Faith & Spirituality

Unity Spiritual Center candle-lighting service to help bereaved families remember lost children

Candles will glow on Sunday, Dec. 9, when tens of thousands of bereaved parents, siblings, grandparents, relatives and friends around the globe join together to light remembrance candles to honor the memories of children who have died but will never be forgotten.

Unity Spiritual Center Westlake will offer its fourth annual service of remembrance and healing during the holiday season for those who lost a loved one too soon. The service will begin at 6:00 p.m. and will continue to 8:00 p.m. with candle lighting at 7:00 p.m. This service will be free and open to all regardless of faith or no faith background. An indoor labyrinth walk will be available after the service.

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Volume 10, Issue 22, Posted 9:34 AM, 11.20.2018

Best-selling author Neale Donald Walsch comes to Westlake

Each fall, Unity Spiritual Center Westlake holds a fall program in which the entire community studies a spiritual book for a period of seven weeks. This year, the community is reading Neale Donald Walsch's book, "What God Said."

Neale Donald Walsch is the author of the "Conversations with God" series of books, seven of which have made the New York Times bestseller list. Neale has written 29 books on spirituality and its practical application in everyday life. "What God Said" is based on the 25 core messages from the "Conversations with God" series.

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Volume 10, Issue 21, Posted 9:59 AM, 11.06.2018

Regina Brett to speak at Dover UCC

Regina Brett, New York Times best-selling author and former columnist for The Plain Dealer, will speak at Dover Congregational United Church of Christ on Saturday, Oct. 13, at 9 a.m. Brett will be speaking on “Finding Miracles in the Mess and Madness of Life” as part of the Westside United Church of Christ Theological Forum.

“Too often we look for God in the holiness, in the rainbow and unicorn moments,” Brett said, “but God is often found in the holes of life, in the messy, broken parts.”

Brett will speak about how we all have that power to have our souls magnify the God and the good in all things, even in the messes and mistakes around us.

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Volume 10, Issue 19, Posted 9:56 AM, 10.02.2018

St. Barnabas, Bethesda to hold joint animal blessing

An old priest once jokingly told me that if you really want to know who your best friend is, that you should lock your dog and your spouse in the trunk of your car, then leave them both there for about an hour. When you open the trunk, only one of them will be happy to see you! Then you’ll truly know who man’s best friend is.

Our pets bring tremendous joy to our lives and have many lessons to teach us about loyalty, friendship and unconditional love. That’s why the Church blesses and celebrates our companion animals each year around St. Francis Day.

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Volume 10, Issue 19, Posted 9:54 AM, 10.02.2018

Dover UCC celebrates by 'Following in the Footsteps'

On Sept. 23, Dover Congregational United Church of Christ celebrated all of the members who have worshipped at the church for 50 years or more. In addition, they also honored all members who were 90 years old or older. There were 40 people in all – 23 who are in the 50 years or more club and 17 who are at least 90 years old. Three members actually fall into both groups. The celebration was termed "Following in the Footsteps" – an appropriate theme seeing as Dover UCC is the oldest church in Westlake.

The entire program was organized by Lyn Kohler, Martha Vivona and Sharron Wilkins. They wanted to acknowledge where the church has come from and recognize those who have contributed to making Dover UCC the church it is today.

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Volume 10, Issue 19, Posted 9:49 AM, 10.02.2018

Classical pop music duo offers unique entertainment at Unity

Unity Spiritual Center will welcome Armand and Angelina, international performing artists and classical pop music duo. Armand and Angelina will provide three opportunities to be uplifted by their beautiful music and inspirational stories.

On Sunday, Sept. 23, at 9:00 and 11:00 a.m., Armand and Angelina will bring their unique musical and story-telling talents to lead USC’s Sunday services with a talk entitled “An Attitude of Gratitude.” You will learn how to infuse your daily prayer with the addition of Affirmative Prayer, as well as learning how to include gratitude and the Law of Attraction in your spiritual practice.

