We remember Bob Tirk

We’re so sad to announce that long-time member, Bob Tirk, passed early Tuesday, July 3, 2018. He was such a special person and loved by all whose paths he crossed. Please raise a glass (gin preferred) in his honor today.

Robert “Bob” James Wescott Tirk was born May 29, 1943 in Boston, MA, the son of James Wescott and Marguerite (Greb) Wescott. James Wescott died while serving in the Coast Guard during World War II. Marguerite married Richard “Dick” E. Tirk, who adopted Bob at age 4. Bob grew up in New York and also spent time with the Greb family in Wisconsin.

Bob graduated from Briarcliff High School (NY) and was one of many family members to attend Lawrence University in Appleton, WI, where he majored in music education. There he met fellow music student Ann Uber, who was performing the opera double bill of Gianni Schicchi and Die Fledermaus. Bob and Ann married in her hometown of Hartford, WI on June 19, 1965 and spent 53 happy years together.

Bob and Ann both taught in McHenry County where he served as a music educator for 29 years in Huntley, Woodstock, and Marengo. Early in their teaching careers, they lived on farms in Woodstock where they raised pigs, chickens, and got into the hay baling business. In Marengo, Bob took his band students on many grand adventures including trips to California, Florida, and Churchill, Manitoba. After retirement, he continued to teach part time and worked for the Marengo Park District where he created the “Summer with the Arts” program and helped to build the town pool. As if those activities weren’t enough, Bob enjoyed many hobbies including ham radio, model railroading, family history, National Park stamp collecting, bee keeping, and serving as a den mother for his son’s Cub Scout Pack.

After Bob’s time at the Park, he returned to teaching with Ann at Huntley. Once Ann and Bob both retired, they continued their travels visiting all 50 states, Mexico, and all but one of the Canadian Provinces hauling their fifth wheel (except for Hawaii). At home in Woodstock and Florida, Bob enjoyed singing with several barbershop groups, the Tree of Life Church Choir, and the Unitarian Universalist Church of Sarasota Choir. He was an expert chef at Dutch Oven Gatherings, for P.A.D.S. and Compassion for Campers, and for his grandchildren who loved his bacon and pancakes. Always up for a party, Bob loved Friday night fish fries, hot dog roasts, and any opportunity to gather with his family and friends.

He is survived by his beloved wife Ann, his daughter Liz (Brian) Yanoff, Niskayuna, NY; his son Richard (Suzanne) Tirk, Norman, OK; his brother Kirby (Veronica) Tirk of West Chester, PA; and grandchildren Eliana and Jacob Yanoff and Simon and Malia Tirk.

The family thanks the many friends and medical professionals who have helped care for Bob and Ann during his illness. A visitation will be held 7-8:30PM on July 20th. A celebration of Bob’s life will be held on July 21st at 2:00PM. Both will be held at the Tree of Life Unitarian Universalist Congregation, 5603 W. Bull Valley Rd. McHenry, IL 60050. In lieu of flowers, donations in Bob’s name can be made to Tree of Life Unitarian Universalist Congregation or Land Conservancy of McHenry County, 4622 Dean St. Woodstock, IL 60098.

Guitar Duo at Tree of Life

Celebrating Life through Music: Wisdom of Spirit

Sunday, July 22, 2018 10:45am

It is a summer of music at Tree of Life. Classical guitarists Bert Lams and Fabio Mittino will present a program of music from their album “Long Ago” during the worship service at Tree of Life on Sunday, July 22nd as M.E. Tanabe weaves a message of community and wisdom. The songs on “Long Ago” were composed by G.I. Gurdjieff and Thomas De Hartmann, and arranged for two steel-string acoustic guitars by Bert and Fabio.

Fabio is from Italy, and began his study of classical guitar at age 13. In 1998, he attended a Guitar Craft course presented by renowned English guitarist Robert Fripp. Since then, he has continued studying and playing with the Guitar Craft technique.

Bert is originally from Belgium. In 1984, he graduated with honors from the Royal Conservatory of Music in Brussels, where he studied classical guitar. Shortly after that, he became involved with Robert Fripp and his Guitar Craft school, which is how he and Fabio eventually met. More information about the guitar duo and a sample of their beautiful music can be found at http://www.mittinolams.com/

Gurdjieff was a philosopher of Russian/Armenian descent who had the remarkable gift of remembering music he had heard during his travels in Asia and the Middle East: Armenian songs, Hindu melodies, Kurdish melodies, an Orthodox Hymn, Sayyid dances, and others. Many years later he sang and played the melodies to Russian composer Thomas De Hartmann; together they created over 300 pieces between 1918 and 1927.

A major part of Gurdjieff’s teachings stemmed from his belief in movement as a form of meditation; as a result, much of his music was originally intended as accompaniment for choreographed, meditative group dances. But these compositions are not “dance music” as we generally think of it— the mood they create is one of quiet, calm, and contemplation. The music may seem simple, with short pieces that lack any pretension to elaborate formal construction, yet it often turns in unexpected directions, revealing itself as powerful, fascinating and deeply affecting. De Hartmann described it thusly: “Listening to this music, one was touched to the depth of his being.”


Worship Through Music

Sunday, July 8, 2018, 10:45am

Cassandra Vohs-Demann has been a professional musician, songwriter and coach for over 25 years. She believes in sharing her gifts to build community through the arts. Today she will bring those musical gifts to Tree of Life and help all of us build community through music.

