Upcoming Services

11 am (unless
otherwise indicated)

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Stories & Songs of the Season
the Rev. Daniel Budd, the Rev. Patricia Shelden & Ms. Bethany S. Ward

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Do You Hear the Call?
Ms. Sandy Wilson

Religious Education



Stop by, take a look, peruse the many musings of our RE Director, leave a comment, and then FOLLOW us!

December 17

365 Days of Christmas Rehearsal

6:30 pm - 7:30 pm

December 19

365 Days of Christmas Performance

7:30 pm, Reception to follow

December 21

Intergenerational Service

Tableau Rehearsal

12:15 pm - 12:30 pm


Religious Education at First Unitarian now has a blog! You can follow the entire depth and breadth of our Lifespan RE program at https://firstuclere.wordpress.com.  Consider this new blog to now be your one-stop-shop for all things RE. Find out about events, classes, workshops, worship, volunteering,  and more ways to be engaged with the faith tradition of UUism.  We want your comments on posts! We’re so excited to have this new way of communicating with you.  See you online!

Morning Forum 9:30am

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Navigating County Government: What's Coming?
Armond Budish 


News Letter Sign Up

* Required

Captcha Image
Subscribe to: Monthly Newsletter
Subscribe to: Weekly News Flash

First Unitarian Church of Cleveland
21600 Shaker Blvd
Shaker Heights, OH 44122
(216) 751-2320
F: (216) 751-2322

Sunday Worship Service
11:00 am  year round

Religious Education classes begin most Sundays at 11:00 am. Child care for infants and toddlers is available.

Church Office Hours (Labor Day through mid-June):

Monday - Friday, 8:30 am - 4:30 pm

Building Hours:

Monday - Friday, 9 am - 9 pm

Saturday and Sunday, 9 am - 3 pm


Please note that per church policy, when the Shaker Schools are closed due to bad weather, the church is also officially closed. 




Christmas Eve Services & Events

Intergenerational Family Service at 5:30 pm led by Ms. Bethany S. Ward.
Service of Readings and Music for the Season at 10:30 pm led by the Rev. Daniel Budd
(both services include our traditional Candlelighting Ceremony)

MUTILCULTURAL CHRISTMAS EVE POTLUCK DINNER: To be held in Fellowship Hall after the 5:30 pm Christmas Eve Service.  Bring something to share from your Christmas tradition and let us celebrate Christmas Eve with a community supper.  There will be some Puerto Rican goodness: ham, arroz con gandules, coquito (Puerto Rican eggnog sans alcohol), hot chocolate and more.
Interested in this experience?  Let Jenice Godley know TODAY or via email at jenicegodley@gmail.com.

First Unitarian Receives Interfaith Power and Light Award

First Unitarian Church is proud to be the recipient of one of 20 Cool Congregation awards in the entire U.S. from Interfaith Power and Light.
More on this at our To Search & To Serve tab/UU Ministry for Earth.

If you missed the auction on Friday, December 5, you now have another chance to bid on some great Silent, Reservation, and Pay & Take items!  This Sunday both before and after the service, Duncan will be in Fellowship Hall with items from "Shop 'Til You Drop" and "Ministry R Us" to "Jeffery Siegel's Keyboard Conversations" tickets and "ARE Courses Taught by Bethany."  Cool stuff for purchase Sunday includes a Pentax Camera, golf clubs and backpacks!  Cash or check only please, and call or write Duncan (941.713.1645, dtannerjr@neo.rr.com) with questions.

The Next Mix...

...will be Wednesday, January 28th, at 7 p.m. in the Sanctuary Chancel.  Jethro Tull's "Hymn 43" will be featured.

Our December Mitzvah...

Our goal this month is to bring seasonal cheer to some individuals who find themselves coping with physical and emotional disabilities and significant economic challenges. Cogswell Hall, founded in 1913, provides quality affordable housing and supportive services for these adults who would otherwise be homeless. Our goal is to provide at least one unexpected item for each resident. Will you help? Items needed (by Sunday 12/21): flashlights, batteries for flashlights, umbrellas, First Aid kits, supplies for kits (band aids, antibiotic ointment, pain relievers, etc.), gift cards ($5-$10 - Rite Aid, Target, Giant Eagle, Dave’s, Marc’s, Dollar Store, Cleveland Cinema Capitol Theater is within walking distance). Gift cards may be left in an envelope with the Church office.

Getting to Know Us at First Unitarian...

...is easy through these opportunities:  The first Sunday of each month, we hold a Newcomer Coffee Chat in the Library immediately following the service.  This is a casual gathering where you can meet a few people and ask questions about our congregation.  On the third Sunday of each month, our New Connections group is available for those who would like to meet other new people and learn more about our congregation.  It is an easy way to get introduced to our values, activities, and community and see if we might be a good spiritual home for you.  This group meets from 12:15 - 1:30 pm in the Baker Room (#213, second floor).  Hope to see you at either or both gatherings!