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Volume 10, Issue 18, Posted 10:05 AM, 09.18.2018

Ushering in the Jewish New Year

You've heard of roving reporters. Even roving fibers. But roving rabbis?

Well, now you did.

A program initiated by the Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem Schneerson, 70 years ago pairs up two young rabbinical students and sends them out to remote communities around the world. Their aim is to seek out the members of smaller Jewish communities; or for that matter, Jews in places where no Jewish community even exists.

This summer, our community here in Westlake was fortunate to have been visited by two learned rabbinical students who gave up their summer break to offer Jewish teaching and inspiration to our locals.

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Volume 10, Issue 17, Posted 9:12 AM, 09.05.2018

Unity Spiritual Center celebrates the power of prayer

The Unity movement was founded on prayer. Myrtle Fillmore, founder of Unity, discovered the healing power of affirmative prayer when she healed her body of "tuberculosis" after being given just six months to live. It took two years, but as Myrtle affirmed the Truth, "I am a child of God and as such do not inherit sickness"; she recovered to live another 40 years! 

As a result of her healing, people around the country wrote to Myrtle for healing prayer. Two years later, she and her husband, Charles, organized a prayer group that would later be known as Silent Unity. Silent Unity continues today to be the light of prayer for people around the world. As a 24-hour-a-day, 7-day-a-week prayer ministry, Silent Unity has been serving people of all faith traditions for over 100 years.

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Volume 10, Issue 17, Posted 9:13 AM, 09.05.2018

St. Barnabas welcomes a new priest

The Rev. Alexander D. Martin is joining St. Barnabas Episcopal Church in Bay Village as Priest in Charge. He is currently the associate rector at St. Timothy's Episcopal Church in Anderson Township (suburban Cincinnati) of the Southern Diocese of Ohio.

Fr. Alex started at St. Barnabas on Aug. 20. His first Sunday service will be on Aug. 26 at 10 a.m. at the church, 468 Bradley Road. All are invited and encouraged to attend the welcome party hosted after the church service.

Fr. Alex is known for his pastoral care, gifted preaching and passion for leading liturgical worship.

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Volume 10, Issue 16, Posted 8:50 AM, 08.21.2018

Mission Accomplished: Bay UMC volunteers help rebuild Virginia homes

When it comes to mission work, “check your motivation.” Almost 70 youth and adult volunteers from the Bay United Methodist Church community took this admonition to heart as they travelled to Wise County, Virginia, with Appalachian Service Project (ASP). While sometimes mission work starts as a checkmark on a college application or a “look at me” post on Instagram, typically those who serve find that in the end, they do not know who was blessed more, those served or those who serve.

From June 10-16, 23 adults and 47 youth from Bay United Methodist Church and the surrounding community hopped into 10 vans to spend a week in the mountains of Virginia. Partly due to the closing of several mines and the lack of industry to replace them, 61 percent of Wise County families are near or below the poverty level and over 28.5 percent of those are disabled.

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Volume 10, Issue 15, Posted 9:53 AM, 08.07.2018

Dover UCC brings peace to Westlake

Once again, Dover Congregational United Church of Christ held its Peace Village Day Camp the week of July 16 on the grounds of the church on Dover Center Road in Westlake. The children who attended the camp were from a variety of communities in the area who all had differing faith traditions or perhaps no faith traditions at all. The universal concept of peace is one that transcends all belief systems.   

The children, who ranged in age from 6-15 years old, spent the mornings going to different stations to learn about the four main concepts of peace: Peace within Self, Peace with Others, Peace in our Culture and Peace with the Planet. They made projects, learned new songs, and put into action ways to demonstrate peace.

The afternoons were focused on community service. The older children went off-site for various projects: They went to Community Cares in North Ridgeville to do some landscaping. In addition, they worked at Med Wish, made no-sew blankets for sick children at Rainbow Babies and Children’s Hospital and created cat and dog toys for the ASPCA in Parma.

