International Student Outreach: Friendship Partners

International-StudentsPlease join Sevim McCutcheon and an international student to learn about opportunities for UUs to connect with college students from around the world!

Informational meeting on Sunday, July 19th, at 12:45 p.m. in Fessenden Hall. 

Snacks will be provided. Feel free to bring a lunch.

For more information, contact Sevim McCutcheon.

If you can’t make it to this meeting but want to get involved, contact Sevim.

Nearly 3,000 international students from scores of countries will attend Kent State University this fall.

They come to the United States hoping to engage in local activities and make connections with people who live here.

Often, international students arrive in the United States alone and without family members or friends in the area to assist in the transition into their new surroundings. In this situation, support from the local community in the form of a “friendship partner” can be a key to adjusting to culture shock and connecting with their new hometown.

In this proposed Friendship Partners program, American individuals, couples and families are introduced to an international student or two, with potential for building relationships and sharing culture in unique and fulfilling ways.

Friendship partners can engage in a variety of activities with their international students, depending on mutual interests and schedules.  Possibilities include informal meals, holiday traditions and celebrations, outings to local festivals and sporting events, shopping, and hikes in nearby parks.

Given UU values and principles, Sevim considers the UU congregation to be especially well suited for reaching out in positive and accepting ways to international students of many backgrounds, religions, and cultures. Sevim will gather contact information from interested Americans and interested international students and facilitate the initial connection.

In addition to the Friendship Partners program, for those with a spare bedroom who are interested, there are opportunities to host international students in your home. This can be temporary (a few days to a week, giving students a “home base” from which to find more permanent housing) or longer term (a semester or more).  Housing needs are especially acute for new, incoming international students in August, just prior to the fall semester.

While Sevim meets international students and learns about their needs and situations because she works at KSU, this pilot program has no formal affiliation with Kent State University.

Black and Blue – July 5, 2015

UU Principles in blueLed by Dani Beale and Worship Associate Deb Biggins

Unitarian Universalism’s first principle calls for us to uphold and protect the inherent worth and dignity of every person, and our second principle requires us to seek out justice, equity, and compassion in human relations. Recent events, such as the horrific mass shooting at the Emmanuel AME church in Charleston, SC, and the numerous highly publicized killings of unarmed black people at the hands of police, have sparked a national debate about how we value the lives of ourselves and others, and specifically those of black people. Our own community has demonstrated a diverse response to these events, and our country is divided on how to move forward.

For this service, we will explore the historical roots of liberation theology in Unitarian Universalism and how our faith calls us to act when oppressed peoples are asking for us to witness their struggle and join them in protest for change. Most importantly, we will consider how we as individuals and a community can address the challenges facing us. What does it mean to be antiracist? What does it mean to be an effective ally? Are we ready to take a hard look at ourselves, and work towards understanding our place in one of the civil rights movements of our time? Join us as we begin again in love.

What’s in Your Head? – June 28, 2015

human_brain_picture_165499Led by Sharon Hogan and Worship Associate Carolyn Schlemmer

How does the way your brain is structured give you a sense of spirituality? How does thinking, learning and feeling develop each individual’s unique experience as a spiritual being? How does your brain respond to knowledge, ideas and feelings as you experience, learn and grow. Some surprising ideas from a neurological perspective.

Our ‘Freedom to Marry Celebration’ is On! – July 3, 2015




Click to Download the Flyer  (Right-click the link and choose “Save Link As…” to save the document to your computer)


Documents Needed to Apply for a Marriage License in Ohio:

  • ID Requirement:  Government issued ID such as drivers license, visa, passport, state ID. You need to know your social security numbers.
  • Residency Requirement: Do not have to be a resident of Ohio. You must apply in the county in which you want to get married.
  • If previously married: Bring certified copy of divorce decree or a copy of deceased spouse’s death certificate.
  • Application Requirement: Both parties to a marriage should appear in person to obtain the license.
  •  Waiting Period: No waiting period.
  •  Blood Tests: No tests.
  •  Under 21: If you are 18 to 21 years of age, you will need to show your birth certificate.

Finish Reading: Our ‘Freedom to Marry Celebration’ is On! – July 3, 2015

Unitarian Universalism; Building A New Way – June 21, 2015

UU faithLed by Kevin Lowry and Worship Associate Elaine Bowen

As we witness a shift from mainstream church to a re-imagined sense of community and gathering, Unitarian Universalist are working in various emerging ministries to offer a generation of seekers and explores an inclusive liberal religious community that is spiritually diverse, radically inclusive and Justice centered. Our tradition is uniquely suited to meet people where they are on the life’s journey and work to build a community that loves the hell out of the world.

Kevin Lowry is a Commissioned Lay Leader candidate and Youth and College Community Coordinator at the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Wayne County in Wooster OH. He serves as the Campus Community Mentor for the UU Campus Community at the College of Wooster. Kevin is is a Fahs Fellow with the Fahs Collaborative at Meadville Lombard Theological School in Chicago, where he is exploring how Unitarian Universalist can best serve emerging adults as they set out on their journey of adulthood.

