Richard and Elaine Barrett are
Unitarian Universalists (UUs) with a long tradition of giving to the
Association. For over twenty years, their family foundation (the Barrett
Foundation) has also been supporting various educational institutions to which
they have personal connections, as well as programs which deal with social
justice, environmental concerns and animal welfare.
From a long heritage of
Universalists, Richard Barrett believes that there are many individuals who
benefit from being a part of the Unitarian Universalist community—and that our
congregations draw new members when a church has a vibrant congregation engaged
in worship and the Ceremonies of Life, and celebrates these things with rousing
Because of this belief, the
Barretts awarded in 2008 a grant to help fund a new full time staff position at
the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA)—a Director of Worship and Music Resources. This individual will
be responsible for, among other things, developing new UU worship materials,
serving as a clearinghouse for “best practices” in Unitarian Universalist
worship, offering programs for clergy and other UU professionals in worship and
music development, and training lay leaders in worship
Richard Barrett is especially
inspired by his grandfather, the Rev. Otto S. Raspe, who was a Universalist
minister serving both a church in Cambridge, Massachusetts,
and a summer parish in Barnard, Vermont. In 1922, the Iowa Universalist
Convention published Rev. Raspe’s piece titled the Five Pillars in the Temple of
Universalism, through which he provided a historical reflection on the power
and meaning of Universalist doctrine and shed light on what beliefs
Universalists then held in common.
In certain ways, the Barretts’
gift will enable the UUA to honor the work of Rev. Raspe by bringing some
uniformity to worship resources, and providing congregations with resources and
ideas for incorporating a new language of reverence in worship—letting people
know not only that we are a welcoming community, but bringing clarity to what it
is we believe.
This new staff member will play a
part in enhancing the quality of UU music programs, and encourage the use of
newer hymns with a present day appeal, coupled with relevant worship sources,
with the objective of inspiring new and younger individuals to come to church
and be active in their church communities.
Richard Barrett also believes
that to keep a congregation strong, its facilities must be well
maintained. Every year, the Barretts give to the congregation in
Barnard, Vermont, to help preserve their building. Last year, the Foundation funded major
renovations to the sanctuary of the UU Congregation in Westborough, Massachusetts, where Richard’s sister, Phyllis
and nonagenarian mother, Amalia (Rev. Raspe’s daughter) are members. At
the dedication of the new building in October 2007, several of Richard’s
cousins, who are talented musicians, lent their talents to the celebrations, and
the Rev. Beth Graham from the UUA preached a sermon titled Want to Come Inside? Richard expects that the new facilities
will continue to invite people to attend, and ultimately help to increase the
The profound generosity of
Richard and Elaine Barrett has impacted countless individuals and institutions
across the nation over the years, and their most recent generous gift to the UUA
will surely transform the culture of worship and music across our whole family
For more information contact web @ uua.org.
This work is made possible by the generosity of individual donors and congregations.
Please consider making a donation today.
Last updated on Thursday, September 8, 2011.
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