ASHTABULA — The Rev. Samuel Paul Monte is the new pastor at First Presbyterian Church of Ashtabula and North Kingsville Presbyterian Church.
An East Liverpool native, Monte comes to northeast Ohio after ministry in Maryland.
“We knew God was calling us to be closer to family," he said. "We began looking and, as luck would have it, fell in love with the area and the churches. It really was a total God thing."
Moving was no small task considering the Monte and his wife, Gail, have adopted six children from the foster care system.
“The kids were a great help. They were excited to be going back to Ohio and the churches were just amazing," he said. "There was so much help when it came to unloading the truck. We really felt loved and welcomed.”
The furriest member of their family is a Saint Bernard named Barker Mayfield.
“When we talked about getting a dog, I said, 'I only have two rules,'” Monte said. “First, I didn’t want a small yippy-yappy dog. Second, I got to name the dog. Gail liked my idea for a boy dog’s name better, so she looked for one. I’m a huge Cleveland Browns fan and I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to make a pun.”
Monte is a Kent State University graduate earning a bachelor of arts in English. He earned a master's degree in divinity from Pittsburgh Theological Seminary. Shortly thereafter, he began his ministry and hasn’t looked back.
“There’s a lot of opportunity for ministry in the area. I’m excited about it all," he said. "Given the current pandemic, a lot of people think we can’t do normal outreach, but we can and we will. I want to help the churches spread God’s love."
Sunday morning service begins at 9:30 a.m. at North Kingsville Presbyterian Church and an 11 a.m. service is held at First Presbyterian Church of Ashtabula.