Kairos December 14, 2021

Kairos                                                      12/14/2021
The Power of Stories – the Pageant!
December 19, 2021, at 10:00 a.m.
 Online and In-Person

Rev. Dr. Matthew Johnson
We welcome the children and youth back to the sanctuary with our all-ages (really, all) interactive retelling of ancient story of Christmas.  Why do we retell familiar stories, over and over again?  What power do such stories have?  Please join us.

Volunteers for Sunday Morning December 19
R.E. K and Under: Lauren Smith & Ann Caskey
R.E. Grade 1 and Over: 
Ushers: Dick Lake & Myrna Lake
Greeters: We Need 2
Guest Table: We Need 2

Thank you to those of you who have volunteered already!  Here is the google doc where you can sign up: 

Or just email me at office@uurockford.org and let me know and I’ll put you in the system for that day.  

Thank you!
Happy Birthday to: David Black (12/15), Mike Ullrich (12/16), Leslie Mills (12/16), James Callahan (12/17), Jennifer Hartzog (12/17), Theresa Parrish (12/18), & Rev. Misha Sanders (12/21)!

We will Share the Plate with Circle of Change
Under the supervision of professional dog trainers, veterans from all wars suffering the effects of PTSD & traumatic brain injuries learn dog handling skills.  Participants meet once a week to interact with each other and train dogs. CIRCLE OF CHANGE IS NOT A SERVICE DOG ORGANIZATION. Participating dogs are chosen by our trainers– many of these dogs exhibit some of the same symptoms as veterans with anxiety issues, traumatic brain injury, and/or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Our classes provide a relaxed environment to observe, learn and socialize.  Over time, participants see a pathway to their own recovery by helping dogs overcome behavioral challenges. Confidence, trust, and respect are the result of relationships built among the veterans, dogs, and trainers. Click Here to Donate

Church is More than The Big Picture
There are also small things.
  • Who runs around the office desk to open the locked door? With a smile.
  • Who plans to and takes the kids outside on bad weather Sundays? Not me.
  • Who finds singing masks to keep the choir safe? Have you heard them yet?
  • Who cleans up after Sunday service? Even if there is no coffee hour.
At this holiday season, would you like to remember the staff for the small details that make this church run? Add to the “Holiday Gift Fund”  Today is the last day to give to the holiday gift fund please Click here to go to our giving page and make sure to select Holiday Gift as the fund.

Matthew’s Memo December 14, 2021
At last week’s Board Meeting, the Board discussed and affirmed our current COVID-19 approach.  They felt that we were in the right place – taking reasonable and important precautions while continuing to offer both in-person and online worship and program options.  I’m sharing, below, what I shared with them and they concurred with. 
The most important thing I can add is this: please, if you can, get vaccinated and get your booster.  Evidence is clear that the booster protects against severe disease, including from the newest Omicron variant. I know that my booster stopped me from getting an infection.  Please get yours asap.  And please vaccinate your children, if they are eligible. 
Here is our current approach:
            We are offering multi-platform worship for both online and in-person participation and will continue to do so.  The online worship is on both Facebook and YouTube. 
            We are requiring masks indoors for all groups of 3 or more, including for worship. This is both our policy and the current state mandate.  
            We are not requiring proof of vaccination status, except for Religious Education volunteers and choir members.  We strongly encourage vaccination, including boosters, for all who are eligible.  
            Children will return to beginning in worship on Dec. 19th, which is the all-ages Christmas Pageant.  From Dec. 26th onward, children will begin upstairs in the sanctuary.  Children in the “K and Underclass” are welcome to be brought directly to Room 26 before worship begins, or they can begin upstairs.  Children are welcome to stay for all of worship or to go to their Sunday programs at the Children’s recessional.  
            We will not suspend an in-person option unless we have an outbreak (multiple cases directly linked to exposure at church) or if the Winnebago County Health Department limits the size of in-person gatherings in response to case numbers or any new variant.  We encourage each person to choose the in-person or online option as is best for them.  
            Singing in-person is limited to the pre-recorded choir, and 1-2 live worship leaders.  The congregation is encouraged to hum along.  We are following the advice of the Association of Choral Directors of America (ACDA) on this; their advice is that singing requires vaccination requirements and greater physical distancing and shorter gathering times (6ft and 45-60 minutes, respectively) than we wish to do.  
Though groups are allowed to have small gatherings with food, we are not doing coffee hour at this time, because of the number of folks potentially involved.
Restrictions on singing and coffee-hour will be revisited when CovidActNow shows Winnebago County in the Medium or Low-Risk category (where we last were in August) for a sustained amount of time (at least 2 weeks).  
Overall, our philosophy here is that Covid-19 will continue to be endemic in our community.  We want to keep our most vulnerable folks as safe as we can and don’t want to contribute to any community spread — while providing the essential community and connection that is our mission and promotes overall well-being.  We insist that folks stay home if sick or exposed, which the staff is modeling.  This means we are being more cautious than other local churches and yet more willing to meet in person than many other UU congregations in other parts of the country.  Our ION generators, online option, high-vaccination uptake, mask requirements, and other safety steps make us feel that this is an acceptable risk.  
If you have questions about this, don’t hesitate to ask me or a member of the Board.
In faith,
Wonderful Wednesday Offerings!
 December 15th at 7pm Blue Christmas Service will provide an opportunity to share the losses, vulnerabilities, and despair brought on by the pandemic, loneliness, or death. We invite those who have a special need for comfort, hope, and healing at this time of year to attend with a friend. Music provided by harpist Nanette Felix. Services leaders, Rev Joyce and our Caring Team members. *If you would like to provide a ride or need a ride, please let Rev. Joyce know at
assistminister@uurockford.org or 815-398-6322 ext. 3.
January 5, 7pm “Remember, Release, Rekindle” We gather for an evening of reflection on the year that was and on your hopes for the future. We will journal, share and begin a vision board if you like. Rev. Joyce will lead the session.
Board Update
The Board reviewed the Ends document and revised End #2, we reviewed and affirmed our COVID plan, and discussed the congregation chapter of the Widening the Circle of Concern Report. 

