Racial Reconciliation

Our mission of building relationships between diverse individuals and communities began in the 1970s, became a greater priority 2010, and today is the cornerstone of our commitment to Being the Beloved Community. Through our racially diverse Co-Pastors and our commitment to eliminating racial disparities in church leadership, we are working to bridge the divide between, and build personal relationships among, members of diverse races.

Black History Education Team

While this team presents events throughout the year such as our Juneteenth Celebration, its largest event is an intensely educational annual Black History Month highlighting African American experiences and contributions. Learn more about the focus of this year’s event.

Forest Hill Members at a black-owned restaurant during Black History Month

The Race and Inclusion Committee

Led by members Ron Register and Diana Woodbridge, the Race and Inclusion Committee is an inclusive body that acts as an independent advisor on racial inclusion issues to other church ministries through our Session. Members include Cheryl Anderson, Kathy Hanna-Stauffer, Elizabeth Shaw, Jeff Smith, Quentin Smith, Ann Williams, and Co-Pastors Veronica Goines and John Lentz.

The Black Caucus

Established in 2017 and co-chaired by members Elizabeth Shaw and Quentin Smith, the Black Caucus meets to discuss and exchange ideas and information among African American members of our congregation. The Black Caucus sponsors social activities such as movie viewings, group dinners and group visits to community events, as well as activities and initiatives designed to address the pervasive racial inequity in our society. They also sponsor the Black Caucus Book Club, the Racial Equity Buddies Initiative, and The Ron Register Scholarship.

Forest Hill Church Black Caucus

Meeting with Doris Evans from the National Presbyterian Black Caucus

STATEMENT OF PURPOSE The Black Caucus exists to Witness, Affirm, Develop and Empower:

WITNESS to Christ’s transformative and liberating power among individuals and structures locally and globally. We WITNESS by promoting equality, love, caring for those in need, spreading the Word and engaging in fellowship with one another. Our work will embody these principles in all we do.
AFFIRM the black experience, our gifts and talents, and engage the faith community equally and in Christian fellowship. We AFFIRM to support, uplift and validate each other through our history, past and present, and culture. We further AFFIRM to create and build deeper and stronger bonds among us.
DEVELOP leadership among those of black descent. We will DEVELOP leadership by freely sharing our talents and skills; by encouraging participation in leadership roles within the faith community, providing developmental opportunities and mentoring one another.
EMPOWER black members, on staff, in worship, in leadership and the larger congregation. We will EMPOWER ourselves and our brethren by standing together and speaking as one voice by fearlessly advocating equality of opportunity and advancement; by boldly addressing racist acts and demanding proper redress both within our church and the broader community.

Helpful links:

List of Local Black-Owned Businesses and Restaurants
The wealth gap between Blacks and Whites have tripled over the past 25 years.
For blacks between 17 and 20, the effective unemployment rate is 51%

Fair Housing and Wealth Disparity Between Races

Faith communities must do more than pay lip service to equality. Forest Hill Church strives to narrow educational, financial and social gaps between blacks and whites. One of our longest-running ministries as a church has been our efforts on behalf of racial justice and fair housing laws in Cleveland Heights. Learn more about Forest Hill Church’s history at working to find solutions to systemic racial oppression here.

Background on integration and rapid re-segregation in Cleveland Heights
presented by J. Mark Souther, Ph.D. and Susan Kaeser at Forest Hill.

 

 

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