West Shore Unitarian Universalist Church
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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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
 
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.

 

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The New Normal

The New Normal

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

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

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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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Widening the Circle

Widening the Circle

October 4, 2020

by Reverend Renee Ruchotzky

Elizabeth Gerencser, Worship Associate

David Blazer, Director of Music

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

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Because Somebody Loved Me

Because Somebody Loved Me

August 24, 2020

by Reverend Anthony Makar

Elizabeth Gerencser, Worship Associate

David Blazer, Director of Music

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

 

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Your Greatest Gift

Your Greatest Gift

July 12, 2020

by Reverend Michelle Ma,

Elizabeth Gerencser, Worship Associate and

David Blazer, Director of Music

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

 

 

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Love Me in My Shame

Love Me in My Shame

February 2, 2020

by Reverend Anthony Makar and

Elizabeth Gerencser, Worship Associate

The experience of shame is so intense that often the result is lashing out at the very person whose love we crave. But what would it mean to allow another to love us in our shame? What happens to us if we truly embrace our vulnerability?

Music: Shame by Avett Brothers
Performed by: Free Spirit Band; Laird Wynn, lead vocal

Music: Hold Your Head Up by Rod Argent
Performed by: Free Spirit Band; Bill Hudson, lead vocal

Showing Up as Wonderful: Letter to Wonder Woman

Showing Up as Wonderful: Letter to Wonder Woman

November 3, 2019

by Reverend Anthony Makar and

Worship Leader Elizabeth Gerenscer

Wonder Woman is a comic book superhero whose story inspires people of all ages. An essential part of this story is her struggle to come into her power and to be powerfully herself against the efforts of others to keep her small. In his personal letter to Wonder Woman, Rev. Makar explores this and the challenge all of us face to be wonderful in our own unique way.

Re-Membering as a Spiritual Practice: Where Do We Go After This Life Has Ended?

Re-Membering as a Spiritual Practice: Where Do We Go After This Life Has Ended?

September 29, 2019

by Reverend Chris Long, and

Elizabeth Gerencser

Worship Associate

A special thank you to Jodith Janes and Tom Williams who purchased a sermon topic of their choice at this year’s Service Auction. As we all know, death is a part of life and living, and there comes a time when it happens to us all. What is less clear is what we as Unitarian Universalists or friends of this vibrant faith community do or discuss regarding what happens to us after we die? What theological, scientific, spiritual, and/or religious beliefs help us to navigate such times? What aspects of our faith sustain us individually and collectively during such transitions? We will share our experiences with the subject through some theological touchpoints, reflections, curiosity and song.

Three Wishes

Three Wishes

August 8, 2019

by Intern Minister Michelle Ma and

Elizabeth Gerencser

Worship Associate

Time has sure flown during my internship, and I’ve learned so much! Now it’s time for me to reflect back some of what I’ve learned; maybe you’ll learn something about yourselves.

Stories To Tell

Stories To Tell

July 7, 2019

by Maura Garin, Worship Leader and

Elizabeth Gerencser

Worship Associate

We learn and remember from stories our elders have told us. What will we leave behind for those who follow?

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