Christian life is a pilgrimage or journey with God. It is a journey in which we grow closer in relationship with God, and with others. Walking the labyrinth is a way to pray with the body and invite the divine in conversation with the heart and soul. By walking the labyrinth we are fully engaging our minds, bodies and spirits simultaneously in contemplative prayer upon the movement along a defined path toward the center, and back again. We don’t know where the path will take us. We cannot see the twists and turns the future holds for us but the path always brings us to the center, God.
Faith & Spirituality
Westside Christian Academy will present Christian illusionist Brett A. Myers and his wife, Labrina, as part of the Westlake school's annual Family Strong Series. The event is free and the public is invited for a night of comedy, audience participation and sleight of hand for all ages.
This year’s event, themed ""Illusion & Truth," will be held on Saturday, Oct. 17, at 7 p.m. at Bay Presbyterian Church, 25415 Lake Road. Doors will open at 6:30 p.m. Attendees are asked to consider bringing a non-perishable food or toiletry item to donate to the Bay Food Ministry.
It may be tough to admit, but winter preparations are underway. Have you already noticed some sure signs all around you? Daylight hours are getting shorter, nights longer and chillier. Flip-flops have been relinquished to the back of the closet, knowing your toes will be in boots soon. Mums are being planted, while other flowers have come and gone, once flashing pretty colors, now browned out. With all of this activity going on around us, it is hard to ignore that significant change is happening!
When one bows their head, kneels, folds their hands, taking the universally known prayer position, we understand a prayer is about to be said. Some people take this pose only when they are steeped in desperation, in deep, dark trouble. Others, like the Franciscan Poor Clares or Tibetan Monks, strike the prayer pose continually, praying hours on end. Other people pray only on Sunday. Still others are somewhere in between, not praying as often as the Monks, but praying more than only in troubled times. Others simply close their eyes and listen.
The new church for St Raphael Parish will be dedicated as part of a special Mass on Saturday, Aug. 22, at 4:30 p.m. The Most Reverend Richard G. Lennon, Bishop of the Diocese of Cleveland, will preside and consecrate the church. Reverend Timothy W. Gareau, pastor, will concelebrate.
The new building is fan-shaped with a capacity of 1,100 and continues to front on Dover Center Road. The ceremonial entrance will be on the north side of the building. The stained glass windows, crucifix, tabernacle and main altar are from the old church and all of the remaining marble from the old church has been repurposed and incorporated into the new church. A chapel will hold about 75 people. A community room that accommodates functions for up to 200 people was also built.
A parishioner reflects on faith and family as St. Raphael's begins a new chapter
When I was 2 years old, my parents made the great migration from the east side of Cleveland to the west side of Cleveland. They bought a home across the street from the church. My father’s explanation for his choice: “So ‘you people’ won’t be late for church.” All his life, he called my mom, my brothers and me “you people.” Were we some distant nomadic tribe that he just happened to stumble on his youth? I never knew.
Life began in our new residence, centered around our church. My dad became an usher; my mom became the director of all the church’s Sunday evening potluck theatre productions, and coach of the football cheerleading squad. Our summer vacations centered around the annual weeklong carnival, where each one of us volunteered.
Our children are the future. The other half of the equation is the grown-up part, as adults, as parents and guardians, WE are the future as we guide, educate, vote, and make choices that will create what's ahead for our children with every word we utter, with every decision we make, with every law we consider and vote for or against.
Myrtle Fillmore (1845-1931), co-founder of the Unity Movement wrote, “Our mission is not to entertain children, but to call them out. To be always entertained is to be dwarfed and dependent. To be 'called out' is to follow the harmonious law of the soul's unfoldment."
Once upon a time there was a pew bench in a back room at Westlake's CrossPointe Community not being used. Lo and behold, one day an idea surfaced in the mind of Stephen Glover who spoke with Mary Ann Corrigan-Davis, president of St. Joseph Academy. Their conversation sparked a thought – what if the art department at St. Joseph made this a semester project?
Mrs. Corrigan-Davis took the idea to St. Joseph’s art department director Beth Pieban and art teacher Tammy Sparks. These ladies saw this as a unique opportunity for the Art Club to use their skills to serve the greater Christian community.
The initial phase of the "Bible on a Bench" project included a preliminary sketch submitted to the CrossPointe Leadership Team. We thought the artistic rendition was amazing.
We all live our lives one day at a time, each day folding into the next, like a train of cascading dominoes. No one lives their days in reverse, with their time moving backward instead of forward. As this is a given, the great question becomes how do we live our best lives. Some stumble through it, some complain their way through it, others sleepwalk through it, and still others choose to live their life making conscientious choices.
