The New Year has arrived.
Following our farewell to Pastor Nanette this Sunday; as we look to see what the future holds for First Church, we will welcome our new Interim Pastor.
I am pleased to introduce to the congregation Reverend Jeffrey Jackson, as he will serve as our Interim Senior Minister beginning January 8. I invite you to join me at First Church for Jeff’s first Sunday with us on January 14.
Please take some time to read more about Rev. Jackson below.
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.
Again, I invite you to join me at First Church for Jeff’s first Sunday with us on January 14.
Kevin Kowalski, Moderator