NASHUA — Pilgrim Congregational Church UCC welcomed a new pastor, the Rev. Melinda LaMontagne last June, and celebrated her recent installation by the Hillsborough Association of the NH Conference of the United Church of Christ.
LaMontagne was selected after a 14-month search, during which it became apparent that she possessed the skills, warmth, energy, and dedication desired by the congregation.
LaMontagne was born in Transylvania, Romania. As a teenager, she moved to Hungary with her family and began a lifelong pursuit of knowledge.
After high school, she continued her studies at the Reformed Theological University in Debrecen, Hungary, where she received master of divinity degree in 1999.
In 2000, she received a master of arts in religion with a concentration in couples counseling and pastoral care from Lancaster Theological Seminary in Lancaster, Pa.
It was in Lancaster that she met her husband, Tancrede A. LaMontagne II.
In 2001, LaMontagne was awarded a scholarship to study in Cambridge, England.
She studied ecumenical thought and interfaith dialogue at the Centre for Jewish-Christian Relations and received her third master’s degree in 2004 in Jewish-Christian Relations.
She returned to Hungary, studied as a full-time doctoral student and taught classes at the Reformed Theological University in Debrecen.
In 2008, she published her dissertation entitled “The Joseph Story in the Rabbinical Literature”.
Besides her intellectual and spiritual gifts, she brings a sense of humor and musical talent to worship. An accomplished pianist, she has provided music during service accompanied by her husband on guitar.
During her first sermon at Pilgrim Church, she drew laughs from the congregation, reassuring them that she was not a vampire, a reference to her Transylvanian roots.
Then she added that she has never seen a vampire – except in the movies.
She has the ability to make anyone feel comfortable and accepted.
Her leadership style focuses on consensus building.
Pilgrim Church invites everyone to visit and meet LaMontagne and to watch for announcements of future events.
Pilgrim Church UCC is located at 4 Watson St. Visit www.pilgrimchurchnashua.org.