What is inclusivity anyway? Is it when you smile at a stranger? When you encourage your child to invite the child who's "different" to the upcoming birthday party? When you attend a same-sex marriage? Is it when you drop your guard and allow yourself to be hugged by someone you hardly know? Or, is it when you take a homeless man job-hunting if he is willing to go? Do you "include" yourself in knowing you are a spiritual being worthy of immeasurable greatness? Does inclusivity encompass kindness, compassion, letting go old ideas, even love?
Faith & Spirituality
Westlake joined communities worldwide on April 7 in marking the 115th anniversary of the date of birth of the Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, of righteous memory.
Often described as the most influential rabbi in modern history, the Rebbe’s visionary efforts to reconnect Jews everywhere with their Jewish heritage have touched millions of lives and forever transformed the landscape of Jewish life. His teachings, which emphasized the inherent goodness of mankind, the infinite potential within every individual and the profound value of even the smallest good deed, inspired multitudes around and resonated globally.
Dover Congregational UCC will welcome Isam Zaiem to the Sacred Conversations series on Sunday, March 12, at 7:00 p.m. Isam is the Board President Emeritus of the Cleveland and Northeast Ohio chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) and will share with us how it is to be a Muslim in America these days.
A lot has happened since Isam joined the members of Dover last year in conversations about Abraham, our common religious father, and since we prayed with him in the Islamic Center mosque. Wars continue in the Middle East. ISEL continues its attacks on civilians in cities that used to be centers of civilization, some even mentioned in the Bible. The headlines have carried news of terrorist attacks in major European cities, the latest an attack in London.
St. Raphael Church in Bay Village will conduct a series called Catholics Coming Home on seven Wednesday evenings, April 19 through May 31, from 7-8:30 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.
As part of St. Barnabas Episcopal Church's “Connecting with God” program series, on Saturday, April 8, come prepare your heart for Palm Sunday and Holy Week by reflecting with us on Jesus’ journey to the cross. This very special program was well received last year as participants engaged all five senses while walking the Stations of the Cross. At each of the Stations you will experience a prayer, a reflection and an activity.
The community is invited to walk in Jesus’ shoes at Unity Spiritual Center’s Good Friday Experience. This all-day service is for everyone seeking a deeper personal meaning of the Crucifixion.
The USC sanctuary is turned into nine stations: Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus picks up the cross, Jesus falls for the first time, Jesus meets Mary, Jesus is helped by Simone of Cyrene, Veronica wipes the face of Jesus, Jesus falls a final time, Jesus is nailed to the cross and Jesus is placed in the tomb. Participants can come in anytime during the day and journey through each of the nine stations. There they can sit and reflect while doing an activity that pertains to their life and that of Jesus.
The nights are growing shorter and the days are getting longer, to the delight of many, unless you own stock in the electric company. Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent, has already come and gone, and spring, Easter, bright daffodils and balmy weather aren't far behind. I was surprised to learn that Ash Wednesday, not Easter, has the second highest church attendance after Christmas, according to priests across the globe.
Dover Congregational Church’s “Sacred Conversations” series will continue on Sunday, March 19, at 7:00 p.m. when the Reverends Joe Cherry and Denis Paul will help us consider the continuing concerns of the LBGTA community.
Adults fear that being “outed” may cost them their jobs. Schools, parents and students ponder the use of bathrooms. Many members of the LBGTA community live in fear of physical harm. The display of the rainbow flag becomes divisive.
On Sunday, Feb. 12, Bay Presbyterian Church (BPC) welcomed Rev. Bob Hopper to the church to shepherd the congregation as the new transitional senior pastor. He was called by BPC’s Session to help prepare the church for the subsequent calling of a new senior pastor.
"We are excited to welcome Bob and his wife, Tacey, to the Cleveland area. We believe that under his leadership, this will be a time of spiritual fruitfulness and growth," said John Meaux, a member of Session, the local governing body of Bay Presbyterian Church, comprised of church elders and pastors. "Rev. Hopper gives BPC a unique outside perspective in leading us forward. This experience will help the congregation through the transition from one senior pastor to another."
The next workshop in St. Barnabas Episcopal Church's series on connecting with God will be held Saturday, March 4, 10 a.m.-noon. "Praying With Mandalas: A Colorful, Contemplative Practice” will be facilitated by Sharon Seyfarth Garner. Praying with mandalas, or geometric figures, is a refreshing new method of prayer that weaves together the contemporary interest in coloring with classic Christian spiritual practices such as lectio divina, intercessory prayer, centering prayer and the Ignatian Examen. Contemplative coloring is a simple and tangible way to let go of your distractions and rediscover your sacred center.