What is the secret to living well, to being more fully alive each moment with happiness, peace and success? Spiritual teachers guide us that practicing yoga and meditating will give us days that flower open with expanded awareness, leading us gently into our truest joy.
Once in a great while a movie comes along that is a must see. "Awake: The Life of Yogananda" is one such movie. It will be shown exclusively on Friday, Aug. 21, 7 p.m. at Unity Spiritual Center, located at 23855 Detroit Road in Westlake. Tickets are $8 if prepaid online before Aug. 18 at unityspiritualcenter.com, or $10 at the door.
Ever experience someone shaking their head in dismay and lamenting, "What is this world coming to?" Ever experience feelings of deep sadness, and helplessness after watching the news and hearing about the chaos in the world? It's hard to understand how man can be so cruel to his fellow man, sometimes it is unbearable. The chaos and the conflicts in this world may indeed feel overwhelming with no clear solutions in sight. From floods, to fires, to earthquakes, to tornadoes, to terrorism, to unemployment, to disease, the world presents us with situations that seem beyond our ability to control or even comprehend.
Be encouraged for there is something you can do. Join Westlake Prays, and be part of a community that comes together in the belief that prayer has the power to heal, to help, to mend. Every Thursday at 5:45 p.m., at one of five different churches in Westlake, people join together, lift their hearts and pray together. Service lasts 15 to 30 minutes, and includes prayer, scripture, songs and silence. The 5:45 start time was intentionally chosen so people could stop in on their way home from work, and still get home for supper.
What could be better than on a day when the rain drops are few, you decide to pack up your worries, leave your work until tomorrow, and resolve to take a walk in the park to enjoy nature? What's better is that you can do that close to home, not in a park, but at Unity Spiritual Center of Westlake, by walking their grand labyrinth located on four acres in a park-like natural setting. Say hello to deer, butterflies and a variety of trees and plants before you take that first step into the mouth of the labyrinth.
NOTE: The date of the "Aramaic Toning" workshop at Unity Spiritual Center was incorrectly listed in the print edition. The correct date, as reflected in the updated article below, is Sunday, June 21.
If the question was posed, what is the language of love, the answers may be widely diverse. Some may cite Cyrano de Bergerac's love letters on behalf of his friend, to the beautiful Roxanne in Rostand's play. Others may say love does not need a language at all, it's a feeling, a first sighting, inspired by Cupid's bow. The French believe perfume conveys states of being without language.
Some say the love language is Aramaic, the language Jesus spoke when he guided us, "Love one another." Others may add that Jesus grew up in a multilingual region, likely speaking Hebrew and Greek. Can we make a point, get an idea across, reach a higher state of consciousness without using language? Babies do it, our pets are practiced at it, great art does it, chanting "om" with Tibetan Monks does it.
Golfers and lunch attendees laughed and were inspired by insights derived from the legendary career of former Cleveland Browns head coach Sam Rutigliano during Westside Christian Academy’s annual benefit golf outing and luncheon on Monday, May 18, at Lakewood Country Club in Westlake.
Prior to Rutigliano’s introduction by WCA Headmaster Jim Whiteman, students made short presentations to help emphasize some features of a classical Christian education. The seventh- and eighth-grade girls choir sang followed by a group of three boys who recited from memory the entire twelfth chapter of the book of Romans in the Bible.
Christians have been walking labyrinths as a spiritual practice for hundreds of years. The use of labyrinths has waned at times, but has been growing in the United States over the last 50 years.
For the past three years the people at St. Barnabas Episcopal Church in Bay Village have had the dream that they would be able to build a labyrinth some day. In the summer of 2014, the church developed a Prayer Walk around the building, a white stone path for prayer and meditation. As that path was being completed, a stranger stopped by the church and asked if there was going to be a labyrinth and was told that there was a dream of a labyrinth, but that it would likely be several years before dream became a reality. A few days later the stranger returned with a generous donation and said, “Maybe ‘some day’ can come sooner than you thought.”
All are invited to join us at Unity of Westlake's first annual Nehemiah retreat/rebuild days.
One of the lesser-known Biblical figures, Nehemiah was a cupbearer to Persian King Artaxerxes I in the fifth century. Hearing about the damage to the entire city of Jerusalem, he wanted to do something about it. After getting permission from the King, knowing that people were his greatest resource, he enlisted and united the people and started to rebuild the walls of the Holy City.