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Volume 10, Issue 15, Posted 9:50 AM, 08.07.2018

Dover Congregational celebrates 10 years of being 'open and affirming'

Dover Congregational United Church of Christ in Westlake will celebrate its 10-year anniversary as an “Open and Affirming” congregation on Sunday, June 24, at 7 p.m. in Thomas Hall. A round-table format will explore the history of the church’s decision to celebrate the human family together without fear or exclusion.

In 2005, the church responded to the charge from the 25th General Synod to support equal marriage rights for all. The church council agreed to the two-year ONA discernment process advocated by the United Church of Christ National Office.

A task force was formed in July 2006, led by Bill Wilkins, who died this past year, and Martha Vivona, the church’s current lay leader. “Over the next 18 months, we offered 15 different programs attended by most of our congregation,” said Vivona. The discussion topics included working on a definition of what “welcoming” really means.

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Volume 10, Issue 12, Posted 9:29 AM, 06.19.2018

What you can do to make a difference

Have you ever watched the evening news, and turned it off in frustration, anger, even disgust? Do the shootings and the drug crisis really turn your stomach, yet leave you feeling helpless and hopeless? Should you leave it to the police and the medical professionals, shrug your shoulders, and say there is nothing one person like yourself can do? Do the words of your parents or grandparents echo in your ears, "What is this world coming to?" 

Whether one person can really make a difference depends on the person and their choices. Unity Spiritual Center Westlake knows how important action is, and how knowledge plus action can change the world.

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Volume 10, Issue 11, Posted 9:59 AM, 06.05.2018

Parkside Church celebrates 50th anniversary

Westlake Parkside Church of the Nazarene located at 23600 Hilliard Blvd. will celebrate its 50th anniversary at this location. Pastor Stephen Zirkle, former and current members, and special guests will be celebrating this anniversary during the morning worship service at 10:00 a.m. on Sunday, May 20, followed by a fellowship luncheon.

The former Lakewood Church of the Nazarene (1932-1968) moved to this location in 1968 under the leadership of Reverend P.W. Kizzee, who pastored the church from 1961-1999. His pastorate was followed by Reverend Richard Gatlin (1999-2005) and Reverend Troy Durkovic (2005-2009). Pastor Stephen Zirkle is the current pastor since 2010.

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Volume 10, Issue 10, Posted 9:35 AM, 05.15.2018

Unity offers workshops to empower your life

Take a moment to breathe in deep, and just ... imagine. Take a journey away from your everyday "to do" list, and travel inside that marvelous gift of your own unique imagination. Did you imagine your life quantitatively in terms of less and more? Did you see yourself inside your imagination bubble with less stress? More money? Happy and healthier relationships?

If you turned these imaginings into goals, what might be holding you back from experiencing them as part of your reality? Is it a fear that these things could never come true for you? Are you living much of your life in a fearful state of mind? Some of our everyday self beliefs keep us in a limited shell of existence. Tapping into our imagination is much more than idle folly, it could be the way to your newfound freedom. As motivational speaker Les Brown said, "Too many of us are not living our dreams because we are living our fears." Do your dreams feel like they've drifted far far away?

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Volume 10, Issue 10, Posted 9:32 AM, 05.15.2018

Identity Shift

Identity: Who you are, the sum of your thoughts, words, actions, and attitudes, how people perceive you, even the photo and the stats on your driver's license describe your identity. Only you can be you, better than anyone else can. Some may try to steal it from you, and use it for their gain, but can your essence really ever leave you?

Shift: a change, an about-face, a rearrangement, doing something differently, perhaps finding a new you because you are ready. The unspoken requirement, the necessity here, for starters, is a solid core of self-love. Father Richard Rohr in "Thisness," quoting Alan Wolter, the Franciscan theologian and philosopher, states, "Part of our vocation is to appreciate ourselves as the pearl of great price – because God does."

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Volume 10, Issue 7, Posted 9:33 AM, 04.03.2018

St. Raphael offers small-group retreats

Father Michael Gaitley, MIC visited St. Raphael Parish on March 10 and moved our hearts with the urgent message of mercy for our time. Now is the time to listen to the message of God’s merciful love.

