West Shore Unitarian Universalist Church
Thanksgiving Sunday:  A Big Quiet House

Thanksgiving Sunday:  A Big Quiet House

November 21, 2021
Rev. Anthony Makar, Senior Minister
Vicki Warden and Elizabeth Gerencser, Worship Associates
Meghan Ross, Director of Religious Education
David Blazer, Director of Music
 

On this Sunday right before Thanksgiving, join with your West Shore community in a spirit of gratitude for the gifts of life. Our service will revolve around the children’s picture book entitled “A Big Quiet House.” It begins like this:  

There once was a man whose house was very small.
It was cluttered with things from wall to wall.
The man lived with his mother, his wife, and his six children in a tiny little house. 
The children were noisy and the man and his wife argued and argued.
Every day he would say, in a miserable way, “I need more room.
This house is too small!”

Come see what this man learns about life, gratitude, and love!

CLICK HERE TO WATCH

 

Reading the Bible Again For The First Time: Creation Stories

Reading the Bible Again For The First Time: Creation Stories

November 14, 2021

Rev. Anthony Makar, Senior Minister
Grace Durfee, Worship Associates
David Blazer, Director of Music

 

Liberal minister and peace activist William Sloane Coffin once wrote, “It is a mistake to look to the Bible to close a discussion; the Bible seeks to open one.” Today, we continue our year-long examination of the Hebrew and Christian scriptures with a focus on the creation stories in the Hebrew scriptures. Let’s see what conversations the Bible opens! 

Our study book is "Reading the Bible Again for the First Time" by Marcus J. Borg. As preparation for this Sunday’s sermon, please read Chapter 4.

CLICK HERE TO WATCH SERVICE

The Voice in Our Head

The Voice in Our Head

November 7, 2021
Rev. Anthony Makar, Senior Minister
Brian Gardner, Worship Associates
David Blazer, Director of Music

 

"Tell a stranger that you talk to yourself, and you’re likely to get written off as eccentric. But the truth is that we all have a voice in our head.” This is from a recent book entitled "Chatter" written by University of Michigan psychology professor Ethan Kross. Today, we take a closer look at the voice in our head and the great puzzle of how that voice can sometimes be our best coach but at other times our worst critic. How might our self-talk be more positive and productive, as opposed to unhelpful and even debilitating?

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Many Faces of October 31

Many Faces of October 31

October 31, 2021
Judy Montgomery, Elizabeth Gerencser, Grace Durfee, Judy Maruszan,
Brian Gardner and Vicky Warden, Worship Associates
David Blazer, Director of Music
 

What does the thought of October 31 mean to you?  Trick or treat?  Ghosts and goblins?  Spirits??  The date means many different things to us all.  West Shore’s Worship Associates will present a “buffet” of thoughts and ideas regarding this sometimes perplexing holiday.

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Wow, Help, Thank You: A Spirituality of Prayer for Unitarian Universalists

Wow, Help, Thank You: A Spirituality of Prayer for Unitarian Universalists

October 24, 2021
Rev. Anthony Makar, Senior Minister
Vicky Warden, Worship Associate
Don Jackson, Guest Musician
 

Prayer is as old as time and as vast as human experience, found in every culture across history.  But can prayer be meaningful for Unitarian Universalists today?  What if you don't believe in a personal God, or in any kind of God at all?  Let's take a closer look.

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Reading the Bible Again For The First Time:  Introduction

Reading the Bible Again For The First Time:  Introduction

October 17, 2021
Rev. Anthony Makar, Senior Minister
Elizabeth Gerencser, Worship Associate
David Blazer, Music Director
 

One of America’s Founding Fathers, Thomas Paine, once remarked, “The Bible is a book that has been read more and examined less than any book that ever existed.” Today, we begin our year-long examination of the Hebrew and Christian scriptures. How can Unitarian Universalists take it seriously (and be profoundly inspired and changed by it) without falling into the trap of literalism? Our study book is "Reading the Bible Again for the First Time" by Marcus J. Borg. As preparation for this Sunday’s sermon, please read Chapters 1-3.

