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                    July  26,  2011     Dear  Search  Committee,     I  am  delighted  to  be  able  to  write  a  letter  on  behalf  of  Reverend  Molly  Housh  Gordon,  whom  I  met   during  her  Ministerial  Internship  at  First  Parish  Needham,  in  Needham,  Massachusetts.  Our   congregation  had  the  very,  very  good  fortune  of  having  Molly  with  us  for  two  years,  and  to  see  her   through  her  ordination  this  past  spring  (and  to  have  her  continue  summertime  services  following  her   ordination).     Molly  is  an  extraordinary  individual,  and  touched  the  lives  of  so  many  people  on  many  different  levels.   Whether  by  nature,  nurture,  or  a  combination  of  both,  she  possesses  that  very  rare  combination  of  skills   that  inspires  and  lifts  people,  and  calls  for  people  to  look  at  themselves  and  each  other  in  supportive,   caring  ways  that  engender  community  -­‐  *real*  community.  She  touches  people  on  a  deep  level,  and  has   a  sense  of  humor,  compassion,  and  honesty  that  is  very  rare  to  see,  and  greatly  appreciated  when  it  is   seen  (I  have  often  found  myself  transported  to  a  different  place  when  Molly  preaches;  and  I  generally   am  not  emotional  in  services,  but  Molly  has  found  a  way  to  help  even  stubborn  old  –  well,  I  would  say   Yanks,  but  I  live  in  the  Boston  area,  so  I  need  to  say  Red  Sox  -­‐  like  me  tap  into  that  part  of  myself  –  a   tricky  task  indeed!).     However,  pretty  much  anyone  in  our  congregation  could  type  the  above  paragraph.  Molly  has  meant   much  more  to  specifically  my  family,  especially  in  two  ways.  These  past  18  months  were  extraordinarily   difficult  for  my  family  –  we  faced  several  family  deaths,  my  own  bout  with  thyroid  cancer,  and  another   very  difficult  family  situation.  In  addition  to  other  ministerial  duties,  Molly  led  the  Youth  Group  along   with  a  member  of  the  congregation.  I  called  Molly  and  kept  her  abreast  of  the  situations,  and  asked  her   to  keep  an  eye  on  my  teenage  children  (my  older,  by  the  way,  served  on  YAC,  absolutely  loved  Youth   Group,  and  plans  to  continue  her  affiliation  with  the  UU  church  even  now  that  she’s  off  to  college;  my   younger  is  a  diehard  scientist,  and  is  still  trying  to  reconcile  strong  scientific  beliefs  with  religion;   regardless,  both  very  much  love  and  appreciate  the  role  Molly  played  in  their  lives).  Molly  not  only  kept   an  eye  on  the  children,  she  kept  an  eye  on  us  –  and  we  felt  very  comforted  knowing  she  was  keeping  a   watchful  eye  on  them  (it’s  honestly  very  difficult  to  realize  she’s  young  –  she  has  a  wisdom  that  far   surpasses  her  years).     Then,  we  had  a  fortunate  series  of  circumstances  that  really  (in  our  hearts,  anyhow)  makes  her  a   permanent  part  of  our  lives.  Among  the  family  deaths  we  faced  was  that  of  my  father,  on  December  6,   2010.  Molly  officiated  over  his  Memorial  Service;  it  was  her  first  Memorial  Service,  although  it  would   have  been  impossible  to  know  had  we  not  been  specifically  told  (John  Buehrens,  the  Minister  of  the   parish,  told  us).  Molly  was  spectacularly  professional  and  wonderful  throughout  the  process.  My  father   was  a  somewhat  controversial  figure;  he  was  a  wonderful  person,  although  he  made  some  very   unfortunate  choices  (to  use  one  of  his  common  phrases,  and  Molly  used  it  in  his  service,  he  had  many   “hills  and  valleys”  in  his  life  –  some  hills  were  quite  high,  and  some  valleys  were  quite  low).       Molly  helped  us  identify  a  date  for  the  service,  and  came  to  our  home  to  help  learn  about  a  man  she’d   never  met.  It  was  initially  difficult  for  me  to  describe  him,  because  he  was  so  complicated.  She  was   wonderful  at  drawing  out  details  (it  turned  out  photos  were  the  best  way  to  access  him,  and  she  was   able  to  pick  key  details  to  draw  out  more  details,  which  led  my  daughter  to  participating,  which  led  to   my  husband  participating,  and  so  on).  My  father  loved  a  few  key  songs  (“Good  Night,  Irene”  and  “Let  Me   Call  You  Sweetheart”,  along  with  the  Polish  National  Anthem  and  music  by  Chopin),  and  a  few  key  


members  of  the  congregation  (who  happen  to  be  close  friends)  were  able  to  take  charge  of  the  music.   Molly  took  care  of  arranging  the  details  and  the  Order  of  Service.  She  contacted  the  people  who  were   performing  the  music,  and  asked  me  to  coordinate  the  speakers.  She  identified  readings  that  were   perfect  for  him,  which  made  them  easy  to  assign.  In  organizing  the  service,  she  created  (in  her  words)   the  archway  of  his  life:  it  was  honest,  it  was  gentle,  it  was  humorous  (which  is  EXACTLY  what  he  would   have  loved),  and  it  was  exactly  the  service  I  wanted.  We  had  a  big  Polish  feast  afterwards,  and  I  cannot   thank  Molly  enough  for  everything  she  did  for  us.  I  knew  it  was  a  huge  success  when  friends  came  up  to   me  afterwards  and  said  (verbatim),  “I  want  a  service  just  like  this  when  I  go!”  (I  do,  too).       As  our  thanks  to  Molly,  we  gave  her  one  of  her  stoles.  She  presided  over  her  last  service  in  Needham   this  past  weekend;  I  went,  which  is  rare  for  me  in  the  summer  (I  told  her  she  is  the  *only*  person  for   whom  I  would  go  to  church  in  the  summer).  Wonder  of  wonders,  she  wore  the  stole!  I  was  very   touched.       Molly  Housh  Gordon  is  an  incredibly  special  person;  any  congregation  would  be  very,  very  lucky  to  have   her  in  their  pulpit.  I  am  very  sorry  that  she  is  leaving  Needham,  but  she  has  an  incredible  career  awaiting   her;  I  can’t  wait  to  see  it  unfold.     Please  feel  free  to  contact  me  with  any  questions.     Warm  regards,           Corinne  J.  Lewkowicz,  Ph.D.   74  Taylor  Street   Needham,  MA  02494   (h)  781-­‐453-­‐0455     (c)  339-­‐225-­‐0969  


Recommendation Letter from Cory Lewkowicz