Strings and Solo Dances: Embodying Worship When We’re Apart August 30, 2020, at 10:00 a.m. (Online Only atfacebook.com/uurockford) Intern Minister Omega Burckhardt
We dance and sway to music that moves us. We reach out and hold the hands of those we love. We lift our voices together in lamentation or joyous song. How can we embody our worship experience when we are apart? Join us as we explore ways in which dance, music, and small rituals help us feel connected and supported, even when we can’t be together.
Happy Birthday to: Sandee Poznan (08/28), Sarah Werhane (08/30), & Shavonne White (08/30)!
Thank you for the wonderful support of the family of Carol McKnight-Foster during the past several months. Cards, calls, flowers, plants, visits, texts, emails, conversations, counsel, food, and more. All greatly helpful and appreciated. Special thanks to the Caring Team and the Memorial Committees of this truly beloved community U.U. Church.
With deep gratitude, Ed Foster
Message from Matthew
Last Saturday, at our board retreat, we were joined by 2020-2021 Intern Minister Omega Burckhardt – it was her first day! Omega will preach this coming Sunday, so be sure to tune in and welcome her. It is, needless to say, a very strange time to begin an intern ministry. It’s possible that she will only meet a few of you in person over the next year, but she hopes to meet with many of you online.
I’m thrilled that this congregation has such a long record of support for intern ministry. You are a great teaching church – offering a place for students to learn about ministry and congregational life. You encourage, share, and teach by doing. I’m sure you’ll do that again with Omega this year.
Omega will be with us ½ time this year, and in Rockford on Thursdays and Sundays. She’ll be focused on providing continuity through my fall sabbatical and working to engage folks in spiritual and justice work in creative online ways.
Omega has completed her first year of a two-year part-time internship at Olympia Brown Unitarian Universalist Church in Racine, Wisconsin. She was an active lay leader at First Unitarian Milwaukee, has served on the leadership school staff for the MidAmerica Region and has focused on small group ministry, technology, and intercultural competency. Professionally, she was Visiting Assistant Professor of Spanish at Marquette University and holds a Ph.D. in Latin American Language and Culture. She’s friendly, engaging, and passionate about the religious community.
Welcome her warmly to the church, won’t you?
From Rev. Matthew Johnson
I want to urge you, then, to participate in our UU Book Discussion! We will be discussing “Justice On Earth: People of Faith working at the Intersections of Race, Class, and the Environment.” On Wednesday, Sept. 2nd, we’ll have a zoom conversation with one of the authors including in the book: the Rev. Adam Robersmith. Rev. Robersmith is the author of the chapter “Cherishing Our World: Avoiding Despair in Environmental Work.” I know Adam well and it will be a treat to have him!
This Wonderful Wednesday “author chat” will be Sept. 2nd, at 7pm central time, on zoom. The meeting ID is 337-267-3668 (same as coffee hour and other Wonderful Wednesday events). Even if you don’t have time to read the book, try to read the chapter – or, failing that, just come and be with us!
Share the Plate with Faith in Place Faith in Place empowers Illinois people of all faiths to be leaders in caring for the Earth, providing resources to educate, connect, and advocate for healthier communities. Click here to donate.
Illinois Constitutional changes on the ballot on 11/3/20
All Illinois ballots will include this proposed change to the Illinois constitution: Proposed Amendment to the 1970 Illinois Constitution
Explanation of Amendment The proposed amendment grants the State authority to impose higher income tax rates on higher income levels, which is how the federal government and a majority of other states do it. The amendment would remove the portion of the Revenue Article of the Illinois Constitution that is sometimes referred to as the “flat tax,” that requires all taxes on income to be at the same rate. The amendment does not itself change tax rates. It gives the State the ability to impose higher tax rates on those with higher income levels and lower tax rates on those with middle or lower income levels. You are asked to decide whether the proposed amendment should become a part of the Illinois Constitution.
To calculate what your personal impact would be with a graduated Illinois income tax versus the current flat tax, enter your personal information into this calculator: https://www2.illinois.gov/sites/gov/fairtax/Pages/default.aspx If you are curious about why Illinois wants to make this change to income tax, the following video explains the reason in 2:35 minutes: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-MKKOa5j7oM I’m a member of the League of Women Voters, Illinois, a non-partisan organization, which supports this Constitutional change.
Submitted by Teresa Wilmot
A new flagpole and rainbow flag now grace the Spectrum School garden on the church west lawn.
