Come to West Shore Unitarian Universalist Church on Jan. 1 and start the new year off right with a spiritually moving and invigorating experience! As 2022 gives way to 2023, you are invited to walk West Shore’s new labyrinth, which will be located in Baker Hall at 20401 Hilliard Boulevard in Rocky River. Drop in anytime from 10 a.m.-noon. The Labyrinth Walk is open to all free of charge.
Faith & Spirituality
Westlake United Methodist Church is bringing back its very popular live nativity and the community is invited to join in the celebration. New this year for the kids, a chance to get up close with the live animals, story time, crafts, and Christmas cookies.
The highlight is a life-size manger scene built by members of the congregation. The volunteer cast members are groups of families that share the holy birth story through live music and, of course, the live animals. If you listen closely, you just might hear donkeys braying, sheep and goats bleating, and lowing steers … just like in the classic Christmas lullaby, "Away in the Manger." The majestic camels tend to be on the quiet side, but they will be happy to pose for a photo.
The sanctuary is filled with greenery and candles in anticipation of Christmas as Bay United Methodist plans several programs to celebrate. The various offerings are designed to welcome the entire community, young and old.
On Sunday, Dec. 18, the Bay UMC Chancel Choir presents their annual Christmas Cantata at the 10 a.m. worship service. This year, the choir will sing “A Weary World Rejoices” by Joseph Martin. The presentation materials explain, “In the weary days of winter, the hope of Christmas begins to glow. Like a golden ember of promise burning in the soul, our frozen hearts start to warm.” Ronald H. Muth will direct, with narration by Scott and Marian Harmount.
Christ Church Westshore has moved into its permanent home after purchasing the former Ahern Banquet Center located at 726 Avon Belden Road in Avon Lake. The new location is easily accessible, and the congregation looks forward to serving the Westshore community for many years.
“We can’t imagine a better location to gather as a congregation and be a blessing throughout west shore of Cleveland. Being located on the border of Avon Lake/Avon provides wonderful access to the local population, bolsters our local partnerships such as Community Resource Services (CRS), The Salvation Army, Young Life, and Cornerstone Pregnancy Center,” said The Rev. Gene Sherman, rector.
Bay United Methodist Church presents their annual Family Fun Fest on Sunday, Oct. 23. The fall-themed event takes place after worship service from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. on the church grounds. Kids and grown-ups alike will enjoy trunk or treat in the parking lot, a bounce house, a straw maze, and other games. As a bonus, hotdogs will be available for a small fee.
Those who join the activities can also buy pumpkins at the Pumpkin Patch, a fundraiser for Bay United Methodist’s youth ministry, the Appalachia Service Project. Each summer, participants of the Appalachia Service Project send youth from the church and the community to areas of Appalachia to help build safer, warmer, and drier homes for those in need.
The City of Westlake has recognized October as Hindu Heritage Month. October is an important period for Hindu culture as it features three significant celebratory festivals: Navratri, Diwali and the Durga Puja.
To commemorate the occasion, Mayor Dennis Clough presented an official Proclamation to Westlake residents Desi and Viji Vijay, who accepted it at Westlake City Hall on behalf of the local Hindu community. The Hindu heritage, culture, traditions and values provide invaluable solutions to many of life’s problems and often serve as a source of inspiration, reflection and contemplation for the millions of individuals who look to the teachings of Hinduism for guidance.
On Sunday, Sept. 11, Bay United Methodist Church will celebrate Rally Day, the day Sunday Small Groups, Chancel Choir, Bible studies, and other groups return from their summer hiatus. This year, Rally Day will be welcomed by Bay UMC’s new pastor, Rev. Lisa Kropinak.
Rev. Lisa was named Bay UMC’s senior pastor on July 1. She and her family moved to Bay from New Concord, Ohio. Raised in a small country church in Mercer County, Pennsylvania, where her mother was the organist, Rev. Lisa went to Allegheny College to pursue a biology degree. Her aspirations were to become a family doctor; however a calling to participate in a two-year program in youth ministry evolved into 30 years of serving the church.
