Kairos April 9, 2024


Kairos                                                       04/09/2024

Nourishing Roots, Opening Wings
April 14, 2024, at 10:00 a.m. 
Online and in-person

Rev. Dr. Matthew Johnson
We celebrate Interdependence, covenant, and the work of nourishing our congregation so that we can fly and soar and become.  Reflections on connection, generosity, hope, and what’s next.

We will Share the Plate with UUPMI
We equip UU’s in Illinois to ​transform institutions, partnering with and supporting people harmed by the prison industrial complex.

Click Here to Donate

Volunteers for Sunday, April 14
Thank you to the Racial & Economic Justice team for volunteering this Sunday!

Happy Birthday to:  Katherine Hotchkiss (04/11), Dick Lake (04/11), Leslie Mahan (04/11), Pat Lewis (04/12), Linda Spelman (04/12), Patterson Dunn (04/13), Alice Enichen (04/13), Michelle Lattanzio (04/13), Lucille Beneditz (04/14), & Barbara Kober (04/14)!

Matthew’s Memo
April 9, 2024


Last week, I had cause to reflect on some projects in our community that I – and others of you – have been involved in and that have made a big difference in our area.  Sometimes we focus so much on what isn’t working and miss what is.  So I thought I’d share some good news you can be proud of. 
One is the Family Peace Center.  I attended the fundraiser for this (with a few of you) on Saturday and chatted with some staff and the Mayor about this work.  I have been involved since the beginning of this work.  I helped recruit some other clergy (there is now a wonderful group of chaplains who spend time there) and I help with trainings for other clergy and religious leaders. My role is minor now, but clergy support was essential in the start and continues to be very important.  The Mayor reminded us that we were the fastest community in the country to go from start to an open center, and another staff member told me how unusual it is for a community of our size to have such a center.  Most importantly, so many survivors have been served with more dignity and effectiveness.  There is work to do, and the new space that the FPC will move into soon makes some exciting things possible.  But we can be thankful for the staff there and all the agencies who work together on this important issue. 
Two is Rockford Promise.  I was on the board for a few years, when the organization changed its direction to make a full-ride promise real.  The way it has taken off, with city support, is amazing.  Some of you remain heavily involved as board members and volunteers. The vision of college accessibility being normal, and not an exception, is transformative. It gives people hope and opens doors.  I am mostly now a cheerleader, but I’m so proud of the work I did there.  And the church has used a gift from Martha Daniels to support multiple scholars – almost all refugees, and now college graduates. 
Third is Alignment Rockford.  I’ve been involved for more than a decade, mostly on early childhood.  Post-pandemic, the organization is thriving.  Great work is happening in Early Childhood which is transforming, slowly and steadily, the landscape for young parents. We’re not there, but we have a common roadmap for the first time.  I’m not working with a team on creating a “Welcome Baby” or universal home visiting program.  This is the most effective intervention to improve the quality of life for young babies and their families.  I’m very excited about what is possible.  Many church members have been involved in this work too. 
I hope you feel proud about the church’s role in these community efforts.  Much of my work is behind the scenes – making connections, asking questions, thinking strategically – but it does add up over time.  If there is an issue where you think your gifts would make a difference, and you want to get involved, go for it!  Not sure where to start?  Let me know and I can give you some ideas based on your interests.  We can do big things together.
In faith,

New Database Update

We are moving to a new database at church, and need your help.  Please go to uurockford.churchcenter.com and sign in.  (It’s easy!)  Update your information and look out for emails to fill in info and add yourself to the directory.  You can also scan this QR code: 

Do it today!

Passover Seder, UU Style

This year our congregation will celebrate its Seder on Wednesday, April 24th at 6 pm, on the third night of Passover.  This is a Jewish celebration of the perilous exodus of the Jews from Egypt in 1313 BCE.  Our celebration reflects that of our Jewish neighbors in that it is a family ritual; children are integral part to the ceremony, however we celebrate as a community, as well.
Included in the celebration is a 5-course dinner which includes several Jewish specialties including matzoh balls, Passover macaroons, gefilte fish, and matzah.  Vegan food will also be available.  Food is one way we share our unique cultures. 
This year’s celebration is different from prior years’.  Several of our Jewish members have input their ideas.  This year you will hear a cantor sing a few parts in Hebrew before our English translation.
To make the celebration more accessible to families, this year children 12 and under will be free. 
You may copy and paste this form into an email to send to
­­­_____ ­­­­­­­­­­­­­________________________________________________________________
                 2024 UU Passover Seder
Family Name:­­­­­­. _______________________________
          Number of adults (@ $12.00):                           _____
          Number of children 12 or over (@$6.00):           _____
          Number of children 5 to 11 (FREE)                    _____
          Number of vegetarian/vegan meals:                  _____
_____ ­­­­­­­­­________________________________________________________________
Please note this special celebration on your calendar now.