Time to Play! – June 14, 2015 9:45 AM Only

Church in the Park


Led by Rev. Renee Ruchotzke, Director of Relgious Education Karen Lapidus, and Worship Associate Justin Czekaj

One service only at 9:45 am at Plum Creek Park, weather permitting*

Once each year our whole church gathers together for one joyful, multigenerational service.  Please join us at Plum Creek Park for a service celebrating the holiness of playtime.  We will gather in Pavillion #2 for one service only at 9:45 am.  Please bring a blanket or lawn chairs to sit on and any sunscreen or insect repellent you may need.  Then plan to stay afterwards for our all church picnic.  Please bring your own place settings, beverages, and a dish to share along with any games you would like to invite others to play.  For directions to Plum Creek Park, visit


*In the event of rain, please check our church FaceBook page, our phone message and/or your email to find out if we have moved our service back to the church.


The Supreme Court Decision on Marriage Equality & Portage County Court of Common Pleas Probate Division

Judge Robert Berger of the Portage County Court of Common Pleas Probate Division has issued an Order in preparation for the upcoming Supreme Court decision on marriage equality.  Although the copy of the Order shown below is not signed by Judge Berger, it is in effect.  At Judge Berger’s request, we are sharing this information to help inform as many people as possible on the process of applying for a marriage license and the ability to be married at the Portage County Courthouse immediately following a favorable decision on marriage equality.

It has come to our attention that if either of the partners hoping to get married are previously divorced, they will need to take a notarized copy of their divorce decree when applying for a marriage license.


Click to Download the Court Order (Right-click the link and choose “Save Link As…” to save the document to your computer)
Finish Reading: The Supreme Court Decision on Marriage Equality & Portage County Court of Common Pleas Probate Division

This is the Church of the Loving Heart – June 7, 2015

brightness-of-loving-heartLed by Director of Religious Education Karen Lapidus, the Religious Education Committee, the Students, and their Teachers

This Sunday is Religious Education Sunday when the children and their teachers will be sharing insights and learnings from their classroom experiences.  There will be special music and our graduating High School Seniors will be honored, as well.

You Can Create New Traditions – May 31, 2015

new traditionLed by the Rev. Melissa Carvill Ziemer and Worship Associate Bonnie Harper

Sometimes our lives change so much that our traditions no longer fit.  When that happens, we can feel empowered to change our traditions or even create new ones for new times.  The Celtic Clan will be leading all of the music this morning, including an update of a traditional piece.

Beyond Words – May 24, 2015

uuck chaliceLed by the Rev. Melissa Carvill Ziemer and Worship Associate Deb Biggins

Rituals can be a kind of tradition.  Sometimes, when we can’t find the words to express what we most deeply think and feel, rituals can speak for us instead.  Join us for a morning of contemplation, celebration and maybe even a ritual to ground reflection in practice.

Howard Tolley, Executive Director of UU Justice Ohio, will be with us on Sunday, May 31!

UUJOHoward will have a table during the pancake breakfast on Sunday, May 31 where he will share information about Kent UU’s role as a member Justice Congregation in our statewide network engaged in education and advocacy on economic justice, immigration, criminal/racial justice, the environment, reproductive justice, LGBT issues, voting rights and peacemaking.  UUJO offers Guest for Justice in Your Pulpit speakers, provides leadership training, publicizes justice events, facilitates MeetUp4Justice sessions with lawmakers, engages UUs statewide with partners and allies and holds an annual Justice Assembly in Columbus (11/14/15).

The Patricia Pownall UU Book Group – June 9, 2015

harold fryThe Patricia Pownall UU Book Group will be meeting on Tuesday, June 9 at 7 pm at the home of Bonnie Harper. This month we are reading The Love Song of Miss Quennie Hennessy by Rachel Joyce. From the author of The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry, this is the love story about Queenie Hennessy, the remarkable friend who inspired Harold’s cross-country journey. This parallel story to Harold’s saga, brings Queenie Hennessy’s voice into sharp focus. Setting pen to paper, Queenie makes a journey of her own, a journey that is even bigger than Harold’s; one word after another, she promises to confess long-buried truths–about her modest childhood, her studies at Oxford, the heartbreak that brought her to Kingsbridge and to loving Harold, her friendship with his son, the solace she has found in a garden by the sea. And, finally, the devastating secret she has kept from Harold for all these years. A wise, tender, layered novel that gathers tremendous emotional force, The Love Song of Miss Queenie Hennessy underscores the resilience of the human spirit, beautifully illuminating the small yet pivotal moments that can change a person’s life. In July we will be reading Mrs. Poe by Lynn Cullen. We will meet on July 21 to accommodate those attending Summer Institute.

If you have any questions you may contact Bonnie Harper.  All are welcome.

Spiritual Cinema – May 30, 2015

american_history_x_ver3Saturday May 30th at 6:00 pm  in Fessenden hall…we”ll be showing American History X,  a moving, powerful, drama of one man confronting his racist past in a attempt to save his younger brother from going down the same path….

WARNING…this film has graphic violence language, and  sexual situations.. and is not suited for people under the age of 17…No one will be permitted under that age without parental consent.

This movie is rated R …a short discussion will follow the movie….please feel free to bring  your favorite snacks to share…hope to see you there.