Pastors Josue' and Iris Rodriguez and Pastores Ramona invite residents of the cities of Westlake and Bay Village to our Latino Festival. Our CrossPointe Community Hispana is excited to offer a Saturday event especially for our Latino friends but everyone is more than welcome.
There will be free food, music, games with a focus on children, entertainment and more! We hope we will see you Saturday, Aug. 20, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at CrossPointe Community, 1800 Columbia Road, Westlake.
Pastor Josue' and Iris and Pastores Ramona are amazing genuine people. You will be glad to greet them and you would be blessed to connect with them each Sunday at 1 p.m. (Latino time!) for worship (in Spanish).
Pastor Mike Martel spent a life running from truth that called at his heart almost four decades ago. In December 2012 Mike finally came to the understanding that only Christ could provide the peace and hope that alluded him as he ran. He surrendered fully to Christ's leadership. God provided him with a hunger and thirst for His Word – the Bible. At the same time "God gave me the desire to demonstrate gratitude for God's mercy in my life."
As a recovering alcoholic and addict, Pastor Mike ministers to the recovery community, Primary Purpose, a drug and alcohol rehab facility twice a week, where he teaches a Bible study introducing God's healing power and teaching for those who seek change.
The Uvalde, Texas, school shooting on May 24 has prompted the members of a Westlake church to create a visual showing their support for legislation to curb the increasing gun violence in the United States.
The display on the front lawn of Dover Congregational United Church of Christ has 21 chairs representing the 19 students and two teachers killed in the attack.
“Our members have been anxious about gun regulation, not control,” said the church’s Minister of Justice, John Rinehart. “I’m a gun owner. A lot of people are gun owners. So it's a matter of control and the wise use of guns that we're concerned about. We have seen too many deaths that are unwise. The anxiety has been high. The anger has been high. And on this particular day, with 19 children and two teachers killed, it was a load to bear.”
On April 10, Palm Sunday, Bay United Methodist Church Chancel Choir will perform an Easter Cantata as part of the 10 a.m. worship service. The cantata, “Love Divine,” tells the story of the Passion of Christ and was written and arranged by Joel Raney.
The choral piece weaves together the story of Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem, the Last Supper, his prayers in the garden, his arrest and trial, the crucifixion, and his miraculous resurrection. Within the cantata, you will hear several familiar hymns, including “O Worship the King,” “What Wondrous Love Is This,” and “In the Garden.”
The cast and crew of "Compassion the Musical," a story based on Scripture, would like to invite you to special performances at St. Ladislas Church in Westlake on March 25 and 26. The shows begin at 7:30 p.m.
The cast and crew members are looking forward to presenting to you the story of the life, death and resurrection of Jesus, set to contemporary music. The production is a wonderful way to devote time and prayer during the time of Lent.
"Compassion" takes place in the Holy Land and during the last days Jesus spent in Jerusalem. It focuses on the last three years of the ministry of Jesus including His death and resurrection and the compassion He shared with the people He encountered. The musical follows the Gospel of John with human elements from the gospel of Luke. The Beatitudes also come into play from St. Matthew. The story is told through the eyes of St. Peter, while in prison in Rome prior to his own execution, and how the compassionate Jesus changed his life.
Hundreds of Westsiders celebrated Chanukah outside the Regal Cinemas at Crocker Park. The annual Chanukah celebration and Giant Menorah lighting hosted by Chabad of the West Side Jewish organization has become a popular tradition for the local Jewish community.
Crowds of children and adults enjoyed an evening of ice skating, Chanukah treats, and entertainment.
The highlight of the night was the kindling of a giant nine-foot-tall Menorah, spreading its warmth and glow all around.
St. Barnabas Episcopal Church in Bay Village had a lot to celebrate at a special service on Nov. 21. The Rt. Rev. Mark Hollingsworth Jr., bishop of the Diocese of Ohio, visited St. Barnabas to celebrate 10 years of renewed ministry, confirm and receive 21 new members into the Episcopal Church, bless the new pipe organ, dedicate the renovated Parkside Hall, and install the fifth rector of St. Barnabas, the Rev. Alexander D. Martin.
