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In memory of Spencer Lavan (1937-2016)

Posted By Administration, Monday, October 17, 2016

The Rev. Dr. Spencer Lavan died on September 29, 2016 in Brunswick, Maine at the age of 78.

Spencer was born on December 31, 1937 to Fay and Peter Lavan in New York City. He received a Bachelor of Arts in English from Tufts University in 1959, a Bachelor of Divinity from Harvard Divinity School in 1962, and two degrees from McGill University: a Master of Arts in Islamic Studies in 1965 and a Ph.D. in Comparative Religions in 1970.


Rev. Dr. Lavan’s full and varied ministry led him to serve both parishes and communities, as well as to a lifelong career in academia. He was ordained to the ministry in 1962 by the Unitarian Church in Charleston, SC, and he was called to minister there from 1962 to 1964. For two years he served as associate minister to the Unitarian Church of Montreal; at the same time, he served as Minister to Students at McGill University while also completing graduate studies there. Soon afterwards Rev. Dr. Lavan began his academic work, first serving Northeastern University for two years and then Tufts University for a decade. In 1978 he returned to active ministry, serving the First Parish in Lexington, MA as its interim minister, and later served the Maine Humanities Council as its community minister. In 1982 he organized and then chaired the Department of Humanities at the University of New England until 1988. From 1988 to 1996 Rev. Dr. Lavan served as President and Dean of Meadville Lombard Theological School. He retired from the ministry in 2000.


Rev. Dr. Lavan received three honorary degrees: from the Protestant Theological Institute of Cluj/Kolosvar, Romania, the school preparing Hungarian speaking Unitarian Ministers for pulpits in Transylvania; from Meadville Lombard Theological School; and from the University of New England. From 1984 through 1988 he was editor of the Journal of Medical Humanities and Bio-Ethics, and was later a founder of Collegium: Liberal Religious Studies.


Rev. Dr. Lavan performed extensive service on behalf of the denomination. He was a member of the Unitarian Universalist Association’s Pamphlet Commission, and later served as President of the Unitarian Universalist Historical Society and co-editor of the Dictionary of Unitarian Universalist Biography. Rev. Dr. Lavan also served on the board of Meadville Lombard Theological School, and was a member and later president of the Melcher Book Award Committee. In 2003, he was awarded the UUA's Award for Distinguished Service to the Cause of Unitarian Universalism.


Rev. Dr. Lavan authored two books based on his study of religion, including Unitarians and India: A Study in Encounter and Response, published in 1991. He had a passion for teaching; he enjoyed travelling—for work and with his family—as well as spending time at home with his students and friends; and he loved classical music, sailing in Casco Bay, and playing the piano.


Lee Barker, president of Meadville Lombard Theological School, said that in addition to Rev. Dr. Lavan’s many contributions to the institution he and his wife Susan “took a personal interest in each of their students, creating a hospitality that drew the entire Meadville Lombard community together... [The school] and all of Unitarian Universalism have lost a great leader.”


He is survived by his wife of 55 years Susan Lavan; his children Jonathan, Daniel (Deborah Berger), Timothy (Cindy), and Joanna; his grandchildren Charlie, Peter, Anna, Isaac, Lucia, and Malcolm; and his brother Lawrence.


His family plans to hold a private memorial service on a date to be determined, and Meadville Lombard Theological School is planning a public memorial service for January 2017.


In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Meadville Lombard Theological School.


Notes of condolence may be sent to Susan Lavan at 11 Cascos Way, Harpswell, ME 04079.

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In memory of Mark H. Edmiston-Lange (1952-2016)

Posted By Administration, Wednesday, October 12, 2016

The Rev. Mark H. Edmiston-Lange died on September 21, 2016 at the age of 64.


Mark was born on January 12, 1952, to Barbara Rudd Lange and Samuel Charles Lange. He grew up in Newburgh, NY, and knew even as a teenager that he wanted to become a Unitarian Universalist minister. He graduated from Marlboro College in 1973 with a Bachelor of Arts in Religion, and went on to receive a Master of Divinity from Andover Newton Theological School in 1978.