For information about our Solar Panel Array and our Permaculture Garden, navigate to the To Search and To Serve tab and click on Environmental.

First Unitarian Church is a proud member of Greater Cleveland Congregations (GCC).  See more under "To Search and To Serve/Service & Justice".


The upcoming District Assembly will take place March 28 - 29, 2014, in Erie PA.  For more information, go to:



Religious Education at the First Unitarian now has a blog! You can follow the entire depth and breadth of our Lifespan RE program at https://firstuclere.wordpress.com.  Consider this new blog to now be your one-stop-shop for all things RE. Find out about events, classes, workshops, worship, volunteering,  and more ways to be engaged with the faith tradition of UUism.  We want your comments on posts! We’re so excited to have this new way of communicating with you.  See you online!



Attending UU events at the District, regional and national level is a wonderful way to learn more about what our movement is doing and to get energized for how we can be engaged in our own congregation.  The annual General Assembly of congregations is the annual meeting of our Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA). Attendees worship, witness, learn, connect, and make policy for the Association through democratic process. Anyone may attend—there are typically 4,000-5,000 attendees -- but voting delegates must be approved by our congregation's Board of Trustees (we may send up to eight).  Many of the GA events from this past summer's gathering can be accessed online.  Go to, http://uua.org/ga/virtual/2014/index.shtml  to find out how.  The next GA will be in Portland OR this coming June.

“All That Jazz” All That and More!

This year's auction drew a crowd of nearly 60 flappers, gangsters, mols and swells, and the word is a good time was had by all!  Kudos to Auction Committee members Ken Kuehm, Greg Nosan, Erin Holmes, Mark Bradbourne and Brian Larson for transforming Fellowship Hall into a 1920's speakeasy, and to “Our Guys in the Kitchen” for once again putting out unique and tasty “heavy” hors d' ouerves.  And let’s not forget Jack Ulman, Emcee and Live Auctioneer Extraordinaire, whose commanding presence and corny jokes kept everyone on their toes.  The martinis were to die for (bad choice of words in a speakeasy?!), and fellowship and fun ruled the night.

The bidding was brisk, and gross receipts totaled nearly $10,000!  The Committee will keep you posted on the final take, and a special Tip of the Fedora to Gordon Maas, who guessed the secret password (“fundraising” . . . go figure!) and won Duncan Tanner's voice on his voicemail message.

Thanks to those who donated, those who bid, and those who brought guests!

Members Share Their First Unitarian Connection

Members and Friends recently began sharing “Why I Am Here” stories during Sunday services.  As you read these heartfelt "testimonials," please reflect on what our church means to you and reach out to Daniel or David Kantor if you'd like to share your own story at an upcoming service!  As well, we urge you to share these stories with friends, family, neighbors and co-workers.  Shouldn't everyone know what this wonderful place could one day mean to them?

Why am I here?  There are so many reasons, but the simplest way I can say it is this: Love.

 I am here to show my children different faces of love. Here, love is a welcome smile, a warm meal, and a safe place for a family to sleep.  Here, love is a garden that endures, and a building that needs less.  Here, love says ‘how are you?’ and ‘good to see you again’ and ‘stick around’.

 I am here because sometimes I need to be reminded how to love. How do I love my neighbor? How do I love that coworker who seems determined to tear down everything I try to build up?  How do I love those who seem to lash out against their fellow man with fear and hate?  Coming here reminds me that love always helps, and when it can’t fix the problem at least it heals the pain.

I am here because sometimes - despite all of the blessings in my life - I feel a little empty, and a little lost, and I need something that feels just out of reach. Here, the circle of care and concern embraces me as I am. When I didn’t want to come, when I can’t stay focused, when I need to cry just a bit - Here there is always a loving heart. 

I am here because I need to make the world a better place, and the only way I know to do that, is with love - one smile, one helping hand, one embrace at a time.

 I am here because of love.

 Paul Brietzmann

Good morning.  For those of you who don’t know me, my name is Chuck Segall.  My wife is Tracy Segall, and we have two daughters, Maggie and Shelby.  Tracy and I joined the church in January of 2001, a few weeks before Maggie was born.  We were looking for a place that would provide us with a religious community and a place for our soon to be born child to receive a religious education.  What “complicated” things, so to speak, was that I was raised Jewish and Tracy was raised Catholic but neither of us really identified with or practiced either faith.  While we both agreed that religion was important to us and to our children, we weren’t sure how to proceed together as a whole.  After a few visits here, and drawing on the times we attended the UU church in Farmington Hills, MI, while Tracy and I were still college, we “discovered” First Unitarian was right for all of us.  We met with Reverend Budd, and signed the membership book that same night.

