Soul Matters at Tree of Life: Being a Community of Journey

Many birds, animals, and insects have journeys naturally built into their life cycles because of their migration patterns and human history is also full of journeying, with the travel for commerce, curiosity, adventure, hunting, and – like other animals – the migrations of survival.  It’s therefore fitting that the idea of “journey” has become a metaphor for our unfolding experience of life.

            We refer to efforts to live (grow) into our full self as being on a spiritual journey or, perhaps more aptly, a journey of the heart.  Like any other journey, a heart-journey can involve moving into unexplored areas (of the heart), leaving entanglements behind, and tossing baggage that weighs us down.   And being in community brings an awareness of how we sustain and are sustained by our fellow travelers – in which, such a journey with others summons us to act with kindness and care.  In our congregation we covenant to “journey as a family,” …. so how do we see ourselves doing that?

– What would you answer if someone asked you “Where are you going?” instead of “Where are you from?”   What might someone say if you asked them that same question? 

– Have you ever considered the obstacles in front of us may not be in the way of our lives, but instead are the things that make our lives?

      – Do you ever feel like you are called to help make others’ journeys possible?

The March Soul Matters packets offer materials to explore the meaning of “journey” – as we consider how we experience it in our lives and how it is a part of our experience in community.   We use this theme for worship and for faith formation in our RE program and chalice circles.  The Soul Matters resource packet can be accessed here If you need a printed copy, please feel free to take one from those available in the fellowship room or ask for a copy, if they have all been taken.   You might also like joining a chalice circle to share your insights and hear what others are saying – there are chalice circle flyers in the fellowship room with information about this program.

Wishing you joy in community,

M. E. Tanabe

Dr. Seuss As You’ve Never Seen Him

Sunday, March 10, 2019, 10:45am

The Almost Rev. Kevin DeBeck takes a look at the early work of Theodor Geisel and how some ideas should never come back again.

We will take our Second Sunday collection for Compassion for Campers(C4C). C4C is a ministry of Tree of Life and provides a warm meal, companionship, and survival supplies to our homeless neighbors during the warmer months when the rotating PADS sites are closed.

After the service this day, we will have a Ministry Fair. Come find out what it takes to create Tree of Life’s vibrant community and how you might play a part. You might even win a prize in the process.

Life’s Journey through Music

Sunday, March 3, 2019, 10:45am

The duet Small Potatoes, comprised of husband and wife Rich Prezioso and Jackie Manning, will be performing for our service this morning. They have been performing locally and nationally for well over 25 years, playing everywhere from living room concerts to large festival stages for audiences of all ages. Their music captures many of life’s deepest moments, from reflective, to joyful, to poignant to exciting.

Dream Big at Tree of Life

Join us in creating a vibrant, exciting future here at Tree of Life. It is that time of year when we collect pledges from our members and friends for the next fiscal year (July-June) so we can plan our budget and get an idea of what projects and programs we can support. While all official members are expected to pledge financial support, we hope all friends of our congregation will consider making a pledge of financial support, time, and/or talent donation to ensure our unique, liberal presence continues to be strong here in McHenry County.

We kicked off our pledge drive with a Chili Cook Off and a short presentation about the pledge drive. We crowned our three winning cooks and watched a short video presentation.

Do you want to join us in pledging this year but have questions? This document may be able to answer your questions. If you still have questions, contact the office, treasurer, or board member.

Know you want to pledge but just aren’t sure how much? Click here to see our suggested contribution guide.

Ready to make your pledge? Email or call 815-322-2464.

Celebrate with Us!

Our pledge drive ends Sunday, March 24th. But that is when the fun begins. Join us Saturday, April 13, 2019, at 5pm for a catered dinner with lively entertainment where we will celebrate the future we have to look forward to. Everybody who pledges will have a leaf placed on our new Tree of Life tapestry in the social room. We hope to cover the tree in spring leaves (after all, we have to do something to get through this never ending winter).

Be a part of it all

General Assembly is the annual meeting of our Unitarian Universalist Association. Attendees worship, witness, learn, connect, and make policy for the Association through democratic process. Anyone may attend; congregations must certify annually to send voting delegates. Tree of Life is entitled to 3 voting delegates this year but we encourage you to go even if you cannot vote. The 2019 General Assembly will be June 19-23 in Spokane, Washington. Most General Assembly events will be held in the Spokane Convention Center.

The Power of We

What do we want Unitarian Universalism to be? It is a time when we are asking big questions in our faith, and GA 2019 will be focused on digging into those questions together. It is a critical chance for congregational leaders and passionate UUs to set new goals and aspirations for our religious community. Help begin to reshape our Association and our congregations in new and powerful ways.

This year’s theme is about collective power, “The Power of We,” as well as the possibility, the purpose, the struggle and the joy of what it means to be together in faithful community. In the past two years, Unitarian Universalism has recommitted to the work of liberation inside and outside our faith community. The antidote to a time of dangerous dehumanization is a love that connects us to our deeper humanity. Come to Spokane to experience what our shared faith can become when we embrace the Power of We. Here is a great video to get you excited. Click Here.

Registration and Housing Open March 1

GA Registration and the GA Housing Reservation System open at 9 a.m. PST at


The Spokane region is the gateway for adventure and exploration in the Intermountain Northwest. Located driving distance from Glacier National Park and Yellowstone, Spokane is nestled in natural beauty.  Check out this Spokane promotional video. Click Here.

Spokane is located on interstate I-90, 110 miles from the Canadian border and 18 miles from Idaho. It is the largest city between Seattle and Minneapolis.

Spokane International Airport (GEG) is serviced by Alaska, American, Delta, Frontier, Southwest, and United Airlines. Nonstop service is offered to 17 destinations, including Minneapolis, Chicago, Dallas, Phoenix, and LAX.

Spokane is accessible by rail via Amtrak’s Empire Builder route (Chicago – St. Paul/Minneapolis – Spokane – Portland/Seattle). It is also reachable by Greyhound Bus.

Excellent Programming

GA will offer more than 100 programming selections over the course of five days. This year, in addition to Theme-Based Programming, the schedule will feature Role-Based Track Programming, including time for discussion among attendees, sharing inspiring models and stories, and concrete suggestions for how to further the work or “take it home.” More programming details are available at

Financial Aid Available

The UUA is committed to the goal of making GA accessible to as many attendees as possible. Go to in the month of March to learn about scholarships to support delegates – particularly those from marginalized groups – and volunteer opportunities (work in exchange for registration).

In the Heart of Everything: A Seed of Life

Sunday, February 17, 2019, 10:45am

M.E. Tanabe

Life is continually unfolding  –  a sea of constant change and unpredictability.   With all the uncertainty, naturally we look for points of refuge to trust….  and we want to feel we can rely on what our experiences have shown us.   Some experiences are pretty straightforward  (fire is hot, ice is cold),  but other experiences processed through our perceptions and opinions become a little more tricky for reliability.  ….and so we need to move towards seeing into the heart of things  ….and into our own hearts as well

(The accompanying painting :  “The Seed of Life” by Krystleyez shows its Hindu influences and incorporates the “Om” symbol – which, among its many meanings, can signify “the heart and source of everything”)