Richard D. Leonard
Richard Leonard is Minister Emeritus at All Souls Church. He was graduated from Yale College in 1949 and Union Theological Seminary in 1952. He was ordained at Union Church in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn as a Congregational minister and took the position of Director of Youth Choirs at the same church. In 1959 he became a Unitarian Universalist minister and joined Community Church on 35th St. in NYC as Minister of Education. At the time, Community Church was the largest UU congregation in the country with a church school of 300 students. In 1969, Richard became minister of the Flatbush UU Church on a part-time basis and held numerous other positions in the field of development in the community over the years before joining All Souls, as an assistant minister, in 1979.
Richard married Anna Barr Mason (Polly) in 1970. Between them they have five children, seven grandchildren and 5 great grandchildren.
Richard and Polly have traveled the world together over the years, including trips to Mongolia, Nepal, Antarctica, Japan, China and Russia. His other interests include music and chess.
In 1965, Richard had a "life-changing" experience. During the height of the civil rights crisis, he spent 18 days in Selma, Alabama. Because James Reeb, a UU minister, had been killed during the upheavals, he was asked to walk the 50 miles to Montgomery in his place. His book, Call to Selma: 18 Days of Witness, is the only hour-by-hour account of the famous march written by one of the 300 who marched from Selma to Montgomery. It is available through Amazon.com and the UUA Bookstore at 25 Beacon Street, Boston, MA 02108.
His second book, Ports of Call: Journeys in Ministry is available at Amazon.com and BarnesandNoble.com.
Richard is a member of the Unitarian Universalist Ministers Association, the Liberal Religious Education Directors Association and the National Society of Fund Raising Executives. He has been a violinist in the Riverside Orchestra, president of the Yale Band Alumni and a member of the Association of Yale Alumni.
He was made a Minister Emeritus of All Souls Church in September, 1997 and continues to do many of the weddings that take place in the church. In 54 years he has married almost 4000 couples from all over the world, 300 of whom, for example, live in Japan today.
Richard began an active retirement in September, 1997. His telephone number, at church, is (212) 535-5530.