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New in New York but near All Souls Church

by Luisa Stigol.

It was the year 1973. I moved to Dedham, MA, to start a full-time pediatric practice. I was an Argentinian immigrant. That year, in Chile, General Pinochet lead a “coup d’etat” that removed and killed Allende, the constitutional president. Doctors and nurses were found guilty of supporting Allende's changes in the organization of hospitals. As a result of this, they were taken to a stadium and, from there, removed to be tortured or killed. I wanted to try and do something to stop this. However, I did not know anybody except my patients. One early morning I had taken care of the UU Church pastor’s son. I knew something about this Church since my first trip to Boston in 1962, when I met Dr. William Forbes. He was a direct descendant of Emerson, and the Harvard Dean of Foreign Students. He introduced me, an Argentinian immigrant, to that church.

When the daily bombing of Vietnam began in 1965, the UU Arlington St. Church had given shelter to conscientious objectors. Knowing this, I dared to call the pastor and ask him to tell his congregation what was going on in Chile. I said it was necessary to send letters to the embassy to stop this criminal action. His response was to invite me to speak. And I did. That Sunday, Faust was the subject and Gounod’s opera was the music. I spoke, but also remained fascinated to learn of new possibilities to expand horizons in a church setting. The musicians were first class.

I grew up in a Jewish secular family and I never attended any church or temple. I went back to that church. Later, I became a member of the First Parish in Brookline. Even more years and changes later, in 2016, I moved from Boston to New York. By then I had been a UU member since 1973 and had worked for the UUSC in the eighties, in prevention of violence.

In this last move, All Souls Church was one of the pillars of my adjustment to a new city in my advanced age.

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