Fr. Gaitley, a member of the Marian Fathers of the Immaculate Conception who lives and works at the Shrine of the Divine Mercy in Stockbridge, Massachusetts, is an international speaker and best-selling author of several retreat books beginning with "33 Days to Morning Glory." Fr. Gaitley’s books form the core of a series of lay-directed retreats that introduce the participants to the role of Mary in our lives, what it takes to become a saint, how we can console Jesus, what we can learn about the trinity, and the saving graces of Christ's Divine Mercy.

He shows us that in just 33 days, the love and mercy of Jesus can set our hearts on fire. In 33 days the Holy Spirit can enter more fully into our lives. This all happens through the gentle and guiding hands of Mary. "33 Days to Morning Glory" has been described as “the surest, easiest, shortest, and most perfect way” to becoming a saint.

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Volume 10, Issue 7, Posted 9:39 AM, 04.03.2018

'Kosher for Passover' products available at Rocky River Heinen's

With the Jewish community growing in Cleveland's western suburbs, the Chabad Jewish center in Westlake arranged a convenience of popular demand: a fully stocked "Kosher for Passover" section at the Rocky River Heinen's!

Kicking off the milestone on March 13, members of the local Jewish community gathered to toast one another and taste fine wines and chocolates. The fresh and dry products will be available until the holiday of Passover, which occurs this year on eve of March 30.

Traditionally, Jewish people refrain from eating leavened products for the eight days of Passover, reminding us of the haste in which we left Egypt 3,330 years ago, when the dough of our ancestors did not have time to rise. Instead, we eat the unleavened cakes known as "matzahs" and celebrate with a special "seder" dinner.

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Volume 10, Issue 6, Posted 10:15 AM, 03.20.2018

Experience Good Friday in your own way

You've heard it said or sung, "Do your own thing," or "Have it your way." Even Frank Sinatra melted many hearts when he sang, "I did it my way." Can this guidance be rightly applied to things of a spiritual nature? With Good Friday approaching, Unity Spiritual Center Westlake has an open-minded, open-hearted approach to the ancient tradition of the Stations of the Cross. 

Why the Stations of the Cross, and where did this practice originate from? After the crucifixion, the disciples of Jesus would consistently tell the story of the walk to the cross, explaining the physical sites and events that took place at each particular location. The story of death and resurrection was told over and over again to pilgrims who came from all over to see the sites where Jesus had been. Walking the sites and contemplating the events became a vital part of pilgrimages to the Holy Land.

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Volume 10, Issue 6, Posted 10:12 AM, 03.20.2018

Catholics Coming Home

St. Raphael Church in Bay Village, will conduct a series called "Catholics Coming Home" on seven Wednesday evenings, April 11 through May 23, 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.

One former participant of the program stated, “The sessions provided a sense of community with the other participants as well as with the team leaders making me realize how much I had missed that sense of community.” Join us and reconnect with our Catholic community.

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Volume 10, Issue 6, Posted 10:16 AM, 03.20.2018

Celebrate spring equinox with labyrinth walk

There are many things, I will call them circumstances, that keep us feeling, perhaps believing, that we are separate and very different from our fellow man. Some would point out the "generation gap," emphasizing age as a factor that makes us so different from other human beings.

For example, those that are so much younger than us, don't they just seem, well ... so darn young?! Then, there are those who would point out the color of skin, and isolate themselves away from those of a different race.

Would you talk to a homeless person, or judge their circumstances as too different from yours? At work, do you feel it is only worthwhile to converse with those who can help you get ahead?

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Volume 10, Issue 5, Posted 9:26 AM, 03.06.2018

Rooted in peace

Who among us can truthfully make the statement, "I don't need any more peace in my life, I have enough"? Such an important possession, yet so little of it to go around. The message of peace comes on strong at Christmas time, blankets us in its stillness, then often melts like the snow. 

Some will tell us that inner peace is very possible, even as the world is in turmoil. This valuable prize of peace can bring along with it clarity, calm, confidence and carry us towards the path of successful living. Living life successfully is no easy task, so it seems we would wisely seek out peace wherever it is offered. Some find it in nature, as they trust the wind to blow through the trees, and surround them in fall's leaves.

