West Shore Unitarian Universalist Church
The Elves and the Shoemaker: Exploring the Spirituality of Work

The Elves and the Shoemaker: Exploring the Spirituality of Work

February 28, 2021
 by Reverend Anthony Makar, Worship Leader
Vicky Warden, Worship Associates
David Blazer, Director of Music

Today we explore a classic fairy tale and its message about magic, creativity, aging and the spiritual meaning of work.

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The New Normal

The New Normal

February 21, 2021
 by Reverend Randy Partain, Worship Leader
Elizabeth Gerencser & Melinda McGucken, Worship Associates
David Blazer, Director of Music

We’ve heard about a “new normal” for quite a while. Many people have also said that "normal" is just a setting on the washing machine. We might take pride in being unique. And yet, when it comes to the way we judge or accept others, it often comes down to how well another person fits our personal definition of "normal." How can we draw the circle of welcome wider and still embrace our own sense of individuality?

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The World Religions: Islam

The World Religions: Islam

February 14, 2021
 by Reverend Anthony Makar, Worship Leader
Melinda McGucken, Worship Associates
David Blazer, Director of Music

Our year-long sermon series exploring some of the world religion sources of our Unitarian Universalist spiritual way continues with Islam. Our study text is Huston Smith’s The World’s Religions: The 50th Anniversary Edition (available at your local bookstore, at Amazon, and other outlets). Reach out to Rev. Makar directly if you are unable to afford purchasing the book. As preparation for the sermon, please read the chapter on Islam (pp. 221-270) before the service.

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Diligent Joy

Diligent Joy

February 7, 2021
 by Reverend Anthony Makar, Worship Leader
Grace Durfee and Judy Montgomery, Worship Associates
David Blazer, Director of Music

Elizabeth Gilbert, in Eat Pray Love, writes, “As I focus on Diligent Joy, I also keep remembering a simple idea my friend Darcey told me once–that all the sorrow and all the trouble of this world is caused by unhappy people. Not only in the big global Hitler-’n’-Stalin picture, but also on the smallest personal level. Even in my own life, I can see exactly where my episodes of unhappiness have brought suffering or distress or (at the very least) inconvenience to those around me. The search for contentment is, therefore, nor merely a self-preserving and self-benefiting act, but also a generous gift to the world. Clearing out all your misery gets you out of the way. You cease being an obstacle, not only to yourself but to anyone else. Only then are you free to serve and enjoy other people.” That’s what Elizabeth Gilbert says. Diligent Joy is a key spiritual discipline. Let’s talk about what’s involved.

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The Endless Conversation

The Endless Conversation

January 31, 2021
by Reverend Anthony Makar, Worship Leader
Jeff Modzelewski, Worship Associate
David Blazer, Director of Music

The endless conversation is about God. God exists. No, God does not exist. God exists and God is like this. No, God is like that. And on and on and on. Today, we will get a glimpse of the endless conversation and Unitarian Universalism’s role in it.

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What Does It Mean to be a Dementia-Friendly Congregation?

What Does It Mean to be a Dementia-Friendly Congregation?

January 24, 2021
by Charlie Farrell, Kathy Strawser & Jerry Devis, Guest Speakers
Judy Montgomery, Worship Associate
David Blazer, Director of Music

In society there are stigmas associated with brain health issues. West Shore embraces and welcomes all individuals. The service shares thoughts on ending the stigma related to people with dementia and looks for ways towards a dementia friendly culture.

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The World’s Religions: Taoism

The World’s Religions: Taoism

January 17, 2021

by Rev. Anthony Makar, Worship Leader

Grace Durfee, Worship Associate

David Blazer, Director of Music

Our year-long sermon series exploring some of the world religion sources of our Unitarian Universalist spiritual way continues with Taoism. Our study text is Huston Smith’s The World’s Religions: The 50th Anniversary Edition (available at your local bookstore, at Amazon, and other outlets). Reach out to Rev. Makar directly if you are unable to afford purchasing the book. As preparation for the sermon, please read the chapter on Taoism (pp. 196-220).

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When Dreams Die

When Dreams Die

January 10, 2021

by Rev. Anthony Makar, Worship Leader

Elizabeth Gerencser, Worship Associate

David Blazer, Director of Music

Today our focus is on failure. Everyone has experienced failure in trying to pursue a personal dream. What happens next? What role might one's failures play in the spiritual life?

