New to Forest Hill?
Here’s some info to help you get the most out of your visit to Forest Hill Church.
We’re on the corner of Lee and Monticello Boulevards in Cleveland Heights, on a large triangle of land across from Forest Hill Park and the Cleveland Heights Recreation Pavilion.
Click here for DIRECTIONS AND MAPS.
Sunday mornings are our most important gathering of the week. The service starts at 11:00am (10:00am during the summer) and usually lasts about an hour.
Plan to arrive a few minutes early. Grab a donut in Fellowship Hall until the service begins. This is a great opportunity to meet other church goers.
Get ready to sing (or at least follow along.) This congregation loves to sing. We sing from hymnals, not video screens, using actual music not just the words.
Sign in! Toward the end of the service, everyone signs their name on their pew’s Fellowship Pad. Signing in and passing the pad up and down the pew helps us get to know each other better, letting us greet old and new faces by name. We promise no salespeople will call (unless you leave a note asking for one!) And we never embarrass newcomers by asking them to stand or otherwise draw attention to themselves.
WHERE SHOULD I PARK?
Most people park in the lot behind the church. There’s plenty of space, a couple of special spaces for visitors, and of course handicap spaces.
First-time visitors sometimes prefer to park in the street along Monticello or Lee.
WHICH DOOR SHOULD I USE?
If you park in the street, enter through the main front doors.
These doors lead into the back of the sanctuary where ushers can help you find a seat and answer any questions you may have.
If you park in the lot, use the doors under the covered entrance closest to Lee Rd.
Greeters just inside can show you to our welcoming Fellowship Hall for donuts and fair-trade coffee, to the Christian Education wing for your kids, or directly to our Sanctuary.
Or you can follow the corridor that leads past Fellowship Hall on your right until you reach the sky-lit courtyard lobby area.
From the lobby, go up the 3 steps (or take the wheelchair accessible ramp) to the bulletin board area listing upcoming events.
Make a left and the sanctuary will be immediately to your right.
Don’t worry–there are lots of signs and plenty of friendly people willing to help.
WHERE DO MY KIDS GO?
Greeters can help you find the right room for your children from birth through teens.
View our Floor Plans here.
IS THE BUILDING FULLY ACCESSIBLE?
The Fellowship Hall, Sanctuary and classrooms are on different levels but ramps and stairway lifts provide wheelchair access. Read more here.
Our services are a relaxed blend of traditional and contemporary worship styles designed to challenge your thinking, spur your spiritual growth, and nudge you to respond.
WHAT YOU’LL SEE
Attire ranges from jeans and t-shirts to coats and ties and everything in between. You’ll find all ages – from infants to grandparents and beyond. The congregation includes students and scientists, actors and authors, weavers, waitresses, professors, painters, bankers and bookkeepers.
Some live nearby–in Cleveland Heights, East Cleveland or University Circle. Some live farther away–in Lyndhurst, Mayfield, Richmond or Shaker. Still others travel from as far away as Bainbridge, Mentor, Solon, Hudson, Westlake, even Berea and Painesville. But no matter our age, occupation, address, or the color of our skin, we have one thing in common: a desire to know and connect with God, the world, and each other.
WHAT YOU’LL HEAR
You’ll hear exceptional sermons full of humor and grace that “afflict the comfortable and comfort the afflicted.” Our pastors take turns in the pulpit – touching heads and hearts, changing lives for service and praise. Learn more about our Worship here.
The music is diverse, varied and excellent. Music Director Anne Wilson presents an ever-changing repertoire of the best in sacred music–from classical to contemporary. We sing a broad range of hymns, from old favorites to brand-new songs. Our professional-quality choirs and ensembles bless us with every musical genre imaginable. Learn more about our Music here.
INFANTS AND TODDLERS
Childcare is available for infants and toddlers, although young children are welcome in worship as well. If you choose, you can participate fully and joyfully in worship knowing your babies are safe and secure in our professionally staffed Nursery and Toddler rooms. The worship service is broadcast into the nursery so you can listen to the service if you prefer to remain in the nursery with your infant. See Nursery & Childcare.
Children in grades 1 – 5 generally join their parents in the sanctuary for the first part of worship. Most Sundays, they leave before the sermon to participate in our workshop rotation Sunday school program: Pathways to the Promise Land. (Adult “shepherds” leave with the children to make sure every child gets to the correct classroom.) But on Communion Sundays, usually the first Sunday of each month, they remain in worship for KISS (Kids in Sunday Service.) They can pick up a worship bag with activity booklets from an usher on the way in.
