The passing of Denny Davidoff on December 7 has sparked outpourings of love and respect for this icon of our UU movement.
In a sermon Denny delivered to the Paris UU Fellowship on April 19, 2015, she recalled her initial role in the Unitarian Universalist Women’s Federation (UUWF).
“In the fall of 1971 (as a then member of the Westport Connecticut UU congregation), I was asked to join the search committee that would find the successor to Constance Burgess, the legendary Executive Director who was turning 65. It was the first time I was asked to serve in the larger UU world beyond congregation and district.
“The UUWF of those days had a large staff, occupied a large space—pretty much the entirety of Elliot house behind 25 Beacon Street—and a very large membership made up of Women’s Alliances out of our pre-merger Unitarian structure and the Universalist Women’s groups which were inexplicably called Units. I resisted at first. My father had died suddenly in October and my only brother had succumbed to galloping melanoma five weeks later, leaving two children, a pregnant widow, and my inconsolable mother. Jerry [her husband] pressed me to take advantage of the diversionary aspect of this assignment, so I said ‘yes’.”
Denny served on the UUWF Board from 1973-1985, both as a member and President. She also served on the task force to revision the organization from a membership organization to primarily a grant-giving one, in response to a change in the lives of UU women, who were much less likely to join and participate in traditional daytime church groups. READ MORE ABOUT DENNY DAVIDOFF and UUWF…
Past Presidents of UUWF collected and sent notes to Denny and her family during her time in hospice. If you’d like to read them, they’re online: https://www.uuwf.org/wp-content/uploads/Notes-to-Denny-Davidoff-from-UUWF-past-presidents.pdf
Denny was one of the first of the many wonderful women I met through UUWF. She and the others taught me everything I know about feminism and Unitarian Universalism. — Ellen Spencer
From the Winter 1977 issue of the UUWF Newsletter:
UU Women and Religion board sent along this photo: