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Embracing other ‘holy’ pursuits, a popular pastor steps down

By Kathy Daley
Posted 6/28/22

As a child growing up in Ellenville, little Bridgette Nolan enjoyed a mother and father who believed in open conversations about God, about loving him and reverencing him.

The Nolans also …

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Embracing other ‘holy’ pursuits, a popular pastor steps down


As a child growing up in Ellenville, little Bridgette Nolan enjoyed a mother and father who believed in open conversations about God, about loving him and reverencing him.

The Nolans also encouraged their daughter to explore.

Some 60 years later, Pastor Bridgette (Nolan) LeConey now welcomes a new chapter in her life. Stepping down as full-time pastor following 21 years at White Sulphur Springs United Methodist Church, she will concentrate on a part-time ministry at Liberty United Methodist Church particularly focused on community needs.

“We're going to miss her,” said Marian Hosking, head of the White Sulphur Springs church’s  administrative council. “Pastor Bridgette is fabulous – she brings out the best in people. She’s fun, feisty and unique. With her, you     really see and feel the Holy Spirit.”

Pastor Bridgette is no stranger to scores of other Methodist congregations in Sullivan County. She served as pastor in Roscoe from 1998 to 2001 and part-time in Liberty starting in 2014. For years she was parish coordinator,        ensuring Sunday worship services headed by lay ministers in North Branch, Jeffersonville, Callicoon, Kenoza Lake, Narrowsburg and Livingston Manor.

“It’s an awesome responsibility, holding the well-being of people’s souls,” said LeConey. “What you represent is what’s important – you represent the love of God and ‘the peace that surpasses all understanding.’”

She’s exuberant about the future, relishing time with her horse and gardens in Liberty – not to mention with her husband Bud LeConey, who is the certified lay minister for the Kenoza Lake United Meth­odist Church. (Bud and his mother Blanche ran Blanche’s Diner on Route 17B for years).

But Pastor Bridgette is ready to roll up her sleeves in community work, particularly in the field of foster care services for local children.

Sullivan County has embraced a collaboration with Children’s Home in Binghamton – a United Methodist Church program that offers residential, educational, preventative and therapeutic care for children whose parents cannot care for them. Locally, the program is based in the former parsonage of the United Methodist Church on Main Street across from the Village of Liberty police headquarters.

Pastor Bridgette expects to work with local volunteers, including young people.

“Young folks are not about sitting in pews,” she said. “They want to BE Jesus, not just hear about him.”

LeConey’s own background in Sullivan County began in 1975. Two years after graduation from Ellenville High School, she moved here for a lab tech job in the community hospital.

Later she worked for Planned Parenthood as counselor, clinic manager and community health educator. She directed RISE (Rape Intervention Services and Education), serving as counselor to survivors of sexual assault and as court advocate working with police departments and the DA’s office.

In the meantime, “I was a spiritual seeker,” LeConey said. “The social justice part of the Methodist church attracted me.”

She began serving as lay speaker in 1980, a post in the Methodist church that allows individuals to take a course in order to serve their congregations. She worked throughout the Catskill / Hudson area until she moved on to the pastorship in Roscoe and then White Sulphur and later, Liberty.

She is  a graduate of Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington, D.C. and holds a B.S. in Community Services and an M.A. in social policy.

Hosking of White Sulphur says Pastor Bridgette is the perfect person for today's needs: “We’ve had unexpected deaths here, a suicide... she treated everyone with such respect. She brought us through tough times.”

“Security,” says Pastor Bridgette, “comes from God and faith. The world will always be broken, but God is the answer to peace in our world. We are part of God’s creation – and what is our own responsibility in it?”


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