West Shore Unitarian Universalist Church
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June 29, 2018
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December 17, 2017

Due to copyright issues

no recording this week

What Remains?

What Remains?

June 19, 2016

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by Reverend Kathleen Rolenz and

Reverend Wayne Arnason with

After the reception on Friday, June 17, how much more will there be to say? This has been a long goodbye, but there needs to a formal ending within the context of what we do best together, and that is celebrate as a worshiping community.Wayne and Kathleen will be looking back at things they are proud to have been associated with at West Shore, and  they will look ahead, at what not only remains, but what has always been a part of West Shore and which will continue to sustain and strengthen the congregation in the years ahead. The service will end with a ceremony of release.Both the West Shore Choir and the Free Spirit Band will share their music. Children will be invited to be present for the beginning of the service and come back for the end. At the ministers’ request, a special offering will be received to support “Black Lives UU” (BLUU), a new support network for African American Unitarian Universalists.

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When Sainthood Becomes You

When Sainthood Becomes You

May 1, 2016

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by Reverend Kathleen Rolenz

Unitarian Universalists have historically rejected the need for "sainthood" as it evokes images of saintly "perfection" which no human being can actually live up to. Furthermore, how one actually becomes a "saint" is a bit of a mystery. However, sometimes we may discover that sainthood isn't a mystery to be solved but a life choice to be made. Unitarian Universalism and West Shore have saints among us—and lo and behold, you might just be one of them! The Free Spirit Band will play at this service.

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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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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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Inside Voices

Inside Voices

December 6, 2015

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by Reverend Kathleen Rolenz and

Reverend Wayne Arnason

Even as we enter the inward-turning season of winter, we find the lights, the socializing, the shopping and the overall intensity of the holiday season to challenging any desire we have for inner quiet. Drawing on their different spiritual practices, the co-ministers will reflect on what we find when we try to be quiet inside, and how our “inside” can be anything but quiet when we slow down enough to listen. We’ll introduce you to Urban Hope during the worship service with a brief video and a special chance to connect with this unique community. Urban Hope serves as an ur-ban outreach for our area Unitarian Universalist churches: a way for all of us to become an active presence within the inner city, not just provide services from outside.

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The Hungriest Game

The Hungriest Game

November 15, 2015

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by Reverend Kathleen Rolenz

The young adult novel "The Hunger Games" depicted a dystopian future where entire nations are starving and children are forced to compete to the death for the right to eat. Escalating inequality is forcing many in our nation - and world - to go without their daily bread. How can we put a stop to this deadly, hungriest game of have and have nots? Despite the grim statistics, there are also many compelling reasons for hope. We’ll celebrate new members this Sunday.


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With All My Heart

With All My Heart

October 18, 2015

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by Reverend Kathleen Rolenz

What happens when your “whole-heartedness” becomes broken by disappointment, betrayal or abandonment? What spiritual resources can you find to help you heal from a “broken heart?” This service we’ll commission the Chalice Lighters and introduce the Pastoral Resource Team; and focus on the opportunities available for care and support at West Shore. The children will join us for A Story For All Ages; the Junior Choir will also inaugurate their season with an original anthem written by West Shore’s Junior Choir Director, Joe Schafer


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Was Atticus Finch a Racist?

Was Atticus Finch a Racist?

October 4, 2015

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by Reverend Kathleen Rolenz

When Harper Lee’s new novel, “Go Set a Watchman” was released, it unleashed a storm of controversy because the beloved protagonist, Atticus Finch was revealed as a racist. The theme for the month of September is “What can I be whole-hearted about?” which begs the question, “can I be whole-hearted about letting go of beloved icons to enable a more clear-eyed and realistic understand of the complexities of race and racism in the 21st century? The Free Spirit Band will join us to play Bob Dylan’s enigmatic song “Along the Watchtower.” Fire drill to follow the service.


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How Are You Holding Up?

How Are You Holding Up?

