Rev. Kit Novotny and Rev. Nate Klug are a wife and husband team who feel called to share a full-time position as co-pastors. They have been serving in ministry in separate churches since they were ordained in 2013. Co-pastoring would be a new experience for them and for us, and we are all very excited about the opportunity to work with two collaborative leaders who would bring two distinct voices and personalities to the pulpit, leadership, and pastoral care.
Over the past year, the Search Committee has listened deeply to the needs of our congregation. We reviewed applications from dozens of candidates in the UUA, UCC, and beyond. We spent intensive weekends with several finalists. Kit and Nate were the unanimous selection of the Search Committee because they bring the characteristics and experience necessary for a successful shared ministry at FPL. We were drawn to their deep spirituality, commitment to collaborative leadership, passion for racial and environmental justice, creativity, enthusiasm and warmth.
Rev. Kit Novotny and Rev. Nate Klug are drawn, they affirm, to our “inclusive vision of a warm and diverse spiritual community, passion for environmental and racial justice, and interest in intellectual and artistic engagement.” Although they’ve wondered since divinity school how their gifts might mutually enrich one another, they initially followed the advice of co-pastoring mentors to spend time developing their distinct professional identities. After nearly a decade of ministry in the midwest and California, however, they recently moved back to Massachusetts (Concord) where they bought a home, and have sought an opportunity to serve as co-pastors.
Married in 2011, Kit and Nate both graduated from Yale Divinity School and were both ordained in the United Church of Christ in 2013. They began their ministries in Iowa, where Kit served as Associate Minister at the Plymouth Church in Des Moines, and Nate served as Pastor of Grinnell UCC. While in Iowa, they co-led a Witness for Peace delegation to Cuba to study faith communities and social change.
They moved to Berkeley, California in 2015, where Kit began her six-year ministry at First Church Berkeley, a diverse congregation known for artistic worship and a passion for social justice. Kit’s responsibilities included building a community of and designing an alternative service for young adults, and overseeing an overhaul of the congregation’s communications strategies for the digital and social media age. Kit also brings a background in professional theater, and a passion for improvisation.
In California, Nate ministered part-time to churches in the Bay Area and pursued his second vocation as a writer, publishing two books of poetry and teaching at the Graduate Theological Union. Most recently, Nate served as the Pastor of Arlington Community Church in Kensington, leading the congregation in a season of renewal and membership growth. He developed a vibrant program of sharing spiritual testimonies, and pursued social justice initiatives such as the ongoing Black Wealth Builders Fund, inspiring broad participation from the local community, raising $225,000 and still going strong.
They’ve had several opportunities to collaborate, in one example establishing a now-annual Good Friday service with a half dozen ecumenical congregations that became the catalyst for innovative fundraising efforts, including a 2020 campaign that raised funds to forgive $4.4 million of medical debt in Alameda County.
Kit and Nate are each gifted ministers eager to share their ministerial talents, creativity, and spiritual seeking through co-ministry at FPL. Co-ministry is a model, we believe, that offers several distinct advantages: two different sermon styles; two different pastoral presences, two smart and committed minds engaging in solving the church’s big challenges and celebrating its successes. The search committee interviewed two long-term co-ministry couples who have served as mentors and advisors to Kit and Nate. Both couples and their congregations spoke eloquently about the benefits of co-pastoring.
The sermons linked below, and others you may search for online, were offered in UCC churches. Like most of us at FPL, however, Kit and Nate are open and receptive to the traditions of the UUA and the many other faith traditions within our congregation. They have already made connections to area UUA ministers.
Kit’s enthusiasm and warmth allow her to hold sacred space in worship and small groups alike. With long experience in improv theater and as a yoga instructor, Kit develops creative approaches to worship that connect across generations. You might enjoy her sermon “I and Thou” or “Clouds, Dragonflies, and Relay Races.” “Rev. Kit has a great ability to speak to all generations, and to meet them where they are in their faith experience,” declares one congregant. “She has a great sense of humor and a warmth and calmness of personality that is very engaging. She has demonstrated her abilities to draw in people of all ages and walks of life.” Her website includes links to multiple sermons and also highlights her allied work in the theater.
“Nate is an exceptional preacher,” one congregant writes. ”His sermons are thoughtful, cogent, and beautifully written thanks to his background as a poet,” another affirms. “When we were attending church online during the lockdown, his sermons seemed to shine even more brightly because they brought us together and inspired us all to keep going.” Check out his sermon “Don’t Miss your Interruption” or his Christmas Eve service “Who Remembers”. His parishioners all reflect on his ability to invite people into deeper relationship with the church community. “When he left, we were stronger as a community than when we arrived,” another reference declared. If you wish to explore his poetry, check out his poetry website.
As co-pastors, Kit and Nate would share the central responsibilities of the role (such as preaching, pastoral care, and administration) in a 50/50 split, while some tasks might match better with the abilities of one or the other. Both are committed to connecting with all ages, sharing support for children and youth, young families, middle aged folks, and elders.
They plan to continue living in Concord with their two daughters, Zoe (age 3) and Gwendolyn (age 1). They both look forward to forming deep relationships within the Lincoln community, with each serving as primary contacts for different local partner organizations. They’re already enjoying Story Time at the Lincoln Library.
In their letter of introduction, they wrote, “it feels like a promising sign to us that your own history includes the marriage of two congregations and denominations — you’ve got creative partnership baked into your identity.” Here’s to creative partnerships: our history, the work of shared ministry, and the co-ministry of these candidates.
Kit and Nate will share the pulpit on Sunday May 8 and on Sunday, May 15, when the FPL Membership will vote whether or not to call them. We hope you will take the time to get to know Kit and Nate during Candidating Week, May 8-15, and will conclude that they are the right team to learn and grow with FPL as we bring our mission, vision, and values out into the wider world.
If you have questions about how co-ministry works and why we are enthusiastic about it, please join the Search Committee for a co-ministry Q&A immediately following the service on Sunday, April 10th.
With hope for a shared ministry full of patience, creativity, humility, and commitment,
- The Ministerial Search Committee (Katy Walker, Heather Ring, Deanna Elineema, Tom DeNormandie, Larry Buell, Janet Boynton, and Sarah Andrysiak)