Pastors & Staff

Rev. Nanette Pitt
Senior Minister

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 candidate 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).

Robert Burtt
Acting Associate Minister

Robert (Bobby) 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 University of Dubuque Theological Seminary in Dubuque, IA, and, in May 2021, he graduated with a Masters in Christian Leadership.

Bobby will be joining First Church from May 2021 through July 2022.

Program Staff

Julie Lehman
Festival Service Choir Director & Organist

Dave Aberth
Celebrate Service Lead Musician & Vocalist

Christine Allison
Handbell Choir Director

Administrative Staff

Janis Worley
Finance and Operations Manager

Alex Morris
Congregational Life Coordinator

Building and Grounds Staff

Debbie Riley
Food Service and Cleaning Coordinator

Russ Gaippe
Facility Maintenance Coordinator

Darren Jones-Baker
Event & Cleaning Support Staff