We have been thrilled with our decision.  Within this community, we have found friends and a steady and stable religious environment that meets our needs for spirituality and education.  The topics for sermons and discussions never cease to amaze us.  We look forward to the special services such as Rites of Passage and Senior Sunday and cannot wait for our children to participate in them.  Tracy and I were founding members of the Young Families Covenant Group, and I have chaired the YRE Committee, served on the Board of Trustees, and also served on the Committee on the Ministry.  I just continue to be awestruck as to how special this place is.

 A common theme among countless Senior Sunday speeches, and the “Why I’m Here” speeches we have been hearing for quite some time, is that this place, this church, this congregation, is home.  I completely agree.  In my 13 years here, I have come to view this special place as my second home, and I feel just as comfortable here as I do at my house.  (Granted, there have been occasions for meetings or the like where I have spent so much time here, it begins feeling like home, but that’s a different subject!)  I truly like that my children enjoy coming here, and feel safe and feel at home.

 Tracy and I have also benefited from this church, in that we have a place that we can express ourselves politically, socially and religiously and not have to worry that we are going against the grain or that our opinions will be viewed as “wrong.” 

 On behalf of my family, I would like to thank everyone associated with this church, for welcoming us with open arms and allowing us to be members of this congregation.

Chuck Segall

Why I’m Here

The answer is “YOU”.

 Sounds like that TV game show, Jeopardy, right? The answer is “YOU”, but what’s the question?

 The question, of course, is “Why I’m Here”… and the answer is still “YOU”… and you… and you… and you… and the other members of our church community who are either elsewhere in the building or unable to be with us today…

 Because for me, it IS all about community – the things we do with and for each other – both the fun stuff and the things that are much more serious in nature. It’s not that other things – like being in the sanctuary for a Sunday Service or teaching in the religious education program haven’t been important and meaningful, but for me, it’s all in the context of sharing it with you.

 I’ve been coming to this church for 25 years now… and this is my first true experience as a part of a religious community.  When I started coming, I simply had no idea how much of a “game changer” this community would be for me… how much it would truly change my life.

 Like many other parents with young children, we initially came here for the religious education program for our kids. But then I got involved in other activities… and this community became much more for me.

 You see, for me, this community provides an opportunity to be engaged with a simply amazing group of people with a pretty basic common bond – the desire to support each other in our search for what’s true and real in this life, to be there for each other as we each pursue our paths to define our religious beliefs and live our lives.

 And from that common bond, this community has been built, where so, so much is available. LOTS of images cross my mind from over the years:

  • Teaching in our youth religious education program – from the toddler room through high school
  • Ripping up the old linoleum in Fellowship Hall one evening a long time ago with the rest of the 20s and 30s group and all of our children
  • Spending a social justice Saturday painting a house with a bunch of other folks from First UU so that a family in need would have a home
  • Having someone approach me in coffee hour when he learned that my son Phillip had enlisted in the marine corps and say “I was a marine corp pilot in Vietnam – here are two books that I suggest you read to better understand what happens next. And if you ever need to talk, just let me know”
  • And, most recently, receiving lots and lots of cards, e-mails and visitors to support me upon the death of my eldest sister…

 I could go on and on, but I’m sure by now you get the idea. Over the years, the faces in our community have changed – we’ve gotten older, some folks have moved away, others have passed away, and a whole bunch of other people – young and older – have joined us. But regardless of the changes, make no mistake about it – YOU ARE my community, and this place is my second home. As in any community with larger numbers, it’s a given that I’ll know some of you much better than others, and that’s ok. Because the important thing to know is that we’re in this community together, and, over time, our paths will cross, and we’ll get to know each other better. And then, as now, I’ll be blessed.

Thank you.

David Kantor

When I was asked to do a Why I’m Here – I thought, this will be easy

I’ve been coming here most weeks for 26 years, what’s the big deal with talking about it.

Then, the blank piece of paper.  Not so easy.

The difference between thinking about what to say and my feelings about my church were causing me a brain freeze.

So, I’m going with the feelings

I feel like this church is my second home.  We raised our children here, many of my friends are here, much of my volunteer work is here, my covenant group is here, my Sunday school class is here, many of our discussions at home are about something we heard here, celebrations are here, and on and on.  So, my body and soul are in a good place when I’m here.

I like the intellectual challenge I get from some of the sermons and events I go to here.  But, no offense to Daniel and other speakers – I can go somewhere else for that.  What I can’t get elsewhere is the feeling I get when sitting in a service listening to Daniel and Bethany, or in my Sunday School class with my kids, or in my covenant group knitting and talking.

