Christmas Gift

Christmas Gifts You Can Share With Neighbors In Need

The need continues for us all to share with our neighbors. Please plan now on how you can help fill the “GIVING TREE.” Parents and grandparents, here is an opportunity to help your children experience the joy of Christmas through giving. Gifts can be placed under the tree starting Nov.27

Here are ways to spread some Christmas joy.

Fairhill Partners

Grandparents raising grandchildren or in some cases, great-grandchildren will truly appreciate your help in providing Christmas gifts, especially for those with stretched budgets. Have fun being a secret angel for one of these grandparents. Just ask Stephanie FallCreek about this program and the joy your gifts will bring.

What you can give:

Check the poster by the tree and choose a child/name to purchase a gift for. Sign your name on the poster so we know who is shopping for that child. The gift you give needs to be under $20. The poster will give you the name of a child, the age, and a suggested gift. Return your wrapped gift clearly marked with the child’s name to the big box under the tree labeled “FairHill” by Sunday, December 10.

Family Promises

Parents living at Family Promise will enjoy going to this temporary store, set up in Their activities room, to choose fitting gifts for their children. There will also be an opportunity for kids to shop for their parents. FBC member April Shepard can tell you the excitement she saw when she delivered your gifts last year as the volunteers, staff, and residents were setting up the “store.” Your donations were truly filling a need.

What you can give:

Mittens, multicultural dolls, cars & trucks, board games, card games, art & school supplies, action figures, puzzles, learning toys, nail polish, baby items, bead and jewelry kits and sweaters of all sizes and for parents, gifts of calendars, daily planners, alarm clocks, and umbrellas. Please place your gifts in an open gift bag, marked “Family Promise” and leave it under the tree by Sunday, December 10.

Hunger Center At Bethany Baptist Church

Think about some of the foods you will need for your holiday meals and buy a few extra things for a family in need. David Cumming will be glad to tell you what they see each month when they deliver your donations as our neighbors in need line up for their bag of groceries.

What you can give:

Soup mixes, canned soups, canned vegetables and fruits, cereal, stuffing, rice, pasta, cake and cookie mix, peanut butter, jam, raisins, pie filling, Jell-O and pudding mix, tea, coffee, hot chocolate mix, etc., can be brought in by Sunday, December 10.

2100 Lakeside Men’s Shelter

The staff at the men’s shelter has asked for our help in providing socks, shoes, and boots. Please check your closet for gently worn shoes, boots, and coats. Pick up some warm socks at your local discount store. These men are out walking every day in all kinds of weather so let’s all help to keep their feet warm.

What you can give:

New socks and gently worn shoes, boots, and coats can be placed in the box marked 2100 Lakeside by Jan 7. Also, the men will truly appreciate your donations of clean, washable winter clothing.

Hot Meal Program At Calvary

Our guests coming to the January hot meal will be delighted with your gifts to brighten & warm their day. About 100 attend our meals so we hope that your generosity will make it possible for each guest to be given one item. Tina Marr and others who help serve each month can tell you how each item distributed, no matter how small, is appreciated.

What you can give:

Gloves, warm hats, and socks for men and women, handkerchiefs, ChapStick, soap, shampoo, lotion, toothpaste, and brushes can go in the box marked Calvary by Jan 5. Toiletries in hotel sizes are acceptable.

Retired Ministers And Missionaries Christmas Offering

Many of these faithful servants worked for very low pay and truly appreciate this bonus gift at this time of year. This bonus check can make it possible for someone to buy a new tire for their car, travel to visit grandchildren or make a needed dental appointment.

What you can give:

You can make your check out to FBC and mark the memo “M & M” or place your contribution in the special envelope provided. This offering will be received through Jan 7.

Chocolate Chip Cookies

Kairos Prison Ministry Cookies

Monday, March 5th, we invite you to help support this ministry in which the impact has been incredible. One example is that there were at least six fights among inmates each month at the Ohio Trumbull County Jail. Now with the influence of Kairos, there has been just one a month. Let’s help support Brian Broadbent along with his team as they lead a Fall retreat at the prison. Delicious home-made cookies have become an important part of each retreat.

Please complete the form below to be added to the mailing list, if you have questions or would like more information.

