ABOUT

People like you, with values like yours:

Inclusion, faithfulness, compassion.

Vision & Values

Vision

Come: you are welcome, wherever you are in life. (“For you are all one in Jesus Christ” (Galatians 3:28). We are an Open and Affirming Church and as such, welcome people of all ages, abilities, stages of faith, racial and cultural backgrounds, sexual orientations, gender identities, family structures, marital and economic statuses to participate fully in the life, leadership, ministry and mission of this church.)

Stay: celebrate, explore, and connect with God, each other, and yourself. (“And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers” (Acts 2:42). Deepen your experience of God through faith formation for all ages, prayer, worship, worKship, and fellowship by living out the great commandment to “love God, love your neighbor, and love yourself.” (Matthew 22:36-40; Mark 12:30-34; Luke 10:27))

Go: actively share God’s love, fearlessly champion social justice, and faithfully serve God’s Creation. (“…for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me.” (Matthew 25:35-36) Individually and collectively, share the love and light of God by supporting and lifting up each other. Work toward a world where systems are fair and equitable to all … a just peace. Be good stewards of all creation as Jesus taught.)

Values

Through the power of the Holy Spirit, and in accordance with God’s covenant with us, we individually and collectively covenant to:

  • Value, honor and accept all people
  • Nurture spiritual wellness, growth, love and joy through worship, education, fellowship and service
  • Extend our faith into the community and the world by living the example of Jesus Christ through word and deed
  • Empower the community of faith to promote justice, mercy and peace as taught in the Bible

This intentional path is anchored in our commitment to create an inclusive community of faith where we follow the guidance in Galatians 3:28 – “there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female, for all of us are one in Christ Jesus.”

ONA

What is Open and Affirming (ONA)?

Open and Affirming (ONA) is the United Church of Christ’s (UCC) designation for congregations, campus ministries, and other bodies in the UCC which make a public covenant of welcome into their full life and ministry to persons of all sexual orientations, gender identities, and gender expressions. Click here for more information about ONA from the UCC.

In October 2016, we enthusiastically voted to become an ONA church and adopted the following covenant intended to a pledge of extravagant welcome to all:

Middleburg Heights Community United Church of Christ affirms that every person has worth as a unique creation made in the image of God and that, as Christians, we should follow the command of Jesus Christ to love all people. We recognize, celebrate and give thanks for the many diverse God-given gifts among us. We welcome people of all ages, abilities, stages of faith, racial and cultural backgrounds, sexual orientations, gender identities, family structures, marital and economic statuses to participate fully in the life, leadership, ministry and mission of this church. We believe through our diversity, we become stronger as a congregation and can grow and practice a faith that transcends our differences, enabling us to become a faithful community of worship and service.

the ucc

The United Church of Christ (UCC) is a distinct and diverse community of Christians that come together as one church to join faith and action.  With over 5,000 churches and nearly one million members across the U.S., the UCC serves God in the co-creation of a just and sustainable world.  The UCC is a church of firsts, a church of extravagant welcome, and a church where “…they may all be one” (John 17:21). More from the UCC website here.

You can find us on the corner of Bagley Road and Big Creek Parkway in Middleburg Heights.

7165 Big Creek Parkway
Middleburg Heights, OH 44130

Plan
Your Visit

Worship with us on Sundays at
8:30 AM and 10:30 AM.

At our 8:30 service, we celebrate Holy Communion* each week in a quieter, more intimate service.

Our 10:30 service includes a children’s message and vibrant music from one of our groups. Communion is also taken on the first Sunday of the month. In addition, our Nursery is staffed by our CPR and first aid-certified caregiver during the 10:30 service, and faith-filled learning opportunities are available for children and teens. From September through June, an ASL interpreter signs for our hearing impaired friends at the 10:30 service.

*We believe all people of faith are welcome at Christ’s table.

We have ample parking available, with plenty of handicap spaces. Sunday visitors, there are spots just for you near our entrance! Just look for the signs near the fence and garage.

what's it like here?

We are an energetic, progressive and multi-generational gathering of people who seek to follow Jesus and be his heart, hands and feet in this world. Expect to find friendly folks of all ages and life stages – lots of different kinds of families, dressed in whatever they feel is comfortable for worship. The music tends to be more traditional: choir, organ, hymnals. Our messages are bold, justice-centered, and uplifting. We value creativity in worship, so you never know if there’ll be dramatic readings, live painting, or even a balloon drop!

Get to know us

Our Staff

Pastor Vicki McGaw

Vicki McGaw

Pastor

Vicki McGaw joined the staff of MHCUCC in July 2012 as part of a transitional faith formation team and was called as the pastor in November 2013. She brings her passion for justice, extravagant welcome and multi-sensory worship to her ministry. A graduate of Eden Theological Seminary and Michigan State University who has worked on the national staff of the United Church of Christ, Vicki also brings administrative and financial skills developed in her previous career as a bank manager. 

She and her husband, Mike, proudly raised a daughter and son. The couple live in Lakewood and enjoy traveling.

Michele Kanaris

Michele Kanaris

Children's ministries coordinator

Michele, a member since 2007 and lifelong member of the UCC, joined the staff in August 2018. Before that, Michele served on MHCUCC’s Board of Education and the Governance Board. She also volunteered in positions related to our children and families, including teaching Sunday School, co-leading our kids’ clubs and assisting in the nursery.

