WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — First Congregational Church has appointed the Rev. Mark Longhurst to serve as designated pastor for two years starting Sept. 16.
Longhurst comes to the congregation having served as the part-time pastor of the Canaan (N.Y.) Congregational Church for three years. Before that, he was a youth organizer at Fourth Presbyterian Church in South Boston.
Raised in rural Michigan as the son of an evangelical Pentecostal minister, Longhurst attended Gordon College in Boston. His interest in social justice and community activism led him to earn his master's degree from Harvard Divinity School.
Longhurst also teaches yoga and writes about theology on his blog Liminal Preacher: Sermons and Theological Reflections for an In-Between Time. He and his wife, Faith, and baby Ian, born in April have just moved to Williamstown from Great Barrington.
"A guiding value of my life and work is to have my heart open and in relationship with those who are 'other' than me, whether they be homeless or rich folks, people of varying sexual orientations, low-income youth, postmodern new-age types, or evangelical Christians," said Longhurst. "As I have built relationships with all these communities, my experience of God's love and grace has deepened. I view this practice of hospitality on the communal level as central to the heart of a thriving church."
He will preach his first sermon on Sunday, Sept. 22, beginning a series of four sermons on relationships and stories. There will be a potluck luncheon, with a discussion of the sermon, following the service.
The First Congregational is an open and affirming church and all are welcome to join the 10 a.m. worship service. The church is located at 906 Main St. For more information: firstchurchwilliamstown.org, 413-458-4273 or firstname.lastname@example.org.