About Our Pastor...
The Reverend Christine A. Smith
Senior Pastor, Covenant Baptist Church
Rev. Christine A. Smith, affectionately called, "Pastor Chris," answered the call to the Gospel Ministry and was licensed to preach at age 17. She earned a Bachelor of Science in Education Degree, specializing in Learning Disabilities and Developmental Handicaps from the University of Akron (1987). For three years while in seminary, Rev. Smith served as a student intern at Mount Zion Baptist Church, Griffin, GA, under the tutelage of the Rev. Dr. Cleopatrick Lacy, Senior Pastor. In 1990, she earned the Master of Divinity Degree from the Interdenominational Theological Center (ITC), Morehouse School of Religion (Atlanta, GA), specializing in Systematic Theology and Women's Studies.
In 1993, Rev. Smith joined the Olivet Institutional Baptist Church (Cleveland, Ohio) under the pastorate of the Reverend Dr. Otis Moss, Jr., and was ordained to the Gospel Ministry in 1995. She served Olivet as the Minister of Christian Education for three years. In 2001, Rev. Smith was featured in the African American Pulpit as one of the "Twenty to Watch" (Winter 2001-2002 issue, Judson Press). She was called to serve as pastor of the Covenant Baptist Church, Wickliffe (now Euclid, Ohio), in 2006. Rev Smith is the church's first female pastor, first African American pastor, and the second female Baptist pastor of a mainline denomination in the greater Cleveland area (American Baptist Churches USA).
Rev. Smith served as a Trustee of the Cleveland Baptist Association (approximately 41 member congregations, Regional Branch of the American Baptist Churches, USA) in various capacities over a 20 year period. She chaired the Department of Ministry, served as Vice President and twice as President of the Association. In 2001 she led the Association in establishing the “CBA Fund for Theological Education,” a scholarship fund to assist clergy and laity in obtaining a seminary education. From 2012 –2013, Rev. Smith provided Executive Leadership to the Association during a season when CBA did not have an Executive Minister and could not afford to hire an Interim or Executive Minister. As such, she paved the way for CBA to call their first female Executive Minister.
In 2009, Rev. Smith wrote and successfully obtained a grant from the American Baptist National Ministers Council to organize Women Together in Ministry of Greater Cleveland, a network designed to connect, encourage, and support women in ministry. She also produces a weekly blog, "Shepastor," dedicated to equipping and encouraging female clergy. Her book, Beyond the Stained Glass Ceiling: Equipping and Encouraging Female Pastors (Judson Press, 2013), has been featured locally on Fox 8 News and Newsnet 5, Kaleidoscope Magazine with News Anchor and Host, Mr. Leon Bibb (February 24th, 2013 # 3)
Rev. Smith has served as a lecturer/workshop leader for the historic Hampton Ministers and Musicians Conference (2013), John Carroll University, Cleveland, Ohio for the Annual Martin Luther King, Jr., observance (“Continuing the Dream: Women and the Ministry, 2014), keynote speaker for the Church of the Brethren, Annual Conference Intercultural Luncheon, dealing with the injustices of sexism and racism (2014), as well as for the Church of the Brethren National Older Adult Conference, guest preacher (2015).
Most recently, Rev. Smith was featured as a lecturer/workshop leader and preacher for a special event named for her book, “Beyond the Stained Glass Ceiling,” sponsored by Ashland Theological Seminary. Internationally, Rev. Smith was interviewed to discuss her book and the realities of the "stained glass ceiling" on the Sean Moncrieff show, Ireland Newstalk In 2016, Rev. Smith traveled to the Holy Land, Israel on a missions trip, serving as a delegate, representing the Women in Ministry Department of the Progressive National Baptist Convention (The Rev. Dr. James Perkins, President).
In addition to her role as a senior pastor, Rev. Smith currently serves as adjunct faculty for Ashland Theological Seminary as a small group leader in the Master of Divinity Cohort. Rev. Smith continues to receive invitations to lecture, preach and teach, locally and nationally from churches, clergy groups, denominations, universities and seminaries, addressing the interlocking injustices of sexism, racism, classism and ageism.
Rev. Smith is the proud wife of Mr. Aristide Smith, Jr. Together they have two sons, Aristide Smith, III and Caleb Alexander Smith and one daughter, Aris Christine Smith. For all of these blessings, Rev. Smith simply says, “To God be the glory for the great things He has done!”
