment Service. During this time, she married the love of her life, Peter Haslund, becoming stepmother to Melitta and Christina. Inspired by her mentor the Rev. Marjorie N. Leaming, Bets felt a call toward ministry and pursued fellowship with the UUA, earning her Master of Divinity from California’s Claremont School of Theology in 1985.


Rev. Wienecke was ordained on May 25, 1986 by the Unitarian Society of Santa Barbara, CA. In 1987, she began serving as the Extension Minister to the Live Oak UU Congregation of Goleta, CA, and in 1990 the congregation called Rev. Wienecke as their settled minister. Bets served Live Oak with passion and dedication for eighteen years, and upon her retirement in 2004 the congregation honored Rev. Wienecke as their Minister Emerita.

Prior to her ordination, Bets served as the Secretary for the UU Church in Santa Paula, CA’s board of trustees, and later as Board President. She also performed much service on behalf of the UUA’s Pacific Southwest District (now part of the Pacific Western Region): serving on the Annual Meeting Planning Committee and the Women and Religion Committee, chairing the Leadership Development Committee, and serving as dean of the Leadership Training School. She also served on the UUMA Executive Committee, the Board of Ministerial Sisterhood of Unitarian Universalists, and the Board of Meadville Lombard Theological School.


Rev. Carolyn Price of the UU Church of Ventura, CA offered these lovely words in remembrance of Bets: “A pioneer for women in the ministry, who inspired six of us to become ministers, and counseled countless among us in her many years in the parish… She modeled for us what it is not only to live, but to die with intention, with beauty and courage, and most of all, with love.”


Rev. Melitta Haslund, daughter-in-law, hospital chaplain, and instructor writes, “Bets was an incredible gift in my life—and so many lives.  The grace with which she navigated life and her authenticity are deeply and entirely missed.”


Bets is survived by spouse Peter Haslund; children Elizabeth Gourley, Bill Gourley, the Rev. Melitta Haslund, and Christina Haslund; grandchildren Benjamin and Alexandra Haslund-Gourley, Amelie Stufflebeam, Nicolaus Haslund-Fitzgerald and Bryna Fitzgerald; sister Lynnie Wienecke and niece Amie Fanning.


In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Live Oak UU Congregation of Goleta, 820 North Fairview Avenue, Goleta, CA 93117.

A memorial service will take place at 2pm on Saturday, February 24, 2018 at the Live Oak UU Congregation of Goleta (address above).

Notes of condolence can be sent to Peter Haslund at 3224 Serena Ave, Carpinteria, CA 93013.

This post has not been tagged.

Share |
PermalinkComments (0)

In Loving Memory of Eugene W. Kreves (1921-2017)

Posted By Administration, Tuesday, January 9, 2018
Updated: Tuesday, January 9, 2018

The Rev. Eugene William Kreves died on December 11, 2017 at the age of 96.

Eugene was born on May 24, 1921 in Cleveland, OH to parents Mary and Joseph Kreves. In 1942 he married his beloved wife, Corinne Strong. They both attended Ohio Wesleyan University, where Eugene graduated in 1945 with a Bachelor of Arts in English. Eugene then earned his Bachelor of Divinity degree from Connecticut’s Hartford Theological Seminary in 1949.

Rev. Kreves was ordained as a Congregationalist minister on December 11, 1949, then received Fellowship with the American Unitarian Association on June 2, 1954 and with the Universalist Church of America on April 23, 1956. In early 1955, Eugene and Corinne were instrumental in founding the DuPage Unitarian Fellowship (now DuPage UU Church) in Naperville, IL, where Rev. Kreves was called as the congregation’s founding minister. He also simultaneously ministered to Illinois’s Aurora Unitarian Fellowship—another church that he and Corrine helped found. Eugene was renowned for his passionate preaching on behalf of liberalism and social justice, and both he and Corinne were dedicated servants of the DuPage congregation for over two decades. When Rev. Kreves retired in 1979, after 24 years of service, the church honored him as their Minister Emeritus. Post-retirement, Rev. Kreves served for two years as minister of the Third Unitarian Church of Chicago (1982 – 1983).

