Warren church welcomes its new pastor

WARREN — Pastor Marc Runyon has begun serving as the new pastor at Central Christian Church.

Runyon, a Cuyahoga Falls native and current Howland resident, had wanted to return to Ohio after 32 years of service in ministry in the St. Louis area, where he pastored at three churches.

He started in September at the Warren church.

“Northeast Ohio is my home  I wanted to get back home where I have family,” he said.

Runyon said that since attending the First Christian Church of Stow as a child, he was interested in ministry. He was involved with his church youth group and said he had so much fun there and at church camp.

“There was an older retired minister in our church, Leo Gregory, who took us under his wing and encouraged us into the ministry. I had so many positive experiences with my church, I wanted to help other people,” Runyon said.

Runyon received his bachelor’s degree from Bethany College in West Virginia and seminary training at Brite Divinity School, which is part of Texas Christian University in Fort Worth, Texas.

Runyon said the Warren church greatly impressed him with its ”wonderful history.” It was founded in 1803, the same year Ohio became a state.

“The church used to be located in the central part of the city and has been a historic church denomination in Warren with strong lay leadership and good people,” Runyon said.

Runyon said his preaching style and pastoral care fit with what the church congregation was looking for.

”This is the type of church I was hoping to be at,” he said. “The real issue this church will need to tackle, just like many mainline churches, is how to continue to minister to an aging congregation while meeting the needs of newer generations.”

He said the Warren church is comparable in size to the second church he served at in St. Louis, which was a smaller contemporary church.

Runyon said he is impressed how Central Christian Church has been involved in the community, such as  helping the Warren Family Mission.

”What I have found is this is a very vibrant congregation involved in the community,” Runyon said.

He said he is looking forward to the community involvement, including the upcoming Thanksgiving Eve service 7 p.m. Nov. 22 at neighboring St. Peter and Paul Church in Warren. The service will have several Warren church congregations taking part.

He said Central Christian sits on what is referred to as ”The Holy Corners” at Belvedere and East Market streets, along with with Temple Beth Israel, Warren Baptist Temple and St. Peter and Paul Church.