West Shore Unitarian Universalist Church
We Need to Talk - sermon only

We Need to Talk - sermon only

July 21, 2019

by Marty Blachly-Cross, Worship Leader

As civil discourse becomes more uncivil, what are the guidelines for respectful interactions, and does our Covenant with each other support this?

What Were You Thinking?

What Were You Thinking?

July 14, 2019

by Worship Associate Gerry Meader

We will explore mindfulness and some of the ways in which we accept ideas without the benefit of any serious intellectual rigor. How do we come to accept “truth” when real evidence doesn’t exist, or when the “evidence” is misleading? And how might these precarious beliefs affect our commitment to social justice or our world view?

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What Were You Thinking? - sermon only

What Were You Thinking? - sermon only

July 14, 2019

by Worship Associate Gerry Meader

We will explore mindfulness and some of the ways in which we accept ideas without the benefit of any serious intellectual rigor. How do we come to accept “truth” when real evidence doesn’t exist, or when the “evidence” is misleading? And how might these precarious beliefs affect our commitment to social justice or our world view?

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?

Living Within Abundance

Living Within Abundance

November 26, 2017

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by Barbara Howell and

Barbara Walker

Worship Associates

As we observe our cultural celebration of gratitude, Worship Associates and Barbara Howell invite us to find the light in these darkening days. We are thankful for abundance. Is that all there is?

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Overcoming Fear

Overcoming Fear

March 12, 2017

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West Shore Junior Church, Worship Leaders If there is one thing that holds people back each day from achieving high levels of success, it is fear. When did you recently take a risk to overcome your fears and accomplish a goal? Join the Youth as they share their stories of overcoming fear. The Free Spirit Band will play; 6th Grade and older will attend the entire service.

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Growing Your Truth

Growing Your Truth

August 28, 2016

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by Warren & Kathleen Campbell-Gaston

Facts are data that can be proven correct. But truth is alive, embodied in human beings and expressed through our behavior. Therefore, our truth grows and changes as we mature. We will look at UU sources and the way we refine and expand our truth as we learn from life’s experiences.


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Living in a UU Bubble

Living in a UU Bubble

August 14, 2016

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by Barbara Walker

Worship Associate

Whether we are born into this faith or come to it later in life, we can sometimes find ourselves complacent in finally finding like minds around us. This sermon will encourage us to break out of our comfort zone, examine what drew us here in the first place and act upon our principle of inherent worth and dignity of ALL people.

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To Thine Own Self Be True

To Thine Own Self Be True

August 7, 2016

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by Dave Clements

Worship Associate

The more we live on the surface of our identity, the less we are in touch with our deeper self. How can we know who we truly are when we spend our time and attention trying to be something other than what we find ourselves to be? No amount of changing ourselves for the purpose of being perceived as cool or fashionable or getting the approval of others is going to bring us any closer to really knowing our-selves.

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Love of Fear

Love of Fear

July 31, 2016

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by Christine Salontay

Worship Associate

Love always wins. How can we continue to proclaim this when evil is constantly claiming innocent lives? It kills others, our own souls and our future generations. We will explore how an intense feeling, such as fear can hide truths from us and how we can lean on hope to take action.

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Our Song to Sing

Our Song to Sing

July 24, 2016

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by Matt Meyer

Worship Associate

We can imagine a world with more equity and compassion,but the journey to get there is long. How we do celebrate ups and downs on the road while we travel? Where do we find joy in the community that assembles along the way?Join us for a service of rhythm and song as we celebrate this beautiful and complicated faith journey together.

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My Sacred Place

My Sacred Place

July 17, 2016

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Tom Williams

Worship Associate

What is a sacred place? Why is it sacred? Could a baboon sitting still just to watch the sun rise be sacred? What and/or where is your  sacred place? I would like to share where my sacred placeis and some of the experiences that make it sacred for me.

