Pastors & Staff

Rev. Jeff Jackson
Senior Minister

Introducing myself to you, the First Congregational Church of Akron is an honor and source of excitement. I have just completed a Bridge Ministry at Pilgrim Congregational Church UCC in Tremont, Ohio. Before this, I served as Interim Sr. Minister at St. John’s UCC in Dover, Ohio. These are my most recent congregations after having been revived by a new call to ministry, serving congregations in transition.

I am ordained and have standing with the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) where, in addition to Minister and Sr. Minister positions, I’ve also served as an Associate Minister, Bi-vocational Minister, and Yoked Minister. My secular employment highlights include HR Manager and Fund-Raising Director.

It was a 16-year pastorate in Mantua, Ohio where I became rooted in Northeast Ohio. I grew up in Hiram, Ohio, and having wandered through Oklahoma, New Jersey, Kentucky, North Carolina, and a variety of cities and towns in Ohio, settled about a mile away from my childhood home. Audrey and I live in Hiram Township with our two dogs. We have three adult children (two of whom will be married in 2024!).

I grew up in the care of a Disciples’ congregation and graduated from a Disciples-related institution, Hiram College. However, my love for the church truly began as a young adult while working in the not-for-profit sector. The person who later became my wife and her family took me in and showed me the relationships created by deep participation in a church community. My M. Div. is from Lexington Theological Seminary.

Respect for the diverse perspectives of faith has been a foundational principle of my congregational and community leadership. Reasonable people can reach dissimilar conclusions about all matters, including faith and beliefs. The very people who have most challenged and surprised me are those who have also most influenced the evolution of my own values and perspectives.

Serving a congregation and connecting with the wider community which seeks the acceptance of all people is a vital part of my call. Through the variety of challenges, inspirations, and callings I have experienced as a congregational pastor, these three — service to the larger community, welcoming strangers, and encouraging disciples — have been core elements of my pastoral leadership.

Bobby Burtt
Associate Minister for Young Adults & Families with Children

Bobby (Robert) was born and raised in Massillon, Ohio, where he grew up attending Myers United Church of Christ. During high school, Bobby developed a deep love for music as a member of bands, choirs, and musicals. He then obtained a degree in French Literature and Culture from Ohio University in Athens, Ohio in 2012. At OU, Bobby developed a deep love for experiential education during his employment with Residential Housing and found his passion for social justice through work with his honors fraternity, and the University Program Council.

Since his time at OU, Bobby has held a variety of positions, some of the most notable being a Bass Soloist for a summer music festival in Siena, Italy, doing training and development for several large restaurant companies, being Co-Director of Music, Mime Art, Drama, and Dance Camp, and Chair of the Division of Outdoor Ministries for the Heartland Conference of the United Church of Christ. In 2019, Bobby began attending the University of Dubuque Theological Seminary in Dubuque, IA, and, in May 2021, he graduated with a Masters in Christian Leadership.


Program Staff

Julie Lehman
Festival Service Choir Director & Organist

Dave Aberth
Interim Celebrate Service Lead Musician

Administrative Staff

Janis Worley
Finance & Operations Manager

Jennifer Barcus
Administrative Assistant

Patrice Robinson
Events Manager

Building and Food Services

Debbie Riley
Food Service & Cleaning Coordinator

Joy Wright
Food Service & Cleaning Assistant

Russ Gaippe
Facility Maintenance Coordinator

Randy Alderman
Facility Maintenance Assistant

Audio-Visual Staff

Alex Morris
Lead Audio-Visual Technician

Robert Wright
Audio-Visual Technician