The President's Corner
This month I return to my series on Parma’s Places of Worship, spotlighting Good Shepherd United Methodist Church located at 5930 State Road. On Ash Wednesday, prior to 7:00 pm services, I had the honor of meeting with their pastor, Rev. Dr. Tim Morrison. Below is what I learned about him and the parish he leads.
Rev. Morrison grew up in northeast Ohio and is a graduate of Medina High School. He became the Lead Pastor at Good Shepherd last July and has also served parishes in Cuyahoga Falls, Berea, Elyria and Spencer. He is carrying on the family tradition, as his father was a pastor, as well. In fact, his father was associate pastor at Ridgewood United Methodist Church on Ridge Road in the late 1970s. He shared that his family resided in Parma from the time he was about 6-months old to about 3-years old. An undergraduate at Otterbein College, he graduated from Boston University with a Master of Divinity and achieved a doctorate in Campus Ministry from Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington, D.C. His wife, Lisa, is a pastor in Lorain. The two have three young children. “I've kinda fallen in love with Perla's Pierogis. I will often be found at Panera or Starbucks sermon writing. Then the Metro Parks are a great place to just be with God,” Rev. Tim mentions on his website.
Founded in 1927 in a former schoolhouse in Parma Village - building number 6 - Good Shepherd Church was soon built on the corner of State Road and Forestwood Avenue and dedicated in 1930. During its early years, the church was designated a “Sunday stop” by the Cleveland Railway Service, which ran the State Road “Dinky” streetcar. As Parma grew, so did Good Shepherd. In fact, in 1949, the north wing was added to accommodate growing Sunday school classes. Soon, State Road Elementary School was using the building during the week to accommodate the burgeoning number of baby boom children in the community. Then in 1956, a third floor was added to the education wing, as well as the north façade. Finally, in 1967 another renovation took place and the glass-enclosed Forestwood entrance and foyer was added.
Rev. Tim shared that the Methodist Church does not build their own schools. Instead, “we have a tradition of fully supporting our public schools, including their levies.” The protestant United Methodist Church was once two different churches which merged in 1968: the Methodist Episcopal Church, of which Ridgewood United was once a part, and the Evangelical United Brethren Church, under which Good Shepherd was originally founded. Today, there are over seven million members and the United Methodist Church is the third largest Christian denomination in the United States. Many will recognize the United Methodist Church’s flame logo, which represents the work of the Holy Spirit throughout the world, while the two parts of the flame represent the union of the predecessor denominations.
“We are committed to connecting with the community,” Rev. Tim said of his congregation. For instance, they have a children’s playgroup that is open to all families in the community with children ages five and under. They hold story time at the Parma libraries, visits to the new Make Believe family fun center on Day Drive, dances, and many other fun social activities. The church has also opened its doors to over a dozen support and recovery organizations, such as Nicotine Anonymous, an Alzheimer’s support group, and various Alcoholics and Narcotics Anonymous groups. Good Shepherd also holds Sunday school for all ages and has a 9:15 a.m. traditional Sunday service, as well as an 11:25 a.m. modern service that includes a live band.
In closing, I wish to thank Rev. Tim for taking time, especially on such a busy day, to educate me on his parish and faith. Clearly, his flock is in good hands. To find out more about Good Shepherd visit their website at www.gsumparma.com or call 440-884-9090.
Parma City Council President Sean Brennan