Sunday, October 14, 2018 10:45am

The Almost Rev. Kevin DeBeck

How does a person make up for a past wrong? What has to be done to get back into covenant with one another? The Almost Rev. Kevin DeBeck looks at what atonement meant for people in ages past and what it means to us today.

Soul Matters at Tree of Life: Being a People of Sanctuary

Usually we think of “sanctuary” as a place of safety and protection, but in this month’s Soul Matters theme we are invited to consider larger view possibilities.  One such view is offered by Parker Palmer:

“When I was a kid, “sanctuary” meant only one thing.  It was the big room with the stained-glass windows and hard wooden benches where my family worshipped every Sunday.  Church attendance was not optional for my sisters and me, so that sanctuary was where I learned to pray — pray that the service would end, and God would release me back into the wild.  

Today, after 77 years of life in a world that’s both astonishingly beautiful and horrifically cruel, “sanctuary” is as vital as breathing to me. Sometimes I find it in churches, monasteries, and other sites designated as sacred.  But more often I find it in places sacred to my soul:  in the natural world, in the company of a trustworthy friend, in solitary or shared silence, in the ambience of a good poem or good music.   Sanctuary is wherever I find safe space to regain my bearings, reclaim my soul, heal my wounds, and return to the world as a wounded healer.   It’s not merely about finding shelter from the storm: it’s about spiritual survival.”

The October Soul Matters packets offer materials to explore the meaning of “sanctuary” – as we consider how we experience it in our lives and how it is a part of our experience in community.   We use this theme for worship and for faith formation in our RE program and chalice circles.  The Soul Matters resource packet can be accessed here If you need a printed copy, please feel free to take one from those available in the fellowship room or ask for a copy, if they have all been taken.   You might also like to consider joining a chalice circle to share your insights and hear what others are saying – there are chalice circle flyers in the fellowship room with information about this program.

Wishing you joy in community,   M.E. Tanabe

October News from Our Minister

Greetings everyone. First of all, I want to thank all those who sent me good wishes before I went to Boston to visit the Ministerial Fellowship Committee at the end of September.  Your support and good feelings helped me achieve something that I’ve been working toward since starting seminary 4 years ago—becoming a fellowshipped minister with the UUA. Our congregational polity states that any church can ordain anyone they wish, regardless if a person is fellowshipped with the UUA or not. I chose to go through with that process because I want the sanction of our national governing body. Now that I’ve passed, I can become ordained.  When, how and where that happens remains to be seen. But I will keep you all up to date as that progresses. But for now, I can say that I’ve graduated from the Not Yet Rev. Kevin to Almost Rev. Kevin.

This month’s theme is Sanctuary. This past summer this church became a literal sanctuary to a family from Romania.  I was pleased to hear that they have all been reunited in Romania and that our church was a big help in keeping that family together. I’ve also been thinking about recent news events that have brought to light issues of white supremacy and toxic masculinity and the intersectionality of both. While no institution is free of either of these issues, my hope is that our church can be a sanctuary where we can talk about what white supremacy means and how it’s affected all of us. Perhaps by opening a dialog with each other, and eventually the wider world around us, we can find ways to heal each other from participating in a culture we didn’t ask for. Perhaps we can offer sanctuary to those who don’t want to partake in the institutions that prevent us from being our best selves, that find ways to prevent us from being fully human. As I mentioned during the window dedication, my hope is that we can be the beacon that can help heal a bruised and hurting world.

Almost Rev. Kevin DeBeck

Fall FUNdraising Auction is Coming!

We are kicking off our Fall FUNdraising Auction with this fun video.

Do you want your party on our next video? Now is your chance to let us know about it.

Soon we will announce our 5 raffle items that are sure to knock your socks off. Tickets will be $5 each or 5 for $20.

When is this awesome event you ask? Saturday, November 10th at 6pm.

What My Daughter Has Taught Me

Sunday, September 23, 2018 10:45am

On the occasion of his daughter’s 15th birthday, the Not Yet Rev. Kevin DeBeck talks about the lessons he’s learned from her and how they apply to society as a whole. On this Sunday, our Religious Education program begins again for the church year. We will honor the children moving up to new classes with a bridging ceremony during the service.

Our Vision – What’s Love Got To Do With It?

Sunday, September 30, 2018, 10:45am

Larry Dille, a member of this Church for over four decades, will deliver the message at our September 30th service.

Twenty years ago, Larry chaired the development of our Vision with 100% member participation. Larry will discuss how the words, thoughts, and dreams became a part of our Vision statement.

As a consultant, he helped many organizations develop their stated missions, values, and visions. Over the past decade many of these organizations have refocused their vision from a team to an individual orientation. Larry will share his thoughts on why that important shift is taking place.

During his business career, Larry was a key note speaker at scores of seminars from Singapore to Dubai, from Hawaii to Austria with many stops in Orrville, Ohio to replenish his Smucker’s jelly.