  • The types of cookies that are needed are Chocolate Chip, Oatmeal, Peanut Butter, and Sugar.
  • Cookies should be between 2 and 2-1/2 inches in diameter and not more than 1/2 inch thick.
  • It is very important not to use icing, sugar or any other type of coating on the outside of the cookie. Do not add any kind of fruit or nuts to the cookies.
  • Bag thoroughly cooled cookies in a quart size zip-lock bag, a dozen cookies to a bag.
  • Label each bag with the cookie type inside.
  • Please pray for the individuals that will be eating the cookies you bake.

Please leave the cookies you bake in the Volunteer Office no later than Monday, March 5th.

Martin Luther King Day of Service Jan. 15th

MLK Day of Service

MArtin Luther King Day of Service

After a long struggle, legislation was signed in 1983 creating a federal holiday commemorating the birthday of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Each year on the third Monday in January, the MLK Day of Service is the only federal holiday observed as a national Day of Service – a “Day On, not a Day Off”.

Each year on Martin Luther King Day join us at First Baptist Church as we come together with members of Fidelity Baptist and Church of the Master to honor Dr. King. At 9:00 a.m. our day will begin with a light breakfast and a brief opening devotion. We will then divide into four groups. Two groups will stay at FBC and two groups will go out into the community.

Group 1 – Hymnal singing with residents in nursing care at Judson Park, designed for older kids, teens, and adults.

Group 2 – Interactive fun, winter party with families living at Family Promise, designed for ages from 2 to 92.

Group 3 – The White Cross Bandages project has become a tradition for MLK Day of Service whether we are at FBC or Fidelity Baptist. Ages from 9-90 will have fun working together as we rip and then roll bandages.

Group 4 – A work project inside FBC will be for adults. The group will be doing easy maintenance projects inside the church building.

Noon to 12:45 lunch, 12:45 – 1:15 time to share & reflect on the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. led by Evon Gocan.

The ultimate test of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and moments of convenience, but where he stands in moments of challenge and moments of controversy... MLK, Jr.

Address delivered at Nobel Peace Prize Recognition Dinner, 27 January 1965

Men’s Shelter Wish List

Are your closets too full, with items you really do not need?

In connection with celebrating MLK Day of Service, we are collecting the following items for the Men’s Shelter at 2100 Lakeside.

messy closetITEMS NEEDED

  • Toiletries, full size or hotel size
  • Single Bed Blankets and Sheets
  • Washable Men’s Winter Clothing
  • Boots
  • Shoes
  • Socks
  • Jeans
  • Shirts
  • Sweat Shirts
  • Jackets
  • Winter Coats
  • Hats, Gloves & Scarfs
  • Long Underwear
  • New Underwear

All items should be freshly washed and can be placed in the container found in the Fairmount Hall by Sunday, January 14th or when you attend MLK Day on the 15th here at First Baptist Church.

Ladder in the Sky

The Ladder Chronicles

Cleveland Life Institute Registration Deadline

Registration Ends December 15th for January Classes
Receive a Large Discount Now!

Our Leadership Program

Cleveland Life Institute Uniqueness-
Interactive, socially conscience, community active, experiential, practical, and powerful.

light bulbUniquely Designed Education

Successful leaders know their value lies not only in managing teams and running organizations, but in inspiring others, setting purposeful goals, executing strategic visions, and creating cultures of excellence.

Our program is designed to challenge your current perceptions about leadership and the values through interaction in our group both in the classroom as well as making a difference in our community project.

The Executive Education Program

The Cleveland Life Institute is a faith-based residential executive education program that offers the opportunity to think strategically about guiding organizations to be relevant to culture and relational to the community.

In addition to the interaction of the classroom experience, the student will work collaboratively toward solutions to today’s challenges.

The first year consists of lectures, the design of a class project, implementation of that project in the community and a report to the agency on behalf the project was undertaken.  A critique of the project will conclude the term with recommendations on the continuation of the project for the next class or a spin-off of the project.

The lectures would be presented by industry experts under the direction of a facilitating faculty member who would be assigned to the class for the entire semester and would demonstrate how the various lectures pertain to the topic of the semester and the experiential learning project.