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Spiritual and Religious

Spiritual and Religious

July 10, 2016

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by Edison Ellenberger

Worship Associate in the 1990s

The term "spiritual but not religious" was used with some frequency and has become a subject of greater attention in the past few years. It characterizes people who value individual spirituality and spiritual practice but generally attend religious institutions little or not at all. What arethe characteristics of the spiritual but not religious (SBNR)?Are spirituality and religion really distinct categories? Might Unitarian Universalist churches offer a "spiritual and religious"alternative conducive to the SBNR's needs?

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Conversations with Myself

Conversations with Myself

August 16, 2015

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by Dave Clements,

Worship Associate

We will explore together those conversations that many of us have had in the quiet hours of the night or in the early hours of the morning—those times when we ponder, meditate and sometimes pray. What can we learn about ourselves, our family, friends and the world in general? What lessons are waiting to be realized and what ad-ventures and paths await us as we explore that inner part of ourselves, that spirit or consciousness, which many writers over the years have talked about.

It’s Not a Judgment Call

It’s Not a Judgment Call

August 9, 2015

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by Jacquie Davis,

Worship Associate

We’ve heard the phrase, “Judge not lest ye be judged,” many times, but how does a person really live that admonition out in their daily lives? The seven principles of Unitarian Universalism can serve as a guide to help us practice the art of non-judgment..

Forever or For Good

Forever or For Good

August 2, 2015

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by Barbara Allbritain-Walker,

Worship Associate

In an Emily Dickinson poem she states, "Forever is com-posed of Nows." Whether we talk of forever as a promise or a firmly held belief in what "always" means, we can see the inherent risks of this being our absolute. Yet, why then do we dig in our heels and insist that we will love or live indefi-nitely when we are assured the opposite? This Sunday's service will challenge that belief, assist us in taking stock of the "NOW" and perhaps open us up to exploring "beyond forever.”

My Journey with Race

My Journey with Race

July 26, 2015

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by Marilyn Weske,

Worship Associate

James Baldwin once said, “Not everything that is faced can be changed but nothing can be changed until it is faced.” A personal journey explores the assumptions about race of a child who grew up in Northern Ohio during the 40’s and 50’s. Throughout the 60’s, racism changed dramatically in a number of ways. What are the learnings for those of us who were not activists during that turbulent, transformative time? What are the myths we must challenge in ourselves in order to move forward in our relationships with others and the healing of us all?


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

Transcendentalism & Unitarian Universalism

Transcendentalism & Unitarian Universalism

July 12, 2015

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by Edison Ellenberger

Transcendentalism is a religious, philosophical, and literary movement that rose to prominence in New England in the 1830s. Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau are commonly associated with this movement, but the relation-ship of Transcendentalism to Unitarian Universalism is less well known to the general public. Nearly all of the Transcendentalists were Unitarians, and many of them were minis-ters. What might this 19th century movement have to offer to us today? This service will explore the development of the relationship between Transcendentalism and our UU tradition along with the relevance of the movement to a contemporary Unitarian Universalist spiritual practice.

When the Shift Hits the Fan

When the Shift Hits the Fan

August 24, 2014

by Worship Associate

April Stolz

How do regular people make change in this new world we are facing? What does this mean for you and UUism?

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Beginning music played in it's entirety at end of recording
I Never Planted a Sunflower

I Never Planted a Sunflower

August 3, 2014

by Worship Associate

Jacquie Davis

On our life journey there are so many obstacles on our paths. The rewards are plentiful when we can find a way to clear our path and make room for commitment and love.

Standing on a Whale & Fishing for Minnows

Standing on a Whale & Fishing for Minnows

July 27, 2014

Service offered by Jeremy Beech

There’s a Polynesian saying: “Something I believe will turn into something wonderful.” Is our search for God a search for that “something wonderful” that will tie everything in the universe and our lives all together?

Who Am I

Who Am I

July 13, 2014

by Worship Associate

Bobbie Withrow

Each week in our covenant, we affirm that love is the spirit of this church. Yet before we can truly love others, we must love ourselves. This involves figuring out who you are and accepting yourself. By not accepting who you are, you limit yourself, you confine your true being to a jail of your own making. And you need to break out of this jail to love yourself and then to completely love others.

