Pastor: Rev. Dr. Gene McAfeeThe pretty pooch in the pic is Chloe, my beagle mix, with whom I share the Bachelor Parson’s Pad in South Euclid, along with feline littermates, Phoebe and Boaz. They are among the chief loves of my life. So is church, and I feel crazy blessed to be, with my friend and colleague, Francis Miller, co-pastor of the newly formed Lyndhurst Community of Faith Church. Our consolidated PC(USA) and UCC congregation is breaking new ground in the eastern suburbs of Cleveland, and the chance to be church in a new way gets me out of bed every morning and keeps my attention all day long. For a pastor eager to help the church be the Body of Christ on earth, what’s not to love about such a calling? As Psalm 16:6 says, “The lines have fallen to me in pleasant places.” I’m a lifelong learner, so places like libraries and bookstores are favorite haunts when I’m not working. I’m also a lifelong tree hugger, having learned as a Boy Scout to feel completely at home in God’s unbuilt creation. I love exploring my surroundings, and I’m endlessly curious (Why is that street named that? What is that style of architecture called? What’s down that aisle?). I love to express love by feeding people, and I default to comfort food. I hope my last meal is a crowded Sunday dinner of baked chicken and dressing (Italian Sunday gravy would be groovy, too). If I miss a day riding my bike, I feel it. Over a span of nine years, I visited all of Ohio’s eighty-eight county courthouses. I’ve organized three educational trips for the Faith UCC congregation and friends, and I’m eager to organize another, tentatively planned for 2024 to Italy, Greece, and Turkey. When I’m in the mood, I write with a fountain pen. Born in Springfield, Ohio, I grew up as part of my older brother’s family in southern Indiana, my parents having died before my ninth birthday. I served Faith UCC in Richmond Heights for eighteen+ years before our union with Lyndhurst Community Presbyterian Church to become LCFC. Prior to becoming Faith’s pastor, I served churches in Edinburgh, Scotland, Cambridge, MA, and Block Island, RI.
Pastor: Rev. Francis P. Miller IIAs “Co-Pastor/Head of Staff,” Francis has the opportunity to work with the congregation in fulfilling its particular way of being a church. He is most often seen at “at work” when leading worship — that is, calling the community to notice and honor the presence of God in our lives. He does so by working with Gene, Colleen, Keith, and Chris to shape the words, rituals, and songs that help us express our gratitude that God loves us and claims us for who we are. During that time he enjoys extrapolating from bible stories ways we can live our lives in a manner that fulfills the greatest commandments offered by Jesus: to love God with our whole heart, soul, mind, and strength. And, likewise, to love our neighbor as we love ourselves. Francis also greatly appreciates visiting with members of the congregation either one-on-one or in small groups or in committees. He finds it amazing when out-of-the-blue conversations turn into something that deepens relationships. Connected to his work with LCFC, Francis is blessed to participate with the work of the Presbyterian Church (USA) in the Committee on the Self-Development of People. Through small grant opportunities, SDOP partners with groups of people who are about empowering themselves in the midst of their community. Francis is also a co-founder of the Dougbe River Presbyterian School of Liberia. Founded in 2012, DRPSL is a pre-K through 9th grade school in a rural area of the country where there was no access to school. The school’s motto, “Education is Light,” pretty well sums up what Francis loves about his work — accompanying people in discovering the hidden treasures of life and in God. Fancis is married to Celinda, and with her has three young adults, Adrian, Lillian, and Elliot. Their greatest joy is heading out and seeing the world. Somewhere in their house is a checklist of the US National Parks they’ve visited, with an eye on completing the list someday. When not camping in the parks, hiking the trails in NE Ohio does just fine. They love exploring the diversity of natural and urban areas to be found around the City of Cleveland. The family enjoys participating in and watching all manner of sports. Currently, soccer has a hold on the family, and wherever the children are participating in matches there’s a good chance Francis and Celinda will be there. Finally, Francis enjoys seeing things through the lens of his phone camera. Wherever he’s moving about, one of his spiritual disciplines is keeping an open eye for beauty whether big or small.
Music Director: D. Keith StiverD. Keith Stiver was raised in Youngstown, Ohio, and attended Youngstown State University where he earned his BFA in Musical Theatre Performance. He later earned two Master of Music degrees from YSU in Music History and Conducting. He has sung in church since he was about 10 but began his work as an organist and choir director in 1985 at Struthers Presbyterian Church. Since then Keith has served congregations of several denominations, which broadened his knowledge of the various traditions of hymnody and church music. In addition to singing and playing piano and organ, Keith is a published composer with several commissions to his credit. Outside of his church work and composing, Keith is an adjunct professor of music at Cuyahoga Community College, Western Campus, and runs the Stiver Voice Studio in South Euclid. He lives in Parma with his husband Marc and their chihuahuas Sebastian and Junior.
Collaborative Keyboardist: Mikhail (Mike) GrazhdanovWe are very pleased to welcome our new keyboardist and accompanist. Mikhail (Mike) Grazhdanov comes to us from Case Western Reserve University where he is a graduate student working on his Doctor of Musical Arts in Historical Performance Practices. Mike came to the United States from Russia on a Fulbright Scholarship in 2019 to achieve his Master of Music degree in Piano Performance at Cleveland Institute of Music. He previously received a Specialist degree in Piano Performance at the Moscow State Conservatory in Moscow, Russia. He has been serving as substitute organist/pianist in area churches over the past few years.
Faith Formation Coordinator: Colleen BloomColleen is happy to be serving the church for many years in various capacities. Colleen is the Faith Formation Coordinator, leading children and youth ministry as well as special events. Inspired to help others discover more of God’s love and the way of Jesus, she has a passion to get the youth away from the church building. Convinced spiritual formation happens with many unique encounters. Things like service projects, hikes, exploring the history of Cleveland bridges in the flats and even a tour of community murals – each a tool to experience faith in a new way.
As part of worship you may find art installations designed to share a visual expression of God’s story. Beyond Sunday morning classes and youth fellowship she plays a role in community ministry working to grow church mission responding to the call to be the hands, feet of Christ in the world.In 2021 Colleen stepped into the role of Office Admin, she now splits her time doing both. Managing the church office is an extension of ministry offering administration and communication support to church missions, committees as well as the congregation. Beyond life at the church, Colleen’s creative side shines with work as a costume designer for local theaters. Designing mainly for Heights Youth Theatre she has also done exciting work with Fine Arts Association, Dobama Theatre and Playhouse Square. Colleen lives in South Euclid with her husband Rich who works as an Executive Chef (yes, he cooks yummy dinners at home!) They have two adult children, Austin and Joe and savor the time they find together over long weekends, hiking vacations or holidays.