Rev. Edmiston-Lange was ordained to the ministry in 1978 by the First Unitarian Universalist Church of Berks County, PA, and served that congregation for the next six years. He was then called to serve as minister to the Unitarian Universalist Church of Akron, OH from 1984 to 1993. It was in 1993 that Mark married his beloved wife Becky. Rev. Edmiston-Lange then served for two years as interim minister to the Williamsburg Unitarian Universalists of Williamsburg, VA. In 1995 he started Jubilee Project, a short-lived rock-and-roll Unitarian Universalist congregation in the Washington, D.C. area.  Afterwards he served as interim minister to the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Rockville, MD. Finally, he and Becky accepted a call to serve as co-ministers to the Emerson Unitarian Universalist Church in Houston, TX, where Mark passionately served from 1999 until his death.


Rev. Edmiston-Lange dedicated much of his time to Unitarian Universalism, and served the denomination and the larger community in various capacities. He served as a Ministerial Settlement Representative while at Akron and on the board of Planned Parenthood of Greater Ohio.  A highlight of his life was participating in 1989 in the 108 mile Via Crucis March protesting U.S. policies in Central America with his daughter, Kara, who turned 12 on the march. He served on the Board of Interfaith Ministries of Greater Houston, and chaired its Interfaith Relations Task Force. Rev. Edmiston-Lange was instrumental in founding the Texas UU Justice Ministry, and served on the steering committee of UU Voice for Justice—an organization dedicated to spreading the UU message throughout the Houston area. In 2008 he became the Vice-President of the Unitarian Universalist Ministers’ Association’s Southwest Chapter, and then served as its President from 2009 to 2011.


Mark’s hobbies included hiking, gardening, birding, white water canoeing, home remodeling, and dancing—all of which he shared with his beloved Becky.

Rev. Edmiston-Lange was also an avid scholar of evolutionary psychology and neurobiology, believing that when human beings understand themselves as evolutionary creatures bound by the same laws of nature as the rest of the universe, only then will they be able to live in harmony with one another and with the earth.


Tim Brennan, Treasurer and CFO of the UUA, said of Rev. Edmiston-Lange, “Mark represented the UUA at many corporate annual meetings when we had shareholder resolutions on the proxy. Many of these were at oil and gas companies. He was always ready to say ‘Yes,’ and stood for our values in venues that were not always sympathetic. A real loss.”


Elliot Gershenson, President Emeritus of Interfaith Ministries of Greater Houston, called Rev. Edmiston-Lange “a warrior for social justice and a personal hero.” 


Rev. Edmiston-Lange is survived by his wife Rev. Dr. Becky Edmiston-Lange, his daughter Kara Honthumb, his son Aaron Lange, his brothers Guy (Sallie) and Russell (Allyne), and his nephews Tom and Nathaniel.


A memorial service was held on Saturday October 8, at 2:00pm, at Emerson Unitarian Universalist Church, 1900 Bering Drive, Houston, TX 77057.


In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Emerson Unitarian Universalist ChurchInterfaith Ministries for Greater Houston, and Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast.


Notes of condolence can be sent to Rev. Dr. Becky Edmiston-Lange at 10619 Tupper Lake Dr, Houston, TX 77042.

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In Memory of Jan Evans-Tiller (1931-2016)

Posted By Administration, Friday, September 30, 2016

The Rev. Jan Evans-Tiller died on September 20, 2016 at the age of 85.


Jan was born on August 20, 1931 to Alfred R. and Alma W. Lowe, growing up in the Herkimer area of upstate New York. She was the valedictorian of Herkimer High School’s class of 1949, and went on to graduate from the University of Rochester in 1953 with a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature.


Rev. Evans-Tiller was ordained by the Birmingham Unitarian Church of Bloomfield Hills, MI as its Minister of Religious Education on May 31, 1987. But her career as a religious educator began long before then. She served as the Director of Religious Education for the First Unitarian Church of Rochester, NY from 1966 to 1973. Rev. Evans-Tiller then served as the Director of Religious Education for the First Unitarian Universalist Society of Syracuse, NY from 1978 to 1982, at which time she entered ministerial fellowship with the Unitarian Universalist Association. After moving to Michigan, she served the Birmingham Unitarian Church from 1987 to 1989. Later Rev. Evans-Tiller served the First Unitarian Universalist Church of Detroit as its acting Director of Religious Education until 1996, when she retired from the ministry.


