Size of Congregation:
Infant Mortality, Hypertension, Health Technologies, Sickle Cell Dease
Sickle Cell Foundation, American Heart Association
Avon Avenue Baptist Church
On Sunday, July 2, 1967, a group of Christian believers led by the Reverend Thomas Edison Chapman, gathered at the Adriatic Hall on Avon Avenue in Cleveland, Ohio for the purpose of formally organizing into a Baptist church. Under the guidance of a council of seven local pastors, 101 persons became members of the newly formed fellowship. Rev. Chapman was officially elected as pastor of the congregation, for which the name Avon Avenue Baptist Church was suggested and approved.
The formative years, 1967 through 1972 were important years in the life of the church. The foundation was laid for the future on-going of Avon Avenue Baptist Church. A powerful preacher and visionary leader, Pastor T. E. Chapman lead Avon forward in both spiritual and physical growth, as well as community service. Under his leadership, many souls were led to Christ, and many sons and daughters of the church entered into ministry as preachers, teachers, deacons, and missionaries.
Pastor Chapman had a God-given vision to build a new facility for worship and Christian education on property the church owned adjacent to the original meeting place. In 1978, the congregation paid off the mortgage for the original church building and parsonage, and witnessed the ground breaking for the new sanctuary, Through years of prayer, sacrificial giving, and tireless work, the vision became reality in January 1991 when Avon Avenue Baptist Church marched into a newly built sanctuary.
On January 7, 1995, the Lord called Pastor T. E. Chapman from labor to eternal reward, after his 28 years of leading God’s flock at Avon. The Reverend Frank J. Mickens was then named as interim pastor. Rev. Mickens had served as a deacon at the founding of the congregation, then after acknowledging his calling to the ministry served faithfully as an associate minister under Chapman.
In January 1996, the Avon Avenue congregation, by the leading of the Holy Spirit, elected Reverend Frank J. Mickens as pastor. The continuity of his leadership and his kind & humble demeanor allowed for a smooth transition as the church neared it’s 30th anniversary. A man dedicated to the Word, prayer, and family, Pastor Mickens’s teaching and preaching stirred the hearts and convicted the minds of many, and Avon continued to grow in number and in spirit. As the church moved into the 21st century, The Lord’s Spirit raised up more ministers in the congregation, and Rev. Mickens thoughtfully and faithfully taught and prepared them to serve.
In January of 2006, almost exactly 11 years from Pastor Chapman’s death, Pastor Frank J. Mickens went home to be with the Lord. After a period of reflection & remembrance, the Avon Avenue church family entered into a prayerful search for a new pastor. On Sunday, January 21, 2007, Dr. Herbert Gater Jr. was elected as the successor to Pastor Mickens.
Pastor Gater, a lively & dynamic preacher, brought enthusiasm for the continuation of the ministry’s work. His first year of service also marked the fortieth anniversary of Avon’s beginnings. The Lord blessed the congregation with the ability to pay off the remaining mortgage on the sanctuary that July; and to celebrate the anniversary, Pastor Gater and the congregation performed a Mortgage Burning Service during the 40th Anniversary Celebration in August. Dr. Gater preached and taught faithfully for seven years before stepping down in November 2014.
Once again, The Lord had made preparation for Avon’s spiritual needs. This time in the person of Minister Donald Turner. A longtime member of Avon, Turner was ordained as a deacon in 1979, serving under Pastor Chapman then Pastor Mickens until his calling to ministry in 2003. In January 2015, the congregation voted for the ordination of Donald Turner (which took place on February 8, 2015), and he began to serve as Interim Minister. A true worshipper with a mind to study God’s word and a heart to serve God’s people, Reverend Turner is known and loved within the Avon Avenue Baptist Church family, even to this day.
The Avon Avenue Baptist Church family sought God’s will diligently over the course of months, then years, during the next pastoral search. After much prayer, fasting and discussion, Avon elected Mark David Ribbins to serve as the congregation’s fourth pastor in July 2018.