West Shore Unitarian Universalist Church
Blessing the Future

Blessing the Future

May 8, 2016

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by Reverend Wayne Arnason

In this Irish-dominated community, we’ve probably heard a lot of jokes that refer to “my sainted mother.” Not all parents are saints, but being a parent is the most widespread and challenging investment in leaving a blessing for the future that human beings can make. It’s clear to me, however, that the future is hard to imagine, let alone predict. How then, do you bless the world’s future as you pass through it? Is the world that the millennial generation will experience in the late 21st century one that even the millennials have a hard time picturing? Is there anything the older generations have learned that can be passed on to youth, or is that a fruitless hope? Don’t they just have to figure it all out for themselves?

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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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It Is What It Is

It Is What It Is

March 13, 2016

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by Reverend Wayne Arnason

There’s a politician I know who uses this line a lot, especially when he’s advocating an unpopular program, like a new tax increase. Most of us would prefer to live our lives unencumbered by limitations imposed by government, money, or time. Political conservatives call that “freedom.” This week let’s explore how accepting what is, with all the limits that involves, invites a different kind of freedom.


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Party of One

Party of One

February 7, 2016

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Reverend Wayne Arnason

It’s always felt like a contradiction in terms when you are eating out alone and the seating host asks if you are a “party of one.” We’ll introduce this month’s theme for our worship services by celebrating those singular homes we inhabit that we take for granted—our one body, and our one life. Is everybody’s life ultimately a party of one, or a party with one?


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One to One

One to One

January 10, 2016

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by Reverend Wayne Arnason with

James Pearlstein

Greater Cleveland Congregation Organizer

Relationships are easier for some people than others. Extroverts who find engaging with people to be energizing may find it easy to have many relationships, while introverts have to try harder. But when both extroverts and introverts get over that initial hump of sitting down with a new person “one on one” they each face the same challenge. Can you get below the surface to understand what it really important to that other person? Many people are surprised that this question is vital, not only to building intimate relationships and friendships, but also vital to changing the world through community organizing. On this Sunday when our Outreach Offering is received to support Greater Cleveland Congregations and we meet our new full-time organizer, James Pearlstein, we will explore the connections be-tween the personal and the political, and the courage it takes to do both well.

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The Courage To Begin Again

The Courage To Begin Again

January 3, 2016

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by Reverend Kathleen Rolenz and

Reverend Wayne Arnason

During the course of our lives, we put a lot of effort into learning how to do some important life-tasks well—getting through school, learning a craft or profession, figuring out how to sustain friendships and loving relationships. Yet, isn’t it so often true that just when we thought we had this part of life figured out, we have to start over! We celebrate graduating from high school and we face the strange new world of college. We figure out the job we have, and do it well, just about the time the boss tells us that we are being re-assigned or offered a promotion. We take for granted what we thought were satisfying routines of married life and our partner asks for a divorce. We’ve been learning some new things ourselves this year about the courage you need to be able to start over, and we’d like to share them with you on this first service of the New Year.

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Solstice Season, Simple & Sacred

Solstice Season, Simple & Sacred

December 20, 2015

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by Reverend Wayne Arnason and

Layne Richard-Hammock

Director of Lifespan Faith Development

The Wheel of the Year is ever turning. The Winter Solstice sabbat marks the official beginning of winter and also the shortest day of the year. Solstice is simple to understand: because of the earth's tilt, on this day the Northern Hemisphere is as far away from the sun as it can be. Therefore, the first day of winter has the least amount of sunlight. As we explore some of the stories and lore of the season we move from the simple to the sacred. We’ll enter into the mystery of the turning of the seasons and visit the “Root Children” and Mother Nature as they travel the Wheel of the Year from Solstice to Solstice.

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The Lost Art?

The Lost Art?

September 13, 2015

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by Reverend Wayne Arnason

There are many commentators who lament their claim that “conversation is a lost art” in this day and age. While it is true that any student of the history of human conversation must admit that the ways we converse have changed profoundly, is it the case that the art of conversation has been lost, or is it merely being transformed by the ways we con-verse and the ways we think? What does this mean for congregations, and for other human communities?

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!

May I Change Your Mind?

May I Change Your Mind?

June 14, 2015

by Reverend Wayne Arnason

Some years ago a Buddhist magazine, Tricycle, sponsored "Change Your Mind" Days across the country, involving meditation events in public places. The title was a pun on the usual way we think about "Changing Your Mind," which is changing your opinions. It turns out changing your opinions may be even harder than changing your mind through spiritual discipline. In fact, it turns out that changing your mind by changing your opinions takes a special kind of spiritual discipline. This Sunday, we explore what it takes to change someone's mind about anything—a hot button issue like the death penalty or abortion—or maybe just your impression of another person.

Being Mortal

Being Mortal

May 31, 2015

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by Reverend Wayne Arnason

This title is drawn from the best selling book by Dr. Atul Gawande, which has been the inspiration for two discussion sessions this spring attended by a dozen West Shore members. The book deals with whether medical caregivers support a life of meaning and purpose in the approach they take to lifethreatening illnesses, especially at the end of life. Our small group discussions have explored alternative care models for the home, and what we each want at the end of our lives. Church is the place where we can have conversations like this outside of our immediate family. This Sunday we invite you to join in.