Michele and her husband live in Middleburg Heights with two sons and their Shepherd, Jake. She is passionate about providing a foundation for our children where they can grow in their faith while learning to serve others with the hope they will become strong, compassionate future leaders.

Judy Hammer

Youth Ministries Coordinator

Judy Hammer joined the MHCUCC staff in September 2019. She has spent her professional career as an educator and administrator in higher education, yet felt called later in life to earn a degree in pastoral counseling at Ohio Christian University. She feels blessed to be a part of the MHCUCC church family and to have an opportunity to interact with the youth, who are the future of our church.
 
Judy lives in Strongsville with her husband, Matty, and their two puppy babies, Lulu and Strudel, who are trained therapy dogs. Whenever the weather permits, Matty and Judy cruise country roads on their motorcycle.
Jarred Sorauf

Jarred Sorauf

Director of Music

Jarred is from Dayton, Ohio, and lives in Westlake. As an organist, Jarred has performed in concert series in churches throughout the Cleveland area, and toured historic instruments in Europe, including the Chapel of São Miguel at the University of Coimbra, Portugal, and the Church of Saint-Sulpice and the Cathedral of Notre-Dame in Paris.

Jarred teaches Piano Skills classes at Cleveland State University, from which he holds a Masters of Music Degree, with graduate studies in organ and choral conducting from The Cleveland Institute of Music, plus a Bachelors in Music from Wittenberg University, and the CAGO level of certification through The American Guild of Organists.

Amanda Zuehlke

Amanda Zuehlke

Congregational life coordinator

Amanda joined the staff in November 2016, and currently is our communications person, Vicki’s assistant, and “Jane of all trades”. With nearly 25 years of experience in design and marketing, she enjoys using these skills in ministry.
 
Amanda and James live with their two teen daughters in North Olmsted. The family loves exploring Cleveland, especially its amazing metropark system and growing foodie culture.
Alicia Hoskinson

Alicia Hoskinson

administrative coordinator

Alicia has over 20 years of experience in office management and program development, much of that with nonprofits. She joined the MHCUCC staff in May 2018 and handles all the front office duties. She is a graduate of Cleveland State University.

Alicia has two grown daughters and four grandchildren. She is married to Kevin, and they reside in Berea. Alicia loves morning walks and is a certified yoga instructor.

Michelle Heffke

Michelle Heffke

Financial Secretary

Michelle graduated from Cleveland State University in 1998 with a Bachelors of Business Administration, majoring in Finance. 

She is married to Steven, and they are very busy with their two young boys. Michelle enjoys gardening and volunteers by helping to maintain our church gardens. She loves to spend time with her family playing and watching sports. Michelle’s parents and twin sister also attend MHCUCC, so church is definitely a family value!

Gary Canute

Gary Canute

Facilities Manager

Gary is a graduate of Midpark High School and worked in the machine trades for over 30 years before coming to MHCUCC. On a typical day, you can find Gary setting up a room for a rental or meeting, coordinating maintenance of something on our campus, or juggling a number of odd tasks and solving issues that pop up at the last moment.

Gary and June live in Parma and are very involved with their grandkids and extended family. Gary loves fishing and hunting on their property in northern Canada.

Our faith family

Cramers
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As a mother of two young girls, Katie Cramer was particularly pleased to find a female pastor who boldly interprets the gospel each week. “This is the kind of role model I want my daughters to have.” As someone with many doubts, the sense of belonging helps her to feel comfortable to ask questions and trust she is supported.

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“When I joined, I found a church that’s mission-oriented,” remarked Tom Ropas, who joined his wife in membership in 1979, “and we’ve just built on that.” Many of their stories are connected to volunteering in a variety of ministries and missions through the church. “You only get out of something what you put into it,” says Lorraine Ropas.

The Uhls
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Sandy and George Uhl say their faith has grown “tremendously” throughout their years here. “There isn't an end point. We're continuing to evolve,” says Sandy, with George adding that the UCC slogan ‘God is still speaking’ is important. “We can bring ideas to each other.”

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One important reason Athena Mericsko and Melissa Zagata chose to become members in 2017 was their son, Henry. “He's already a member of the community, even if he doesn't know it yet,” Melissa says. “He's going to grow up with these values.”

the campus

Our church has multiple spaces available for rent by members or non-members for a one-time event or ongoing meetings. We host support groups, classes, parties, and other events frequently. Our most popular space is Fellowship Hall, which can be used whole or in two different partitions. Download our guidelines and rates, and please call our office for more information.

Our entire Fellowship Hall being used for a luncheon after a WorKship Sunday.
Fellowship Hall 2
Fellowship Hall 2 (FH2) set up to host a class.
Fellowship Hall 1
Fellowship Hall 1 (FH1) set up to host a workshop.
Kitchen
Our commercial-grade kitchen has a center island and lots of counter space.
Kitchen
We have gas-burning stoves, ovens, convection ovens, and a capacious refrigerator.
Kitchen
There are sinks at both ends of the kitchen, and a large serve-through window.

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© Copyright 2020-21 Middleburg Heights Community United Church of Christ. All rights reserved.