We love to be a part of community. Whether we gather online through social media like Facebook, in clubs with similar interests, or in spiritual spaces, we all like to know we belong. Sometimes, though, the need to belong is so strong that we join communities that are not positive and healthy. Often a young adult will join a gang, for example, in order to belong somewhere. There is a desire to feel as though we are a part of something, and that something is not always the best community of which to be a part.
At Unity Spiritual Center of Westlake, we have been looking more deeply at what it means to build a community of light. A community of light would have a positive impact in our world. A community of light would generate creativity, compassion and generosity. A community of light would engage each one to share their unique gifts and talents to support the creation of a world that works for all!
What greater gift could an individual receive than the gift of inner peace, the quieting of the many voices of the inner critic? The thinking mind thinks, it is designed to do so. Why would it be important to calm the voices of the thinking mind? Our thinking, conscious mind is limited, and not where we will find the greatest brilliance we already possess.
To express our greatest brilliance we need to calm the inner critic's voices and connect with that radiant, brilliant, beautiful being that needs a peaceful mind to surface. So how do we calm our critic? Where did this critic come from anyway?
Actor, author and singer Charles Holt comes to Unity Spiritual Center of Westlake as our guest speaker on Sunday, May 3, for our 9 a.m. and 11 a.m. services.
In true theatrical style, his Sunday service is entitled, "On with the Show ... THIS is IT." Later that same afternoon, from 1-3:30 p.m., "Beyond Forgiveness" is a compelling workshop facilitated by Charles, with book signing. This workshop utilizes the idea of seven powers, such as the power of compassion, the power of release, and the power of you. It takes great courage to forgive, and to stop playing the blame/shame game, but this workshop will show you it's possible.
Mother Meera returns to Cleveland on Monday, April 20. She will be in Westlake, at Unity Spiritual Center giving Blessings/Darshans at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. Darshan is the bestowal of love, light and grace, given in complete silence. No long lectures or wordy sermons here. This sacred, silent program is free, but reservations are required.
It is not every day one is offered the opportunity to meet an Avatar. Mother Meera explains that as an Avatar, people of all faiths can receive help from her. Her power and her purpose are Divine, "to help humans, and to make them happy, peaceful, harmonious, contented and loving." She believes that "happiness and spiritual growth are connected." Who among us would say no to more happiness or contentment?
Lent is a time of preparation. For many, a time devoted to abstinence and fasting. To keep a good Lent, people give things up, like eating meat or candy, or going to the movies. Giving up something pleasurable is a form of fasting, which has a deep spiritual significance. I asked a friend why he fasted during Ramadan; he replied that the hunger pains are a reminder that others don't have a meal every day.
For a moment, imagine your world without vision. But first, define vision, is it your sight, objects you see with your eyes? Or is it your imagination, or your consciousness? Or a combination of all three?
Ever heard the expression, "Seeing the world through rose-colored glasses?" How about, "Seeing the glass half empty or half full?" Heard someone describe another as a "Pollyanna?" These expressions really refer to an attitude or an approach towards life, as opposed to things we see with our eyes. They refer to how we live our lives daily. How we live our lives is one of the most important decisions we will ever make, as it affects our families, our community and our planet.
A wedding, any way you slice it, is a BIG deal! Not just for the bride and groom, but also the parents, children in the case of a second or third marriage, siblings, friends, cousins, and exes. Even pets feel the difference when a new person is feeding them, or snuggled into that cozy spot that used to be theirs.
It's life changing, no doubt. So much to consider and prepare, where to have it, and when, who to invite, how to not invite certain people without offending, what to serve, how traditional the ceremony should be, where to honeymoon, how many bridesmaids, and the dress, oh my, yes, the dress!
If 2014 was rough, do you cringe and wonder if 2015 will be better or worse? Perhaps wishing the prosperity fairy would fly overhead, see that you have been really nice, and sprinkle you with lots of prosperity dust? Or, just hoping to see higher numbers in your bank account, or setting your sights on winning the lottery?
How is it that some people have so much, and others so little? If thoughts are things, does abundance have anything to do with your thinking? Is it true that you can think and grow rich, as Napoleon Hill wrote in 1937? Can you change your thinking to have more in your life?
Do you have family members or friends who have drifted away from the Catholic Church? Why not invite them to attend Catholics Coming Home at St. Raphael in Bay Village?
The seven-week series is for non-practicing Catholics seeking information about returning to the Church in a welcoming, non-judgmental atmosphere. Mark your calendars now for the Wednesdays from Feb. 11 to March 25, 2015, from 7-8:30 p.m. Pray about who might be waiting for your invitation! Feel free to accompany someone to the program if it would make them feel more comfortable.
