Advent as a spiritual practice: pondering the mystery of waiting expectantly, when we don’t quite know what we’re waiting for. The Free Spirit Band will play; come early to hear the Junior Choir sing in the sanctuary!
What does it mean to bring our full and authentic selves to a community, and what does it mean for that community to accept everyone the way they are? How do we make sure that there really is a seat at the table for everyone? Let’s talk about it over a potluck lunch after the service.
Memories of all kinds tend to grow from the rich soil of family gatherings for the holidays. Come explore together the nature of memories, and some wise magic for transforming the “grungy” ones into joyful, appreciative ones. We'll worship together as a congregation: PreK-K class and older children will stay in the Sanctuary for the whole service and sit with their families.
by Reverend Susan Frederick-Gray, UUA President and
Reverend Tricia Hart
Unitarian Universalists are being called at this moment to live more powerfully and boldly into a vision of a Beloved Community. What does this look like and how do we answer “Yes” to this calling in our lives and in our congregations? Rev. Susan Frederick-Gray was elected President of the Unitarian Universalist Association on June 24, 2017. Prior to her election, she served as Lead Minister of the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Phoenix, Arizona. Susan played a critical role in the long-term campaign to end the constitutional violations of Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio. Susan received a Masters of Divinity from Harvard Divinity School and a Bachelor of Science in Molecular Biology from the University of Wisconsin, Madison. She is a lifelong UU who grew up at in the St. Louis area. She lives now in Cam-bridge, MA with her husband, Brian and their son.
On this Sunday, the day following the first-ever Justice- pa-lUUza weekend, come, hear about the existing things happening within and outside of this congregation related to the justice mission and vision for the church. Find out what a deepening focus on Justice Work can mean for West Shore’s identity—now, and in the future!
West Shore has made a commitment to be a “multi-generational” community: a place where persons of all ages are not only welcome but where opportunities abound for those of different generations to interact and learn from one another. Some reflection and history about child dedications, and a celebration of legacy gifts from several elders who have gone before us.
Loss of identity, not knowing who you are, is part of white supremacy culture—for white people, anyway. A personal look, this morning, from where one white person came from; some of the confusions that arose along the way; and the story of John Wampus.
Churches often highlight growth as part of their vision— when things are going well, and when they're not. How does growth actually happen in a congregation, and why does it stall? What is the connection between money and growth? Observations about opportunities and obstacles before West Shore UU Church in this pivotal chapter of its history. The Free Spirit Band will play!
Living our Unitarian Universalist values isn't always as easy as we would like it to be. Often what we strive for is not what actually happens. How can we improve the odds that we will lead with our best values inside and outside our congregation? This sermon will explore these issues as they pertain to your next minister.
In Unitarian Universalism, everything important is rooted in the covenant that members make with one another. Everyone is free to believe and practice their own faith—but even in that freedom, there is the mutual commitment to a vision and way of being together. (How does that work?)
In this creedless faith, we need to know what lessons we can teach our children that might serve as their moral or spiritual grounding in life. How does teaching others help us learn about ourselves? Everyone is invited to help launch a new year of Religious Education for children, youth, and teachers.
A new church year begins with a multigenerational celebration of all that is West Shore now, and everything it may be in years to come. The service will include a story told by the members of the Board of Trustees, with a glimpse of the challenges and opportunities of this important time. Remember to bring a small amount of water from a special place in your life for Water Communion. Children (1st grade and older) and youth are invited to stay for the entire service. The Free Spirit Band will play, and the Choir will sing!
West Shore has begun the search for the next Senior Minister who will be “called” to serve this church. How does that search happen, and what (who) is it for? What's the tradition and theology behind this long involved process? How is it changing in our time? How will West Shore approach this process? And, how can you get involved? Bring your questions and thoughts as Rev. Tricia and the Search Committee reflect together.
Kids don't struggle the same way adults do with fantasy and reality. The idea that things might be "all too real" is an adult one. We have learned to be afraid of our nightmares. What do we do with that knowledge is the everyday work of our everyday lives.
Nations create borders to separate “our people” from everybody else. Wars and political alliances move borders, people uproot their lives to move to a different part of the world… and suddenly who “we” are isn’t so clear. Moral and spiritual reflections on the power of crossing borders, and growing minds and hearts.
