What My Daughter Has Taught Me

Sunday, September 23, 2018 10:45am

On the occasion of his daughter’s 15th birthday, the Not Yet Rev. Kevin DeBeck talks about the lessons he’s learned from her and how they apply to society as a whole. On this Sunday, our Religious Education program begins again for the church year. We will honor the children moving up to new classes with a bridging ceremony during the service.

Growing In Community – Soul Matters at Tree of Life

Because the chalice is the UU symbol of the sacred aspect of worship and because listening to one another is a sacred act of community, Chalice Circle is the name we use at Tree of Life for this circle format of adult programming.

This type of program has been ongoing in our community since 2011.   We use the Soul Matters curriculum for our circles and Soul Matters themes now also guide worship services and RE programming.   Each month’s theme is our starting point for reflection, and then we gather to hear each other’s thoughts and questions.  The silent listening is a dynamic which enables the speakers to find empowered voices.   We often see that our own thoughts, questions, and journeys have much in common with our fellow human beings — and hearing the stories of others helps our own stories to appear with more clarity.   We develop the skills of holding others in awareness and of becoming  good listeners.

Irene Raven shares these thoughts about her experience:   “For me Chalice Circle is the most deeply spiritual practice available to us as UUs. Monthly engagement with a small group encourages me to love myself and to show love to others by engaging in the practice of deep listening. When I am heard without interruption or comment, my sense of worth increases. When I listen to others, giving them my full attention without comment or judgment, I show my love for them as well”   [i]full quote at bottom

 

In September our circles resume and will explore the theme of Vision.    All circles meet once a month with a maximum of 10 persons in each circle, and a minimum of 6.   On the back page is a list of the ongoing circles, but we are eager to start new ones as well.  It’s possible to have a circle meet in someone’s home if there is enough interest in a general location – such as Woodstock.

If you would like to hear how other people feel about this program, Sue Rekenthaler, Irene Raven, Marc Stettner, Sue McCowin, Leah Mikkelson, or Lisa Messinger would be happy to share their experiences.   If you’re unsure if this is for you, you are welcome to attend and then decide if you would like to continue.

If you have questions, comments, would like to sign up for a circle, or propose a different circle time, we would love to hear from you.   Feel free to contact us or talk to us in church.

  1. E. Tanabe Ph. 815 337 9895            and                                    Janet Burns     Cell  847 542 7678

m.e.tanabe@comcast.net                                                                       janetrugi@yahoo.com

Existing Circles meet monthly ,  some time/day changes are possible

2nd Sunday 9:00 – 10:00 am      

2nd Wednesday   1:30 – 2:30 pm

3rd Sunday 6:30 – 8:00 pm                     

                                      and we’re open for requests

 

“I suspect the most basic and powerful way to connect to another person is to listen.  Just listen.  Perhaps the most important thing we ever give each other is our attention… When people are talking, there’s no need to do anything but receive them”

— Rachel Naomi Remen

 

[i]  Irene Raven’s full quote:    For me Chalice Circle is the most deeply spiritual practice available to us as UUs. Monthly engagement with a small group encourages me to love myself and to show love to others by engaging in the practice of deep listening. When I am heard without interruption or comment my sense of worth increases. When I listen to others, giving them my full attention without comment or judgment, I show my love for them as well.

 

In addition, the monthly Soul Matters curriculum packets can act as my spiritual reading for the month, allowing me the opportunity to read and reflect and incorporate the theme and various suggestions throughout the month. I find it exciting and challenging to make this a part of my day.

 

Just as the practice of meditation hones our skill so we can be mindful in our daily life, the practice of deep listening in Chalice Circle helps us to develop and use the skill of attentive listening.  We are better able to give our family, friends and acquaintances the precious gift of our full attention in daily conversations. That is a precious gift to both the giver and the receiver.

 

Chalice Circle together with Soul Matters has made a very positive difference in my life, in my daily living, giving me better tools for engaging with my “neighbor” and with myself. I believe I am a much better person because of it. I believe I touch the “divine”  “

 

 

Family Movie Night this Friday

Family Movie Night Friday, March 23, 2018, 7:00 pm! 
Hosted by Green Sanctuary we will be showing WALL-E. Kid-friendly and serving snacks and refreshments. We will be watching on our brand new big screen television in the sanctuary! 
Wall-E, short for Waste Allocation Load Lifter  Earth-class, is the last robot left on Earth.   He spends his days tidying up the planet, one piece of garbage at a time.  But during the 700 years Wall-E has developed a personality, and he’s more than a little lonely.  Then he spots EVE, a sleek and shapely probe sent back to Earth on a scanning mission.  Smitten Wall-E embarks on his greatest adventure yet when he follows EVE across the galaxy.

