Being a Community of Awe (and Wonder)

Awe and its attendant wonder carry us beyond ourselves – we experience it as we are drawn to take in the immensity of the cosmos,  the thrill of new life, the solitude of nature, and all that’s truly beautiful.  In such moments, joy arises from our fleeting immersion in a life that is bigger than we are – a life that’s expansive, precious, and somewhat unknowable.

Rev. Scott Tayler observes that  “physicists tell us, contemplation of the vast universe doesn’t make them feel smaller, it makes them realize the larger story of which they are a part.  We are stardust.  From the vastness we came. To be a people of awe is not so much about feeling small; it’s about feeling connected….. And not just connected to the stars, but also to each other.”  Discoveries of research support this observation and reveal that the awe experience is not only enjoyable, it also makes us kinder, more generous, and more healthy.  In fundamentally important ways, finding awe in our lives is necessary for our well-being.  …and the good news is that awe can be cultivated and grown into our daily living.

The December Soul Matters packets offer materials to explore the meaning and possibilities of “awe” – to reflect on how we can 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 also flyers in the fellowship room..

Wishing you joy in community,

M. E. Tanabe

Benches Improve Our Entrance

Thanks to John Murphy, camp children, and TOLUUC members, we now have some benches at our front entrance. The benches are made out of recycled bottle caps and are rainbow colored to indicate our welcome to all people.

We have the opportunity to get a picnic bench made out of the same material and involve our religious education children. You can help us with that. Please save your #2, #4, and #5 caps and lids. Bring them to the church in clean, dry condition and put them in the plastic bears or in plastic bags in the coat closet.

Click Here to learn more about what caps and lids are needed.

Cookie Donations for TOLUUC Cookie Walk & Holiday Sale

We are so grateful for all cookie donations to the TOLUUC Cookie Walk & Holiday Sale coming up Saturday, December 14!

We’ve got a few tips if you’re looking for some help in choosing a recipe. Over the years and doing research into “Cookie Walk Best Practices,” we have found out a few things about what works best:

  1. Decorated and specialty Christmas cookies are top sellers precisely because most people just don’t have the time to make them anymore.  Eye appeal is really important for this holiday time.
  2. Even though they are delicious cookies, these types just don’t sell very well:  chocolate chip, oatmeal, plain cookies with no decorations.
  3. It’s important to label cookies with an appealing title – help us by sending along a note with your cookie name.
  4. Here’s a link to some great cookie ideas if you’re looking for inspiration:
  5. And to make our Cookie Walk a success, we need dozens and dozens of cookies! 

Finally, we thank everyone who will be working so hard – no matter what cookie recipe you use – to help make this TOL fundraiser a success.  Questions or need ideas, please call Karen Meyer, 815-338-6023, or Mary Robinson, 815-455-8007.

Remember we also welcome donations of gently used holiday decorations and your handcrafted artisan gift items.

Awe in Life – with “tidings of comfort and joy”

Sunday, December 1, 2019, 10:45am

M.E. Tanabe

“… physicists tell us that contemplation of the vast universe doesn’t make them feel smaller, it makes them realize the larger story of which they are a part – that we are stardust and from the vastness we came. To be a people of awe is not so much about feeling small; it’s about feeling connected….. ..not just connected to the stars, but also to each other.” — Rev. Scott Tayler
….and so we gather to celebrate the wonder and joy of sharing life – with each other and with all humanity.

Welcome to Our Month of Attention

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

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

Fall FUUNdraiser This Friday!

And Bid Big!

Our biggest fundraiser of the year is this Friday, November 8, 2019 at 6pm and you really don’t want to miss it. Join us for a night of fun bidding, raffles, open bar, snacks, and entertainment. We don’t even charge an entry fee. Check out our extensive catalog and even start bidding here.

Want to bring the kids? Make sure you RSVP to by Thursday. Fun games and activities are planned for the kids but we need to know who is coming.

10% of the proceeds are being given to Pioneer Center of McHenry County to support the opening of a year round homeless shelter. The rest will go into our general budget to support the worship, music, programming, and facilities that keep our community connected.

Holiday Pause for Self Kindness

Moving into the holidays….. what a wonderful time for a  pause!   During this season we often find ourselves with many obligations  —  frequently  accompanied by unexpected challenges and disappointments.  High expectations during the holiday season can leave us feeling over-extended, stressed, or disconnected.  

So let’s take time for a pause for centering ourselves and  for becoming better connected to those around us.  Join us as we give ourselves time to reflect on where and how we are,  and to explore ways to offer ourselves some loving kindness.  This kind of attention and self-care can bring us to a moment of gratitude and help us to then offer the best of ourselves to others and to all that we would do. 

We’ve prepared a program to look at how we can stay grounded and centered. Please, join M.E. Tanabe and Brenda Cox as we pause from the season’s busy-ness to connect with what is meaningful to us as unique individuals.

This gathering meets December 1, 2019 at 9:15– 10:15 am and will be held in the basement social room.  For any questions or additional information, please call or e-mail Brenda at 815-482-8672