On Standing Rock, Black Lives Matter, and Intersectionality

January 8, 2017

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by Reverend Patricia Hart

Unitarian Universalists and other progressives have struggled to “make the world a better place” for a very long time. For most of that time, we have worked on one issue at a time. Now, we are challenged to see how injustice toward one group is connected to injustice elsewhere. Some thoughts about why UUs went to Standing Rock, and other stories. The Free Spirit Band will play, and the children will join us in the Sanctuary for the beginning of the service.

 

 

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Celebrating, Honoring and Planning for ACTION, as Unitarian Universalists

January 1, 2017

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by Reverend Christopher Long

Join us as we celebrate the end of both Kwanzaa and Hanukkah, honor the prophetic legacy of two extraordinary Unitarian Universalist Women, and work towards building our own “personal prophecy” as we step with courage and Unitarian Universalist Faith into 2017, together! Racial and social justice demand that we continue to stay awake!

 

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A Child’s Christmas in Wales

December 25, 2016

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by Reverend Peter Newport

Rev. Peter Newport & Worship Associates A very special worship service, for all ages. Join us for a retelling A Child’s Christmas in Wales by Dylan Thomas, the lovely story of a Christmas past told from the recollection of a child.

 

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Annual Holiday Choral Service

December 18, 2016

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Featuring The West Shore Choir with

David Blazier

Director of Music and

Reverend Patricia Hart

One of the highlights each year is our annual holiday choral concert as part of the B. Neil Davis Artist Series. This year West Shore Choir will perform the “Gloria” by John Rutter. This work was commissioned by the Voices of Mel Olson and first performed on May 5, 1974 in Omaha, Nebraska under the direction of the composer.

 

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The Battle for Christmas

December 11, 2016

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by Reverend Patricia Hart 

Given current controversies over language and “the holidays,” you might not know that Christmas has not always been accepted as a legitimate religious holiday in America. Come hear some of the stories of how Christmas became a beloved and sacred holiday in our country, and how Unitarians and Universalists led the way!

 

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The Welcome Table: Building An Inclusive World View

December 4, 2016

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by Reverend Patricia Hart and

Chaplain Kevin Lowry

Director of Covenant Student Ministries

During the holiday season, we may find ourselves at many different tables. How do we as Unitarian Universalists create an inclusive worldview that widens the Beloved Community and welcomes all to the table? The Free Spirit Band will play, and a special Youth Choir will sing. Kevin Lowry is the Chaplain and Director of Covenant Student Ministries, an ecumenical Campus Ministry in Cleveland's University Circle neighborhood, and a seminarian with the UU House of Study at the Methodist Theological School in Ohio. Kevin lives in Wooster with his wife Alex, Daughter Estella and the soon to arrive Baby Boy.

 

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Just Waiting

November 27, 2016

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by Reverend Peter Newport

This Sunday is the first Sunday of Advent, a four-week period of patient (or impatient) anticipation leading up to Christmas. Many families use Advent calendars to count-down to the festivities, but mostly we wait—either to get it over with or in eager delight. Might there be a spiritual dis-cipline to waiting? Are there insights we might gain from such a discipline that may sharpen our appreciation of Christmas? Enquiring minds and hearts want to know. Rev. Newport is the husband and partner in ministry of West Shore’s Interim Minister, Rev. Patricia Hart. They served together in two congregations in Pennsylvania and have been married for almost twenty years. Peter served congregations in Rhode Island, Massachusetts and Pennsyl-vania, and has been both a hospital and a hospice chaplain.

 

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Getting the Story Straight

November 20, 2016

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by Reverend Patricia Hart and

Layne Richard-Hammock

Director of Lifespan Faith Development

Thanksgiving is a cherished American holiday, celebrating gratitude and community, and commemorating the hospi-tality of the “first Thanksgiving” between the Pilgrims and the Indians in the early days of the Plymouth Colony. But what really happened almost 400 years ago is much more interesting than the stories we learned in elementary school.

 

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Discovering the Stories of West Shore

November 13, 2016

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by Reverend Patricia Hart

How would you complete this sentence: “West Shore Unitarian Universalist Church is a congregation that ____________?” There are facts that belong in such a de-scription, of course; but the ways people feel about and remember their church’s “story” have enormous power in representing both its present challenges and future possibilities. What story will you tell about West Shore?

 

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What Shall We Say?

November 6, 2016

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by Reverend Patricia Hart

The election is (finally) upon us, and it would seem that our country is coming apart. Divisions are deep, the American Dream is coming under fire, and the search for common ground can feel like a pointless exercise. What are we called to do, as “faithful” people? How do our religious values and principles inform our actions and our words, even now? Especially now!

 

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Rememberance

October 30, 2016

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by Reverend Patricia Hart and

Kathy Strawser

In this darkening time of the year, it is fitting to remember beloved friends, family, and even pets that have passed away. For our ritual of remembrance, all are invited to bring a picture or memento of a deceased loved one or pet. What is the power of remembrance?

 

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Unitarian Universalism: Saving Lives!

