Our new minister began on September 1, 2013. His name is Paul Lance and he grew up in Alpena. His mother is Dodi Lance, an active member of our church and well-known in the theatre and art communities of Alpena. Rev. Lance and his wife Patty bought a house within walking distance of the church before moving here from California. Paul met Patty while both were serving in the U. S. Army as chaplain assistants. For the past 25 years they lived in Long Beach, California, where Patty was the secretary for an interfaith association. Paul was a minister at three congregations during those years.
Rev. Lance has strong ties with Germany and has a brother, Ralph, who lives in Bavaria. Of their four years in the Army, Patty & Paul spent two of those years in Germany. Also, the first church he pastored after seminary was the International Protestant Church in Zurich, Switzerland. While in Germany Rev. Lance earned an Associate Degree in Business Management, and a BA in German Language and Culture. Returning to the U.S., Paul received his Master of Divinity degree from San Francisco Theological Seminary and in 1983 was ordained at First Congregational in Alpena. In 2003 Paul received his Doctor of Ministry degree from San Francisco Theological Seminary.
In addition to his preaching and pastoral duties, Rev. Lance sings in the choir, writes songs, and has directed musicals and drama with young people. He has been very active in the wider community, serving on Boards of Directors for mental health and child & family service organizations. He served as Campus Minister at California State University Long Beach, Board member/President of the Southern California Ecumenical Council, and member of the Christian-Muslim Consultative Group and the Inter-religious Council of L.A. He was awarded “Clergy of the Year” (2006) by the South Coast Interfaith Council and was an Honored Volunteer of the Year (2007) by the Torrance Council PTA’s for all his work with school children.