Join us for this sacred time of creativity and prayer – a breath of spiritual fresh air! A suggested $10 donation is appreciated but not required.
Two local churches – Dover Congregational United Church of Christ and Westlake Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) – will hold four joint, weekday, community-focused worship services during Lent.
Members of both congregations will participate. Worship and communion will be offered to believers of all denominations.
The first service will be on Ash Wednesday, March 1, at 12:30 p.m. for anyone who may be working or living nearby and wishes to receive the imposition of ashes in a brief and informal service. Later, a more traditional service at 7 p.m. will offer communion and imposition of ashes.
Because we believe that God is incarnate in history and that “God is Still Speaking,” Dover Congregational UCC will initiate a monthly series of conversations on a variety of social and community concerns. The first conversation will be held at the church on Sunday evening, Feb. 12, at 7:00 p.m. in Thomas Hall. Dover is located at 2239 Dover Center Road in Westlake.
The Reverend Richard Gibson, pastor of Elizabeth Baptist Church and co-chair of Greater Cleveland Congregations, will be with us to discuss the racial/class divide in Cleveland and Cuyahoga County from the black perspective of life in Cleveland’s inner city. Pastor Gibson is also an attorney working to overcome the inequities of the criminal justice in Cuyahoga County.
Are you aware of how you connect with God? Would you like to explore ways you can increase your connection? Join us at St. Barnabas Episcopal Church on the corner of Bradley and Wolf roads in Bay Village to reflect, learn and experience different ways to interact with God. Each program will focus on a different way to connect. Attend one, or attend many! A suggested $10 donation is appreciated but not required.
The next workshop, “Experiencing God in the Wind and Water: A Sailor's Story of Spirituality,” will be facilitated by John Johanssen and held Saturday, Feb. 18, from 10 a.m.-noon. Come swap stories and experiences of our lives on the water, on any kind of vessel, and to search those experiences for the presence of God. John enthusiastically said, “I look forward to reflecting on some of my adventures on the water that have shaped and formed my spirituality. I hope there will be many connecting points from which we can each share our own journeys.”
We tend to gravitate to people who are like us. Do we tend to put others in boxes? Do we tend to put ourself in a box thinking this is a good way to protect ourselves from hurt? Can this box create a sense of isolation, loneliness, perhaps even depression, when our original intent was to stay safe? We let go of each breath, and we can learn to release, but what do we allow to come in?
Corporate America has discovered that diversity without inclusivity is useless. Am I building relationships with people who are different from me? Is there a way to live outside the box and release loneliness? Rev. Joanne Rowden of Unity Spiritual Center of Westlake feels that there is no time like the present to live inclusively, and every first Sunday of the month, from 10:15-10:45 a.m., holds open conversations on Shariff Abdullah's book, "Practicing Inclusivity."
In today's fast paced, multi-media world there are so many ways to be entertained. From Netflix to YouTube to Hulu, the eyes have it. So what to watch next? What if your next movie choice was both entertaining to your psyche, and enriching to your heart and soul? A double-your-fun kind of event!
If you've heard of James Tyman, also known as the Peace Troubadour, you know he is a unique individual with a variety of successes. He is the author of 10 books, including "The Art of Spiritual Peacemaking," and a world renowned folk musician. He has been invited by world peace organizations to perform peace concerts in war-torn countries such as Serbia, Bosnia and Iraq. He is also a film producer with movie credits such as "Indigo" and the documentary "The Moses Code."
A lament I hear continuously these days is about how soon the daylight turns to darkness. I hear, "Is it dark already?" Or, "It's 5 o'clock, and it's already dark?!" Or, "I leave work, and it's dark outside. Hurry back, summer!"
Summer may not return soon enough for some, but there is light at the end of this winter time tunnel. The winter solstice has been described in many ways, such as – the shortest day and longest night, or as a marker for the first day of winter. The exact time of the December solstice in Cleveland is Wednesday, Dec. 21, at 5:44 a.m.
Simply put, the solstice is an astronomical event, caused by the earth's tilt on its axis. On Dec. 21 we have a day with the greatest amount of darkness in the entire year, but then on Dec. 22, it reverses. The daylight starts to get longer until six months later on June 21, when the summer solstice gives us the greatest amount of light.
Bethesda-on-the-Bay Lutheran Church invites area residents to celebrate the birth of Jesus at special services this Christmas season.