April 12, 2015

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by Reverend Kathleen Rolenz 

What to say to someone who is experiencing emotional distress? Sometimes, we don’t know what to say so we may say nothing at all. What do we wish someone had said to us when we were having a hard time? Too often we are asked the well-meaning but not very helpful question “how ya holdin’ up?” or receive stock phrases meant to console, such as “well, God doesn’t give us more than we can bear.” How we can be present for and with one another during times of crisis will be the focus of this morning’s sermon. The Outreach offering will go Fisher House for Veterans.

Coming (and Going) of Age

Coming (and Going) of Age

December 28, 2014

Service offered by Rev. Dr. Wayne Arnason & Sarah Arnason This is a week when young adults who have college studies or jobs in distant cities are back in town to enjoy the holi-days with their families. We see some of these young adults who had a strong relationship with West Shore growing up in our church school once a year at the Christmas Eve ser-vice or perhaps at this one. Do you ever wonder what differ-ence that experience has made in their lives? Rev. Wayne and his daughter Sarah will offer a sermon conversation about what growing up in our Unitarian Universalist church schools has meant in their lives, what they remember, and how it has mattered to each of them.


Recording not available
Helping or Hurting

Helping or Hurting

June 1, 2014

by Reverend
Kathleen Rolenz

When members of West Shore travelled to Haiti this past February, they learned much about the history, politics and economics of Haiti. They also heard Haiti described as the “Republic of NGO’s” (non-governmental organizations). One of the questions that arose was how do we offer help in a way that can both empower and can be sustainable? What about in our personal lives? When does our helping others actually make things worse?


Featuring The Free Spirit Band.

Teaching Stories

Teaching Stories

May 4, 2014

by Revered Kathleen Rolenz with
      Barbara Howell

This year, West Shore embarked upon a new venture “Story Year,” a full year built around telling stories of our both our faith tradition and our personal lives built around the monthly themes. This service is a celebration and a conclusion to “Story Year,” as well as a reflection on stories that teach us. We are proud to recognize our RE teachers this year at the beginning of the service. Also, you won’t want to miss the “Sing in the Spring” performance of the Junior Choir. They will sing in the Rotunda at 11:00 a.m.

I’ll Be Back

I’ll Be Back

April 20, 2014

by Reverend Kathleen Rolenz and
Reverend Wayne Arnason

Jesus keeps coming back—not just on Easter morning, but in new and sometimes provocative ways. The latest controversy about Jesus was that he was not a spiritual teacher but a religious and political zealot; and that he came back to Jerusalem during Holy Week to stage an insurrection. Rebel or Rabbi? Which version of Jesus do you think will appear at West Shore on Easter morning? The outreach offering for this Sunday will go towards Greater Cleveland Congregations, our partner organization for community organizing.

Risking Success

Risking Success

March 9, 2014

by Reverend Kathleen Rolenz with
Guest Minister
Tom Schade

Every gardener knows that planting seeds doesn't necessarily result in a fruitful harvest but if you never plant anything, you certainly won’t get anything in return! This Steward-ship Sunday will reflect on the theme of Planting the Seed, Harvest the Power, and of how the seeds we plant now for the future of this congregation will determine the harvest. Rev. Tom Schade, our Provocateur-in-Residence will return for a final service and tell us what he has seen during his time with us. The Free Spirit Band will join us for the song “Get Together” by the Youngbloods.

What We Don’t Know

What We Don’t Know

February 23, 2014

by
Reverend


Kathleen Rolenz

Someone once observed that “the older I got, I was amazed at how much smarter my parents became.” The other side of that coin is the observation that “the older I get, the less I know.” How do grown-ups feel about all the things that kids want to know, when we are more and more convinced that we may not really know very much at all. The Junior Choir will be with us to sing, "Why Can't I Sail the Sky," with Eva Wynn providing dance accompaniment.

The Mountain That Moved

The Mountain That Moved

January 26, 2014

by Reverend Kathleen Rolenz with
Kathy Strawser, Director of Lifespan Faith Development

What would it take to move a mountain? In this morning's story The Mountain that Loved A Bird we'll explore the give and take of relationships and the balance of doing what’ s best both for “me” and for “us.” The Junior Choir will sing Go Down Moses” at both services.

