James W. Bright Jr., 84, pastor at St. Paul’s UCC, Community Band member, enjoyed model railroading

By on May 10, 2017

The Rev. Dr. James W. Bright Jr., 84, of Lancaster, and formerly of Manheim, died peacefully, surrounded by his family on Friday, April 28, 2017, at Landis Homes Healthcare Center.

Born in Philadelphia, Jim was the son of the late Rev. Dr. James W. Sr. and Esther Bruns Bright. Jim was the loving husband of Sarah “Sally” Rogers Bright, and they observed their 59th wedding anniversary on Jan. 1.

Surviving in addition to his wife is a son: Dan Bright, partner of Melanie Whipple, of Orlando, Fla.; a daughter: Audrey, wife of David Stroman, of Schwenksville; a granddaughter: Sarah, wife of David Rasmussen; a grandson: Sam Stroman; and several nieces and nephews.

He was preceded in death by a sister: Phyllis Rogers.

Jim, known to many as “PB” (Pastor Bright), dedicated his love, time and talents to his family, the members of the church, and to the community, seeking always to serve the Lord and His creation with humility, gentleness and grace.

He graduated from A.D. Eisenhower High School in Norristown; he received a bachelor’s degree from Ursinus College, Collegeville; and his Bachelor of Divinity Degree from Lancaster Theological Seminary; and was ordained in 1957 at Ascension United Church of Christ, Norristown. Jim continued his education, receiving a Master of Sacred Theology from Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington, D.C.; and later received a Doctor of Divinity Degree from Lancaster Theological Seminary.

Throughout his 60 years of active ministry he served as pastor at the former St. Paul’s United Church of Christ, Lancaster (now Church of the Apostles); Bethel UCC, Arlington, Va.; and St. Paul’s UCC, Manheim, where he is Pastor Emeritus. Jim served in leadership roles on the Board for World Ministries, Bethany Children’s Home, and was Trustee Emeritus of the Board of Trustees of Ursinus College.

He was a missioner through the United Church of Christ for Puerto Rico, Micronesia, and Namibia. Jim helped on the UCC Board for Central Atlantic Conference and later served several years as the moderator for Penn Central Conference of the UCC. Following retirement Jim, continued his involvement with Penn Central Conference by serving as interim pastor in several area churches and as chaplain for Homestead Village and was a founding member of Manheim Transitional Housing and Manheim Stiegel Roses. Jim is a member of Trinity United Church of Christ, East Petersburg.

Jim held a lifetime membership with Rotary International, Manheim; was a member of Columbia Masonic Lodge 285 (Arlington, Va.), and the Manheim Chamber of Commerce. He volunteered for Manheim Ambulance Association and hiked with the American Wanderers Association (Manheim Ramblers).

Music was an essential part of PB’s life. He was a life-long trumpeter with membership with the Lititz Community Band, and sang with the Ephrata Cloister Chorus. He took great pleasure in model railroading and trains, gardening, carpentry, fishing, camping, travel, watching and participating in sports.

Relatives and friends are respectfully invited to attend Jim’s Service of Remembrance and Thanksgiving at the Church of the Apostles United Church of Christ, 1850 Marietta Ave., Lancaster, on Saturday, June 3, at noon. Friends may visit with the family at the church on Saturday from 11 a.m., until the time of the service. Interment will be private in Old Zion Cemetery, Warwick Township.

Please omit flowers. Those desiring may send contributions in Jim’s memory to: Trinity UCC, 2340 State St., East Petersburg, PA 17520; or Bethany Children’s Home, 1863 Bethany Road, Womelsdorf, PA 19567.

To send the family online condolences visit BuchFuneral.com. Buch Funeral Home, Manheim, handled the arrangements.

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