The two-semester program “Skills for Social Entrepreneurs” is the first course to be offered by the School.

Skills for Social Entrepreneurs

The program “Skills for Social Entrepreneurs” has five main objectives:

Ethics and values – Students will understand basic ethical principles for business and for working in our community and will demonstrate the ability to integrate values into all processes and to be responsibly engaged with communities.  Students will also examine their own personal values.

handshake photo

The Social Entrepreneurial Skill Set – Using sophisticated written and oral communication skills and critical thinking skills developed in general education, students will be able to demonstrate competence in each of the following skills essential to entrepreneurship:

  • Opportunity assessment
  • Team building, leadership
  • Negotiation skills
  • Use of basic business skills to further social goals: organization, resource development, planning, growth, management, economic

Cultural, Political, and Social Understanding
—Students will acquire an understanding of social, political, and cultural frameworks, will demonstrate the ability to apply this knowledge to the assessment of issues and problems, and to use this knowledge in making responsible judgments about issues and problems.

Project planning
 — Students will be expected to develop a full understanding of how to create and utilize a project plan that includes sustainability.

Managing and Sustaining an entrepreneurial initiative
 — Students will learn the unique set of skills necessary to guide a project through periods of both growth and decline.


The Cleveland Life Institute program will be offered over two semesters.   Each semester will be 15 weeks in length, meet one time per week for 3 hours.

Semester One  CLELIFE 1001

Introduction to Management Skills for Social Entrepreneurs
Non-profits, governments and social entrepreneurs
Project planning – Program development and assessment
Legal issues and structure
Finance: Fundraising, grant writing, and budgeting
Administrative structure
Measuring and managing performance
Leveraging networks and mentors
Final presentations and conclusions
Group Presentation of Social Venture Feasibility Study
Presentation to agency

Semester Two CLELIFE 2001

The Business Plan
Final presentations and conclusions
Group Presentation of Social Venture Business Plan and the Project.
Deliver a report to the agency on behalf the project was undertaken
Educational Objectives

Semester One

Social Venture Feasibility Study:

The major deliverable for the course is a social venture feasibility study.  The feasibility study will help students determine whether there is potential in their idea for social impact.  The document’s structure and content will mirror that of a business plan, although the purpose is somewhat different.  A business plan is a tool used, among other reasons, to seek resources or financial support.  In the context of this course, a feasibility study is the precursor for a business plan.

According to Andrew Wolk, author of Business Planning for Enduring Social Impact:

“A good business planning process produces an in-depth understanding of a target social problem that results in identifying opportunities that exist to address it.”

Semester Two

Social Venture Business Plan:

The major deliverables for the course is a business plan based on the project identified and validated in the feasibility study and initiating the project.

According to Wolk, “The final product, a complete business plan, demonstrates a commitment to accountability by including a rigorous measurement system for assessing and improving performance.  It also includes a plan for achieving financial sustainability, which ties funding to results and helps to attract funders …”

Examining the work from Wolk’s Business Planning for Enduring Social Impact.

elevator open to downtownElevator Pitch:

Persuasive and effective communication is an essential skill for any social entrepreneur.  Elevator pitches are how social entrepreneurs present themselves to audiences when time is limited but an opportunity awaits.  They are short, persuasive introductions to an idea or organization.  The class will make a two-minute elevator pitch for the new social venture.

Initiating the Project:

The class will initiate to project that was validated by the feasibility study and around which a business plan was created.


Founded with a desire to unite individuals who are passionate about making a difference in our world and to explore their faith in a progressive, interactive environment along with a focus on innovation, the Cleveland Life Institute pursues excellence in our educational experience. It’s unique design of guest lecturers with real world experience in our community advance the kingdom and quality of life for everyone within our community.

We offer two tracks for our first years:

1) Certificate Program

Leadership Certification is a one-year program that will develop your unique capabilities to make an impact on the world and live a life of purpose and fulfillment. The curriculum covers competencies in self-management, teamwork, leadership and professional skills.

Graduates earn a designation on their transcript recognizing their demonstrated excellence in leadership and organization and community involvement.

