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 - September 1, 2014

Dear Members and Friends,

September has always been my favorite month.

The heat of summer begins to abate, the air is alive with new learning, and for many of us this will always feel like the beginning of a new year, not the three-quarter mark of the one we’ve been in.

August was a hard month for many people. Instead of enjoying the last hurrahs of summer, we have been troubled with news of strife in Ferguson, Missouri after the death of Michael Brown, and the death of American Journalist Jim Foley in the Syro-Arabian desert.

As a people of faith our call out should be both for justice and for reconciliation. Violence begets violence, and though our need, or desire to have someone “answer for their crimes” is strong, we must look beyond our immediate need for retribution and think about long-term strategies.

Each month this year we will be focusing on a different theological theme, joining hundreds of other Unitarian Universalist congregations, in a search for common meaning. Each congregation will be exploring these themes individually, and so the conversations will assuredly be wide and varied. This month we explore the theme of Faith.

One of my favorite quotes about faith comes from 19th century Universalist Eunice Waite Cobb:

“I do not ask for this faith because I shrink from paying the great debt of nature. But I ask for it that I may have respect for myself—that I may feel life is worth living—that good is worth striving for above and beyond its mere return of earth.

“And above all else, I ask for that faith because it makes life grand, and gives to us sublime possibilities. And further, it gives a substance of joy and bliss which nothing earthly ever gave, and which nothing of earth can take away.”

I offered up her words as a meditation when I was here during my candidating week. I wonder why you ask for this faith, and I wonder what the word faith means to you. Let’s explore it together, shall we?

Our first Sunday of September will be our annual Water Communion, so please try to remember to bring some water from your travels to be shared by being poured into a common vessel. Water Communion will also be my first Sunday in the pulpit after spending August worshiping from the pews, observing the liturgy and style of worship that exists here already.

Yours in faith,

Rev. Joe Cherry


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?