A Sweet Goodbye

Dear Congregation and Friends of Tree of Life,

I am writing this letter to notify you all of my intention to resign my role as Music Director here at Tree of Life at the end of this summer. I have been applying to graduate programs in the hopes of resuming my education with the ultimate goal of completing a doctoral degree in period performance practice and music cognition. I am thrilled to announce that I have been accepted to my first choice school, the Peabody Institute at Johns Hopkins University, with a full ride and assistantship. While I am so excited about this opportunity and a wonderful new journey, it will be with great sadness that I will say goodbye to the community here at Tree of Life.

Shortly after I stepped into my position, I stated that I took a job, but found a family. I meant that and continue to mean it to this day. I have had so many wonderful experiences here at Tree of Life and cannot thank everyone enough for your warmth and beauty. I absolutely wish for the continued success of the Tree of Life community and will do everything I can in these coming months to assist in the transition to a new Music Director, so Tree of Life’s vibrant musical community can remain strong and robust.

All this said, I am not leaving just yet and am truly excited to continue on to bring innovative programming and exciting music to all of you over these next few months! Let’s keep growing and strengthening our community through music together!

With love,

Forrest Ransburg

The Plank in Our Own Eye

Sunday, March 24, 2019 10:45am

The Almost Rev. Kevin DeBeck

The United Methodist Church is now discerning whether to accept LGBTQ ministers and congregants. The Almost Rev. Kevin DeBeck will compare what happened at their most recent Special Session of their General Conference to our own General Assembly in Boston 50 years ago and talk about what was learned from both.

Small Step – Giant Leap

Sunday, March 17, 2019, 10:45am

Gina Swinney

We often think of metaphors such as roads or rivers to describe our personal life journeys.  Twists in the road and bends in the river denote times of greatest conflict, joy or personal growth.  But these metaphors beg the question about where it is that we are going.  What is the destination?  What lies at the end of the road or to reference Shel Silverstein, what will we find Where the Sidewalk Ends?

A journey truly begins with one step.  Sometimes we take the same step over and over again without really going anywhere.  Sometimes our steps catapult us to a place we never dreamed. Are you at your spot in your journey because of a small step or a giant leap (or all of it!)

“Healing Our Intentions, Owning Our Impact “

Sunday, April 7, 2019, 10:45am

Jamie Boyce

The journey of healing invites us to clarify our intentions about the life
we crave and the world we wish to create.  On that path we may run into
our tenderness and pain and discover our reactivity towards change. How
do we work with our intentions to facilitate healing, hope and impactful
action that “does no harm’?  

Jamie is graduate of Drew Theological School in New Jersey and serves as the Congregational Life Director at Morristown Unitarian Fellowship in Morristown, New Jersey.  As Congregational Life Director Jamie supports growing the ministries and the day-to-day operations of the Fellowship. Prior to theological school, Jamie served three Chicagoland Unitarian Universalist congregations in Membership Development and Faith in Action ministries.  In her free time Jamie loves to travel the world, learn new languages, and explore vegetarian cooking.    

Am I a UU Because of Jesus?

Sunday, March 31, 2019, 10:45am

Tom Durkin

I was once asked “With Christianity influencing you so deeply, how did you find your way to Unitarian Universalism and what about this tradition appeals to you?” Come explore this with Tom Durkin, Worship Arts Chair of UU Church of Elgin

Let’s Talk About: Medicare for All

Sponsored by the Social Justice Committee at the Tree of Life Unitarian Universalist Congregation

A panel discussion and Q&A session

Wednesday, March 6, 2019  7-9pm

Tree of Life Unitarian Universalist Congregation

5603 Bull Valley Road, McHenry, IL 60050

Panel featuring:

Dr. John Perryman

A board-certified pediatrician living in St. Charles, IL. and practicing in Roscoe. IL.  With a keen interest in business Dr. Perryman is committed to reaching out to community and political groups, businesses, farmers, and labor organizations.

Mr. John “J.J.” Wett

Born with spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) which deteriorates his voluntary muscles, he has had a lifetime of experience with our healthcare system.  A strong advocate for the disabled, Mr. Wett was awarded the Student Leadership Excellence medal from the President of Northern Illinois University because of his work to help students with disabilities integrate into college and spread disability awareness.  He is currently a licensed therapist practicing in Sycamore, IL.  From 2009 to 2013 and served as Assistant

Mr. Peter Janko

A lifelong activist/organizer, Mr. Janko, has held many roles.  As a child immigrant and war refugee, he worked hard to achieve the American dream.  Now a small business owner he understands the economic impact of healthcare costs on our nation’s industry.  He is founding member of Medicare for All – Northern Illinois.

For more information :

Phone (815)322-2464

Fax (815)322-2739

Email: office@treeoflifeuu.org

As You Journey

Greetings to you all. The theme for this month is Journey. I’m reminded of a few things when I think of the word Journey. One of course is the rock band from the decade of the 1980’s, and how in my wife’s and my early life together, we would go with some friends of ours to karaoke every Friday night. The guy who hosted this at our favorite bowling alley was named Ed, and when there was a lull in people who had signed up to sing, he would stand up and belt out a Journey tune, usually the song Separate Ways. I think he especially liked the last word in that song, a long and loud, “NOOOOOOO!!!” I’m also reminded of our wedding, where Helen Boucek, who had worked with Joseph Campbell when he taught in Pittsburgh, read a poem titled Ithaca by C. P. Cavafy. It reads, in part:

Hope your road is a long one.

May there be many summer mornings when,

with what pleasure, what joy,

you enter harbors you’re seeing for the first time;

may you stop at Phoenician trading stations

to buy fine things,

mother of pearl and coral, amber and ebony,

sensual perfume of every kind—

as many sensual perfumes as you can;

and may you visit many Egyptian cities

to learn and go on learning from their scholars.

How these things relate to each other, I believe, is that sometimes in life, it’s easy to get caught up in the latest political goings on in Washington, or Springfield, or what our latest teams seem to be, or not, doing and lurching ever forward into the next minute without taking some time to put our phones in our pockets, shut off the computers and take a look around at what nature has to offer. It might be hard to appreciate when it’s 10 degrees with a wind chill, but here’s to hoping in the month of March we’ll finally see the snow melt, the sun will feel warm on our faces again, and we’ll be able to stop and bear witness to the earth coming alive again. Even if that means you might have to smack a mosquito or two along the way. Be it through nature, poetry, or music, I hope you all are able to take a few moments on your journey to Ithaca to see the sights along the way.

The Almost Rev. Kevin DeBeck

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.