As the harvest season comes upon us, what seeds have you planted (started) in the spring? What projects have you tended through the summer? What fruits of love, joy, commitment do you harvest in this season? Best news of all, we still have time to plant for a second harvest, so think on what fruits of the spirit and community you would like to consider for your second planting.
Being hospitable as a congregation might take on different forms from the traditional view of what hospitality is. In today's world, what does hospitality look like: from our own congregation to how we relate to others in the global sense?
If life’s meaning isn’t dictated by God, then what is it? If our moral code isn’t carved in stone or engraved on our hearts by God, then where do we find it? Those questions are gently explored from an atheist/agnostic perspective.
Every one of us starts out in a particular home and family that teaches us what life is and how people behave; who is powerful, and who is not. When we move—because of school, work, necessity or opportunity—our lessons about life change, too. Rev. Tricia will reflect on what the churches and places she has served have taught her about being a Unitarian Universalist.
Secrets can be defined as those experiences, thoughts, sometimes feelings that we choose to keep from view or to talk about. There are some secrets that by their very nature contain information whose authorized disclosure could endanger lives or security. But then there are secrets that become “elephants in the room.” These can be questions, problems, solutions or issues that many people choose to ignore because to do otherwise could cause embarrassment, sadness or even trigger an argument. What happens when secrets become elephants in the room?
We will be bringing the heart of General Assembly to Rocky River this year, through live-streaming the largest Unitarian Universalist worship service of the year as it is happening in Kansas City. You won’t want to miss this experience of worshipping and singing “with” 5,000 other Unitarian Universalists from around the country and the world.
by Special Guest Worship Leader Kiya Heartwood and
Award-winning roots rock and folk singer-songwriter Kiya Heartwood is stopping by West Shore on her East Coast Tour of UU churches and house concerts, before performing at General Assembly in Kansas City. Kiya is the Artistic Director of the People's Orchestra of Austin, TX. The UK's Broadway Baby describes her as "an award-winning American singer-songwriter who writes smart, funny and poignant songs about the famous and not so famous legends of America." Kiya's music serves up a lively batch of original songs that follow two of the oldest traditions of folk music—storytelling and political broadside.
In this season of graduation and commencement, we will reflect on the significance of moving from one chapter of life to the next—known, and unknown. When have you crossed a threshold in your life? What transitions are you facing now? We will celebrate the “bridging” of West Shore’s graduates from high school into young adulthood.
PRIDE SUNDAY Unitarian Universalism’s third principle calls us to accept one another (as we are) and encourage one another to grow (into what we might become). Sounds simple—and of course, it’s not easy. Come celebrate with West Shore today: as we welcome new members, share Flower Communion, and learn what Pride can teach us all.
On this Memorial Day Sunday, some reflections on the power of ritually remembering those who died in war— remembering individually, remembering as families, and especially remembering as a community. What does Memorial Day ask of us? Is it possible to imagine a world without war?
West Shore Choir David Blazer, Director of Music Join us for this year’s final installment of the B. Neil Davis Artist Series, as the West Shore Choir presents Missa Gaia (A Mass in Celebration of Mother Earth) released by Paul Winter in 1982. It is an environmental liturgy of contemporary music. The Mass features the instrumentation of the Paul Winter Consort along with choir, vocal soloists, and the calls of wolves, whales and many other animals that are woven into the pieces. Joining David Blazer with the instrumental accompaniment will be Jon Eager (Soprano Sax), Marty Neubert (Oboe/English horn), Derek Snyder (Cello), Brian Kozak (Guitar), Dan Shell (Bass), Mell Csicsila and Evan Mitchell (Percussion).
What actually happens when one person cares for another? “Mothering” changes lives—of growing children, of caregivers and those around them. Not to mention how it changes the world! Honoring Mother’s Day beyond greeting cards and brunch.
Today—as the 2018 Stewardship Campaign ends and the Ministerial Search begins—the focus will be on the choices before West Shore in this extraordinary moment. How will this church bring more beauty, kindness, joy and affirmation into the world? After the service, please stay for the brief Special Congregational Meeting to elect the Ministerial Search Committee, followed at noon by an important program on West Shore’s finances: “Our Money and Our Values.” All members and friends are welcome to attend both programs.