I’ve been here through really good times in my life, not so good times, and some in the middle.  Through coming of age, senior speeches, son off to war, daughter coming back to this church as an adult, my own depression, son back from war, illness, deaths, births – and all other stuff life has to offer.  And, through it all, I felt better when I came through the doors of this church.

My feelings of peace, contentment, and the most important one - belonging.  People take care of me here without always knowing they are doing it – that’s what a family does.

And, you are my family.

Mary Ellen McNulty


UUA Districts Recognize First Unitarian Campaign

Recently, the Ohio Meadville/St. Lawrence Districts posted a blog detailing the 2014 - 2015 stewardship campaign.  The post can be found by going to www.ohiomeadville.org/bettertogether, clicking on "Recent Posts" and accessing "Congregations Create Unique Stewardship Plans Part .3"  The article is entitled "First Unitarian Cleveland Changes Its Style" and lets folks around the region know how our valued volunteers make a difference as they strive to Search and Serve!


Recognizing – And Thanking - Our Fifty-Year Members

Three years ago, the stewardship committee began recognizing members who had been with the church for 50 years or more by inviting them to the annual Major Givers reception and presenting them with a gift to acknowledge their commitment to the church and Unitarian Universalism. These members - and those who have passed away - are an inspiration to us all!

 Member                                      Signed the Book In:

 Debbie Adler                              1938

 Chloe Oldenburg

 Carrol Gensert                           1949

 Wally Adler                               1951

 Jim Wickert                               1953

 Nancy Wild                               1955

 Mildred Hathaway                    1957

 Gloria Reske

 Kathie Kitchingham                 1959

 Esther Bockhoff                       1960

 Marge Miller

 Ann Calkins

 Ann Siebert                              1962

 Gail Broughton

 Muriel Black

 Katie Martin

 Frank Miller                           1963

 Heidi Spencer

 Pete Spencer

 Joyce Wallace                        1964

 Stuart Wallace

 Joan Orr

 Jackie Stimpert


Stewardship Committee Announces Campaign Theme & Schedule

The 2015 – 2016 Stewardship Committee (Laurie Albright, Barb and Bill Morgan, Heather Torok, David Kantor, Dennis Grossman, Duncan Tanner, Jr., Mary O'Shea, Kelli and Tom McKenna, and Co-Chairs Meg Pauken and Gail Arnold) is pleased to announce this year's theme: Sweet Home First UU.  According to Meg, the “home” concept speaks to family and fellowship:

“Ingathering Sunday always feels like coming home to me.  In this cherished community, we share together the milestones of both the church year and of our lives, which makes us family and this church our home.”

Once again, the Campaign will feature personal connection with First Unitarian members and friends, with volunteer callers scheduling meetings to listen, learn and share.  An orientation meeting for volunteers will be held Saturday, January 31 at 9:00 a.m., and the traditional Campaign Kickoff Potluck Celebration will take place the following Saturday, February 7 at 6:00 p.m. 

Please watch for more announcements and updates – including this year's campaign goal – in newsletters, email blasts, on the website, and during services!




















Letter to the Editor on the Plain Dealer web site re: racism from NE Ohio UU ministers:


Recent articles on Unitarian Universalist Growth may be found at:




Read Daniel Budd's Messages of Faith columns:

First Unitarian Church Installs High-tech Solar Array

Great LBGT Welcoming comment at end of review of Omer Quartet concert May 5th:


We encourage you to share any of the links here that catch your eye or interest within your own networks. Oh, and please send a note if you spot First Unitarian in the news and aren't sure that we already know. Thanks! 


Our Website

Welcome to the website of the First Unitarian Church of Cleveland! We are glad you stopped by. And we encourage you to explore the pages and information here. Please know that this website is for all of us. So feel free to send a note if you want to add information or make suggestions for content. 

The tab labeled Spotlight On currently features upcoming Ohio Meadville District and UU Association events.  We will be changing this feature periodically to highlight a program or other aspect of our community.  If you are involved with a group, effort or program anchored at First Unitarian that you want others to know more about, suggest that it be explored as a Spotlight On topic. (Just be ready to write the copy to submit!)

The tab labeled Coming Up is updated more frequently, and feature events and other details to inform our members and friends about the next week or two. If a special function or event is happening, this is where you can get the details, plus a link to more information in many cases.

 The tab labeled Press features links to articles about the church in the media so our church community can read and share them, if desired. Social media links and references to the church would be here, too. If you spot the church in the news, send it to us We'll make sure to include it.   

And the Video tab features some short films that have been produced to show what it looks and feels like to be a part of the First Unitarian Church of Cleveland. As we get more video, from events or other programs at the church, we will add those, as well.