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On Compassion Fatigue

On Compassion Fatigue

October 10, 2021
Rev. Anthony Makar, Senior Minister
Judy Maruszan, Worship Associate
David Blazer, Music Director
 
Compassion fatigue is a state of exhaustion as a result of prolonged exposure to unending bad news and the needs of a hurting world. It is an important framework in professions such as nursing, where over-exposure to trauma can lead to health problems for the nurses and worsened outcomes for patients. But it can and has been applied to the general population, too, especially when we are saturated with pleas for attention. As Unitarian Universalists, who are called to empathy and service, we need to acknowledge compassion fatigue and address it wisely.

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To Follow a Pagan Path

To Follow a Pagan Path

October 3, 2021
Cara Mia, Guest Worship Leader
Brian Gardner, Worship Associate
David Blazer, Music Director
 
Modern Paganism (or Neopaganism) is a term describing a broad range of beliefs and practices. Hours can be spent discussing the nuances between various paths. But if we try to speak generally for a moment, what do they have in common? What are some of the most common beliefs and practices that might call someone to follow a Pagan path? Let's talk for a bit about some of the core elements that often make up modern Paganism. Set one foot upon the path, and see where it takes you.
 
 
About Our Guest Worship Leader
 
Cara Mia [they/she] is a practicing Witch and Pagan living on Erie/Seneca land, now called Cleveland, OH. They have been making videos about modern Paganism and Witchcraft since 2008 (YouTube: cutewitch772), and co-founded "The Pagan Perspective," a collaborative channel featuring Pagans from various paths and backgrounds, in 2009 (YouTube: paganperspective). Cara is part of the Reclaiming Tradition of Witchcraft, an inclusive feminist and antiracist tradition bridging the worlds of spirituality and social justice. They are working to become a trained teacher in the tradition, as well as establishing Reclaiming community here in Ohio. Cara also enjoys educating the public at the Buckland Museum of Witchcraft and Magick, located in Cleveland's Old Brooklyn neighborhood.

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All Are Called to Serve

All Are Called to Serve

September 26, 2021
Rev. Anthony Makar, Senior Minister
Judy Maruszan, Worship Associate
David Blazer, Music Director
 
Our lives are only as big as the dreams we dream.  If they are large, we expand; small, and we shrink to fit.  So what shall our ministry dream be, as individuals and as a congregation?
 

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West Shore Diamond Jubilee:  A Multi-Faceted

West Shore Diamond Jubilee:  A Multi-Faceted

September 19, 2021
Celebration Kick-Off Service
Rev. Anthony Makar, Worship Leader
Vicky Warden, Worship Associate
David Blazer, Music Director
The Free Spirit Band
 
West Shore's very first service was held 75 years ago, on September 15, 1946.  Today's service kicks off our Diamond Jubilee year, in which we celebrate our 75 years of existence, from the beginning to where we are right now.

Special thanks to Abby Rosu for designing the logo for the 75th Diamond Jubilee Anniversary Celebration and to Karen Auer for making the felt banner that will hang on the pulpit for the entire year. 

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The Turning Seasons of the Spirit

The Turning Seasons of the Spirit

September 12, 2021
Rev. Anthony Makar, Worship Leader
Elizabeth Gerencser & Judy Montgomery, Worship Associates
David Blazer, Music Director
Jen and Laird Wynn, Margaret and Brian Gardner, Guest Musicians
 
As spiritual heirs of the Transcendentalists, we know that we can discover spiritual meanings first-hand by going to nature and reading it as if it were a kind of bible.  Today as we celebrate Ingathering, and gather face-to-face for the first time since March 2020, we look to the seasonal cycles of nature for wisdom and inspiration.

 

Ingathering is also the time when we celebrate our annual Water Communion ritual, a beautiful ceremony of the celebration of life!  Be sure to bring a small container of water with you to church, so you can participate.  This water is supposed to represent something personally memorable and valuable to you.