Beginning with beautiful solos from violinist Mary Beth Ions, followed by hymns on the new organ, played expertly by Timothy Robson and accompanied by the St. Barnabas Choir, the entire service was a moving tribute to how far St. Barnabas has come in the last 10 years.
Bethesda On The Bay Lutheran Church is hosting its second annual Live Nativity for the public Sunday, Dec. 19, from 4-6 p.m. on its spacious grounds at the corner of 28607 Wolf Road and Beach Lane in Bay Village.
This free event and plenty of hot chocolate will be available to everyone. Cash donations are encouraged to benefit Fill This House, a local faith-based nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the living conditions of local, needy youth aging out of the foster care system, providing essential household items such as beds and kitchenware. Bethesda on the Bay enthusiastically partners with several local and international organizations dedicated to serving those in need.
St. Barnabas Episcopal Church in Bay Village announced this week that its current Priest-in-Charge, the Rev. Alexander D. Martin, has accepted a call to serve as Rector – a tenured position. The church plans a celebration of his new role and the tenth anniversary of the church re-opening on Nov. 21.
“After extensive discernment, the vestry was thrilled to call Fr. Alex to be our Rector. In the last three years, he has led us to significant growth, guided us through the chaos of 2020, and been an excellent spiritual leader for our growing parish,” said Maryann Kuzila, Senior Warden of the St. Barnabas Vestry, an elected leadership team.
Fr. Alex has established the core building blocks to help St. Barnabas move from being a smaller, pastor-led church, to a larger, program-led church. For example, he has created the structure and identified leaders of various committees that provide consistent programming, from Spiritual Formation to Care to Hospitality. He has also expanded the staff to include a Youth and Children Director and a Communications Director. Our Sunday School attendance, in particular, has grown substantially.
St. Raphael Church in Bay Village will offer a program called Catholics Coming Home on seven consecutive Thursday evenings, Sept. 16 through Oct. 28, from 7:00-8:30 p.m. These sessions are for non-practicing Catholics interested in returning to the Catholic Church. There will be informal sharing and an update of the Catholic faith in a support-group format.
One former participant said of the program, "The sessions provided a sense of community with the other participants as well as with the team leaders, making me realize how much I missed that." Join us and reconnect with our Catholic community.
St. Raphael Church is located at 525 Dover Center Road. For more details and to register, call the parish office at 440-871-1100. Additional information is available at www.saintraphaelparish.com under "Parish Flyers." You may also refer to our Facebook page: Catholics Coming Home at Saint Raphael.
Rev. Lauren Clawson joined Bay United Methodist Church on July 1 as their Minister of Education for Children and Youth. Previously serving as Minister of Discipleship at Gay Street Church in Mount Vernon, Ohio, Rev. Lauren is an ordained Deacon in the United Methodist Church and holds a master’s degree in Christian Education. Her experience includes 21 years of leading children and youth in churches in North Carolina, Georgia, and Colorado.
Rev. Lauren’s arrival brings new energy to BUMC’s children and youth ministry. She will develop Sunday School programs for children from pre-K to 6th grade, coordinate 7th and 8th grade confirmation curriculum, and serve as director for high school youth programs.
Bethesda On The Bay Lutheran Church & Childcare Center is pleased to announce the hosting of the sculpture "Homeless Jesus" May 24 through June 28.
Homeless Jesus is a life-size sculpture created by Canadian sculptor Timothy Schmalz which depicts Jesus as a homeless person lying on a bench, shrouded in a blanket with wounds on the feet. This symbolic work of art is one of a series of inspiring sculptures crafted by Schmalz.
This very powerful image of homelessness has traveled our community since October of 2018. He has been giving inspiration to congregations and the public at 12 churches and one recovery home and one family shelter to date, and now at Bethesda on the Bay – a vibrant congregation and childcare center and member of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.
Westlake United Methodist Church hosted its first live nativity last year and the congregation was overjoyed by the positive feedback from the community. One person commented, “for a moment I felt like I was really in Bethlehem! It was a moment of the divine on earth. Hearing the story and songs really gave me the Christmas spirit!”