October 23, 2016

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by Reverend Patricia Hart and

Reverend Christopher Long

Worship Leaders As Unitarian Universalists and friends of the great, living tradition, we put great trust in the ability of science and medicine to heal our physical bodies in some instances, and rightly so. Let’s explore together what, if any, role our UU Principles and Sources, and UU theologies, play in healing in our lives. Rev. Christopher Long returns to the Cleveland area after eleven years of being away. He graduated from Starr King School for the Ministry (May 2009), was ordained as a Unitarian Universalist Minister by the First Unitarian Church of Oakland (June 2009), and spent the last seven years in Madison, WI, where he worked at the University of Wisconsin as an Assistant Associate Program Specialist.

 

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Collaborative Ministry? Really?

October 16, 2016

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by Reverend Patricia Hart

Times are changing, and so is the church. The roles of Minister, Board, staff and volunteers look quite different than they did even a few decades ago—not to mention the fact that social media has brought what happens at West Shore to many who may never come to church. How shall we, together, create something that fits our time?

 

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“Metaphoraging” in the Hoh Rainforest

October 9, 2016

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by Layne Richard-Hammock

Director of Lifespan Faith Development

One of the most healing activities I know is communing with nature and specifically trees. On the Olympic Peninsula in Washington State, one such healing place exists—a rainforest of the temperate type called the Hoh Rainforest. During a solo visit there, I experienced deep peace and gathered a wonderful series of metaphors. Are you a part of an old growth forest or maybe a nurse log, a sapling or perhaps a variety of symbiotic moss dripping from the branches of a grand tree? The rainforest is a system much like a church system in many ways. Let's go “metaphoraging” together in reflection and image, meditation and song.

 

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Going With Empty Hands

October 2, 2016

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by Reverend Patricia Hart

The Jewish traditions of Rosh Hashanah teach the importance of restoring balance to life by asking for and granting forgiveness. Is it always right to ask forgiveness from those we have harmed, or to offer it to those who have harmed us? What does it mean to forgive?


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Defying Hate

September 25, 2016

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by Reverend Patricia Hart

In 1939, two Unitarians—Rev. Wait still Sharp and his wife, Martha Sharp—traveled to Europe on behalf of the whole denomination to try and help Jews, dissidents and immigrants escape from the growing Nazi threat. Because of the new Ken Burns documentary about the Sharps (to be televised on September 20), UU principles and American values are getting some attention this fall. What can we learn from hearing this story? And what comment does it make in the fierce debates swirling in our time?

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What We’re Here To Do

September 18, 2016

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by Reverend Patricia Hart

Ours is a “covenant” faith: what matters most in our congregations is not the word of some divine authority or even pronouncements from UUA “headquarters,” but the gathered wisdom of the people. Each of us feels called to do the right thing… so how does a congregation of individuals become a covenanted group and what does that mean in practice?

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In-gathering!

September 11, 2016

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by Reverend Patricia Hart and

Layne Richard-Hammock

Director of Lifespan Faith Development

Come one, come all, to a joyful celebration of the West Shore community, and the “kick-off” Sunday for what promises to be a busy and important church year. This All Ages service will feature “Singing Down the Rain,” a story about water, joy, learning, and how communities grow stronger.Don’t forget to bring water from a place that is important to you and your family. In the annual Water Communion,we will pour our offerings of water together, symbolizing the gifts everyone brings to create the community that is West Shore

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Work and Justice

September 4, 2016

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by Reverend Patricia Hart

On this Labor Day weekend, we will look back at some of the triumphs and losses of our country’s labor movement, and reflect on how cultural attitudes about work shape the structures of our society. Plus, a brief visit from the original “Mother Jones,” an Irish immigrant to America who became an important labor and community organizer.

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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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Where Are We Now?

August 21, 2016

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by Reverend Patricia Hart

Interim Senior Minister

At this, the beginning of our two-year shared "interim," Rev. Hart will talk about what she’s learned about transitional ministry, where Unitarian Universalism seems to be heading in this tumultuous time, and some of the work we might do together here at West Shore.


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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

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

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

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

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

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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Removing Our Masks

June 26, 2016

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by Reverend David T. Durkit

of First United Church of Christ, Eastlake, OH

On Pride Sunday, we'll look at the many masks each of us wears. We need help in removing them. This can be, for most of us, a very difficult task. Our guest minister will take us through a step by step journey of removing our own mask to God, to ourselves, and to others. He will intertwine this with his own personal journey from being dismissed as a priest from the Orthodox Church to his becoming a minis-ter in the United Church of Christ, and of course there's a West Shore connection!

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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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The Beginning of Tomorrow

June 12, 2016

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by Holly Mueller

Intern Minister

Shiny, new beginnings can be invigorating, and yet what can be more intimidating than a blank page, than the unfamiliar? How do we prepare ourselves for the unknown and become excited for the future even if we long for the past? As we look to the future of West Shore and the future of Unitarian Universalism, it is a powerful moment to be open to the unknown while cultivating a vision of what could be.


