Rev. Nanette Pitt to Lead Akron’s Oldest Church

The Rev. Nanette Pitt will take over the pulpit at First Congregational Church of Akron as of Sept. 1, 2015. This will be the first time in the church’s 183-year-history that it will have a woman as its spiritual leader.

A native of South Africa, Rev. Pitt immigrated to the United States in 2000. She acted and directed in Boston-area theaters and worked as a community organizer at the Hope Church in Jamaica Plain, Mass. Rev. Pitt graduated from both Simmons College in Boston and the Andover-Newton Theological School in Newton Center, Mass., with honors. She began her ministry at the Old South Union Church in Weymouth, Mass., has also served the Hills Church in Wellesley, Mass. and most recently served as Acting Associate Pastor at the First Church of Christ, Congregational in West Hartford, Conn.

Rev. Pitt said that she was attracted to First Congregational because of its history of involvement in the social issues of the day, its leadership in the community and its emphasis on interfaith activities. Being raised white in apartheid-era South Africa made her aware of oppression at an early age and ignited her passion for bringing about social change, she said in her ministerial profile.

“Nanette brings a global perspective to our ministry at First Congregational that it has never had in its 183 year history. I find that exciting,” said Larry Becker, one of the co-chairs of the church’s Search Committee.

The nine-member search committee worked for 20 months to find the successor to the Rev. Dr. Jay Marshall Groat, who left in 2013 to take a position at the Westerville Community United Church of Christ near Columbus. In the interim, the Rev. Dr. Bob Gross served the congregation. He has been called to be lead minister at the Evangelical and Reformed United Church of Christ in Waukesha, Wis.

Rev. Pitt will lead her first service on Sept. 13, 2015. She is moving to Akron with her husband, the Rev. Steven Savides, who also is a minister in the United Church of Christ.

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