January 17, 2016 Issue of race, racism, systemic violence and oppression are front page news. For some this raises anxiety, for others it raises hope. What does it mean for us, a largely white, upper middle class congregation in McHenry County? What does it ask of us? How can we respond? What do we need to learn before we act?
January 10, 2016 There is a lot of encouragement in the media and popular culture right now to say “yes!” Memes and quotations urge us to greet life with a giant “yes.” But when is “no” appropriate? Can “no” be a sacred response as well? Is there a beauty in learning to say no?
December 24, 2015 7:00pm In this traditional Christmas Eve Service, we will light the candles, sing the carols, and remember the story of a holy night that changed the world.
January 3, 2015 We’ll talk about our resistance to change, even when we say we want it. Why do we do that? How can we break the pattern? Is it even worth trying? And, maybe most importantly, where is a good place to start?
December 27, 2015 Sometimes when things don’t go as we had expected, hope can show up in the strangest of places. We’ll explore the idea of allowing hope in anyway, even when it looks battered and bruised.
Thursday, December 17th, 2015 7 p.m. at Tree of Life
During the holidays, we often encounter expectations of jolliness and cheer that may not ring true. The pressure to act merry can make this time of year difficult. Grief, depression, poverty, and difficult family situations are just some of the things that can make the short days and long nights of winter particularly difficult.
This year at Tree of Life, we will offer a time to acknowledge some of the mixed feelings and pressures of the season. This “Blue December” service will focus on music, sharing, and the power of community to help us make it through hard times.
Join Tom Steffens, Cassandra Vohs-Demann, and Reverend Sean on Thursday, December 17th at 7 p.m. for this gentle, hopeful service.
December 20, 2015 The Wheel of the Year turns and we too turn with it, towards the light! Come and rejoice in the return of the Divine Light at this earth-centered Winter Solstice service. Worship will incorporate elements of ritual to celebrate the start of the solar year.
December is a month full of expectations. For some, those expectations are an inspiration and a joy. For others, this season includes much disappointment and sadness. In the busy rush of the season, I often find myself remembering the words of Rev.Mark Belletini who wrote, “Take care of yourselves as bodies, for you are a good gift.” In this hectic time—whether joyful of sad or some combination of both—I hope each of you will remember to take care of yourself. In that spirit, I offer you this calendar of care:
- December 1— Reflect for a moment on your greatest accomplishment.
- December 2—Take time to breathe deeply today.
- December 3— Take care of your body by eating three balanced, healthy meals.
- December 4— Give a compliment. (to yourself or another.)
- December 5— Find five minutes to sit still.
- December 6—Come to Tree of Life for “From What Remains,” a service about Hanukkah.
- December 7—Make two wishes: one for yourself and one for the world.
- December 8—Notice something beautiful and pay attention to it.
- December 9—Get a good night’s sleep.
- December 10—Play. Get out the dreidel or the playing cards, or go to the park.
- December 11—Make a date with someone you’ve been meaning to spend time with.
- December 12— Come to the Cookie Walk and indulge in some homemade sweetness.
- December 13—Come join us for a No-Rehearse Christmas Pageant at Tree of Life.
- December 14—Write down three things for which you feel grateful.
- December 15—Spend a few minutes just sitting with your eyes closed, listening.
- December 16—Make a phone call to someone you love.
- December 17—Acknowledge the grief that may also be present at the holidays. Come to our Blue Christmas Service at 7 pm.
- December 18—Give something away.
- December 19—Say “I love you” to yourself and mean it.
- December 20—Come to church to celebrate as the Wheel of the Year turns towards light. Fill your heart with song at the Holiday Concert at 4:30 pm.
- December 21—Tonight’s the longest night of the year. Revel in darkness.
- December 22—Look for a reason to smile, chuckle, even belly laugh! Do it!
- December 23— Say “yes” to something you’ve been wanting.
- December 24—Celebrate with us at the tradition candlelight Christmas Eve service, 7:00 pm
- December 25—Look for real gifts and say thank you.
- December 26— Make time to rest, relax, recover.
- December 27—Come to church and learn about Hope Where We Least Expect It.
- December 28—Be a secret giver now, when no one’s expecting it!
- December 29—Think about your hopes for the next year. Say “yes.”
- December 30— Listen to a song that reminds you of a favorite time. Let yourself linger in the memory.
- December 31—Say a tender good-bye to the old year and hello to the new.
For more resources for the December Soul Matters Theme, click here.
Love will guide us,