The children of the congregation will present their annual Christmas Program at the 11 a.m. service on Sunday, Dec. 18.
Christmas Eve candlelight services will be held at 5, 7:30 and 10 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 24. The 5 p.m. service is focused on families with young children, while the 7:30 and 10 p.m. services will feature special music. All services will have Holy Communion.
St. Barnabas Episcopal Church's monthly workshop series on connecting with God continues in December with landscape artist Julia Shutt. On Saturday, Dec. 3, 10 a.m.-noon, learn to take a portion of your yard and make it a place to rest and observe nature. By creating a space to just be and not do, we also allow a connection with God and nature. It is through this divine connection that the creative power of the universe will bless us. Gardening is really learning how to co-create with love. A $10 donation is appreciated but not required.
On the evening of Sunday, Dec. 11, Unity Spiritual Center of Westlake will acknowledge and honor anyone who has ever experienced the loss of a beloved child, with The Compassionate Friends. This is a special event that happens once a year, locally and worldwide. The candlelit evening acknowledges grief, allows for tears, honors the lives of those lost but never forgotten, and opens the door to greater healing.
Around the globe, at 7 p.m. local time on Dec. 11, candles will be lit for one hour uniting families and friends to honor the memories of children, grandchildren, brothers and sisters who can no longer be hugged. Though they left too soon, they will never be forgotten. Their memories will be shared through love and understanding by hundreds of thousands across the globe.
St. Barnabas Episcopal Church in Bay Village is hosting a series of workshops on reflecting, learning and experiencing different ways to interact with God. Each program will focus on a different way to connect.
The next workshop, “Finding Common Ground Again," will be held Nov. 19, from 10 a.m. to noon. This workshop will offer a faith-based approach to dealing with disagreement, offering both practical strategies and theological underpinnings for the healing of relationships and the bridging of divides. Within a family or neighborhood, in the workplace, within our nation, we can have respectful, meaningful conversations that move our understanding forward and “turn down the heat” in conflicts.
"Let my heart be broken with the things that break the heart of God." These words by Bob Pierce, who in 1970 was president of Youth for Christ, were written after visiting children suffering in Korea. His mission for this organization was "to meet emergency needs in crisis areas through existing evangelical mission agencies and national churches." Since 1993 the leadership of Samaritan's Purse (Franklin Graham) have delivered more than 124 million gift-filled shoeboxes. There are 500,000 volunteers worldwide.
Today, some 46 years later, Operation Christmas Child continues to make a difference in the lives of children throughout the world. This year six unreached groups of people will be the recipients of shoeboxes filled with toys and other items for the first time along with shoeboxes being delivered to over 100 countries. There are so many millions of children in our world who have never received a gift of any kind, much less a shoebox filled with gifts.
Last month, Saint Raphael students in Bay Village participated in their second Rock the Challenge. Rock the Challenge (RTC) is a faith-filled day where the students learn a little more about themselves, and explore the needs of others and work together to provide for those less fortunate. This day is made possible by the help of many volunteers and donations, and special help from Fit Me Up and Coach Theo.
Coach Theo brings a challenging obstacle course and encourages the students to run it with intention. He stresses to the children to run it for someone they wish to lift up, such as a grandparent, parent, sibling or friend. It does not matter how fast or well you complete the course. What matters is that you try, especially in the name of others who can't.
Meditation has many forms, and many faces. It can be done for a few minutes, or hours. Some Indian gurus have been known to meditate for years in caves. Meditation can be done alone, or in groups.
There can be calming music, or no music at all. It can be done with prayer, or without. It can be guided by a lead, a minister, a master, or you can do it yourself. It can be done sitting in a Yoga posture with palms upward, or just sitting in a comfy chair. It can be done during Sunday church service, or in your own home. You can find it as a portion of some Yoga classes.
St. Barnabas Episcopal Church in Bay Village is hosting a series of workshops on reflecting, learning and experiencing different ways to interact with God. Each program will focus on a different way to connect. All are welcome.
The next workshop will be held Saturday, Oct, 8, 10 a.m.-2 p.m., titled "Adhering to the Holy through Collage." Collage means to paste, stick, connect, adhere. This workshop will explore several types of collage art-making processes. Engage in the actions of selecting and arranging colors, textures and images, then pasting these in pleasing ways as a visual vehicle for connecting with God.