Christmas is an invitation for closed hearts to open, for darkness to merge with radiant light, for given gifts to last a lifetime and beyond, for the heart to become the superstar, for the child within to become the triumphant King.
Unity Spiritual Center of Westlake will celebrate this Christmas in a threefold way: preparing for Christ's sacred birth with four Sundays of Advent, celebrating the sacred birth on Christmas Eve with a 7 p.m. Candlelighting Service, and releasing the old while maintaining the spirit of the sacred birth with a Burning Bowl/White Stone Service on Sunday, Dec. 28.
For parents at Westside Christian Academy's recent Family Strong Series event, Dr. George Barna gave them the bottom line within the first few minutes of his presentation.
He first laid out the crises faced by youth today in terms of morality, relationships, physical health and spirituality. He then stated the research which formed the basis of his book, "Revolutionary Parenting: Raising Your Kids to Become Spiritual Champions," indicated that “who you become depends on what happens in your heart and mind by age 13.”
"Blue Christmas" is the theme for the month of December at CrossPointe Community in Westlake. When the theme is shared, people look puzzled because that’s not the typical theme for the Christmas season. But the theme is one that many people experience including myself, the pastor at CrossPointe. How can it be?
I experienced the loss of my dad at age 8. My sister and I were raised by my mom. There was a lot of pain in my life as well as my sister's; too much to share in this article. Suffice to say life was full of lemons. Whether the loss of a parent, the challenge of divorce, lost friend, bullying, a parent who was there but wasn’t there ... there are numerous reasons for not really celebrating the season but feeling some measure of a Blue Christmas.
New York Times best-selling author Kevin Malarkey will be the guest speaker at CrossPointe Community, 1800 Columbia Road, at 10:30 a.m. on Sunday, Nov. 30. Malarkey’s message will draw from his recently-released book, "A Beautiful Defeat: Find True Freedom and Purpose in Total Surrender to God."
There is a gnawing inside all of us that tells us we can be better, that the fulfilling life we desire is within our reach if we just work a little harder. But the message of the cross is different. Jesus died to reconcile us to God so we can die to ourselves and live in total surrender.
Feeling grateful is like other feelings in many ways, but different in that it is one of those feelings, like happiness, that we can choose. With that in mind, I wondered what my friends were feeling grateful for this holiday season. I was surprised to find what creates this uplifting feeling in the hearts of many.
My friend Terri shared that she is grateful her son is growing and thriving in his first semester at college. My friend Ted said he is grateful for an economic resurgence, fueled by a new confidence in NE Ohio. Working in the medical profession, he added his gratefulness that there has been no "major" disease outbreak here in the U.S. My pal Bruce is happy and grateful to be a dad, and that his children and grandchildren, far and near, can celebrate the holidays in the same location.
Before the frenzy of holiday shopping gets the best of you, give the best to yourself – the gift of wellness. Centered Wellness invites you to a Wellness Fair that has many gifts in store for you, from a 17-foot meditative pyramid to a blonde songbird who sings to your heart. Mark your calendar for Saturday, Nov. 15, 10 a.m.-5 p.m., at Unity Spiritual Center, 23855 Detroit Road, Westlake. The admission fee of $5 allows you to stay the whole day; or take the 9 a.m. Kundalini yoga/meditation class and get into the fair free! For $1 off admission, bring a canned good for donation to the Westlake Food Bank.
The sound of a thousand crickets chirping their evening song. The incessant bark of a bossy chihuahua over your backyard fence as you stroll on the grass. The voice of Andrea Bocelli as he sings sweetly to you in a language you don't care if you understand. The howl of a distant wolf as you gaze up at an October full moon. Some sounds seem to sound good, others not so much. Some induce feelings of calm, others, like your alarm, impel you into action.
Some sounds are good for your body, mind, and soul to hear. Some sounds have the ability to amplify the healing process. What are these sounds, where do they come from, why do they work?
After a nearly yearlong search, Unity Spiritual Center welcomes a new senior minister, Reverend Joanne Rowden, on Sunday, Nov. 2. Rev. Rowden is the seventh minister of Westlake's Unity church since it was incorporated in 1964, the previous minister having retired after 17 years in December. Just west of the intersection of Clague and Detroit, Unity Spiritual Center has a six-acre campus with a large outdoor walking labyrinth, a congregation of more than 400, and offers a variety of spiritual and cultural classes and events, as well as Sunday services at 9 and 11 a.m.
