Our Mission Statement
As members of the Christian Church, We confess that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God, and proclaim him Lord and Savior of the world.
In Christ’s name and by his grace we accept our mission of witness and service to all people. We rejoice in God, maker of heaven and earth, and in God’s covenant of love which binds us to God and to one another.
Through baptism into Christ we enter into newness of life and are made one with the whole people of God. In the communion of the Holy Spirit we are joined together in discipleship and in obedience to Christ. At the Table of the Lord we celebrate with thanksgiving the saving acts and presence of Christ. Within the universal church we receive the gift of ministry and the light of scripture. In the bonds of Christian faith we yield ourselves to God that we may serve the One whose kingdom has no end.
Blessing, glory, and honor be to God forever. Amen.
In May 1872, Reverend James Cannon, his wife Rhoda, and several members of the Franklin Circle Church of Cleveland began a Union Sunday School in the West District School House of East Rockport (now Lakewood), on the site of the present McKinley Elementary School.
The “meetings” were very informal, conducted by traveling evangelists, typically lasting ten days to two weeks. New members and conversions were often referred to as “additions.” People of all ages, feeling the need of a local church, came individually and in family groups to worship together. Men could be seen clad in high-top boots, lumber jackets and coon-skin caps, coming from their jobs at sawing and chopping lumber.
By 1878, the congregation decided it was time to secure property and erect a church. A small building called the Rocky River Christian Chapel was constructed west of Park Row on Detroit Avenue. The first service was held January 27, 1878, The Lord’s Supper was first celebrated February 10, and a formal dedication was held on June 16th.
Three years later, on January 31, 1881, the congregation became formally incorporated under the name “The Rocky River Church of Christ”. On October 20, 1906, new Articles of Incorporation were granted changing the name to “Lakewood Church of Christ”. The name “Lakewood Christian Church” came into gradual use and as late as 1915 entries in the records of Official Board meetings can be found with both names.
On the morning of July 5th, 1895, the chapel was destroyed by fire. Cause was unknown. Nothing was saved except a few lamps and chairs. Music, as a vital part of the services, suffered a tragedy, too, for the church piano was also consumed in the fire. Although nothing could be proved, it was felt the saloon keeper next door to the chapel was responsible for the fire.
The church, by this time, was a working force for good in the community. The story is told that the saloon keeper so resented the church meetings, he hired a brass band to interrupt and confuse them. Immediately, the problem of a temporary meeting place was solved by the women of the church. They sewed a tent about 25′ x 40′, and services were held in it for several weeks in an adjoining orchard.
In September and October, services continued in the orchard, but with no preaching. That is, Sunday School in the morning and Christian Endeavor in the afternoon. With winter approaching, the problem of better facilities arose. One member, A. J. Marvin, purchased a house known as the “Coffee House”, and with the help of several other members, they fitted it up for services. These temporary quarters served until January 1897, when a new church, built entirely on collections and pledges, was completed at the corner of Park Row and Detroit Avenue.
The young people, responding to the loss of the piano in the 1895 fire, had pledged ten cents per person, per week, until a new piano was finally paid for. The re-entrance of a piano was joyously celebrated shortly after the turn of the century. Another new building was dedicated March 10, 1907 at the present location of Roycroft and Detroit Avenues.
Dr. H.B. McCormick (1930-1946) was a graduate of Hiram College and Union Theological Seminary. Before coming here as pastor in 1930, he was minister of the Central Woodward Christian Church in Detroit, Michigan. His prior service also included the position of “Fund Raiser” for the United Christian Missionary Society. H. B. McCormick was known in the local church, and the church in general, as a person with spiritual sensitivity who excelled in organization as a means of accomplishing a task. He planned in detail for the future, but had the ability to change or adjust to immediate needs or emergencies as they arose. While the church was totally engaged in an important emphasis, he was already at work in the next phase of the church program.
Dr. McCormick’s leadership was recognized throughout the years by our brotherhood, the Disciples of Christ. Among many positions of responsibility, he served from 1939 to 1941 as the president of the International Convention (predecessor to the General Assembly). His devotion to our brotherhood only enhanced his interest and contribution to the ecumenical cause. He not only served as president of the then Cleveland Council of Churches, but was a Disciple delegate to the organizing Assembly of the World Council of Churches in Amsterdam in 1948.
