Kairos April 25, 2023


Kairos                                                       04/25/2023

Ministry: Mine, Yours, Ours
April 30, 2023, at 10:00 a.m. Online and in-person 
Rev. Dr. Matthew Johnson

We celebrate 15 years of shared ministry.  We’ll have a variety of reflections and thoughts about the meaning of our work together.  See you there!

We will share the plate with Alignment Rockford

In partnership with Rockford Public School District 205, Alignment Rockford brings together strategic partners from corporate, civic, political, religious, and social entities to challenge and address systemic barriers and equitably impact the growth, development, and academic achievement of each RPS 205 student.

Click Here to Donate

Happy Birthday to: Pat Littlejohn (04/25), Robin Gausebeck (04/25), Alicia Oczus (04/26), Melissa Vyborny (04/27), Libby Parker (04/28), Sue Wilke (04/28) Ruth Penticoff (05/01), Robert Vogl (05/02), Roger Benedict (05/02), Randy Pellman (05/02), & Clark Logemann (05/02)!

Shari Smallwood had surgery and is recovering at Wesley Willows Rehab Center and would love visits and calls from all of you.

Volunteers for Sunday, April 30
Greeters: We Need 2 Volunteers
Guest Table: Rev. Joyce Palmer & We Need 1 More Volunteer
Ushers: We Need 2 Volunteers
Coffee Hosts: We Need 2 Volunteers

Please note that if you volunteer for coffee host you will need to clean up afterward and run the cups through the sanitizer. Spitty and others are happy to help you become familiar with how to handle this easy job.
Sign Up Here

Thank you to all of you who have already turned in your commitments to support the church in the coming fiscal year. If you haven’t done so yet, please fill it out today:  https://uurockford.breezechms.com/form/20b2b47025.  

Matthew’s Memo
April 25th 2023
On Sunday, we will celebrate 15 years of ministry together.  I won’t write here what I plan to say Sunday; only to encourage you to attend online or in person.  15 years is unusually long for Unitarian Universalist ministry, and something we should be very proud of.  Or maybe we are both very stubborn!  15 years is not extraordinarily long for you, though – you’ve had many long ministries in your history.
I rank fourth in tenure; and am the 16th settled full-time minister of this church.  The Unitarians and the Universalists both began in 1841. They had some part-time and visiting ministers until 1855, when they finally had the resources to call a full-time person. Here is the list – just senior, settled, full-time ministers (many others served as well). 

  1. Rev. John Murray – 1855-1857
  2. Rev. Augustus Conant – 1857-1861 (enlisted in the Union Army)
  3. Rev. Fredrick May Holland – 1863
  4. Rev. William Nowell – 1864-1865
  5. Rev. Daniel Reed – 1865-1870 (resigned due to ill health)
  6. Rev. Dr. Thomas Kerr – 1870-1900 (retired, became Minister Emeritus)
  7. Rev. Robert Bryant – 1900-1906
  8. Rev. Thorton Anthony Mills – 1907-1913
  9. Rev. Dr. Charles Parker Connolly – 1913-1942 (retired, became Minister Emeritus)
  10. Rev. Richard Kuch – 1942-1945 (called to denominational service)
  11. Rev. Jack Mendelsohn – 1946 – 1954 (called to a congregation in Indianapolis)
  12. Rev. Victor Goff – 1954-1957 (called to denominational service)
  13. Rev. Alan Deale – 1958-1970 (called to a congregation in Portland, Oregon)
  14. Rev. Anthony Perrino – 1972-1978 (removed from ministry for sexual misconduct)
  15. Rev. David Weissbard – 1979-2006 (retired, Minister Emeritus of this church)
  16. Rev. Dr. Matthew Johnson – 2008 to present.

As you can see, three ministers account for 86 years of this history – remarkably long and powerful ministries which gave this church stability and strength.  The war years – both the Civil War and World War 2 – were times of turnover.  It wasn’t until Alan’s ministry that the regular interim process we have now began, which has served us very well. 
It is illustrious company, for the most part.  I am honored to continue to serve you and be among such a list.
In faith,

Kay Hotchkiss has a photo outside the choir room. Kay was Music Director at UU Church Rockford for 50 years. Kay just turned 99 years old! Still singing!


The Auction is back and scheduled for September 23, 2023. Katie Kerr and Alexis Simmons are looking for help.

Anyone that is interested in (1) Helping plan/set up for the auction or (2) Donating items should reach out to Katie or Alexis.

We will need help with Setting up/Tearing down, Decorating, Working the Event, and Help with Food prep. We are also looking for any Oktoberfest themed decorations people might have stored away and are willing to loan us.

