Our Minister

Rev. Joseph M Cherry (Rev. Joe)

The Rev. Joseph M Cherry began his ministry at the Society on August 1, 2014.  He is a 45 year-old, multiracial man in a committed relationship with the Rev. Denis L. Paul, himself a Unitarian Universalist minister.

He was born just outside of Detroit and became a UU in 1996, attending First Unitarian Society of Chicago. He received his Masters in Divinity from Meadville/Lombard Theological School in 2011 and was ordained at First Unitarian Society of Chicago in May 2011.

Rev. Joe has varied ministerial experience. During his second summer in seminary in 2009, he was invited to spend the summer in England to be student minister for the Old Chapel (Unitarian), Dukinfield, England. He did his internship ministry in Vancouver, British Columbia at the Unitarian Church of Vancouver, a church of about 450 people.

From January of 2012 until July 2014, Rev. Joe served as the Interim Minister at the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Stanislaus County, California.

Other non-ministerial skills and experience  Rev, Joe brings are non-profit management, project management, and accounting/bookkeeping. Besides his UU interests, Rev. Joe likes Volkswagens, quilting, photography, and square dancing.

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?