In Memory of . . . Gordon B. McKeeman (1920-2013)
Gordon was born in Lynn, MA, on September 12th, 1920 to William Neil and Lena Mabel (Goodridge) McKeeman.
Gordon went on to receive his Masters Degree in 1945 from the Universalist School of Religion at Tufts University.
In 1969, he earned an Honorary Doctorate from Meadville Lombard Theological School.
Ordained to the Universalist ministry in 1945, Rev. McKeeman served All Souls Universalist Church of Worcester, MA from 1944 - 1950, First Parish Universalist Church of Stoughton, MA from 1950 - 1955, St. Paulâ€™s Church of Palmer, MA from 1955 - 1961, and the Unitarian Universalist Church of Akron, OH from 1961 - 1983.
In 1984, he was named Minister Emeritus of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Akron, OH. In 1983, he accepted the invitation to serve as the President of Starr King School for the Ministry in Berkeley, CA, and he did so faithfully until 1988.
influence on the nature and shape of Unitarian Universalist ministry endures.
engaged civic life with zeal.
He held various offices on the Unity Community Council, served as a Board member for the Akron Rotary Club, founded the Fair Housing Contact Service, and founded the Planned Parenthood Association of Akron OH.
He was also an adjunct faculty member at the University of Akron, OH.
Heavily invested in and committed to the denomination, Rev. McKeeman served as Vice President of the Massachusetts Universalist Convention, and President of the Massachusetts Universalist Ministersâ€™ Association.
Along with his
wife, Phyllis, he
served as Youth Leader at Ferry Beach.
Additionally, he was the President of the Ohio-Meadville District, Vice President and President of the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee, and Vice Moderator of the Unitarian Universalist Associationâ€™s Board of Trustees.
ran for Presidency of the Unitarian Universalist Association
received the Angus H. MacLean Award from the Unitarian Universalist Association
in 1982, and was the Berry Street Conference Essayist in 1993.
Together with his
wife Phyllis, he
was awarded the UUA Distinguished Service Award in 1993.
placed tremendous value on lay ministry.
The Ohio Meadville Districtâ€™s Commissioned Lay Leader program is an outgrowth of his
grounding in Universalism
understanding regarding the importance of strong lay leadership and the need for leadership that emerges from within congregations.
unceasing commitment to Universalism
led to his
being a charter member of The Humiliati
(the humble ones).
The group, formed in 1945, "stressed that human beings are impelled, not compelled, by the power of God to fulfill the good potential of their lives.
The impulse toward wholeness in humanity is predisposed to good, though it can be weakened or distorted by chaos and conflict.
Authentic worship keeps it alive and restores its integrity.â€� By the time The Humiliati
disbanded in 1954, Rev. McKeeman
was elected as their lifetime Abbot.
During the last few years of his life, Rev. McKeeman wistfully reflected upon being the last living member of The Humilati.
belonged to the ministerial study group, The Fraters of the Wayside Inn.
The group was founded by Universalist ministers in 1903 and succeeding the 1961 merger of Universalism
, expanded to include individuals ordained in the Unitarian ministry as well as those ordained in the new denomination.
advocated for the election of women into the group; in 1989, The Fratersâ€™ membership expanded to include women.
The Fraters of Wayside Inn was very important to Rev. McKeeman
, and into the last few years of his
treasured mementos and keepsakes he
gathered during his
years with the group.
Rev. McKeemanâ€™s passion for ministry impacted innumerable lives.
In the beloved meditation manual Out of the Ordinary: Meditations, he
Gordon is survived by his loving wife of 69 years, Phyllis; sons, Bruce, Glenn, and Randall; four grandchildren; and sister, Gloria King.
was preceded in death by his