Pastor to leave Hinsdale Unitarian Church after 30 years
After 29 years as Minister at the Unitarian Church of Hinsdale, the Rev. Edward Searl is retiring. | Rob Dicker~Sun-Times Media
Updated: October 1, 2012 6:17AM
HINSDALE — After 29 years of dedicated service to the Unitarian Church of Hinsdale, the Rev. Edward Searl will retire on Dec. 31.
During his nearly three decades at the church, Searl has received the reputation for being a serene, intelligent and caring man, and the church’s nearly 300 members have already begun to mourn the loss of their longtime minister.
Pam Foder, religious education director, has known Searl since she was 12.
“I was a member for a long time before I worked here, and Ed has been a consistent presence in my life,” said Foder. “I grew up with him as my minister, he married my husband and I, and he dedicated my daughter into the church. He’s been there for so many transitions.”
Originally from Deleware, Searl plans return to Wilmington with his wife where they will help care for his 95- and 96-year-old parents.
“They still live in the house I grew up in and they’ve been there since the early 1950s,” said Searl. “My wife and I came to the agreement that we wanted to let them remain in their house because we think it’s the right thing to do.”
Searl studied American history at the University of Delaware and the University of Vermont, and he received his theological training at McGill University’s Faculty of Religious Studies in Montreal. He began ministering at the First Unitarian Church of Youngstown, Ohio in 1977, and came to the Unitarian Church of Hinsdale in 1983.
“The Unitarian Church of Hinsdale absolutely turned out to be the right place for my wife and I, and I’ve really enjoyed it,” said Searl. “It has a reasonably demanding as well as highly-educated congregation, and I’ve really enjoyed the challenge.”
Church Administrator Nancy Kranz has only known Searl since March of this year when she first attended a service with her niece, but since then applied for the job and now works with Searle on a regular basis.
“He’s got such a wonderful demeanor and sense of humor, and he’s just a great person to get to interact with,” Kranz said.
In addition to Searl’s work at the church, he has also published quite a few books on a range of topics and plans to continue writing throughout his retirement. His most recent book is titled In Praise of Animals: A Treasury of Poems, Quotations, andReadings to Celebrate the Animal Kingdom.
“I may have an offer to work on a book about contemporary marriage ceremonies, but that’s not for sure yet,” said Searl. “My wife actually helps people do independent publishing through CreateSpace, and usually has four or five clients at any given time. So, I will definitely be doing some personal projects and making them available that way.”
Searl is interested in exploring the history of Wilmington and Philadelphia and potentially using his findings for a new book or part of his blog published through the Author’s Guild.
“I left Delaware in my 20s, so I’m really interested in exploring the area. It’s got history, natural history, oceans and lots of really fascinating aspects,” said Searl.
In addition to being caretakers for his parents, Searl plans to visit his daughter and grandchildren who live in California, though he admits that caring for his parents will probably consume the bulk of his time.
“I’m really going to miss his guidance and his ability to read into what I’m thinking and feeling without me having to say anything,” said Foder. “It’s been really great to have such a lasting relationship with him and I wish him only the best.”
The church is in search of an interim minister who will fill in until they can find a more permanent replacement.