The Lane Lyceum at First Parish in Needham
When Reverend Catie Scudera, Minister at First Parish in Needham, MA, drafted the eulogy for Ed Lane’s July 2017 memorial service it was 15 pages long! There was so much to say about this extraordinary and humble man.
For many of us who knew Ed during his 21 years as a member of First Parish, we simply knew that he was the beloved husband of Helen and a retired UU minister. Those who were fortunate enough to hear Ed lead a service or speak at the First Parish Lyceum, knew that there was much more to learn about Ed.
Ed was ordained in May of 1957 and first served as the minister in Winchendon, MA. Ed got involved immediately in denominational affairs. He began attending General Assembly annually, as well as UU Ministers Association events nationally and locally, which he kept up until his retirement. He went on to serve churches in Cherry Hill, NJ, Westport, CT, Cambridge, MA and in Waltham, MA where he retired in 1996.
Ed’s work beyond parish ministry was extraordinary. In March 1965, Ed took part in the third and final Selma march, both in support of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s vision of a world without racism, militarism, or poverty, and in memory of his friend Rev. Jim Reeb, who was murdered by white supremacists after the second attempt of a Selma-to-Montgomery Civil Rights march. Ed was chair of the Beacon Press Board that published the classified Pentagon Papers in 1971, detailing government secrets about the Vietnam War. Thirty-some other publishing houses had turned down Alaskan Senator Mike Gravel’s request to publish, but, as chair, Ed pushed Beacon Press to do the right thing and bring the truth to light. Ed considered this among his most important lifetime contributions.
First Parish in Needham bestows the “Doctor of Durability” award to members on their 90th birthday. Ed would have turned 90 on June 19, 2018 and the congregation thought it would be an appropriate honor to rename the First Parish Lyceum, the Lane Lyceum. The church is raising funds to support continuing education at First Parish with the Lyceum as the focal point.
Ed loved the First Parish Lyceum and was a frequent speaker. We reached out to our former minister, Reverend John Buehrens for the history our Lyceum and to share our plans to honor Ed. He replied with the following:
As Ed knew, such programs, though modest, were an homage to the historic role played in New England by lyceums, especially after the financial Panic of 1837, to spread the discussion of the best thinking in science, religion, philosophy, and the arts beyond the parish churches to the wider community. Our Transcendentalist forbears knew this. They spoke at Lyceums far and wide. When I left Needham, I worried that the Lyceum would either become a burden to my successors or simply die. Ed chose to help keep it alive. Naming it for him now makes great sense. Offering even expenses, much less a modest honorarium, was always a struggle. I had a large Rolodex of contacts to beg for a free Sunday morning. That is not a sustainable model.
Ed’s name will be repeated many times over when referencing The Lane Lyceum. Our hope is that by honoring Ed in this very public way, today’s newer First Parish members and future generations will want to know, “Who is Ed Lane? Why is the Lyceum named for him?” And after learning about Ed, a minister who lived his life fully committed to UU values and devoted to service to others, they will be inspired to live their own best lives.
A small group of First Parish members have donated $38,000 in seed money and we are reaching out to all members and the greater UU world to help grow the Lane Lyceum Fund with donations through this page with the hope to raise a minimum of $5,000. We would be deeply grateful if you would consider this opportunity to honor Ed and his tremendous contributions by donating today.
The Lane Lyceum Fundraising Team: Florence and Sam Graves, Reverend Catie Scudera, Nancy Simpson-Banker and Rick Vincent