|Diane Montgomery at her recent retirement party.
The Massachusetts Conference will soon say farewell to one of its longest-serving employees. Diane Montgomery, Director of Framingham Site and Facilities, will retire as of May 31.
Montgomery began her work with the Conference in 1983, when the Rev. Dr. Al Williams was the Conference Minister and President, and the Edwards House Meeting & Retreat Center still had an exterior walkway to the dining room. She has welcomed, housed and fed tens of thousands of guests, offering each the respect and warm hospitality to which the UCC aspires.
"Staff have come and gone. Hospitality has been a constant," Massachusetts Interim Transitional Conference Minister The Rev. Don Remick said at Montgomery's recent retirement party. "I know this because I have been privileged to experience that hospitality for those years as I went from student minister, to associate pastor to solo and senior pastor to Associate Conference Minister and Conference Minister. And as I went from single young adult to father and grandfather. Diane's hospitality has been a constant."
Montgomery oversaw major renovations to Edwards House in 2004 - 2005, improving accessibility and life safety as well as allowing indoor access to the dining room. Another significant upgrade in 2010 improved furnishings to make the Retreat Center more gracious and welcoming to guests of all ages.
Her leadership has not been limited to Edwards House, however. In addition, the Framingham site includes the "barn," which houses the Conference offices, Pilgrim Day Camp in the summer and 1620 House. The site also includes Scudder House, which in 2004 had not been used for years, and was deteriorating rapidly. Montgomery reached out to the South Middlesex Opportunity Council to see whether they might have a use for it. The result was an agreement for SMOC to renovate the house for use as a home for women in recovery from substance abuse. SMOC leases the building for $1 per year. The Conference was saved the considerable cost of demolition.
“More importantly, the building is being used to live out our vision of making God’s love and justice real," said Dawn Hammond, Associate Conference Minister for Policy and Finance. “Diane has always looked at the whole Framingham site with an eye to how it might best be used to further our mission.”
Likewise, she has cultivated a long-term relationship with a local homeschooling group to rent the 1620 House building during the school year; Pilgrim Day Camp uses it in the summer.
Montgomery said she will miss many of the people she has welcomed to the site over the years.
"I feel like I grew up here," she said. "I came as a single woman, married and had children all while residing on the MACUCC property. My children were campers and then counselors at Pilgrim Day Camp - I think they enjoyed every single minute."
"I saw many positive changes and worked with many wonderful people, both coworkers and Edwards House guests," she said. "And I'm proud to be leaving the grounds and buildings in much better condition than when I arrived."
Cards or notes wishing Diane well may be sent to the Conference office at 1 Badger Road, Framingham, MA 01702, c/o Dawn Hammond.
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