 
 

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Fear Not:  A Buddhist Perspective

Fear Not:  A Buddhist Perspective

September 5, 2021
Ven. Shih Ying-Fa, Worship Leader
Elizabeth Gerencser & Grace Durfee, Worship Associates
David Blazer, Music Director
 
In these uncertain times we may experience fear about a number of things such as the pandemic, the environment, or partisan politics just to name a few.  Skillfully utilizing Wisdom and Compassion is an effective way to deal with these realities while helping to heal our world.  Ven. Shih Ying-Fa, Abbot of CloudWater Zendo, the Zen Center of Cleveland, will examine the Buddhist view of fear and how we may deal with it in a reasonable fashion.
 
VEN. SHIH YING-FA, ABBOT:  Venerable Shih Ying-Fa is the Abbot and founder of CloudWater Zendo, the Zen Center of Cleveland. He has been a practicing Buddhist for the last 35 years. Venerable Ying-Fa has been a fully ordained Buddhist monk since 1998 and is the founder of the Nien-Fo Ch'an Order of Buddhist Monks. He founded CloudWater Zendo in 1994 and subsequently founded Zen meditation groups in Ohio, Pennsylvania and Washington state. He is active in interfaith activities in the greater Cleveland area and spent 20 years teaching Buddhism and meditation in Ohio prisons. He also teaches a weekly class on the Chinese internal art of Qigong,

(“Nien-Fo Ch’an” is pronounced “Nee-enn-foe Chawn”) (“Qigong” is pronounced “Chee-gong”)

 

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Understanding War

Understanding War

August 29, 2021
Rev. Anthony Makar, Worship Leader
Brian Gardner, Worship Associate
David Blazer, Music Director
 
The recent resurgence of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the even more recent American withdrawal from Afghanistan brings to mind the terrors and tragedy of war.  Today, we explore war from a practical and spiritual perspective.

 

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Spirituality of Imperfection

Spirituality of Imperfection

August 22, 2021
Reverend Anthony Makar, Worship Leader
Judy Montgomery, Worship Associate
David Blazer, Music Director
 
"Perfectionism is internalized oppression." ~Gloria Steinem
"Perfectionism is self-abuse of the highest order." ~Anne Wilson Schaef
In short, perfectionism is a real problem.  So what might the solution look like?

 


 

This Sunday, we will have a few visitors in our Sanctuary! 
They are members of the Hospitality Staff, Board and others who are helping us determine how best we can re-open, even in a small way, during worship time on Sundays.  
 
Beginning next Sunday, August 29, we are offering seats on a “first-come, first-serve basis” to the first twenty people who want to attend our Sunday worship service.  Depending on the Board's decision on reopening, we may open up the service to more people for subsequent services after that.
 
We will continue to live stream our service over Facebook, as usual, to our broader congregation. If you have reserved a seat in the Sanctuary for the service, please be in your seat by 10:05 a.m.  The worship service will begin promptly at 10:15 a.m. Masks must be worn during the service. Directions on how to reserve your seat will be available in next week’s Enews.
 
Speaking on behalf of our regular crew, we are all looking forward to seeing members of the congregation back in the Sanctuary again!

 

CLICK HERE TO WATCH THE SERVICE

Spiritual Alchemy

Spiritual Alchemy

August 15, 2021
Reverend Anthony Makar, Worship Leader
Brian Gardner, Worship Associate
David Blazer, Music Director
 
What if we could trust our lives more?  What if we could find a better balance to our living?  Join Rev. Makar in an exploration of the art of living more spiritually.
 

