Church Workday: Saturday, May 6

April 19, 2023 Antoinette Richardson

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Racial Equity Buddies Book Club

April 11, 2023 Antoinette Richardson

A Few Interesting Facts About Ancient African Kingdoms

Join us Saturday morning, April 29 ( via Zoom)  from 10:30 to noon (when we will discuss the book African People in World History, by John Henrik Clarke.  To request the Zoom link you can email racialequitybuddies@fhcpresb.org,  sign up on BREEZE or call the church office. 

Are you aware of the numerous African kingdoms south of the Sahara?  Africa and her people have been deliberately mischaracterized as having no culture, history, or civilization prior to the intervention of Europeans beginning in the 15th century. However,  civilizations and kingdoms like Benin, Zimbabwe, Mali, and the Kongo will disabuse you of that notion and enlighten you about Africa’s glorious past.

Following are some images and a brief synopsis  (with links to supporting articles) of a few of the African civilizations we will discuss on April 29. We hope you will join us. 

Benin 1200s-1800s

According to the 1974 edition of the  Guinness Book of Records, the Walls of Benin were the “world’s largest earthworks carried out prior to the mechanical era.” Elsewhere, it is claimed that they were “four times longer than the  Great Wall of China  and consumed a hundred times more material than the Great Pyramid of Cheops.” Furthermore, it is asserted that the walls “extended for some 16,000 km [9,942 miles] in all, in a mosaic of more than 500 interconnected settlement boundaries,” and that it covered an area of 6,500 square kilometers (2,510 square miles). This grand project is thought to have been carried out completely by the Edo people, and it took an estimated total of 150 million hours to complete  (Ancient Walls of Benin were four times longer than Walls of China. Destroyed by British in 1897 | The African History).

(Representational image, not the actual walls of Benin) Before the earthwork and stone walls of Benin, the ancient city was still walled off using wood and brush.)

The Kongo Kingdom, 1301-1665 

This kingdom and civilization reveal the sophistication, political, military, technological, and economic advancement and structure of these African people. (The Kongo kingdom | Royal Museum for Central Africa – Tervuren – Belgium (africamuseum.be).   

Dom Miguel de Castro was an ambassador of the Kongo kingdom in the Netherlands in the 1640’s.
Painting by Jasper Beckx (active ca. 1627-47). Oil on canvas, 75 x 62 cm. Statens Museum for Kunst, Copenhagen 

Below marble portrait bust of Antonio Manuel, ambassador of the Kongo in Rome. Bust made by Francesco Capatore (1606-1630) and kept  at the Battistero di Santa Maria Maggiore, Rome

Kingdom of Zimbabwe, 1200-1450 AD                                                                         

Kingdom of Zimbabwe (1220-1450 AD) – Think AfricaThis civilization was built on trade, mainly of ivory and gold, which fuelled the economy of the kingdom. They were also expert stonemasons, and examples of their centuries-old construction and stone artifacts are still standing tall to this date  

ABOVE: Aerial photograph from Wikimedia Commons of a portion of the ruins of the sprawling medieval city of Great Zimbabwe in southeastern Zimbabwe        

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Justice & Mission invites you to lunch!

April 5, 2023 Antoinette Richardson

Justice & Mission invites you to lunch – on April 16, after worship!

The ministry of Justice & Mission (“J&M”) invites all FHC members and friends involved in justice work to join us for lunch on Sunday, April 16, after worship. So many folks in our community work, organize and volunteer to “respond to injustice and human need” through “acts of mercy and justice” through personal volunteering, church volunteering, community work, and our professional jobs, as well. On April 16, we’ll gather to share a simple meal, pray together, connect across our projects, and share updates with each other. We hope you can join us, and we welcome you sharing this invitation and information with others – we know there are SO MANY folks who might be interested. 

Let us know if you’re interested and can join us – more info and RSVP: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSfx8yPBVcvWJT2Gy6FZTmHfd0n-3jb7e0F2oQrCmkDGG6TbOA/viewform

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Guest Preacher, April 30, 2023

March 29, 2023 Antoinette Richardson

Rev. Dr. Kimberly Wagner will be our guest preacher
on Sunday, April 30.

The Rev. Dr. Kimberly Wagner serves as the Assistant Professor of Preaching at Princeton Theological Seminary. She received a B.S. in Secondary Life Science Education from Miami University (OH), an M.Div. from the Candler School of Theology at Emory University, and her Ph.D. from the Graduate Division of Religion at Emory University. Though she has served among the Lutherans and was educated among United Methodists, Dr. Wagner is ordained as a Minister of Word and Sacrament in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). Previous experience on the pastoral staff of a PCUSA congregation in Virginia helps fuel and inform her present scholarship and teaching. She is passionate about supporting students’ formation and helping clergy and communities navigate the realities of an ever-changing world and church. Her current writing and work focus on preaching and ministry in the midst and wake of trauma, particularly thinking about collective trauma, the role of the preacher, and the resources of our Scriptures and faith to respond to these moments. Dr. Wagner’s book, Fractured Ground: Preaching in the Wake of Mass Trauma (Westminster John Knox Press, 2023), offers guidance for preaching in the aftermath of communal trauma, including mass violence, natural disasters, and public health crises. 

