After 11 years at the pulpit of Trinity United Methodist Church in Ballard, Reverend Rich Lang is heading to the University District.
The congregation at Trinity United Methodist
“Every pastor has a limited set of skills,” Lang says, “What I do best is to help congregations refocus their mission (reason to exist). Eleven years ago Trinity was an aging, declining congregation that had lost its direction and focus. Today, the church is growing, the morale is exciting with young singles and young families as our growing edge. I think God has called me into a ‘raising the dead’ type ministry. Trinity is no longer dead. It has come fully alive!”
Over the years, Rev. Lang has been very outspoken about homeless rights and was even arrested during a protest in 2008. But as Lang says, the activism doesn’t start or stop with him. “The values of social justice run far deeper than just the pastor, and those values were there before I got here: I just reminded folks of what they already knew,” he tells us. “It was Tent City and the neighborhood’s angry response to Tent City that awoke the church to its need to be Christ even in the midst of conflict. When all was said and done what became clear was that the vast majority of our neighborhood live lives of mercy and compassion, the tiny minority of bullies could not carry the day. I’m very proud to have been privileged to be their pastor. Realistically, pastors come and go, but Christian faith is a commitment to social justice, or it is not faith at all.”
Rev. Lang’s last sermon in Ballard will be on June 12th before saying goodbye to the congregation the following week. “It will be a very difficult emotional day. One cannot say goodbye without some measure of a broken heart but that is always the risk of daring to love another. I’ll take that risk every time because the joy always trumps the pain.” He will start the next phase of his life at University Temple United Methodist Church on July 1st. As of right now his replacement hasn’t been chosen, but the successor will hopefully be named in April, Lang says.