*ZOOM Church Calendar*
Most “all church” events will be 337-267-3668. This is the Personal Meeting
ID for “Thomas Kerr,” our online identity (and the minister from 1870-1900,
who used all the new technology of his time to reach those he
served). Generally, there will be a waiting room and the host will need to
– Coffee Hour on Sunday. 337-267-3668. 11:10 am. Matthew and Chris will
– Youth Group – contact Lindsay for a meeting ID. First Sunday of each month at 11:30 a.m.
– Garden Group – contact Allyson Rosemore for a meeting ID. Wednesdays at
– Touchstones: contact your touchstones group facilitator for the time
and meeting ID, if you don’t already have it.
– Caring Team Meeting – The first Tuesday of each month at 6 pm. ID 337-267-3668
Want to have a group – a book group, a parent group, a “circle supper”, or
whatever you like? You can create a free Zoom account (40-minute limit,
though often waived by zoom at minute 35). Or, you can use “Thomas Kerr’s”
– just email Autumn firstname.lastname@example.org she can give you the login
Path to Membership
It’s that time again! If you’re interested in learning more about Unitarian Universalism, there’s still time to RSVP for our upcoming class.
*Due to the pandemic* this class will be divided into two parts–an online session and an in-person (socially-distanced) book-signing.
We will send videos/reading materials prior to a scheduled virtual meeting. The options for the virtual meeting are as follows– at noon, Tuesday, Sept. 15th or at 6pm, Wednesday, Sept. 16th. All members wishing to join the church will then meet on Saturday, Sept. 19th at 10am for the book-signing, which we will record outside (weather permitting) and show on our live-stream Sunday service the following day.
The class covers UU history, principles, and ideals, and is a wonderful way to learn about our church and meet others who are new to Unitarian Universalism. Attendance is required for membership.
To register call Chris in the church office at (815) 398-6322 or email at email@example.com September 10th. We hope to see you there!
Homecoming! Sept. 13th.
Unless there is a spike in cases, we are planning on a socially distant, outside gathering for Homecoming. Worship will be online only at 10am; after worship drive, bike, or walk to the church. You can bring a lunch (and lawn chair of your own) and join us on the lawn. Or just come by and say hello. Plan to keep six feet of distance and wear a mask when moving around. The building (including restrooms) will be closed, so please make sure you do not need to enter the building. It will be so great to see some of you! Rain back up is the next week, Sept. 20th.
Literature Link about Gratitude for the Sunday sermon on Aug. 23
The Gifts of Imperfection by Brené BrownAuthor and vulnerability researcher Brené Brown speaks to readers about worthiness in The Gifts of Imperfection. In this book, Brown outlines “ten guideposts” to inspire readers to live a wholehearted, authentic life. In this way, Brown says gratitude, acceptance, and compassion can flow. She also has an inspiring podcast [free].
• Kenny from The Watsons Go to Birmingham—1963 by Christopher Paul Curtis: School bullies and his brother Byron torment Cockeye Kenny; but when a family vacation to the segregated South turns tragic and traumatic, it is By who twice rescues his “baby bruh.” Byron gently coaxes Kenny to reconcile with the monsters and angels that nearly destroy him. As Kenny makes peace with life’s joys and cruelties, readers realize giving up is not an option.
Planting the Peace Pole
A peace pole has been carved by Roger Benedict for our new island garden. The message reads “May peace prevail on earth” in four different languages. We are “planting” the pole in the garden in early September. It will be unveiled for all to see at the church picnic on September 13.
We are inviting children and adults to write messages of peace, thanksgiving, hope, or prayer to be planted at the base of the pole and become its spiritual “roots.”
On a strip of paper you can write a message and sign your name. Send these to the church office. Or you can email your message and name to:firstname.lastname@example.org. Our goal is to have all messages ready by September 2.
We are thankful to the donors who made this project possible.
Partner Church and Justice for All teams
If you’d like to follow up with the idea of Victory Gardens, and growing food in this time, join Allyson Rosemore and other church folks in conversation, each Wednesday at 6pm. A chat about our gardens- showing them off, troubleshooting, etc. Of course, anyone is welcome to join us. Details are:
Topic: Garden chat
Time: 6:00 PM Central Time (US and Canada) https://us04web.zoom.us/j/77166791480 Meeting ID: 771 6679 1480
Social Justice Updates
People Talk – You now can do something NOW about the Climate Crisis!
The Green Sanctuary Team, in collaboration with the Green New Deal Working Group of Our Illinois Revolution, is organizing an action event to TAKE A BITE OUT OF ILLINOIS’ CARBON FOOTPRINT.