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With or Without God

June 5, 2016

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by Reverend Patricia Sheldon

Faith in anything can help us through difficult times and enrich our lives. But does it work if it is with or without God? Rev. Patricia Sheldon is a Unitarian Universalist com-munity minister associated with the First Unitarian Church of Cleveland in Shaker Heights. She worked as a hospital chaplain for many years and currently provides education and support for individuals and groups around any of life’s losses.

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War, Peace & YoUU

May 29, 2016

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by Holly Mueller

Intern Minister

As we remember and honor the Americans who gave their lives in military service, do we know our own Unitarian Universalist history when it comes to war and peace?  How do we interpret what it means to respect the inherent worth and dignity of every person when we balance human rights and the need for self-defense and response to aggression?  The varied responses to war in our history and our present reflect the tension between pacifism and pragmatism, a tension we all must address for ourselves.


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The Blessed Chaos of Creation

May 22, 2016

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by Holly Mueller, Intern Minister

Every event, from momentous tragedies to idle conversations, is a part of creation. Whether these events have divine origins, are shaped from human hands, or result from chaos, they are the fabric of the present and the substance with which we will create the future. How do we purposefully play a role in creation? How do we incorporate the destructive or chaotic pieces of creation that we cannot discard? What, exactly, do we wish to create?


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Spring Choral Concert: Requiem for the Living

May 15, 2016

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by Dan Forrest

Performed by David Blazer, Director of Music and

West Shore Choir

One of the musical highlights in the life of this church is ourannual Springtime Choral Sunday. This year the West Shore Choir will present Requiem for the Living, written in 2013 by Dan Forrest. This program is our final installment this yearof the B. Neil Davis Artist Series. Part of the mission of this concert series is to include some of the best musicians in the Cleveland area to accompany this work. We will be joined by Andrew Pongracz and Mell Csicsila on percussion and Calvin Stokes on Harp.


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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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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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Bridge Over the West Shore Junior Church

April 24, 2016

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by Graduating Seniors of Junior Church and CoA Class of 2016 with

Layne Richard-Hammock

Director of Lifespan Faith Development,

Christa Champion and Phil Florian

Comings and Goings—Bridges transport both ways. It's Spring and time once again for the Annual Bridging service honoring both graduating seniors bridging out of Junior Church and Rising Coming of Age class bridging into Junior Church. Special music by the Free Spirit Band, various vocals and instrumentals and sharing of thoughts from our young people as they cross the West Shore Rocky River Junior Church Bridge.

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Does the Big Blue Boat Belong to Us?

April 17, 2016

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by Holly Mueller

Intern Minister and

Layne Richard-Hammock

Director of Lifespan Faith Development

Offered by Layne Richard-Hammock & Holly MuellerAs we celebrate Earth Day with Flower Communion, we reflect on the joys and responsibilities of our Big Blue Planet home. Do humans own the Earth or does She Own us? This All Ages service will allow for adults and children to contemplate what it means to be a strand in the interconnected web of existence and to value our responsibility in the web of life. We do after all, have the whole world in our hands. Fun morning with lots of singing, movement and celebration for all. Bring a flower to share for Flower Communion (yes we know it's a tad early and many garden flowers won't be abloom yet—do your best.


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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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Making It Up

April 3, 2016

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by Reverend Wayne Arnason

The most creative thing that we are engaged with every day is the improvisation of the life we live. We all have to make this up as we go along. Often we find out what we really know when we are forced to say it. Inevitably we make mistakes,and we have to “make up” for them too—but we can’t let the risk of failure stop us from the creativity that is our birthright. The Free Spirit Band will offer the music for this service, and they are considering—what else? Improvisational jazz.

View more pots

Opening music is played in it's entirety after the service.

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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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Shades of Distinction

March 20, 2016

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by Holly Mueller

Intern Minister with

Layne Richard-Hammock

Director of Lifespan Faith Development

A distinctive Lifespan Religious Education Program requires both continuity and innovation. The members of the Religious Education RE View team have been working for over a year to distinguish the strengths of the West Shore Religious Education Program as well as create a proposal for innovation and moving into the future. The team is excited to “raise the shades” and share a bit about our process, our conclusions and distinctive recommendations for the future! All ages will begin in service together to witness the dedication of some children into our collective care, music from both the Adult and Junior Choirs and celebrate together the future of religious education as an endeavor for and responsibility of all ages.


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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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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 World the Adults Are Leaving Us

February 28, 2016

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by Junior Church and Youth Group

Don't miss this event where the West Shore Junior Church and Youth Group present their annual service and share a glimpse of the world through their eyes.

Opening music is played in it's entirety after the service.

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Creating Sanctuary

February 21, 2016

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by Holly Mueller

Intern Minister and

Layne Richard-Hammock

Director of Lifespan Faith Development

What is sanctuary? How does sanctuary look in community? Our West Shore CARE covenant stands for Courtesy, Acceptance, Respect, and Engagement—core elements of creating a shared space of comfort and challenge, a place in which we as a community can grow our spiritual selves. This service will include the Junior Choir and Time For All Ages.

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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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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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