Interim pastor accepts permanent position at RUCC

by Emily Canning-Dean

The Rev. Allan Lane’s time as pastor of Richfield United Church of Christ was originally intended to be a temporary assignment, but after much consideration between Lane and members of the congregation, Lane will be staying for good.

“When members of the congregation first said to me that they would like me to become the permanent pastor I said ‘I can’t. It’s a rule,’” Lane said. “But they persisted, so we went to the larger association that sets the rules.”

Lane became interim pastor of the church almost two years ago in February 2022 when RUCC’s previous pastor, John King, moved on to Brecksville United Church of Christ, where Lane had been serving as interim pastor. Typically, when a pastor leaves a church in the denomination, an interim pastor takes over for a period of about 18 months while the church looks for a new permanent pastor.

Earlier this year, Lane’s title changed from “interim pastor” to “designated pastor” with the intention of making the position permanent.

“There is kind of a flow in the terminology,” Lane said. “You can’t go from interim pastor to permanent pastor, but you can go to permanent pastor from designated pastor.”

On Nov. 12, the church, under the guidance of Church Moderator Diana Julien, had a congregational meeting with a formal vote to determine if Lane would be the settled (permanent) pastor. While Lane made sure not to influence the congregation’s decision, he said he feels honored that the congregation voted to make the position permanent. He said his wife, Kate, and their kids Noah, Emily and Adam are also excited to stay.

“It was a tremendous feeling. This church has been such a good fit for me,” he said. “My family loves it here. My wife has made so many friends. My kids are part of the youth group and my daughter said this was the first church where she really felt like she had friends and she was sad at the idea that we would have to leave.”

Lane said he admires the way the congregation at RUCC works to serve the community and one of his goals, as a permanent pastor, is to help them grow and develop in their outreach endeavors.

“The people of this church are one of the most outward turned I have ever seen,” he said. “They are involved with Open M in Akron and also work with Feed My Sheep Ministry. We go on a lot of mission trips. We went to Tennessee and another trip to Kentucky. They are always looking for ways to serve and donate and I want to make sure that tradition continues.”

Lane’s official installation ceremony will take place during RUCC’s Sunday service Jan. 21 at 10:15 a.m. He said a representative from the larger UCC association would be in attendance to make the installation official.

Lane added that anyone looking for a church is welcome to visit RUCC.

“This church is a great place for people who are looking to connect with others, make friends and become embedded in a community,” he said. “It is also a great fit for people who are looking to serve and make a difference and make the world a better place.”

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Photo: Rev. Allan Lane said he was honored that members of the Richfield United Church of Christ asked that he be the permanent pastor of the congregation. Photo by S. Serdinak.