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Let Your Life Speak

Let Your Life Speak

January 3, 2021

by Rev. Anthony Makar, Worship Leader

Judy Montgomery, Worship Associate

David Blazer, Director of Music

We begin a new year at West Shore with an exploration of the question of authenticity. A new year represents a new beginning and another chance at becoming more fully ourselves. So, what’s involved with this? How might we do this?

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An Enlightened Presence In A World Falling Apart

An Enlightened Presence In A World Falling Apart

December 27, 2020

by Param Srikantia, Guest Worship Leader

Melinda McGucken, Worship Associate

David Blazer, Director of Music

COVID-19, racial tensions, economic insecurity and political differences have generated tremendous stress. The acronym VUCA world (Volatile, Uncertain, Chaotic and Ambiguous) has been invoked to describe periods of discontinuity and disruption. The talk will explore the theme of "Enlightened Presence" suggesting five pathways that will enable us to light the lamp of inner wisdom so that we can be a healing presence to ourselves and to others around us. Dr. Param Srikantia, Professor, School of Business at Baldwin Wallace University, is a former television host and a TEDX speaker who is well acquainted with the art of energizing a live audience. Dr. Srikantia has recently embarked on public seminars based on non-traditional ways of unleashing human potential that have now grown to a contagious level of popularity reaching over 100K attendees in Cleveland, Boston, Chicago, Cincinnati, San Francisco, Pittsburgh, Washington DC, Toronto and the New York metropolitan areas. He holds a Ph.D. in Organizational Behavior from Case Western Reserve University and Master’s Degrees in Business Administration, Human Resources and Organizational Psychology.

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Blue Christmas

Blue Christmas

December 20, 2020

by Reverand Anthony Makar, Worship Leader

Grace Durfee, Worship Associate

David Blazer, Director of Music

Rev. Anthony Makar is asking you to watch a video clip from the Christmas comedy movie Elf starring Will Ferrell, before this Sunday's Service. In his sermon, he will be referring to this movie, and given copyright restrictions, we are not able to screen this clip in the service. Receive extra credit if you choose to watch the full movie before Sunday. To watch the video clip, click here.

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The World’s Religions:  Confucianism

The World’s Religions: Confucianism

December 13, 2020

by Reverand Anthony Makar, Worship Leader

Melinda McGucken, Worship Associate

David Blazer, Director of Music

Our year-long sermon series exploring some of the world religion sources of our Unitarian Universalist spiritual way continues with Confucianism. Our study text is Huston Smith’s The World’s Religions: The 50th Anniversary Edition (available at your local bookstore, at Amazon, and other outlets). Reach out to Rev. Makar directly if you are unable to afford purchasing the book. As preparation for the sermon, please read the chapter on Confucianism (pp. 154-195) before the service

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The Journey Towards a Healthy White Identity

The Journey Towards a Healthy White Identity

December 6, 2020

by Reverand Anthony Makar, Worship Leader

Vicky Warden, Worship Associate

David Blazer, Director of Music

Passion for life does not necessarily come when we make huge achievements. But it comes when we know how to see beauty in the smallest things, grace in the darkest hour, and the courage to love when life is at its messiest. The gifts that keep us growing are often wrapped in the most unusual packages.

In her book Good White People: The Problem With Middle-Class White Anti-Racism, philosopher Shannon Sullivan writes, “Whiteness is not a club in which a white person can just decide to drop her membership. Whether a white person likes it or not, at this moment in history she is white and she is implicated in the effects of whiteness. How she takes up and lives her complicity in white domination will help determine the quality of her contributions to racial justice movements.” In other words, how might white people learn to develop psychologically and spiritually healthy white identities, in service to the liberation of all? What does that look like?

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Love is Our Best Coach

Love is Our Best Coach

November 29, 2020

by Shirley Nelson, Worship Leader

Judy Montgomery, Worship Associate

David Blazer, Director of Music

Passion for life does not necessarily come when we make huge achievements. But it comes when we know how to see beauty in the smallest things, grace in the darkest hour, and the courage to love when life is at its messiest. The gifts that keep us growing are often wrapped in the most unusual packages.

