Judy McGavin, Trustee from the Pacific Northwest District, introduced this award, explaining that each year the Board chooses a person to receive its highest recognition, the Distinguished Service to Unitarian Universalism Award. This year the Board chose the Rev. Eugene Navias. Navias has been a minister, teacher, mentor, administrator, historian, generous contributor, and friend to the movement. He has given his gifts of song, humor, and drama wherever he has gone.
In accepting the award, Navias said that his work with the UUA allowed him to meet thousands of wonderful UUs who care deeply for this association. "You have taught me so much," said Navias. He thanked his parents, Louis and Adelaide Navias, "because they found the world of Unitarianism before I was born." He spoke with enthusiasm of this year's Gay Pride March in Boston, which saw 41 UU churches involved, with 50 ministers, and 800 or more people gathered for worship in the Arlington Street Church. "The big surprise," Navias said, "was seeing that not only had the march been televised, but that the announcers read the name of every single church and read every banner." Navias said that "At that moment, my hopes for the world began to be restored... That this remnant could make its voice heard and make its voice for freedom and justice be heard."