Starr Memorial Garden

The Starr Memorial Garden had its annual dedication on Sunday, May 26, 2019.

A contemplative sacred space named in honor of UU Rev. Deane Starr, who died from AIDS (11/6/96) and believed in kindness, compassion and love above all else.

Unitarian Minister, Newell Deane Starr, died from AIDS on November 6, 1996 at the age of 73. His son, Paul, died from AIDS in 1992. His panel travels with the AIDS Memorial Quilt throughout the world.

Search the Quilt for Deane Starr’s panel in Block #05057:

Photos from May 26, 2019

About Rev. Starr

Rev. Starr served congregations in Providence, RI; South Acton and Harvard, MA (a joint ministry); Omaha, NE; Summit, NJ; Medford, MA, and Sherborn, MA. In addition he served as District Executive of the Central Midwest District; Associate Director of the Department of Ministry; Director of Field Services at the UUA and as District Executive for the NH-VT District. The Starr Memorial Garden located on the grounds of the Keene Unitarian Universalist Church reflects agency/church collaboration and honors the work of Starr.

A writing by Deane Starr

LIFE HAS TAUGHT ME (May 1996, written by Starr six months before he died)

That kindness is the ultimate virtue, superior even to love. Love can be unpredictable, whereas kindness is an act of will directly controlled by the individual. That in a dynamic universe, death is essential to life. A death provides material for new lives to be created. That the human spirit is incredibly resilient, able to be renewed even after horrendous attacks. That no one is merely the sum of her good or bad traits; that we are all mixtures and therefore called to compassion. That everyone has basic rights just by virtue of being human and that the function of law and ethics is to protect these rights. That the past cannot be changed and the future cannot be known; therefore, live in the gift that is the present.

10 Suggestions for a Healthy Congregation by Dean Starr
1. Always be kind to one another, even if you think meanness is justified.
2. Always attribute the best possible motives to one another, even when you do not understand one another’s words and actions.
3. Promise to one another only what you really intend and are capable of delivering.
4. Laugh and cry together, sharing both your joys and your heartaches.
5. Be very quick to praise one another, and very slow to criticize.
6. Defend one another.
7. Accept one another’s gifts with gratitude; accept one another’s deficiencies with grace.
8. Do not tell one another how to feel. Remember that feelings are facts and treat them accordingly.
9. Greet each day with expectation and each of rest with thanksgiving.
10. Let your eyes light up when you come into one another’s presence.

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