The Welcome Table August 8, 2021, at 10:00 a.m.Onlineand In-Person Rev. Dr. Matthew Johnson The African-American Spiritual, the Welcome Table, is a profound song, celebrating a God who welcomes you to God’s table – even if the world too often doesn’t let you sit at its. Using a powerful story from Alice Walker as our text, we’ll examine how the open heart of the holy should shape how we all live.
Or just email me at email@example.com and let me know and I’ll put you in the system for that day.
Happy Birthday to: Peter Bell (08/04), Connor Young (08/07), Norman Erickson (08/08), Charles Barnes (08/09), Kate Larson (08/09), Dorothy Hill (08/10), Cindy Fischer (08/10), Casandra Goldsmith (08/10), Darrell Polfliet (08/10), & Sara Dorner (08/10)!
Board Update The Board held its first meeting of the fiscal year. We had an orientation to Google Drive and our processes for meetings. We approved the Woodsong Expansion proposal. We made plans for the Board retreat in Sept.
Matthew’s Memo Aug 3, 2021
As I mentioned briefly on Sunday, the Board of Trustees discussed the rising COVID case numbers, caused by the Delta Variant, at their meeting last week. They agreed that our current policy of requiring masks for all people, regardless of vaccination status, is the right one and that we will continue it. And, I wanted to offer you some more detail and thoughts.
My colleagues in many parts of the country, especially in Florida and Louisiana, are delaying their plans to reopen – or going back online only after only a few weeks of being in person. (It is too hot and steamy to be outside in these places for worship). Our cases numbers are thankfully lower than theirs, and our vaccination numbers are higher. I pray for my colleagues and the congregations they serve.
We anticipate that we will continue to require masks inside for large groups, but continue to worship in person, until things get much better or much worse. We’ve already set the measure that masks will be optional for fully vaccinated people when the next batch of children are eligible for vaccination, and when cases are below 5 per 100,000 in the county. We were below that number when we set it; we are now above. We will limit attendance at worship if and when the Winnebago County Health Department and the Illinois Department of Public Health instruct us to do so.
What about small groups and team meetings? We had been operating on the rule of “mutual consent” — that if everyone was vaccinated, and everyone agreed, masks could be removed. We’ll keep that rule for small gatherings outside of Sunday. But if your group has more than 8 or so people, please keep the masks on indoors for now. And do allow folks to call or zoom in – it allows participation for folks with any cold or flu-like symptoms, as well as people with childcare issues or other reasons why in-person is hard to do.
If you are eligible for vaccination, and if you haven’t been vaccinated yet, please get vaccinated now. You can get a free vaccination, with no wait, at Walgreens, Crusader Community Health, Meijer, Costco, and many other places in town. If you can get a vaccination, it doesn’t just protect you – it also protects people who are medically ineligible and people under 12. Getting vaccinated, if you can be, is the UU thing to do. It’s compassionate and scientific.
If you are trying to convince others to get vaccinated, the best strategy is to listen to them, take them seriously, and encourage them to consider it. No shame – shame always backfires. Remind them that it is free. Tell them that you got it, and why.
We do not want to see hospitals overwhelmed, families grieving, and more loss of life and health. Please, encourage others to get vaccinated – before it is too late for them and those they love.
Wonderful Wednesday, Aug 4th
The land, the food, the people
Join us at Owl’s Roost Farm, owned and operated by church members Allyson and Jack Rosemore, on Wednesday, August 4th, for our first Wonderful Wednesday of the 2021-2022 church year. Allyson will provide a tour of the farm, and discuss the current state of small-scale sustainability agricultural, mutual aid networks, and how our values are connected to how we grow and each our food. There will be ideas about how you might get involved in the work of Food Justice – our August justice theme.
We will have a Bring Your Own picnic dinner at the Farm beginning at 6:15, and the program will begin at 7. Feel free to come to both or just the program.
The farm is not far from the church – right off Guilford Road, just east of Alpine. Here are instructions about parking. If you’re able, please park in the neighborhood behind the farm on Norwich or Saratoga streets then walk to the dead end of Saratoga St and enter the farm on the path through the trees (follow the green markings on the map). Folks who need to park closer can come up the driveway for 5180 Guilford Rd until you see the garden (follow the dark red markings on the map).
Memorials are beginning again and we need volunteers
This is the most rewarding volunteer work I do. An opportunity to be of service and show final respect to our members. We need Greeters and Ushers, Deale Hall set up,food tray set up, Make coffee, Serve coffee -Punch, Clean up, dishwasher, help with flowers, callers for donations of finger food, and people to make/provide food,
If you are interested please contact Teresa Palmeno,firstname.lastname@example.org text to 8159881763 Thank You. Memorial Service co-chairs are Sue Wilke, Linda Spelman, and Teresa Palmeno
Anti-Racism Daily: An email newsletter
I learned about this newsletter from Alice White, one of the members of my “pod” for Beloved Congregations, the UUA national program, during the spring session. Alice lives in a suburb of Oklahoma City, not a diverse community. While the session is over, our pod still meets monthly to check in with our new friends. She subscribed to Anti-Racism Daily to understand what white supremacy and systemic racism really meant.
The newsletter is written by Nicole Cardoza, a well-known black social entrepreneur who works for mindfulness and dismantling white supremacy. While I don’t read every day’s essay, I do read ones that “reach out” to me.
Wednesday’s essay, “Support Equitable Historic Preservation,” spoke to me on July 28th. I support the National Trust for Historic Preservation. This organization has accepted the call for equity by starting the African American Cultural Heritage Action Fund.