 

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Peace is an Inside Job

Peace is an Inside Job

August 8, 2021
Reverend Shirley Nelson, Guest Worship Leader
Elizabeth Gerencser, Worship Associate
David Blazer, Music Director
 
Peace comes from living in harmony with yourself. "It isn't enough to talk about peace.  One must believe in it.  And it isn't enough to believe in it.  One must work at it". ~ Eleanor Roosevelt
 

REV. SHIRLEY NELSON: Shirley is a Cleveland-area certified inter-spiritual compassionate counselor and life skills coach; founder of San's Sacred Circle, which offers retreats and workshops.  For more than 30 years, she has lived an engaged spiritual life through mindfulness and compassion as a speaker, facilitator, writer, workshop and retreat leader.  Shirley offers inner-essence serenity sessions to individuals to explore their spiritual journey with the intention to raise their consciousness and deepen their understanding of self and others.  She is a recent graduate of One Spirit Learning Alliance in New York, NY, where she was ordained as an interfaith inter-spiritual minister.  Website: shirleyanelson.com
 
Sustainability 101:  Ecology as the Heart of Theology

Sustainability 101:  Ecology as the Heart of Theology

August 1, 2021
Reverend Michael Dowd, Guest Worship Leader
Vicky Warden, Worship Associate
David Blazer, Music Director
 
Rev. Dowd elaborates on his 6-point “Eco-Theo Credo: "Reality is my God. Evidence is my scripture. The Epic of Evolution is my creation story.  Ecology is my theology. Integrity is my spiritual path. Fostering fidelity to the future is my mission."

 


REV. MICHEL DOWD: Rev. Michael Dowd is bestselling eco-theologian, TEDx speaker, and pro-future advocate whose work has been featured in The New York Times, LA Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, Newsweek, Discover, and on television nationally in the U.S. and Canada. Michael and his science writer, evolutionary educator, and fellow climate activist wife, Connie Barlow, have addressed nearly 3,000 groups throughout North America over the past two decades, including nearly 500 Unitarian Universalist churches. Their work has been featured on the cover of the UU WORLD twice, in 1997 and again in 2006.  

Michael and Connie were honored as “UU Religious Humanists of the Year” in 2016.

 

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The Stories That We Tell

The Stories That We Tell

July 25, 2021
Rev. Dave Clements, Guest Worship Leader
Melinda McGucken, Worship Associate
David Blazer, Music Director
 
As we look to the time when we will move past this pandemic what will be the stories that generations will tell about this time. What have we learned?  What has changed in our lives? What meaning and purpose have we found in Unitarian Universalism. How will we be different? What hopes do you have for our faith and for this congregation? How will we find value in our own stories?

 


REV. DAVE CLEMENTS: Ministry for me is a second career.  My first career was spent doing the work of an organizational development consultant. My career allowed me to work in the areas of strategic planning, entrepreneurship and fundraising.  My religious background growing up was mixed. My mother was Jewish and my father Catholic.  I learned how to celebrate both holidays and found joy in doing so.  

Most of my adult life was spent building a career, raising five children as a single parent and just trying to make my mark on the world.  I held several management and director positions in Human Resources, Sales and Fundraising.  My life has been a series of journeys and with each journey I have developed and grown.  I moved to Cleveland in the summer of 2008, to start a new life with my partner, and a few years later started a consulting business. 

In September of 2013, I received my call to the Ministry. Once I made the decision, things started to unfold for me.  I enrolled at Meadville Lombard Theological School in the summer of 2014, completed a Chaplin’s residency in 2015, and spent 2016 and 2017 serving as the Minister Intern at the Kent UU church in Kent Ohio.  In May of 2017, I graduated from Meadville.  I was offered a position that summer as an Interim Minister for the Cape Town Unitarian Church in Cape Town, South Africa.  Living and serving as a Minister outside of my native country has been and continues to be a life-changing experience.  I have learned how to minister to a mixed multicultural and multiracial congregation.  My time spent in South Africa was a life-changing experience.  I have learned that it is always in the quiet moments of our lives when the Holy speaks to us.  In January of 2019, I left South Africa to serve as the Interim Minister in Peoria, IL.  I finished serving that congregation in June of 2020 and accepted a position to serve as the Sr. Interim Minister for the Unitarian Universalist Church of Bloomington, IN, where I am currently serving.  As an Interim Minister, it is always exciting to learn new ways to engage the congregation especially fostering deep and spiritual connections during this unique time of COVID-19.

