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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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In Memory of Sandra G. Lee (1942-2017)

Posted By Administration, Monday, August 28, 2017
The Rev. Sandra Gillogly Lee died on June 23, 2017 at the age of 74.

Sandra was born on September 1, 1942 to parents Russell and Vedia Mae Gillogly, and grew up in Ponca City, OK. She received a Bachelor of Science in Chemistry from Central State College in Edmond, OK in 1969, and worked for many years as a microbiologist. After moving to the Pacific Northwest in 1979, Sandra became active in the Kitsap UU Fellowship of Bremerton, WA, a small, struggling fellowship; within nine months Sandra was elected Board President, and over the next five years also served as the congregation’s Worship Committee Chair, Building Campaign Chair, Auction Chair, and workshop leader. This lay service proved to be extremely rewarding, and Sandra perceived her call toward professional ministry—earning a Master of Divinity from Vancouver School of Theology in 1988. Sandra considered herself a naturalistic mystic, and in 1998 she attained a Doctorate of Theology from the University of Creation Spiritualty in Oakland, CA.

Rev. Lee was ordained by the First Unitarian Church of Portland, OR on May 30, 1988, and was first called to serve Washington’s Olympia UU Congregation. Sandra served the Olympia congregation for ten years, during which she married her beloved husband Don Bell and completed a pilgrimage to Olympia’s sister-church in Transylvania. It was under Rev. Lee’s leadership that the congregation was able to finance and construct its new church building, gain recognition as a Welcoming Congregation, and create many vital staff positions—including Music Director and Director of Religious Education. Rev. Lee was then called to minister to the UU Congregation of the Grand Valley in Grand Junction, CO from 2000 to 2002, following which she served for a year as Interim Minister of the Columbine UU Church of Littleton, CO. Sandra then served as a hospice chaplain for several years before retiring from the ministry.

Sandra’s innumerable interests included philosophy, theology, spiritual exploration, silversmithing, paper and fabric crafts, winemaking, as well as air dynamics and the manufacture of kites. Greatly valuing the exchange of wisdom across faith traditions, Sandra was very active in the Interfaith Council of Washington. She also believed it deeply important to support the artistic endeavors of others, and was an enthusiastic appreciator of all manners of art. Post-retirement, Sandra herself worked nearly full-time as an art jeweler and quilt artist, winning several national quilting competitions. Sandra also studied and admired all creation and natural phenomena, treasuring the animals who were her dear companions—including fish, a raccoon, a sheep, and many dogs and cats.

Sandra’s spouse Don shared several humorous anecdotes about their joyous life together, including how they spent their honeymoon at the 1989 Pacific Northwest District Leadership School, as well as the following:

Sandra and Frances Buckmaster attended seminary at the Vancouver School of Theology… and they were the first non-Christian students to attend there. Sandra invited the Dean, Rev Arthur Van Seters, to give the address for her Ordination, and he consented to do so. At the end of his six hour drive from Vancouver to Portland, he crossed the Fremont Bridge… The only part of his address that I remember is this: "As I crossed that tall bridge a couple of miles back, I saw two little tugboats turning this huge oceangoing freighter around in the river, and I thought: That is much like Sandra and Frances, two little tugboats turning around this big institution." She was not particularly fond of me calling her ‘my cute little tugboat,’ but she tolerated it, possibly because of her immense admiration for the Dean.

In the Olympia UU Congregation’s own tribute to Rev. Lee’s life and ministry, Rev. Carol McKinley offered these words: “Sandra is remembered for her enthusiasm and capacity for laughter and fun… In her art, she attempted to balance opposites: soft and hard, light and dark, serious and whimsical. She was an enthusiastic celebrant of life in its abundance and diversity.”

And Darlene Sarkala, administrator at the Olympia church, remembered a congregant saying of Rev. Lee: “After hearing the sermons of other ministers I often left the experience asking myself, ‘Am I doing enough?’ or, ‘What do I have to do to be better?’ But with Sandra I never left feeling guilty.” Don expressed that this trait was “an absolute with [Sandra]: Every sermon must end with a message of hope, not fear or despair.”

Rev. Lee is survived by spouse Don Bell and sister Marsha Green.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to NARAL Pro-Choice America, to the Red Phred and the Tu-tones Support Fund c/o Don Bell (address below), or to the charity of one’s own choosing.

