James Lont, 84, whose strength lay in the development of youth and education ministries and Reformed ecumenicity, passed away on May 14 following a stroke.
Lont was born in Paterson, N.J., where he attended Eastern Christian Academy of New Jersey and grew up in a godly Christian family. In 1948 he enrolled at Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Mich. He entered Calvin Theological Seminary in 1952 and concluded his ministerial training there in 1955.
Lont served the following Christian Reformed congregations: Bunde (Minn.) CRC and Graafschap CRC (Holland, Mich.). From there he moved back to Grand Rapids to serve for two decades with the Young Calvinist Federation (now Youth Unlimited). He returned to parish ministry at Palos Heights (Ill.) CRC before serving as director of Worldwide Christian Schools, where he finished his career. He also served as recording secretary for youth and Christian education with the Reformed Ecumenical Council. Lont retired in 1996.
The causes of Christian education and Reformed ecumenicity found in Lont a visionary champion. He often quoted the well-known hymn line “Each age its solemn task may claim but once.” For him this was confessional. The kingdom task held great urgency for him.
He was deeply interested in the well-being of people around him, always ready to help them, but also had high expectations of them.
Keenly aware of the strategic place of Word ministry, his superbly crafted sermons demanded utmost attention. A godly pastor, he loved the Word, owned the Reformed vision, and was loyal to the CRC.
Jim cherished nature and liked travel. He and his wife, Carol, were very hospitable.
Lont was preceded in death by Carol in 2013. He is survived by his children, Stephen Lont, Timothy and Joyce Lont, and five grandchildren.