On this Zoom call, we’ll be getting into C-PACE (Commercial Property Assessed Clean Energy) – an exciting new commercial finance program to remove obstacles for companies to retool properties for sustainable energy.
Our presenters are Anna Maria Kowalik from Illinois’ premier organization supporting businesses in going green in energy, and Liz Chaplin of the DuPage Country Board who got her county to adopt this game-changing finance program. It’s the “low hanging fruit” of Illinois’ carbon footprint.
Imagine a bowling alley going green and reducing its electricity usage by the equivalent of over 70 homes annually or a church eliminating the total energy usage of about 2 dozen homes! The bowling alley alone can see a total reduction of over a million POUNDS of GHG’s/year! Yes. We can do this!
Let’s address the Climate Crisis globally by acting locally!
Call Bob Babcock at 630.417.0042 if you have any questions.
In collaboration with UUSC, Side With Love is offering an exciting new webinar series to deepen our collective activism and participation in the Movement for Black Lives.
We invite you to participate in Taking A Collective Breath: Deepening our alignment with the Movement for Black Lives, a five-session series built around the elements of the BREATHE Act. The webinars will explore the components of the BREATHE Act and utilize its structure as a way to focus our energies to effectively support ongoing racial justice work. Come learn and build with local and national partners who are shaping conditions to make liberation possible. This is an invitation to locate yourself in this moment as well, we each have a role to play.
The BREATHE Act seeks to reform federal laws and eliminate funding for federal programs that criminalize Black, Muslim, and immigrant communities, reinvesting our resources in community solutions for education, health, and the environment.
August 11, 4pm PT/ 6pm CT/ 7pm ET
Webinar 1: Divesting Federal Resources from Incarceration and Policing & Ending Criminal-Legal System Harms.
Panelists: Author and Organizer Andrea Ritchie and Quiana Perkins, Black Lives UU Babies and BailOut
August 25 4pm PT/ 6pm CT/ 7pm ET
Webinar 2: Investing in New Approaches to Community Safety Utilizing Funding Incentives.
Panelists: Economist and Professor Francisco Perez, Center for Popular Economics and Marilynn Winn Founder/Director, Women on the Rise
September 8 4pm PT/ 6pm CT/ 7pm ET
Webinar 3: Education: Allocating New Money to Build Healthy, Sustainable & Equitable Communities for All People.
Panelists: National Director and Writer Jonathan Stith, Alliance for Educational Justice and Youth Organizers
September 22 4pm PT/ 6pm CT/ 7pm ET
Webinar 4: Environmental Justice and Public Health.
Panelists: Environmental Justice Advocates and Directors Roundtable
October 13 4pm PT/ 6pm CT/ 7pm ET
Webinar 5: Holding Officials Accountable & Enhancing Self-Determination of Black Communities.
Panelists: Minister Sheena Rolle, Deputy Director Faith In Florida; Nicole Pressley, National Organizer UU The Vote and Let My People Vote Campaign
Everette R. H. Thompson
Side With Love
Invitation to Healing Justice Ceremony – Sunday, Aug 30 at noon – outside at the church
We will create a healing ceremony to honor the place where the bodies of Eddie Patterson & Officer Jamie Cox were on church property almost three years ago. The tree, the land, our church community & our city were wounded. We will gather in a medicine wheel to hear what the land & the tree have to say to us. We will feel what the place says to our hearts & souls for our own healing.
Eliminate Racism 815 recommends a City Community Accountability Board
Eliminate Racism 815 recommended to the Rockford City Council on July 27th that the City of Rockford develop a Community Accountability Board. The Criminal Justice Action Team has studied similar boards for the past year and has spoken with people from various cities of comparable size across the United States. We have learned of their challenges and successes. We listened to law enforcement, members of various city and non-governmental organizations and elected officials. They are sources of encouragement and wisdom, sharing information on achieving our goal of strengthening the relationship between community and police and improving accountability by establishing a Community Accountability Board.
Independent community-led review of the Rockford Police Department would provide:
Transparency and trust
Fair and effective policing
Protection of the civil and constitutional rights of all the people
We want Rockford’s police force to be a model of effective community policing. Therefore, we need to:
Strengthen Rockford’s community policing program
Develop additional educational programs for officers in cultural competency and de-escalation
Eliminate the disparity in stops by race
Review and recommend actions and policies
Establish a review and mediation system for use of force complaints
Streamline and simplify the complaint process
Educate community members on lodging complaints
Improve the culture of the Police Department
Have strong, diverse community representation on the Board