December 1, 2023
Beloved Members and Friends of First Church,
With a heart full of gratitude, grief, and hope, I write to share a significant announcement as I tender my resignation as Senior Minister and accept an appointment within Akron’s new mayor’s administration.
This decision has come with great care after many hours of prayer and discernment. I find myself returning to the wisdom of Ecclesiastes which reminds us: “For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven.” I feel truly called, at this time, to embrace this next chapter of my life and vocation. However, accepting this new role also brings with it deep sadness at leaving this amazing church community, which I love deeply and dearly.
September and October this year held some personally meaningful dates. On September 13 I had served as your pastor for eight years and October 13 marked the tenth anniversary of my ordination. I am both humbled and proud of all that we have achieved in our eight years of shared ministry. In these eight years, I have had the privilege to pastor you, to share the Word and Sacraments with you, guide you through the shifting landscapes of societal change and a pandemic, pray alongside the sick and dying, preside at gravesides, travel on a mission trip, lead the Ohio State Senate in prayer, walk in the Pride Parade, represent First Church in interfaith gatherings, watch in wonder as we distribute thousands of pounds of food each year, officiate marriages, preach at ordinations, baptize children and adults, and laugh and cry with faithful people seeking to make the world a better place. My heart overflows with gratitude as I look back over it all.
I will be forever grateful to the people of First Church who called a new pastor and entrusted her with leadership. Together we transformed a church and set it on a firm foundation in a time of great societal evolution. Today, our congregation is prepared for the future with a well-maintained building, a balanced budget, a strong team of staff, and, most importantly, an engaged and growing membership who love God, their neighbors, and their church. Even at 190 years, I am confident that First Church’s best days are still ahead.
My last day at First Church will be Sunday, January 7, 2024. I will be working with the Governing Board to facilitate a smooth transition. I will also help our church leadership connect to our Living Water Association of the United Church of Christ to assist in the process for choosing an interim minister to lead the church until you call your next settled pastor.
In the coming weeks, I hope to talk with each of you individually to express my gratitude for our time together. It will be hard to leave you and I imagine that my departure will bring up emotions for many of you. I will be your pastor as this transition unfolds. I will remain present to the emotional, spiritual, and practical needs of the congregation.
In closing, I offer words of wisdom from the Apostle Paul, whose ministry saw many beginnings and endings. To the church in Rome, he wrote:
Let love be genuine; hate what is evil, hold fast to what is good; love one another with mutual affection; outdo one another in showing honor. Do not lag in zeal, be ardent in spirit, serve the Lord. Rejoice in hope, be patient in suffering, persevere in prayer. Contribute to the needs of the saints; extend hospitality to strangers. Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. If it is possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.
Thank you, dear friends. May the Lord bless you and keep you. May the Lord’s face shine upon you and be gracious unto you. May the Lord grant you peace this day and every day, now and forever.
In God’s grace,
Rev. Nanette P. Pitt