Today’s guest speaker is Shirley A. Nelson. Ms. Nelson is a Cleveland-area inter-spiritual counselor and life skills coach; founder of San's Sacred Circle, which offers retreats and workshops; former vice president of the Council for Health and Human Service Ministries of the United Church of Christ; and author of "The Many Faces of Prayer: A Healing Balm in the 21st Century." Shirley is currently a student at One Spirit Learning Alliance in NYC. She is in her last year of seminary and will be ordained in June 2021. She is also the part-time office administrator and newsletter editor for our sister Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Cleveland. Her website is www.sanssacredcircle.com

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Thanksgiving 2020: A Thanksgiving Wish

Thanksgiving 2020: A Thanksgiving Wish

November 22, 2020

by Reverend Anthony Makar

Melinda McGucken, Worship Associate

David Blazer, Director of Music

Today is our intergenerational Thanksgiving service, so all ages will be together to enjoy our focus story entitled “A Thanksgiving Wish” written by Michael Rosen and illustrated by John Thompson. As you listen to the story, here are some questions to keep in mind: Does your family have any special Thanksgiving rituals? Is there anybody you’ll be especially missing over the holidays? When you are sad, what helps you feel better?

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The World’s Religions:  Buddhism

The World’s Religions: Buddhism

November 15, 2020

by Reverend Anthony Makar

Grace Durfee, Worship Associate

David Blazer, Director of Music

Our year-long sermon series exploring some of the world's religions sources of our Unitarian Universalist spiritual way continues with Buddhism. Our study text is Huston Smith’s The World’s Religions: The 50th Anniversary Edition (available at your local bookstore, at Amazon, and other outlets). Reach out to Rev. Makar directly if you are unable to afford purchasing the book. As preparation for the sermon, please read the chapter on Buddhism (pp. 82-153) before the service.

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What Does “Middle Class” Really Mean?

What Does “Middle Class” Really Mean?

November 8, 2020

by Reverend Anthony Makar

Jeff Modzelewski, Worship Associate

David Blazer, Director of Music

Each of us as people are made up out of a multitude of identities based on our skin color, our gender, our sexual orientation, and on and on. Today, we explore one of these identities - class identity - and its powerful influence on our quality of life, how we see ourselves and others, and our spirituality.

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Turnings: The Amazing Story of John Murray

Turnings: The Amazing Story of John Murray

November 1, 2020

by Reverend Anthony Makar

Judy Montgomery, Worship Associate

David Blazer, Director of Music

Happy 250th birthday, Universalism! 250 years ago, in 1770, John Murray preached in Thomas Potter's chapel in Good Luck, New Jersey. Ever since people have been telling the amazing story surrounding the whole event. Today, I will share that amazing story with you.

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The Riddle of Infinity

The Riddle of Infinity

October 25, 2020

by Reverend Anthony Makar

Vicky Warden, Worship Associate

David Blazer, Director of Music

Somewhere downstairs a door slammed, and my father entered the house laughing. Instantly, the whole universe joined in. Great roars of hilarity sounded from sun to sun. Field mice tittered, and so did angels and rainbows. Laughter leavened every atom and every star until I saw a universe inspirited and spiraled by joy, not unlike the one I read of years later when Dante describes his great vision in paradise, ‘D'el riso d'el universo’ (the joy that spins the universe). This was a knowledge of the way everything worked. It worked through love and joy and the utter interpenetration and union of everything with the All That Is." This story comes from psychologist and spiritual teacher Jean Houston, and it adds to an untold number of similar stories about people encountering the infinite. Let’s take a closer look.

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The World’s Religions: Hinduism

The World’s Religions: Hinduism

October 18, 2020

by Reverend Anthony Makar

Melinda McGucken, Worship Associate

David Blazer, Director of Music

Our year-long sermon series exploring some of the world religion sources of our Unitarian Universalist spiritual way begins with Hinduism. Our study text is Huston Smith’s The World’s Religions: The 50th Anniversary Edition. The book is available at your local bookstore, at Amazon, and other outlets. Reach out to Rev. Makar directly if you are unable to afford purchasing the book. As preparation for the sermon, please read the chapter on Hinduism (pp. 12-81) before the service.

