West Shore Unitarian Universalist Church
What We Don’t Say

What We Don’t Say

April 10, 2016

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by Reverend Kathleen Rolenz

This month's provocative question "How Do I Know What I Am Really Saying?" begs the question, "well, what about the things you don't say?" There are times when speaking your truth is absolutely essential and other times when speaking your truth can be damaging or hurtful. This sermon will reflect on the practice of right speech," that is, knowing when to speak and when to keep silent; when to risk speaking your truth regardless of the consequences and when not speaking is the most important spiritual practice you can do.


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Signs of Resurrection

Signs of Resurrection

March 27, 2016

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by Reverend Kathleen Rolenz and

Reverend Wayne Arnason

In March, we look for signs of spring as surely as the disciples of Jesus looked for evidence of his resurrection. However, the original ending of the book of Mark, does not include a physical resurrection; instead, the disciples are left with only clues, hopes and dreams. So it is with us, when one chapter of our life ends and another has not yet been revealed. Even in the last days of winter, there are signs of new life emerging, if we can but see them.


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When Fundamentalism Becomes Terrorism

When Fundamentalism Becomes Terrorism

March 6, 2016

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by Reverend Kathleen Rolenz and

Holly Mueller

Intern Minister

We hear conflicting messages about Islam from pundits,politicians and average citizens; such as “Islam is a religion of peace” and “Islam inspires terrorism.” What is often not discussed is the fact that every religion—including Unitarian  Universalism—can succumb to the temptations of fundamentalism.This sermon will explore how fundamentalism  can lead us into dangerous and destructive orthodoxies.The good news is that there is an antidote to this and the answer may surprise you!The Outreach Offering will go to the After School Basketball program at the Denison United Church of Christ, a church that offers grass-roots programs to members of the westside community. Rev. Nozomi Ikuta will speak. The Free Spirit Band will feature the music of Emmy Lou Harris,“Deeper Wells,” and the Dixie Chicks, “I Hope.”


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The Missing Peace

The Missing Peace

February 14, 2016

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by Reverend Kathleen Rolenz

On the cultural holiday when loving relationships are celebrated, single people can feel left out. Whether you are partnered or single, all of us will ultimately lose those we love the most, so it makes a difference now how we think and feel about what our most intimate loving relationships really mean in our lives. Are they the “missing piece” that completes us, or are we “missing peace” by expecting that we can’t be whole within ourselves?

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Two Dreams

Two Dreams

January 17, 2016

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by Reverend Kathleen Rolenz

When Dr. King talked about having a Dream, it was all about people being judged by the content of their character rather than the color of their skin. In the most compelling book about racism to be published during this year since the "Black Lives Matter" movement began, "Between the World and Me" Ta-Nehisi Coates talks about The Dream in a very different way, as the dream of white supremacy that surrounds and shapes our culture. Can we wake up from both dreams?

CAUTION: THIS RECORDING IS DISTORTED

sorry

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Mea Culpa & Me

Mea Culpa & Me

September 20, 2015

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by Reverend Kathleen Rolenz

The High Holy Days of Judaism at the turning of the year always invites us to consider the meanings of Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, for our own lives. What does it mean to confess wrongdoing or harm that you have done, and how is that best accomplished?

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The Pleasure of Your Company

The Pleasure of Your Company

September 6, 2015

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by Reverend Kathleen Rolenz and

Reverend Wayne Arnason

Offered by Rev. Dr. Wayne Arnason & Rev. Kathleen Rolenz The Co-Ministers Request the Pleasure of Your Company at the first service of our worship theme year, where we start exploring the question: “Do I Know How to Have a Real Conversation?.” The invitation into conversation can be offered and received in so many ways in the society in which we live. We will look at how it happens in dating, in social media, in elections and in church. This service includes a Ceremony of Dedication for our Religious Education Program’s Volunteer Teachers. Although this will not be a formal class day, children (and parents, if you wish) are invited to come to the classrooms to meet their teachers and classmates and have some orientation to the year.

