Pastor Arik (Him/He/His) began his partnership with First Congregational Church on October 1, 2014. Since that time, he has grown to love the congregation for their openness, love, and hospitality. Arik received his Bachelor's degree with a major in Religious Studies from Elmhurst College and then went on to earn his Master of Divinity from Eden Theological Seminary in St. Louis.
Growing up in the church as a lifelong member of the United Church of Christ, Arik is proud of the progressive values that the UCC puts forth. He is especially proud of the UCC's acceptance and welcoming of the LGBTQIA community and the UCC's dedication toward matters of ecological justice.
Outside of church, Pastor Arik is enjoying his life with his wife Allison, his son Sage, and his dog Milo. They will soon be welcoming another baby boy later this year! An introvert at heart, Arik enjoys reading, writing, and quiet evenings at home. While he may be a quiet person in most aspects of his life, he loves speaking with people and hearing people's stories. In fact, he would like nothing more than to speak with you and to get to know you better! If you have any questions or just want to talk, don't hesitate to call the office or send him an email to let him know!
Minister for Pastoral Care and Spiritual Growth
Matthew Hogue-Smith (Him/He/His) is the current Minister for Pastoral Care and Spiritual Growth at First Congregational Church in North Ridgeville and a member in discernment within the association. He was born and raised in Elyria but currently resides in Lakewood with his husband Travis. Matthew Holds a master’s degree in practical theology and ministry with areas of research in pastoral care and formation from the sunny shores of Barry University in Miami, FL. Matthew is a strong advocate and hopeful contributor for the development of a trauma informed ministry. He is a certified mental first aid’r® and is a trained volunteer with the Lorain County LOSS (Local Outreach to Suicide Survivors) team. He believes that within the UCC, all creation should not only be welcomed but they should also be extravagantly loved and accepted just as the creator God intended.
Linda Matis began working at First Congregational UCC as administrative secretary in 2004. Since that time she has also taken on the responsibilities of financial secretary and church treasurer.
Linda grew up in North Ridgeville and graduated from NRHS. She attended First Congregational UCC as a child and in November 2008 rejoined the church. "I love my church family! I love being the secretary for my church and worshipping here as well."
Linda and her husband Robert were married in 1987 and they have two children, Steven and Stephanie. Outside of the church, Linda likes to read and travel.