Historical preservation started with Civil War battlegrounds, cemeteries and burial grounds by the federal government. That lead to wealthy white citizens preserving sites important to their culture, like ornate buildings and important architectural structures. Few considered slave cabins or black burial grounds as important.
The $3 million grant from NTHP will help preserve Emmett Till’s family’s funeral home in Chicago, the National Negro Opera Company in Pittsburgh, and the Mount Zion Baptist Church in Ohio among 40 historic sites.
Green Sanctuary will meet on the 4th Sunday of each month at Mary’s Market. The first meeting is on August 22 at 11:45 a.m.
As UU’s, we exercise our ethics and faith with participation in our community. We “share the plate” weekly. We volunteer as child advocates, advance justice on many levels, support reading with our kids, etc.
Eliminate Racism 815 2021 Book and Film Series Film Discussion
Friday, August 13, 2021, 6 p.m. Ida B Wells: A Passion for Justice: Documents the dramatic life of the pioneering African American journalist, activist, suffragist, and anti-lynching crusader of the post-Reconstruction period. Join Zoom Meeting here: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/81211275487 The film discussions are presented in partnership with Tony Turner of Conscious Coaching, The Baha’i Community of the Rockford Area, and the Rockford Public Library.
Literature Link for Aug 1, 2021 for Lammas (1st Harvest)
• No One Eats Alone: Food as a Social Enterprise by Michael S Carolan.
[book] “Michael Carolan is a beautiful storyteller, one whose words, as you will feel, are from the heart. In highly accessible prose [i.e., conversational storytelling], Michael Carolan does what few food scholars have ventured: warmly engages readers to think about where their food comes from.” He sounds like a Unitarian Universalist to me! A description can be found here: https://islandpress.org/books/no-one-eats-alone • “The Hunger Dialect” by Kim B. Miller. This poem is a powerful indictment yet offers solutions as well. The intensity made me read it twice. It is one of the pieces offered in the free e-book below. An audio link of the author reciting the poem is included. “But we’re too busy slicing up excuses/ While hungry people look at an empty plate full of indecision/ We don’t even offer them a cup of hope”. https://www.poetryxhunger.com/create/poem-by-kim-b-miller • The Miller poem above is from: A NEW PUBLICATION from Poetry X HungerPoets Speak Back to Hunger: An e-Collection of Poems from Around the World. Release of a First-Ever Collection of Hunger-Focused Poems
“This easy-to-use handbook of 30+ poems and recordings also includes writing prompts and links for donating to the anti-hunger cause.” Much to explore. I love that the cover artwork suggests stone soup. For the free download of the e-book: https://www.poetryxhunger.com/uploads/1/2/5/7/125799040/poetsspeakbacktohunger.pdf • Small Plates: Five Personal Stories of Food Insecurity in Metropolitan Detroit. An education and awareness project from the Fair Food Network and Gleaners Community Food Bank of Southeastern Michigan. “We tracked five individuals for six months, conducting in-depth interviews around various food issues: access, affordability, culinary capability, shopping, living on a shoestring, and other factors that impacted their ability to eat healthfully. We visited their homes, went shopping with them, and asked them to reflect on their own struggles, which were sometimes painful to share. “Each of the brief stories can be a stand-alone exemplar. “As for the most recent cuts in SNAP, it’s discouraging for Willie who comments “There are faces that go with these cuts. With the economy what it is, why would you want to cut food benefits when the need is so great?” http://www.fairfoodnetwork.org/wp-content/image_archive/FFN_SDV_Gleaners_Small%20Plates.pdf
There has been a real movement in the last 3-4 years to get legislation passed in Illinois that will address the climate crisis and create good green jobs that lead with racial equity. 82% of Illinoisans support this. So what’s holding us up?
After months of negotiations, Governor Pritzker has introduced a bill that will take us there. But opponents of the bill have been “louder” than us with our elected officials. So it’s time we show up in person.
WHAT: Action at the State Fair on Governor’s Day, August 18
Purpose: Support the Governor’s Climate and Equity Bill and put pressure on Dems who are not yet on board.
Theme: Be Champions. Get the Governor’s Climate and Equity Bill across the finish line.
Register HERE. Detailed information available after you register.
Hosts: Illinois People’s Action and other members of the Illinois Clean Jobs Coalition
Please join us. You can sign up HERE.
· The entrance fee for the State Fair is $5 for adults, $3 for seniors, and free for kids.
· Parking is $5.
· The fun of participating in a long-awaited action is priceless!
We will send detailed information (time, meet-up location, etc.) after you’ve signed up.
Please call if you have any questions.
Your friend in the struggle to put People and Planet First, (Rev. Dr. Matthew Johnson email@example.com)
-Justice for All Meeting will meet on August 8th at 11:10 a.m. in the Conference Room
-Social Justice Committee will meet on September 8th at 7:00 p.m. in the Library
– Coffee Hour on Sunday Zoom 337-267-3668. 11:10 am.
– Touchstones: contact your touchstones group facilitator for the time, if you don’t already have it.
– Caring Team Meeting – The first Tuesday of each month
The next one is Tuesday, August 3 at 6 pm in the Library
– Membership Team Meetingsare on the 1st Thursday of the month at 7 pm. Meeting ID: 980 2780 4780
– Green Sanctuary will meet on the 4th Sunday of each month at 11:45 a.m. at Mary’s Market
The Unitarian Universalist Church, Rockford, IL | 4848 Turner St., Rockford, IL 61107 | 815-398-6322 | uurockford.org |