Art and Lunch Outing
Thursday, January 13th at 11:30
Rockford Art Museum
Let’s gather at the Rockford Art Museum to view the My Way exhibition and enjoy lunch downtown at Sister’s On Main. The exhibit surveys a collection of 156 works of art representing the styles and practices of a unique and inspired group of 46 artists including 8 original quilts constructed by the Gee’s Bends quilters of rural Boykin, Alabama. Please RSVP by January 10th to Rev Joyce at
Being An Anti-Racist Church
The Board and leaders of the church are moving towards articulating that being on a continuous journey toward being an “anti-racist and multicultural church” is important to us.  What does that mean?  Let’s figure that out.
To get us together in this work, we want every member of the congregation to attend one of the four sessions we are offering on “being an anti-racist church.” 
The sessions are:
Sunday, January 16th, 11:30am, in Deale Hall – masks required
Wednesday, January 26th, Noon, in Deale Hall – masks required, but you can bring a lunch and remove your mask to eat
Wednesday, Feb. 9th, 7pm, on zoom at 
Sunday, Feb 20th, 11:30am, in Deale Hall – masks required. 
Black, Indigenous, and other People of Color are welcome to attend any of these sessions AND/OR to attend a session for BIPOC folks ONLY on Wednesday, Jan 19th, at 5:30pm in Deale Hall, co-led by Rev. Matthew and Rev. Joyce.
The other sessions will be led by Rev. Dr. Matthew Johnson.  All the sessions are identical in content, choose one. 
The sessions will be 1 hour.  This is a high-level overview. We will work through a list of the characteristics of an anti-racist and multicultural congregation. Please plan to attend one of these sessions.
Click Here for Literature Link from Dale
Click Here for Teresa’s Tablet
Click Here to view Ministers and Staff: Duties, Hours, Contact
Last chance to shop local at Inscape Collective this year-sale extended to this Saturday, 12/18 from 11-3 by popular request
Stop by INSCAPE COLLECTIVE at 201 7th Street. We also invite you to check out the FB page for Inscape Collective where you can see a video showcasing the beautiful creations there and some of the great energy that is back in that space! For more information
 click here.
Social Justice Updates
Eliminate Racism 815
Book Discussion  
Thursday December 30, 2021  6:00 p.m.
Join us by zoom for a discussion of The Color of Law by Richard Rothstein. He exposes the myth that America’s cities have segregated through individual prejudices making clear it was laws/policy decisions passed by local, state and federal government that promoted discriminatory patterns that continue to this day.
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.

Film Discussion
Friday January 14, 2022 
6-8:30 p.m.

Howard Zinn: A People’s History of US: Zinn talks about those who have no voice in the official history of the United States: slaves, Indians, textile workers, union men
Join Zoom Meeting here: 
The film discussions are presented in partnership with Tony Turner of Conscious Coaching, The Baha’i Community of the Rockford Area, and Rockford Public Library.
CHANGE IN DATE FOR JUSTICE FOR ALL… Committee meeting this month. We will be meeting on the third Sunday, 12/19/2021 in Deale Hall, instead of the second Sunday in December. We are putting finishing touches to the Service on Human Library that we have been planning for January 2, 2021. 

Library Committee meeting is canceled for this month

Green Sanctuary will be meeting on December 19th rather than the last Sunday due to the holidays.

The Board of Trustees: 
President: Amanda Tapfield          
Clerk: Bob Spelman
Vice-President: Judy Gustafson     
Treasurer: Teresa Wilmot 
Trustees: Khanh Oehlke, Sarah Greer, Jami Edmonds
The Unitarian Universalist Church, Rockford, IL  |   4848 Turner St., Rockford, IL 61107   |   815-398-6322    |   uurockford.org  |
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