The Chapel is looking for a new senior pastor after saying an emotional goodbye to Paul Sartarelli.
Sartarelli is stepping down to take the next step in his spiritual journey.
During his last sermon on Sunday at The Chapel's main campus in University Park, Sartarelli told church members that he and his wife Sue will be fine.
"And yet I also tell you, we're still not clear or sure as to what we're doing next," Sartarelli told those attending. "We're still in prayer, and now, after today, still in overdrive mode of exploration."
Church planting and overseas work are two options that Sartarelli is considering.
He says he and his wife will heed God's calling...wherever it takes them.
"Sue and I have told the Lord that we will go where the need is real, and that our passions and abilities can connect to those needs," he told the full house at The Chapel's main campus.
The Chapel also has campuses in Green and in Wadsworth.
Maureen Winkelmann attended the sermon - her family has known Sartarelli since he was an intern.
"And I remember one Sunday he preached when he was an associate pastor," Winkelmann tells AkronNewsNow.com, "and I told him that he'd be leaving, because I knew of the caliber of teaching behind the pulpit that he'd be the next one to go. And two weeks later, he went to start Riverside at Stow-Kent."
Sartarelli came back to The Chapel and took over as senior pastor for Knute Larson in 2009.
Charles Barkey has been going to The Chapel for 50 years. He doesn't want to see Sartarelli go, but he wishes the pastor well.
"Of course, you always hate to see someone leave," Barkey tells AkronNewsNow.com, "but he feels he has a calling, and he's answering that calling, and I think that's what he should do."
Bittersweet is a word many churchgoers used when talking about Sartarelli's departure.
"It's a sad time for us to be losing Paul and Sue," Lance Chima tells AkronNewsNow.com, "but I think we'll just press on, and we're on to better things."
Sartarelli's been on the church staff for 7 years, but The Chapel has been a part of his family's spiritual life for much longer.
"But even more than that, I did the math," Sartarelli noted in his final sermon. "Thank you for the 36 years of The Chapel being our spiritual home and reference point."
Sartarelli's replacement hasn't yet been named. He told church members that The Chapel's multi-campus pastoral staff will make for an easy transition to a new senior pastor.