Today, Hannah Tucker is to preside at a wedding at St. Paul United Methodist Church in Tiffin. She began her duties as pastor there July 1. St. Paul is her first full-time pastoral assignment.
"It's going well. I like it," she said, "but I still mess up the light switches."
Tucker grew up in New Concord, a three-hour drive from Tiffin. Her parents still reside in the small farming community that is home to Muskingum University. Her older sister and husband live in Dover.
After Tucker completed her undergraduate degree at Grove City College in Pennsylvania, she was
accepted at Wesley Seminary in Washington, D.C. Living near the campus, she didn't have to drive in D.C. traffic.
"It's a great place to be a student because all the tourist things are free. To go to a museum is free. ... I went to every Smithsonian. That was one of my goals," Tucker said.
Upon learning of her church assignment, she had to consult a map to find Tiffin. Now that she is back in Ohio, her friends and relatives can visit more often than they did in Washington. Tucker has an older map of Tiffin spread out on the table in her office. She was able to locate her neighborhood, but the newer subdivisions and streets are not on the map.
"The one-way streets are a little confusing, and the river confused me at first. You keep crossing the river, but you end up in different places. There's more than one bridge. That messed me up when I first got here," Tucker said. "I'd never been here at all. I came once in May ... that was my first time ever."
Tucker said she still is getting to know the congregation. An average of 80 people come to Sunday worship. The traditional service is at 10 a.m. with Sunday school following at 11:15. Children from preschool through grade 6 attend Youth Club 5:30-7:30 p.m. Wednesday. The children have dinner, gym time, crafts and Bible class. The new pastor has learned about St. Paul's historic chandelier and has become acquainted with the volunteers who oversee the Ecumenical Sharing Kitchen.
"They know what they're doing," Tucker said. "They've done a lot to reach out to the community and be engaged."
The new pastor also has been exploring what Seneca County has to offer. She has joined the YMCA, obtained a library card, attended a performance of "The Diary of Ann Frank" at The Ritz and tried several Tiffin restaurants.
"I haven't had a bad one yet. When my friends and family come, they like to taste the local fare," Tucker said. "Tiffin's actually a big city compared to New Concord. You have restaurants. We have Subway. That's it."
In her free time, Tucker likes to correspond with friends from school, run and read novels. For now, ministering at St. Paul's seems to be a good fit.
"It's just something I've wanted to do since I was 13. I really love the church and I love people," she said.