  • Requirement – High School Diploma or GED equivalent
  • A letter of recommendation for the program.
  • Commitment to the completion of the year.  (This is essential for the interaction of the class and involvement in the project.)
  • Limited enrollment

2) Graduate Level Continue Educational Units (CEU’s)

The Graduate Level CEU’s program is a one-year program accredited by the State of Ohio Department of Higher Educations requirements for CEU’s.  This program is at a high graduate level.  The program provides real-life experiences with personal interaction to offer both a networking quality and real work experience which translates into a wide range of fields and work environments. 

  • Requirements- a College Degree
  • A LETTER OF recommendation for the program.
  • Commitment to the completion of the year. (This is essential for the interaction of the class and involvement in the project.)

(Both the Certificate Program and CEU Program are operational together and meeting the same standards, paying the same tuition and graduation certificates, yet those who qualify for the CEU’s are rewarded with recognized CEU’s.)

Applying to the Program

Applications for the 2017 cohort are being accepted May 1, through August 11, 2017
Submit Your 2017 Cohort Application
Space is limited, please apply as soon as possible.

Campus –

Historic First Baptist Church
3630 Fairmount Blvd. Shaker Heights, OH 44118FBC Level 1 Map

Our Project

 The Educational component of Experiential Education

 “Each day that we live, we’re taking in new information, ideas, concepts, experiences, and sensations. We need to consciously stand guard at the doors of our minds to make sure that whatever we’re allowing to enter will cause our lives to be enriched, that the experiences we pursue will add to our stockpile of possibility.” ~ Anthony Robbins, Awaken the Giant Within

The Power of Experiential Education by Janet Eyler

“Experiential education, which takes students into the community, helps students both to bridge classroom study and life in the world and to transform inert knowledge into knowledge-in-use. It rests on theories of experiential learning, a process whereby the learner interacts with the world and integrates new learning into old constructs.”

The ‘Jesus Method’ as a teacher

Jesus provided us a teaching model based on experiential learning which was gathering a small group of individuals into teaching sessions through life experiences.  The “Jesus Method” incorporates four general points about Jesus’ moral teaching.

The first is that it is aimed at achieving a transformation of moral character; without changing certain traits and attitudes that impede moral responsiveness, moral teaching remains merely exhortative.

Second, moral teaching cannot be moralizing; it must begin with an understanding of moral agency and motivation, and sometimes the way to influence these is not through direct moral instruction, but through other kinds of teaching.

Third, many deep moral insights are gained only indirectly, through reflection on complex and puzzling cases that do not yield simple truths or directives.

Hence, fourth, Jesus’ use of proverbs, allegories, paradoxes, parables and other figurative forms reflects, on the positive side, a desire to cultivate in listeners a breadth and flexibility of moral imagination – and, on the negative side, a willingness to see many listeners misunderstand or not understand at all.

-Nicholas C. Burbules, “Jesus as a teacher.” Spirituality and Ethics in Education: Philosophical, Theological, and Cultural Perspectives, Hanan Alexander, ed. (Brighton: Sussex Academic Press) 2017.

Making a Difference in Our Community

Photograph: Chuck Crow, The Plain Dealer

Each year’s Cleveland Life Institute students will engage in addressing a community issue in partnership with the ongoing work of other programs and governmental agencies.

Our Community Project  (2017-18 ) will be to evaluate and make recommendations for action regarding the problem of abandoned homes and properties in the city of Cleveland. 

Vacant houses, blighted buildings still plague Cleveland, but problem is shrinking: Taking Stock by Michelle Jarboe, The Plain Dealer

How Cleveland’s Vacant Homes Violent Crimes and Lead Poisoning are Linked – CWRU Report by Rachel Dissell, The Plain Dealer

We are in partnership with the City of Cleveland, the Cuyahoga Land Bank, and Western Reserve Land Conservancy to create a network in the faith based community to help in the revitalization of neighborhoods through a project which our students will engage themselves.

This provides a learning environment that represents the opportunity of each class to work though a project over the course of a year to a point of completion. Students will work together along with faculty advisors and community leaders to utilize our faith based community in the process of rebuilding neighborhoods. The exact nature of our role will be presented the the beginning of the school year.

