The Chapel is looking for a new senior pastor after saying an emotional goodbye to Paul Sartarelli.
Sartarelli is stepping down to take the next step in his spiritual journey.
During his last sermon on Sunday at The Chapel's main campus in University Park, Sartarelli told church members that he and his wife Sue will be fine.
"And yet I also tell you, we're still not clear or sure as to what we're doing next," Sartarelli told those attending. "We're still in prayer, and now, after today, still in overdrive mode of exploration."
Church planting and overseas work are two options that Sartarelli is considering.
He says he and his wife will heed God's calling...wherever it takes them.
"Sue and I have told the Lord that we will go where the need is real, and that our passions and abilities can connect to those needs," he told the full house at The Chapel's main campus.
The Chapel also has campuses in Green and in Wadsworth.
Maureen Winkelmann attended the sermon - her family has known Sartarelli since he was an intern.
"And I remember one Sunday he preached when he was an associate pastor," Winkelmann tells AkronNewsNow.com, "and I told him that he'd be leaving, because I knew of the caliber of teaching behind the pulpit that he'd be the next one to go. And two weeks later, he went to start Riverside at Stow-Kent."
Sartarelli came back to The Chapel and took over as senior pastor for Knute Larson in 2009.
Charles Barkey has been going to The Chapel for 50 years. He doesn't want to see Sartarelli go, but he wishes the pastor well.
"Of course, you always hate to see someone leave," Barkey tells AkronNewsNow.com, "but he feels he has a calling, and he's answering that calling, and I think that's what he should do."
Bittersweet is a word many churchgoers used when talking about Sartarelli's departure.
"It's a sad time for us to be losing Paul and Sue," Lance Chima tells AkronNewsNow.com, "but I think we'll just press on, and we're on to better things."
Sartarelli's been on the church staff for 7 years, but The Chapel has been a part of his family's spiritual life for much longer.
"But even more than that, I did the math," Sartarelli noted in his final sermon. "Thank you for the 36 years of The Chapel being our spiritual home and reference point."
Sartarelli's replacement hasn't yet been named. He told church members that The Chapel's multi-campus pastoral staff will make for an easy transition to a new senior pastor.
Funeral arrangements have been scheduled for a Stow soldier killed in Afghanistan on May 2.
The funeral service for Lt. David Rylander, 23, will be held at 11 a.m. at The Chapel in Akron.
After the service, the funeral procession will leave The Chapel to West Market Street and then head west to Rand Avenue. The procession will continue onto the Akron Innerbelt to I-76 west to Route 57 and proceed to Ohio Western Reserve National Cemetery in Rittman.
Rylander, a 2011 graduate from West Point, was killed while fighting in Logar Province.
With Christmas Day falling on a Sunday this year, more churches in Akron are catering to churchgoers' desire to go to church on Christmas Eve instead.
Many churches have added Christmas Eve services, and cut back or changed services on Christmas Day, Sunday.
"We are doing two Christmas Eve services on Saturday evening," says Pastor Paul Sartarelli at The Chapel in Akron, "and only one worship service on Sunday morning, which is Christmas morning."
And his church isn't alone.
Faith Lutheran Church in Fairlawn is combining two Sunday services into one this year, but Senior Pastor Jean Hansen says that Sunday service will especially appeal to families with children.
"Christmas Day, we want our children to feel welcome, and have something fun and special for them," Pastor Hansen tells AkronNewsNow.com, "so we're inviting them to come in their pajamas."
Some furry biblical themed visitors will show up as well - the church says that "ewe" - E-W-E - won't want to miss it.
It's a reality churches face with Christmas Day falling on a Sunday this year...
Pastor Sartarelli at The Chapel in Akron says they figured out that many of those attending have, well, other things to do on Christmas Day.
"And we realized that a lot of people because of family, or traveling, or just opening gifts, it's not their cup of tea to go to church on Christmas morning," Pastor Sartarelli tells AkronNewsNow, "so we are offering them the services on Saturday evening."
Those services at the Chapel will follow the same program for both Christmas Eve services, and the Christmas Day services.
One of the suspects in the Craigslist killings case calls himself a chaplain who was rumored to be a member at The Chapel, where he met a 16-year old.
A senior associate pastor at the church says 52-year old Richard Beasley had no official role with the church either paid, or volunteer.
Senior Associate Pastor Jon Platek tells AkronNewsNews.com "No, Mr. Beasley was not involved in any of those processes, because he was a sporadic attendee of the Chapel, and so he was not formally sanctioned in any way in a paid capacity or a volunteer capacity with the church."
Platek says the church is very thorough in evaluating and checking on anyone who works with young people.
"Anyone who volunteers in our ministry with minors has to go through a background check, and so we make sure that's taken care of," he said. "We pay for that, because we believe it to be very significant . Then its run by all our pastoral staff, and a number of others."
Platek says there are also security measures in place when children attend any function on The Chapel campus.
"We have an electronic check-in system that makes sure that all of our children and all of our youth are connected to an adult and their parents," Platek said.
"There's a secure system in pace. We wanted to insure that our parents are able to think about other things without having to be concerned about the safety of their children when they come to worship and think about spiritual things and to engage God. That's a responsibility we take very seriously, and I believe we have good processes in place to make sure that those that are entrusted to our care, even for just an hour, are cared for well."
He says Beasley's mother has been a long-time church member.
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