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The GenderSphere Support Group 

March 29, 2023 Antoinette Richardson

The GenderSphere Support Group 
Our next meeting: Tuesday, April 18

What is it? A group to support transgender and gender diverse folks of all ages, as well as their family members and allies. 

When: the 3rd Tuesday of each month, 7-9 PM
Where: Forest Hill Church, 3031 Monticello Blvd., Cleveland Heights, OH 44118
Values: We believe that everyone has the right of self-expression. We honor and respect all people who come to our meetings. 
Leadership: Sarah Jackson, Jodi Solomon, and Ann Williams are the planners and facilitators. 
The GenderSphere Support Group is affiliated with Camp Lilac, in honor of gender-diverse children and youth.

If you have any questions, feel free to contact Ann Williams, spiritgrowth@fhcpresb.org.

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Forgive: A study for Lent (2/19-4/2/2023)

February 15, 2023 Antoinette Richardson

Using the Follow Me curriculum during the Education Hour on Sunday mornings (9:15-10:15 AM), we welcome you to join us by Zoom.

The following is a brief description: We forgive because God first forgives us. When we forgive one another, we participate in God’s way of being in the world. At its root, the word forgiveness draws on a Greek word meaning “to let go.” When we forgive one another, we let go of anger over wrong; we let go of a desire for getting even; we let go of the burdens of shame and guilt. To forgive is not to forget; it is an active decision to not live in the past and to build toward a future. Forgiveness does not deny the realities of sin: betrayal, violence, anger, and jealousy. It ensures that wrongs do not have the last word. The final word in forgiveness is God’s grace, available to those who seek to forgive and to move beyond separation and brokenness toward restored relationships with God and one another.

There is an Adult Reflection guide available for pick up in the office. The cost is $9.00 for those who want to contribute to its cost.

A second option for a Lenten study is the class titled -Discovering the Beloved Community in the Gospel of Matthew. This class is already in progress by Zoom on Sunday mornings from 9:15-10:15. Each session is an independent exploration. It is not too late to join. The class would be glad to have you join it.

If you wish to join, please register here: https://fhc.breezechms.com/form/448ccd.

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In Celebration of Women’s History Month 2023

February 15, 2023 Antoinette Richardson

Music She Wrote, March 4 from 4-6 PM

Forest Hill Church Presbyterian

Tea reception and discussion at 4 PM, Fellowship Hall, with Jessica Kelley

Concert at 5 PM in the Sanctuary

We are excited to kick off Women’s History Month with a concert celebrating the works of female composers from the baroque era.  Historically-informed musicians Guillermo Salas-Suárez (violin) and Andréa Walker (soprano) will present a dazzling performance of musical pieces with Qin-Ying Tan on the organ and harpsichord.  In addition, our youth group will present recitations of poetry composed by female writers through the ages during the performance. 

There will be a light tea reception and discussion of women’s civil rights at 4 PM in the fellowship hall before the concert led by CWRU sociology professor Jessica Kelley. 

For more information, don’t hesitate to get in touch with Ying at music@fhcpresb.org.

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The Ministry of Adult Spiritual Growth: Classes and Groups for Winter 2023

December 19, 2022 Antoinette Richardson

For the Winter of 2023, the Ministry of Adult Spiritual Growth is pleased to announce the following classes.

We have tried to balance our offerings of classes in a variety of areas of Spiritual Growth:

We hope these classes will help people connect with each other, building our community of faith.

About Sunday Morning Class times:        

Please note that the starting time for Sunday morning classes is 9:15 AM. This gives us time to complete our classes comfortably and allows people who need to be elsewhere at 10:30 AM to arrive on time.         


Study of the Book of Luke

Facilitators: Kathryn Eloff and Tom Zych

Dates and Times: Sundays, January 8 through February 19, 2023, 9:15-10:15 AM

Format: Hybrid (both in person at church and on Zoom)

Resource Text: We will use the book about the Gospel of Luke, “Good News for All,” from the Kerygma series as a common reading to begin the discussion. In addition, each week, the facilitators will send an email containing reflections and suggested readings from the Bible and other sources.

Class Description: This class continues our long tradition of Sunday morning Bible study. Luke’s Gospel is uniquely inclusive, involving all people. Good News is for the outcast and the establishment, for the religious and those searching. Luke speaks to women, to men, to the strong and healthy, to the weak and dispossessed. Its relevance today inspires faith, spirituality, and action.

To sign up, click here: https://fhc.breezechms.com/form/3a3065.

