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Reverend Mark Edmiston-Lange


1952 - 2016 Obituary Condolences
Reverend  Mark Edmiston-Lange Obituary
Mark Edmiston-Lange
1952-2016
The Rev. Mark Edmiston-Lange, Co-Minister of Emerson Unitarian Universalist (UU) Church, 64, died suddenly on September 21 from aggressive lung cancer. Mark was born in Newburgh, NY on January 12, 1952, to Barbara Rudd Lange and Samuel Charles Lange, the middle of three brothers. Their childhood growing up in Newburgh and spending summers with grandparents in Vermont was idyllic.
Mark graduated from Newburgh Free Academy in August 1968. In high school, Mark protested the war in Vietnam, supported Liberation fighters in Angola, and was the only white member of the local NAACP. Mark knew by the time he was a teenager that he wanted to be a UU minister. At Marlboro College, a small academically rigorous school in Marlboro, Vermont, he majored in Philosophy and Religion; volunteered in the local Fire Department; hiked the surrounding mountains; and, learned to plow snow, log lumber, build stone walls, and other practical skills. Graduating in 1973, he went to Andover Newton Theological School, receiving his M.Div. in June 1978. Mark was ordained October 22, 1978 at the First UU Society in Reading, PA, his first call. In Reading he was known for his support of women's and LGBTQ rights.
Called to the UU Church of Akron in 1984, he served there until 1993. Mark served on the board of Planned Parenthood of Greater Ohio; helped settle a teachers' strike; and, participated in the 1989 108 mile Via Crucis March protesting U.S. policies in Central America with his daughter, Kara, 12. Mark's son, Aaron, 6, was too young to go along. Mark was a hands-on, loving father.
In 1993, Mark married his "wondrous Becky", the Rev. Dr. Becky Edmiston-Lange, then solo minister of the Accotink UU Church in Burke, VA. Mark and Becky shared a love of UU ministry, the natural world, hiking, gardening, birding, white water canoeing, home remodeling, dancing and the music of John Hiatt, among a host of others. Their love was passionate, deep, an inspiration to many. Mark spent two years as interim minister to Williamsburg UUs; tried to start a rock and roll ministry in the D.C. area; and then was interim minister to the UU Congregation of Rockville, MD. In 1999, Mark and Becky were called to serve as Co-Ministers to the Emerson UU Church in Houston. As a team, they complemented one another, energizing and deepening the church with their commitment to the wellbeing of all people. Mark served on the Board of Interfaith Ministries (IM) for Greater Houston; chaired IM's Interfaith Relations Task Force; was instrumental in founding Texas UU Justice Ministry and was on the steering committee of UU Voice for Justice. Mark had a brilliant intellect, a keen wit, a compassionate spirit, and an abiding concern for the future of the earth and humanity.
Mark is survived by children, Kara Honthumb and Aaron Lange; brothers and their spouses, Russell and Allynne Lange and Guy and Sallie Lange; a band of cousins; and a beloved congregation. A Memorial Service will be held at Emerson UU Church, 1900 Bering Drive on Saturday, October 8 at 2 pm. In lieu of flowers, donations may be sent to Emerson UU Church, Interfaith Ministries for Greater Houston or Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast.
Published in Houston Chronicle on Oct. 2, 2016
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