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Volume 10, Issue 3, Posted 9:55 AM, 02.06.2018

Find your path to prosperity

Hurrah. It's a new year, and a few days ago, a new moon. Think about two words for your life plan, sustainability and prosperity. What do you think of when these two words circulate your cortex? Money? Many would answer so. What if money is only part of the answer, only a small slice of this sweet pie? Would you eat just one slice of your pie and throw the rest away? That's what it's like when you think of prosperity as money only. 

Thinking and acting differently in regards to your perspective on prosperity will take time. Change takes time. The fullness, the completeness of what prosperity is, and can be, will take time to learn and blend into your every day living. Do you really know something if you know it half way? Do you really understand something, or someone, if you have just scratched the surface?

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Volume 10, Issue 2, Posted 9:17 AM, 01.23.2018

Understanding your power, superhero style

Action figures! Superheroes, Thor, The Incredible Hulk, Captain America, Wonder Woman ... from mythology to modern fiction, why do they captivate and fascinate us so? Why are millions spent in the movie industry to watch them pummel the bad guys, the super villains, and fight evil at large? What makes us "ooh" and "ahh," and marvel at these marvelous super-human beings? Do we secretly wish we had more power, and if possessing it, would make the world a better place?

Well, don't sell yourself short too quickly, for the force, the real power is within you. We tend to look far and wide for power, looking outside of ourselves, even at the big screen, instead of looking closer to home, reminiscent of Dorothy's journey which took her so far away from Kansas.

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Volume 10, Issue 1, Posted 9:32 AM, 01.09.2018

Walking the season at Unity

Why do people walk labyrinths? More to the point, why do people walk labyrinths at certain times of the year? And what is a labyrinth anyway? From its shape, it looks like a puzzle, or a maze. Are there actual benefits to labyrinth walks, or is it just walking in  circles? 

It may help to define it, and look at the history of labyrinths, which take us back 4,500 years ago to some of the earliest discovered constructed labyrinths of ancient Egypt. A labyrinth is unicursal, meaning it has only one entrance, goes in one direction, and has a heart center.

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Volume 9, Issue 24, Posted 9:56 AM, 12.19.2017

Giant menorah to light up Crocker Park

For the third year in a row, locals of Cleveland's western suburbs will enjoy Hanukkah celebrated in style with a giant menorah lighting and grand Hanukkah party at Westlake's Crocker Park.

With crowds growing from year to year, a new venue will be hosting this year – the new Market Square at Crocker Park. Attendees will enjoy great music, traditional Hanukkah treats, and lots of games and crafts, including a moon bounce, air hockey and much more.

For more than 2,000 years, the menorah has symbolized the triumph of light over darkness and spirit of religious freedom towering over oppression. In recent years, giant menorahs have sprung up all over the United States and around the world, bringing the timeless message of light and freedom to people everywhere.

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Volume 9, Issue 23, Posted 10:33 AM, 12.05.2017

Compassionate friends at Unity

What comes to mind, what song plays on your heart strings when you hear the word "loss"? Does your mind go blank? Or does a list of names of those you've lost rise up?

Have you lost a loved one, or know someone who has this year? Is the one you've lost a mother, daughter, child, brother, a dear friend, close cousin, husband, mentor, or beloved pet? Do tears still fall, and your heart still ache as you think of this beautiful one? Did they leave a crater in your soul that has left you feeling numb, or lonely or depressed?

No matter who you've lost, how they died, or when they passed, the combination of love and loss needs special care and compassion. Losing a loved one needs honoring the feelings you feel after experiencing the loss of someone you have cared for deeply with a true heart.

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Volume 9, Issue 23, Posted 10:34 AM, 12.05.2017

Unity activity uses cardboard squares to transform problems into solutions

Who would have thought that a piece of cardboard with a word or phrase written on it could mean so much? Turns out, at Unity Spiritual Center of Westlake, there is a great deal of meaning, insight, enlightenment and emotion poured into this cardboard experience, for both the observer and the participant. 

