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Female pastor installed at Unitarian-Universalist Church

Mike Desmond/wbfo news

One of Buffalo's most socially active churches has a new pastor today. Rev. Joan Montagnes was installed as pastor of the Unitarian-Universalist Church of Buffalo Sunday night.

Installing the new pastor was the culmination of the four-year process for finding a new settled minister, a long process controlled by the Unitarian-Universalist Association. UUA President Rev. Peter Morales came for the ceremony.

The  new pastor is a Toronto native, coming to the 184-year-old congregation from the Seattle suburb of Bellevue.

"We just recently organized a racial justice ministry team," Montagnes said of the Elmwood Village congregation that is becoming a growing force in local activism.

"We already have a very strong ministry for hunger and homelessness through our Food not Bombs Program and also participating in Family Promise, which is for homeless families, especially children and their families."

Montagnes says the congregation is becoming more diverse in race and ethnicity. Church Board Chair Barbara Kloberdanz says there are about three-hundred members right now.

Mike Desmond is one of Western New York’s most experienced reporters, having spent nearly a half-century covering the region for newspapers, television stations and public radio. He has been with WBFO and its predecessor, WNED-AM, since 1988. As a reporter for WBFO, he has covered literally thousands of stories involving education, science, business, the environment and many other issues. Mike has been a long-time theater reviewer for a variety of publications and was formerly a part-time reporter for The New York Times.