Follow Me: Biblical Practices for Faithful Living

Facilitators: Ann Williams

Dates and Time: Sundays, January 8 through February 19, 2025, 9:15-10:15 AM.

Format: Meeting by Zoom only, to include people who live outside northeast Ohio.

Resource Texts: “Make Peace” from the Follow Me series, and your own Bible

Class Description: The Follow Me classes are designed to help us to follow practices that Jesus taught for spiritual growth. As we learn about each practice, we will have ample opportunity to share our experiences, encourage each other, and build community.

To sign up, click here: https://fhc.breezechms.com/form/3a3065.

The Gospel of Matthew

Facilitator: Ron Zimmerman

Dates and Times: January 8 through April 2, 9:15-10:15 AM

Format: On Zoom

Resource Text: Your own Bible and Gospel of Matthew: God With Us by Matt Woodley, part of the Resonate series from InterVarsity Press. Though the book is out of print, it is available as an ebook through Amazon and InterVarsity Press(https://www.ivpress.com/the-gospel-of-matthew-ebook).

Class Description: Using the Bible plus the easy-to-read commentary, Gospel of Matthew: God with Us by Matt Woodley, the class will journey through the Gospel, exploring a thematic study on kingdom building (developing a beloved community) with the intent to listen for God’s voice in how to live out an active faith in real-time. 

To sign up, click here: https://fhc.breezechms.com/form/3a3065.

Praying with others through the Challenges of Life

Facilitator: Leslie Clement

Dates and Times: Friday afternoons, 5:30-7:00 PM, January 6- February 10, 2023.

Format: IN person at church

Class Description: Do you long to deepen your prayer life in company with others who have the same longing? Leslie will be sharing a five-part series written by faculty, program directors, and leaders from the Pittsburgh Theological Seminary community.

To sign up, click here: https://fhc.breezechms.com/form/74fa0d190.

Racial Equity Book Club

Facilitator: Quentin Smith

Dates and Times: January 11 and January 28, 10:30 AM-12:00 PM

Format: On Zoom

Class Description: Please join us on January 7 & Jan. 28 (10:30 a.m. to noon via zoom ) when we discuss the New York Times best-seller historical novel Homegoing, by Yaa Gyasi. Ms. Gyasi was born in the African nation of Ghana but raised in America. Consequently, she views Africa and America through unique eyes.

To request the ZOOM link, please email: racialequitybuddies@fhcpresb.org.

About Books for Classes

Many of the books used in the following classes are widely available through local public libraries and major online booksellers. Most are also available in audio format. Inexpensive, used copies can be purchased through used booksellers like AbeBooks.com, Biblio.com, or ThriftBooks.com. Books for the Follow Me and Kerygma classes will be purchased by the Ministry of Adult Spiritual Growth. If you are able, please donate $8 per book to Forest Hill Church, specifying that it is for books for a class. But if this expense would be difficult for you, please consider the book to be our gift to you.

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Christmas Eve Services

December 16, 2022 Antoinette Richardson

Dear Friends, 

The Staff of Forest Hill Church and I wish you a very Merry Christmas! We are blessed to be part of this great congregation. Your commitment to worship, to learning, to hospitality and to both the inner work of prayer and the outer work of justice give testimony to your faith, hope and love. 

May you find a peace that passes all our understanding; a joy that lifts your spirit, a love that carries you through difficult moments. Remember that Christ was born.  He knows the fullness of life, the moments of bliss and the moments of pain. May we all be mindful of others this season.   

I hope you will be able to join us at one of the Christmas Eve services at 5:00 and 11:00.  The early service will be for all ages, with a special focus on the children. The late service will be our community service featuring Eligie!  If 11:00 is too late for you, make sure to tell your friends about it.  

We will be worshiping on Christmas Day at 11:00.  Come casually. We will sing hymns, read scripture, say our prayers and then head home!  

God bless you this Christmas season!  Christ is born!  ~John 

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Racial Equity Buddies

September 22, 2022 Kurt Haas

Facilitators: Lisa Vahey and Quentin Smith
Dates and Times: Saturday mornings, September 17 and October 1, 10:30 AM to 12:00 Noon. (More dates to be decided later.)
Description of Experiential learning opportunity:
A Racial Equity Buddy is a trusted companion with whom one can have difficult discussions on race. Two people agree to talk openly and honestly, without judgment, about their experiences and views regarding race and racism. They agree to meet consistently to listen to each other with open and curious minds.
This concept was introduced to Forest Hill Church about four years ago by a frequent visitor and friend of the church, Professor Mark Joseph, and some Buddies have been meeting for that entire time. They invite you to join them on a wonderful, colorful, discovery tour, learning about hidden historical figures and events while simultaneously learning about your own place in that history.
On Saturday morning, September 17 (10:30 to noon), we will meet on Zoom to continue this important program. New people are welcome to join those who began as Buddies earlier.
To sign up or to learn more, click here.

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