Rev. Evans-Tiller also shared her gift for religious education through her denominational service. While living in Rochester, she served the UUA’s St. Lawrence District as a Religious Education Consultant from 1973 to 1978. Additionally, she served the UUA as a module designer for the religious education Renaissance Program, and in 1990 authored the youth curriculum textbookAround the Church Around the Year: Unitarian Universalism for Children – Kindergarten to Grade 2.


Jan was also an avid reader, and—for as long as she was able—took immense joy from the time spent in her garden.


Daughter Katherine feels that no one quotation can sum up her mother, believing that the memory of Jan will be unique to everyone who had the pleasure of knowing her.


Jan is survived by her daughter Katherine Rugh. She was predeceased by her husband, John Evans; her son, John Rugh; and her sister, Elinor Kieffer.


In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Alzheimer’s Association.


Notes of condolence can be sent to Katherine Rugh, 102 Milton Ave, Syracuse, NY 13204.


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In Memory of Suzanne M. Marsh (1960-2016)

Posted By Administration, Wednesday, September 21, 2016

The Rev. Suzanne M. Marsh died on June 24, 2016 at the age of 55.


Suzanne was born on October 25, 1960 to Betty and Neil Marsh. She grew up in Laurel, Maryland, graduating from Laurel High School in 1978. She received a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from University of Baltimore in December, 1985, became a Certified Public Accountant, and launched into a long and successful career spanning over 20 years with the firms Deloitte & Touche, PriceWaterhouseCoopers, and Ernst & Young.


In the early 2000’s, Suzanne felt a calling towards ministry. She began seminary while still holding her Senior Manager position at Ernst & Young and while helping to establish the Santa Theresa Music and Arts Association, where she held the positions of Treasurer and later of President. Suzanne graduated with a Master of Divinity from Pacific School of Religion in 2007.


Rev. Marsh was ordained to the ministry on December 6, 2009 by the First Unitarian Church of San Jose. She first served as the associate minister to the Unitarian Church of Harrisburg, PA from 2009 to 2011. After leaving Harrisburg she travelled to Idaho, where for a year she served as the minister to both the Magic Valley Unitarian Universalist Fellowship in Twin Falls, ID and to the Pocatello Unitarian Universalist Fellowship in Pocatello, ID. Finally Rev. Marsh was called to serve as the minister to the Unitarian Universalist Church of the Desert in Rancho Mirage, CA from 2012 until her death.


Rev. Marsh was a pastor and an activist, holding numerous volunteer positions before and after becoming a minister. After finding her “spiritual home” at the Allen Avenue Unitarian Universalist Church of Portland, ME she chaired the congregation’s Social Action Committee. While serving in Pennsylvania, she actively supported cancer survivors and the movement to end gun violence. And after returning to California, she performed abundant service on behalf of living wage advocacy, positive race relations, and interfaith fellowship.


Suzanne's hobbies included a strong interest in genealogy, and she completed extensive research into the Braley and Marsh lines. Suzanne's other interests included travel, having visited all 50 states, most of the national parks, and many European countries. Suzanne was also an avid reader and a lover of music.


To quote David W. Orr, as Suzanne once did: "The plain fact is that the planet does not need more successful people. But it does desperately need more peacemakers, healers, restorers, storytellers, and lovers of every kind.”


She is survived by her partner and spouse of nearly 40 years, Nancy Pless, and by their son, Stephen Marsh; Nancy’s children, Robert, Nancy, and David Pless; her mother, Betty Gersh; her sister, Debbie Michaud, and her brothers, Milton Law, Michael Law, and Geoffrey Marsh; her brother-in-law, Bill Michaud, and her sisters-in-law Sandra Law and Julie Law; her nieces Brandel, Hayley, and Emily, and her nephew Michael; Nancy’s grandchildren, Paul, Brian, Mary, Erin, Emily, Brennan, and Carter; her grandnieces Neve, Paige, and Wynter; and her family-by-choice Sandy Wright, John Fairbanks, Sam and Liza Wright-Fairbanks, along with many extended family members, dear friends, colleagues and congregants. Suzanne was predeceased by her father, Neil Marsh, and by her step-father, Bob Gersh.


On July 31, 2016, family gathered at sister Debbie’s in Friendship, ME to remember Suzanne. A Celebration of Life was held on August 27, 2016 at the UU Church of the Desert in Rancho Mirage, CA led by Rev. Lindi Ramsden, Suzanne’s former minister. 