With strong encouragement from Rev. Joanne Rowden, usually 40 people participate in "Cardboard Testimonies," and this, the third year, could be more dynamic  than ever. The format is simple. On one side of the cardboard is written a problem the person is experiencing, on the other side is written the solution. Problem – solution, easy ... well, maybe not that easy.

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Volume 9, Issue 22, Posted 9:55 AM, 11.21.2017

The talking parking lot

Tap, tap, tap go the sound of my feet, as I walk out of Unity Spiritual Center Westlake after Sunday Service. As my feet hit the newly poured asphalt, I am impressed by how smooth, black and finely lined it is. Then there "they" are – bright, white, and one on each parking space. 

The words, so white, so bright, and painted just right. The power of words, such as Joy, Hello, Elimination, Forgiveness and more are under my feet. They are painted in white on each parking space, the brainchild of longtime congregant Ted Brewer, stenciled neatly on each space by Ted, Carl Collins and James Van Hala.

Why words on parking spaces? I wondered that myself, as I'd never seen a parking lot like this. The "Pave It Foward" Project, named so by Deb Larsen, has a definite function of providing additional parking, especially for Sunday services. It could have stopped there, but words have power, and positive, affirming words even more so. Words can become thoughts, and thoughts can become positive actions.

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Volume 9, Issue 20, Posted 9:48 AM, 10.17.2017

St. Raphael rocks the challenge!

On Sept. 13, St. Raphael School truly "rocked the challenge"! Rock the Challenge (RTC) is a day where the students run a faith-filled obstacle course and celebrate their beliefs through service and prayer.

Every moment of the day truly exemplified the 2017 school theme: "Be Kind. Be Giving. Be Holy."

The kids started the day learning that “It starts with Me and It starts with Prayer.” From there, kindness and generosity extends to our family, friends, school, community and even across the globe!

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Volume 9, Issue 19, Posted 10:13 AM, 10.03.2017

At Unity, a day dedicated to prayer

We have a day dedicated to St. Patrick, to good ole St. Nick, even a day for administrative assistants, and the one I saw most recently was a day for redheads. There are still a lot of "untaken" days in the year; Unity has chosen Thursday, Sept. 14, as World Day of Prayer, with 24 hours devoted to the sacredness of prayer. Not just for redheads or admins, but for all faiths; this is a day to honor your prayers, to honor you, and the personal and detailed intentions that are woven into your heart.

The theme of this beautiful day is "Peace in the Midst," with many interactive, sacred activities both at Unity headquarters in Missouri, and here at Unity Spiritual Center in Westlake. There are many activities and paths to choose from, all created to strengthen your spirit, and connect you to the Divine.

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Volume 9, Issue 17, Posted 9:38 AM, 09.06.2017

Two centuries on, Westlake's first church continues to grow

In the spring of 1811 a small group of members of a church in Lee, Massachusetts, received permission from their church to travel to Dover Township (which is now Westlake, Bay Village and part of North Olmsted) to establish the first church in the area.

There was no church building so they met in homes and barns until a small log cabin school house was built and they were given permission to hold their Sunday Services there. The first church was built in 1822 and was the first church in the township. After six new buildings and an addition we arrive at our current building on Dover Center Road.

Dover Congregational United Church of Christ is an open and affirming church under the direction and ministries of Rev. R. Keith Stuart. We continue to grow, adding 10 to 12 new members every quarter.

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Volume 9, Issue 17, Posted 9:38 AM, 09.06.2017

Unity program helps to tame 'the shadow'

Have you ever tried boxing with your own shadow? Or called it a few choice names because it wouldn't stop following you around? Some psychiatrists consider the shadow the dark side of human nature. Our beautiful country has seen a rise in violence, mass shootings in public places and suicides – results of the dark side, or shadow.

