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Encyclopedia of Cleveland History

GETHSEMANE BAPTIST CHURCH

GETHSEMANE BAPTIST CHURCH

GETHSEMANE BAPTIST CHURCH was founded in 1900 as a Baptist mission for AFRICAN AMERICANS at East 30th Street and Scovill Avenue. The first pastor of the church was Rev. Wishing Page who served from 1900 until 1933. He was succeeded by Rev. GLENN T. SETTLE who served from 1933 until 1947. During his tenure, Rev. Settle tapped into the rich gospel music tradition brought to Cleveland by Southern migrants during the 1930s and 1940s, and founded the WINGS OVER JORDAN CHOIR in 1935 to spread Christianity through Negro spirituals. It became the first black choir with a national audience when it appeared on CBS radio. Following Settle's departure, Rev. Benjamin Franklin Colvin assumed the pastorate at Gethsemane and served the congregation from 1947 until 1961. During his tenure, the church relocated to its present (2010) location at East 79th Street and Chester Avenue. Rev. Wilbur R. Jones succeeded Colvin, serving from 1961 until 1988. Rev. Stephen D. Sullivan, a former member of the Cleveland school board, has served as the pastor of Gethsemane between 1988-2010.  Richard T. Parker was pastor as of 2017.

Gethsemane has reached out to the community, particularly the youth. It sponsored a career fair for high school students in 1997, featuring information on professional careers in such fields as engineering, nursing, business, architecture, and law, as well as workshops on study skills, college admission, and financial aid available to college-bound students, and hosted a youth conference, "Youth Leading the Way to Christ," in 2003. Gethsemane has also held annual Men's and Women's Day celebrations.


See also RELIGION and BAPTISTS.