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

m.e.tanabe@comcast.net                                                                       janetrugi@yahoo.com

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!

Beloved Community and Quantum Change

Group of people around the world. Chalk drawing.

Sunday, August 12, 2018, 10:45am

M.E. Tanabe

Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr once said, “Our goal is to create a beloved community and this will require a qualitative change in our souls as well as a quantitative change in our lives.”  Beloved community is a powerful  force – change within us is necessary to make it come about and those changes are what give it strength and momentum.  To offer the radical hospitality  of  lovingly accepting others, we are called make such changes and live such a life.

Offering Radical Hospitality

Sunday, August 5, 2018, 10:45am

Voices of Tree of Life (maybe yours)

To offer radical hospitality, we need to be sure we are the radical community who can do it. Rev. Rosemary Bray McNatt reminds us, “We cannot create radical change in the world…if we are only hanging out with one another…. We can create radical change only with radical engagement…” The fullness of our beloved community is found in our learning to listen with non-judgmental attention and to speak with words that are kind and welcoming. We’ll each be a part of the worship message. In small groups we’ll take on big questions — carefully listening to what others have to say and gently exploring how we and our own thoughts are important to the community. This service is designed to be welcoming to all ages — how life affirming to invite sharing from all generations!

Tree of Life Hosts Peter Mayer

Saturday, October 20, 2018 7:00pm Concert at First Congregational Church 461 Pierson St, Crystal Lake, IL 60014
Tickets are $20 in advance  on Brown Paper Tickets click here 
or pay $25 at the door.
Sunday, October 21, 2018 10:45am Worship Service at Tree of Life UU Congregation 5603 Bull Valley Rd., McHenry, IL 60050

Peter Mayer writes songs for a small planet—songs about interconnectedness and the human journey; about the beauty and mystery of the world. Whimsical, humorous, and profound, his music breaks the boundaries of “folk”, and transcends to a realm beyond the everyday love song, to a place of wonder at the very fact of life itself.

Peter began playing the guitar and writing songs when he was in high school. In college he studied theology and music, and then spent two years in seminary. Afterward he took a part-time job as a church music director while performing at clubs and colleges, and writing and recording his music. In 1995, he quit his job and started performing full-time. Since then, Peter has gradually gained a dedicated, word-of-mouth following, playing shows from Minnesota to Texas, New England to California. He has ten albums to his credit, and has sold over 80 thousand of them independently.

To sample Peter’s music http://petermayer.net/music/

“Peter Mayer is a magician…(his) universe is full of metaphor and meaning, story and symbol — everything contains more than meets the eye.”
— Bill Reed, music editor, Colorado Springs Gazette

“His guitar work is breath-taking, his lyrics mind-spinning, his singing soul-soothing and his feet-on-the-ground optimism nothing short of healing.”
–Marilyn Rea-Beyer, music director, WUMB Radio, Boston

“Peter Mayer makes it look easy – beautifully crafted songs that pose eternal questions — his arrangements make it sound like there is certainly more than one man and his guitar in the XM Satellite Radio studios.”
–Mary Sue Twohy, XM Radio

“He is unafraid of complicated topics and always strives to look beyond the easy sentiment…Peter does nothing less than address the very nature of our existence…Trust me, most songwriters can’t pull this off. Peter Mayer does.”
–Dale Connelly, Morning Show Host, MinnesotaPublic Radio

“Mayer’s songs are crafted like shaker furniture, with no place for superfluous embellishments or throwaway lines… (his) world is bright and hopeful and the transcendent nature of his lyrics…explore the mysteries of life…Mayer’s fluid, clean, and tremendously intriguing guitar playing is topped with warm, rich vocals. This is music for the soul.”
–Acoustic Guitar Magazine

There are at least a dozen Peter Mayer songs that I would love to learn myself, but I could never play them as well as he does.”
–David Wilcox, Singer/Songwriter

“I’m a huge Peter Mayer fan, but only when I don’t feel like killing him for being so good. I love Peter’s work, though it irritates me that he plays so much better than I do. If I rocked half as hard as Peter does, I’d own the world by now.”
–Janis Ian, Singer/Songwriter

“Peter delivers contemporary folk music in it’s highest form: Intelligent without being bombastic–empathetic, always fresh and with wit and fantastic melodies. And his guitar playing is top tier.”
–Uncle Calvin’s Coffeehouse, Dallas, TX

“Mayer’s appealing guitar style (is) alternately percussive, rhythmic, melodic, or all of the above. In Mayer’s capable hands the instrument sounds like a calliope one moment, an orchestra the next and then a cleanly picked guitar ala Dave Van Ronk… Mayer is a performer at the top of his game who knows that the secret to living in a world of perplexing questions is enjoying the search for answers.”
–David Kleiner, Minor Seventh Reviews

“Mayer offers up everything you could ever want from a singer/songwriter.”
–Dirty Linen Magazine

“This native of Minnesota is a master storyteller.”
–Folk Roots Magazine

A Box of Chocolates

Sunday, July 29, 2018, 10:45am

Dr. Gina Swinney

Throughout our lives, if we are blessed, we find someone to turn to for counsel, advice, or just to offer a listening ear as we process our thoughts and feelings. Sometimes, if we are blessed, we are that trusted person for someone else. We listen to words with our ears, but we listen to wisdom with our souls. What defines wisdom? How do we know when we are in its presence?