The Rev. John W. Manges will celebrate 50 years in ministry today at Morrellville Church of the Brethren in the West End section of Johnstown.
Manges has served as pastor of the church at Spring Street and Chandler Avenue since 1995 and still actively shepherds his flock.
A celebration with special music and speaking by friends and family will be held in his honor at the 10:30 a.m. worship service.
At age 16, Manges preached his first message, “The Lukewarm Church,” from the third chapter of the Book of Revelation at Graef Evangelical Lutheran Church in Cairnbrook, the town where he grew up.
In 1958, he married a young woman named Mary E. Foust, and together they attended Scalp Level Church of the Brethren in Windber.
The couple started their family and continued worshipping, teaching and serving God at Scalp Level Church. Through this union, God’s Holy Spirit was calling John Manges into the ministry.
By the age of 27, Manges obeyed the calling and was licensed into the ministry at Scalp Level Church of the Brethren on Feb. 17, 1963.
He was called to pastor the Ogletown Church of the Brethren, where he served from 1963 until 1965, and was then called to the Locust Grove Church of the Brethren, where he was ordained Nov. 20, 1966, by the Western Pennsylvania District Leadership Team.
He faithfully served the Locust Grove congregation from 1965 until 1973.
Over the years, Manges served as interim pastor at Brethren churches in Sipesville, Roxbury, Walnut Grove, Berkey, Beachdale, Indiana and Nanty Glo, and even at First Presbyterian in Boswell.
In 1978, Manges and the Rev. Noah Martin co-founded New Day Inc. in Johnstown, where Manges worked with his wife, who managed the office until their retirement.
Along with their faithfulness to the Western District Church of the Brethren, the Rev. and Mrs. Manges are the parents of six daughters and grandparents of 14 grandchildren.
Ruth Rice covers Features for The Tribune-Democrat. Follow her on Twitter at Twitter.com/RuthRiceTD.