New life for former St. Louis Church
The new year welcomes a new congregation to Cleveland Heights. Imani Temple Ministries now proudly occupies the former St. Louis Parish buildings, which became available when the Catholic diocese closed St. Louis and more than 50 other parishes last year. The five-acre campus on North Taylor Road includes a newly renovated sanctuary, a school building and the former rectory.
Imani Temple Ministries, led by Rev. Dr. Rodney S. Thomas, is a non-denominational, Bible-based church, welcoming people of various faith traditions. The church was founded by Rev. Thomas in 2001 with 55 members and now has about 500 active members from African Methodist Episcopal, Baptist, Catholic and other backgrounds.
Imani, meaning “faith” in Swahili, initially held services in a Bedford funeral home before moving to other temporary homes at Lutheran East High School and, most recently, Temple Tifereth Israel. As it grew, the church considered several sites around Greater Cleveland, including former commercial properties and other closed churches, and even considered purchasing land and building. Ultimately, however, the congregation felt that God had led them to the St. Louis location. The sale was completed nine years to the day from the founding of Imani.
“We thank St. Louis and its parishioners for their many years of ministry to this community,” said Pastor Thomas. “We found the church to be beautifully preserved and cared for, and we hope to carry on that same sentiment as we occupy this place.”
Imani is appreciative of the warm welcome Cleveland Heights has extended and looks forward to future collaborations. “Cleveland Heights has many churches doing great ministry, bold ministry, innovative ministry, and they inspire me to want to do even more of the same type of people-focused ministry,” Rev. Thomas said.
The church plans to be open and available to the community for activities for young people and for civic and municipal functions. For example, the Woodside Childcare Center is housed in the facility.
Imani Temple sees a ministry of love through actions as a part of its mission, and, in keeping with this philosophy, serves the spiritual, as well as the practical, needs of the community. The church has worked with homeless shelters, drug rehabilitation facilities, and women and children in crisis.
Imani Temple Ministries welcomes the community to attend its 10 a.m. Sunday services, 6 p.m. Tuesday prayer meeting and bible study, and other weekly opportunities for worship and service. Visit www.itm1.org for further information.
Audrey Wynne is a public relations professional with the Fairmount Group and a member of the FutureHeights board of directors.