True Colors

True Colors

June 29, 2014

by Worship Associate

Dave Willett and

The Queer & Allies Group of West Shore


The rainbow flag is a symbol of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender pride. The colors of the flag reflect the diversity of the LGBT community. We will explore the colors and their meaning. Please join us to celebrate Gay Pride.

Nature’s Healing Touch

Nature’s Healing Touch

August 11, 2013

by Worship Associate Ed D’Amato

We all know that Nature can be a powerful spiritual force. As a spiritual practice it can also bring healing and resilience to one's life if you are willing to immerse your- self in it in some way. From presidents to former criminal offenders to ordinary people, nature heals people e very day. This sermon will explore some of these stories of healing.

Micah Says

Micah Says

August 4, 2013

by Worship Associate Anne Osborne

Do you happen to remember Micah, one of the Old Testament prophets? In his most memorable quote, he asks the Israelites to do three things. We'll explore the three qualities he recommends, and see if they have any relevance for us today in the 21st century. If they are still worthwhile, how might we put them into practice?

With Worship Associate Dave Willet

For Simplicity’s Sake                                                                                                              by Jeremy Beech, Worship Associate

For Simplicity’s Sake by Jeremy Beech, Worship Associate

July 29, 2013

Less is more but more is not less. Within my sermon, we will explore the freedom from complexity, intricacy and the need for meaningless objects.

With Worship Associate Anne Osborne

To Be Moreby Worship AssociateDave Willet

To Be Moreby Worship AssociateDave Willet

July 21, 2013

Please, listen and find out.

With Worship Associate Dave Clements

Walk In My Shoes by<br />Worship Associate Dave Clements

Walk In My Shoes by
Worship Associate Dave Clements

July 14, 2013

The phrase "walk in my shoes" has several meanings from both a religious and spiritual sense to a practical everyday reality one. I invite you to come along for the journey as we explore both the spiritual meaning as well as the practical application of this phrase "walk in my shoes."

The Ocean’s Offerings <br />by Worship Associate <br />Katherine Gaston-Campbell

The Ocean’s Offerings
by Worship Associate
Katherine Gaston-Campbell

July 7, 2013

You may be familiar with the first line of the poem Sea Fever, “I must go down to the sea again, to the lonely sea and the sky.” What can the sea offer that deepens and enriches us, provides spiritual guidance and growth and reveals our truest and best selves? A shell calling your name awaits…



With Worship Associate Edward D'Amato

It’s a Gay Life by<br />Members of the Queer & Allies Group

It’s a Gay Life by
Members of the Queer & Allies Group

June 30, 2013

Twenty years ago, West Shore voted to become a Welcoming Congregation, celebrating the lives of all people and creating a safe, spiritual home of understanding, acceptance, inclusion and equality especially for our Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual Transgender and Queer LGBTQ friends. What we discovered as we worked to become a Welcoming Congregation, was that congregations who do this work tend to be future oriented, have visibility and impact in their communities, look beyond themselves and exhibit greater health and creative vitality. That seems true for West Shore UU’s as well. This Sunday, through personal testimonies, music and readings, we will celebrate the past and find hope and purpose for the future “standing on the side of love.”

With Worship Associates Tom Hughes and Katherine Campbell-Gaston

Out of the Zone <br />by Barbara G. Howell and<br /> Emily Betz Close

Out of the Zone
by Barbara G. Howell and
Emily Betz Close

June 23, 2013

What would happen if we got out of our comfort zones? New people, places, beliefs, food, problems and opportunities come with psychological and cultural costs. This service offers some reasons to seek out, face and take those risks. often you will be rewarded. Sometimes you won't.


With Worship Associate Anne Obradovich


Memory & Remembering<br />by Dave Clements, Worship Associate

Memory & Remembering
by Dave Clements, Worship Associate

May 26, 2013

Memory makes us. If we couldn't recall the who's, what's, where's, and when's of our everyday lives, we'd never be able to manage. How can transforming our memories provide us with comfort, direction and peace? "Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life" (Proverbs 4:23). Our sermon will explore the importance of transforming our memories and pay tribute to those in our lives who have given so much.

