Pastors & Staff

Pastors

Rev. Nanette Pitt
Senior Minister
Email: nanette.pitt@akronfcc.org

Reverend Nanette Pitt is a dynamic preacher, engaging teacher and gifted pastoral leader who brings a deep faith, diverse skills and an all-around aptitude to her ministry. Nanette is Rev Nanette Pittpassionate about spreading the good news of God’s love, peace and justice and believes the church has a vital role to play in society, offering an experience of authentic community and connectedness to God, self, and other.

Nanette has years of experience as an award-winning theatre professional, directing, producing and performing in a wide range of critically acclaimed stage productions in South Africa and Boston, Mass. In addition, she has run her own business and worked extensively in the church as she discerned a call to ordained ministry. She graduated with highest academic honors from Simmons College in 2008 and from Andover Newton Theological School in 2012. At both institutions she was recognized with numerous awards and inducted into the prestigious Jonathan Edwards Honors Society at Andover Newton.

As a scholar her work has spanned transnational studies and theology with a strong focus on social justice and gender studies. Born and raised in South Africa her awareness of oppression came about at a young age and her passion for bringing about social change was ignited.

Nanette describes herself as a “relationally-oriented leader and community builder, empathically caring while holding fast to a visioning and empowering ethic.” She brings a “prophetic sense of future-possibility” to her leadership and deeply values the Congregationalist tradition.

Before being called to First Church, Nanette served as Acting Associate Pastor of First Church, West Hartford, Conn. where her duties ranged from preaching to offering visitation and pastoral care, working with committees and providing leadership to programs such as Confirmation and small groups for senior members. In her ministry with the Forward in Faith, Communications and Parish Care teams, Nanette was credited with introducing many exciting new initiatives including a new church website and logo, a covenanted space and ministry sharing relationship with a Hispanic congregation, and programming such as a weekly Prayer Circle and monthly Celtic Evening Eucharist.

Nanette lives in Highland Square with her husband, the Reverend Steven Savides. Steven is a PhD student at the University of Notre Dame’s Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies, where his concentration is Theology and Peace Studies. He has served as Senior Minister of two congregations of the United Church of Christ and is a former journalist, having worked for The Christian Science Monitor (Boston), The Eastern Province Herald (Port Elizabeth, SA) and The Pretoria News (Pretoria, SA).

 

Rev. William O. Rodefer
Associate Pastor Emeritus

Program Staff

Clif Cason
Organist & Music Director
Email: clif.cason@akronfcc.org

Clif Cason comes to First Congregational from Lexington, KY, where he served several churches from a wide range of denominations.  His educational background include music studies at the University of Kentucky, the University of Illinois and Indiana University.  His teachers include Arnold Blackburn, Jerald Hamilton and Larry Smith.  He also studied with Marie-Claire Alain and was awarded the Premier Prix from the Conservatoire de Ruiel-Malmaison.

Clif has conducted several major choral works including Handel’s Messiah, Mendelssohn’s Elijah, Mozart’s Requiem along with several cantatas by Bach.  He enjoys composing and has had two works published – “The Peace of Christ” for organ (MorningStar Music Publishing) and a four-part anthem, “Lead Gently, Lord” (St. James Music Press).

Clif and his wife, Shari, have three children along with two cats and a dog.  Clif enjoys reading, biking, hiking and binge watching TV series.  The entire Cason family is a part of the BBN (Big Blue Nation) and avid fans of the University of Kentucky basketball.

Dave Aberth
Celebrate Worship Music Director
Email: firerider@yahoo.com

Christine Allison
Handbell Choir Director
Email: cdanotes@gmail.com

Valerie Niese Stewart
Children’s Choir Director
Email: valerieniese@aol.com

Administrative Staff

Deborah Anderson
Administrative Manager
Email: deborah.anderson@akronfcc.org

Patricia Gillespie
Financial Secretary
Email:   patty.gillespie@akronfcc.org

Debbie Riley
Facilities & Hospitality Manager
Email: debbie.riley@akronfcc.org