Being a Community of Abundance

Soul  Matters  at  Tree  of  Life   Being a Community of  Abundance

Almost always the way we think about our abundance is colored by our perceived circumstances contrasted with  our perceived needs.  This month’s Soul Matters  packet encourages us to look for what we appreciate in our lives in or order to give some “weight” to what is already available to us

When we take care to find what has value for us, the realization also carries a natural gratitude. From our sense of abundance  and its accompanying gratitude is a visible line connecting us to our generosity –with our time, our goodwill, our creativity,  and our material goods.  With that in mind,  I’d like to offer a paraphrased excerpt from Kahlil Gibran’s poem on Giving.

“…there are those who give and do not feel loss in their giving, nor do they seek fulfillment, nor are they thinking of their virtue;  they give as blossoming trees breathe fragrance into space.   Through the hands of such givers, the Divine speaks……     ….although some say, I will give, but only to the deserving, the trees in the orchard and the flocks in the field believe otherwise:  they give so that they may live; for them to withhold is to perish.

….reflect on your ability to be an instrument of giving – for in truth, it is life that gives to life.  While you think of yourself as a giver, you are only a witness….”

This month may we come together as a community in exploring the meaning of “abundance” – as we think about ways to experience it our lives and as we work to see it manifested around us.   “Abundance”  is the theme for our worship services.   The resource packet can be accessed here If you need a printed copy, please feel free to take a copy from those available in the fellowship room (or ask for a copy, if they have all been taken).   You are also invited to join discussion through one of our Chalice Circles – you can find details about these circles here  and there are also flyers next to the other packets.

Wishing you joy in community, M.E. Tanabe

Exploring Soul Matters

Exploring Soul Matters

        and Growing Community

                at Tree of Life

Within UU congregations, the “small group ministry” is a widely accepted format for adult programs.   Sometimes the groups are known by the name of the curriculum being used, but often the name “chalice circle”  is chosen because the chalice is the UU symbol of the sacred aspect of worship and also because listening to one another is a sacred act of community…..so  Chalice Circle  is the name we are using at Tree of Life.

In one form or another, this type of program has been ongoing in our community since 2011 .  Since 2014 we have been using the Soul Matters curriculum for our circles and in the past year we have expanded to 4 circles meeting every month.   When we gather, we come to know the joys and challenges of each other’s lives and we hear the deeper thoughts and questions that we all share as human beings  — the stories of others help make our own stories appear to us with more clarity.

In September our circles resume and will explore the topic of Welcome.(click here for packet)   All circles meet once a month with a maximum of 10 persons.   Below is a list of the ongoing circles, but we are eager to start new ones as well.  It’s possible to have a circle meet in someone’s home if there is enough interest in a general location – such as Woodstock.

If you would like to hear how people feel about this program,  Marc Stettner, Sue McCowin, Irene Raven, or Judy Stettner would be happy to share their experiences.   If you’re unsure if this is for you, you are welcome to attend and then decide if you would like to continue.

Exisiting Circles meet monthly  (for Sept, the 2nd Sunday is being moved temporarily)

2nd  Wednesday   10:00 – 11:30 am

2nd Sunday  9:00 – 10:00 am                                          New Circles proposed:

2nd Sunday 6:30 – 8:00 pm                                             1st  Sunday 6:30 – 8:00 pm                                

3rd Sunday 6:30 – 8:00 pm                                                 and we’re open for requests

If you have questions, comments, would like to sign up for a circle, or propose a different circle time, we would love to hear from you, so feel free to use our contact information or talk to us in church.

 

In faith,

  1. E. Tanabe Ph. 815 337 9895            and                                    Janet Burns     Cell  847 542 7678               m.e.tanabe@comcast.net                                                                      janetrugi@yahoo.com

 

“Listening solidifies relationships and is a foundation for community.  Listening with undivided attention and without interruption moves us beyond differences and shows deep respect; the speaker is valued.  Paying attention and being paid attention create a community which embodies our UU principle of affirming and promoting the worth and dignity of each person ….

            Having others attend to your personal story affirms your journey, and having others listen to you encourages you to take yourself more seriously.  Trusting yourself to speak your truth to a group strengthens your ability to speak your truth wherever you go” 

— Rev. Barbara Hamilton-Holway

 

“I suspect the most basic and powerful way to connect to another person is to listen.  Just listen.  Perhaps the most important thing we ever give each other is our attention… When people are talking, there’s no need to do anything but receive them”

 

— Rachel Naomi Remen

Stone Soup

Sunday October 29, 2017 10:45am

Sam Jones and Religious Education

A Stone Soup Service. We all have something to share, no matter how small or seemingly insignificant. When we each come together in community to share our gifts, we find that something new and oftentimes wonderful is created as a result. Join us as we illustrate this in story and participation, sharing in a community soup, the result of what happens when we each bring something to the community.

Everyone is invited to bring a little of their favorite soup vegetable already cut up for today’s service.