In lieu of flowers, donations may be sent to one of the organizations Rev. Suzanne supported: the Unitarian Universalist Justice Ministry of CA at, and the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention


Notes of condolence may be sent to the Unitarian Universalist Church of the Desert, 72425 Via Vail, Rancho Mirage, CA 92270.


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In memory of Samuel A. Wright (1919-2016)

Posted By Administration, Tuesday, August 16, 2016

The Rev. Samuel Anthony Wright, died on June 24, 2016 at the age of 97.


Sam Jr was born on June 13, 1919 to Samuel Anthony Wright and Margaret Neilson Wright. He received a Bachelor of Science from the University of New Mexico in 1944, a Master of Divinity from Starr King School for the Ministry in 1949, as well as completing graduate work at the Pacific School of Religion and post-graduate work the University of California, Berkeley.


Rev. Wright’s ministry was a lifelong journey, one that took him all across the United States. He was ordained in 1950 by the Unitarian Church of Stockton, CA (now the First Unitarian Universalist Church of Stockton), where he was called to serve as minister from 1949 to 1952. He went on to serve as the minister to the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Marin, CA for seven years—the longest ministry in the congregation’s history. After finding his wilderness home in Alaska, he ministered to the Anchorage Unitarian Universalist Fellowship in Anchorage from 1970 to 1974. His travels through the ‘80s and early ‘90s led him to serve as interim minister to the First Unitarian Universalist Church of San Antonio, TX; to the Unitarian Universalist Church of Long Beach, CA; to the Hope Unitarian Church in Tulsa, OK; back to the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Marin, where he was elected by the congregation as Minister Emeritus; to the Unitarian Universalist Church of Palo Alto, CA; and to the Unitarian Universalist Church of Fresno, CA. Finally he was called to minister to the Sierra Foothills Unitarian Universalists in Auburn, CA from 1994 to 1995, and served as interim minister to the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Northern Nevada in Reno from 1998 to 1999.


Rev. Wright also carried out an array of denominational service work, including but not limited to the following. He was first called into service in 1952 as the Executive Director of American Unitarian Youth, Inc., and then in 1953 he became the first Executive Director of Liberal Religious Youth—an organization created by the merger of the American Unitarian Youth and the Universalist Youth Fellowship; in the context of this merger he wrote the song “We Would Be One,” now #318 in the UU hymnal. He later served on the Executive Boards of both the Unitarian Universalist Ministers Association and of Starr King School for the Ministry. While at Starr King, he was the Director of In-Service Training from 1961 to 1969 and he served as Acting President from 1965 to 1966. Additionally, he held the offices of President of the Unitarian Universalist Pacific Coast Council, Regional Vice President of the Unitarian Fellowship for Social Justice, President of the San Francisco Bay Area Welfare Planning Federation, and President of the Marin County Council of Community Services, CA.


Rev. Wright pursued a lifelong interest in the ecology of plants and people, which led him in the mid ‘60s to study the trees and the native communities of northern Alaska. During a sabbatical year he and his second wife, Billie, built and lived in an isolated log cabin; they named the home Koviashuvik, after the Inuit word meaning ‘time and place of joy in the present moment.’ Sam was superb at hunting and fishing, activities that his wife Donna Lee said he might have called “direct religious experience” as opposed to simple hobbies. He and Donna returned to the cabin every summer for the last 25 years to enjoy the peaceful contemplation of nature and the world. Rev. Wright authored two books about his time in the Alaskan wilderness: Edge of Tomorrow: An Arctic Year and Koviashuvik: Time and Place of Joy. He later published The Way It Was: Letters to Unborn Posterity—a collection of letters to future generations reflecting on the century in which he lived and posing questions to the next.


In Sam’s own words from Edge of Tomorrow:

The great world has set me in


Set me adrift,

          and I move as a weed in

          the river.

The arch of the sky

          and mightiness of storms

          encompass me.

And I am left

           trembling with joy.


He is survived by his wife, Donna Lee; his four children, Patricia, Rev. Chip, Roberta, and Bill; his two step-children; his seven grandchildren; and his three great-grandchildren.


A thanks-giving for the life of Rev. Wright will be held in Alaska on September 3, 2016, as well as a memorial service in Arizona later this year.


In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to help maintain Rev. Wright’s Arctic wilderness home Koviashuvik and sent to Rev. Chip Wright, 1705 Sarkesian Dr., Petaluma, CA 94954.