 

 

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Curiosity Creates Connection, Compassion and Spaciousness Within

Curiosity Creates Connection, Compassion and Spaciousness Within

July 18, 2021
Reverend Shirley Nelson, Guest Worship Leader
Judy Montgomery, Worship Associate
David Blazer, Music Director
 
Curiosity gives us permission to let go of the right/wrong and either/or mentality.  It gives us room to breathe and moves us from "there's something wrong" to "what is here for me to see?"  Being curious about ourselves and each other is a gift that keeps on giving.

REV. SHIRLEY NELSON: Today’s guest speaker is Rev. Shirley A. Nelson. Shirley is a Cleveland-area certified interspiritual compassionate counselor and life skills coach; founder of San's Sacred Circle, which offers retreats and workshops.  For more than 30 years she has lived an engaged spiritual life through mindfulness and compassion as a speaker, facilitator, writer and workshop/retreat leader.  Shirley offers inner-essence serenity sessions to individuals to explore their spiritual journey with the intention to raise their consciousness and deepen their understanding of self and others.  She is a recent graduate of One Spirit Learning Alliance in New York, NY, where she was ordained as an interfaith interspiritual minister.  Website: shirleyanelson.com

 

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Justice:  A Look Backward & Forward

Justice:  A Look Backward & Forward

July 11, 2021
Rabbi David M. Horowitz, Guest Worship Leader
Judy Montgomery, Worship Associate
David Blazer, Music Director
 
We all seem to agree that justice is essential in our society but what that entails seems to vary widely.  The sermon will look back at the definition in the Hebrew Scriptures and apply to our future as Americans living in a conflicted environment.

RABBI DAVID M. HOROWITZ:  David M. Horowitz is the Rabbi Emeritus of Temple Israel in Akron. In the past, he has taught courses at the college level of philosophy and theology and courses in the Ethnic Studies Department of Kent State University. Rabbi Horowitz is a past president of of PFLAG Akron and PFLAG National. He was on the panel at President Clinton’s first Town Meeting on Race Relations. Rabbi Horowitz was the topic of a chapter entitled “Every Day the Rabbi Helps Gays,” in Dan Woog’s book, Friends and Family/True Stories of Gay America’s Straight Allies.

Rabbi Horowitz has been married to Toby for 58 years and they have two children. He lectures widely on issues dealing with gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender concerns, the challenge of the radical right, as well as a variety of Judaic subjects, to academic institutions, religious institutions, and corporations throughout the United States and in other countries as well. He is frequently a presenter at the Academy for Spiritual Formation sponsored by the Upper Room.

 

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Justice:  A Look Backward & Forward — postponed

Justice:  A Look Backward & Forward — postponed

July 4, 2021
There will NOT be a livestreamed service this Sunday. This Sunday's service was pre-recorded and can be viewed here at any time.

 

CLICK HERE TO WATCH THE SERVICE

Muddy Waters

Muddy Waters

June 27, 2021
by Reverend C. Nozomi Ikuta, Worship Leader
Grace Durfee, Worship Associate
David Blazer, Director of Music

Forty-nine days after a gunman killed eight people, including six Asian women in Atlanta, 49 spiritual leaders from different Buddhist sects led a healing ceremony in Los Angeles marking the moment the dead transition to another realm. At the heart of the ceremony was a lotus flower, which needs muddy water to grow. Nozomi's sermon will invite you to reflect on making flowers bloom from the muddy waters of suffering, pain, delusion and oppression.

 

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Annual Flower Celebration

Annual Flower Celebration

June 20, 2021
by Reverend Anthony Makar, Worship Leader
and the Worship Associate Team
David Blazer, Director of Music

One of our distinctive annual rituals as Unitarian Universalists is the Flower Celebration. It very beautifully embodies some of the most important values that animate us as a religious people, including "the inherent worth and dignity of every person." It's also about freedom, which resonates with Juneteenth or Emancipation Day, the holiday celebrating the emancipation of those who had been enslaved in the United States observed on June 19. Weather permitting, this service will be held at West Shore on the lawn outdoors. Bring a flower to exchange with another, in a socially-distanced, safe way!

