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. www.auctria.com/auction/TOLUUCServiceAuction2019

Want to bring the kids? Make sure you RSVP to DRE@treeoflifeuu.org 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   brendakay710@gmail.com

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

To welcome this month’s theme, we have the  words of these [ life] artists for our reflection:

            Georgia O’KeeffeNobody sees a flower really; it is so small.   We haven’t time, and to see takes time   – like to have a friend takes time.

If you take a flower in your hand and really look at it, it’s your world for a moment.

            Mary Oliver`~ Attention is the beginning of devotion…….To pay attention, this is our endless and proper work.


            Jon Kabat-Zinn~ The best way to capture moments is to pay attention.  This is how we cultivate mindfulness. Mindfulness means being awake.  It means knowing what you are doing.   

            Simon Greenberg~   One does not need to meditate for hours at a time to experience the sense of sublime mystery which constantly envelops us.   All one needs to do is notice intelligently, if even for a brief moment, a blossoming tree, a forest flooded with autumn colors, an infant smiling.

We all have such busy lives and we’re always attending to so many responsibilities, so any moment is always the perfect time to remember that any true devotion requires our joyful attention — we cannot love something that we don’t see.   May we bring awareness to where our attention goes.

The November Soul Matters packets offer materials to explore the meaning and possibilities of “attention” – 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 also flyers in the fellowship room..

Wishing you joy in community,

M. E. Tanabe

The Rise and Promise of Humanism

Sunday, November 10, 2019, 10:45am

Bill Zigrone, guest speaker

Humanism appears to be growing implicitly in the younger generations. There is a strong trend away from conservatism and religion, that is not necessarily explained by secular and humanist activism. The more educated and less patriarchal society becomes, the more empathy and tolerance becomes the norm. There is great promise in our future.

Bill Zigrone is an author, lecturer on Developmental Psychology and Illinois chair of the Secular Coalition for America. He blogs regularly at “Dispatches from the New Enlightenment” wearedone.org .

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.

The Times They Are a Changing

Sunday, November 3, 2019, 10:45am

Lou Ness

The Wendall Berry Poem, “Peace of the Wild Thing,” gives us a pathway to finding hope and peace in times of great turmoil and yes, even in times when the stakes are not high. Join me for a conversation on being true to self when the world pushes in on you.

Lou was scheduled to deliver this sermon on October 20th but was unable due to illness. We are happy that we were able to reschedule Lou.

Eighteen Things to Say to Belong

Sunday October 13, 2019, 10:45am

Rabbi Maralee Gordon

Eighteen utterances to say to ourselves and to others to deepen our sense of belonging in our communities. (Eighteen is the numerical value of the Hebrew word, Chai=life)

Here is a recording of Rabbi Maralee Gordon’s sermon

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1uRTAR2yVvfh_mpkdl7nwD7dwNyukAvLe/view?usp=sharing

You can also read her sermon here. https://treeoflifeuu.org/downloads/?ms_file=ms_16421.pdf