The River Flows in Both Directions

The River Flows in Both Directions

August 30, 2015

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by Reverend Kathleen Rolenz and

Reverend Wayne Arnason with

Layne Richard-Hammock

Director of Lifespan Faith Development

& Intern Holly Mueller

 This ceremony, now a tradition at West Shore, needs congregational participation to make it work! Bring some water from a special place you’ve been this summer—could be on your summer travels, a place of pilgrimage, our beloved Lake Erie or other body of water, and we’ll mingle the waters together in a common bowl as a symbol for our community coming together as one strong church body. If technology doesn’t fail us, we hope to Live Stream the folks from Fox Valley Unitarian Universalist Fellowship in Apple-ton, WI, as we begin our year-long partnership with them. 

God: An Autobiography

God: An Autobiography

July 19, 2015

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by Reverend Kathleen Rolenz and

Reverend Wayne Arnason

Whether you believe in God or not, you've got to admit that the idea of God has been around for a long time. Wouldn't it be interesting to hear what God would have to say about all the ways that the idea of God has been expressed? Informed by Karen Armstrong's wonderful 1994 book "The History of God," we propose to turn the pulpit over to God's voice, reflecting on a career that just seems to go on and on.

Weeds In Heaven?

Weeds In Heaven?

June 21, 2015

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by Reverend Kathleen Rolenz and

Reverend Wayne Arnason

A writer once observed that “when weeds go to heaven, they become flowers.” This is the theme for our Flower Communion Sunday this year, a Sunday when we invite you to bring some flowers to church from your home, from a store, or from the roadside to combine into beautiful bou-quets that will grace our service. Flower Communion has a 75 year history of celebration in our church and we will tell the story. This is also Father’s Day—so bring your Dad or your memories of Dad to church and he will be honored!

When An Atheist Goes To Church

When An Atheist Goes To Church

June 7, 2015

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by Reverend Kathleen Rolenz

In some countries, to declare oneself an atheist is a death sentence. In the United States, declaring oneself an atheist is usually met with either pointed questions about your morals, or outright hostility. However, there are hopeful signs that being a “non-believer” is gaining acceptance, but there’s much more to be done.This is the Sunday we will welcome new members to the church, as well as, take up the Outreach Offering for Next Step, a community organization that helps provide care for young adults who have “aged out” of the foster care system. The Free Spirit Band will offer their last performance before the summer break.

Beyond All Belief

Beyond All Belief

May 24, 2015

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by Reverend Kathleen Rolenz

Pentecost is often described as the “birthday” of the church because it’s the first time that diverse people could “hear” one another in their own language. In this church, we say “we don’t have to think or believe alike to love alike,” but “hearing one another into speech” and understanding our different set of beliefs is a unique challenge for the non-creedal church. Yet, Pentecost has lessons for all of us.

Not Dead Yet

Not Dead Yet

April 5, 2015

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by Reverend Kathleen Rolenz and

Reverend Wayne Arnason

Although it was Mark Twain in the 19th Century who in response to seeing his own obituary insisted "reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated," the latter books of the new Testament specifically and the Christian message generally from the 1st Century has reflected this same insistence about Jesus' message to us. In a world where nothing is permanent, we treat death as the exception. On this Easter Sunday when Christians celebrate resurrection, we'll look with both respect and a little irreverence at the problems and the possibilities of life - before and after death. The Outreach Offering will be dedicated to supporting our partner organization, Greater Cleveland Congregations.

Commit 2 Respond - Who Me?

Commit 2 Respond - Who Me?

March 22, 2015

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by Reverend Kathleen Rolenz

This Sunday kicks off a joint effort between the UU Service Committee’s focus on water as a basic human right; and the UU group “Commit2Respond” month-long focus on taking action to arrest or reverse Climate Change. It is also the Sunday closest to the Spring Equinox—a time when our minds and hands begin to turn toward the earth. How we respond today to the challenges of climate change will af-fect us now and for generations to come. West Shore’s UU Service Committee representative, Bob Nemcek, will speak briefly on the work of the UUSC.

