Upcoming Services

11 am (unless otherwise indicated)

Sunday, March 5, 2017

"The Way of Integrity"
the Rev. Daniel Budd

Sunday, March 12, 2017

"To Know and Be Known"
the Rev. Daniel Budd

Religious Education

Visit RE-Connect, the Religious Education website

Register for 2016-2017 Youth Religious Education Classes!

YRE Video:  'Catch the Spirit'!

Community Forums

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Religion and the 2016 Election

Sunday, April 2, 2017

The Climate Wars: An Increasing Threat to Northeast Ohio and the World

Sundays @ 9:30 AM

Our weekly forums address issues that are personal as well as global, secular as well as spiritual.

Click here to Sign Up for Weekly Forum E-News

One Corner of the Borough

click here for Rev. Daniel Budd's Blog


Learn more about our music programs here

Careers @ 1st Unitarian

Check our Careers page for currently open positions

Weekly Update

Read the latest news from 1st U here

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



Our congregation was founded on January 14, 1867, with the Bond of Union. In our “birthday” month, plans are being made to have a gathering of UUs at Trinity downtown from a number of congregations, highlighted by Jim Key, current UUA moderator. We hope everyone turns out for this wonderful celebration, with a workshop, worship, and reception.

We can’t let this joyous occasion pass with just one event. Plans are also underway for an open house or two, special guests in the pulpit in most months, opportunities to hear stories from our long term members, special music, and more. We are also eagerly anticipating the Spring unveiling of the commissioned history of our congregation, by Virginia Dawson.

Did you notice our updated logo? We thank Harriet Abigail Ward for her graphic design contribution.

This church year will be a rich time of discovery and engagement, especially if you contribute your ideas and energy. There’s plenty of room in the plans for more. Please contact Laurie Albright at 216 371 8163 or ljalbright@hotmail.com to offer ideas and support. We stand on the shoulders of those who have come before us. What will be our contribution to our future?

Spiritual Conversations


The exploration of our spiritual nature continues 
this Wednesday . We will enhance our understanding of ourselves, our relationships to others and to the universe on a deeper, more profound level. Spiritual Conversations examine questions at the center of our lives: what does it mean to be human, how can we live a rich life, what deepens our appreciation of the magnitude and mystery of life?

Everyone is welcome!

Questions? Please contact Katarina Cerny at  katarinac@wowway.com or 216-862-2303  or Sandy Wilson at  sandyw58@gmail.com or  216-785-6318










First UU at the Women's March on Washington.

On January 21, members of the First U community attended the Women's March on Washington, as well as the sister March in Cleveland.  Estimated global attendance was over two million people.  In Cleveland, approximately 15,000 marched.


GCC News - First Unitarian at Public Action



13 members from First Unitarian participated in the Criminal Justice Action organized by Greater Cleveland Congregations in response to the Brelo verdict on Tuesday, May 26th.




Religious Education at the First Unitarian now has a blog! You can follow the entire depth and breadth of our Lifespan RE program at  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!





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

 Carrol Gensert                          1949

 Wally Adler                               1951

 Jim Wickert                              1953

 Nancy Wild                               1955

 Mildred Hathaway                   1957

 Gloria Reske                             1957

 Kathie Kitchingham                1959

 Esther Bockhoff                       1960

 Marge Miller                            1960

 Ann Calkins                             1960

 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


Why I’m STILL Here

As a Peace Corps volunteer in my mid-twenties, I was in Nepal teaching English as a second language for two years. When my Peace Corps term ended, I received a one-way ticket home, and was allowed as much travel time as I wanted . . . I took six months travelling through India on third class trains, the Middle East, and Europe. ...Read more.

Why I Give to First Unitarian
Nancy King Smith

February 5th, 2017

As I was contemplating what I would say about Why I Give to First Unitarian, I realized that to some degree, church giving is in my genes. My Methodist family growing up made it very clear that giving, even tithing, to the church was a priority over other desires. I got to thinking about why church giving seems different than other places that we give. 

What emerged for me was that this church is like our family and our home - so of course you do what you need to do to make sure that your family is cared for and your home is livable and functional. It’s a little different, in that there are 300 plus members, but that means that everyone is responsible, not just for maintaining the place, but for supporting all of the programs that help us to search and to serve.

My professional life was largely devoted to not-for-profit management, which meant that I did a lot of fundraising. I’m well aware of how important it is to persuade people as to the importance of your mission and how what you’re doing fits with their values and goals so they’ll feel good about giving.

But the church is different for, while we have a mission and affirmation that we say every week that are related to why we’re here, giving to the church is about us, about our church family. That also means being good neighbors—our social justice work in the larger community is critical to living our values.

And, it is important to me that some of our giving goes to the UUA - we are part of a larger movement that both supports us and gives us more opportunity to have our voices heard. I was at the Women's March in Washington two weeks ago, and it was exciting to keep seeing groups of UUs sprinkled throughout the hordes. We do show up!

As many of you know, after 35 years of living just two doors down from the church, Kemp and I have moved out to South Franklin Circle in Chagrin Falls. It’s very different, but the right move for us at this point in our lives. I think the thing I miss the most is being able to walk to church - for worship, for forums, for yoga, for meetings, for covenant group, for walking in the garden, for seeing friends and meeting new ones. It was very easy and meant that the church was almost a daily part of my life.

