Our hearts are heavy as we mourn the tragic death of Rev. Rodrigo (“Rod”) Emilio Solano-Quesnel, who died at age 42 in a traffic accident early on the morning of Tuesday, July 11. We extend our deepest condolences to his family and those who knew and cared for him, especially his beloved partner Sarah Wert, who was with him at the time of the accident and suffered non-life-threatening injuries.
We also extend our love and support to congregants at the Unitarian Universalist (UU) Church of Olinda, where Rev. Solano-Quesnel served as settled minister since August 2018.
Originally from Mexico City, Rev. Solano-Quesnel moved to Canada in the early 1990s. While attending Carleton University he was introduced to Unitarian Universalism. He became an active member of First Unitarian Congregation of Ottawa and felt called to UU ministry.
After going to seminary at the Montreal School of Theology (affiliated with McGill University), Rev. Solano-Quesnel served as Intern Minister at First Unitarian Congregation of Toronto, where he met his partner Sarah.
After his internship, he and Sarah joined Neighbourhood Unitarian Universalist Congregation, which ordained him in 2016.
Rev. Solano-Quesnel then served as the half-time Developmental Minister at the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Ottawa for two years, alternating weeks between both Toronto and Ottawa, and calling both places home before moving to Leamington in Essex County, where he was honoured to share ministry with the vibrant and historic UU community in Olinda.
Rev. Solano-Quesnel’s impact extended far beyond his congregations. He was actively engaged in the national UU community, serving as a Director on the Canadian Unitarian Council’s Board of Trustees for the last several years, and had just stepped into the role of Secretary. He brought levity, insight, level-headed wisdom, and compassion to his work on the Board. He had been a member of the Pastoral Care team for young adults, was a facilitator for the CUC’s Men’s Inclusivity Action Group, and had facilitated several dismantling racism and inclusivity forums. Rev. Solano-Quesnel was instrumental in crafting the CUC’s 8th Principle. His loss strikes at our hearts and he will be deeply missed.
Rev. Linda Thomson, the CUC’s Congregational Life Lead for the Eastern Region, will lead a service for the Unitarian Universalist Church of Olinda, as their members mourn, on Sunday, July 16. We will announce other opportunities for remembrance and community care as they are planned.
~ From Sarah Wert and the CUC’s National Voice Team: UU Ministers of Canada President, Rev. Samaya Oakley; CUC Board President, Kiersten Moore, and CUC Executive Director Vyda Ng