Visit Pastor Chris' personal website at
Covenant, the early years...
Covenant Baptist church was established in 1956 as an American Baptist Church in Wickliffe, Ohio. It was organized by a group of community conscious believers desiring to bring an American Baptist Christian witness to the Wickliffe area. The founding Pastor was The Reverend Otto Loverude.
About Our Identity
We are a Christian congregation, basing our lives on the life and teaching of Jesus Christ, our Lord. We are a community that worships, studies and serves together.
We are an American Baptist congregation, with covenant and mission ties to the American Baptist Churches, USA. We share the historic convictions of American Baptists about religious freedom, the separation of church and state, a call to evangelism and mission, and a passion for social justice.
We are a biblically guided congregation, committed to a continuing study of the Scriptures, accepting its divine inspiration and the role of the Holy spirit in its interpretation, seeking a growing understanding of God?s love and grace.
We are a mission-minded congregation, seeking to be sensitive and responsive to the needs of our communities and the world. We strive to be witnesses to God's love and Christ?s grace and transforming power.
About Our History
Covenant Baptist Church was established out of a dream to provide a Christian witness with an American Baptist identity to Wickliffe and the surrounding communities.
Our church was organized in 1953, and we received our charter in 1956. Before the building was erected, worship was held at the Wickliffe City Hall. Meetings were held in individual homes. In the spring of 1957, ground was broken to begin construction of the present church building. During that year, the Wickliffe City Schools used four of our classrooms as the "Ridge Road School." The second section of our church was built in 1962. We added two new offices, a crib room, three more classrooms, another furnace room, a parlor, two lavatories, and a large social hall with a small kitchen. In the fall of 1963, nine of our classrooms were being used by the Wickliffe City Schools. In the winter of that year, the 250 students and their teachers were able to move into public school facilities. In 1974, we were able to build our own baptistery. A model was constructed to show how the proposed remodeling would look.
The men of our congregation gave of their time and talents to complete the project. In 1985 we merged with the First Baptist Church of Euclid. A moving service celebrating this union was held and the name of the church was officially changed from The Covenant Baptist Church of Wickliffe to Covenant Baptist Church. Along with this merger came the addition of carpeting and pews to complete the sanctuary as it appears today. In 1991, we celebrated our 35th anniversary with a major celebration. Many people have contributed their faith, time and talents to making Covenant who we are today.
Over the years, the Lord has graciously provided the following persons to shepherd our congregation:
The Reverend Otto Loverude (1955-1966)
The Reverend Ronald Kelder (1967-1974)
The Reverend Dennis Stull (1976-1979)
The Reverend Lee Edward Prong (1980-1986)
The Reverend G Reed Taylor (Interim) (1986-1988)
The Reverend Kent Harrop (1988-1994)
The Reverend James McMullen (Interim) (1994-1995)
The Reverend David Chapman (1995-2001)
As we prayerfully waited for the Lord to send our next leader, we were blessed to have the following persons serve as our interim pastors:
The Reverend Thomas Olcott (Interim) (2002 -2004)
The Reverend Wesley Toles (Interim) (2005-2006)
God's Word declares, "But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint." (Isaiah 40:31 KJV). On January 15, 2006 the Lord led the congregation of the Covenant Baptist Church to extend the call to the Reverend Christine A. Smith to serve as our 7th pastor. Upon acceptance of the call, Reverend Smith became the first female pastor in the history of the Covenant Baptist Church and only the second female Baptist pastor (of a mainline denomination - American Baptist Churches, USA) in the Greater Cleveland area.
After having experienced many transitions due to the death of elders, changes in membership and increasing difficulties with the physical structure, in 2013, the Covenant Baptist Church Congregation voted unanimously to place the property at 28930 Ridge Road, Wickliffe Ohio on the sales market. The last official Sunday that the congregation worshipped at that location was April 27, 2014. The following Sunday, Covenant members joyfully and by faith began worshipping in a temporary location until the completion of the property sale. By faith, Pastor Smith cast the vision for Covenant to continue to cultivate a strong, vibrant, evangelistic and disciple making ministry. We look forward to the time when we are able to purchase a facility that will serve as the new worship center for the Covenant Baptist Church Family!
11:00 a.m. Worship, Sundays
7:00 p.m. Bible Study, Thursdays
Praise and Worship Team Ministry
Christian Education Ministry
Covenant Youth Council
Buildings and Grounds Ministry
Praise Dance Ministry