Caring Connections Card Table
April 14th After service

Please stop by the table in Deale Hall after the service. We will have cards available for you to write to members and friends who need some encouragement.


For many years, most recently on April 6, our church has burned the prairie on our premises as a way of clearing dead brush and promoting the growth of the new. Dean Tollefsrud, who as Buildings and Grounds chair, often supervised the activity, wrote a poem one year entitled “Prairie Burn, Prairie Bloom” which served as the inspiration for the two quilts that traditionally hang in the sanctuary each spring. This poem appeared in an issue of Kairos.

The design by Robin Gausebeck was a simple one which could be stitched by quilters in the congregation. Little explanation of the design is required; the colors speak for themselves. Fabrics were culled from what people had on hand and supplemented, where necessary, by purchases at local shops. All the stitchers gathered at the church to collect the patterns and fabrics; the entire effort of putting the banners together took several months. The members who worked on the sewing were Leigh Lakey, Sandi Campbell, Pat Tollefsrud, Robin Gausebeck, and Susan Halvorson. Once all the parts were stitched together Elizabeth Williams, an extremely talented local quilter, did the quilting on her long-arm quilting machine. These were by far the largest pieces she had ever worked on. Funding was provided by the Floyd Palm Memorial.

Besides the literal relationship between the actual prairie burn activity and the design of the quilts, the banners are also meant to symbolize how, through our myriad activities, we feel renewed and ready to bloom by our presence in our loving and caring congregation.

Spiritual Direction at UU Church

Join Gloria Perez, trained Spiritual Director, and a small group of seekers for a spiritual direction group. The group meets on the second Wednesday of the month at 6pm on Zoom.

Spiritual Direction explores a deeper relationship with the spiritual aspect of being human. Simply put, spiritual direction is helping people tell their sacred stories everyday.

If you are interested in joining the group, contact Gloria at gjp68@me.com for more information.

Calling all Small Group Leaders!

We are updating our database and entering small group leaders and participants. If you are a small group leader, please email me with your contact information, brief description, and the names of people who participate in your group.

Small Groups gather to connect and pursue shared interests. I have Soul Matters, Spiritual Direction and New Moon group leaders. 

Other group leaders, please get in touch with Rev Joyce at revjoycepalmer@yahoo.com

For Adults

Do you people do anything but talk about sex? No. Not really. The Unitarian Universalist Association has developed a stellar comprehensive sex education curriculum known as Our Whole Lives. As the title suggests, it is not a one and done, but rather a topic to be revisited as we grow and mature. Join us as Wendy Bennett and Leah Krippner facilitate an adult exploration of sexuality in the 21st century. Anyone 18 and up is welcome to join. 


This month we will discuss Sexuality & Spirituality, focusing on defining spirituality and examining how sexuality works in this context. Folks are welcome to join for a single session or sign up for all of them. 




Click Link to sign up

Wednesday April 17 6:30pm

Sexuality & Spirituality

Sign up!

Wednesday May 15 6:30pm

Sexual Pleasure

Sign up!

Getting to Know UU Sessions

Join us for our welcome program designed to provide newcomers with the opportunity to learn about the congregation and how to get connected. We hope you will find this community to be a religious home.
There are 4 sessions, the first is a series of videos and the other three are in person on Sundays in the Sanctuary from 11:15 – 11:45. You can complete the sessions at any time. Sessions will repeat monthly.
*Watch 4 Introduction Videos Prior to In-Person Sessions*
April 14 Getting Connected with Rev. Joyce
April 21 Living Our Faith with Lindsay and Allyson
April 28 Our Story with Rev. Matthew
Hope to see you!

Video session takes about 30 minutes to complete.
Video session takes about 30 minutes to complete
1. A History of Unitarianism: BaseCamp: 5 Minute History of Unitarianism


BaseCamp: 5 Minute History of Unitarianism

2. A History of Universalism: BaseCamp: A History of Universalism in 5 Minutes


BaseCamp: A History of Universalism in …

3.   UU theology video by Rev. Matthew Johnson: (12 minutes): UU theology by Matthew Johnson


UU theology by Matthew Johnson

4. After you’ve watched Matthew’s Theology video, watch this video of “Holy Now” by Peter Mayer: Peter Mayer “Holy Now” (with lyrics in captions)


Peter Mayer “Holy Now” (with lyrics in…

Questions, email Rev Joyce at revjoycepalmer@yahoo.com

The Zanzen Meditation group is meeting in the church library every Saturday from 8:00 am to about 10:00 am for silent meditation and friendly discussion. We would like to invite all who are interested to check us out. There is no need to sign up or commit to anything. If you show up and behave we will probably be delighted to have you join us.

