Thursday, December 19, 2013

Rest in peace, Gordon McKeeman

The Humiliati. Rev. Gordon McKeeman is second from left.
Unitarian Universalist minister (retired) Gordon McKeeman has died.  I never met him, but I've always heard wonderful things about him. You will often find his writings and meditations in UU books and publications.  But perhaps he was best known in his final years as the last living member of the "Humiliati".  The Humiliati were a group of Universalist ministers in the 40s and 50s who had studied at the School of Religion at Tufts University (the Crane Theological School is no longer there).  You can read about the concerns and theological ideas of the Humiliati at this link.

McKeeman was once the minister of All Souls Universalist Church in Worcester, which later became the Unitarian Universalist Church of Worcester (where I am still a member).  These are some of his words:

"Ministry is all that we do – together. Ministry is that quality of being in community that affirms human dignity – beckons forth hidden possibilities, invites us into deeper, more constant, reverent relationships, and carries forward our heritage of hope and liberation.  Ministry is what we do together as we celebrate triumphs of our human spirit.  Miracles of birth and life.  Wonders of devotion and sacrifice.  Ministry is what we do together – with one another – in terror and torment – in grief, in misery and pain, enabling us in the presence of death to say yes to life.  We who minister speak and live the best we know with full knowledge that it is never quite enough, and yet are reassured by lostness found, fragments reunited, wounds healed and joy shared.  Ministry is what we all do – together." 
[From "Ministry is All That We Do -- Together" by Gordon McKeeman, pp. 10-11 from Awakened from the Forest: Meditations on Ministry, ed. Gary E. Smith (Boston: Skinner House Books, 1995)]