Those of us who heard Larry, last presentation two years ago when he was moving to Arizona will remember he made us feel, laugh, and think. Knowing Larry, he will do that same thing for us on September 30th.

Please come and welcome Larry back to our Church.

Growing In Community – Soul Matters at Tree of Life

Because the chalice is the UU symbol of the sacred aspect of worship and because listening to one another is a sacred act of community, Chalice Circle is the name we use at Tree of Life for this circle format of adult programming.

This type of program has been ongoing in our community since 2011.   We use the Soul Matters curriculum for our circles and Soul Matters themes now also guide worship services and RE programming.   Each month’s theme is our starting point for reflection, and then we gather to hear each other’s thoughts and questions.  The silent listening is a dynamic which enables the speakers to find empowered voices.   We often see that our own thoughts, questions, and journeys have much in common with our fellow human beings — and hearing the stories of others helps our own stories to appear with more clarity.   We develop the skills of holding others in awareness and of becoming  good listeners.

Irene Raven shares these thoughts about her experience:   “For me Chalice Circle is the most deeply spiritual practice available to us as UUs. Monthly engagement with a small group encourages me to love myself and to show love to others by engaging in the practice of deep listening. When I am heard without interruption or comment, my sense of worth increases. When I listen to others, giving them my full attention without comment or judgment, I show my love for them as well”   [i]full quote at bottom


In September our circles resume and will explore the theme of Vision.    All circles meet once a month with a maximum of 10 persons in each circle, and a minimum of 6.   On the back page is a list of the ongoing circles, but we are eager to start new ones as well.  It’s possible to have a circle meet in someone’s home if there is enough interest in a general location – such as Woodstock.

If you would like to hear how other people feel about this program, Sue Rekenthaler, Irene Raven, Marc Stettner, Sue McCowin, Leah Mikkelson, or Lisa Messinger would be happy to share their experiences.   If you’re unsure if this is for you, you are welcome to attend and then decide if you would like to continue.

If you have questions, comments, would like to sign up for a circle, or propose a different circle time, we would love to hear from you.   Feel free to contact us or talk to us in church.

  1. E. Tanabe Ph. 815 337 9895            and                                    Janet Burns     Cell  847 542 7678                                                             

Existing Circles meet monthly ,  some time/day changes are possible

2nd Sunday 9:00 – 10:00 am      

2nd Wednesday   1:30 – 2:30 pm

3rd Sunday 6:30 – 8:00 pm                     

                                      and we’re open for requests


“I suspect the most basic and powerful way to connect to another person is to listen.  Just listen.  Perhaps the most important thing we ever give each other is our attention… When people are talking, there’s no need to do anything but receive them”

— Rachel Naomi Remen


[i]  Irene Raven’s full quote:    For me Chalice Circle is the most deeply spiritual practice available to us as UUs. Monthly engagement with a small group encourages me to love myself and to show love to others by engaging in the practice of deep listening. When I am heard without interruption or comment my sense of worth increases. When I listen to others, giving them my full attention without comment or judgment, I show my love for them as well.


In addition, the monthly Soul Matters curriculum packets can act as my spiritual reading for the month, allowing me the opportunity to read and reflect and incorporate the theme and various suggestions throughout the month. I find it exciting and challenging to make this a part of my day.


Just as the practice of meditation hones our skill so we can be mindful in our daily life, the practice of deep listening in Chalice Circle helps us to develop and use the skill of attentive listening.  We are better able to give our family, friends and acquaintances the precious gift of our full attention in daily conversations. That is a precious gift to both the giver and the receiver.


Chalice Circle together with Soul Matters has made a very positive difference in my life, in my daily living, giving me better tools for engaging with my “neighbor” and with myself. I believe I am a much better person because of it. I believe I touch the “divine”  “



Waters of Life at Tree of Life

Sunday, September 9, 2018, 10:45am

Our In-gathering and Water Communion Service always marks the start of our church year. We celebrate coming back together by pouring out water from our summer experiences. Some families share water that they’ve saved from a special occasion or meaningful experience, others offer water that they’ve collected while traveling, and members also bring water that is symbolic of summer events or reflections. Combining the water is a ceremony that represents how time spent apart is now joined back together in community. We celebrate as our young people join in helping to create this sacred experience.

Animal Blessing

Sunday, August 26, 2018, 10:45am

Join us Sunday, August 26 for a special event – An Animal Blessing Service. Animals can be a source of joy, peace, strength and so much more in our lives. So we will pause to bless them in return. Join us to celebrate the interdependent web of creatures great and small. We invite you to bring your furry, feathered, or scaled, etc. friends to join our service. Or if it is more suitable, bring a photo. We will celebrate this extension of Beloved Community and together we’ll share this meaningful time of blessing!