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Sweet Silliness

Sweet Silliness

October 11, 2020

by Reverend Anthony Makar

Christine Salontay, Worship Associate

David Blazer, Director of Music

We are needing some sweet silliness in these difficult, emotionally-heavy days. So, join us for a worship service full of sweet silliness. Even the very serious and intense philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein said, "If people did not sometimes do silly things, nothing intelligent would ever get done." Writer Richelle Goodrich adds, "It's okay to be absurd, ridiculous, and downright irrational at times; silliness is sweet syrup that helps us swallow the bitter pills of life."

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Widening the Circle

Widening the Circle

October 4, 2020

by Reverend Renee Ruchotzky

Elizabeth Gerencser, Worship Associate

David Blazer, Director of Music

Even when diversity and inclusion are aspirations for a community, living into such a community can be fraught with misunderstandings and hurt. How might we hold one another in love and covenant as we build a beloved community together?

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What Traffic Lights Can Teach Us

What Traffic Lights Can Teach Us

September 27, 2020

by Reverend Anthony Makar

David Blazer, Director of Music

You can be the best and most careful driver in the world, but if there’s no system of traffic lights, signs, and laws already in play (or one that’s confusing and/or insufficient), you’re guaranteed to crash into someone else. We have amazing individual leaders at West Shore, but how are we doing in terms of shared understandings about how to work together? What does our system of “traffic lights” look like? Today, I want to explore with you a plan for how we can all share in the work of ministry, in a way that expands the range of people’s involvement in deciding and doing and improves communication, coordination, and morale across the board. This plan was developed in the 2019-2020 program year by the Organizational Development Committee of the Board, and the Board of Trustees has formally approved it.

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The Story of Our Faith

The Story of Our Faith

September 20, 2020

by Reverend Anthony Makar

Melinda McGucken, Worship Associate

David Blazer, Director of Music

Did you know that the history of our faith - its journey across time - can be told using the Six Sources? Come hear Rev. Makar tell our story in a way you may never have heard it told before!

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Ingathering 2020: The Story of Mr. O

Ingathering 2020: The Story of Mr. O

September 13, 2020

by Reverend Anthony Makar

Judy Montgomery, Worship Associate

David Blazer, Director of Music

Regular life is in upheaval, as the pandemic reigns. Around this time of year, we would be returning from summer travels away or "staycations" closer to home. We would see kids going off to school or to college. Fall favorites like college football would be gearing up. And so on. But none of that is in the cards for us, in this strange year of 2020. For this reason, it becomes even more important to practice spiritual disciplines that help structure our lives and give them meaning. One of these practices is observing time cycles, which includes endings and new beginnings.

This is what our annual Ingathering service is all about. It signifies a new beginning for our collective life together. The service, appropriate for all ages, draws from the classic story, The Cello of Mr. O by Jane Cutler and illustrated by Greg Couch. Some things our children might listen for, and to think about as this service unfolds, includes: (1) Have you ever felt afraid of being hurt, if not by war than by COVID-19 or a bully at school, or something else? (2) Why do you think people fight? (3) Life is scary and hard these days, so it is especially important to remember that we are not alone, and there is hope. What gives you hope and courage when you are afraid?

Ingathering is also the time when we celebrate our annual Water Communion ritual, a beautiful ceremony of the celebration of life! Be sure to have a small container of water near you, and a bowl to pour it into, as you, with hundreds of your West Shore friends, simultaneously engage this ritual. It will be different this year, but that doesn't have to mean it will be less meaningful.

 

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On the Seventh Day

On the Seventh Day

September 6, 2020

by Reverend Anthony Makar

Grace Durfee, Worship Associate

Joe Schafer and Abby Rosu, Guest Musicians

When COVID-19 pandemic struck, it was as though we all crossed a line in time. There had been "before the pandemic," or BP, and now it is "after the pandemic," or AP. But whether it's BP or AP we're talking about, there has always been a need for downtime, time off, time away--sabbath time. This is the spiritual dimension of the Labor Day holiday, which is side-by-side with its more social-political dimension of support for the working class and labor unions. Today, we take a closer look at that more spiritual dimension.