Unity Spiritual Center of Westlake is pleased to present a transformational program designed to bring deep peace and healing. Who among us couldn't use less stress and more peace in our lives? Dr. Shariff Abdullah's 12-week program, Shadow to Light, or S2L, will be held Tuesdays, Aug. 29 through Nov. 21, from 7-9 p.m.

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Volume 9, Issue 16, Posted 10:06 AM, 08.15.2017

Dover UCC to host faith-based discussion on climate change

Dover Congregational United Church of Christ, located at 2239 Dover Center Road in Westlake, is continuing its series of monthly Sacred Conversations on Sunday, July 9, at 7:00 pm. Guest speaker Dr. Brooks Berndt, UCC Minister for Environmental Justice, will lead a discussion regarding climate change from the perspective of being stewards of God’s creation. He will be suggesting what churches can do to be Creation Justice Churches.

Dover UCC’s monthly Sacred Conversations was inaugurated to address current issues from the perspective of Dover UCC’s vision – to seek justice, love kindness and walk humbly with God. All are welcome to attend.

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Volume 9, Issue 13, Posted 9:32 AM, 07.05.2017

Hope in the midst of the heroin epidemic

The heroin epidemic in Northeast Ohio is devastating. Families are being ripped apart; grief and overdose deaths are front page news. But there is also hope, and transformational stories being written in the lives of young men and women. I feel compelled to share some of these stories.

Ten years ago, Linda (who has since died from a minor scrape of her toe, thus I use her name) came to us at CrossPointe Community Church in Westlake wanting out of a drug and prostitution lifestyle. After being encouraged to post Bible scriptures on index cards on her bathroom mirror, and after two-plus years of sobriety, Linda was transformed. She became our CrossPointe Community official greeter. Years passed. I visited her before she moved to Florida. I looked in the bathroom and there I saw not only the mirror, but also the wall surrounding it, covered in index cards.

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Volume 9, Issue 12, Posted 9:25 AM, 06.20.2017

Growing into diversity

We've all become more familiar with the term diversity lately, as well as its meaning. We "get" that it can apply to cultures, lifestyles, business, even ideas and constructs.

Even so, our lives may still be relatively homogeneous, through no fault of our own. We may still live in the same neighborhood or town in which we grew up. Perhaps the neighborhood hasn't changed much; maybe the Millers still live next door and the same cashier works at the local gas station. 

So how do we insert diversity into our very own lives? How do we embrace it, experience it and practice it? Local is great, home-grown is delish, and the Millers are nice, but let's weave some diversity into the mix.

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Volume 9, Issue 11, Posted 10:14 AM, 06.06.2017

Unity responds to human trafficking

You've heard this recommendation for living your best life, and will likely hear it again: "Be part of the solution." To be part of the solution, one must be aware of, recognize and understand the problem. It may be that you are experiencing the problem yourself, or it has rooted itself within your family, or you have given your time to learn about "the problem" at depth.

Although this problem may not be affecting you directly, it is the second largest criminal industry in the world, and sadly, is on the rise. It yields the criminals in this illicit, highly organized industry approximately $32 billion to $150 billion per year. Almost every country around the world is affected by human trafficking.

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Volume 9, Issue 9, Posted 9:30 AM, 05.02.2017

Bethesda hosts Festival Celebration for new pastor

Bethesda-on-the-Bay Lutheran Church will formally welcome its new pastor, the Rev. Angela Jean Freeman-Riley, at a Festival Celebration and Installation at 4:30 p.m. on Sunday, May 7. A reception will follow the Installation Service. The public is welcome to attend.

Pastor Angela arrived at Bethesda Feb. 20 following a 16-month search led by the church’s nine-member Call Committee. Bethesda’s long-time pastor, the Rev. Dennis Stylski, retired Oct. 1, 2015, after 38 years of service at Bethesda.

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Volume 9, Issue 9, Posted 10:01 AM, 05.02.2017

Unity to host peacemaking retreat

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?

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Volume 9, Issue 8, Posted 9:50 AM, 04.18.2017

Westlake honors influential rabbi

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.

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Volume 9, Issue 8, Posted 9:49 AM, 04.18.2017