Your Free Life

Your Free Life

March 1, 2015

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by Reverend Kathleen Rolenz and

Reverend Wayne Arnason

Can we be anything we want to be? We are blessed to live in a society where personal individual freedom is maximized and the message of unlimited potential for those who dream big and work hard is widespread. But how true is that message? Are we in fact limited only by our vision? What price are we willing to pay for a “free life?” The Free Spirit Band will be perform “Your Free Life” and “My Life,” as well as one Grammy-award winning song with new lyrics. This service will kick off this spring’s Stewardship Campaign and offer a vision for the year ahead.

From Love To Endurance

From Love To Endurance

February 15, 2015

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by Reverend Kathleen Rolenz

I Corinthians 13 is known as “the love passage,” and is often read at marriage ceremonies. In it, the Apostle Paul declares “Love never ends.” Yet, we do know that some loves do, in fact end; others are endured and still more last beyond life’s end. What love abides and when love can and probably should end will be the focus of this Sunday’s sermon.

From Survival to Love

From Survival to Love

February 1, 2015

by Reverend Kathleen Rolenz

Charles Darwin’s great work, “The Origin of the Species” framed our modern understanding of evolution. It explained how species evolved into the creatures we are today, and detailed the reasons for their survival. The most significant aspect of our evolution is one that he didn’t fully account for. The Free Spirit Band will play songs from diverse artists as Emma’s Revolution, Queen and Jonathan Richman. The Outreach Offering will be taken for The Carolyn Farrell Foundation for Brain Health.

Black Lives Matter

Black Lives Matter

January 18, 2015

by Reverend Kathleen Rolenz

This fall we watched a nation unravel under the on-going evidence of racism that permeates almost every aspect of our civic life. Protesters held up signs that said “Black Lives Matter,” to which some, replied “Yes, but all lives matter.” On this Sunday when we honor the legacy of Dr. King, we also have to look at the still unfinished work or undoing racism, with the hope that one day there will be no need for us to remind one another that “black lives matter.”

Women’s Lives Matter

Women’s Lives Matter

January 11, 2015

by Reverend Kathleen Rolenz

Throughout history women have left their mark on culture and innovations, but for centuries they remained largely invisible. Women often still receive less pay for equal work. Women and girls are exploited for slave labor or sex traf-ficking. Despite many gains in women’s rights, there are times when I want to call up my government and say “act as if women’s lives matter!” How would our culture and coun-try be different if women’s lives mattered more to lawmak-ers and those in positions of power? The Outreach Offering will be received for The Renee Jones Empowerment Center for their programs to combat human trafficking. The Free Spirit Band will play I Hope originally recorded by the Dixie Chicks.

All Men Are Created Equal

All Men Are Created Equal

January 4, 2015

by Reverend Kathleen Rolenz and

Reverend Reverend Wayne Arnason

Even though Thomas Jefferson wrote into the Declaration of Independence, the statement that "all men are created equal," he certainly would have hesitated about whether that meant that all lives mattered equally, under the laws of the new republic, or in the ways that different lives express themselves culturally. We will begin our month of exploring the dangerous belief that all men were created equal - what it used to mean and what it would mean if we really believed it.

Turning the Wheel of the Year

Turning the Wheel of the Year

December 21, 2014

by Reverend Kathleen Rolenz and

Layne Richard-Hammock

Director of Lifespan Faith Development

This Sunday is Winter Solstice, longest night of the year and a time for reflection and celebration rooted in the calendar of pre-Christian religious traditions often known as the "Wheel of the Year." Many in our West Shore community who embrace earth-based spiritualities, observe this calendar and the turning of the seasons. We'll explore the Yule holiday through dramatic presentation and song, story and symbols, and hear some reflections on the turning of the year back towards the light.