STRESS! It can happen to all of us, and it can happen through many different triggers. For example, too much to do and not enough time, kids that won't listen, money that won't stretch far enough, not enough sleep before tomorrow's big meeting, hectic holidays looming ahead, pets not using the litter box.
Maybe it's time to seriously de-stress. Look your stress straight in the eye and say, "Boy have I got something for you!" There's no magic button here, but endorphins come pretty close. In the language of biochemistry, endorphins are peptides produced by the pituitary gland, and the nervous system. They awaken your body's opiate receptors, creating an analgesic effect. When you exercise your body releases them.
A high-energy drum circle and a fall program focusing on the modern spiritual classic, "The Untethered Soul," highlight an exciting next few weeks at Unity Spiritual Center. If you’ve had thoughts of checking out Unity, now is the perfect time to find out what we’re all about.
First up is the Autumn Equinox Celebration, Potluck and Drumming Circle. This fun-filled family event will be held Saturday, Sept. 20, from 6-8:30 p.m. on Unity’s campus at 23855 Detroit Road in Westlake. The evening begins with a fall harvest ceremony around the fire. Next we share a delicious potluck, followed by a community drum fun circle led by Corky & Barb. Bring a dish for the potluck, as well as any drums or rattles you might have. Corky & Barb, however, will provide many instruments for the drumless.
St. Ladislas Parish on Bassett Road in Westlake celebrated its 40th anniversary this year with a variety of special service and community events including: family dinners at Ames Family Hospice, special donations to area community centers, parish dinner dance, Cleveland Art Museum tour and program, community service projects in Westlake Schools, Parish Art Fest, Celebration of Marriage, pancake breakfast, ice cream social, video programs on Catholicism, anniversary year fundraiser, Arlington Cemetery program, and ending with an Anniversary Mass and Parish picnic on Aug. 17.
The picnic reflected the ethnic origins of the original St. Ladislas parish in Cleveland’s Slavic Village. Stuffed cabbage, pierogies and brats were added to the typical picnic foods. Entertainment included a DJ, accordion player, line dancing, caricaturist, magician, games for young and old, pie baking contest, and culminating in the Ice Bucket Challenge for ALS.
How long would it take to light a candle for an intention dear to your heart? How long to find yourself stepping away from the hustle and the bustle, the to-do lists, the "I've got to get this done today" mindset? Maybe five minutes? Yet ... a lot can be accomplished in five minutes.
Sept. 11, 2014, World Day of Prayer, is set apart from others as a day of prayer, reflection, connection, and inner and outer peace. A day that new harmony fills the earth to wash away previous discord. In the Unity movement, it is a dedicated day of reflection, sitting in the serenity of silence, removing the barriers that surround your heart to connect with the glow of a candle, or the stranger next to you. This years' theme is "Let your light shine."
My recent trip to South Dakota was meant to be for a motorcycle rally in Sturgis, but the actual experience was quite different.
I arrived in Sturgis on a Sunday and the first ride I took was through Spearfish Canyon. The best way for me to describe it is, the Cleveland Metroparks on steroids. Sheer cliff walls, a stream running alongside the road, a waterfall, viewpoints to pull onto and the long wide curves made for a relaxing ride. When I finished, I felt as if I had been to church and heard a really great homily.
Sometimes important things get away from us – like our faith. Have you been too busy, unable to answer questions about your faith, or looking for an opportunity to explore your Catholic faith? If so, "Awakening Faith" may be just right for you.
This six-session series included topics such as: "Spirituality, What's the Buzz?", "Can I Accept God's Mercy?", "Can the Mass Make My Life Meaningful?", and "The Church and Me." You can learn and ask questions ... all in a friendly and confidential setting with other Catholics.
A didjeridoo –"What's that?" you might ask. A didjeridoo is much more than a fun word to say. It is classified as an Australian Aboriginal wind instrument, more similar to a trumpet than a flute. Its shape takes the look of a long wooden tube, and most measure from three to 10 feet long. No two sound exactly alike. The longer the tube, the lower the pitch or tone. It has been said that both the player and the listener can experience a powerful trance from the sounds it produces.
A business structure based on collaboration instead of competition, could it possibly work?
Mary Maynard, founder of Centered Wellness, believes it will, and has seen it in effect since creating this collaborative affiliation in 2010. While many businesses today, such as banking and professional sports, use a deconstructive process, Mary is drawn to the constructive process. As a nurse seeing firsthand how the human body can break down, she also participated in the many ways the body could be built back up. Through the process of seeing that mainstream medicine does not have all the answers, she enlarged her vision and views the human body as indicative of today's weary culture.