The Niles First United Methodist Church has welcomed the Rev. Nathan Howe as their new minister.
Howe said the past month has provided him the opportunity to get to know the congregation and for the congregation to get to know him.
"It's really been an exciting time. The congregation has been very warm and welcoming,'' he said.
The Niles Times / Bob Coupland
Pastor Nathan Howe has been named to the new minister at Niles First United Methodist Church beginning his duties in July 1. He previously served as minister at churches in Tiffin.
He earned his undergraduate degree at Ohio Northern University. After graduating from Ohio Northern, he took a year off from school to work for Ashtabula Department of Jobs and Family Services before attending Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington D.C.
''I decided to attend seminary and see where that would lead me,'' Howe said.
Prior to coming to Niles, Howe served at three prior congregations in Tiffin, Washington Street United Methodist Church from 2008 to 2011, St. Paul's UMC in 2010 and Faith UMC in 2011.
Howe said he enjoys planning and leading worship services which are engaging. He tries to involve the congregation in worship through the service either serving as worship leaders or through unison prayers and other activities that invite the participation of the entire congregation.
"I enjoy having the opportunity to be able to interact with people, build relationships. It's a true honor and blessing to be able to be part of people's lives for important events such as the baptism of child,'' he said.
Howe has been working on a new Sunday school curriculum for the fall as well as Bible study and upcoming events at the church such as the annual Trunk or Treat in October, which went very well last year at Halloween, he said.
Christian education is an area of ministry that he truly enjoys.
"Both planning and teaching are blessings of mine in a variety of settings,'' he said.
He believes It is essential that local congregations always keep lines of communication open with the surrounding community.
"Increasing the visibility of the congregation among its neighbors is a constant point of emphasis," he said.
In addition, Howe said he also encourages mission work such as serving in soup kitchens, repair ministry or advocacy groups.
He and his wife, Megan, live in Niles.