In God’s Country

In God’s Country

December 7, 2014

by Reverend Kathleen Rolenz

Last month, the National Cathedral in Washington DC held a Muslim prayer service for the first time in its history. While some celebrated this as a step towards becoming a truly multicultural country, many other voices decried it as a symbolic slap, believing that the United States is first and foremost a “Christian Nation.” It begs the question: in which country do we live? The Free Spirit Band will play

Thanksgiving’s Sunday Service

Thanksgiving’s Sunday Service

November 23, 2014

by Reverend Kathleen Rolenz and

Reverend Reverend Wayne Arnason

with Layne Richard-Hammock

Director of Lifespan Faith Development



Everyone will be together for a full multi-generational service in the Sanctuary celebrating the Thanksgiving season. We’ll share our bread communion, a story for all ages, and reflections from the ministers. The Choir will offer choral music, and the Junior Choir will be performing in the Rotunda between the two services this week. The Outreach offering will be taken this Sunday for Urban Hope, a Unitarian Universalist Community on the near West Side of Cleveland.

The Faith of a Theist

The Faith of a Theist

November 9, 2014

by Reverend Kathleen Rolenz and
Reverend Wayne Arnason

Part II

The Faith of an Athiest

The Faith of an Athiest

November 2, 2014

by Reverend Kathleen Rolenz and
Reverend Wayne Arnason

The co-ministers will begin the conversation with “The Faith of an Atheist.” The Free Spirit Band will offer Bob Dylan’s “Simple Twist of Fate.” New members of West Shore will be welcomed into the church.

Bite the Bullet

Bite the Bullet

October 19, 2014

by Reverend Kathleen Rolenz 

During the Civil War, the wounded were given a bullet to hold between their teeth to be able to bear the pain of sur-gery. Today, we seem to be living in the painful reality of a culture that accepts gun violence and mass incarceration as just “how things are.” What would it take for us to bite the bullet and agitate for an alternative vision of the world based on liberal religious principles and ideals? Have you been wanting to invite someone to church but wasn't sure about which Sunday? Bring a friend to church THIS SUNDAY for a special welcome and invitation to learn more about West Shore.

The Long Arc

The Long Arc

October 5, 2014

by Reverend Kathleen Rolenz and
Reverend Wayne Arnason

When people see that this is a service that is launching a Capital Campaign, they might think this is one they should skip—because they think we are going to make you hand in a pledge, or that it will be a glorified pep rally. We want to assure you that there is no segment in this service where you are expected to hand in a pledge card AND we promise you that if you don’t come, people will tell you later that you missed something special. This Sunday will try out a different multigenerational format that will include young people in the front end of the of the hour. We have all hands on deck musically, with the Choir and the Junior Choir and the Free Spirit Band. Come start the long arc of our October services with us and see where it leads.

When the Center Does Not Hold

When the Center Does Not Hold

September 21, 2014

by Reverend

Kathleen Rolenz

In Yeats’s poem, “the Second Coming,” he writes… “Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold; mere anarchy is loosed upon the world.” How do we find our center when both our personal and global life feels as if they’re fast unraveling? What religious insight and spiritual practices might help us hold ourselves and our world together?


Opening music is played in it's entirety at the end of the recording


Come Hell or High Water

Come Hell or High Water

August 31, 2014

by Reverends Kathleen Rolenz and
                    Wayne Arnason

At this service, you are invited to bring some water from your summer travels, either at home or afar to combine into a common bowl. We’ll welcome new Acting Director of Lifespan Faith Development Layne Richard-Hammock and recognize our two Commissioned Lay Leaders, Anne Osborne and Doris Matthey.

Making the Invisible Visible

Making the Invisible Visible

August 17, 2014

by Reverend Abhi Janamanchi
Reverend Mark Belletini
Reverend Kathleen Rolenz

This service will be offered by members of the “Beyond the Call” program; a two year intensive training in preaching and worship. These three ministers will reflect on how rituals can help us engage with our past, present and future.