A memorial service will take place on Tuesday, October 31, 2017 at the Grand Valley Unitarian Universalist Congregation, 536 Ouray Ave, Grand Junction, CO 81501. At 4pm the congregation will hold a viewing and silent auction of Sandra’s prize-winning quilts, jewelry, and other memorabilia, with proceeds going to charities she endorsed. The celebration of life will begin at 5pm, and at 5:59pm the arrival of sunset will be saluted—followed by music, wine, and stories.

Notes of condolence can be sent to Don Bell at 315 Ouray Ave, Grand Junction, CO 81501 and at

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In Loving Memory of Alfred J.N. Henriksen (1922-2017)

Posted By Administration, Tuesday, August 22, 2017

The Rev. Alfred “Al” James Norman Henriksen, died on June 24, 2017 at the age of 95.


Al was born on January 21, 1922 in Boston, MA to parents James Henriksen and Anna Syversen Henriksen. He was raised in the Baptist and Lutheran faiths, but converted to Unitarianism after attending the Wollaston Unitarian Church in Quincy, MA. Al graduated with a B.A. from Tufts University in 1945, then went on to earn a Master of Divinity in 1947 from Tufts’ Crane Theological School. He later attained a Master of Arts in Sociology from the University of Iowa in 1955.


Rev. Henriksen was ordained on October 10, 1946 by All Souls Church (now UU Community Church) of Augusta, ME, where he would minister until 1951. In that year he was called to serve the First Unitarian (now UU) Society of Iowa City, which named its library in Rev. Henriksen’s honor. Al was then called to the Unitarian Fellowship (now Church) of Corpus Christi, TX from 1957 to 1963; he would later reflect that “the experience of being the first minister to a fellowship taught me ecclesiastical humility.” In 1963 Rev. Henriksen was called to the Pacific Unitarian Church, where he would minister for 24 years of dedicated service. The congregation named its auditorium in Rev. Henriksen’s honor, and when Al retired from full-time ministry in 1987 the church elected him their Minister Emeritus. In retirement, Rev. Henriksen continued his service to the faith by carrying out four interim ministries at the following congregations: Beacon UU Congregation in Summit, NJ (1987 – 1988); First Unitarian Society of Plainfield, NJ (1988 – 1989); UU Fellowship of Northern Nevada (1989 – 1990); and First Unitarian Church of Los Angeles, Inc. (1990 – 1991).


Over the many years of his ministry, Rev. Henriksen performed an array of denominational service. While ministering in Maine, Al served as Secretary of the Maine Unitarian Association and as his region’s Associate Director for the American Unitarian Association. Rev. Henriksen also served as President of his local UUMA Chapter while ministering in Texas and California. Al was a member of District Boards in New England, Iowa, Texas, and California; served on the UUA Planning Committee; and joined the UU Service Committee from 1977 to 1979. Finally, Rev. Henriksen was elected to two four-year terms on the UUA Board of Trustees, serving from 1977 to 1985.


In his spare time, Al was fond of playing golf, exercising, and dancing. He loved music, particularly jazz, and frequently attended the theater—having acted himself in his youth. And Rev. Henriksen was a great lover of travel and the outdoors: He enjoyed camping and backpacking; journeyed extensively throughout the United States, including to Alaska; and made extended visits to Canada, Mexico, Great Britain, the countries of Scandinavia, and India and Nepal—where he and wife Georgianne watched the sunrise on the Ganges River and from a mountaintop in the Himalayas.


Al devoted his whole life to his faith and to the beloved communities which he served. When reflecting on his ministry in the years after his retirement, Rev. Henriksen had these lovely words to offer:


I would like to think of the liberal church as having its feet on the ground, its hand to the plow, and its eyes on the stars. Let us dance and sing, let us create within our walls masterworks of art, images of newer and better ways of living—at concerts, art shows, committee meetings, public protests, in classes and in corridors, from the pulpits and in the hearts and minds of those who, when they join a church community, become greater by far than the sum of their parts.


He is survived by wife Georgianne Declercq; children James Peter, Carl (Beverly Thacker), and Heidi (Neal Conner); grandchildren Eric (Emily), Nini, Teddy, Becca Reeve (Alec), Rueben Connor, and Bryce Conner; stepchildren Erika Sweet (Jeff) and Renee Ackley, and their children Kevin Sweet, David Sweet, and Stephanie Ackley; and four great-grandchildren. He was predeceased by first wife Ruth Baxter Henriksen.


