Obituary: Rev. Terry Burke

Rev. Terry Burke, who died earlier this month. (Courtesy Photo)

Rev. Terry Burke, who died earlier this month. (Courtesy Photo)

Rev. Terry Mark Burke, who led the First Church in Jamaica Plain, Unitarian Universalist for 31 years before retiring last year, died surrounded by his family on Aug. 15. Burke, a Roslindale resident, was 61 years old.

Born and raised in Flint, Mich., Burke came to the area in 1971 and never left. He graduated from Harvard College in 1975, and in 1982, he graduated from Harvard Divinity School, was ordained a Unitarian Universalist minister and married Ellen McGuire.

In January 1983, he began his ministry at First Church in Jamaica Plain, Unitarian Universalist, a small congregation where his wife was organist. Burke led the church for 31 years through its revitalization. Since retirement last summer, he has been assisting clergy at Trinity Episcopal Church in Canton.

Burke loved to travel. He visited El Salvador and Nicaragua during the 1980s; studied icons and the Orthodox Church in St. Petersburg, Istanbul, the Sinai and Venice; walked the Camino in 2012 with his daughter Amelia; and twice visited Jerusalem to meet with religious leaders working for peace.

Burke had a deep commitment to social justice. He worked on environmental issues and with Jobs for Justice and Interfaith Worker Justice, and was a Samaritans phone volunteer.

He is survived by his brother Tim and wife Cindy of Saginaw, Mich.; his wife, Ellen McGuire; three daughters, Willow and her wife Laura Hughes of Jamaica Plain, and Amelia and Lucyanna of Roslindale; and many close friends. Donations may be made in Terry’s memory to Samaritans or Jobs with Justice.


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