With Worship Associate April Stoltz

A Road Map for the New Year <br />by Worship Associate Dave Clements

A Road Map for the New Year
by Worship Associate Dave Clements

December 30, 2012

Have you ever started on a trip without knowing where you were headed or where you wanted to arrive at eventually? Our lives are a spiritual journey and the road maps that we can create for them can and often times do lead us in the direction as to where we want to be headed. We will explore the art of road mapping.

with Worship Associate Anne Osborne

TM Yourself <br />by Barbara Howell, Worship Associate

TM Yourself
by Barbara Howell, Worship Associate

November 25, 2012

Every moment, we are all writing our own sacred texts. We describe and reflect on our spiritual journeys and glean from them wisdom and courage. Taking up this task, West Shore's Spiritual Autobiography class joins together for this week's service to share the wisdom of their journeys as well as the books, moments and people who have served as their guides and inspirations. Enjoy a special song from the ensemble and join on the journey with us as you begin your own book of voyage and of enlightenment.

The Authentic Life <br />by Anne Obradovich, Worship Associate

The Authentic Life
by Anne Obradovich, Worship Associate

August 12, 2012

Travel back in time to Paris, France, in the 1940’s as we listen in on a conversation between John-Paul Sartre, Simone de Beauvoir and Albert Camus—three leading existentialists—as they discuss authenticity and the authentic life. Authenticity is the degree to which one is true to one's own personality, spirit, or character, despite encountering external forces, pressures and influences which are very different from, and other than, oneself. First I will relate my journey to authenticity, then give brief bios of our three protagonists, and then we will listen to the conversation.

With Worship Associate Andy Kosiorek and Gary Nemes

Buddha’s Buddy<br />by Anne Osborne

Buddha’s Buddy
by Anne Osborne

August 5, 2012

What if Buddha and Jesus had lived at the same time, and happened to run into each other? Would they have been friends? Would they have been surprised at striking similarities in their teachings? We’ll explore an imaginative relationship between Jesus and Buddha, and ponder whether they might be Unitarian Universalists if they were alive today.

With Worship Associates Tom Hughes and Dave Clements

The Art of Compromise <br />by Dave Clements, Worship Associate

The Art of Compromise
by Dave Clements, Worship Associate

July 22, 2012

Martin Luther King once said, "The people in our country must learn to live together as brothers or perish together as fools. If you're involved in a conflict, you'll want to know about the "Art of Compromise." A compromise is one type of win-win solution, although it requires that both parties give up something in order to solve the problem. What does that mean as it pertains to our own lives? Learn about "The Art of Compromise" and how it relates to being a Unitarian Universalist.

With Anne Osborne, Worship Associate

Your Bucket List, Your Life, Your Legacy <br />by Andy Kosiorek, Worship Associate

Your Bucket List, Your Life, Your Legacy
by Andy Kosiorek, Worship Associate

July 15, 2012

A bucket list is commonly thought of as a list of things you want to personally do before you "kick the bucket." But it is much more. Everyone has one. We are all familiar with writing lists. They help us accomplish chores, convey our hopes and remember what to buy. Yet most people don’t take the time to write a personal lifetime to-do list. As you age your “bucket list” not only looks into what you wish to do in the future, but it is also an accumulation of things you have accomplished in the past. We will explore the realm of possibilities.

With Worship Associate Katrina Walker

Ain’t Dead Yet!<br />by Barbara Howell, Worship Associate

Ain’t Dead Yet!
by Barbara Howell, Worship Associate

July 8, 2012

The world seems to have a plan for us, where we “should” go and what we should do. But what happens when that path seems to dead end or we veer "off the map?" A bit like zombies searching for their lost humanity, we stumble along, on a sort of mission, to find some redemption and rediscover our souls. Where are we really heading, and how do we find our way? Sermon comes complete with map! Service offered by Worship Associate Barbara G. Howell and her daughter Emily Betz Close.

