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6700 Winton Road, Cincinnati, OH 45224 / 513-542-4010

About Us

Our Story

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In October 1960, thirty-three forward-looking Christians jump-started a new congregation in the basement of the Keystone Savings and Loan, holding the first worship service. Under the direction of Rev. Evan Owens, surveys had been done to see if there was a need for a new church in the Finneytown area and members of Forest Chapel, North College Hill, and Groesbeck Methodist Churches had worked together planning and visiting Finneytown residents to bring that vision alive.

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By December 1960, when the church was formally Constituted, Pastor John Ball and fifty-seven “charter members” embodied the faith and energy, which was to shape the Northern Hills identity for years to come. Incredibly, one of those charter members, Donna Medlock, is still fanning the United Methodist flame at Northern Hills.

NHUMCfirsthome

Providentially, a seven and a half acre lot was available just around the corner from the bank and was purchased with money from The Methodist Union of Cincinnati. Ground breaking ceremonies for the new building occurred in November 1962. By September 1963, the new building was finished courtesy of many members who helped with the interior work. And so, the first service was held with the formal consecration in December of that same year.

Another charter member who has since passed on, Flo Morrical, wrote a wonderful memory about that time for our 25th anniversary that bears repeating. “Our architect wanted a stained glass window in the chancel. How I hoped for that window! Poor in dollars we were, believe me, but rich in spirit. I am so glad we got that window, as it has been a real source of beauty to me and others. To me it is a joy to look at that window when the sun shines on those colors and creates lovely pictures; it seems to poetically set the stage for worship. I jokingly almost said to one of our ministers that if the sermon tends to dull, I can always concentrate on that lovely window.”

By 1965 the membership numbers had swelled to 295. By then we had also purchased the Sabino Court parsonage. At that time the programs offered by the church were extensive including: junior and senior high youth fellowship; a woman’s society, a once a month family night dinner and program; an adult group named the Nomads, a vacation bible school, adult and junior choirs, Sunday school classes, and prayer groups. The church was also opened to the community for Boy and Girl Scout troop meetings.

At a time of escalating racial tensions, Northern Hills’ membership also intentionally became an integrated church. Beulah Hill liked to tell the story of how a team from Northern Hills visited them with an invitation to attend services. She and Delma talked it over and decided Delma and the children would try it one Sunday. From 1966 when they formally joined, the Hill’s would become dedicated and active members at Northern Hills.

Through the years of the seventies the congregation grew enough to need a second addition and the fellowship hall and kitchen were added in 1973. Chatham Nursery school leased our basement from 1975 to 1979 which called for improvements to meet code legalities. Through this time the church would be graced with Reverend Robert Walton as pastor from 1968 to 1974 and Reverend William Alvey from 1974 to 1980. The eighties brought us two more pastors, Reverend David Woodyard from 1980 to 1987 and Reverend James Caldwell from 1987 to 1998. During those years we met our apportionment responsibilities more consistently, we committed to what turned out to be ten years’ support of missionaries in the Republic of the Congo, and we installed a brand new organ in 1989. It was also determined at that time if our congregation was to grow we needed to update our facilities in a big way.

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By 1997 most of the church was redesigned with an expanded Sanctuary under a pitched roof, a new narthex, an enlarged fellowship hall, a parlor, a library and two additional Sunday school rooms and of course a big mortgage. Two more ministers would lead our congregation with Reverend Ray Sharitts from 1998 to 2001, Reverend Paulette Wittenbrink from 2001 to 2011, and Reverend Wilsonnia McLean. During these years many new programs were started; Breakfast with Santa, Wonderful Wednesdays which brought members together for spiritual growth and of course good food, a community picnic which led into vacation bible school which also has grown, a contemporary worship service called “Imago”, a counseling service, and our successful financial push to cancel the mortgage on the church.

Though times have changed and programs have come and gone there are ideals that began in 1960 and still continue on through the present. We are a multi-ethnic congregation, a family of believers, and followers of Christ. We at Northern Hills still live for the glory of God to be shown in Finneytown, the greater Cincinnati area, and the world by making disciples for Jesus Christ through loving God with everything, loving our neighbor as ourselves, and loving each other so all will know that Jesus is alive through our ability to be united for one purpose.

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