Devotion to Each Other

Sunday August 4, 2019 10:45am

M.E. Tanabe

Each week, as part of our worship together,  we repeat words of commitment for how we want to live – how we want to make our journey  —  and a beautiful  part of that pledge  is to be devoted to one another.  What comes to mind as we make this promise?   What is your experience of devotion?   Does such devotion have a place in our larger life?

Special Congregational Meeting July 28, 2019

To my beloved community,

It is with great joy that I invite you all to a Special Meeting after service on Sunday, July 28.

At this meeting, we will re-affirm our congregational covenant, vote on Leah Mikkelson’s nomination to the Board, and approve our 2019-2020 budget.

As you all know, Don Metivier recently made a generous gift to the church, and the Board was able to modify the budget accordingly. Approximately 88% of Don’s gift went to the ministerial salary line items. We also increased the salaries of all staff members and increased the RE committee budget.

You will notice that there is a small deficit at the bottom line. However, the budget is built on 91% of pledges, rather than 100%. This is based on the historical pattern of actual monies received, but if all pledges are paid, we will be at a small surplus.

I hope to see all of you after service on the 28th. The 28th also happens to be both Forrest’s and Kevin’s last day with us, so come out to bid farewell to them and hello to our new path forward!

In faith,
Carrie MacDonald
Board President

Seeds of Hope

“ …I have great faith in a seed.  Convince me that you have a seed there, and I am prepared to expect wonders.”  — Henry D. Thoreau

On August  11th after  worship, Tree of Life is hosting a community opportunity to create ceramic seeds of hope as a memorial to all those who have died by violence in their places of worship or while practicing their faith.  The Charleston AME Church, the Pittsburgh Tree of Life Synagogue and the two mosques (Al Noor and Linwood Islamic Centre) in Christchurch are recent survivors of this kind of wounding.   But even our own faith has been challenged in this way with the 2008 Knoxville UU attack .   We will be joined by  Laura McLuckie-Khandan, a local artist and member of the Baha’i  community, as she leads us in creating these seeds as a gesture of hope and a commitment to promoting understanding.  

          The project is designed for both families and individuals and lasts about 1 ½ hours.  We encourage you to pack a sandwich for after worship and we’ll begin the project a little after 12:00.  Seeds will be created in clay with individual messages of hope written on them and then they’ll be fired.  The intention is for the seeds to be shared as a rotating exhibit to places of worship and then ultimately to be “planted” in a sustainable garden.

As with participation in a vigil, creating these seeds is a visible act of love and of community dedication to overcoming environments of fear and separation.  Projects such as this, support  our own UU commitment to Side of Love.  We hope you can join in.

If you have questions please contact   Janet Burns  847.542 .7678,   M. E. Tanabe  815. 337. 9895,  or  Laura McLuckie-Khandan   224.339.4739

The Right Bad Stuff

Sunday, July 14, 2019 10:45am

At the 2016 General Assembly in Columbus, Ohio, Rev. Nancy McDonald Ladd gave a sermon about “Fake Fights” that UU congregations sometimes have when there’s deeper social justice issues at stake. The Almost Rev. Kevin DeBeck discusses this phenomenon and what to do to try to avoid them.

We will also share the offering plate with our Second Sunday recipient, Land Conservancy of McHenry County. Their mission is to preserve natural, agricultural and scenic land forever, in and around McHenry County, by working with private landowners, communities and other like-minded partners.

UU Principles, American Ideals

Sunday, July 7, 2019, 10:45am

Carol Alfus

The late Rev. Dr. Forrest Church once said that in many ways Unitarian Universalism is “the quintessential American faith.” Join us as we consider how our Purposes and Principles are reflected in the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and in the lives of famous Americans.

Tongues of Fire!

Sunday June 30, 2019, 10:45am

Rev. Misha Sanders

Can an ancient sacred story about the infilling of the Holy Spirit be useful to Unitarian Universalists? What if a retelling through a new lens makes all the difference? What if the message of Pentecost really has been applicable all along?

Beauty in the Barn

Sunday, June 23, 2019, 10:45am

How have you been touched by beauty in your life, and what can we all do to make the world more beautiful? We will be considering these questions at our annual Barn Service at the Tinkler Family barn 11314 McConnell Rd., Woodstock. Please bring a flower to add to the Flower Wheel, one of the beautiful traditions of this service. We hope everyone will stay after the service for a pot luck lunch; please bring a dish to share.

Welcome to our Month of Beauty

If one were to peel back the influences that pop culture has had on me, one of the biggest would be science fiction. From an early age, it was science fiction stories and shows that grabbed my attention. So, it should come as no surprise that when I think about the theme for the month of June, beauty, the first thought that comes to my mind is from a classic science fiction show.

The show in question is the original Twilight Zone, and the episode that comes to mind is one titled Eye of the Beholder. Perhaps you’ve seen it too? For most of the episode, we see a person in the hospital with bandages around their face, talking about an operation that was a last chance to alter a physical deformity. We, the viewers, don’t see the faces of the doctors and nurses who are telling the patient that regardless of how this operation comes out, the bandaged person can live a happy, normal life. This being the Twilight Zone, there’s a twist ending. Spoiler alert—once the bandages are removed, the person looks like a “normal” person. We then see the faces of those who were talking to her and they all have malformed faces, turning the idea of what is beautiful and what is ugly on its head.  This episode was written by Rod Sterling, a noted Unitarian Universalist. The episode debuted in November of 1960 and the message it sends is still relevant to us today—that beauty is a subjective thing, not to be dictated by a government or society.

For many years the idea of what is beautiful and what is not has been informed by white supremacy in our popular culture. When one looks at magazine covers or what we see in movies or television, up until recently there were very few people of color that were represented in these mediums, which is why Nichelle Nichols’ portrayal of Uhura on Star Trek was such a groundbreaking role. Representation matters. In our current political climate, white supremacist ideals are re-asserting themselves. It’s up to us, as allies and as people of conscience, to fight white supremacist ideals, ideals like voter suppression, putting children in cages, or from police shootings and so on.

One of my favorite books is Ms. Rumphius, who is tasked by her grandfather to make the world a more beautiful place. This is a task that I give to you all—to make the world a more beautiful place, be it through the ballot box, social justice, or by taking to heart a science fiction show that held up a mirror to our own failings in an effort to teach us something. Amen, and blessed be.

The Almost Rev. Kevin DeBeck