MOUNT HERMON BAPTIST CHURCH - The Encyclopedia of Cleveland History
MOUNT HERMON BAPTIST CHURCH was one of a number of major AFRICAN AMERICAN churches originating from SHILOH BAPTIST CHURCH, the largest black Baptist church in Cleveland in the 19th century. Mt. Hermon was organized in 1926 following the merger of two small congregations, St. Paul and Mt. Carmel Baptist. The original quarters of Mt. Hermon at East 38th Street and Woodland Avenue were demolished in 1958 as part of an urban renewal project, compelling the congregation to relocate to a new building. The church paid $365,000 in cash for its new quarters on East 40th Street and spent an additional $100,000 four years later to add a new wing and a bell tower to the edifice. Rev. P. L. Scruggs was the first pastor of Mt. Hermon (1926-27), succeeded by Rev. B. G. Glover (1927-33), Rev. W. M. Phillips (1933-34), and Rev. S. S. Spriggs (1934-37).
In 1937, Rev. Robert L. Fuller, a 25-year-old preacher from Chattanooga, TN, arrived in Cleveland to lead the heavily mortgaged congregation of some 75 members struggling through the Depression. Discarding traditional fundraising strategies, Fuller urged his flock to contribute 10 percent of their incomes to Mt. Hermon, placing the church on a sound economic footing, improving and expanding the church facilities, and dramatically augmenting the membership. He served Mt. Hermon until retirement in 1992. In 1990, the church fulfilled a 25-year dream and opened the Good Samaritan Foundation Home, a non-profit 56-suite apartment complex for church members, especially the elderly, at East 74th Street and Woodland Avenue. The congregation subsidized the $5 million cost of the apartment building without any outside aid. Garlen Abernathy, the chairman of the deacon board at Mt. Hermon, led the congregation following the retirement of Rev. Fuller. The church secured the leadership of Rev. Oliver D. Bouie, the former pastor of First Baptist Church in Hixson, TN, in 1995. Following the death of Bouie in October 2004, Rev. Eric L. Waldon has served as the pastor of Mt. Hermon. The church ministries have included: Education, conducting the Sunday School; Children, operating the Babies and Tots Nursery; Help and Support, featuring the R.E.A.L. Men Fellowship; and Outreach, directing the Adopt-A-School Ministry.
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