 

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Making Sense of Reincarnation

Making Sense of Reincarnation

August 30, 2020

by Reverend Anthony Makar

Judy Montgomery, Worship Associate

David Blazer, Director of Music

Do you believe in reincarnation? Unitarian Louisa May Alcott did. She once wrote, "I think immortality is the passing of a soul through many lives... such as are truly lived, used, and learned, help on to the next, each growing richer, happier, and higher, carrying with it only the real memories that have gone before." Echoing this is Ralph Waldo Emerson, who said, "The soul comes from without into the human body, as into a temporary abode, and it goes out of it anew. It passes into other habitations, for the soul is immortal." Today, we take a closer look at this ancient spiritual perspective.

 

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Because Somebody Loved Me

Because Somebody Loved Me

August 24, 2020

by Reverend Anthony Makar

Elizabeth Gerencser, Worship Associate

David Blazer, Director of Music

Early on in his amazing Ware Lecture, given before a whole host of Unitarian Universalists at the 2015 General Assembly, Cornel West says "unequivocally" that "I am who I am because somebody loved me, somebody cared for me... Any serious talk about struggle for freedom and struggle for justice has to radically call into question any conception of ourselves being self-made." Today, we talk about the role of love and being loved in our activism.

 

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The Eclectic Church of the Future

The Eclectic Church of the Future

August 16, 2020

by Reverend Anthony Makar and

Jeff Modzelewski, Worship Associate

Back in 1878, the Unitarian Lydia Marie Child once imagined "an eclectic church of the future which shall gather forms of holy aspirations from all ages and nations." She imagined this at a time when our congregations were still very much Christian-centered. But now, all these years later, we embody Lydia Marie Child's dream and are fully pluralistic. How did we get from there to here? What do we need to know, going forward?

 

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Church:  What is it Good For?

Church: What is it Good For?

August 9, 2020

by Reverend Michelle Ma and

Vicky Warden, Worship Associate

Why go to church? What do we get out of it? What is church for? Rev. Michelle Ma has some ideas: at church, we build a new world, one that doesn't play by old rules.

 

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I Like You as You Are

I Like You as You Are

August 2, 2020

by Reverend Michelle Ma and

Jeff Modzelewski, Worship Associate

Fred Rogers has seemingly been elevated to sainthood these last couple of years. Rev. Michelle Ma didn't grow up watching Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood, but she has nonetheless come to see him as a role model, and the Neighborhood as a form of Beloved Community.

 

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What We Talk About When We Talk About Worship

What We Talk About When We Talk About Worship

July 26, 2020

by Reverend Michelle Ma and

Barbara Walker, Worship Associate

Have you ever been asked why Unitarian Universalists have Sunday morning services? Or why we worship at all? Maybe you're one of those people who grits your teeth every time you hear the word "worship." Rev. Michelle Ma offers some context for Unitarian Universalist worship and what that's all about.

 

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Learning To Listen

Learning To Listen

July 19, 2020

by Reverend Michelle Ma and

Judy Montgomery, Worship Associate

One of the things you learn as a hospital chaplain is how to listen: not just to the content of someone's words, but to the feelings those words are signaling. Unitarian Universalists are famously a really cerebral bunch, but that doesn't mean we are without feelings. What would happen if we listened to our and each other's feelings?

 

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Your Greatest Gift

Your Greatest Gift

July 12, 2020

by Reverend Michelle Ma,

Elizabeth Gerencser, Worship Associate and

David Blazer, Director of Music

What is your greatest gift? Is it your cooking? Is it your public speaking skills? Is it your green thumb? Spoiler alert: it's none of those things. You'll have to tune in to find out what Rev. Michelle Ma thinks our greatest gifts are.

 

 

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Why I Wear a Mask

Why I Wear a Mask

July 5, 2020

by Reverend Michelle Ma and

David Blazer, Director of Music

You're going to be seeing something different and new in the Sanctuary: a minister preaching while wearing a mask or a face shield. Rev. Michelle Ma is going to explain why, and how it all comes back to the Seventh Principle..

 

 

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Happiest Facts of All Time

Happiest Facts of All Time

June 28, 2020

by Reverend Anthony Makar

Worship Associate Ryan Rosu and

David Blazer, Director of Music 

Join Rev. Makar in his exploration of some of the happiest facts of all time.
In these “happy facts” we will hear hope’s tune.