Notes of condolence may be sent to Donna Lee, PO Box 1315, Sonoita, AZ 85637.



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In memory of Robert R. Walsh (1937-2016)

Posted By Administration, Friday, August 12, 2016

The Rev. Robert Rea Walsh died on June 19, 2016 at the age of 79.


Robbie was born on March 2, 1937 to Adeline Rea Walsh and Francis Thomas Walsh. He received a Bachelor of Science from MIT in 1958, and a Master of Divinity from Harvard Divinity School in 1980.


Rev. Walsh was ordained in 1980 by the Holston Valley Unitarian Church of Kingsport, TN. In that same year he was called to serve as minister to the Unitarian Church of Duxbury, MA. He served the parish for twenty-two years and was honored as Minister Emeritus in 2003.


His service to the denomination was quite extensive. While on the UUA Board of Trustees from 1973 to 1981, Rev. Walsh served as chair of the Committee on Committees, among several other roles. Additionally, he served on the Southeast Interdistrict Council, the UU Service Committee Board of Directors, the Southeast Unitarian Universalist Summer Institute, the Southeast District (formally Thomas Jefferson district), the Steering Committee of the Joint Washington Office for Social Concerns, and the UUA Committee on District Representation and Distribution of Resources. After joining the ministry, he served on the UUA Nominating Committee from 1985 to 1989, on the UUA Pamphlet Commission, and on the UUA Council on Church Staff Finance from 1999 to 2005.


Of Rev. Walsh’s denominational service, colleague Rev. Kenneth Read-Brown wrote:


It must be noted that in every one of these positions he didn’t simply warm a seat at the table.  Robbie actively did his part, often (almost inevitably it would seem) as chair or president of one or another committee or body, to further the institutional strength of Unitarian Universalism in one way or another so that our message could be more effectively spread and heard.


Rev. Walsh authored two Unitarian Universalist meditation manuals: Noisy Stones and Stone Blessings. He was a talented musician, and excelled as a banjo player. He composed a song later published in the UUA Annual Program Fund Continental Committee’s Singing for the Green: Songs for Fun and Money, and wrote new lyrics to several tunes including “The UUs Who Wouldn't Adjourn.”


Rev. Walsh is survived by his beloved wife, Kathleen “Kitty” Ladd Ward; his daughter, Elizabeth Walsh (Bill Scott), his sons David Walsh (Debra Ann) and Nathaniel Walsh (Donyele), his step children Samuel S. Ward (Geralyn) and Anthony C. Ward (Karen), and his six grandchildren. He is also survived by his former wife, Reed Walsh.


In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee, 689 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge, MA 02139; or to the UUA Living Tradition Fund, PO Box 843154, Boston, MA 02284-3154.


Notes of condolences may be sent to Robbie’s spouse, Kitty Ladd Ward, 121 Downer Ave, Hingham, MA 02043; and/or Robbie's daughter, Beth Walsh, 14 Bertwell Road, Lexington, MA 02420.

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In Memory of John S. Gilbert (1931-2016)

Posted By Administration, Monday, August 8, 2016

The Rev. Dr. John Stout Gilbert died on June 28, 2016 at the age of 84.


John was born on December 10, 1931 to John Wendell Gilbert and Lula Mae Gilbert on a small family farm in Russiaville, Indiana.  John's life journey took him from the farm to Oakwood, a Quaker secondary school in Poughkeepsie, N.Y., where his uncle was headmaster. There he met Nancy Eckles who later became his first wife. He received a Bachelor of Science from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee in 1964, a Master of Arts from Meadville Lombard Theological School in 1974 and a Doctor of Ministry from Meadville Lombard Theological School in 1977.


Rev. Gilbert was ordained to the ministry in 1976 by the Unitarian Church West of Brookfield, WI.  He was first called to serve as minister to the First Unitarian Church of Winnipeg, Manitoba in 1977. He served the Winnipeg congregation for ten years. He went on to serve as interim minister to the First Unitarian Congregation in Toronto, Ontario from 1987 to 1988; to the Unitarian Universalist Church of Charlotte, NC from 1989 to 1990; and to the First Unitarian Universalist Church of Rochester, MN from 1990 to 1992. He was elected as Minister Emeritus to the First Unitarian Universalist Church of Rochester upon his departure. He then served as minister to the Unitarian Universalist Church of Meadville, PA from 1992 to 1996 (where he lived with his second wife Judith Patterson for 18 years until her death in 2010). He retired from the ministry in 1996.