With Emily Betz Close, Barbara's daughter

Saving Gay Lives<br />by Worship Associate Tom Hughes

Saving Gay Lives
by Worship Associate Tom Hughes

June 25, 2012

Pride Sunday celebrates how West Shore saves "Gay Lives." The Welcoming Congregation Program, first launched in 1990, was a completely volunteer program for UU congregations that wanted to take intentional steps to become more welcoming and inclusive of peple of all sexual orientations and gender identities. This year West Shore celebrates the 19th anniversary of our commitment as a Welcoming Congregation. Join us and witness a team of testimonials celebrating the web of life of which LGBT persons are included as an integral part. Hooray for West Shore!

With Worship Associate Dave Clements

Standing on the Side of Love: Immigration <br />by Ellen Carvill-Ziemer, Intern Minister

Standing on the Side of Love: Immigration
by Ellen Carvill-Ziemer, Intern Minister

February 12, 2012

The politics of immigration remain for many of us a tangled mess. The way through to a solution which is just and fair for everyone is not at all clear. How can we stay true to our Unitarian Universalist values and theology of love while remaining realistic and effective? The Social Action Offering will be received for the Ohio Meadville District's Phoenix Initiative, supporting participation by OMD congregation members at the 2012 Justice General Assembly in Phoenix, Arizona.

with Worship Associate Anne Osborne

Living the Authentic Self<br />by The Writer’s Group with Rev. Kathleen Rolenz

Living the Authentic Self
by The Writer’s Group with Rev. Kathleen Rolenz

August 28, 2011

The Writers’ Group at West Shore investigates the what, how and why of being our authentic selves by exploring spiritual teachings of Jesus, the Buddha and modern wisdom and song. Instead of confining ourselves and others into boxes, find your true nature and live with it. This service includes water communion and a sharing of how our experiences create our being. Bring a sample of water that is meaningful to you from the experience of your summer.

Reading: The Invitation by Oriah Mountain Dreamer Stay Where you are by Lama Surya Das Speakers: Reverend Kathleen Rolenz Worship Associate Barbara G. Howell Laura DiRienzo Heather Hall

Music performed by: David Blazer, Director of Music

Inherent Worth & Dignity of Bullies <br /> by Katrina M. Walker

Inherent Worth & Dignity of Bullies
by Katrina M. Walker

August 21, 2011

A service about appreciating that even experiences with those who were not kind to us or made us feel bullied can sometimes lead you in great places and to a new understanding of what it really means to accept all people.

Service offered by Katrina M. Walker

UU’s In a Gated World<br />by Worship Associate John Youel

UU’s In a Gated World
by Worship Associate John Youel

August 7, 2011

Do UU’s have an obligation to grow, or are we content behind the gates of our “like minds?”

Humans and Other Animals <br />by Sharon Hogan

Humans and Other Animals
by Sharon Hogan

July 31, 2011

This service will explore the meanings of our relationships with the other creatures with which we share the planet. What are some of our ethical and spiritual struggles to define ourselves in relationship with them? How do we define and understand who they are and how do they help us define and understand who we are?

Service offered by Sharon Hogan, Worship Associate

What Makes Us Family? <br />by Ren Brumfield, Worship Associate

What Makes Us Family?
by Ren Brumfield, Worship Associate

July 24, 2011

Some of the relationships we choose to have with groups and individuals who are not our biological kin can rival those we have with our families of origin. For many of us, the connections we have to these families of choice may even be the stronger of the two. What makes us family? More specifically, what is it about these voluntary relationships that fulfills that part of us that needs kinship and connectedness? Advice from the Buddha and other spiritual leaders, UU principles, and personal experience will provide a framework for trying to find an answer.

What Am I Afraid of? <br />by Worship Associate Barbara Howell

What Am I Afraid of?
by Worship Associate Barbara Howell

July 10, 2011

For some, it may be snakes, heights or small spaces. For most all of us, fear confines us in our “safe” space instead of taking the risks to live fully. 1 John of the New Testament admonishes us that life comes down to two emotions: love and fear. That text also promises that “perfect love casteth out fear.” How can acting from love instead of fear improve the lives of not only ourselves and our “loved” ones but also our society and our world? What difference does it make about the perspective we choose? Barbara Howell and her daughter, former West Shore member Emily Betz Close provide words and music.

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