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Rev. Patrick Nicolino, Senior Minister

Patrick was born in Akron and resides in Ohio City with his husband, J. Gary.  He is completely blind but that has not stopped him from just about anything! Patrick earned a B.A. in History and a B.A. in Philosophy from the University of Akron and possesses a M.Div. from St. Mary’s Seminary and a M.A. in Psychology from John Carroll University.  He is A.B.D. status for his Ph.D. from Union Institute.  Patrick is an Adjunct Faculty member of the Sociology Department of John Carroll University.  He thoroughly enjoys skiing, reading and vacationing in Provincetown, Cape Cod.  The motto that Patrick attempts to live by is “Love one another as God unconditionally loves us.”


As a community of believers, we, the members and friends of First Congregational United Church Of Christ Elyria, 
extend an extravagant welcome, hospitality and God’s love to ALL.

We welcome into our community persons of every gender,  sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, every mental and physical ability, age, race, nationality, economic and social status, faith background, marital standing and family structure.

We invite everyone to share in the life, leadership, ministry, fellowship, worship, sacraments, responsibilities, blessings and joys of our congregation as we seek to grow together in faith and love.

We commit ourselves to offering openness, understanding, justice and healing to each and every person. We celebrate the diversity of God’s creation.

We are ALL God’s children…No Exceptions!


The mission of Children’s Faith Formation is to provide opportunities for spiritual growth while building relationships with God, one another and our community. 

Here at First Church, we are committed to offering programs that allow children to explore their faith in a safe and nurturing environment.

Our Sunday School is offered at 10:00 a.m. each week.

Children are always welcome in worship! You will find books and small handheld toys to borrow during worship, located at the back of the sanctuary in the Kids Corner. There is also a rocking chair located in the back of the sanctuary and baby changing stations are located in the both the restrooms just outside the sanctuary. Please see an usher for directions or further assistance.

First Congregational Pre School offers classes for three, four and five year-olds September through May.

  • Pre-K 4/5 year old classes: 8:45-11:45AM (Monday, Wednesday, Friday)
  • Pre-K 4/5 year old classes: 8:45-11:45AM (Monday, Wednesday, Friday) and Thursday 12:30 – 3:30 PM
  • 3/4 year old class:  8:45-11:30AM (Tuesday, Thursday)

Help your child get an excellent start on their educational preparedness by enrolling them in the preschool. They will experience a wide range of activities that will promote social and academic readiness.

Please don’t delay your child’s education…Call today —  440-323-5454 X 20!


Music at First Congregational has a long and vibrant history.

  Our past music directors have included Oberlin Organ Professors Fenner Douglass and Haskell Thomson.  For many years, the program was nurtured by Rev. Thomas Curtis.  These people built a strong foundation for a vibrant and inclusive music ministry.  Our 21st century Music Department, under the direction of Dylan Sanzenbacher, looks very different, and continues to worship God, support congregational song, and offer wonderful song to God.

Chancel Choir

The Chancel Choir rehearses Sunday mornings before worship at 8:30 am.  The group sings most Sundays at the 10 am service from Labor Day to Pentecost.  It is open to anyone with a desire to sing and be an important leader in worship.

Campanella Ringers

The bell choir leads worship one Sunday a month from Labor Day to Pentecost.  Rehearsals are once a week on Tuesdays from 6:30 to 8 pm.  First Congregational is pleased to have four full octaves of bells and three octaves of chimes.  The Campanella Ringers are often in demand for concerts in the Lorain County area.  Directed by Ross Kingman.



Neighbors in Need (NIN), one of two annual appeals of OCWM in which First Church participates, is held on World Communion Sunday in October. Two-thirds of the offering supports justice advocacy and direct service projects such as justice with peace programs and community grants.

Imagine today that we live in a land where justice and compassion flourish. 

Imagine a nation where:

  • Schools are well funded and our public classrooms are much smaller and better equipped. Beyond the classroom, youth and young adults are prepared to lead America into the first century ever to live in peace with justice.

  • People who get sick and need to see a doctor are never sent away.

  • Fair trade of goods and services between nations is standard practice, promoting genuine global harmony.

  • Global resources are wisely used with the aim of providing everyone with fair wages and livable economic conditions.

  • Pollution is cleaned up and further destruction of our environment is prevented.

  • Condemnation of varied sexual orientations, race and ethnicity is nonexistent.

  • We erect monuments to honor people who strive for justice and compassion instead of monuments to war. The legacies of these heroes who toiled to “make things right”? would remind us never again to return to the dark days of bigotry, hatred and homophobia.

  • Prisons worked from a philosophy of rehabilitation rather than punishment.

Your support of Neighbors in Need provides grants to a variety of groups striving to transform their communities.

  • Help leverage support for universal health care so that everyone who needs health care gets it

  • Support groups who work to ensure that civil rights and civil liberties of all God’s children are protected and cherished. Some fight hate crimes and discrimination through peaceful means. Others speak out so that no one and nothing can deny anyone’s right to live a private life and dignity.

  • Support the many justice-seekers who advocate for social responsibility across the environmental spectrum from advocating and organizing family farmers to working with environmental justice advocates across the nation.

  • Work with immigrant farmers in their fight for a fair and just wage

  • Support people who help people in and beyond our churches to live healthy lifestyles. NIN makes possible the certification of lay ministers of health for their service in local congregations through the Healthy Connection Program.

One third of the offering supports American Indian UCC congregations.

Early on the UCC established Native American churches in North and South Dakota, Wisconsin and Northern Nebraska. Today there are 19 UCC congregations on reservations and one urban intertribal congregation in Minneapolis. In addition, there are more than 1000 individuals from dozens of other tribes and nations scattered in nearly every conference in the UCC. This offering helps provide salaries for Native American pastors. Most of these pastors serve without benefits. Your contribution to Neighbors in Need directly impacts the UCC’s ability to support American Indian ministries and congregations. More information.