Rev. Gilbert dedicated years of service to the denomination. He served the Unitarian Universalist Ministers Association (UUMA); Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) Canadian and Prairie Star Chapters; UUA St. Lawrence District Chapter; the UUA Ohio-Meadville Chapter; the Western Canada District Board; and the Canadian Unitarian Council. He was also Minister in Residence at Meadville Lombard Theological School in 1984; and Minister on Loan to the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Greeley, CO in 1986. 


Though raised in the Quaker church, John found Unitarianism in Indiana in the late 1950’s, when he and his first wife Nancy felt that they needed a church in which to raise their children. When they moved to Wisconsin in 1962, they joined the Unitarian Church West of Brookfield, WI, where John was an active lay leader. Prior to entering the ministry, he studied engineering at Purdue University, taught Adult Basic English at a Vocational School in Milwaukee, and worked as an employment counselor at the Milwaukee Urban League.


John will be remembered for his love of words, books, and cooking, and for growing vegetables (garlic, tomatoes, and potatoes) and flowers (hollyhocks, sunflowers and amaryllis). He was an objector, conscientious (Korea) and otherwise. He was also given to infectious enthusiasms like calligraphy, drawing, origami, string figures, computer correspondences, drawing, crosswords (cryptic, double-crostics, and regular), trekking, pole-walking, biking, and baking bread.


Rev. Carmen Emerson, currently minister of the Greater Nashville UU Congregation, recalls, "I first met John during a confluence of intense life events: He had just lost his beloved wife, Judith, and it was my first settled ministry—at a church where he had once been the minister, and now was a congregant. Tricky. He was my very first pastoral care call. ‘I don't know who this new John is,’ he told me, lost in grief. We agreed to learn about the ‘new’ John together, and we did just that over the next five years. As time passed this colleague and congregant also became my friend. Smart and funny, always a good storyteller, often cranky and also possessed of surprising grace at times, it was my pleasure to be his friend and my privilege to be his minister in Meadville, PA."


Rev. Stephan Papa, a colleague and friend from John’s seminary days, said, “John loved literature—poetry especially. His Doctor of Ministry dissertation was on story and autobiography as theology. He was one of the first to promote the story model (as opposed to the Sunday morning lecture model) for sermons; he understood worship as an art.  He was idealistic and passionate, sometimes to the point of being righteous, but he loved the UU way in religion which allowed him to be real, honest, free.”


John is survived by his siblings Jane Hendrickson, Marge Lake Baurley, and Joe Gilbert; his children Victoria, Bart, and Sarah; as well as his grandchildren Molly, Matthew, Cameron, and Amelia.


In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Friends of the Library-Multnomah County, 919 SW Taylor Street, Suite 220, Portland, OR 97205, or via the following link:


Notes of condolences may be sent to his daughter, Victoria Gilbert, 2832 SE Salmon St., Portland, OR 97214.

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In memory of J McRee Elrod (1932-2016)

Posted By Administration, Wednesday, July 27, 2016

The Rev. J. McRee “Mac” Elrod died on June 16, 2016 at the age of 84.


Mac was born on March 23, 1932 to Angus Elrod and Lona McRee Elrod. He received a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Georgia in 1952; a Master of Arts from Scarritt College of Nashville, TN in 1954; a Master of Arts from George Peabody College of Nashville, TN in 1954; and a Master of Science in Library Science from George Peabody College in 1960.


In October, 1964, Rev. Elrod was ordained to the African Methodist Episcopal Church. He transferred to the Unitarian Universalist faith in the late 1960’s, and received Unitarian Universalist ministerial fellowship in 1970. He served as Minister-at-Large to the North Shore Unitarian Church of West Vancouver from 1970 to 1972. His community ministry included working with war objectors and refugees. In 1972, he was called to serve as minister to the Westminister Unitarian Church of New Westminster, British Columbia, from 1972 to 1982. Rev. Elrod retired from the ministry in 1982.


Mac served as Head of the University of British Columbia's Library Cataloguing Division from 1967 to 1978. After leaving the University, he founded his own company, Special Libraries Cataloguing, which provided remote cataloguing services to special libraries around the world. Mac was an internationally known figure in the world of library cataloguing and was active in online librarianship forums up until a few months before his death.


