Autumnal Reflections and Beloved Belonging

Sunday, October 27, 2019, 10:45am

Rev. Michelle Lattanzio

In this season of harvest and reflection, we gather together in community to enjoy the fruits of our labors and to reflect upon our journey through the growing season. Our harvest comes from the roots of our communities, in terms of seeds and of ancestral wisdom. Let us reflect upon the ways in which belonging to our beloved communities sustains us.

We welcome Rev. Michelle Lattanzio back to our pulpit. Michelle served as one of our intern ministers in 2016.

Calling All Performers! Open Mic Night Returns Nov. 2nd

Dear Performers,

We’re back!!  Tree of Life UUC Open Mic will be live on November 2, 2019 from 7-10 pm.  We would love for you to be with us and share your talent.  Musicians, tellers of funny stories, and poets are all welcome to take the stage.  We have a grand piano, a PA, and 3  microphones available; guitarists should bring their own amps.  Sorry, out space cannot accommodate bands with multiple electronic instruments.  Bring your friends to see you perform, and to enjoy the camaraderie of coffee, tea, and soft drinks.   

 We have a limited number of 10 minute time slots.  Please sign up by October 27 at to reserve a spot.  We ask performers to time their acts, including introductions and commentary.  Please arrive by 6:45.  For information, email or call Tree of Life UUC at 815-322-2464.

We look forward to seeing you on November 2.

The Music Committee at Tree of Life UUC

5603 West Bull Valley Road

McHenry IL 60050

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

When we hear the word “belonging”,  we think of the places and circumstances where we can be ourselves… where we feel safe and welcomed.   The sense of belonging arises in  situations that nurture us and help us grow into more of ourselves.  Yet, in the picture of ducklings leaping from their nest, we witness a very joyful launch, from a place of safety, into the unknown.  To continue to grow into their potential, the ducklings have chosen to move into a new world of possibility.  In a way, we can say they’ve identified  the larger, still unknown, world as the place they now belong.

So where are you on the spectrum of belonging?  Are you wishing to feel more welcomed?   If you’re in a space of belonging,  did you find that place …..or create it?   Is there anyone outside your space of belonging who needs to be welcomed in?

Brené Brown, a researcher in social psychology has some inspiring insights into this phenomenon of belonging:     “As it turns out, men and women who have the deepest sense of true belonging are people who also have the courage to stand alone when called to do that. They are willing to maintain their integrity and risk disconnection in order to stand up for what they believe in… Guess what emerged as the greatest barrier to belonging?  Fitting in.  Because when we fit in, we assess a situation and acclimate.  When we belong, we bring ourselves to it and say this is who I am.”

The October Soul Matters packets offer materials to explore the meaning and possibilities of “belonging” – to reflect on how we experience it in our lives and how it is a part of sharing 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’re gone.   You might also like joining a chalice circle to share your insights and hear what others are saying – you can find information about the circles  here and there are flyers in the fellowship room with information about this program.

Wishing you joy in community,

M. E. Tanabe

Welcome to Our Month of Belonging

Every month Tree of Life explores a theme provided by Soul Matters. This month’s theme is Belonging. We will explore what it means to Belong and to be a people of Belonging in our worship services, our small groups, and in our religious education classes. You will find posts on our Facebook page about Belonging. We hope you will take a deeper look at Belonging with us.

Click here to read this month’s blog about Belonging.

Expectations Awry

Sunday, September 29, 2019 10:45am

Guest Speaker, Gina Swinney

As humans we are naturally creative beings. As we create scenarios for our future, we use expectation as one of the stones in our foundation.  How
does expectation affect our relationships with others, God and ourselves?  What outcomes can come from expecting too much or too little or nothing from those we encounter?  Join us on September 29 as we consider the
role expectation plays in our lives.

Faith Forward Comes to Tree of Life

Faith Forward: From Visitor to Leader is a guided path for Unitarian Universalists to follow in their congregations, helping them navigate from building connections early on, to finding their sense of belonging as a member, to serving as a leader and boldly living their faith. It was developed by First Unitarian Church of Dallas, and is now available to Unitarian Universalist congregations everywhere.

Faith Forward is made up of three paths: CORE, Advanced, and Leadership.


OBJECTIVE To shorten the visitor to member cycle; to help new and existing church members understand and explain our faith with confidence, to strengthen UU identity, and to encourage members to engage in daily practice, weekly worship, monthly service, annual retreat, and once-in-lifetime pilgrimage.

  • Inquirers Series (9 weeks)
  • Roots (1 class)
  • Beyond Inquirers (5 weeks)
  • Spiritual Practice (12 weeks)
  • UU History 101 (7 weeks)
  • UU Elevator Speech (3 weeks)


OBJECTIVE To deepen understanding of our faith, connection to the church, and continued spiritual development.

  • UU Theology (6 weeks)
  • Coming of Age for Adults (6 weeks)
  • Turning Points in UU History (6 weeks)
  • Deepening Spiritual Practice (8 weeks)
  • Biblical Literacy for Unitarian Universalists

LEADERSHIP Path (Not available yet)

OBJECTIVE To develop well-rounded church leadership knowledgeable in discernment, governance, and all aspects of congregational life.

Offering will include UU Leadership, UU Discipleship/Eldership, Polity/Governance, UU Evangelism, Mentorship, Theological Reflection

Tree of Life is now offering Inquirers and will be scheduling Roots and Beyond Inquirers soon. We hope to add many other offerings Fall 2020. The Inquirers Series is offered every Sunday to welcome newcomers into the congregation. Nine topics are covered, one per session, and then repeated throughout the year. They may be taken in any order.

The goals of the Inquirers Series are as follows:

  • Make our church values and culture transparent and known to newcomers, so that they may make an informed decision about membership in our church
  • Introduce newcomers to church staff, ministers, and lay leaders
  • Establish a space for newcomers to learn more about the church in the form of a regularly scheduled small group designed for their needs


11:45   Meet & Greet / Coffee for Visitors

12:00   Gather Inquirers & Check-In Newcomers

12:05   Chalice Lighting & Opening Reading  

12:10   Check-in/Intro Question(s) (related to the day’s topic)

1:35   Guest Speaker Presents Topic   

1:00  Extinguish Chalice & Closing Words

If you have questions about Inquirers or Faith Forward in general, please contact Marc Stettner or Judy Stettner

We Draw From Many Wells: Water Communion September 15, 2019

Sunday, September 15, 2019, 10:45am

As all rivers run to the sea, water is our great connector. In this service you are invited to share water in one of four ways: in awareness of scarcity; in recognition of change; as a symbol of the “storms” in our lives; in thanks for the “wellsprings” that bring us joy.

This year Water communion will be conducted differently than it has in the past. This all-ages service will consider water as a symbol that connects us to each other,  and our sharing will serve as the day’s sermon. There will be 4 periods of sharing water: 

First we will have a chance to share water that reminds us that while some have abundance, others struggle in scarcity.

Second we will share water that symbolizes travel, movement and change.

Third we will share water that reminds us of life’s storms: our concerns, worries, frustrations and losses.

Finally, we’ll share water that reminds us of the wellsprings of our lives.

No need to bring water with you this year.

Please join us for this special service, which also features our choir’s first performance under our new Music Director, Cassandra Vohs-Demann!

After the service please stay for our Annual Welcome Back Picnic.