But I've realized that all of those things are still important to me, so, even though it takes more time and effort, this is my church home. We give to many organizations, but just as in my growing-up home, giving to the church will continue to be our priority because this is about our family. I hope all of you feel that same responsibility for caring for our church family and home. We are the only ones.




Why I Give to First Unitarian
Eileen McCully

February 12, 2017

I have a few words to say this morning about pledging. Now, if you are a newcomer, you may not have received a pledge card. That’s okay. We are delighted you are here, and if you’re still figuring out if this is the right place for you, we’re willing to put off talking about pledging for now. When you register for a class or a covenant group, or if you become a regular here on Sunday mornings, we’ll get you set up with a pledge card.

For the rest of you, I want to talk a bit about how we handle the topic of pledging, our “Money Culture,” if you will. I was having a discussion with the stewardship team, and I suggested that we make stickers to put on people’s name tags when their pledge comes in. Sort of like you get when you vote or give blood, a little sticker that says “Yay me, I did a good thing.” Well, the stewardship team was quite certain that you would hate that and that you would refuse to wear a sticker. I thought, Hmm ... what’s that about? I’m not talking about a sticker that says how much was pledged—they’re not color-coded or anything. Whether you pledge $5 or $5000, you get the same sticker. You can even turn in a pledge card with a big zero on it, and you still get a sticker. By the way, you should turn in a pledge card like that if you intend not to contribute. The whole point of collecting pledges is to be able to make a budget that accurately reflects our resources. To make a realistic, useful budget, we need to know how much you plan to give, especially if that is $0. It isn’t any harder, or more expensive to pledge promptly than to wait until July to do it, and it allows us to plan next year’s budget. It’s your way of upholding fiscal responsibility.

So everybody gets the same sticker. Why is that so uncomfortable? Isn’t that what we expect of one another? That we’re all going to contribute? Pledging is not optional, right? At least not according to the bylaws. And almost all of you do contribute. So let’s be honest and upfront about it, and prompt. The sticker signals that you are with the program—that you’re doing what we all need to do to sustain our beloved community.

In the end, it doesn’t matter whether or not you wear the sticker. What does matter is that we can all look each other in the eye and say, “I pledge, and I expect you to pledge too, and to do it on time.” It’s what we do because we value what we have here together. I invite all of you to join the 35 or so people seated around you who have already turned in their pledge cards. You will have that opportunity after service today at the stewardship kick-off brunch. I hope to see you all there.


Why I Give to First Unitarian
Bob Horan

February 19th, 2017

Good morning. My name’s Bob Horan and I’m here to say a few words about why I give cash money to First Unitarian.

My dad used to say, ”Judge a person by their friends, not their family. People choose their friends.” I don’t care as much as I used to about judging and being judged, but I care a lot more about choices.

This is the first church I ever joined.

My wife, Debbie Wright, and I moved to Cleveland in the summer of 2014. We came here for the balmy northeastern Ohio weather as well as the chance to chase our grandchildren around. We figured we would see if we could find a church home as well as a regular house. Why? Because we had attended a UU Coming of Age ceremony in St. Paul, MN, that lasted three hours. After that, I wondered, “If this is the fruit, what kind of tree produced it?”

So we visited a few churches. Every one of them was topped off with welcoming people. Each featured a liberal theology. But the UU groups had covenants instead of creeds—and since creed and creedal authorities had been the rocky bottom of Christianity on which we had foundered, we were hopeful. And alone among the UU groups we visited, First Unitarian had a merry army of green-ribboned greeters and church-explainers whose welcome left us newcomers feeling, well, happy. First Unitarian had Daniel Budd giving sermons. Debbie Wright said, “If there was a church of Mary Oliver, I’d join,” and it looked like this might be the place. Further, Bethany Ward was here saying things like “Faith is what you put your trust in” and “Sin is missing your target—try again.” First Unitarian is where we heard Daniel Budd show how poetry is a way of knowing and an aid in everyday life; it’s where we heard fantastic “Why I’m Here” talks, Dee’s jokes at coffee hour, World-Repairing conversations during coffee hour, and the music of Fern Jennings and Mike Carney and the choir on Sunday mornings. First Unitarian is where we found fellow golf partners, musicians, gardeners, readers, cognoscenti, and assorted rascals. So we signed up.

We’re new. We know nothing. But about Unitarian-Universalism and the First Unitarian Church of Cleveland we’re curious and interested. And we like it here. So like bad habits, bad coughs, bad debts—we keep coming back.

My dad used to say you judge a person by their friends. If Debbie Wright and I are going to be judged by the company we keep, we hope to keep company with you. And that’s why we give cash money to the First Unitarian Church of Cleveland.


About Sunday Worship Services

11:00 am year round

  • Everyone begins in the Sanctuary at 11 am.
  • Religious Education students and teachers are dismissed from Services to class around 11:15 am to 12 noon.
  • Child care for infants and toddlers is available.

(Labor Day through mid-June)

Church Office:

M-F 8:30 am-4:30 pm

Building Hours:

M-F 9 am-9 pm
Weekends 9 am-3 pm

Summer Hours
(mid-June through Labor Day)


M-F 8:30 am-3:30 pm


Monday and Wednesday 9 am - 9 pm
Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, 9 am - 5 pm
Sunday, 9:00 am-2 pm
Closed Saturdays (except for special events).

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

Follow us on Twitter!