Caught in the Act of Generosity: Marilyn O’Boyle

by Christina Socorro Yovovich of the Rad Gen Committee

Marilyn O’Boyle began attending First Unitarian in 2001 because she saw the corner sign advertising an appealing sermon. After two weeks she became a member; she knew she had found her community. Marilyn notes there is no need for people to be alone and lonely when they can establish community connections within our church. As she points out, volunteering is a win/win; it helps the church to work better and helps us all in our community connections.

Since 2001, Marilyn has been a member of the choir, helped found Earth Web, served on the Worship Committee for 8 years, participated in and led Covenant Groups, served twice on the Board of Directors, participated in the Search Team that brought Rev Bob to the church, been an ESL teacher for the past two years, and currently chairs the Leadership Succession Committee. She says that most of the time she enjoys this work, but even when she doesn’t, she feels a responsibility to help.

Marilyn describes Earth Web, the church’s environmental group, as her main focus. Throughout the years the group has been instrumental in bringing in the recycling bins around campus, having the church participate in the energy audit, helping to keep environmental concerns in mind while planning the new sanctuary and remodeled social hall, and much more.

The pandemic was a double blow for Marilyn, as she lost most of her hearing in August of 2020. Her career as a Suzuki Method Violin Teacher Trainer, which previously had her traveling around the U.S. and to many Latin American countries, ended shortly afterwards. Earth Web, the Choir, and services were all on Zoom and she made it through but is thankful for the “energy and interchange” in-person meetings provide.

Her work for the church has taught her that she can go beyond her comfort zone. As an introvert, the outreach involved in many of her roles can be challenging, but also energizing. She appreciates the “openness and cooperative spirit of the people at our church.” She values that “People come from a variety of backgrounds and places, but everyone seems to embody similar values and concerns, especially around justice and climate issues.” Marilyn shows what can be accomplished by a person determined to do their part.

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