December, 1955 – Dr. John Williams, Norwalk District Superintendent, meets with several persons from Avon Lake and Sheffield Lake to discuss a need for a Methodist Church in the area.

January, 1956 – Mrs. Mary Lou Fortney and Mr. Kenneth Bonsell appointed to pursue a strategy of developing and organizing a new church start in Avon Lake.

March 25, 1956 – Dr. Williams officiates the first organized worship service at Eastview Elementary School.

Palm Sunday, 1956 – 92 members recognized as the first members of Lake Shore Methodist Church. New chior performs donned with robes donated by Highland Congregational Church.

June, 1956 – Thomas Cantor appointed as first full time minister of Lake Shore Methodist Church.

December, 1956 – 7.28 acres of land purchased at the corner of Electric Blvd. and Richland Drive from Florence T. Miller.

April 24, 1960 – Groundbreaking commenced on Lake Shore UMC.

August 7, 1960 – First of three structures built at a cost of $149,000, cornerstone laid and dedicated


November, 1963 – Capital Funds Crusade conducted to raise $75,000 to build a sanctuary and education facility for growing church.

Spring, 1966 – By the 10th Anniversary, the very first Ecumenical Community Youth Council was established.

1966 – Architect contracted to design a sanctuary, new parsonage purchased that would become the home of the present pastor and future pastors.

June, 1968 – General Conference of the Methodist Church votes to merge with the Evangelical United Bretheren Church. Rev. Kenneth Bibbee becomes the first pastor to serve as a United Methodist pastor.

March, 1971 – Building Committee, chaired by Jim Shaw and served by Bob Wilging, Richard Kamps, and Paul Tropf charged with exploring expansion potential.

April, 1972 – Administrative board meets to affirm Building Committee’s recommendation of a 250-300 seat sanctuary and 13 classrooms. Congregation votes 142-4 to authorize the plan.

November, 1972 – Administrative Board votes to sign a contract with Visnapuu and Gaede for Phase One of the Master Plan.

April 4, 1973 – Grounbreaking for the new sanctuary and classroom additions.

September 9, 1973 – The cornerstone in the new building is placed.

December 23, 1973 – First service in the new sanctuary is held.

February 17, 1974 – New sanctuary consecreated at an open house with Bishop Kearns officiating and Dr. Frieling assisting.


We have duly noted the three phases of our building projects, and while the property and buildings are important, it is the people who make us what we are. New people visiting for the first time have commented that we are a “friendly” congregation. Our forbeareres in the faith named our church Lake Shore because they envisioned a new church that would reach the people of Avon Lake and Sheffield Lake. Their vision was an open invitation to the community.

With God’s help we have achieved some remarkable and daunting tasks, our facility alone is a testament to our determination to live out the dream of our forbearers. Over the years, we have made many improvements to the facility; we added a new Allen Organ, and a Schulmerich Carillon in 1983, painted and carpeted the offices and hallways, and in 2004 the classrooms and halls received a much needed facelift. In 2005, the Trustees and the Committee on Finance presented a plan for a “Divine Design” campaign. In the first phase, the outside appearance of the building was addressed, and with God’s help and the determination of a small band of people over a period of less than a year, we were able to raise $55,000 for a complete resurfacing and stripping of the parking lot. Presently, we are working on curb appeal. Because of these outward changes, we are now a welcoming presence in the community.

Another project just geginning is stained-glass additions to our Sanctuary paid by memorials. The first windows should be completed, installed, and dedicated by fall 2006.

Lake Shore began as a dream and a vision and we continue to dream and vision. We are not afraid of change and we are committed to doing what it takes to reach out to people and draw them closer to a relationship with Jesus Christ.

Pastors of Lake Shore United Methodist Church

March 1956 – June 1956 – Dr. Wray Stickford

1956 – 1966 – Thomas Canton, first full time Pastor

1967 – Ronald Benson, Interim Pastor

1967 – 1978 – Kenneth Bibbee

1978 – 1985 – Bevan Kimmel

1985 – 1988 – John Peterson

1988 – 1991 – George Bender

1991 – 1997 – Meredith Coleman

1997 – 2003 – William Grant

2003 – 2005 – Charles A. Peal

2005 – 2015 – Nancy S. Manner

2015 – 2018 – Paige Boyer

2018 – pres. – Robert Welch