The World is About to Turn

Sunday, December 10, 2017 10:45am

Hope is radical, hope is dangerous. Hope has stopped wars, toppled tyrants and invited justice into the lives of the oppressed. Join us as we explore the power of hope in this season.
Rev. Jennifer Gray is our speaker. She currently serves as the transitional minister for the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of DeKalb and formerly served UU congregations in Napa, CA, Ottawa Ontario, and Danville, IN. 

What Are Your Hopes for Tree of Life?

Sunday, December 3, 2017, 10:45 am

What are your hopes for TOL? We’re focusing on HOPE for the month of December, and the Board will kick off the month with a service designed to bring us all into closer community through transparency and discuss our vision for the church’s future. Please join us as the TOL Board reviews our year and looks toward TOL’s future with HOPE and how everyone can contribute to our vision.

Job Opportunity to Grow our Faith

Opening for UU Military Ministry Lay Leader

I am Roger Baron, the Board President of the Unitarian Universalist Military Ministry Great Lakes (a 501c3 non-profit company separate from the UUA).  Ministerial support is provided by Rev. Bret Lortie at the Unitarian Church of Evanston.

I’m writing to let you know of an immediate opening (January, 2018) for a lay leader to provide UU services for recruits at the Navy’s Great Lakes Recruit Training Command (boot camp).  Two additional openings will occur in May and June, 2018.

This is a rare opportunity to introduce young adults to Unitarian Universalism, allow them to explore questions they have about their religious beliefs and life, and provide a place to recover their humanity while immersed in the physically and emotionally challenging training the Navy is putting them through.  Joys & Concerns, where they are encouraged to give their first name, is a highlight of each service.

The recruits we see have chosen us from among the many religious services that go on simultaneously in the chapel on Sunday morning.  Although some come from a UU tradition, for many this is their first exposure to Unitarian Universalism or to religious liberalism in general. They come from all over the U.S. and are surely the youngest and most diverse group of UUs worshiping on Sunday morning anywhere in the nation. We typically see ten to twenty recruits each week, though there can be as many as fifty in the summer.

The Navy allows five lay leaders from each of the 13 smaller faith groups that do not have a commissioned officer chaplain (Buddist, Muslim, LDS, Christian Science, UU, etc.).  Each lay leader gives about one service a month from 9:30 – 10:30 Sunday morning in one of the smaller rooms of the base chapel.  We conduct a traditional Unitarian Universalist service, but each lay leader adapts the service to his or her own style.  Since there is a new class every few weeks, once a service has been developed it can be repeated indefinitely.

A new lay leader will be accredited by the UUA, get Navy security clearance, have a one hour session with the Chaplain about the do’s and don’ts of working with the recruits, and be given a base pass for their car. The new lay leader will receive as much personal support as needed to get started, though after one or two times there will be a feeling of, “Thanks, I get it.”

Lay leadership extends Unitarian Universalism, provides spiritual support for a fine group of young adults who have chosen to serve our country, and offers a unique, personally rewarding experience. It is open to men and women (about a quarter of the recruits are women), regardless of age, race or sexual orientation.

If this sounds interesting and you would like to know more, email or call my home: 847-291-1082, cell:  312-560-8382.  Since the Navy takes a month or so for their paperwork, we hope to have someone in place soon to be ready for a January or February, 2018 start.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Roger Baron

Board president,

UU Military Ministry Great Lakes

UUMMGL worship leaders: Roger Baron, Lt. Allen Rotert, Gary Zacny, Gemma Guenther, Kevin DeBeck, Rev. Rudra Dundzila

Interfaith Community Thanksgiving Celebration

Sunday, November 19, 2017, 7:00pm

Join us at the 11th Annual Community Interfaith Thanksgiving Celebration hosted by Faithbridge Interfaith Association.

The celebration will be held at Blue Lotus Buddhist Temple & Meditation Center – 221 Dean Street, Woodstock, IL


Come join neighbors, families and friends as we honor the diversity of faith and culture – and celebrate the Oneness of our humanity.

Sharing community in a variety of musical offerings (our choir will be performing with Tricia Alexander) and messages, we take this time to find joy in connecting with one another.

To share gratitude, an offering will be made to benefit the people of Puerto Rico, local food pantries and the work of FaithBridge.

For additional information, contact:

Tricia Alexander:

M.E. Tanabe:


Turkey Bingo!