Management abilities, leadership skill, and teamwork projects will provide a learning experience that will find value in our students personal or professional life. 

Few programs incorporate the level of experiential education as we provide. This will be a strong point of our program and a strong addition to our students resume.

Christmas Nativity Pageant

One of First Baptist Church’s most beloved annual traditions, our living nativity brings to life the Christmas story into our sanctuary with a large host of live animals, choirs, soloists, musicians and the newborn baby Jesus. The church fills up as we celebrate with traditional hymns and new selections of music, as we participate together in the celebration of the birth of Jesus.

The Hunchback of Notre Dame

The Hunchback of Notre Dame

Hunchback of Notre Dame

The Hunchback of Notre Dame is a musical based on the 1831 novel of the same name written by Victor Hugo with songs from the 1996 Walt Disney Animation Studios film adaptation.

The musical premiered in 1999 in Berlin, Germany as Der Glöckner von Notre Dame (“The Bellringer of Notre Dame”). It was produced by Walt Disney Theatrical, the company’s first musical to premiere outside the U.S. It ran for three years, becoming one of Berlin’s longest-running musicals.

The musical relies on a series of musical leitmotifs, which are reprised either instrumentally or vocally. Each of the central characters has a theme (“Out There” for Quasimodo, “God Help the Outcasts” for Esmeralda, “Hellfire” for Frollo, and “Rest and Recreation” for Phoebus). “The Bells of Notre Dame” acts as a narrative device to tell parts of the story.Come One! Come All! Here it is, the moment you’ve been waiting for!

Mason Stewart directs this production in our beautiful sanctuary that brings to mind a cathedral in Notre Dame. A sweeping score and powerful story make The Hunchback of Notre Dame an instant classic. Audiences will be swept away by the magic of this truly unforgettable musical.

Production dates for the 7 performances are listed below and tickets will be available shortly so check here for pricing and availability. 

April 13th – 8:00 pm

April 14th – 8:00 pm

April 15th – 2:00 pm

April 18th – 7:00 pm

April 20th – 8:00 pm

April 21st – 8:00 pm

April 22nd – 2:00 pm

Park in the back of the First Baptist Church at 3630 Fairmount Boulevard (at Eaton Road) in Shaker Heights and come in through the Portico Entrance.  We look forward to seeing you! If you have any questions or need more information please complete the form below.


Thanksgiving Food Baskets for Families in Need

Thanksgiving Food Drive

Help is needed to achieve our goal in providing food baskets for about 30 families in need this Thanksgiving.

  • Donate Food: collection boxes and baskets will be in the Fairmount Hallway starting Sunday, October 29 for canned fruits and vegetables, cranberry sauce, gravy, soup, pie filling, peanut butter, tuna, spaghetti sauce, boxes of cereal, instant mashed potatoes, stuffing, corn bread, pasta, rice, Jell-O, pudding, cake mix, coffee, tea, hot chocolate, Bisquick, sugar and flour.
  • Donate Money: to purchase turkeys and fresh produce. Make your checks payable to FBC with the memo, “Thanksgiving Food Drive”, no later than November 15.
  • Volunteer: help shop for the turkeys and fresh produce; potatoes, onions, carrots, celery, apples & oranges for each basket. Help sort food and pack baskets on Monday, November 20 starting at 10:00 am in Spahr Center.
  • Contact: Star Knuckles at or call the church office at 216-932-7480 if you are aware of a family in need of a food basket and/or if you are eligible for discounts on turkeys or produce.
  • Pray: Thank you Lord for providing for our needs and especially for the great abundance of food with which you have blessed us. Open our hearts to participate in this food drive and to share with others that are struggling to provide basic needs for their families.

Contact Joan Mihelich with questions or volunteer using the following form –

Our Prayers Go Out To Sutherland Springs, Texas

Pastor Kregg Burris joined fellow Cleveland area pastors Tuesday, November 7th at the United Pastor in Missions Press Conference to stand united with the church family and community of those of Sutherland Springs, Texas. Our prayers, love, support go out to those families and their community. We also call the churches to come together to action both on a spiritual level, but also on a community level to begin a civil dialogue to publically address the danger of the ease and accessibility of military and assault weapons within the general public.