One year later, the live camels and donkeys will be back, but with a twist. “So many things have been cancelled this year because of COVID. We knew we had to find a way to still make this experience possible,” said Christopher Neeley, Westlake UMC’s Director of Music and Youth.
Bethesda on the Bay Lutheran Church & Childcare Center is pleased to announce the hosting of an outdoor live Nativity for the public on Sunday, Dec. 20, from 4:30-6 p.m. on its spacious grounds at 28607 Wolf Road in Bay Village.
"This is a great opportunity to visualize and experience the story of the Holy Family in a tangible and meaningful way during this time when most cannot celebrate together in person," explained Bethesda pastor Angela Freeman-Riley. "We wanted to bring a live Nativity to the community in a safe environment for all to enjoy and experience the spirit of Christmas.”
Through its “Step In, Drive In, Listen In” campaign, Bay United Methodist Church (29931 Lake Road) is offering multiple worship options for anyone and everyone in the area during the COVID-19 pandemic. Each Sunday at 10 a.m., Bay UMC, led by Pastor Jonathan McCleery, provides a traditional worship service with Pastor’s message, a music leader (singing is not allowed in the sanctuary due to COVID), Scripture lessons, prayer, and special music, including the Bay UMC Bell Choir.
The 10 a.m. service provides an in-person worship option with social distancing in the sanctuary along with a drive-in option in the parking lot (corner of Lake Road and Bassett Road) for families wishing to worship in their car with a live localized radio feed at 87.9 FM.
Bay Presbyterian Church (BPC) invites all Westshore families and community members to be a part of comeback stories at The City Mission by donating items to make Comeback Kits. BPC will be collecting items for the Mission’s Comeback Kits. These kits are provided to guests of the organization’s shelters and include immediate care, relief, and encouragement products like: shampoo, conditioner, toothbrush, toothpaste, body wash, lotion, razors, shaving cream, new underwear and socks, women's hygiene products, Bibles (New Living Translation), stationary, pens, games.
Shop for any of the items requested and drop off your donation at BPC’s main entrance (25415 Lake Road) anytime from Sunday, Nov. 29, through Sunday, Dec. 27.
Bus passes are an urgent need also, and they can be purchased at area Marc’s, Giant Eagle, and Discount Drug Mart locations. On Dec. 17, students from the Westshore Young Leaders Network will gather at BPC to sort items collected as of that date.
Through a collaboration with the Community West Foundation, a statue of “Homeless Jesus” was temporarily installed at St. Barnabas Episcopal Church adjacent to the walking path at Bradley Road Park in Bay Village.
The sculpture, created by Timothy Schmalz, depicts a man wrapped in a blanket and lying on a bench. Feet, protruding from beneath the blanket, bear the wounds of crucifixion. The work is a visual representation of Matthew 25:40, the verse quoted at the base of the sculpture: “Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.” Homeless Jesus is currently on loan from the Community West Foundation – the largest provider of homeless services in Cuyahoga County – and will be installed at St. Barnabas until Dec. 1.
With Covid-19 restrictions keeping many people at their homes, Chabad of the West Side found creative solutions to include as many locals as possible during this year's Jewish holiday season.
Sukkot, a sacred, week-long holiday celebrated outdoors inside man-made huts called "sukkahs," was celebrated this year at the beginning of October, with a pickup truck "Sukkah-mobile" trekking across the whole West Side.
This holiday is really all about inclusion; because we’re all created from the same creator, and everyone deserves a chance to celebrate – even in the current circumstances.
Churches across the nation have set aside the month of October to acknowledge the essential work of the pastor in the local congregation.
At St. Paul Westlake, “We Love Our Pastors” is the theme for the celebration that took place at weekend worship Oct. 17-18. While the usual cakes and cookies were not part of the event because of COVID safeguards, the 162-year-old Lutheran congregation on Detroit Road in Westlake showed their gratitude with cards, letters and gifts during the four services and drive-up communion.
Pastor Jeff Smith and his wife, Melissa, have served since 2015 when they arrived fresh from the seminary. They were joined this year by new Pastor Josh Gremminger and wife, Anna. The enthusiastic ministry of these young men has merged with the experience of veteran Pastor David Buegler and his wife, Sue, to create a vibrant congregation serving 2,500 souls with good Biblical teaching, traditional and contemporary worship options and personal ministry to all generations.