The Pathways Bulletin Board just outside the front of the sanctuary lists the exact schedule for each rotation. See Children’s Education for more Pathways info.
YOUTH EDUCATION & FELLOWSHIP
Middle school (grades 6 – 8 ) and Senior High classes meet separately during the adult education hour from 9:30 to 10:30am for their own age-appropriate class, and worship with the rest of the congregation.
Our Youth Fellowship program, with Bible studies, book discussion groups, game nights, field trips, Sunday night fellowship and an annual summer mission trip, includes everyone in grades 6 – 12. More at Youth Education & Fellowship.
Forest Hill is big enough to offer a variety of worship, education, mission and fellowship programs, but small enough to offer a close community to our members and friends. With 200-250 in worship on Sunday mornings, we’re able to come together for a single worship service. Our adult education programs draw over 70 people a week and our children and youth programs serve about 100 children.
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You can meet the entire staff, including professional qualifications, here but we talked informally with our pastor here.
John Lentz is our Senior Pastor and Head of Staff. We asked him to tell us a bit about himself.
Hmm, let’s see. I was born in Virginia, majored in history at Kenyon, attended Yale Divinity School. I also studied in Edinburgh, Scotland for 5 years. I have a lot of letters by my name but most everyone calls me “John.”
How about family?
I’m married to Deanne. She’s originally from Minnesota but I had to travel all the way to Scotland to meet her! Together we have 3 young adult children: Jack, Meg and Sarah.
What do you do for fun?
I love sports! I grew up with the Redskins, Bullets and Senators, but now I follow the Cavs, Browns and Indians, and any sports my kids are playing. I’m a really bad golfer but I’m always up for a round anyway. And I love to read, all sorts of books from short stories to biographies, and all of the Harry Potter books to the entire Lord of the Rings trilogy.
If you were a movie character, who would you be?
Well, I’d say it would be a toss-up between Indiana Jones and James Bond. I don’t know what the congregation thinks!
What excites you the most about ministry?
The good news of Jesus Christ! It really is good joyful news. I want everyone to discover that they’re “beloved children of God” and then go out and live like it.
Do you have any favorite:
Music? All sorts: blues, classical, Eagles, Springsteen, Bono, Dixie Chicks
Bible verses? Romans 8:28:...all things work together for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose.
Philippians 4:8-9: …whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is pleasing, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. Keep on doing the things that you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, and the God of peace will be with you.
Hebrews 12:1-2:…let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus the pioneer and perfecter of our faith, who for the sake of the joy that was set before him endured the cross, disregarding its shame, and has taken his seat at the right hand of the throne of God.
Heroes? Martin Luther King, Jr., Robert Kennedy, William Sloane Coffin, Abraham Lincoln
What would you say has been your greatest achievement?
It’s probably a toss-up between preaching at the Washington National Cathedral in 2005 or helping Forest Hill win multiple church league softball championships, but I know my greatest achievement has been being able to teach and lead the congregation of this century-old church into new and exciting ways of being the church in the 21st century. Oh! And my kids! (Sorry, kids…)
The people of Forest Hill Church are committed to 5 congregational values:
stemming from the 3 main verbs of our Mission Statement:
DISCOVER ~ CELEBRATE ~ WITNESS
- God’s love, God’s grace, God’s call for our lives
- Who we are, who our neighbors are, and how we can love each other.
- What God wants us to do in the world.
- The Spirit’s presence that lives and dances among us every week in worship,
- The riches we have no matter where we live or what kind of car we drive,
- The love that God gives us so freely by trying to share that love with all.
And we witness:
- To the power Christ has to transform lives, and
- against injustice and intolerance,
- by reaching out and sharing our lives with others.
We don’t stand on street corners passing out pamphlets. We just try to live as Jesus did – humbly, doing justice, loving kindness. We fail a lot, but we keep trying.
The Bottom Line
Whether you’re seeking to:
- discover your spiritual gifts and identify God’s call for your life,
- follow Jesus with joy and integrity,
- live out your faith through social justice, action, outreach, and mission, or just
- connect and make friends for the journey in an atmosphere of trust and acceptance
you owe it to yourself to check out our dynamic, diverse faith community.
No matter where you are on your faith journey, you’ll be accepted and welcomed at Forest Hill as a beloved child of God. Whether you are certain of your beliefs or full of doubt, curious about Christianity or looking for a place to belong and serve, there’s a place for you at Forest Hill Church.