On Sunday, June 2, Ellen McGuire was honored for forty years of Music Ministry at First Church in Jamaica Plain, Unitarian Universalist as she prepared to leave her post to pursue new goals. Ellen was hired in 1979 to be the organist for a very small and mostly elderly congregation. As the church’s membership grew, Ellen’s role expanded, and she created the First Church Choir in 1985. Ellen drew upon a diverse repertoire of music for the choir that included a variety of musical styles and cultural traditions. She also provided music for numerous church events, including annual Fellowship Dinners, Christmas Pageants and organ recitals on the historical 1854 E. & G.G. Hook organ.
In recognition of Ellen’s forty years of service, the church commissioned a hymn in her honor. The hymn, “How Blessed Are All Who Gather Here,” was composed by liturgical theologian Ruth Duck and was set to music by Daniel Charles Damon.
Throughout these forty years, Ellen McGuire enhanced the spirituality of Sunday morning worship services and created a vibrant array of musical experiences for the congregation. Celebration attendees wished Ellen fond farewells and heartfelt gratitude for her countless contributions to the church and to the Jamaica Plain community.