Profile Remembrances

Larry Uhrig

As Remembered by Ken South

I have so many wonderful memories of Larry. He was one year ahead of me at Methodist Theological School in Ohio. It took me several tries to get up the courage to talk to him about being gay. He was already out at seminary and I was just starting my journey. I would walk up to his room many times and chicken-out with my hand poised at his door to knock.  But, one day, I found the courage, and he was gracious, wise and very helpful.

When I moved to Washington, DC in 1987, fifteen years later, there was but one choice of where to worship, MCC of Washington! I remember Larry as one of the most gifted preachers I have ever heard. He had a way to combining his gifts in pastoral care with his skill as a Biblical scholar…and combined with a natural ability for the “theatrical”, it all together made a powerful combination to move the heart, mind and the soul.

Shortly after Larry arrived at MCC-DC in 1977 there was a horrendous fire at the Cinema Follies, a gay adult theatre, nine patrons died. It was Larry, the only clergy to appear on the scene, who was there to assist with friends and family.

On Groundhog Day in 1993, my roommate Allen was murdered in my home. Larry was in the final stages of his AIDS diagnosis, yet before the police left my house, Larry was on the phone to me to give me, a traumatized member of his congregation, a word of calm and comfort.

His last sermon was given on Christmas Eve of 1993, there he was preaching one of the most powerful sermons of his career, propped up on a bar stool, surrounded by the children of the parish and talking about our future together in God’s love.  He left his body four days later.

February 22, 2013