HARPERS FERRY – The Rev. John Unger will soon be wearing another hat.
Actually, another clerical robe.
The 45-year-old Berkeley County native and state lawmaker – already minister at St. John’s Lutheran Church in Harpers Ferry and Bolivar Methodist Church – this weekend will formally become pastor of St. John’s Episcopal Church.
The Rt. Rev. Bishop W. Michie Klusmeyer will travel from Charleston to install Unger as minister at the Harpers Ferry church, replacing the Rev. Georgia DuBose, who moved to Oregon earlier this year.
Unger may be the first minister to serve as pastor of churches of three different denominations – Lutheran, Methodist and now Episcopal – at the same time. Everyone’s welcome to attend Sunday’s 8 a.m. service at the historic church at 898 Washington St.
A Democrat who studied at West Virginia University then earned a master’s degree as a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford University, Unger has served in the state Senate since 1999. He became Majority Leader in early 2011.
St. John’s Episcopal Church was established in lower town in 1852, but the building was abandoned after it sustained gunfire damage during the Civil War and then a fire in the 1880s. The remains of the structure still can be seen on the way to Jefferson’s Rock.
Unger is a “generous and loving” leader who sees a common thread – the love of God – in various denominations, explains Shirley Caniford, a member of his newest congregation. “Pastor Unger works to share the programs of the churches and unite the people of all congregations, while still allowing all to worship in their places of love and comfort,” she said. “A new day is dawning for religion in Harpers Ferry!”