Our Leadership


Tom Hawkins, Elder

Spouse’s name: Darlene

Children: Rick, Pam, and Andy

Residential Community: Highland Heights

Educational Credentials: B.A. Harding University – 1963; A.A. Mason City Junior College – 1991

Professional Work Experience: 36 years at Jones Day, a multi-office international law firm with over 2,400 lawyers worldwide, in various administrative roles including Director of Partner Services and Director of Internal Audit. Worked 13 years at Ernst & Young, an international accounting and auditing firm, as a CPA; worked as a manager while employed at Ernst & Young.

Member of Forest Hill since 1963

Current Church responsibilities: Elder since May 1982; Treasurer since January 1995; and a member of the Finance Committee.

Commitment Statement to Forest Hill Members: As an Elder, I am committed to following the teaching of the scriptures; provide leadership to the Church of Christ at Forest Hill, serving members, visitors, and total strangers whenever I can, while setting an example to all with whom I come in contact.

John Moore, Elder

Spouse’s name: Terri

Children: Johnny, Kimberlyn, Garrick, Candace, Zoe

Residential Community: Solon

Educational Credentials: Master of Educational Supervision and Administration John/Carroll University; Bachelor Science, University Arkansas Pine Bluff.

Professional Work Experience: Principal of Cleveland Schools for 37 years; Principal for Juvenile Corrections for six years.

Member of Forest Hill since 2001

Current church responsibilities: Elder working with fellow elders to serve the congregation wherever needed and as necessary with an emphasis on love and fellowship.

Commitment statement to Forest Hill Members: To continually stand in the gap to bless those that we love and who are in need. To bring those who are lost back to the Great Shepherd.

Clifford Thornton, Elder

Spouse’s name: Pam

Children: Anna and Matthew

Residential Community: Cleveland Heights

Educational Credentials: B.A. Abilene Christian University, Juris Doctorate, The Ohio State University

Professional Work Experience: Attorney-at-law for over 50 years

Member since: 1964

Current church responsibilities: Elder

Commitment statement to Forest Hill Members: Total

John Kessler, Deacon

Spouse’s name: Terra

Residential Community: Lakewood

Educational Credentials: High School Graduate with some college

Professional Work Experience: Marketing Management for over 20 years

Member of Forest Hill since 2014 (attended for two years prior)

Current Church responsibilities: Currently serving as a member of the Financial Committee, assisting in confirming “Men to Serve” in worship services on Sunday, provide technical assistance with audio/visual needs, and working in any other capacity as needed.

Commitment Statement to Forest Hill Members: Committed to doing the work of God, His church, and supporting Forest Hill and its members in any way He would have me.

Derwood Smith, Minister Emeritus

Derwood Smith, Ph.D., was the Pulpit Minister for the Church of Christ at Forest Hill for 36 years. Derwood retired as the minister in the summer of 2017. He has also retired from his full-time position as a Professor and former Chair of the Department of Religion at Cleveland State University. Derwood earned his Masters and Doctorate degrees from Yale and Harvard Divinity Schools. Derwood and his spouse, Jeannene remain faithful members of our congregation.