The Rev. Mark H. Edmiston-Lange died on September 21, 2016 at the age of 64.
Mark was born on January 12, 1952, to Barbara Rudd Lange and Samuel Charles Lange. He grew up in Newburgh, NY, and knew even as a teenager that he wanted to become a Unitarian Universalist minister. He graduated from Marlboro College in 1973 with a Bachelor of Arts in Religion, and went on to receive a Master of Divinity from Andover Newton Theological School in 1978.
Rev. Edmiston-Lange was ordained to the ministry in 1978 by the First Unitarian Universalist Church of Berks County, PA, and served that congregation for the next six years. He was then called to serve as minister to the Unitarian Universalist Church of Akron, OH from 1984 to 1993. It was in 1993 that Mark married his beloved wife Becky. Rev. Edmiston-Lange then served for two years as interim minister to the Williamsburg Unitarian Universalists of Williamsburg, VA. In 1995 he started Jubilee Project, a short-lived rock-and-roll Unitarian Universalist congregation in the Washington, D.C. area. Afterwards he served as interim minister to the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Rockville, MD. Finally, he and Becky accepted a call to serve as co-ministers to the Emerson Unitarian Universalist Church in Houston, TX, where Mark passionately served from 1999 until his death.
Rev. Edmiston-Lange dedicated much of his time to Unitarian Universalism, and served the denomination and the larger community in various capacities. He served as a Ministerial Settlement Representative while at Akron and on the board of Planned Parenthood of Greater Ohio. A highlight of his life was participating in 1989 in the 108 mile Via Crucis March protesting U.S. policies in Central America with his daughter, Kara, who turned 12 on the march. He served on the Board of Interfaith Ministries of Greater Houston, and chaired its Interfaith Relations Task Force. Rev. Edmiston-Lange was instrumental in founding the Texas UU Justice Ministry, and served on the steering committee of UU Voice for Justice—an organization dedicated to spreading the UU message throughout the Houston area. In 2008 he became the Vice-President of the Unitarian Universalist Ministers’ Association’s Southwest Chapter, and then served as its President from 2009 to 2011.
Mark’s hobbies included hiking, gardening, birding, white water canoeing, home remodeling, and dancing—all of which he shared with his beloved Becky.
Rev. Edmiston-Lange was also an avid scholar of evolutionary psychology and neurobiology, believing that when human beings understand themselves as evolutionary creatures bound by the same laws of nature as the rest of the universe, only then will they be able to live in harmony with one another and with the earth.
Tim Brennan, Treasurer and CFO of the UUA, said of Rev. Edmiston-Lange, “Mark represented the UUA at many corporate annual meetings when we had shareholder resolutions on the proxy. Many of these were at oil and gas companies. He was always ready to say ‘Yes,’ and stood for our values in venues that were not always sympathetic. A real loss.”
Elliot Gershenson, President Emeritus of Interfaith Ministries of Greater Houston, called Rev. Edmiston-Lange “a warrior for social justice and a personal hero.”
Rev. Edmiston-Lange is survived by his wife Rev. Dr. Becky Edmiston-Lange, his daughter Kara Honthumb, his son Aaron Lange, his brothers Guy (Sallie) and Russell (Allyne), and his nephews Tom and Nathaniel.
A memorial service was held on Saturday October 8, at 2:00pm, at Emerson Unitarian Universalist Church, 1900 Bering Drive, Houston, TX 77057.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Emerson Unitarian Universalist Church, Interfaith Ministries for Greater Houston, and Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast.
Notes of condolence can be sent to Rev. Dr. Becky Edmiston-Lange at 10619 Tupper Lake Dr, Houston, TX 77042.