While living in Canada, the home of Mac and Norma became a focal point for anti-war activism, with hundreds of war objectors passing through, receiving shelter, food and counselling. Mac campaigned for civil rights, non-violence, and LGBT issues. He came out as a gay man in the 1970s and he gradually became more vocal concerning gay rights. He personally paid for the Canadian Unitarian Council to act as an intervenor in the 2004 Canadian Supreme Court hearings concerning same-sex marriage. In his later years, Mac became involved in drug policy reform, and together with his son, Matthew, he gave numerous talks on the topic.


Mac’s longtime friend, Moralea Milne, remembers Mac as, “An unforgettable character, a committed humanitarian, never afraid to share his opinions nor speak on behalf of social justice and the environment, a friend who made me a better person through knowing him.”


He is survived by his wife, Norma Cummins Elrod; son, Matthew; daughters Lona, Cara, Christy and Laura; three sons-in-law; eight grandchildren; and one great-grandchild. He was predeceased by his son, Mark.


In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Doctors Without Borders, 333 7th Avenue

New York, NY 10001-5004.


Notes of condolence can be sent to: The Elrod Family, 4493 Lindholm Road, Victoria BC V9C 3Y1. Messages of remembrance can be sent in care of Mac’s wife, Norma Elrod and/or daughter, Lona Manning

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In memory of C. Leon Hopper Jr. (1927-2016)

Posted By Michelle Pederson, Friday, July 22, 2016
Updated: Monday, July 25, 2016

The Rev. Dr. C. Leon Hopper Jr. died on June 19, 2016 at the age of 89.


Leon was born on February 21, 1927 to Charles Leon Hopper Sr. and Ethol Peterson Hopper. After graduating high school, he served for eighteen months in the United States Navy.  He received a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Washington in 1951; a Bachelor of Sacred Theology from Harvard Divinity School in 1954; an honorary Doctorate of Divinity from Meadville Lombard in 1981; and an honorary Doctorate of Sacred Theology from Starr King School for the Ministry in 1993.


Rev. Dr. Hopper was ordained to the ministry in 1954, by the First Congregational Parish Unitarian of Petersham, MA. He served the Petersham congregation from 1953 to 1957. In 1957, he moved to Boston, MA and was appointed Executive Director for the newly formed Liberal Religious Youth (LRY). Come 1963, he was ready to return to parish ministry, and accepted a call to serve as minister to the Jefferson Unitarian Church of Golden, CO. He served the congregation in Golden for the next thirteen years. The congregation named their sanctuary in honor of him. He returned to Boston in 1976, and was appointed as the second Ministerial Education Director of the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA). He held that role for five years. In 1981, he accepted a call to serve East Shore Unitarian Church of Bellevue, WA, and spent eleven years there. Rev. Hopper retired from parish ministry in 1992, and was honored as East Shore’s Minister Emeritus.


Post retirement, Rev. Dr. Hopper helped establish the UU Partner Church Council (UUPCC) and served the Council for ten years as President and Treasurer. Additionally, he served as President of the Continental Unitarian Universalist Ministers Association (UUMA), and he was instrumental in setting up the continuing education wing of the UUMA, known as CENTER (Continuing Education, Network, Training, Enrichment and Renewal). Committed to the denomination, Rev. Hopper also served as Chair of the Meadville Lombard Theological School Board of Trustees; member of the UUA Ministerial Aid Funds Committee; and Ministerial Settlement Representative to the Pacific Northwest District of the UUA. He received the Unitarian Universalist Association’s Distinguished Service Award in 1998 and was the Berry Street Essayist in 2001, speaking on “The Art of Ministry: Being and Doing Revisited.”


During his thirty-nine years in active ministry, Leon served on the Board of Trustees of the American Unitarian Association, the UUA, and the UUMA.  He was a dedicated supporter of the International Association for Religious Freedom, and he helped establish the human service agency Jeffco Support Inc. (now the Action Center) in Jefferson County, CO to address human service needs. He served as board member and president for the East King Council of Health and Human Services; president of Eastside Human Services Council; board member of Eastside Domestic Violence Program; and board member of the Center for Prevention of Sexual and Domestic Violence (now King County Sexual Assault Resource Center).


