(An Open Letter to City Manager and Members of City Council)
African-American residents have always been a vital part of our identity as a community.
Tom Carroll, Loveland City Manager
120 West Loveland Avenue
Loveland, Ohio 45140
I recently talked with Joe Schickel and Paula Mitchell Oguah regarding the future of the Predestinarian Baptist Church building. As a citizen of Loveland since 1971 and a retired pastor of Prince of Peace Lutheran Church, I’m concerned that we might lose a valuable part of the religious heritage of our community if the church is demolished or even moved to another area of town. (Perhaps the fact that this month marks the 50th anniversary of the organization of Prince of Peace Church has only deepened my appreciation for the contribution our churches have made to the people of this area.)
The Predestinarian Baptist Church is located in the heart of what was the African-American residential nieghborhood of Loveland. Cobb’s Grocery Store, a center of business and social exchange, was located nearby. There is vital history in that neighborhood of which many newer Lovelanders may not be aware. To the best of my knowledge there is presently no building or designated site preserved to help us remember that period of Loveland life.
The African-American residents may not represent a large portion of our Loveland population but are (and always have been) a vital part of our identity as a community. I have fond memories of ecumenical worship services that involved members of Predestinarian Baptist Church.
It’s my understanding that the Loveland Predestinarian Church Preservation Committee has already gathered significant commitments of financial support that would enable the purchasing of the building from the City of Loveland and the renovation of its interior. There are many creative ways the building could be used (e.g. perhaps as an extension of the neighboring arts facility) while still keeping its historical importance. (I would hope that inside the church there would be a display commemorating the church’s ministry and its place in the context of the black community.)
I’m sure that many other Loveland clergy would agree with me as I encourage you and the Loveland Council to give serious consideration to the preservation of the Predestinarian Baptist Church and the property on which it is strategically located. Please allow the Preservation Committee to obtain it and develop its potential for so much good in our city and our memory of its past.
Appreciative of the challenges and opportunities you face daily at City Hall,
Pastor Tom Stroeh
c.c. Members of City Council
Tom Stroeh is a resident of Loveland and was for many years the senior pastor of the Prince of Peace Lutheran Church in Loveland