 

CLICK HERE TO WATCH THE SERVICE

The World’s Religions:  Unitarian Universalism

The World’s Religions: Unitarian Universalism

June 13, 2021
by Reverend 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 concludes with Unitarian Universalism.

 

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Pride Sunday:  Love Your Life

Pride Sunday: Love Your Life

June 6, 2021
by Reverend 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 "However mean your life is," says Henry David Thoreau, author of the famous book Walden, "meet it and live it; do not shun it and call it hard names. It is not so bad as you are. It looks poorest when you are richest. The fault-finder will find faults even in paradise. Love your life, poor as it is." On West Shore's Pride Sunday, Join Rev. Makar for an exploration of the vision of one of our pre-eminent Unitarian Universalist ancestors.

 

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What MDMA Taught Me

What MDMA Taught Me

May 30, 2021
by Reverend Michelle Ma, Worship Leader
Elizabeth Gerencser, Worship Associate
David Blazer, Director of Music

Those of you who are familiar with Rev. Ma's story know that she has substance abuse in her history. That's not a period in her life that she's proud of, and there are also lessons from that time that she's carried into her ministry and still carries: lessons about love, fear, and the things that keep us apart.

 

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The World’s Religions:  Primal Religions

The World’s Religions: Primal Religions

May 23, 2021
by Reverend Anthony Makar, Worship Leader
Vicky Warden, 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 Primal Religions (specifically, the Yoruba religion of West Africa). 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). As preparation for the sermon, please read the chapter on Primal Religions (pp. 365-383) before the service.

 

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Coming of Age

Coming of Age

May 16, 2021
 by Barbara Walker, Lay Minister
Melinda McGucken, Judy Montgomery & Grace Durfee, Worship Associates
David Blazer, Director of Music

Today’s service is a feast of perspectives on “Coming of Age” Our 9th Grade Coming of Age graduates will offer their personal credos, and several of our Worship Associates will contribute their reflections around the journey of personal growth.

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The Art of Motherhood

The Art of Motherhood

May 9, 2021
 by Reverend Anthony Makar, Worship Leader
Vicky Warden, Worship Associate
David Blazer, Director of Music

Join Rev. Makar for an art-filled exploration of the "art" of motherhood. From paintings, music, poetry and other forms of artistic endeavor. We will come to learn and affirm what good mothering is all about.

CLICK HERE TO WATCH THE SERVICE

 

 

On Forgiveness

On Forgiveness

May 2, 2021
 by Reverend Anthony Makar, Worship Leader
Judy Montgomery, Worship Associate
David Blazer, Director of Music

Our favorite songs, whoever the artist or whatever the style, were created in a strange alchemy of study and inspiration, of strict practice and of letting go. Spiritual Practice is a similar combination of dedication, muscle memory, and perhaps a little divine inspiration. Join us for a musical exploration of learning to risk, building the muscle memory of courage, and the spiritual practice of relationship when things around us are changing fast.

About Our Guest Worship

Forgiveness is something that can cause people difficulties. How do I forgive myself? How do I forgive others? Why is it so hard to forgive, even when we know it is the right thing to do and would be beneficial to us? Rev. Makar addresses this key spiritual topic today, thanks to Anne Osborne, who purchased this sermon.

CLICK HERE TO WATCH THE SERVICE

 

 

Annual Blessing of the Animals

Annual Blessing of the Animals

April 25, 2021
by Reverend Anthony Makar, Worship Leader
Melinda McGucken, Worship Associate

Today is our second annual Blessing of the Animals service! In honor of Earth Day on April 22, we are celebrating the animal companions we love. If you have an animal companion, please share a picture of yourself with them and send it to Christine Salontay at csalontay@gmail.com. Christine will create a video montage, which we will enjoy during the service.

