Mount Olive Baptist Church

Mount Olive Baptist Missionary Church has enthusiastically been serving the spiritual needs of the Twinsburg Heights community for over 85 years. Within the three communities only the Twinsburg Congregational Church has a longer continuous history.

Not long after the Heights was established as an African American community within Twinsburg, a small group of residents met to form what would eventually become Mount Olive Baptist Church.

The small group, meeting in the home of John and Emma Mckinney, first organized themselves on May 25, 1932. The group included the Mckinneys, Hiram and Betty Studevant, Louise and Blanch McDonald, acting secretary Christine Golden and Rev. Wilder, who served as the initial chairman.

The congregation held their services in the Mckinney’s home until April 16. 1933 when they relocated to The Church of God in Christ on Eaton Street, where they continued to meet for the next year.

In 1933 though, Charles Brady of the Ravenna Building Co and the developer of Twinsburg Heights, had promised a church to the first minister who purchased a home in the development. Rev. John Ribbins, previously of Cleveland, purchased a home in early 1934 and was awarded a lot on the current church site at the corner of Oxford and Yale. Ribbins’ house, after several remodels, still stands.

Pastor Ribbins capitalized on the standing offer from Charles Brady of the Ravenna Building Company to provide land for a church to the first minister to purchase a house in the Heights.

The men of the community dug and built a basement for the church, volunteering their free labor during the W.P.A. era. On the fourth Sunday in April of 1934, the congregation marched from The Church of God in Christ to the new church and held services their for the first time. The church consisted only of a basement, which would be the congregation’s home for the next three years. And while it has continued to grow over the years, both spiritually and physically, The Church of God in Christ structure no longer exists.

In the spring of 1937 the membership started work on the framework for what was to become the upper sanctuary. It was completed by that winter. In the subsequent years a pulpit area and a choir loft were also added. In 1970 though a major renovation occurred when a front room, church office, choir room, restrooms and a pastor’s study were added.

Mt. Olive, currently led my the Rev. Wallace Thomas, continues to serve the Twinsburg Heights community. The Heights has always been well served by its churches, with six congregations currently residing within the community, but Mt. Olive is the originator.

For more information, check out Mt. Olive’s website.

Sanctuary of Praise International Ministries

In March of 1983 Bishop William B. Smith, Sr. joined the Apostolic Church on Stanford Street.  Over the next decade the church’s congregation, which was very small upon Smith’s arrival, constantly worked at renovating the small facility for it’s quickly growing membership.

The Seventh-Day Adventist Church is located on Stanford Street in the Heights, and was once the location of the Apostolic Church now known as the Sanctuary of Praise on Hadden.

The Seventh-Day Adventist Church is located on Stanford Street in the Heights, and was once the location of the Apostolic Church now known as the Sanctuary of Praise on Hadden.

In April 1994 they choose to break ground on a new facility still within the Heights neighborhood. The new facility, renamed The Sanctuary of Praise, relocated just a few blocks onto Haden Rd.

Over the next decade the Church’s activities continued to grow, requiring the Church to add 7,500 square feet to the original complex.  The expansion including a larger chapel, classrooms, office space and a hall. Now known as the Main Campus, to differentiate from the Southern Campus located in Akron, the new facility has served as the focal point of a number of international ministries, while still being led by Bishop Smith.

Their original facility is now home of the Seventh-Day Adventists and still serves as a Church for the Heights neighborhood.


Congregational and Methodist Churches merged in 1920

In the fall of 1920 Twinsburg’s spiritual needs were met by two churches that had existed almost as long as the community itself.  At that time the two churches merged and most of the small community united under one church.   The spiritual leader of the First Congregational Church during the merger was Rev. William C. H. Moe, who published books during his lifetime on the history of The Congregational Churches, churches in the Western Reserve and church music.  In 1960 he wrote Seeing it Through, An Autobiography of Rev. William C. H. Moe, D.D.  On pages 76 through 81 Rev. Moe, who was also the Twinsburg correspondent to the Hudson newspaper that most Twinsburg residents used to obtain their news, tells the story of how the merger came about:


For nearly 100 years two church organizations–Congregational and Methodist–had

ministered to the spiritual interests of the Twinsburg people. The church buildings

stood about 150 feet apart. Before I arrived as pastor, there had been some discussion

about the possible union of the two churches into a Federated Church. The plan of a

Federated Church was finally abandoned and, since the Congregational Church was a

stronger organization than the Methodist, the members of the latter were quite willing

to become Congregationalists. The people arrived at this decision by themselves.


One thing which led to their final decision for a united work was the frequent change

of pastors in the Methodist Church, Too frequently, desirable young ministers were

transferred to larger churches, and older, less able men sent in their places.


In November, 1920, when I cams as pastor, the Methodist members decided to worship

with the Congregationalists, and Reverend Cobbledick, their minister, having no

congregation, came with them, He continued to occupy the Methodist parsonage and

did considerable visiting among Methodist members. At Easter in 1921 I received into

the Congregational Church all Methodist members and a large number of others by

letter and on confession of faith—102 in all. Dr. R. T. Cross, the pastor emeritus,

shared with me the joy or receiving them. They came forward in four groups, each

group extending from one side of the church to the other.


What was done with the Methodist property? Since it was legally held in the name of

the Conference, it was sold and the proceeds went to the Conference. The Congregational

Church auditorium and parlors were spacious and there was ample room for the enlarged

church membership. The new members were very generous and talented and no church

group in my 57 years was more harmonious.


Ironically, Rev. Moe only stayed in Twinsburg a few years before taking over a much larger church in Connecticut, where he remained for years. In his short time in Twinsburg Rev Moe took part in the newly formed Chamber of Commerce. serving as its treasurer.  He was also the president of the local library association and was news correspondent to the Hudson newspaper.

Twinsburg’s Centennial

1917 marked the centennial of Twinsburg Township. Numerous committees worked feverishly to put together a celebration worthy of the area, its inhabitants, and the founders. The week-long festivities commenced on Sunday, August 4th with church services held in both the morning and early evening on the pageant grounds and concluded the following Saturday with the highly anticipated Pageant. Other activities and events included a dramatization of fifty year old pranks pulled by schoolchildren attending Bissel Academy, family reunions, log rolling, band music, and old time Virginia reels.

One of the highlights of Twinsburg’s Centennial was it’s pageant. The Pageant was a faithful portrayal of the highlights of the area’s first hundred years from the earliest settlers right up to the modern day (or at least what passed for modern at that time). Over a third of Twinsburg’s populance (350 of 900) participated in the pageant, with 1,200 others in attendance.

Billed as a history of a town, in dramatic form, for many it was the high point of the celebration.  The Independent, which was the newspaper of Northern Summit County in 1917, reported that many people “pronounced it the finest pageant they had ever seen.”

The production was so popular it was produced in Cleveland during the following month. It was directed my S. Gertrude Hadlow.

View the Pageant Book here.

The Township of the time was fiercely religious and so was the Centennial. Opening festivities were imbued with a spiritual fervor. Both the Congregational and Methodist churches had hour-long services to kick off the festival. An excerpt from The (Hudson) Independent sums up the religious tone: “Let us come to this service with a keen realization of the meaning of the hour and let the whole community, young and old, render unto God, their Captain, their deepest allegiance and pledge their unfailing loyalty to the great cause of humanity, and show that with malice toward none and charity for all we enter this struggle reluctantly, but as true Americans, obedient to the stern daughter of the voice of God—DUTY.”

According to an article published in the Akron Beacon Journal: “No town in Northern Ohio has greater unity and loyalty among its people.” Unity and loyalty was on full-display for the duration of the preparation and subsequent festivities.