Hope Is The Thing With Feathers
“Hope” is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul
And sings the tune without the words
And never stops - at all.
 
-Emily Dickinson

 

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Gospel of RuPaul

Gospel of RuPaul

June 21, 2020

by Reverend Anthony Makar and

David Blazer, Director of Music 

June is Pride month! Join us for a celebratory and thought-provoking service where we lift up the GLBTQ+ community. Our focus will be RuPaul, who is arguably America’s most famous drag queen. Since 2009, he has hosted and produced the drag queen reality show RuPaul’s Drag Race, for which he won an Emmy 2016. He is whip-smart, sharp, wise, and worth getting to know better!.

 

 

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The Fire This Time

The Fire This Time

June 14, 2020

by Reverend Anthony Makar and

David Blazer, Director of Music 

By now, it may feel cliche to say that the times we’re living in are unprecedented. It’s been said already so often. And, it’s just true. Our times have seen an unprecedented pileup of crises, one after the other, in a mere five-month period: Trump’s impeachment and governmental disarray, the coronavirus pandemic, the economic crash, and most recently, intense protests against racism and police violence in the wake of George Floyd’s murder on March 25. Some say it’s like 1968 all over again. Is it? What is the meaning of the fire this time? What do we do? Today, we will also honor our high school graduates with a Bridging Service.

 

 

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An Unbroken Wilderness

An Unbroken Wilderness

June 7, 2020

by Reverend Renee Ruchotzke and

David Blazer, Director of Music 

Instead of a world where exploitation and extraction rule, there is a world of interconnection, beauty, and resilience that we yearn for. How might Unitarian Universalists be partners with indigenous and other marginalized communities to live into a transformed way of living that invites all of humanity to participate?

 

Rev. Renee Ruchotzke serves local congregations as a part of our larger Unitarian Universalist Association. She serves on the LeaderLab design team and as Dean of the UU Leadership Institute. She lives in Kent, OH, where she and her spouse Randy spend their free time outside in their   Permaculture food forests garden.

 

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The Bigger the Break, the Bigger the Opening

The Bigger the Break, the Bigger the Opening

May 31, 2020

by Reverend Anthony Makar and

David Blazer, Director of Music

 

In light of recent events, Rev. Makar has written a different sermon for tomorrow: The Bigger the Break, the Bigger the Opening
 
We are seeing things break in the horrific death of George Floyd from police violence and the sick way this same sort of thing keeps on happening over and over again in America. 
 
We are seeing the break in the protest fires of Minneapolis and smashed windows of Atlanta and the thrown bottles and the pepper spray which all represent, as Dr. King once said, “the language of the unheard.” 
 
We are seeing the break in our President’s despicable tweet where he urges the violence on, saying, “When the looting starts, the shooting starts.” 
 
We are seeing the break. 
 
But you know what? The bigger the break, the bigger the opening, and the bigger the possibility for transformation.  

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Letter to Kurt Vonnegut

Letter to Kurt Vonnegut

May 24, 2020

by Reverend Anthony Makar and

David Blazer, Director of Music

He has been called “our most distinguished and indispensable grouch” and “a satirist with a heart, a moralist with a whoopee cushion, a cynic who wants to believe.” He is 20th century author, humanist, and Unitarian Universalist Kurt Vonnegut. Come and experience his presence among us, as I share my personal letter to him.

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Ethics of the New Normal

Ethics of the New Normal

May 17, 2020

by Reverend Anthony Makar and

David Blazer, Director of Music

Pre-corona vs. post-corona. Old normal vs. new normal. The world changed on us with shocking swiftness, and now that we are several months in, perhaps it is time to take stock. What are our new responsibilities to each other? What is the new normal we are entering into?
 
Motherlove

Motherlove

May 10, 2020

by Reverend Anthony Makar and

David Blazer, Director of Music

Growing up, maybe you had two dads. Maybe you had a mom, but she adopted you at some point, or she’s a stepmom. Fact is, “motherlove” is not tied to any specific biology or family structure. No one owns sunlight. Sunlight shines free. We all need the light of motherlove. And we can all give it. Let’s take a closer look.

