The 2017 Tony Borra Award Winner: Barbara Burnham

The 2017 Tony Borra Award Winner: Barbara Burnham


2017 has been a year that’s witnessed the passing of several pillars of our UUCA community. One of those was Tony Borra, who crafted the beautiful metal sculpture of the phoenix that is just outside of our sanctuary doors. 


Tony was also a warm and loving welcoming presence on Sundays. He would often stand close to the glass doors and greet everyone with a warm smile and a hug. 

I created the Tony Borra Award as a way to recognize UUCA members who reflect Tony Borra’s hospitable spirit of encouragement and friendship.

The winner’s name will be posted on a plaque set up near the Phoenix sculpture, so we can publicly honor the people in our midst who help to create a beautiful warm and welcoming UUCA. 


Nominations for this year’s winner were many, and all are deserving! However, with Joy Borra’s blessing, I have chosen Barbara Burnham, another pillar of our UUCA community, to receive the award for 2017.


As many know by now, Barbara recently passed away from liver cancer, and it’s hitting our community hard. Many folks have offered up loving tributes on The City, and one constant theme is how Barbara was “a generous, deeply compassionate person who worked tirelessly for social and racial justice.”


But another theme has been this: her welcoming spirit and her kindness. “I have admired and enjoyed Barbara since I met her very soon after I began attending as a adult when she welcomed me,” says one person. Another says, “She was one of the first people to welcome me to UUCA when I first began attending and I always found her to be a calming presence.” Yet a third person says, “She also made me feel welcomed when I first started coming to UUCA and knew no one.”


We want to honor how Barbara was a true “Drum Major for Justice,” yes, but she was also a loving spirit in the same way that Tony Borra was.


Says yet another voice on The City, “I hope UUCA will honor not just her involvement in social justice, but also her loving personality.”


I second that hope. Please honor Barbara Burnham as the 2017 Tony Borra Award Winner by channeling her spirit of kindness and welcome as you move through the UUCA community.


Love and Courage,


Rev. Makar