Despite the unique challenges posed by COVID-19, Camp Gan Israel – a division of Chabad of the West Side – opened its doors with a special program for local children to enjoy a fun-filled experience ingrained with traditional Jewish values.
In-person meetups for specialty shows took place twice weekly, with ample space between families and some shows being repeated a few times throughout the day in order to accommodate everyone safely. Supporting staff and boxed activities were also sent to children's homes all across the West Side to allow for a full, enriching experience.
In the new COVID-19 normal, connection is important, while at the same time tougher to accomplish. As a church, Bay United Methodist feels the absolute calling to reach further than our own members to find connections within and outside of our community.
Through postcards to our neighbors, pizza delivery each Friday to the fire department, online postings of mid-week meditations and Sunday worship, to personal phone calls and Zoom meetings, they've found opportunities to lift people up during this difficult time.
It is not enough. Leadership in the church is actively pursuing fresh looks at ministry, continually asking the question, "How can we do better?"
When Jesus offered the Summary of the Law – love God and love your neighbor as yourself – a Pharisee asked, “Who is my neighbor?” That’s when Jesus told the story of the Good Samaritan, who stepped up to help someone in need when others refused.
Because of social distancing requirements, many of the ways we’d like to serve our neighbors aren’t currently possible.
St. Barnabas Episcopal Church in Bay Village recently launched the Good Neighbor Project. Through the great generosity of a handful of parishioners, we mailed $100 to every household in the parish and asked the recipients to use those funds to be good neighbors.
Twenty-four desserts. Thirty-four volunteers. A room full of eager bidders. One super-hilarious auctioneer. That is how sweet it was on Sunday, Feb. 9, at Bay United Methodist Church for our annual dessert auction.
In support of our Appalachia Service Project Team, the congregation and friends of our church turn out to bid on delicious homemade desserts. However, this is not just any auction. The generosity and out-pouring of love is amazing and surprising each year.
The dessert auction is well known by our members as a boisterous time where gluttony (oops, generosity) hails in full force. As the tradition goes, volunteers bake their favorite homemade recipes (or get last-minute help from Heinen's) and the audience bids against each other in friendly, giggle-worthy competition. Bids for donuts, big sheet cookies, yummy bars, gluten-free and gluten-full cakes sell into the hundreds of dollars.
The Portraits of Homelessness collection, featuring 15 photographs and stories of residents from the Men’s Shelter at 2100 Lakeside,will be on display at Westlake's Prince of Peace Lutheran Church in the lower lobby entry from Feb. 26 to April 12.
Lydia Bailey, volunteer coordinator at the shelter and photographer, sought to convey their gifts and vital personalities as well as the confusing, fearful and damaging elements of homelessness.
How did a Bay High alumna (class of 1986), with a degree in early childhood education, find herself as a national board member for the Order of St. Luke international Christian healing ministry, and in demand around the country today as a keynote speaker at OSL conferences?
It all began in 2006 when her father, David Ball, then convener of the Westshore Chapter sent his daughter a brochure about the upcoming local conference, featuring the Rev. Nigel Mumford. At that time, Saran Warne's husband, Tom, was the young rector at St. John's Church in Huntingdon, PA, developing a congregation in the depressed industrial town. She was the stay-at-home mom, with their three active boys.
The Praise Community has been gathering since early September at 7 p.m. weekly in the sanctuary of Advent Church, 3760 Dover Center Road, Westlake. The core leadership team of this initiative comes from four different area churches.
The Praise Community is an opportunity for believers to gather together weekly to offer up praise to the Lord and expect that He will meet with His people. The Praise Community is a non-denominational ministry that has the blessing of Advent leadership to use their great sanctuary. You are invited to come as we seek to lift up the name of Jesus seeking personal and regional revival!
For years, James Twyman has been known as the "Peace Troubador." In 1995, James was invited to Croatia and Bosnia to perform a peace concert using his songs created from the peace prayers of the 12 major religions. Since then, James has traveled to Iraq, South Africa, Northern Ireland, and most recently Iran, to bring his focus of peace to areas impacted by the tensions of war.