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

The New Jim Crow

The New Jim Crow

January 19, 2014

by Reverend
Kathleen Rolenz

Michelle Alexander’s book, “The New Jim Crow,” makes the argument that the current mass levels of incarceration of African Americans have created a permanent second class system. Dr. King’s last speech “I’ve Been to the Mountain” denounces the insidious forces of racism that create poverty and reinforce the class structures in American society today. If Dr. King were to come down from that mountain-top today, what would he see regarding race and class in America now? The Outreach Offering will benefit the Inter-Religious Task Force on Central America.

What’s New

What’s New

December 29, 2013

by Ministers
Kathleen Rolenz and Wayne Arnason

The co-ministers finish out the calendar year of worship services with a New Year’s liturgy and reflection on how we know what’s new in our lives. How do we know when we are in the middle of a momentous change of life? Sometimes a “New Year” really begins for us in the fall or in the spring! Sometimes it begins when important relationships that have shaped our lives are ending because of distance or death. If the rituals of this formal “new year” are feeling hollow for you, maybe there is a different way to discern and celebrate what’s new in your life.

I Saw the Light

I Saw the Light

December 8, 2013

by Reverend Kathleen Rolenz


“I Saw the light…” can refer to a conversion, a moment of enlightenment or the hopeful waiting for daybreak. Regardless of the experience, “seeing the light” whether an intellectual truth, an emotional breakthrough or a spiritual change of heart is something that happens to human beings all the time. In honor of Buddha’s enlightenment (Bodhi Day) and in recognition of the season of Advent, this service will explore when and how we “see the light.” This is New Member Sunday and the Free Spirit Band will be playing for this service.

The Whole Truth and Nothing but the Truth

The Whole Truth and Nothing but the Truth

November 24, 2013

by Reverend Kathleen Rolenz with
Cathy Stawser, Director of Life Span Faith Development

We are told from an early age that it's important to always tell the truth, but just what exactly is the truth? Are all sto-ries true, or just some stories, or just some parts of sto-ries? Do we ever change the truth because it makes us, our family, or our nation look or feel better? Telling the truth is risky business and not as easy as it sounds! This service will include the Guest at Your Table kick-off and a bread com-munion. Please bring some bread to share, preferably from your ethnic tradition.

The Middle Truth

The Middle Truth

November 10, 2013

by


Reverend Kathleen Rolenz


We often live with close relationships that have become strained, distant or alienated. It takes a lot to risk telling the truth about the relationship, because we are uncertain about whether we can ever meet in the middle and start over. This sermon will explore the pitfalls and possibilities of when and how to speak the truth with the hopes of creating something new. The Outreach Offering will be taken for Family Promise.


Afraid of Faith

Afraid of Faith

October 20, 2013

by
Reverend Kathleen Rolenz

Faith, according to the Apostle Paul, is” the substance of things hoped for; the evidence of things not seen.” What exactly does that mean? We’ll explore one of the most troubling stories in the Hebrew Scriptures, the near - sacrifice of Isaac by his father Abraham because “God told him to.” Is that the kind of faith that makes sense to skepti- cal Unitarian Universalists? The answer will surprise you.



Afraid of Church

Afraid of Church

October 6, 2013

by Reverend Kathleen Rolenz

BRING A FRIEND SUNDAY This may seem like an odd title for a “bring-a-friend” Sunday, but Rev. Rolenz is betting on the fact that many of you may have friends or acquaintances who are interested in spiritual matters, but who are wary of the institutional “church.” What would it take for the institutional church to alleviate some of those fears? Does West Shore have what it takes? The Free Spirit Band will play this Sunday

Of Monsters and Men

Of Monsters and Men

September 15, 2013

by Reverend Kathleen Rolenz

No, it's not a sermon about the fabulous Icelandic rock band!! It's about the haunting comment made by Ariel Castro when he was sentenced for his horrific crimes of violence against women: "I'm not a monster. I'm just sick." Does our religion back him up? How does his suicide affect our views on this?

The choir returns for its new season! The Outreach Offering will be given to the organization "Because I Said I Would."



