The Friends Church began more than three hundred years ago in England under the leadership of George Fox, a man who experienced a personal relationship with Jesus Christ and spent his life sharing this experience with others. Those early Friends made great contributions to the spiritual and social needs of their country, taking the lead in securing prison reforms, religious liberty, Christian education, and care for the suffering.
Before long the Friends (also called Quakers) began coming to the New World among many other colonists, and soon there were thousands of Friends in America. In 1681 the colony of Pennsylvania was founded by William Penn, a prominent English Quaker, as a refuge from persecution for fellow Quakers.
As other Americans moved west, so did the Friends, taking their faith with them. Among the first priorities for these pioneers was the establishment of a group for worship and a meeting house in which to conduct such worship. By 1812 Friends in Ohio had united to form Ohio Yearly Meeting of Friends. They held their annual meetings in the Mt. Pleasant Yearly Meeting House for many years. Later Damascus became the headquarters and place of meeting. Since 1965 the church has held its annual session in Canton.
In 1971 the name, Ohio Yearly Meeting, was changed. Now known as the Evangelical Friends Church - Eastern Region (EFC-ER), it participates actively in a larger group of Friends worldwide, Evangelical Friends International-North America (EFI-NA).
OUR LOCAL CHURCH…
Born in the heart of God; the Friends Church was established in 1947 as the result of the intercessory prayers of J. Walter Malone, the Cleveland Bible Institute community and the church planting effort of Byron Osborne who formed a congregation in the Village Hall in response to a concern presented by residents and CBI graduate George and Margaret (Langford ‘21) Case that Broadview Heights had no Protestant church presence. With the help of student pastors from Cleveland Bible Institute providing the initial leadership and preaching support, the church fellowship dedicated a basement in 1953 where Sunday School and Worship services were held until 1957 when the church structure was fully completed.
Through the years, both a parsonage and Christian Education building were erected to house the expanding ministries of the church family and meet the needs of the ever-growing community. For nearly two decades, the Friends Nursery School cared for and shaped a generation of young people who to this day recall their experiences with fondness and faith. In addition, ministries such as “Challenger Baseball”, City Mission and other community outreach opportunities were either formed by or have benefitted from the ongoing involvement of the Friends Church.
Through eventual trials, a core group of members remained committed to Christ, His Church and their community by weathering a season of challenge and change through: steadfast prayer, the generous support and encouragement of their sister congregation in Willoughby Hills along with the love and leadership of the Yearly Meeting. As a result of their faith and God’s faithfulness: help came, healing occurred and hope was restored.
Building upon that “Solid Rock” foundation, today’s church continues to grow and carry out the Great Commission through its obedience to the Great Commandment. With a love for God and a love for others; weekly worship services, Sunday school, Bible fellowships, community involvement, conferences, VBS, youth group, special events, extensive music ministries and the weekly radio outreach, “In The Name of The Lord” celebrating its 14th year of broadcasting, are all aimed at “exalting Christ, edifying the church and evangelizing the lost.”
Known as “a small church with a big heart” the Broadview Heights Friends still places high priority on its earliest focus of ministering to individuals, meeting community needs and making church more than just a place to meet; but a place from which people are sent! From its very beginning, the Friends Church was, is and will by the grace of God continue to be “A GREAT PLACE TO “B” through its unchanging commitment to: BELIEVE in God’s Word, BELONG to God’s Family, BECOME more like Christ, BUILD God’s Kingdom, BRING Others to Jesus and BOW to God’s purposes and live in His power! With this clear understanding and a broad vision of Christ’s Church reaching far beyond its own four walls and city limits, Friends Church takes great joy in seeing the move of God around the world and in serving Christ; right where they’re at and however He leads…until He comes again!
PASTORS THROUGH THE YEARS...
Willard Persons 1947
James & Doris Morris 1948
George Mighells 1950-1951
Howard Jacob 1951-1954
A.W. Langley 1954-1958
Paul Ryser 1958-1962
Hiram Bridenstine 1962-1968
John O. Grafton 1968-1980
David Anderle 1980-1982
Norman Anderson 1982-1987
Ted Barnes 1987-1989
Greg Bierbaum 1989-1996
Chad DeWeerd 1997-Present
The name "Friends" comes from Jesus' words in John 15:12-15:
"You are my friends if you do whatever I command."
The name Quaker, originally an insult, became a symbol of integrity as Quakers were known for:
- Support for religious and political freedom (including women ministers)
- Opposition to slavery
- Honesty in business
- Humane treatment of criminals & compassion for the mentally ill
Opposition to war, but aid to war victims and others in distress.