Twyman has always had an affinity for St. Francis, and has been inspired to take his one-man musical, "Brother Sun, Sister Moon," to an off-Broadway venue. He will travel penniless from Portland, Oregon, to New York City relying on the generosity of people along the way.
Prince of Peace Lutheran Church, Westlake Porter Public Library, CAIR (Council on American-Islamic Relations), St. Ladislas Catholic Church and WCMA (West Cleveland Muslim Association) hosted "Tea Time for Peace," an interfaith and larger community dialogue with the focus on getting to know your Muslim neighbor better. It was held at Prince of Peace Lutheran Church in Westlake on Dec. 4.
Christians and Muslims alike took a brave and hospitable step in a time so fraught with controversy and fear. Over 100 guests gathered together for the chance to have tea, snacks and conversation with neighbors from diverse communities that may not have otherwise had a chance to come together.
The evening was filled with warmth and laughter as neighbors got to know each other and launched new friendships.
On Dec. 7, 1914, Pope Benedict XV suggested a temporary hiatus from the war for the celebration of Christmas. Although the warring countries did not accept the invitation for a cease fire, the soldiers in the trenches declared their own unofficial truce.
On Christmas Eve, German and British troops which were fighting in WWI joined together in singing Christmas carols across the lines. When Christmas morning arrived, German soldiers came out from the trenches wishing the British troops a Merry Christmas! Although the British soldiers were concerned that it was a trick, their fears were allayed when they saw that the German soldiers were not carrying guns. They, too, came out from the trenches and began shaking hands.
The Cleveland Ohio Stake of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints will host an evening of choral and instrumental Christmas music on Sunday, Dec. 15, beginning at 6:00 p.m., and the public is cordially invited to attend this free holiday event.
Also participating that evening will be youth and adult vocalists as well as instrumentalists representing the St. Joseph Senior Choir.
The performance will take place at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints located at 25000 Westwood Road in Westlake. Plenty of free parking is available on the church site.
Panache Desai knows first-hand the experience of being an immigrant touched by xenophobia. Growing up in London's East End in the 1980s, he lived in a working class neighborhood. More and more immigrants were arriving and competing with the older, more established residents.
Panache was of Indian descent who preferred the silence of meditation to the safety of gangs. In his teens, however, he began to turn his back on spirituality and worked to become who everyone else wanted him to be. He studied business and law in order to please his grandfather. He began to spend time in the East End underground music scene, partying at night with heiresses, gangsters and drug dealers.
CrossPointe Community is offering a training seminar from a new book by author Dr. Myke Merrill from Hilton, New York. Dr. Merrill will be at CrossPointe on Saturday, Oct. 26, 5-8 p.m., and Friday, Nov. 1, 6:30 p.m. The cost for the training is $20 and includes Dr. Merrill's book, "Why Do People Act That Way ... And What Can I Do About It?" plus a pizza and beverage.
Dr. Merrill will teach practical skills to disentangle complicated or difficult situations and relationships. It will give you insights into the four key complexes of the mind and how they shape our sense of reality, while also offering tools for accurate understanding and effective resolution of the five emotional systems. It will help you ask questions, get answers, and then ask better questions. Finally, it will help you to identify your own storyline in a way that may help you resolve some lifelong issues.
In July, as father and son we had the opportunity to travel from our home in Bay Village with a group of 18 other individuals from Northeast Ohio and other parts of the U.S. to Nairobi, Kenya, on an “impact trip,” with an organization called CARE for AIDS. The purpose of the organization is to empower people, who are HIV positive or have AIDS, to live beyond their condition spiritually, physically, emotionally, socially and economically.
During the trip we had the chance to see all levels of the work carried out by CARE for AIDS in partnership with local churches. The people or clients whom we observed ranged from those who were early in their journey with the organization to those who were graduating from its 9-month program. Every step of the way we saw them in their medical and spiritual counselling, visited with them in their homes where we built relationships and shared meals with them, and worshiped and engaged with them in vacation bible school.