Western Crescent Choir Festival – Sunday, April 10 at 4pm

This Sunday, April 10, at 4pm, our Adult Choir will participate in the annual Western Crescent Choir Festival. This year, the concert will be held at the Rockford Unitarian Universalist Church, 4848 Turner St., in Rockford, Il 61107.

This is the third year our choir has participated in this festival that is open to the public.  In addition to  our Adult Choir, the concert will feature singers from neighboring UU choirs west of Chicago, including the Unitarian Universalist Church of Rockford, Elgin Unitarian Universalist Church, Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of DeKalb and the Unitarian Universalist Church of Geneva. Each choir will perform 3 songs. The concert ends with a 75 voice mass choir preforming several classic choral works. The concert will last about 90 minutes. To provide time for even more fellowship and celebration, the concert will be followed by a light supper.

A free-will offering will be collected at this event. We hope you will come and support us and our neighboring UU churches in this inspiring and enjoyable musical outreach events.Western Crescent choir festival

Minister’s Mind: Creation

April is here and it’s already been wild. Thundersnow and blustery winds, sunshine and daffodils–sometimes at the same time! Living in the prairie midwest is exciting, beautiful, and sometimes strange. The seasons are a paradox of predictability and surprise. There is never a lack of things to experience, witness, and talk about in our little corner of creation.

We’ve already been busy here at Tree of Life, with the amazing Haystack’s Coffee House, our clean-up day that made the building sparkle, and The Church of Vivaldi: Spring filling our sanctuary and our souls with beautiful music. And we have so much to look forward to: April 10th’s service (by members of the Worship Arts Team) about Feeding Your Creative Spirit,  the Western Crescent Choir Festival that same afternoon in Rockford, and on the 17th. an Earth Day service that includes one of our favorite traditions: the Flower Ceremony.

We will also be celebrating our Sesquicentennial (that’s 150 years!) the weekend of April 23 – 24th. The weekend will include a tour of our former building (now the Blue Lotus Temple in Woodstock,) an Open House at our current location with displays about the congregation’s history, a Gala Dinner and Celebration with music from each decade, and a Sunday Service and Celebration with special guest preacher, Rev. Barbara Merritt, who served the congregation from 1975 to 1982.

As we hope you have heard, April also marked the launch of our new Year-Round Giving process. The first letters have gone out and the first pledge has been received! Our hope is to emphasize generosity, gratitude, and community by shifting our focus and our process. Each month, we will be in conversation with approximately one twelfth of the congregation, communicating the congregation’s needs and vision and asking for a pledge of financial support. As pledges come in, volunteer Pledge Captains will acknowledge and thank our givers personally and follow-up by hosting a small thank you event that will do something else that means a lot to our members: create an opportunity to build relationships and community.

The most important question we can ask ourselves and each other is “What would be missing if there were no Tree of Life Congregation?” What would be missing in our own lives, in the communities around us, and in the world?The answer to this question helps clarify the purpose and mission that Tree of Life already fulfills. It may also help us see what is missing—how we could be even more connected and relevant as we move forward.

We hope the Year-Round Giving process will be a positive and creative way to help people understand how important Tree of Life is in their lives and the larger community and respond by giving. We also hope that the changes we’ve made will relieve some anxiety and free up a lot of volunteer time and energy for other fun projects and programs. We will be evaluating the new process regularly and “tweaking” as we learn what is most effective and meets the needs of the congregation. We’re approaching the changes as a grand experiment based on research and “best practices” in the not-for-profit and church fundraising world.

April will also be a full month for me, as I travel to the first-ever Retreat for Transgender UU Religious Professionals. This is an event that several of us have been working to make happen for almost fifteen years. Of the 32 transgender religious professionals we are aware of in the UUA, 18 will be attending, along with 2 UUA staff members and an outside facilitator. I will be in California from April 9 – 16 for this event.

This month is full of so many good things–music, celebration, history, creativity, and community! Let’s celebrate together!

Love Will Guide Us,


Rev. Sean



For the Earth Forever Turning

Sunday April 17, 2016 10:45am

Michelle Lattanzio and Misha Sanders, the Intern Ministers

Spring has sprung and it’s time for the Flower Ceremony! Please join your intern ministers, Misha Sanders and Michelle Lattanzio, for a service celebrating the beauty of spring through one of our unique Unitarian Universalist traditions. This service will also celebrate Earth Day, a day for honoring the Earth as our beloved home as well as a source of spiritual strength. Please remember to bring a flower or two from your gardens for the flower exchange!

Feeding Your Creative Soul

Sunday April 10, 2016 10:45am

The Worship Arts Team

We are all creative, sometimes we just need a little inspiration to get things started. Join us as members of the Worship Arts team share ways in which we can all access our creative sides. We will create a mandala together as we explore the ways in which we can release our inner artists.

Social Justice at Tree of Life


The end of the PADS nightly shelter season is rapidly approaching.  Once again Tree of Life will be hosting Monday picnics for our camping friends.  Our first picnic will be held May 9th at the PADS headquarters on Kishwaukee Valley Rd in Woodstock.  This season, Judy Mullen will be assisting me with scheduling volunteers and coordinating our partnering church friends.

Think about what Monday your committee, home school group, clan, friends, would like to bring lunch and fellowship to our homeless neighbors.

A sign up sheet will be posted in the social room along with our purple bin for donations of personal care items, canned goods, bug spray, bottled water, socks, coffee, and paper products.

You will be hearing more about this program through out the summer.  This is our 5th season to put our faith in action.  And it is also a fun way to spend a Monday lunch time!


Many of you are aware that the city of Woodstock has opened up the old firehouse off of the Square for use as a daytime drop in center for the county homeless.  They have the opportunity for a shower, free haircut, lunch, a warm place to be, opportunity to meet with local social service agencies, and a safe place to be out of the elements.  The goal is to have the building open more than just one day a week and to expand services.  Volunteers are needed to work one of the 3 hour shifts during the day.  Currently the center is open from 8am until 6pm every Wednesday. I have been volunteering since February.  More volunteers are needed.  Please talk to me if you would like more information about this program.


Please read the insert in this week’s church bulletin regarding a request from Garden Quarter to help their students participate in the Human Race fundraiser on April 24th.

If you have any questions on any of these opportunities, please contact me.

Sue Rekenthaler



New Member Orientation

Date: Saturday, May 14th 9am-12pm

As Unitarian Universalists we believe that learning is a never ending process.  Whether you are new to the Tree of Life or have been coming a while we want to offer you the opportunity to learn more about Unitarian Universalism and more about how the Congregation works

Childcare is available upon request

  • To register. Send an email to stettner.marc@gmail.com.  Or call the church office at 815-322-2464 10am – 2 pm M-F.  Or sign up at the visitor information table in the front lobby area.