Worship Leaders Home is the base where everything begins. The youth will share their stories of what home means to them. How does home offer safety and support during times of trouble? Can home be more than your family?
What do you love about West Shore? What are your wishes for its future, as the congregation gets ready to move into a new chapter, with a new minister? What are the two or three most important aspects of this church you believe must guide West Shore’s vision of its future? As STEWARDSHIP 2018 moves into full swing, come to church for an interactive service that celebrates all things West Shore. Watch Enews for more details about this fun day!
“During last year’s Service Auction, I offered a sermon topic to the highest bidder. Laird and Jen Wynn won, and asked for a worship service around the topics of ‘transcendence and passion.’ Both topics resonate deeply with me—what charged to the fore of my mind was how Unitarian Universalism has helped me allow my passions to transcend deep emotions, even anger, throughout the last 18 years. Plus, some special music...see you there!”
Easter is many things: a celebration of new life in Spring, a time for family gatherings, a timeless festival of the earth and fertility, and the holiest day in the Christian year. Join our Easter festivities at West Shore, as we celebrate the return of life in song and story!
Do Unitarian Universalists pray? The answer, of course, is: “Yes, some of us pray. In lots of different ways…” On this Christian Holy Day of Palm Sunday, we will look at the role of prayer, centering, meditation and practice in this creed-less religion of ours. Who or what are we praying to?
It’s never been easy to know the Truth. In these days of “fake news,” disinformation and deep cultural and class divisions, it can be especially difficult to separate fundamental truth from instinct and intuition… much less be open to those who hold very different opinions. What does it mean to promote a free and responsible search for truth and meaning?
In early (First Century) Judaism and in many other cultures, there was no such thing as “Religion.” It was not until the invention of Christianity as a religion that cultures started to separate the spiritual/religious from the rest of the human experience. In this era of rebalancing religion, how can we allow ourselves to integrate our mind, body, and spirit into one harmonious way of being in the world? How does that inform our living tradition of Unitarian Universalism?
On January 13, 2018, we marked the 450th anniversary of The Edict of Torda—one of the world’s first statements of religious freedom, issued by a religious gathering in eastern Europe presided over by the first Unitarian King. In recent decades, dozens of American Unitarian Universalist congregations have formed partnerships with the congregations that grew out of that tradition—including West Shore. What do we have to learn from this brave history, and the perseverance of our Transylvanian Unitarian cousins?
As Stewardship season begins here at West Shore, it is time to consider the biggest questions about money. How do the choices we make about spending and saving and debt and investment reflect our values? Are we managing our money, or is it managing us?
by Reverend Patricia Hart and Rev. Chris Long with
From an early age, each of us learns what matters most in this challenging and unpredictable adventure we call life. What did your family and community teach you about surviving, and even thriving as you grew? When did you learn to be wary, and how did you learn to dive into new experiences? Reflections on being members of a community that holds different ideas of perseverance.
To launch the monthly Soul Matters theme and our consideration of “Perseverance” we will explore some thoughts and tools for engaging joyful perseverance in times such as these. We'll visit Imbolc, Kindness, The Edict of Torda, "Love and Laughter", Ants and Turtles all woven into a tapestry of Perseverance Pizzazz.
Congregational life can provide opportunities for growth and deepening as individuals and as communities. How might our congregation work faithfully with Rev. Tricia Hart in this time of interim ministry, to co-create such a community at West Shore? Rev. Renee Ruchotzke serves NE Ohio congregations as a part of our larger Unitarian Universalist Association. She is West Shore’s primary contact with the UUA and the region. She serves as dean of the online UU Leadership Institute and blogs at Growing Vital Leaders on the (click it) UUA Website
Intentions matter. Living out a commitment to be kind, thoughtful, or open-minded can make an enormous differ-ence in our relationships, and in what we teach our chil-dren. But what someone means to do or say is only part of the story—we have to learn the essential skill of paying attention to the impact our words or actions make. Essen-tial… and really difficult.