The Knights of Columbus, Bishop A.J. Quinn Chapter, will host their first annual golf outing at Red Tail Golf Course in Avon on Monday, Sept. 26. The event will feature a shotgun start with box lunch, cocktails and dinner to follow golf. Proceeds will benefit the Alzheimer’s Association and the local Special Olympics office.
Charity has been the first principle of the Knights Of Columbus since the founding in 1882. Charitable activities and partnerships encompass an almost infinite variety of local, national and international projects including: Special Olympics, the Global Wheelchair Mission, Habitat for Humanity, Food for Families and Coats For Kids.
Are you aware of how you connect with God? Would you like to explore ways you can increase your connection? Join us at St. Barnabas Episcopal Church on the beautiful corner of Bradley and Wolf Roads in Bay Village to reflect, learn and experience different ways to interact with God. Each program will focus on a different way to connect. Attend one, or attend many! All are welcome. A suggested $10 donation ($20 for the Oct. 8 collage workshop) is appreciated but not required.
The next workshop will be held Saturday, Sept. 10, 10 a.m.-noon, titled "One Year of Walking the Labyrinth," to celebrate the one-year anniversary of the installation of our labyrinth. During this celebration, we will show you how to use the labyrinth as a tool for contemplative prayer and centering activity for our hearts, minds and souls. Following the walk, there will be a simple celebration in the parish hall.
How important is prayer to you? For Unity churches worldwide, World Day of Prayer is a sacred tradition, a 24-hour prayer vigil held annually on the second Thursday in September. Come celebrate the power, strength and energy of prayer with Unity Spiritual Center of Westlake's World Day of Prayer (WDOP) from Wednesday, Sept. 7, starting at 7 p.m., through Thursday, Sept. 8, 7 p.m.
Twenty-four straight hours of prayerful activities will be dedicated to the action, and non-action (meditation) of praying. You can join in for five minutes, or 24 hours. Design the time around your schedule, but be sure not to miss this sacred event.
Change is a big topic for our country these days. There are many famous quotes on change, and some of them fit well with New Thought philosophy and way of life. Mahatma Ghandi said, "Be the change you wish to see in the world." Norman Vincent Peale said, "Change your thoughts and you change your world."
Understanding plays a big role in the way we navigate through these volatile, political times. Understanding ourselves, and others is powerful because it expands itself into love and connectedness.
Were you raised Catholic but seldom come to church anymore? No matter how long you have been away and no matter the reason, this invitation for more peace, love and joy is for you. Our faith community misses you and is incomplete without you.
St. Ladislas Evangelization team wants to welcome you back home. There will be four evening sessions on Mondays from 7-8:30 p.m., Sept. 19, Sept. 26, Oct. 3 and Oct.10 in Cullen Hall. St. Ladislas Catholic Church is located at 2345 Bassett Road in Westlake.
Loss and grief are inevitable parts of our lives. How do we grieve the many forms of loss that life brings to us? Is there a right or a wrong way to grieve?
Tears are a common form of expression understood across cultures, particularly when a death occurs. For men, it is still somewhat unacceptable; a quick tear or two seems okay, but not outright sobbing.
Is there a correct length of time to express your grief? Wearing "widow's weeds" is a term for a mourning custom where the woman donned heavy, concealing, black clothing, and veils. Even today, in some countries such as Italy, Greece and Portugal, widows will wear black for the rest of their lives.
Christ Church Westshore, an Anglican church most recently worshipping at Bay Middle School, has moved to Avon Lake, sharing the building with Calvary Baptist Church at 32607 Electric Boulevard. The first service sharing the building was on June 12.
For now, the two congregations of two different denominations will share the building, with Calvary Baptist services remaining at 9 and 10:45 a.m. in the Worship Center on Sundays and Christ Church Westshore services being held in the Fellowship Room at 8, 9:30 and 11 a.m. Eventually, Calvary Baptist hopes to build a new church on land purchased several years ago by the congregation and located at Lear and Krebs roads in Avon Lake. Christ Church Westshore would then purchase the Electric Boulevard property.
Unity of Westlake always has something new to learn, a familiar concept to get a deeper understanding of, a night of family fun, or a way to help yourself or others. From senior lunches to yoga to anger management groups, the offerings are a veritable smorgasbord of education, spirituality and fun.
The cost - sometimes free, sometimes a heartfelt love offering, but always reasonable. Ongoing classes and workshops below are open to all.
Amma Sri Karunamayi has been described by many as the embodiment of love. She describes herself as our soul-mother who loves her Cleveland babies. She is here to uplift everyone, of all faiths, or no faith. Her purpose for being here is to give love. Her guidance for all is "love and serve."
