Family Movie Night this Friday

Family Movie Night Friday, March 23, 2018, 7:00 pm! 
Hosted by Green Sanctuary we will be showing WALL-E. Kid-friendly and serving snacks and refreshments. We will be watching on our brand new big screen television in the sanctuary! 
Wall-E, short for Waste Allocation Load Lifter  Earth-class, is the last robot left on Earth.   He spends his days tidying up the planet, one piece of garbage at a time.  But during the 700 years Wall-E has developed a personality, and he’s more than a little lonely.  Then he spots EVE, a sleek and shapely probe sent back to Earth on a scanning mission.  Smitten Wall-E embarks on his greatest adventure yet when he follows EVE across the galaxy.

Chili Cook-Off a Success

The competition was HOT at our Chili Cook-Off/ Pledge Drive Kickoff Sunday, March 18th but three emerged victoriously. Winners of the Tree of Life Unitarian Universalist Congregation in McHenry Chile Cook-off. From left to right Heather Madaus, mild; Karen Meyers, vegetarian and the trophy for most votes overall; and Patrick Kerin, hot. The Cook-off was the kick-off to the congregation’s annual Pledge Drive. It also raised over $400 for the Woodstock Community Ministry’s Direct Assistance Program, a long time church social service partner.

We will be collecting pledges from our dedicated members and friends for the next couple weeks. On Saturday, April 21st we will celebrate that dedication with a catered dinner and entertainment.

What is a pledge? A pledge is a promise of financial, time, and talent support to the church for the upcoming church year (July-June). All our members are required to pledge and we encourage all who are dedicated to the success of our congregation to also join in pledging. We base our budget, hiring plans, and programming dreams based on the pledge drive results.  If you would like to make a pledge or have questions, contact Judy in the office at 815-322-2464 or

Medicare for All Forum

Wednesday, March 7, 2018, 7:00 pm

Join the Tree of Life Social Justice Team as we screen a 40-minute documentary on our failing health care system and a possible fix. Following the film, we will have a panel of experts present their thoughts and take questions and comments in a moderated format.

Click Here to view a trailer for the movie.

Panel featuring:

 Dr. Peter Orris A founding member of Physicians for a National Health Plan and professor and chief of Occupational and Environmental Medicine for the University of Illinois Hospital and Health Sciences System. Dr. Orris has served as an adviser to many labor organizations, corporations, and nonprofit groups.

Dr. John Perryman A board certified pediatrician living in St. Charles, Ill. and practicing in Roscoe. IL.  With a keen interest in business Dr. Perryman is committed to reaching out to community and political groups, businesses, farmers, and labor organizations.

Ms. Donna Griffin-Lego With over 20 years of entrepreneurial and corporate experience in management, Ms. Griffin-Lego understands what it takes to run a business. She has also been a licensed in-Person counselor for the Affordable Care Act and will share stories of how Americans have been suffering because of our healthcare crisis.

Unitarian Universalists believe in the inherent worth and dignity of all people. Equality and dignity in living are necessary toward that goal. The skyrocketing costs of healthcare in the United States have forced many families into bankruptcy and even homelessness. We are, therefore, called to question the viability of our current system and look for solutions.

Chili Cook Off Lunch

Join us for this fun and yummy kick off for our annual pledge drive. Everyone is encouraged to attend even if you are brand new to Tree of Life. Here is how it works:

1. Have a great chili recipe? Enter to win the golden ladle trophy! Let Dave Dreyer know the name of your chili (the more unique the better) and what category you are entering it in (mild, hot, or vegetarian). or at church. Bring your entry with you Sunday morning in your crockpot. All toppings will be provided.

2. Stay after the service to sample chilis of every variety. You can vote for your favorites by purchasing beans. $1/bean, 6 for $5 or 12 for $10. The proceeds will go to Woodstock Area Community Ministeries (WACM) and their direct assistance program which provides monetary emergency assistance to those in need. There will be winners in the mild, hot and vegetarian categories and a grand prize winner for the most beans overall (People’s Choice).

3. We will hand out materials for this year’s Recommitment Drive to all members and interested friends. There will be a short 10-minute introduction of the drive and its theme.

Celebrating Life and Community Through Music: Javanese Music of the Gamelan

Sunday, March 18, 2018, 10:45 am

Join us for Worship Art’s program for creating a worship experience through music.  We’ll host a visit by the Friends of the Gamelan ensemble led by Alex Yoffe.    Alex has shared these inspired thoughts:  “I am so drawn to this music because of its communal nature:  all of the instruments are necessary and each person’s part is essential to completing the piece of music.  You need a community in order to play this music;  there is no concept of a soloist.   Experts can play alongside total beginners and they can create music together.  I think that is a very powerful concept.”