In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Pacific Unitarian Church, 5621 Montemalaga Dr, Rancho Palos Verdes, CA 90275.


A memorial service will take place at 4pm on Sunday, August 13, 2017 at Pacific Unitarian Church (address above).


Notes of condolence can be sent to Georgianne Declercq at 435 W 8th St #210, San Pedro, CA, 90731 and


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In Loving Memory of Joan Kahn-Schneider (1930 – 2017)

Posted By Administration, Tuesday, August 22, 2017

The Rev. Joan Kahn-Schneider died on June 18, 2017 at the age of 86.


Joan was born on September 13, 1930 to parents Emanual “Jerry” Kahn, Jr. and Selma Andorn Kahn. Before pursuing her call to ministry, Joan owned and operated a neighborhood book store. She later worked as a counselor in private practice, including offering guidance in family planning. Though raised Jewish, Joan found her spiritual home in 1971 at Northern Hills Fellowship (now the Gathering at Northern Hills) in Cincinnati, OH. Joan received a B.A. psychology from Antioch College in 1977; but she found herself drawn more toward the theological/philosophical areas of her study, and in 1981 she earned her Master of Divinity from United Theological Seminary. Finally, she would later earn a Master of Education – Organization and Management from Antioch New England Graduate School in 1999.


Rev. Kahn-Schneider was ordained on June 8, 1981 by her home congregation. She was first called to serve the UU Church of Farmington, MI until 1985, at which point she accepted a position as the Unitarian Universalist Association’s Ministerial Education Director. Rev. Kahn-Schneider then served as minister to the East Shore UU Church in Kirtland, OH from 1987 to 1989. In that year she accepted a call to the First UU Society of Albany, NY, where she ministered for eight years. After leaving Albany, Rev. Kahn-Schneider carried out a series of vital interim ministries at the following congregations: the UU Church of Concord, NH (1997 – 1999), the Unitarian Society of Hartford, CT (1999 – 2000), the Tennessee Valley UU Church (2000 – 2001), and the UU Church of Spartanburg, SC (2001 – 2002). Though Joan officially retired in 2003, she continued to serve as an independent congregation consultant for several years. This work led her to the UU Church of Savannah, GA, where she was invited to stay on as minister from 2004 to 2009. Finally, she returned to minister for one year at the Gathering at Northern Hills in Cincinnati (2013 – 2014), following which she became a member of the UU Fellowship of Hendersonville, NC.


Rev. Kahn-Schneider’s service on behalf of the denomination was extensive. She served as President of the Ministerial Sisterhood Unitarian Universalist, a forum for women clergy. While ministering in Michigan, Joan served as Good Offices Person for her UU Ministers’ Association Chapter. She was also Vice-Chair of the UU Council of Cincinnati Program Committee. Rev. Kahn-Schneider also served on the UUA’s Board of Review, and while a member of the UUA staff she held positions in several committees: the Continuing Education Committee, the Joint Theological Schools Committee, and the Theological Grants Panel.


Joan had several works published in her lifetime, including Second Order Structure of the ParentSensuous UUs, and Character of Heretic: On the Life of Joseph Priestly. And her sermon entitled “Homophobia,” which she delivered to the 1984 UUA General Assembly, won that year’s Skinner Sermon Award.


In her spare time Joan held many avocational interests, among which were reading, theater-going, needlework, candle-making, gardening, antiquing, going on walks, and sailing. She was also an appreciator of music, both as a listener and as an auto-harpist. And in 1998 she expressed “an as yet unfulfilled desire to play a really good game of tennis.”


In the family’s own obituary for Joan, they offered the following beautiful remembrance:


Rev. Joan Kahn-Schneider was a force. She lived life on her terms.  Young mother raising 4 kids in the sixties, entrepreneur, soul searcher, therapist, Unitarian Universalist minister. Always going, always growing, helping many people along the way.  … And now, she has easily and peacefully moved on and is dancing in the Light with her Charlie. She will be missed.


She is survived by children David Friedman, Jim Friedman, Robin Guethlein, and Jerri Menaul; eight grandchildren; and sister Lu Cohen. She was predeceased by her beloved spouse Charlie.


In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the UUA Living Tradition Fund or to the charity of one’s own choosing.


A memorial service took place at 4pm on Saturday, July 29, 2017, at the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Hendersonville, 409 E Patterson St, Hendersonville, NC, 28739.


Notes of condolence can be sent to


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