Brecksville, Richfield United Church of Christ swap pastors

by Martin McConnell

The Brecksville United Church of Christ and Richfield United Church of Christ have both recently found new pastors, with their two pastors essentially switching places.

Rev. John King had been the senior pastor at Richfield United Church of Christ since 2014. His earlier background is in the Catholic faith, where he was an ordained minister from 1988 until 2006 when he left in good standing.

“I heard the call to ministry in the Catholic church because that is the church where I was raised,” King said. “It just became clear as I was progressing in my spiritual life, that the direction that I was heading and the direction that the Catholic church was heading were not on the same path.”

After King joined the Brecksville UCC as a member in 2007, he was credentialed for ministry in 2010. King chose the UCC ministry because the denomination’s teachings aligned with his belies.

“It’s a church where people are treated with equality, whether you are male or female, gay or straight, immigrants,” King said. “And [it’s] a church that has a strong history of social justice.”

Rev. Allan Lane will be taking Rev. King’s place at Richfield UCC, but only temporarily. Lane comes from a much different faith background from King. His father being a lawyer, Lane originally wanted to study law himself.

Rev. Allan Lane

“I grew up wanting to be a lawyer until I was about 16 [or] 17, and then I started to read the Bible for some reason,” Lane said. “I started to feel a call towards maybe not being a lawyer, but arguing a different kind of case for God.”

Lane will serve as the interim pastor at RUCC until the congregation finds a new “settle” pastor after a period of about 18 months. An interim pastor by trade, Lane is not allowed to stay with a church as its permanent pastor.

“It’s part of the agreement of the interim. I can’t become the settle pastor,” Lane said. “When a pastor leaves, it’s always a bit like a breakup in a relationship because you care for each other. … It’s good to have a period of let’s say 18 months, where the congregation can move on and look to a different future.”

Both King and Lane remarked that their new congregations have welcomed them with open arms. Whether permanent or interim, the two pastors are excited for what the new transition can bring.

“This is the church that I have always loved and longed for,” King said. “I’m just so happy to be here.” ∞