Rev. Cherry installed as UUSC minister
An international assembly of Unitarian Universalist (UU) ministers and interfaith representatives gathered with community members and congregants on April 19 to ceremonially install Reverend Joseph M. Cherry as the Unitarian Universalist Society of Cleveland's (UUSC) official minister.
In May 2014, the UUSC congregation chose Cherry to lead them. Asked then to define his ministerial mission, Cherry said, "I'm a minister in a worldwide and lifesaving faith. Part of our mission is to say that persons can be unsure. You can say you do or don't believe in this or that God, and that's OK. It's to say that, at this moment, you are OK as you are and don't need saving or redemption. At the same time we are all capable of spiritual growth."
Assembled ministers attested to efforts Cherry has initiated already, to strengthen the community in areas of social justice and mutual understanding. Rev. Elaine Strawn, minister to the UU Fellowship of Wayne County, said in her charge to the congregation, "Your search committee recommended, and you wisely called, Rev. Joseph M. Cherry to be your settled minister. Since then, you have grown to know him better and he you. You will work with this man as strong lay leaders in partnership with a determined and dedicated minister.
"It is not easy to be a Unitarian Universalist. In a world worshipping power and war, we are called to bring compassion, hope, and to stand on the side of love. And you will do these things. You have already started. Walk with Joe. He will be one of you and yet a little apart—not due to superiority but to gain perspective. Love him. Let him love you."
Cherry later acknowledged the full congregation's charge, saying, "With a deep sense of responsibility and obligation, I accept your invitation to serve you as your minister." He concluded the service with these words: “With deep gratitude for this day let us go out into the world practicing justice and spreading love.”
For more information about the Unitarian Universalist Society of Cleveland, located at 2728 Lancashire Road in Cleveland Heights, visit www.uucleveland.org.
Walter Nicholes, resident of Cleveland Heights for more than 50 years, now resides in Shaker Heights. He continues to appreciate the diversity of the Heights.