Outside of his ministry in DuPage, Eugene served on the Board of Directors of his local American Civil Liberties Union. He was also President of the DuPage Valley Peace Center. Rev. Kreves was also a proud additional signer of the second Humanist Manifesto (1973). And later he helped organize Arkansans for Peace, for which he served as Publicity Chair.

In his spare time, Eugene had a passion for home building and land development, especially for cooperative efforts. He was also an avid reader of non-fiction—especially about new developments in science—and was ever fascinated by music, art, and politics. In retirement Eugene authored a self-published book:The Hungry Fire: Poems Affirming the Strength of Our Humanity(2002). And he was a lifelong supporter of social causes and an advocate for civil rights, participating in numerous marches and protests; according to his daughter Joy, Eugene always “believed in listening to the underdog.”

At the dedication of the DuPage church’s new Kreves Hall in 1994, member Lois Schnizlein declared:

Gene Kreves devoted 24 years of sincere, unselfish service with dogged determination to build and keep a church in DuPage County with a free pulpit which stressed human values on subjects which were not at all popular in the decades of the 1940s and -50s. … Nearly 40 years later these topics are not so unpopular now, but because of Gene’s humanist beliefs and determination to “stand his ground” this church was firmly established as a beacon of enlightenment in DuPage County.

Eugene’s daughter Joy remembers her father for his “impish sense of humor.” He encouraged his children’s creative efforts with enthusiasm and a keen interest in what they meant to express with their art; Joy echoes Eugene’s belief that “making more ‘stuff’ is not moral, unless it is for some greater purpose.” Finally, she recalls that her father was a “nomad at heart,” exploring new frontiers both via travel (“but only if they were in warm climates!”) and via the pages of books.

He is survived by children Tim Kreves, Dawn Kreves, and Joy Kreves Yavelow; grandchildren Seth Kreves, Anthony Nagiel, Amy Nagiel, and Ivia Sky Yavelow; and great-grandchildren Leon Nagiel and Lily Nagiel. He was pre-deceased by wife Corinne.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Lakota People's Law Project and to Americans United for Separation of Church and State.

A private memorial service for family members will be held in the spring.

Notes of condolence can be sent to Joy Kreves Yavelow at 54 Montague Avenue, Ewing, NJ 08628.

This post has not been tagged.

Share |
PermalinkComments (0)

In Loving Memory of Homer "Jerry" Goddard III (1929-2017)

Posted By Administration, Tuesday, November 14, 2017

The Rev. Homer “Jerry” A. Goddard III died on October 15, 2017 at the age of 87.

Jerry was born on October 29, 1929 in Cincinnati, OH to parents Jeannette and Homer A. Goddard Jr., and grew up in a suburb of Pittsburgh, PA. He graduated in 1952 from Denison University with a Bachelor of Arts in economics, and in the following year he married his beloved wife Margaret “Peg” Goddard. After serving in the U.S. Army as an artillery officer, Jerry worked for the next 17 years as a sales engineer for the Aluminum Company of America. He became active at Pennsylvania’s Main Line Unitarian Church—serving as the congregation’s board president for two years—and began discerning a call toward the ministry. He and Peg moved their three children across the country so that Jerry could attend Berkeley, CA’s Starr King School for the Ministry, where Jerry earned his Master of Divinity in 1975.

