FIRST UNITARIAN CELEBRATES OUR 150th ANNIVERSARY THROUGHOUT THE 16-17 CHURCH YEAR!
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 email@example.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?
Everyone is welcome!
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!
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!
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
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
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
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.