North Cleveland Baptist Church began services with 37 people present on Aug. 15, 1937.
To commemorate its 75th anniversary, North Cleveland Baptist has been offering special events for the last few weeks.
The church was originally built after members of the community collected donations from interested parties of $150. A lot was purchased on Franklin Avenue. Construction began on an open-sided roofed building with wooden benches and a sawdust floor.
A year later, the building was too small for the growing church and a larger building was constructed. The first pastor was the Rev. H. Lester Lewis.
Today, North Cleveland Baptist continues to serve the community, the Southern Baptist Association, and the world with missionary outreach.
As the need for growth and expansion arose additional buildings were erected. Today the church has an Annex building, and a two-story education-recreation building as well as the main sanctuary structure.
To enhance the beauty of North Cleveland Baptist, a steeple was erected in 1965. Mother Nature, however, had other ideas. The steeple was destroyed in a tornado in 1974.
The present worship building was built in 1956 with services starting on April 1.
The large education building was added in 1961. Recently a prayer garden with a walkway shaped like a cross was built. Within the garden stands a bell tower containing the first bell was used to summon people to Sunday services.
“One can sit on a stone bench among roses for a quiet moment with the Lord,” a church member noted.
As the church celebrates its 75th year, displays of the decades with church items, photos, and items representing the eras are being exhibited to provide a glimpse of the church from the past to the present.
North Cleveland’s Drama Team recently put on an informative presentation regarding the history and formation of the church. The team performed under the direction of Reverend Lanny Green.
As part of the celebration, the church will hold a Great American Chill-off, beginning at 6 tonight. The evening will begin in the Prayer Garden and move to the annex for ice cream judging and tasting.
Next Sunday, the Rev. Omer Painter, former pastor, will be speaking in both the morning and evening services. Former minister of music Gene North will be providing special music. In the evening, an Old-Fashioned Singing is planned in the sanctuary at 6.
On Aug. 26, former staff and special friends will come together to celebrate the 75th year with a special church service followed by a covered dish meal. People from across the country have been invited to help with the celebration.
“As North Cleveland completes this month-long celebration of its history — from past to present and on into the future — we will gather together to move forward into the next 25 years affirming our love of the Lord, our neighbors, our partners in faith, and with a continuance of our work within the missionary outreach programs around the world,” a spokesman said.
Dr. Jay McCluskey, pastor, has been at North Cleveland Baptist for 26 years. He invites the public to join the church in these programs and services.
Regular services are at 8:30 am and 11 a.m Sunday; Bible study is at 9:45 a.m.; and evening worship is at 6 p.m. on Sunday.