Throughout his college years, Leon attended University Unitarian Church in Seattle, WA. It was there that he first heard the call to the ministry. He met his future wife, Dorothy, at the congregation, as both were members of the Channing Club youth group. Leon and Dorothy married in 1951.


Leon is survived by his wife of 65 years, Dorothy Hopper; daughters, Sheridan Botts (Richard) and Rachel Tucker (Jim); son, Chuck Hopper (Pidgie); and five grandchildren.


Rev. Dr. Hopper will be honored and memorialized at a service on Tuesday, July 26th at 2:00 P.M., at East Shore Unitarian Church, 12700 SE 32nd Street, Bellevue, WA 98005-4317. The service will be led by Revs. Barbara ten Hove and Elaine Peresluha. Colleagues are invited to robe and process. Please send short memories and stories of Leon, to be possibly used in the service, to Barbara Ten Hove,


In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to the Seattle University School of Theology and Ministry, Leon Hopper Scholarship Fund.


Notes of condolences may be sent to Dorothy Hopper, 900 University Street, Horizon House, 4C, Seattle, WA 98101,

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In memory of Cynthia L. Prescott (1951-2016)

Posted By Administration, Friday, July 1, 2016

The Rev. Cynthia Louise Prescott died on May 28th, 2016 at the age of 64.


Cynthia was born in Lewiston, ME to William and Barbara Prescott. She graduated with a Bachelor of Arts from Mills College in 1974; and with a Master of Divinity from Starr King School for the Ministry in 1997.


Rev. Prescott was ordained by the First Universalist Church, Unitarian Universalist, of Auburn, ME in 1998. She served as full-time extension minister to the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Clemson, SC from 1998 to 2000. In January of 2000, Clemson voted Rev. Prescott as their first, full-time settled minister since their founding in 1954. She served Clemson for twelve years total, and then went on to serve a two year interim ministry with the Neshoba Unitarian Universalist Church of Cordova, TN from 2010 to 2012. From 2012 to 2014, she served as Interim to High Street Church - Unitarian Universalist of Macon, GA. In 2014, she settled as Interim to the Unitarian Universalist Metro Atlanta North Congregation, of Roswell, GA, and she held that role until her death.


From 2006 to 2009, Cynthia served the Southeast Unitarian Universalist Ministers Association as a Chapter Leader.


Cynthia grew up in the First Universalist Church of Auburn, ME and was born a third generation Unitarian Universalist. She reconnected with the denomination in 1988, and became very involved with First Universalist. She served as chair of the social action committee and President of the Board.


Her close friend and colleague, Rev. Johanna Nichols writes, “As President of the Board, Cynthia guided the congregation with political aplomb. I hated losing her to seminary but I rejoiced that we could be colleagues.”


Prior to seminary, Cynthia worked in fashion merchandising, marketing, and graphic design. Her passions included travel, cats, literature, poetry, and beautiful things of all kinds.


Of Cynthia, her dear friend Holley Ulbrich wrote:


Cynthia and I became very close friends within a year of her arrival [to Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Clemson]. She, her Dad and I, and my husband Carl traveled together to Nova Scotia and to St. Croix and many points in between.  When her Dad was no longer available and my husband was in declining health, we traveled together, most recently to Venice, returning home the day before her death. She told other friends, who told me after she died, that I was the older sister she always wanted and never had.  Certainly we considered each other sisters.


Cynthia is survived by eleven first cousins, Nancy Sylvester, Robert Knowles, Mary Newman, Peter Perkins, Robert Perkins, Jim Chadburn, Ann McFadden, Marjorie Picard, Ann Thurlow, David Thurlow, and Douglas Thurlow. Her father, William Prescott, died on June 23, 2016 at the age of 91.


Cynthia’s life will be celebrated on Saturday, July 30 at 1:00 P.M. at Unitarian Universalist Metro Atlanta North, 11420 Crabapple Road, Roswell, GA 30075. Celebrations of life were also held in Auburn, ME and Clemson, SC.


Memories, condolences and photos may be shared with the family on the obituary page of the following website: Condolences may also be sent to Cynthia's cousin, Nancy Sylvester, 561 Fish Street, Leeds, Maine 04263.


In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Starr King School for the Ministry, 2441 Le Conte Ave, Berkeley, CA 94709 or Shriner’s Hospital for Crippled Children, 11 Sabattus Street, Lewiston ME 04240.


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