By ALVIN REINER Press-Republican
---- — WILLSBORO — The Rev. Jonathan Lange, a resident of the community, was recently appointed to take over the ministry of the Willsboro Congregational United Church of Christ.
Lange and his wife, Nancy, who had been part-time residents with a home on Lake Champlain for the past 25 years, have decided to make Willsboro their year-round address.
A chemical engineer at DuPont for 14 years with a degree from Princeton University, Lange decided to go into the ministry while working with teens.
“They had a lot of questions, and finding answers to these questions made sense to me. I started to pray more intentionally. A question kept popping into my head. ‘What kind of minister would I make?’ The more I looked into it, the more I felt it was something I could do,” Lange said.
The Langes owned and operated a general store in East Calais, Vt. Lange, ordained a Presbyterian minister in 2006, served as pastor in a Lutheran Church in Montpellier.
“In the spring of 2012, I decided to come back and live in the North and winterize our summer cottage in Willsboro,” Lange said.
As for Lange’s plans for the UCC, he said: “I hope I can be a part of the church family. I want to learn from the church’s strengths, and not ignore that. I have some learning to do.”
He said he hopes to keep things interesting as well, and even showed magic tricks to the youngsters at a recent service.
“We first knew Jonathan because he had a summer place, but then he started to participate more and became part of the church,” parishioner Betty Lawrence said of the new pastor. “I believe this is what God had in store for us.”
“The church, to me, is like a family for many phases of my life,” church secretary Joanne McShane added. “Often the other churches in the area have been very supportive of us. They all feel first it is God, and then it is the other things. We are truly blessed to have him (Lange) here with us.”
“There is a solid commitment of all the clergy,” Lange said of the ecumenism in the area. “There is no sense of competing against one another.”
The Willsboro church has been cited on the New York State and National Registers of Historic Places; it is the first building in Willsboro to be so honored. The building was consecrated Dec. 24, 1834, on land donated by the Rev. Marshall Shedd. Prior to then, worshippers gathered in private homes and later a schoolhouse.
Email Alvin Reiner: firstname.lastname@example.orgTO LEARN MORE The Willsboro Congregational United Church of Christ is at 3799 Main St. (Route 22), Willsboro. Services and Sunday school are at 9:15 a.m. All are welcome. For questions, call 963-4048.