Disciples News Service

Former regional minister in Northeast dies

Wesley Bourdette

Wesley Bourdette

Rev. Wesley R. Bourdette

April 18, 1935 – October 26, 2014

The Rev. Wesley R. Bourdette was born April 18, 1935 in Athens, PA. He was graduated from Phillips University in Enid, OK. He completed his masters studies at Colgate Rochester Divinity School in Rochester, NY in 1961 and was ordained in the Sayre Christian Church, Sayre, PA in 1957.

Under the auspices of the United Christian Missionary Society, Bourdette was a fraternal worker at the Evangelisches Sozialpfarramt Industriejugend in Berlin, Germany, from 1961 to 1963. He was called in 1964 to the Dunkirk Christian Church.

Bourdette was one of the founders of the anti-poverty agency for Chautauqua County and became its program director. Subsequently, he became the executive director of two anti-poverty agencies (in Wayne County and in St. Lawrence County) over a period of twelve years. He later served as executive director of a statewide nutrition advocacy program before returning to parish ministry in 1977.

After 23 years as a parish pastor in a yoked arrangement between Salem United Church of Christ, Bennington, NY and Immanuel United Church of Christ, Orangeville, Bourdette retired in 2000 from active parish ministry. At the end of 2005 he retired from the position of Co-Regional Minister of the Northwestern Region of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). In 2008, he served as chairperson of the Western Area Commission on the Ministry, for the Northeastern Region and served two terms on the Executive Council of the New York Conference of the UCC. The last two years of his second term, he was the chairperson of the Executive Council. In 2008, Bourdette also engaged in co-pastoral ministry with First Baptist Church in Niagara Falls.

Bourdette is survived by his wife Margaret (Salamanchuk) Bourdette and daughters, Kirsten (John) Ross and Sarah (John Rogers) Bourdette, three grandsons: Nicholas Ross, Levi Bourdette and Jeremy Ross as well as one great-grandson, Noah Bourdette Ross. He is also survived by nieces and nephews.

A memorial service for Rev. Bourdette will be held Saturday, Nov. 1, at 11:00 am at Amherst Community Church, 77 Washington Hwy., Amherst, NY. Letters and cards of condolences may be sent to Mrs. Meg Bourdette, 806 Maryvale Drive, Cheektowaga, NY 14225.

Memorials may be made to Heifer International, Bread for the World or the American Diabetes Association.