Rare Earth Food Collective
is an online farmers’ market featuring local food and products. We help producers work together to meet the growing demand for local, sustainable food in Winnebago, Boone, and McHenry Counties. Instead of you driving all over the countryside to buy from different farms, we collaborate to bring the food to you. You can choose home delivery or a nearby pickup location. We deliver orders every Tuesday, year-round. There is no minimum order, and no requirement to order every week. Ordering from REFC helps to build and support our local food community, preserve our agricultural land for future use, and reduce our carbon footprint. It also provides you with fresh food that tastes delicious and is good for you. 

For members who already attend UU regularly, we will be there on Tuesdays in Deale Hall to pack our orders for distribution – meaning you could place an order for Tuesday pick up right at the Church! 

To register as a customer visit: https://refc.localfoodmarketplace.com/

The next pick-up will be on April 16, 2:30 – 3:00. This time period may be adjusted.

The buying window on the website will go live with products (for shopping) from Saturday at Noon, until Monday at Noon, but you can sign up as a customer at any time!

We look forward to serving you!

Click here to view the new library catalogue


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

Click Here for Teresa’s Tablet “Flexing my Activist Muscles”
Literature Link in Memory of Dale Dunnigan “One,” 3/17/24″
Click Here to view Ministers and Staff: Duties, Hours, Contact

Click Here to View UUA GA 2024

Community Events

If you have questions please contact Katy Conrad conradkathren@gmail.com

On Wednesday, April 10, distinguished authors Richard Rothstein (The Color of Law; Just Action) and daughter Leah Rothstein (Just Action) will present a 45-minute lecture followed by Q&A focused on addressing residential segregation in our community. The Rothsteins’ lecture will be centered around their latest co-authored book, Just Action, which describes how we can begin to address segregation in our community, providing dozens of strategies local groups can pursue for racial housing justice.

This event is being co-hosted by Rockford Area Habitat for Humanity and Rock Valley College’s PAIC office as well as a collective of planning partners. It is made possible thanks to a generous Healing Illinois Grant through the Field Foundation and Illinois Department of Human Services.  There is no cost to attend.

I hope to see you there, and I hope you’ll join us in committing to action around this issue! Please help spread the word to others in our community.

What: Housing Justice Symposium with Richard Rothstein and Leah Rothstein

When: Wednesday, April 10

                        5:00 – Doors Open

                        5:30 – Event Start

                        7:30 – Book Signing (ends at 8:00) A limited number of books will be sold on site

Where: Rock Valley College Physical Education Center (3301 North Mulford Road, Rockford IL, 61114)

Register: While not required, we would appreciate registrations at:


Rockford’s First Official Pride Parade will be held downtown on June 1st, 2024! We need lots of volunteers to make this a success. Please sign up to help out at https://www.rockfordareapride.org/contact-8

Want to march in the Parade? Sign up here asap – https://www.rockfordareapride.org/online-store/2024-Parade-Entry-p620970387

The MidAmerica Region is coming together – both online and at the First Unitarian Society of Madison, WI on Friday, April 19 and Saturday, April 20 of 2024 for a multiplatform Regional Assembly! 

Our Keynote address will be given by the Rev. Dr. Sofía Betancourt, President of the Unitarian Universalist Association of Congregations, and Rev. Dr. Karen Georgia A. Thompson, General Minister and President of the United Church of Christ. 

There will be workshops, the Annual Business Meeting of the MidAmerica Region, and opportunities to meet many UU Leaders from across our faith tradition. 

For those who are in person, there will even be opportunities to tour this historic church designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. 

But most importantly, it is a time for us to come together as Unitarian Universalists from across the MidAmerica Region.

Please join us, online and in-person for our first-ever multi-platform MidAmerica Regional Assembly!  

Register Now

Our Vision: A loving congregation that connects with ourselves, one another, and the larger community.  

Our Mission: We care for ourselves, each other, and our neighbors while taking risks acting for justice. We are continuously building an inclusive, empowered, anti-oppressive, anti-racist, multicultural congregation. Our connections foster radical love for ourselves and others.

The Board of Trustees: 
President: Spitty Tata
Clerk: Kim Lowman Vollmer
Vice-President: Matt Menze
Treasurer: Steve Blomgren
Trustees: Clark Logemann, Sarah Greer, & Rebecca Beneditz

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





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