Amma was born in India, but travels the world giving discourses on the fundamental truths that support all faiths. Her charity, SMVA Trust, has built two schools, whose students otherwise would be child laborers, and 32 water treatment plants, with more villages waiting for them. Her 21st annual tour of America began in March. She'll be in the U.S. for five months, giving individual blessings and group meditations, traveling from Los Angeles, to Dallas, to Cleveland.
Prayer is the cornerstone of the Unity philosophy, and a way of life. Children our are future. How do we teach children that they are spiritual, not just physical beings, living in a very physical world? How do we explain that the Divine Source is within, and follow up with how to go within? How do we reinforce that faith, hope, love and compassion are important, and can be practiced in everyday life? Not only is "how" a consideration, but what age is appropriate to instill these critical concepts?
Unity believes that their teachings can make a positive difference in the lives of children and families. Unity minister Rev. Jim Fisher created three guiding principles for the Youth Ministry that supports the healthy development of the spiritual and emotional lives of individuals. He gives insight into the particulars of how to accomplish these. Children who have participated in the Youth Education Program regularly will understand these principles; the first has to do with love.
Unlike the butterfly, who transforms itself from a caterpillar through a series of orderly and distinct steps, we humans have many choices for transformation. For spiritual transformation there is prayer, meditation and chanting. Alone or collectively they can prove to be powerful. For healing wounds of the past, psychotherapy can bring about transformation through introspection. For physical transformation one can implement change by eating lots of veggies, and participating in exercises such as lifting free-weights or yoga.
Simply transforming a gloomy mood can be a project of self-love. Enter a more blissful state by listening to your favorite brand of music, talking to supportive friends, or watching comical YouTube videos like "Baby Panda Sneezes."
The sign on the front lawn of Unity Spiritual Center displayed just two words: Christianity Evolved. Those two words sparked a lot of curiosity, started new conversations, and in general stretched people's cerebellum into new pathways. What exactly did the sign mean?
These two words lead us to the works of Ken Wilber. If you've never heard of Ken Wilber, author of the "Sex, Ecology, Spirituality: The Spirit of Evolution" and "Integral Psychology," he's worth knowing. He uses a quadrant to suggest the breadth of all human knowledge and experiences. His quadrant explains a comprehensive metatheory proposing that all forms of knowledge and disciplines are coherent. It's heady stuff that requires more research if you choose, but within the quadrant the interior and the exterior of the individual and the collective are the focus.
Please join St. Barnabas Episcopal Church on Saturday, March 19, from 1-3 p.m. for reflection, prayer and an interactive experience.
Come prepare for Palm Sunday and Holy Week by reflecting with us on Jesus’ journey to the cross. All are welcome, no exceptions. The interactive stations will engage all five senses. The pilgrimage will start in the Sanctuary, and is designed for you (and your family) to go at your own pace. Please dress comfortably for the weather as the final Stations will be outside in the prayer garden and in the labyrinth.
I find it fascinating that the cross is the symbol of the Christian faith. Crosses are everywhere in our culture. When you pause and think about it, a cross is an odd symbol. An execution tool would come to embody a movement of hope. Would you wear a tiny electric chair around your neck, or on a business card? I don’t think so, yet we do so with the cross.
Why is the cross the symbol of the Christian faith? The cross is where God forgave the world without lowering His standards. How could He do this? In a sentence: God put our sin on His Son and punished it there.
At a moment when the world is asking, “Can the religions get along?” one figure stands out as the shared ancestor of Jews, Christians and Muslims. One man holds the key to our deepest fears – and our possible reconciliation. Abraham.
Beginning on Feb. 21, three faith traditions will convene to discuss Abraham, the man at the heart of the world’s three monotheistic religions. Members of Beth Israel – The West Temple, Dover Congregational United Church of Christ, and The Islamic Center of Cleveland will meet on four consecutive Sunday evenings to learn what each sacred text says about Abraham and his role in their faith understanding.
Young Life, an international outreach to middle, high school and college-age students, is celebrating 75 years of impacting kids’ lives. Begun in 1941 in Gainesville, Texas, Young Life arrived in Cleveland’s Westshore communities in 1970 at the invitation of area churches and adults who loved kids and wanted each one to have a chance to consider the Christian faith in terms they could understand.
Young Life Cleveland invites area adults to join in the celebration of this milestone birthday at our annual fundraising banquet on Sunday, March 13, 5-8 p.m., at the newly opened Emerald Event Center in Avon.