Kay Montgomery is applauded after recognition of her service and retirement. © 2013 Nancy Pierce/UUA.
Kay Montgomery received a standing ovation from a packed plenary hall Friday morning for her 30 years of service to the Unitarian Universalist Association, including 28 years as executive vice president to four presidents of the UUA.
Former president Bill Sinkford listed a litany of adjectives to describe her: smart, wise, funny, committed, tireless, trusted, loving, tough. “She’s the queen of deft,” Sinkford said. And she is faithful. “Kay has managed to have faith and keep faith in this faith,” he said.
“I know a blessing when I see one,” Sinkford said, “And, Kay, you have blessed me, and you have blessed us.”
Sinkford sent Montgomery—“a working-class, Irish girl from Detroit”—off with an Irish blessing. “As you go, may the wind be always at your back. And we will hold you in the hollow of our hands and in our hearts.”
Montgomery stepped onto the stage to a rousing standing ovation from the crowd. A slide show reviewed her years with the association and her service to five presidents: the Rev. Eugene Pickett, Rev. Dr. William Schulz, the Rev. John Buehrens, Sinkford, and the Rev. Peter Morales.
She said she was filled with gratitude, and thanked the many lay people and ministers who have welcomed her and the three moderators and five presidents with whom she has worked.
Lastly, she asked past and current UUA staff to stand, and she thanked them. “These are the people that have done all the work that I’ve gotten credit for, so I want to conclude by thanking them.” And to another round of applause, Montgomery walked off the plenary stage for the last time.
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Michelle Bates Deakin, a member of First Parish Unitarian Universalist of Arlington, Massachusetts, was a UU World contributing editor from 2006 to 2011 and a UU World senior editor from 2011 to 2014. She is the author of Social Action Heroes: Unitarian Universalists Who Are Changing the World (Skinner House, 2011) and Gay Marriage, Real Life: 10 Stories of Love and Family (Skinner House, 2006).