No You Can’t

No You Can’t

May 3, 2015

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by Reverend Wayne Arnason

We start this month of reflection on the theme of whether Unitarian Universalists can believe anything they want with a reflection on why that isn't true! But the title, "No You Can't" invites us to a deeper consideration of where our moral and ethical sensibilities come from. Some conserva-tive Christians say that belief in God is what keeps us from being brutes with no sense of right and wrong, Others say that moral beliefs must be rooted in a divine authority oth-erwise right and wrong is just a matter of opinion. Where do UU's come down? There will be a special outreach offering for HIKE (Hearing Impaired Kids Endowment) Fund, a project sup-ported by church member Terry Selby

Muic segments are not included due to excessive distortion

The Invisible String

The Invisible String

April 19, 2015

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by Reverend Wayne Arnason with

Layne Richard-Hammock

Director of Lifespan Faith Development

In times of stress , change, and loss what holds us together? In her children’s book, Patrice Karst has helped children imagine the invisible string that ties us together and helps us feel like we are never alone. Are those of us who are adults too old and cynical to have this kind of imagination? The children will join us for the first half of the service—then they will leave for a Chapel service and conversation on how they might use this year's offerings collected in Chapel.

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.

Transforming Public Education

Transforming Public Education

March 15, 2015

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by Reverend Wayne Arnason with

Khalilah Worley,

  Great Cleveland Congregations Organizer

It was 175 years ago that Unitarians in New England were deeply involved in the beginnings of public education in the United States. The vision of publicly funded education was to give everyone a chance to live up to their full potential. Has that vision of the role of the public sector remained strong, or has public education become more like the social welfare system, the education of last resort? Khalilah Worley is a graduate of Cleveland Public Schools and has been deeply involved with GCC leaders, including many West Shore members, in their efforts to transform the Cleveland Public Schools. 

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 Justice

From Love To Justice

February 22, 2015

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by Reverend Reverend Wayne Arnason with

Layne Richard Hammock

This Sunday, “For All Ages” falls during Black History Month, and so we will explore the meanings of an astonishing moment in civil rights movement history—the “Children’s March.” This story will be told at the end of the first service and the beginning of the second, so that Junior Choir can enjoy it as they join us to offer “We Sing for You America.”

From Love to Accountability

From Love to Accountability

February 8, 2015

It’s commonly understood that every romantic relationship goes through changes, and that one of the first and hardest changes is when the intense emotions of “falling in love” are accompanied by the responsibilities of being account- able to another person for holding up your end of the rela- tionship. This passage from love to accountability is an im- portant one in other critical relationships in our lives – rela- tionships with our spiritual practice, and with our justice commitments. Let’s explore why.. 

Children’s Lives Matter

Children’s Lives Matter

January 25, 2015

by Reverend Wayne Arnason and

Layne Richard-Hammock

Director of Lifespan Faith Development

This month's "Church and Chapel" Sunday service for all ages will use the new format we're trying. Families are invited to come to the Sanctuary to begin the service together. Part way through, the K-6th grade children leave for a Children's Chapel service, led by Layne Richard-Hammock during the sermon segment of the sanctuary service. Youth from 7th -12th grades will join Rev. Rolenz for a program in Rooms 1-2. Childcare is available for infants to Pre-K. The sermon will be a reflection on importance of early childhood education to the formation of our lives, and introduce some of the questions being asked in an evaluation of our own religious education program regarding how we can better integrate bias-reduction and anti-racist learning techniques .

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.

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.

Everything Is Waiting for You

Everything Is Waiting for You

November 16, 2014

by Reverend Wayne Arnason

The title of this poem by David Whyte makes a much better title for this service than the one sent out in Shorelines! This service is based in the premise that often the important reasons for the joy, wonder, and insight in our lives are best expressed in poetry, and not in theology. Every so often, we like to build a service on the work of a single poet, so this week, you'll meet David Whyte, the contemporary British/American poet, naturalist, and writer. You've heard Whyte's poems in worship before. Some of you will know him quite well. For others he will be a new discovery. 


 The Choir will sing Walt Whitman as a companion to Whyte's poetry and prose.
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.

The Weight of History

The Weight of History

October 12, 2014


 THERE IS NO RECORDING OF THIS SERVICE.

by Reverend

Wayne Arnason

Two famous quotes are often muddled. It was Edmund Burke (1729-1797) who said "Those who don't know history are destined to repeat it." George Santayana said some-thing a little different than this. In his book, The Life of Reason (1906) he wrote: "Progress, far from consisting in change, depends on retentiveness. When change is absolute there remains no being to improve and no direction is set for possible improvement: and when experience is not retained, as among savages, infancy is perpetual. Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it." We find Santayana’s words more provocative, and paradoxically, more hopeful.


 Click below to download the text of this Sundays Sermon.

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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.

One is the Loneliest Number

One is the Loneliest Number

September 7, 2014

by Reverend
Wayne Arnason

As more and more books and articles about “spiritual but not religious people” are published, the debate continues to rage about the value of personal spirituality separated from face to face communities, institutions, and traditions. Mystical experience, personal insight and spiritual well-being are worth seeking, but what are they worth if they can’t be shared?

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.