Category: Religion

ADAMS, SEYMOUR WEBSTER (1 Aug. 1815-27 Sept. 1864), pastor (1846-64) of Cleveland's FIRST BAPTIST CHURCH, was born in Vernon, N.Y. His father, a farmer, was a deacon in the Baptist church, and his mother was a niece of Noah Webster.

AKRAM, WALI A. (4 Aug. 1904-1 Aug. 1994) was founder of First Cleveland Mosque, the first official home to Muslims in Cleveland. He remained its imam for 52 years.


The ANCIENT ORDER OF HIBERNIANS is an Irish and Irish-American organization that traces its roots back to the organization of the Defenders in Ireland in 1565 to protect Roman Catholic priests (see CATHOLICS, ROMAN) and the Church against English persecution. Branches organized in the U.S. beginning in 1836 and reportedly in the 1850s in Cleveland.

The ANNUNCIATION GREEK ORTHODOX CHURCH, the first Greek Orthodox Church established in Cleveland, formed the basis for all subsequent congregations. It originated in the Pan-Hellenic Union, which first worshipped in 1910.


ANSHE EMETH (PARK SYNAGOGUE), the first "Jewish Center" west of the Alleghenies and, by the 1940s, the largest Conservative congregation in the U.S., was founded by Jewish POLES in 1857. The congregation met for services in rented halls until 1880, when it purchased the Erie St. Methodist Church on E. 9th St. near Woodland Ave.



ANTIOCH BAPTIST CHURCH was established by the Reverend Alexander Moore in January 1893 as Cleveland's second Baptist church for AFRICAN AMERICANS.

The ARCHWOOD UNITED CHURCH OF CHRIST was established in 1819 as a Presbyterian church by the "Plan of Union" (a joint Congregational-Presbyterian church-founding effort) and later augmented by the merger with Fourth Evangelical & Reformed Church. Circuit preachers served the church until a permanent minister was hired in 1834.

B'NAI JESHURUN, Cleveland's third-oldest Jewish congregation, was established in 1866 by 16 Jewish HUNGARIANS. Originally Orthodox in ritual, B'nai Jeshurun gradually liberalized and joined the Conservative movement by the early 20th century.

BADGER, JOSEPH (28 Feb. 1757-5 Apr. 1846), the first missionary sent to the WESTERN RESERVE by the Connecticut Missionary Society and founder of the first Congregational church in the Western Reserve (in Austinburg), was one of the earliest clergymen in the area and, traditionally, preacher of the first sermon in Cleveland.

BAILEY, REV. DR. HORACE CHARLES (15 Aug. 1860-16 Feb. 1942) was the first pastor of ANTIOCH BAPTIST CHURCH (1903-1923) who led Antioch through a period of tremendous expansion, growth and activity.

BAPTISTS. The Baptists of Cleveland come from 2 distinct historical traditions, both ultimately derived from English Baptists and, before them, from the Anabaptist groups of the Continent. Cleveland's white Baptists developed fairly directly from the English tradition, as believers brought the religion from England to New England, and then to western settlements such as Cleveland.

BEAUMONT SCHOOL traces its roots to the Ursuline Academy, founded in 1850 (inc. 1854) when four URSULINE SISTERS from France arrived in Cleveland, at Bp. AMADEUS RAPPE's request, to staff a school for girls. The academy (grades 1-12) opened with an enrollment of 300 girls at 50 Euclid St.

BEDELL, GREGORY THURSTON (27 Aug. 1817-11 Mar. 1892), bishop coadjutor of the Protestant Episcopal Diocese of Ohio (1859-73) and third bishop of Ohio (1873-89), was born in Hudson, N.Y. to Rev. Gregory Townsend and Penelope (Thurston) Bedell. He graduated from Bristol College in 1836 and from the Theological Seminary of Ohio in 1840. Ordained in 1841, was Bp. Chas.

BENN, REV. LUTHER (28 Oct. 1910-15 Aug. 1993) was the founder of St. John Missionary Baptist Church in CLEVELAND HTS., known as a place where the hungry could go to get food and clothing. Benn was noted for his encyclopedic knowledge of the Bible and he was often sought out for advice on secular as well as religious matters.

BETH HAKNESSETH ANSHE GRODNO congregation (1904-51), once also known as the Synagogue of the Province of Grodno, was founded in 1904 and incorporated that August by Morris Shapiro, Max Lifshitz, and Jacob Landy. Eleven Russian immigrant Jews from Grodno, Lithuania, founded the orthodox congregation. Religious services were held initially in the home of Benjamin Zelling. After 3 months, a hall was rented at Perry (E.

BETH ISRAEL-WEST TEMPLE was organized by 25 families, led by Abe Silverstein, in April 1954, to provide a religious center for Reform Jews living on Cleveland's west side. The congregation's first service, Rosh Hashonah, was held 27 Sept. 1954 at the First Universalist Church in N. OLMSTED. For the next 3 years, services were held either at the Universalist Church or the N.

The BETHANY NATIONAL EVANGELICAL CHURCH (Finnish) served the Finnish community on Cleveland's west side. It was founded in 1919. Unable to support its own minister in the early years, Bethany was served by visiting clerics from the large Finnish community in Fairport and Ashtabula. In 1942 it hired its own pastor. For many years the church, a member of the Finnish Natl.

BETHANY PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH, 6415 W. Clinton Ave., originated from a mission Sunday school of the FIRST PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH (OLD STONE) in Jan. 1888 and formally organized on 2 July 1889. Charles Fay and Rev. Wilton Merle Smith, assoc.

BETHLEHEM CONGREGATIONAL CHURCH (1888-1954), at the corner of Broadway and Fowler avenues, had its origins in Protestant missionary work among Czech immigrants in Cleveland in the early 1880s. In 1883 a Bohemian Mission Board of Cleveland was incorporated to coordinate the work of Cleveland Congregational churches with the Bohemian colony, and in 1884 Bethlehem Church was built at the corner of Broadway and Fowler.