Monday, 9 November 2009

Polly Guild's Sense of Mission

The Rev. Polly Guild died at her home near Boston MA on November 7. She was the Minister Emerita of the Follen, Massachusetts, Unitarian Church, and one of the founders of the International Council of Unitarians and Universalists. She and her husband Ted Guild were dedicated UU's and long-time international enthusiasts. In the late 1980's they combined these interests when they accepted the task of International Co-ordinators for the UUA, as volunteers. In this role they made contact with most of the existing U-U organizations and groups in the world, and were instrumental in helping to plan and fund the founding meeting of the ICUU. Polly worked with the ICUU as volunteer program coordinator for many years, she helped develop the first ICUU web site, took care of archives, and helped to make the ICUU known within the UUA.

Many ICUU member congregations and leaders were personal friends of Polly's. She sponsored students and helped ministers in need, she contributed to building projects in India, a community bank in the Philippines, she was a beloved mentor to U-U's in Pakistan, the Czech Republic, Hungary, the Khasi Hills, and more. Through these relations and projects her goodwill will continue to help Unitarian-Universalism grow and prosper for many years to come. We will miss her presence, but her spirit will live on through us.

ICUU Program Co-ordinator Jill McAllister paid tribute to her writing: “Polly Guild was a mentor for me, and a good friend, for more than 15 years. Her dedication to the wide-world of Unitarian Universalism, and to the global U-U movement, inspired and instructed me. We worked together in ICUU meetings and conferences around the world, and in UUA events and programs here at home. Her easy way of being a friend and supporter to so many is one of the things I will always remember, and I hope that some of that friendly spirit of hers will live on in me and through me as we continue the work which was so important to her.”

In Memory of the Rev Polly Guild

Dear Friends around the globe,

On November 7 we lost one of our strongest and most persistent advocates for international Unitarian and Unitarian Universalist connections. Rev. Polly Guild of Massachusetts died after a period of illness. While her death was expected, it was still a great loss to all who knew her and to Unitarians and Universalists around the globe who may never know the effect of her pioneering work.

As member, leader and friend of the IARF, the ICUU, the Partner Church Council and hundreds of individuals around the world Polly helped grow our sense of community across borders, oceans and continents. It always seemed that if there was a gathering, she was there. A former Executive Member of the ICUU, Polly in recent years sat in as our resident historian and archivist. As new leaders emerged, she helped us learn the history and the context so that we could do our best work.

Sadly, Polly was not able to attend our most recent Council Meeting in Transylvania. However thanks to a little creativity and the help of her family, we were able to send live birthday greetings to Polly over the internet. For a too brief few moments she was with us one more time.

She was a great soul and is greatly missed.

On behalf of the Executive Committee and Staff of the ICUU I send the warmest regards and condolences to Polly's family and to all who are missing this special woman this day.

Rev. Brian Kiely

Unitarian Church of Edmonton

President, International Council of Unitarians and Universalists