This is a wonderful opportunity to invite neighbors and friends to participate in a worship service that is both innovative and a celebration of the sacred within us – we come together to share the beauty and the joy that it inspires.

Jim Hecht Memorial Service

A memorial service will be held for Jim Hecht on Saturday, February 24, 2018 at 4:00pm. The service will be held at Blue Lotus Temple (the old home of this congregation) 221 Dean Street, Woodstock, IL. All are welcome. Please note that you will need to take your shoes off once you enter the temple.

Long time member, Jim Hecht passed away peacefully Monday, February 12, 2018 surrounded by his loving family and the spirit of Abraham Lincoln.

Condolences may be sent to:

The Family of Jim Hecht

c/o Tree of Life UU Congregation

5603 Bull Valley Rd.

McHenry, IL 60050


The family asks that memorials be sent to:

McHenry County Conservation District

18410 US Highway 14

Woodstock, IL 60098

Celebrating Life and Community Through Music: Eastern Europe and Japan

Sunday, February 18, 2018    10:45am  Worship Service

Join us for Worship Art’s  program for creating a worship experience through music.   Olya Prohorova from Moldova and Erina Koyasu have joined together to create a wonderful sound combination of flute and violin..

This is a wonderful opportunity to invite neighbors and friends to participate in a worship service that is both innovative and a celebration of the sacred within us  –  we come together to share beauty  and the joy that it inspires.

I Persisted – Or Did I?

Sunday February 11, 2018 10:45am

Lou Ness

Sometimes I can be like a terrier, once I sink my teeth into something, I never give up. Given the struggle to retain that part of ourselves that best reflect our better nature, do I persist or insist and is there a difference? When does persistence become rigidity, or the inability to be organic? More importantly when can this perseverance contribute to building relationships and what am I willing to surrender in order to choose a more inclusive path?

We welcome Lou Ness back to the pulpit. Lou is a favorite here with her wit and insights.

Life as We Know It

Sunday, February 4, 2018 10:45am

M.E. Tanabe

It’s always an inspiration to see the life of a flower take root and blossom in pavement cracks and on rocky slopes. We could view this display as the outcome of tremendous struggle – a survival against great odds – but from another perspective, this is also a joyful illustration of Life and the flower doing what they were made to do.

Heart Mindfulness Retreat and Workshop

Saturday, February 10, 12:45 – 4:30 pm                                                                                   

Advance registration is necessary  

Individual:    $20 if paid in advance ($25 if at the retreat)  

Family (2 or more people):  $30 ($40 if at retreat)

Scholarships are available

Come, take a break from winter – and maybe even bump up your levels of serotonin.   Although frequently imagined to be just a quiet sitting meditation, mindfulness is actually a dynamic and fully engaged way of going about life.   The mindfulness-based stress reduction programs of Jon Kabat-Zinn, are taught in hospitals around the world to help people deal with chronic physical and emotional pain and other health challenges.    His books, particularly Coming to Our Senses, and Full Catastrophe Living, are wonderful resources for understanding the how and the why of mindful living and in his writing, he encourages us to see that, through mindfulness practices, we develop an expanded awareness, and that this “awareness offers a safe haven in which to restore ourselves and rest in a vital and dynamic harmony, tranquility, creativity, and joyfulness.”

For our retreat and workshop, we will work on developing our “awareness” in a meditative environment and within the quiet stillness of shared practices.  Among the various exercises, we’ll work on sensory awareness,  qi gong movements, breath practices, and we’ll do some focused reflection.   There will also be suggestions for incorporating mindfulness into your daily activities.

Everyone is invited; no prior attendance or experience is necessary.  This program is open to the community and you may invite friends or family.  This program is suitable for youth, but probably a little challenging for very young children.   If you’re curious, Marc Stettner, Janet Burns, Irene Raven, or Linda Howanietz can offer insights into what they find beneficial about these practices.

In order to make arrangements for our space, an advance registration is necessary.   If you plan to attend, please let me or the office know by February 5.   The cost is $20 if paid in advance, and $25 if paid at the retreat. There’s a family discount $30 for 2 or more people with advance payment and $40 for 2 or more, paid at the retreat.   All proceeds will be donated to the newly created Member Care discretionary fund, to serve members of our community in need.   If you have questions or need more information, please feel free to contact me:,    phone   815 337 9895

Wishing you deep peace and joy,

M. E. (Emi) Tanabe

To register, please see me at church OR send me your intention and contact info.  All checks are made out to Tree of Life UU with “retreat” in the memo line.  Please, include your email address so that you can receive updates and reminders.  There are registration forms on the table in the fellowship room to give to Judy if I’m not available.