Lorain County Church History Book Becomes Popular Summer Reading | National life


A new book on the history of the various religious congregations in Lorain County has become a popular option for summer reading, its authors said.

“Celebrations of Faith: A Century of Worship in Lorain County, Ohio” was released this spring through the Lorain County Sacred Landmarks Initiative.

It contains photos and brief stories of nearly 100 congregations that have been active for at least 100 years, many in buildings that have served generations of worshipers.

The editors of the book were thrilled – and even hinted that a second impression could take place if sales continue.

“Celebrations of Faith: A Century of Worship in Lorain County, Ohio” is the new volume published by the Lorain County Sacred Landmarks Initiative. The book traces the history of churches and congregations that are at least 100 years old and still active in the county. The book is on sale at local historical societies and the Sacred Landmarks Initiative will share the profits with these organizations as a fundraiser.

On June 29, some of them gathered for a publication party with snacks and cold drinks on the porch of the Lorain County Historical Society’s Hickories Museum.

The group included the president of the Sacred Landmarks Initiative, David Simmer, co-author Jackie Kokai, also a board member of the Lorain County Historical Society, and Cheryl Piper, who helped launch the initiative as professor of religion at Lorain County Community College.

Amanda Davidson, the company’s education and touring coordinator, handled sales.

“It’s a great piece of history,” Piper said.

It was a group effort, she said, and she thanked Simmer for his work on the project.

“To David’s credit, he kept this alive during COVID,” Piper said, referring to the novel coronavirus pandemic.

“But it was fun, it was fun,” Simmer said.

So far, the book has sold well to the Lorain Historical Society, the Lorain County Historical Society, and the Oberlin Heritage Center.

Editions were on sale to the North Ridgeville Historical Society and the Spirit of ’76 Museum in Wellington, home of the Southern Lorain County Historical Society.

Another dozen buyers came that day.

The atmosphere was nostalgic with childhood memories.

But, the book sheds light on current congregations, not just those of the past.

“I represent the Nativity here, we are the best church in Lorain County,” said David Arredondo, reader and choir member at the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary Catholic Church in central Lorain.

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David Arredondo de Lorain opens “Celebrations of Faith: A Century of Worship in Lorain County, Ohio” to see his church, Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary Parish, on June 29, 2021. The Lorain County Historical Society hosted a publication party who day for the book, available for sale there and at other local historical societies.

Arredondo bought a copy for Reverend Robert J. Glepko, pastor there.

Arredondo said he claimed the Nativity was “the most beautiful church in Lorain County, hands down.”

A number of other churches in Lorain had similar historical natures.

But many were closed when the Catholic Diocese of Cleveland closed its doors or merged parishes in 2009, said Arredondo, who is also executive chairman of the Lorain County Republican Party and charter commissioner for the city of Lorain.

Cindy and George Hasko attended as members of the Lorain County Historical Society.

They love local history, so they were all ready to buy a copy, said Cindy Hasko, who was born in Lorain but raised in Elyria.

They described their personal experiences as members of the Lutheran Church of Saint John of Elyria, which dates from October 1852.

George Hasko grew up attending church services when the church was located on Broad Street and West Avenue.

This lot is now the Burger King parking lot in downtown Elyria.

As the parish grew, the church purchased its current location at 1140 W. River Road and dedicated the current church in May 1968.

It became known locally as “the Church of the Mall,” for being down the street from Elyria’s Midway Mall, the Haskos said.

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