Saturday, November 18, 2017, 1pm to 4pm

Here at Tree of Life UU Congregation

$20.00 for every person playing Bingo. Get a 2nd card for $5.00. Kids not playing Bingo, $5.00.

Tons of Turkeys! Silent Auction! Door Prizes! Live Music by NW Highway! Lunch and Beverages! Face Painting!

All proceeds benefit JailBrakers. Jail Brakers is a ministry of Tree of Life UUC and benefits the families of the incarcerated and recently returning citizens to help reduce the stigma of incarceration and end the cycle of incarceration in our community.

A Christmas Memory

Sunday November 26, 2017 10:45am

Carol Alfus, worship leader

“Imagine a morning in late November. A coming of winter morning more than twenty years
ago…” Thus begins Truman Capote’s 1956 short story “A Christmas Memory.” Take a break from the hustle and bustle of the holiday season to enjoy this sweet and heartfelt story of a simpler time and an unlikely pair of friends.

Chatting with the Tea Party this Friday

Friday November 10, 7:00 pm

The Tree of Life UU Congregation’s Word Players readers’ theater troupe presents the acclaimed docudrama Chatting with the Tea Party by Rich Orloff.

Chatting With the Tea Party is about one person’s journey across America exploring the question, “Who are these people?” It’s a documentary style play about a New York liberal playwright who decides to travel around the country interviewing leaders of local Tea Party groups, to get to know people whose political beliefs are diametrically opposed to his. For a year playwright Rich Orloff attended Tea Party meetings and events in cities large and small in every region of the country. The play shapes the highlights of over 63 hours of interviews plus notes from the events to go beyond sound bites and stereotypes to show the people behind the politics. In a journey that’s at times disturbing, humorous, moving, and always thought-provoking.

Tickets are $10 available at the door. Proceeds benefit the Social Justice Ministry of the Tree of Life Congregation.

Celebrating Life and Community Through Music: Spain and Latin America

Sunday, November 19, 2017, 10:45 am

Join us for Worship Art’s inaugural program for creating a worship experience through music.  Jessie Lyons, soprano, and Jordan Mandela, classical guitar, are both graduates of Chicago College of Performing Arts at Roosevelt University.   As husband and wife duo, they are also members of Forrest’s newly formed AMP group.

Jordan has spent time deeply immersed in Latin and Spanish music, and their offerings will reflect that passion.

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.

Being a Community of Abundance

Sunday, November 12, 2017, 10:45 am

M.E. Tanabe

A sense of abundance often appears when we just take time to appreciate what is already available to us and finding abundance easily morphs into a state of joyful gratitude. From our sense of abundance and its accompanying gratitude, there is a thread that connects us to feel empowered to be more and do more.  What does that look like in our lives?   How do we manifest such a sense of abundance as a community?

Being a Community of Abundance

Soul  Matters  at  Tree  of  Life   Being a Community of  Abundance

Almost always the way we think about our abundance is colored by our perceived circumstances contrasted with  our perceived needs.  This month’s Soul Matters  packet encourages us to look for what we appreciate in our lives in or order to give some “weight” to what is already available to us

When we take care to find what has value for us, the realization also carries a natural gratitude. From our sense of abundance  and its accompanying gratitude is a visible line connecting us to our generosity –with our time, our goodwill, our creativity,  and our material goods.  With that in mind,  I’d like to offer a paraphrased excerpt from Kahlil Gibran’s poem on Giving.

“…there are those who give and do not feel loss in their giving, nor do they seek fulfillment, nor are they thinking of their virtue;  they give as blossoming trees breathe fragrance into space.   Through the hands of such givers, the Divine speaks……     ….although some say, I will give, but only to the deserving, the trees in the orchard and the flocks in the field believe otherwise:  they give so that they may live; for them to withhold is to perish.

….reflect on your ability to be an instrument of giving – for in truth, it is life that gives to life.  While you think of yourself as a giver, you are only a witness….”

This month may we come together as a community in exploring the meaning of “abundance” – as we think about ways to experience it our lives and as we work to see it manifested around us.   “Abundance”  is the theme for our worship services.   The resource packet can be accessed here If you need a printed copy, please feel free to take a copy from those available in the fellowship room (or ask for a copy, if they have all been taken).   You are also invited to join discussion through one of our Chalice Circles – you can find details about these circles here  and there are also flyers next to the other packets.

Wishing you joy in community, M.E. Tanabe