Although he gave of himself generously to the church in general, his prime interest, his first love, and his absorbing passion was that as pastor of the local church, “a shepherd of his flock” to serve and care for “his sheep”. In ministering to the entire congregation, Dr. and Mrs. McCormick gave special attention and love to children and young people through many hours of teaching, counseling and supervision. They were affectionately known as “Mr. and Mrs. Mac”.
Being a dynamic leader with a strong faith and firm convictions, it was inevitable that he would encounter opposition at times. This he always faced forthrightly with honesty and love. Often his opponents became his most enthusiastic and ardent supporters. However, if he were convinced of a better way, he accepted it graciously, giving credit to his adversary. He was generous in his expression of appreciation at all times.
Reverend Gerould R. Goldner (1947-1968) began his pastorate here January 1, 1947. Previous pastorates were at Mogadore, Ohio, 1935-1940, and Central Christian Church, Warren, Ohio, 1940-1946. Affectionately known as “Jerry” to all members of his congregation, he soon proved to be an excellent pastor who possessed many fine qualities, both as a man and as a minister. Our
church accomplished much in all phases of its work before his sudden death cut short his twenty-two years of devoted service to his flock.
One of his outstanding qualities was his ability to relate to others. To him, each person he met or to whom he spoke was unique and special. He accepted each as he was, in the same light as does God. Although he loved people, he had a higher priority-that of his relationship to God through Jesus Christ. Hence, he was preeminently a man of prayer. His ability as a master teacher was reflected in his clear and patient explanations; his teaching by example; his meticulous attention to detail; and the fact he never lost sight of his ultimate purpose and goal. He possessed a wonderful sense of humor, and enjoyed exchanging repartee with those who reciprocated. His strong self-discipline in his daily living and thinking; and his keen searching mind provided him with an excellent background for a sensitive evaluation of situations and people. This quality gave him skill in his counseling experiences, the confidential nature of which he took very seriously.
Jerry’s formal training included graduation from Hiram College in 1931, and Yale Divinity School in 1935. Well-read and well-traveled, he made five trips to Europe. One of these to the Holy Land with his father (Dr. Jacob Goldner, pastor of Euclid Avenue Christian Church for nearly 50 years) resulted in the horrifying experience of capture by Arabs, and their subsequent demand for ransom. Quite ill, he later was rescued by a “good Samaritan”.
Jerry and his wife Ruth Ada, had two sons, Russell Jr. and Kress. Reverend Goldner also found time in his busy schedule to take an active part in state, local and national religious organizations. They include; President of Lakewood Ministerial Association and Christian Churches Ministerial Association; Member of the Commission on the Ministry of Ohio Society of Christian Churches; President of the Ohio Convention of Christian Churches (1960-1962); member of the Board of Directors of the International Convention of Christian Churches, and later, a member of the Administrative Committee. His sudden death, at age 58, was a shock to the congregation and the community.
Dr. James W. Landes (1969-1982) was installed as our Senior Pastor on September 14, 1969. His previous experience included service at student churches in Kentucky and Ohio; some preaching at Shreve and Macedonia Christian Churches; youth work at Massillon, Ohio during his college days; and three years as associate pastor at the Shaker Heights Christian Church. Prior to coming to Lakewood, he was the first pastor of Karl Road Christian Church, a new congregation near Columbus, Ohio. He remained there for eight years.
Jim was a graduate of the College of Wooster, and is a Timothy of the Wooster Church. His specialized training was acquired at Lexington Theological Seminary, with additional work at the University of Kentucky and Oberlin Theological Seminary. In 1974 he realized a long time ambition when he received his Doctor of Divinity degree. His special areas were preaching as a form of counseling and hospital work.
Rev. Landes has also found time to serve his profession in several local, state, and national organizations. They include: President of Lakewood Ministerial Association; President of “Not Alone”, a county organization in the area of Thanatology; the State Board of the Ohio Society; State Commission on the Ministry, and three terms on the National Board of The Disciples Church.
Lakewood Christian Church is proud to be a Pro-Reconciling, Anti-Racist, Open & Affirming, Sustainable Community. We value covenantal participation in ecclesial fellowship over traditional membership.