With Worship Associate Ed D'amato

Let Justice Flow Down Like Waters

Let Justice Flow Down Like Waters

September 1, 2013

by  Reverend Kathleen Rolenz and
Reverend Wayne Arnason

Justice issues associated with water inspire the homilies at this annual multi-generational Water Ceremony service that begins the new church year. Bring a sample of water with you that represents some of the meaning you have found this summer.   

Our new intern, Matthew McHale, will join the co-ministers in worship for the first time.

With  Kathy Strawser, Director, Lifespan Faith Development


The opening musical piece is available for listening in it's entirety following the closing of the service.

Leaving Home<br />by Reverend Wayne Arnason and <br />Reverend Kathleen Rolenz

Leaving Home
by Reverend Wayne Arnason and
Reverend Kathleen Rolenz

June 16, 2013

This past month, our ministers said goodbye to the home that Kathleen's parents built and where she lived her entire childhood and some young adulthood parts, too. All of our lives, we take our leave of places that have meaning for us. How we make meaning of these leave takings will be the focus of this sermon.

How Our Minds Have Changed<br />by Reverend Kathleen Rolenz and <br />Reverend Wayne Arnason

How Our Minds Have Changed
by Reverend Kathleen Rolenz and
Reverend Wayne Arnason

June 9, 2013

Service Auction attenders this year were astonished when church administrator Debbie Lydon ran up the bidding on this year's "your choice" sermon. It turns out that Debbie was the agent for an anonymous bidder who couldn't be present. The winning bidder for this year's Service Auction sermon has asked the co-ministers to take the first sermon they preached together at West Shore and use it as means to reflect on how we work together, how our minds have changed, and how we continue to feel called. The sermon we will draw on for this task was preached on October 1, 2000, and is titled "Our Common Call." The Free Spirit Band offers the music this week, featuring Neil Young's Change Your Mind.

With Worship Associate Anne Osborne

The Dangers of Heaven <br />by Reverend Wayne Arnason and<br />Reverend Kathleen Rolenz

The Dangers of Heaven
by Reverend Wayne Arnason and
Reverend Kathleen Rolenz

June 2, 2013

Songwriter David Byrne once wrote "heaven is a place where nothing ever happens." Sounds pretty boring, doesn't it? With 84% of the population believing in heaven as opposed to 42% believing in hell, heaven sounds like a place most people are just dying to get into! Our Universalist ancestors believed that both heaven and hell posed grave dangers for the immortal soul. Come find out why.

special musical guest artist Peter Mayer

with Worship Associate Dave Willett

(the opening piano music is played in it's entirety at the end of the recording)

Between Memory & Hope <br />by Reverend Kathleen Rolenz

Between Memory & Hope
by Reverend Kathleen Rolenz

May 12, 2013

"We live between memory and hope..." wrote a theologian, "between past and future." We are the only species that can reflect on the past and mine its meaning, as well as anticipate the future and hope for its fulfillment. Navigating these two poles of our existence is essentially a religious task. This Sunday will feature a Ceremony of Bridging, which recognizes the passage of our Junior Church members out of high school and into the next phase of their lives. We'll also honor and acknowledge the role of mothers in our lives with a time of thanksgiving. The West Shore Choir and guest ensemble will provide the music.

When Head Meets Body <br />by Rev. Kathleen Rolenz &<br />Kathy Strawser, Dir. of Lifespan Faith Dev.

When Head Meets Body
by Rev. Kathleen Rolenz &
Kathy Strawser, Dir. of Lifespan Faith Dev.

April 21, 2013

"Long ago, Head was all by himself. He had no legs, no arms, no body. He rolled everywhere. All he could eat were things on the ground that he could reach with his tongue," begins the story for this Sunday. Clearly, this head is in search of wholeness, a body! On Earth Day, we are mindful not only of our human connections, but also our responsibility to all that lives on our planet. Can recognizing and acting on our individual and collective gifts and talents in support of our interdependent web be both an act of survival and an act of faith development for all ages? In the spirit of keeping bodies moving, our Junior Choir will present "No Ordinary Song and Dance," replete with tap dancing!