We will also have a little pre-Service-Auction fun. Bring canned goods to church today and receive a coupon for $5 off on any purchase at the Service Auction to be held November 4. After the service, all the children are invited to go on a scavenger hunt to find the hidden canned goods. The kids will earn Service Auction coupons for cans they find. Last year, one very intrepid can hunter found a soup can that had been hiding on the church grounds for years. Besides earning coupons to use at the Service Auction, the canned goods will be donated to the McHenry Food Pantry. So this is a win-win for everybody.

Keeping the Dream Alive

Sunday January 22, 2017 10:45am

Sam Jones and the Religious Education Committee

What was it like to live through the civil rights era?  What was it like to witness prejudice and injustice?  How far have we come from that time in history? Join The Religious Education Committee as we honor the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. and share stories from a book which tells of the Civil Rights experiences from people who lived through it. We will also all share in making a sand mandala together. There will be of songs by members of our committee, as well as congregational songs that will specifically add to the experience.

Insight from the Director: What I Set My Heart To

The word credo comes from Latin and has several roots or meanings, the literal translation is “what I set my heart to “On May 15th, our Coming Of Age students ended their program by sharing their faith statements, or credos, with the congregation.  For those who were not able to attend, and for those who would just like to revisit those statements, I have included a link in this article.  Everyone agreed that this is such a meaningful UU ritual.  People came up to me after service to say that they were feeling the need to examine their own credos, as adults.  This is actually something that we all should do from time to time.  We need to examine our personal credos, what do we value? what do we believe? for what greater purpose do we live? in what do we have faith? and what ultimate meaning do we bind ourselves to?  If we are going to live our lives with intention, or consciously, if we are going to have a life with purpose, even if only the purpose we assign to it, we need to examine where we stand with our beliefs today.  Surprisingly, you might find that you no longer hold beliefs from the past.  You might, for example, discover that what you used to think was important, is no longer.  We are often caught up in a cycle of working and consuming that keeps us too busy to slow down for self-reflection.  We are unable to grow toward greater understanding of our true nature unless we take the time to examine and reflect upon our life. In Unitarian Universalism, our third and fourth principles suggest “acceptance of one another and encouragement to spiritual growth in our congregations” and “a free and responsible search for truth and meaning” respectively.  We are blessed to have a religion that encourages our own self-exploration to know ourselves better.  To assist in your individual spiritual paths of self-awareness and discovery, I have included a list of questions to ponder and answer to help create your own personal faith statements or credos:

  • What are some of your beliefs about how humans should act?
  • What are some of your beliefs about the origins of the universe?
  • What do you believe about how the universe functions?
  • What are some of your beliefs about a higher power?
  • What are some of your beliefs concerning life, death and the afterlife?
  • What do you think is sacred?
  • Which of these beliefs affect the way you act? How?

In faith,

Sam Jones, Director of Religious Education

Celebrating Our Learning Community

May 15, 2016 10:45am

Sam Jones, Director of Religious Education

We will honor our volunteer teachers, Coming of Age volunteers and the Religious Ed Committee. We will acknowledge those students who will be bridging to the next level, including our High School graduates. The Coming Of Age students will celebrate the end of their program by reading their faith statements, (credos) to the congregation.

Message from the Director of Religious Education

Spring Flowers edited

 

Signs of spring are showing up all around me as I write this.   I especially am appreciating all the different birds that I missed hearing over the winter.  For Religious Education, this means we are winding down from another church school season.

 

This was to be the year that we tighten our church school community.  One of the ways we chose to accomplish this goal (and we did accomplish it), was to have a one room, all ages classroom.

 

A Rainforest curriculum was chosen to embrace our 7th Principle, “spiritual teachings of Earth-centered traditions which celebrate the sacred circle of life and instruct us to live in harmony with the rhythms of nature”, or, as stated in the children’s simplified version, “valuing our interdependence with nature”.

 

We found that the younger children benefitted most, but the curriculum wasn’t as engaging for the older students, so they branched off into another curriculum which deviated from our “one room classroom” model, however, was a necessary move in order to keep the older students coming.  So, all was not lost from this experiment, it helped to achieve our goals, to re-evaluate and rediscover the sense of community that was needed and to implement a creative solution to an attendance concern.   Currently, our regular Religious Education attendance is hovering around 50%, which is above our average.

 

Our fifth and sixth grade level sexuality program was successful, with a total of six students in regular attendance.  Two of those students were from the outside community, so that was a nice surprise, that says a lot about our program.

 

Our Coming Of Age program is still happening and is six students strong.  Thanks to the classroom leadership of  M.E. Tanabe, Sue McCowin, and our intern ministers, Michelle Lattanzio and Misha Lentz, and of course, the amazing mentors who deserve status of “elite member” of this church community.

 

Strong programs such as the ones we have offered this season are what strengthen the ties of our church community and quite possibly the community around us.  I think we still have a lot to offer, and we are doing it, one church season at a time.

Blessings,

Sam Jones