 

CLICK HERE TO WATCH THE SERVICE

Youth Sunday: Growth & Maturation

Youth Sunday: Growth & Maturation

April 18, 2021
by West Shore Youths

Our youth chose the theme “Growth & Maturity” as they reflect upon their time as young adults embarking on adulthood. Music, readings, opening words, and reflections will be focused on this theme, and the sermon will consist of the youth and the trusted adults from the West Shore community sharing stories on personal growth. A specific thank you to volunteers Jeff Martin, Michele Tarsitano, Angie Tarsitano, and Kelly Pinkas for their mentorship and guidance, as well as joining our youth for this service.

 

CLICK HERE TO WATCH THE SERVICE

Liberation from White Supremacy Culture

Liberation from White Supremacy Culture

April 11, 2021
by Reverend Anthony Makar, Worship Leader
Grace Durfee, Worship Associate
David Blazer, Director of Music

Without a doubt, there are structures and systems in our world that alienate people from themselves and from others and thereby cause great suffering. White supremacy culture is one of these. But how, specifically, does white supremacy culture manifest itself? What are some ways we might seek liberation from it?

 

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The World’s Religions:  Christianity

The World’s Religions: Christianity

April 4, 2021
by Reverend Anthony Makar, Worship Leader
Elizabeth Gerencser, 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 Christianity. 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 Christianity (pp. 317-364) before the service.

 

CLICK HERE TO WATCH THE SERVICE

Letter to Ruth Ginsberg

Letter to Ruth Ginsberg

March 28, 2021
by Reverend Anthony Makar, Worship Leader
Judy Montgomery, Worship Associate
David Blazer, Director of Music

U. S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who recently died this past September after serving the highest court in the land for 27 years, changed American life for the better. Everyone has a lot to thank her for, but many don’t know how much she’s done. She’s also a fascinating personality, to boot. Rev. Makar explores this and more in his personal letter to Judge Ginsburg. Join us!

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Forward Into Light!

Forward Into Light!

March 21, 2021
 by Reverend Anthony Makar, Worship Leader
Vicki Warden, Worship Associate
David Blazer, Director of Music

“Forward into Light” was a popular rallying cry for the women’s suffrage movement, which culminated in the ratification and adoption of the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, in 1920, that “the right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex.” Today, Rev. Makar explores the drama and complexity of this story, together with the continuing struggle for women’s voting rights.

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It Takes Practice

It Takes Practice

March 20, 2021
 by Matt Meyer, Guest Worship Leader
Grace Durfee, Worship Associate
David Blazer, Director of Music

Our favorite songs, whoever the artist or whatever the style, were created in a strange alchemy of study and inspiration, of strict practice and of letting go. Spiritual Practice is a similar combination of dedication, muscle memory, and perhaps a little divine inspiration. Join us for a musical exploration of learning to risk, building the muscle memory of courage, and the spiritual practice of relationship when things around us are changing fast.

About Our Guest Worship

Leader Matt Meyer is musician, worship leader, and community organizer, as well as a lifelong Unitarian Universalist. He has been a keynote speaker at the JPD worship arts festival, Ohio Summer Institute, Allies for Racial Equity national conference, and the annual meeting of the Canadian Unitarian Council. He has also led music for most of the last fifteen General Assemblies of the UUA. Matt is a founding worship leader and current Director of Operations for Sanctuary Boston, a contemporary worship community in Boston. He was a founding member of the Lucy Stone Cooperative and is a current organizer of the UU Song leaders Convergence. www.RhythmRevelations.com

CLICK HERE TO WATCH THE SERVICE

 

 

The World’s Religions:  Judaism

The World’s Religions: Judaism

March 7, 2021
 by Reverend Anthony Makar, Worship Leader
Jeff Modzelewski, Worship Associate
David Blazer, Director of Music

Our year-long sermon series exploring some of the world's religions of our Unitarian Universalist spiritual way continues with Judaism. 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 Judaism (pp. 271-316) before the service.

CLICK HERE TO WATCH THE SERVICE

 

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.

CLICK HERE TO WATCH THE SERVICE

 

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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