With Worship Associate Ed D'Amato

God’s Bod & Yours <br />by Reverend Kathleen Rolenz

God’s Bod & Yours
by Reverend Kathleen Rolenz

April 8, 2013

In Western culture, and in particular Christianity, the body is experienced as inferior to "spirit." Secular culture encourages us to deny the body in a different way—by masking the signs of aging or celebrating only particular kinds of bodies. The tension between these two is either denying the body or idolizing it. So what's an appropriate and healthy response to being good stewards of the bodies we're given and understanding them as vehicles for spiritual growth?

Dying to See You Again <br />by Reverend Kathleen Rolenz and<br />Reverend Wayne Arnason

Dying to See You Again
by Reverend Kathleen Rolenz and
Reverend Wayne Arnason

March 31, 2013

When Jesus was alive, and for most of the two thousand years that followed, human life was "nasty, brutish, and short." The suffering in human life was mitigated by looking to a hereafter, to a promise of eternal life in a human community that would be saved and redeemed. A resurrected Jesus was the proof of that promise. Without belief in that proof, is the Easter Jesus an interesting myth, or does the Easter story point to a deeper truth about how love is stronger than death?

How Not to Join the Walking Dead <br />by Reverend Kathleen Rolenz and <br />Reverend Wayne Arnason

How Not to Join the Walking Dead
by Reverend Kathleen Rolenz and
Reverend Wayne Arnason

March 17, 2013

Science fiction monsters continue to be very big in the popular media - in television shows, movies and video games. The presentation of the characters in these shows is much more sophisticated than ever before. The vampires, zombies, and ghosts in these presentations are all examples of "walking dead," (i.e. entities who continue to have a life after they have died), and many of them want to return to their human existence! This multigenerational service will explore the theology and symbolism of the walking dead in a way that all ages can appreciate.

Who Wants To Live Forever?<br />by Reverend Kathleen Rolenz and Reverend Wayne Arnason

Who Wants To Live Forever?
by Reverend Kathleen Rolenz and Reverend Wayne Arnason

March 3, 2013

There’s a part of the human experience that longs for immortality and being able to live beyond the scope of our earthly years. UUs have no doctrinal position on the subject, but many are skeptical of any life after death. And yet, it is possible to “live forever” if you look at how we live a little differently. Today, we will celebrate our New Members with a Welcoming Ceremony.

With Worship Associate Dave Clements

My Heart Will Not Sit Down<br />by Reverend Kathleen Rolenz and<br />Kathy Strawser, DLS

My Heart Will Not Sit Down
by Reverend Kathleen Rolenz and
Kathy Strawser, DLS

February 24, 2013

“Love is the spirit of this church, and service is its law,” begins our chalice lighting words most Sundays. During the opening words we encourage people to "serve needs greater than our own." What happens when our hearts compel us to service in extraordinary ways? Are we, young and old, up to the task? Reflections from a story set in Cameroon will help us explore answers these questions. The Junior Choir will sing “Cuando el Pobre,” and we will collect the Outreach Offering for Cleveland’s May Dugan Center.

Brother Can You Spare a Dime sung by April Stoltz

With Worship Associate Anne Osborne

Love After Love <br />by Reverend Kathleen Rolenz

Love After Love
by Reverend Kathleen Rolenz

February 17, 2013

Whether married, partnered or single, love, commitment and relationships frame the quality of our lives. Love is both hard work and heart work; but it's work worth doing; and it's work that needs the support of family, friends and religious community. This sermon will explore loving as a spiritual practice, even when we don't feel very loving at all.

Introducing Worship Associate April Stoltz

Under the Influence <br />by Reverend Kathleen Rolenz

Under the Influence
by Reverend Kathleen Rolenz

January 13, 2013

At some point in our lives we will be faced with an important decision to make; one that will change the course of our lives forever. Whether it's as public a decision as Martin Luther King, Jr. or as seemingly private as Bill Wilson (co-founder of AA), the decisions we make can and do influence others around us. This service is in recognition of the work of the Addictions Ministry Team at West Shore, who maintain a presence of understanding and outreach to all those affected by addiction.