Our Caring Team is
a support network within UU Church Rockford that seeks to provide compassionate and caring assistance to members on an as-needed basis. Here are just a couple of the many ways we can connect volunteers to members who have a specific need:

  • We organize the preparation and delivery of meals and the completion of errands for members following surgery or during an illness.
  • We set up rides for members of our community to attend worship services and go to medical appointments.

You can contact Rev. Joyce f you need assistance or know someone who needs support in one of these or other ways.
We would love for you to join our Caring Team. If you are able to help by preparing a meal, dropping off carry-out, running an errand, providing a ride, or something else along these lines for one of our members, feel free to reach out to Rev. Joyce at
The strength of our community is reflected in the ways we support each other and our aim is to continue to grow this important ministry!


List of resources that may be helpful to you or someone you know.

Family Peace Center – 1-779-348-7600 
Remedies Renewing Lives – 24-hour Domestic Violence Hotline – 1-815-962-6102

Catholic Charities Long Term Care Ombudsman Program – 1-815-316-0040 or 1-800-369-0895
Mercyhealth at Home/Older Adult Services – 1-815-971-3502
Lifescape Community Services – 1-815-963-1609 or 1-800-779-1189 

Center for Sight and Hearing – 1-815-332-6800 P
RAMP – 1-815-968-7467 
The ARC – 1-815-965-3455 

Click Here for More Resources

Social Justice

Eliminate Racism 815
Book Discussion
Note the Date Change
for this month only! 

We hope you will attend the Critical Race Theory program at Rock Valley College on April 27th. 

Wednesday April 26, 2023  6:00 p.m.

Join us by zoom for a discussion of Defund Fear: Safety Without Policing, Prisons, and Punishment by Zach Norris. He invites us to challenge the failed experiment of the current punitive carceral state. He talks of civic engagement, violence prevention, juvenile justice with a goal of shifting economic resources away from prisons and punishment and towards economic opportunity.
Please read the book on your own and we will discuss it. 
Join the Zoom Meeting here: 

Book discussions are presented in partnership with Rockford Public Library. 

Click Here for Teresa’s Tablet “On Being, To Be A Healer”
Literature Link in Memory of Dale Dunnigan 4/18/23
Click Here to view Ministers and Staff: Duties, Hours, Contact

Community Events

Urinetown the Musical

Sunday, April 30 at 2pm
Buy your $5.00 ticket while they last!
Join us for an afternoon at the Rockford University Maddox Theatre to experience Urinetown. Winner of three Tony Awards, three Outer Critics Circle Awards, two Lucille Lortel Awards and two Obie Awards, Urinetown is a hilarious musical satire of the legal system, capitalism, social irresponsibility, populism, bureaucracy, corporate mismanagement, municipal politics and musical theatre itself! Hilariously funny and touchingly honest, Urinetown provides a fresh perspective on one of America’s greatest art forms.
We have 10 tickets available for the Sunday matinee. After the show join members and friends of the church for refreshments at church. See Rev Joyce for tickets.

Exploring the Labyrinth
– May 6, 2023; 9:30 am – 12:00 pm – Rotary Botanical Gardens, 1455 Palmer Dr., Janesville, WI 53545
Led by the Rev. Suzelle Lynch – $10 – $15:  Register here: 
The labyrinth is a symbol both ancient and modern that anyone can use for meditation, problem-solving, or relaxation. Unlike mazes, labyrinths have no wrong turns. In a labyrinth, a single path leads us through a series of turns until we arrive in a centering place.

Life-size, walkable labyrinths have been present in different cultures around the world for thousands of years, and are available today in public parks, gardens, schools and community centers.

In this workshop, we will learn the benefits of using a labyrinth, explore labyrinth history, learn to draw a simple labyrinth and, in honor of World Labyrinth Day, we’ll walk the lovely labyrinth located at Rotary Gardens. We’ll also learn how to find more local labyrinths for future exploration.

Our workshop leader, Suzelle Lynch, is a UU minister and Janesville resident. She was trained in labyrinth facilitation by Veriditas, a non-profit organization dedicated to inspiring transformation and renewal through the labyrinth experience. Suzelle is also a member of the world-wide Labyrinth Society, and has 20 years of experience leading labyrinth workshops and walks.

The Board of Trustees: 
President: Judy Gustafson   
Clerk: Bob Spelman
Vice-President: Spitty Tata
Treasurer: Steve Blomgren
Trustees: Sarah Greer, Jami Edmonds, & Rebecca Beneditz

The Unitarian Universalist Church, Rockford, IL  |   4848 Turner St., Rockford, IL 61107   |   815-398-6322    |   uurockford.org  |





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