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Pastor Jim Szakacs!
July 11, 2021

Jim and Robin Szakacs.jpg
Pastor & Mrs. Jim and Robin Szakacs

Pastor Jim Szakacs comes to Hope Ridge UMC from The Nehemiah Mission of Cleveland where he has served as Executive Director & Pastor since 2008. He has  also served as the Associate Pastor of New Vision at Garfield Heights United Methodist Church since 2016.

Prior to ministry Jim had a successful career in entertainment marketing where he spent 12 years as the Area Manager and local Vice President for Ticketron and 16 years in multiple positions at Playhouse Square Foundation in Cleveland. In his last role at Playhouse Square  he was the Director of Communication and Marketing.

He is a graduate of Capital University, Columbus, Ohio with a BA in Speech, Communication and Theatre Arts and is currently completing the Course of Study at Methodist Theological School of Ohio.  An active member of The United Methodist Church since his childhood, he has served on a range of local church, district and conference committees while leading worship and small group ministries.

Jim and his wife Robin met at Annual Conference at the age of 13, began dating four years later and were married by Robin’s father, a United Methodist pastor ( now deceased) at age 20. Together they have three adult children and six grandchildren all under the age of six.

Robin, a graduate of Baldwin Wallace University and Metro School of Nursing is a Registered Nurse at The Cleveland Clinic in the Pain Management Department and is a certified water aerobics instructor.

Jim’s journey to ministry began at the age of 6. As he tells it, he grew up planning to be a pastor but then found his secular career blossoming until he could no longer avoid God’s call. It was then that he was chosen to lead The Nehemiah Mission.

Jim and Robin are relocating to Concord from their home of 31 years in North Royalton, Ohio. They are anxious to become a part of the community of Hope Ridge and the surrounding area.

Jim’s ministry of outreach has been guided by the phrase: “Ministry happens in the interruptions.”  So he and Robin invite you to make yourselves known to them and be ready to love and laugh together.







Hello Hope Ridge and Greetings from Lakeside, Ohio on this Labor Day Weekend! 

We tend to think about Labor Day as the holiday that marks the end of summer, an extra day off, or the start of another school year. But it’s important that we remember Labor Day as much more.  Labor Day is a time to celebrate the value and dignity of work.


The first celebration of “Labor Day” was actually a  parade on Sep 5th, 1882 in New York City. Over 20,000 workers carried banners reading things like; “Labor Creates Wealth”, “8 hours for work, 8 hours for sleep, 8 hours for recreation”. These signs demonstrated what was the desired situation for all people.  Following the parade, there were picnics all over the city and the day concluded with fireworks. The idea of such a celebration spread across the U.S and cities all over began having similar celebrations. In 1894, congress enacted legislation making Labor Day a federal holiday. 


There’s biblical rationale for such a celebration. Work is not a curse, but part of our created purpose so that we can serve God.  The curse mentioned in Genesis increased hardship, not work.  In fact, work is a reflection of the God who has been working from the beginning.  By design, work brings benefits to each of us. But God also instructed us to take a rest from our labor and to observe sabbath as a day of rest.

  • Genesis 2:15 – The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it.”

  •  Genesis 1:26 – “Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.”

  • Exodus 20:11 – “For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.”


People usually do not benefit from idleness. Usually, idleness brings all kinds of trouble with it. 

  • Proverbs 10:4 – “Lazy hands make for poverty, but diligent hands bring wealth.”


Like work, rest also is a reflection of God. After God worked in creating the world, what did God do? God rested. God’s rest, however, is not a rest necessary from exhaustion but instead as that of an artist or musician that sits back and enjoys his/her creation after completion. God’s rest is a model for us. 


Work is full of the dignity and glory of God. It is not a curse, it is a reflection of God, it is beneficial and rest is good after work. God created us to serve God through the works of our hands. So regardless of your task, do your best, then take time to rest and enjoy God’s wonderful creation.  Ideally, taking at least one sabbath day each week, as we know from Mark’s Gospel; “God created the sabbath for man, not man for the sabbath”. 


Man created Labor Day, but I’ve got to think God is pretty happy about it.  So let’s enjoy Labor Day not only as a celebration of labor and workforce, but as a day to rest, give thanks, be good to one another, and give Glory to God!


Pastor Jim

Weekly Insights
from the desk of
Pastor Jim
September 4, 2021

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