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Encyclopedia of Cleveland History

WEST SHORE UNITARIAN-UNIVERSALIST CHURCH

WEST SHORE UNITARIAN-UNIVERSALIST CHURCH

The WEST SHORE UNITARIAN-UNIVERSALIST CHURCH, an offshoot of the First Unitarian Church organized in 1867, is one of a pair of Unitarian churches on the city's extreme east and west sides. The West Shore Church began its independent existence with a series of lectures given by the minister of First Unitarian (then at Euclid and E. 82nd St.), Rev. Everett M. Baker, in 1945 at the Lakewood Community Ctr. Following these lectures, open houses were held by west side Unitarians in an attempt to foster interest in beginning a church. From these attempts, West Shore Unitarian Church was formally organized 20 Mar. 1946. For the first 7 years, the congregation met in rented or borrowed rooms in LAKEWOOD and ROCKY RIVER. In 1950 property was purchased at Northview and Hilliard Rds. in Rocky River, and a small building was completed in 1952. Membership grew from the initial 110 at the preliminary lectures to over 300 in 1950. This growth necessitated the continued use of rented space throughout the 1950s. In 1961 ground was broken for an enlarged building and sanctuary, which were dedicated in 1962. Growth in membership continued through the 1960s and reached over 900 by mid-decade. By the early 1980s, membership had returned to the 600-700 range. The church supported numerous cultural and social organizations and activities as well as an active and large church school program and child care center. Four ministers have served the church since its founding, each active in community affairs: Revs. Wayne Shuttee, Peter H. Samsom, Jas. Curtis, and currently, David Cole. In 1995 two ministers, Rev. Marjorie Skwiri and Rev. Michael McGee, served the membership, which stood at 645.