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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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!

 

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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.

 

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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.

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.

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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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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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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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Love is Our Best Coach

Love is Our Best Coach

November 29, 2020

by Shirley Nelson, Worship Leader

Judy Montgomery, Worship Associate

David Blazer, Director of Music

Passion for life does not necessarily come when we make huge achievements. But it comes when we know how to see beauty in the smallest things, grace in the darkest hour, and the courage to love when life is at its messiest. The gifts that keep us growing are often wrapped in the most unusual packages.

Today’s guest speaker is Shirley A. Nelson. Ms. Nelson is a Cleveland-area inter-spiritual counselor and life skills coach; founder of San's Sacred Circle, which offers retreats and workshops; former vice president of the Council for Health and Human Service Ministries of the United Church of Christ; and author of "The Many Faces of Prayer: A Healing Balm in the 21st Century." Shirley is currently a student at One Spirit Learning Alliance in NYC. She is in her last year of seminary and will be ordained in June 2021. She is also the part-time office administrator and newsletter editor for our sister Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Cleveland. Her website is www.sanssacredcircle.com

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Turnings: The Amazing Story of John Murray

Turnings: The Amazing Story of John Murray

November 1, 2020

by Reverend Anthony Makar

Judy Montgomery, Worship Associate

David Blazer, Director of Music

Happy 250th birthday, Universalism! 250 years ago, in 1770, John Murray preached in Thomas Potter's chapel in Good Luck, New Jersey. Ever since people have been telling the amazing story surrounding the whole event. Today, I will share that amazing story with you.

CLICK HERE TO WATCH THE SERVICE

Ingathering 2020: The Story of Mr. O

Ingathering 2020: The Story of Mr. O

September 13, 2020

by Reverend Anthony Makar

Judy Montgomery, Worship Associate

David Blazer, Director of Music

Regular life is in upheaval, as the pandemic reigns. Around this time of year, we would be returning from summer travels away or "staycations" closer to home. We would see kids going off to school or to college. Fall favorites like college football would be gearing up. And so on. But none of that is in the cards for us, in this strange year of 2020. For this reason, it becomes even more important to practice spiritual disciplines that help structure our lives and give them meaning. One of these practices is observing time cycles, which includes endings and new beginnings.

This is what our annual Ingathering service is all about. It signifies a new beginning for our collective life together. The service, appropriate for all ages, draws from the classic story, The Cello of Mr. O by Jane Cutler and illustrated by Greg Couch. Some things our children might listen for, and to think about as this service unfolds, includes: (1) Have you ever felt afraid of being hurt, if not by war than by COVID-19 or a bully at school, or something else? (2) Why do you think people fight? (3) Life is scary and hard these days, so it is especially important to remember that we are not alone, and there is hope. What gives you hope and courage when you are afraid?

Ingathering is also the time when we celebrate our annual Water Communion ritual, a beautiful ceremony of the celebration of life! Be sure to have a small container of water near you, and a bowl to pour it into, as you, with hundreds of your West Shore friends, simultaneously engage this ritual. It will be different this year, but that doesn't have to mean it will be less meaningful.

 

CLICK HERE TO WATCH THE SERVICE

 

Making Sense of Reincarnation

Making Sense of Reincarnation

August 30, 2020

by Reverend Anthony Makar

Judy Montgomery, Worship Associate

David Blazer, Director of Music

Do you believe in reincarnation? Unitarian Louisa May Alcott did. She once wrote, "I think immortality is the passing of a soul through many lives... such as are truly lived, used, and learned, help on to the next, each growing richer, happier, and higher, carrying with it only the real memories that have gone before." Echoing this is Ralph Waldo Emerson, who said, "The soul comes from without into the human body, as into a temporary abode, and it goes out of it anew. It passes into other habitations, for the soul is immortal." Today, we take a closer look at this ancient spiritual perspective.

 

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Learning To Listen

Learning To Listen

July 19, 2020

by Reverend Michelle Ma and

Judy Montgomery, Worship Associate

One of the things you learn as a hospital chaplain is how to listen: not just to the content of someone's words, but to the feelings those words are signaling. Unitarian Universalists are famously a really cerebral bunch, but that doesn't mean we are without feelings. What would happen if we listened to our and each other's feelings?

 

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The State of Our Justice Union: Looking Back a Little To Move Forward

The State of Our Justice Union: Looking Back a Little To Move Forward

January 5, 2020

by Reverend Chris Long and

Judy Montgomery, Worship Associate

West Shore is known throughout Greater Cleveland for its justice-making. The work that our congregational Task Forces and our Social Action Committee continues to do, with a few highly dedicated members and friends of the congregation, is astounding. We will reflect on our individual and collective journey over the last year with our justice efforts at West Shore and beyond. Rev. Long will also share some of his experiences with our Interfaith Community Partners and other organizations in Cleveland. He will also include details regarding his faithful journey with our denominational efforts in becoming a living tradition striving to become an “anti-racist, anti-oppressive, multicultural” faith movement as we lean into 2020. This holy work needs more of us in it!

Music: I am Resilient by Rising Appalachia, sung by Margaret Gardner and Ally Jagoda

How Many Days to America?

How Many Days to America?

November 24, 2019

by Reverend Anthony Makar,

Judy Montgomery and

Ryan Rosu, Worship Associates

In this time of unprecedented migration all around the world, what does it mean to find home? This Sunday we invite people of all ages to experience a powerful Thanksgiving service centered around Eve Bunting’s story, “How Many Days to America?” While acknowledging that some will show up to this holiday time with celebration in their hearts, others will be feeling emotions that are decidedly mixed. Come to a service that makes room for all of this and will send you out into the world inspired and hopeful.

Our Universalist Heritage: Loving the Hell Out of the World

Our Universalist Heritage: Loving the Hell Out of the World

October 6, 2019

by Reverend Anthony Makar and

Judy Montgomery

Worship Associate

Universalism represents one side of our amazing historical heritage. Come explore Universalism's essential wisdom of "loving the hell out of the world" and its guidance on what it means to be a Unitarian Universalist today.

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