As a voice coach, Cassandra is in high demand and loves to feed her passion for teaching in her home studio in Woodstock. Recently, she began rehearsing a new band with fellow musicians Rich Prezioso,  Joe Pesz & Jim Seidel. Their debut performance as a group will be a feature concert sponsored by Offsquare Music at the Stage Left Cafe’ in Woodstock, IL on July 27th.  Cassandra is currently working on an original screenplay as well as several other creative projects.  She hopes to record a new album of original music in 2019.  Cassandra founded the Woodstock Community Choir and continues to function as the artistic director. The choir has recently been recognized as the official city choir of Woodstock. Cassandra co-hosts a monthly Songwriter/Poetry Open Mic at the Stage Left Cafe’ in Woodstock partnering with Offsquare Music to give original artists a platform to share their work. She also started the Ukulele Superhero Club.  Women playing ukuleles! In 2017, she collaborated  with producer John Hegner to record an original song written to help promote the Food Shed CoOp in McHenry County.  Cassandra is excited to step back into performing more regularly and having the opportunity to share her music.   www.aplacetoshinemusic.com.

Cookie Walk in July


  • Is it too early to make cookies?   YES     
  • Well then, what can I do?

*Mark your calendar for DECEMBER 8, 2018

*Go through your old holiday decor and box up the “must-goes”

*Contact the office to get on the guest list of helpers/bakers

*Start looking at recipes – even practice!


*This year we are adding a special shopping experience which will highlight the artists of TOLUCC.  If you knit, crochet, throw pots, fuse glass, quilt, woodwork, make purses, bead……  we would love a sample of your work; one nice piece with a good fair price on it.  Items will be sold in a special gift shop and priced in the $10 and up range.

Please help make this event a FUNdraiser and join in!

Karen and Randy Meyer

Buddhist Perspectives on Wisdom: Who, What, Where, and How

Sunday, July 1, 2018, 10:45am

Rev. Ach. Christopher Trent

What is wisdom? It is the fruit of cultivation. 2600 years ago, the enlightened Shakyamuni Buddha taught for some 80 odd years, delivering, so it is told, 84,000 lessons. They all boil down to this: “Nothing whatsoever in this world should be clung to as “I” or “Mine”. — Buddhadasa Bhikkhu Reverend Acharya Christopher Trent, (Visuddhi) is an ordained Buddhist lay-minister and Dharma teacher. Currently, he serves as the liaison between the Blue Lotus Buddhist Temple and Meditation Center in Woodstock Illinois and FaithBridge. He teaches classes, offers Dharma-talks and facilitates meditation retreats, locally, and also at Heartwood Refuge and The Embracing Simplicity Hermitage and Contemplative Order in Hendersonville North Carolina.


Green Sanctuary Movie Night Presents Straws

The Green Sanctuary committee of TOLUUC invites you for a viewing of the currently relevant film “Straws,” by Linda Booker, Friday, June 22 at 7:00 p.m. A 32 minute documentary, this acclaimed film highlights the impact our use of plastics, particularly straws, has on our environment.   A discussion and Q&A will follow the viewing with invited guests Cynthia Kanner, Executive Director of the Environmental Defenders of McHenry County and board member Joe Starzynski. We will be providing popcorn, water and soft drinks and welcome you to bring adult beverages and snacks.

And You Shall Be a Blessing

Sunday, June 24, 2018 10:45am

Rabbi Maralee Gordon

Abraham is told by God in Genesis 12, “Be a blessing!” What does it mean to be a blessing? Rabbi Gordon will explore how through recognizing our blessings and blessing others with our attention we can be a blessing.


Cancelled -Pressure Cooking 101

This class was cancelled due to low registration.



Wednesday, June 13, 2018, 6:00pm to 8:30pm

Tree of Life Social Justice Team is proud to sponsor this event by Food Shed Co-op in the Tree of Life kitchen.

In this class, you will learn why pressure cooking is one of the hottest kitchen trends right now – and why it’s not going away! All skill levels are welcome – from experienced, to those who are thinking about buying a pressure cooker – the class will use both electric (such as Instant Pot) and stove top cookers to cook a complete meal. The meal includes beef short ribs, butternut squash risotto, sweet and sour cabbage, and mini fudge cakes. Recipes and class notes will be provided to all class participants.
If you have a pressure cooker that you’d like to bring to class and learn how to use, please note this with registration. We will try to use your cooker in class, if possible.
This class is taught by Andrea Pracht of My Kitchen Clatter. Andrea lives in Crystal Lake and teaches all sorts of real food cooking classes in the northwest Chicago suburbs. She has been teaching pressure cooking for five years and loves sharing her pressure cooking skills with her students.
Registration is required and is $30 per attendee. http://www.foodshed.coop/pressure_cooking_101

To Be a Blessing

Sunday, June 17, 2018

M.E. Tanabe

When we recognize our blessings and feel how they fill us, we make space for blessings to overflow onto others.  Henri J. M Nowen shares these thoughts on the power of offering a blessing:  To give someone a blessing is the most significant affirmation we can offer.   It is more than a word of praise or appreciation; it is more than pointing out someone’s talents or good deeds; it is more than putting someone in the light.   To give a blessing is to affirm, to say “yes” to a person’s Belovedness.