Our Minister

Rev. Joseph M Cherry (Rev. Joe)


My name is Reverend Joe Cherry and I am the fairly new minister here at the Unitarian Universalist Society of Cleveland. Before moving to Cleveland I, and my partner the Reverend Denis Paul, lived in the Central Valley of California, where we both had ministries. Rev. Denis is currently the Developmental Minister at the East Shore Unitarian Universalist Church in Kirtland, OH.

If you’re like most people we’ve met, you’re asking some variation of the following question: “Why would anybody move from California to Cleveland?”

There were several factors in our decision to move to Ohio. Our geographic choice was inspired by our desire to move back closer to our families. But there were many church options available to us, and we chose the two churches we did for good reasons.

I chose to come to the Society because it’s a church that is open, friendly, and looking to break out into a new direction.

We don’t know what that new direction is yet, but we’re gathering our talents to move.

As for my part, if you’re reading this site, consider giving us a visit, I hope you do. In this congregation we have all sorts of theologies, from Atheism and Buddhism to Christianity and Pagan beliefs. Not sure what you believe? That’s okay, too.

I think that people come to a church because they’re looking for something. I know it’s why I did 20 years ago. I hadn’t really ever been to church, and I started going because I’d just moved to a new city and didn't know anybody.

If you claim to be “spiritual, but not religious,” check us out. We are religious, but not in the way perhaps you’re used to. Here you’ll hear the world’s religious texts given equal amounts of respect and reverence. The same goes for secular literature, sociology, history, etc.

Come by any Sunday at 10:45 a.m. for some musical meditation before service, or some coffee and conversation. Service starts at 11:00.

I’m sure I’d be delighted to meet you.

Reverend Joe

Notes From Our Minister

The Beacon - December 1, 2014

As I write this message to you, it’s the quiet somewhat chilly morning of November 25, 2014. Last night yet more disturbing news came from St. Louis, Missouri. My Facebook feed is spinning with facts and figures; friends far and wide leaving messages about the failure of our American system to adequately honor the lives of young black men.

There is great sadness in our country today. Michael Brown died tragically. In our own city one week ago, young Tamir Rice, aged 12 years old, was shot in a park and died the following day. Young lives, gone.

The media, ever on a 24/7 cycle, report and re-cycle information that seems focused more on ratings and hype than actual fact dissemination. (Where is the deep analysis among all the talking heads?).

In the midst of it all, I find myself yearning for the human connection in all of this mayhem.

A friend and colleague from England sent me a message. It contained the lyrics to a hymn that he that he knows is a favorite of mine. “And I’ll bring you hope, when hope is hard to find. And I’ll sing a song of love, and a rose in the winter time.”

A human connection through digital media.

It does not sate all my nerves, it cannot be a salve that heals the wounds of this country. But it is a voice of care and concern from someone I treasure.

We must practice care and concern for one another. We must work hard to bring about the day when news of yet another young African American man’s death is not “yet another death.”

The only way we have any hope of bringing our faith’s vision of justice and equality is to work together. I don’t think that replying, responding and re-posting are the kind of activism that will affect a change in our world. I think coming together, making a plan, and putting that plan into action can.

Yours in faith,
Rev. Joe Cherry


November 1, 2014

October 1, 2014

September 1, 2014

August 1, 2014

July 1, 2014

June 1, 2014

May 1, 2014

April 1, 2014

March 1, 2014

February 1, 2014

January 1, 2014

December 1, 2013

November 1, 2013

October 1, 2013

September 1, 2013

August 1, 2013

July 1, 2013

June 1, 2013

May 1, 2013:  Leading from Strengths

April 1, 2013:  The Gift of Time

March 1, 2013:  Building A Healthy Foundation

February 1, 2013:  What Gifts Can We Bring?

January 4, 2013:  The Work of a New Year

December 1, 2012:  Inns, Ancient Stories, Open Hears and Open Doors

November 1, 2012:  Things to Make the Season Bright

October 1, 2012:  The Stories We Carry

September 1, 2012:  What DOES One Do at a Transition Workshop?