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When All Else is Lost

When All Else is Lost

May 3, 2020

by Reverend Anthony Makar and

David Blazer, Director of Music

American poet William Carlos Williams once wrote, “It is difficult to get the news from poems yet men die miserably every day for lack of what is found there.” Today, we explore the salvific power of art, with an emphasis on the visual arts. As a German proverb says, “Art holds fast when all else is lost.”

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Cabin Fever with Less Pain

Cabin Fever with Less Pain

April 26, 2020

by Reverend Anthony Makar and

David Blazer, Director of Music

For those of us fortunate enough to have homes in which to self-quarantine and space enough in which to social-distance, these are the times that try men’s souls. Or people’s souls—I am amending that classic line from American patriot Thomas Paine to make it more inclusive. These are the times that try people’s souls. Today, let’s talk about one of these trials: that of cabin fever.
 
Animal Blessing Service

Animal Blessing Service

April 19, 2020

by Reverend Anthony Makar and

David Blazer, Director of Music

We don’t know how long it’s going to take to get back to normal. But especially in a time filled with challenges and grief, we must do things that nurture our spirits. Spending time in nature is a way to do this. So is spending time with our animal companions: our cats, our dogs, our rabbits, and so on. Even mere videos of cats and dogs and other animals just being themselves feel sustaining. In honor of Earth Day coming up on April 22 (the 50th anniversary of it!), today’s worship celebrates the animal companions we love. If you have an animal companion, be sure to take a picture of it and post it for all to appreciate.
 
Now More Than Ever

Now More Than Ever

April 12, 2020

by Reverend Anthony Makar and

David Blazer, Director of Music

Easter is tough for everyone. On top of that, Easter poses special difficulties for Unitarian Universalists. Even so, we need Easter. We need Easter now more than ever. Why? Come join us to find out.
 
Flower Celebration Ritual for this Easter Sunday!
For this upcoming Easter morning, our greeting time will draw from a powerful and beautiful tradition coming from the founder of Unitarianism in Czechoslovakia, Dr. Norbert Capek. This tradition is called The Flower Celebration. The first one was held in late spring, June 4, 1923, in Prague, and Dr. Capek asked each member of his congregation to bring a flower to church. That flower was meant to represent their uniqueness. They would bring their flower to church and place it in a common bouquet, which was meant to represent the community as a whole - a community of unique and wonderful individuals, gathered as one. At the end of the service, everyone was asked to take a flower home with them as a gift of love from a fellow congregant.
 
When we are back to worshiping in face-to-face fashion, we will observe the Flower Celebration again. But for this Easter morning - in these times we’re living in - we need the comfort and the inspiration of our spiritual heritage.  
 
So bring a flower - perhaps a live one, perhaps one you drew on paper or crafted in some other way. Bring your flower and, at a certain point in the service, I’ll ask you to place it near your chalice. If you want to take a picture of it and post it, that would be appreciated by everyone.

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Befriending Fear

Befriending Fear

April 5, 2020

by Reverend Anthony Makar and

David Blazer, Director of Music

These are fear-filled days, for lots of reasons. But is there a way of making peace with fear? How might we deal with this difficult emotion more effectively and gracefully in our lives?
 
The Special Greeting Time in This Sunday’s Service
Rev. Makar will invite us to a special greeting of those among us who are currently serving as medical personnel - nurses, doctors, and the myriad of other professionals whose ministry is to the health of our bodies. In this time, their ministry is especially stressful, especially daunting. We do well to send them our loving energy. 
  • Mary Aulisio
  • Karen Collins
  • Elizabeth Cooper
  • Danielle Crockett
  • Matt Crockett
  • Jerry Devis
  • Charlie Farrell
  • Bruce Kafer
  • Kevin Keefe
  • Michelle Ma
  • Tina Miller
  • Barb Mishic
  • Drina Nemes
  • Natalie Palmieri
  • Debbie Rosu
  • Jay Shah
  • Lisa Shaw
  • Michele Tarsitano-Amato
  • Caleb Thibeault 
  • Martie Travis 
Rev. Makar will also acknowledge family members and friends of West Shore members who serve on the “front line” of caring for our bodies in this time, and we are filled with both love and worry for them, too.

 

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