Rev. Goddard was ordained on January 9, 1976 by the First Parish of Sudbury, MA, where he served as minister until 1985; during this ministry he discovered an ancestral connection to the early-1700s minister of First Parish, Israel Loring. Jerry was then called to serve the UU Society of Greater Springfield, MA for five years. In 1990 Rev. Goddard was called to the UU Fellowship of Poughkeepsie, NY. He ministered in Poughkeepsie until his retirement in 1996, at which time the congregation honored him as their Minister Emeritus. Finally, Jerry carried out interim ministries in New Zealand, England, Australia, South Africa, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Rev. Goddard also performed an array of service to the denomination. He sat on the board of Starr King School for the Ministry from 1973 to 1974, and was Alumni President from 1981 to 1982. Rev. Goddard served on the board of the UUA’s Joseph Priestly district from 1968 to 1972. He also held leadership positions within two chapters of the UU Ministers’ Association: board member and treasurer for Massachusetts Bay from 1976 to 1980, then board member and later president of Connecticut Valley (now part of the Clara Barton chapter) from 1986 to 1990. Rev. Goddard also chaired UU Ministers’ Day for the 1978 General Assembly in Boston. And he later served as a trainer for the Metro NY district’s professional sexual misconduct awareness workshops.

Throughout his life, Jerry was fiercely devoted to the causes of human rights and social justice. In the late 1960s he founded the drug counseling center Daemion House outside Philadelphia. He joined the March on Washington in 1963. Rev. Goddard was also an organizing member of the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice, and served on the boards of Planned Parenthood in Massachusetts and in Northern New England. In 1988 Rev. Goddard served as a plaintiff in the U.S. Supreme Court case Kendrick v. Bowen, arguing against the government’s biased support for anti-abortion, pro-abstinence religious denominations. He also served on the National Steering Committee of Americans United for Separation of Church and State from 1987 to 1990. Finally, Jerry was an activist for the American Civil Liberties Union since 1963, and joined its board in 2005.

In his spare time, Jerry loved skiing—both downhill and cross-country—as well as jogging, canoeing, and snorkeling. He also greatly enjoyed reading, perusing used bookstores, and collecting old religious books. Jerry was a scholar of western religions and a lecturer on Islam and Judaism. Later in life he offered lessons at the University of New Hampshire on local history and plate tectonics, and worked with his local immigrant community as an ESL teacher. He deeply loved traveling the country and the world with his family, most especially with “the love of his life” Peg; the two companions backpacked across the Middle East in their sixties and explored Southeast Asia in their seventies.

Reflecting on his denomination in 1990, Rev. Goddard shared this lovely vision:

I believe the liberal church is a community for the whole person. It is a place where we can find fellowship and friends, ethical values and inspiration; a place where we can find and give love and caring. It is a place where we can share ideas and be a part of the eternal quest for “truth.” … The liberal church also must be a witness in the community and the world for justice, peace, love and compassion. It must inspire people to live and work for a world in which life can be lived with dignity in freedom and without injustice everywhere.

He is survived by his wife of 64 years Margaret Goddard; children Linda Goddard (Spencer Amesbury), Kirk Goddard (Kathy), and Jan Goddard-Taylor (Mark Taylor); and grandchildren Will Amesbury, Elena Goddard-Amesbury, Lauren Withers, Eliza Goddard, and Isabella Goddard-Taylor.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the American Civil Liberties Unionand to Planned Parenthood.

A memorial service will take place at 11am on Saturday, November 18 at First Parish in Concord, 20 Lexington Rd, Concord, MA 01742, following which guests are invited to gather with the family in the Parish Hall.

Notes of condolence can be sent to Peggy Goddard at 100 Russet Ct Apt 305, Lincoln, MA 01773.

This post has not been tagged.

Share |
PermalinkComments (0)

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.

This post has not been tagged.

Share |
PermalinkComments (0)

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.

This post has not been tagged.

Share |
PermalinkComments (0)

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).

This post has not been tagged.

Share |
PermalinkComments (0)

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.

This post has not been tagged.

Share |
PermalinkComments (0)

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.



This post has not been tagged.

Share |
PermalinkComments (0)

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.

This post has not been tagged.

Share |
PermalinkComments (0)

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.


This post has not been tagged.

Share |
PermalinkComments (0)
Page 6 of 28
1  |  2  |  3  |  4  |  5  |  6  |  7  |  8  |  9  |  10  |  11  >   >>   >| 

Unitarian Universalist Ministers Association, 24 Farnsworth Street, Boston, MA 02210-1409
© 2019 Unitarian Universalist Ministers Association.