A Light in the Darkness December 27, 2020, at 10:00 a.m. (Online Only at facebook.com/uurockford)
Rev. Matthew Johnson Kindness is a gift we give and receive when we treat others, and when are treated, with love and care. In this hard year, kindness is a blessing we all need. Who and what has given you kindness this year? What would it mean to increase our kindness in the year to come?
PLEASE SEND MATTHEW (ATUUROCKREV@GMAIL.COM) PICTURES OF PEOPLE, PETS, THINGS, THAT HAVE OFFERED YOU KINDNESS THIS YEAR.
Happy Birthday to: Bob Arevalo (12/24), Roger Crook (12/24) Ron Johnson (12/24), Magda Pandya (12/24), Kim Lowman Vollmer (12/26), John Ekedahl (12/27), & Carol Knodle (12/28)!
Please keep David Mayhall’s family in your thoughts and prayers. David Mayhall died Saturday after a fall. Service Pending.
Christmas Eve Share the Plate: Shelter Care Ministries
“It is the mission of Shelter Care Ministries to provide shelter, awaken hope, and honor dignity in every person who seeks comfort, support or assistance through our programs. Our focus is on individuals with a chronic mental illness and families that are homeless in the Winnebago/Boone County area.” Click here to donate.
Share the Plate for December 27: Partner Church
Our Partner Church is one congregation in two buildings in Nadas and Pipe, two miles apart. Located in the Transylvanian part of Romania, the country is in the worst economic slump in three decades. In their economy, your $20 donation is like a needed $80. Thanks for your continued support for over the last 30 years.
The Partner Church team. Click here to donate.
For the Worship Service on 12/27, Matthew is hoping you will send him a picture of a person, pet, or object that has “shown you kindness in the last year.” You can send just the picture, or, if you know how, put a one-word caption on it and send that. It will be part of a slideshow for the online service. Send your photo with the subject line “2020 kindness photo” email@example.com.
I’m so incredibly grateful for my just completed sabbatical. It has been a gift. I spent time recharging my batteries, learning about spiritual practices and traditions, exploring depth meanings, traveling (safely), and, less enjoyably but necessary, managing online school for my children. I am looking forward to sharing what I’ve learned with all of you over the months and years to come. The big takeaway is that I believe that we, as a church, should be focused on inviting people into spiritual lives – lives of awe, meaning, and purpose. Everything we do should be oriented toward this. Our work on justice, community, art, and education should grow from, and feedback to, this spiritual growth.
Our mission, vision, and ends already name this. We set as a goal that each person in the church will be spiritually alive. This is good. I’ll be talking more about what that means, how we get there, and how cosmology and science are connected to the feeling of wonder and joy that can animate our lives.
During my time away, I have been in touch occasionally with Autumn Powell, our office manager, and Omega Burckhardt, our Intern Minister, about the major life events and pastoral needs. I have kept you in my prayers, especially those of you who have lost loved ones and beloved church friends. I’ll be touching base with folks over the next few weeks. But, please, reach out to me if you need to catch up.
The staff made the wise decision to mostly work from home, as the case count rose back in November. I’ll be working mostly from home as well, and available by email and phone, and video. You can schedule a meeting with me at http://www.calendly.com/uurockrev. I’ll send you the zoom info (or we can just do an audio call).
Please stay safe, everyone.
In this newsletter, you’ll find info about Christmas Eve and about the service on Dec. 27th. Please, send me your pictures of kindness!
CHRISTMAS EVE 2020!
We have a very exciting Christmas Eve Program to share with you this year. We collaborated with the Unitarian Universalist Congregations in Columbus IN, Boise ID, and Davis CA to create a beautiful Christmas Eve service. Interns, ministers, lay leaders, and musicians from all four congregations recorded pieces and they’ve been professionally put together into a lovely service. (Our former Intern, Rev. Morgan McLean, who serves in Davis, organized this). Matthew is one of the preachers, and you will hear a lot of Tim Anderson’s beautiful tenor voice and piano and organ work.
You can watch the service at any time on Christmas Eve (or after). It will be posted on our YouTube channel at 6 am on Christmas Eve – use this link: https://youtu.be/NwrTmh0fWr4. We’ll put a link on our Facebook Page and email it out to everyone that day as well.
If you’d like to watch the service with other UU friends, I encourage you to watch the YouTube video at 5 pm (the usual time of our service) or, if that doesn’t work for you, at the start of another hour. Comment and say hello! See who might be watching with you.
Invitation to learn more about The 8th Principle which reads a follows
“We covenant to affirm and promote:
Journeying toward spiritual wholeness by building a diverse, multicultural Beloved Community by our actions that accountability dismantles racism and other oppressions in ourselves and our institutions.”
There is a long history of racism in the United States. Racism continues today – some examples include being denied immigration, being treated differently by police than white Americans, being prevented from voting all because they look different, have different beliefs, have different sexual orientations, etc. A number of UU congregations throughout the United States have already adopted the 8th Principle.
Our Justice for All… committee was recently made aware of this 8th Principle and ways in which other congregations are working to adopt it. This is not a fast process but is something we hope to bring to our church Board. I have been attending meetings (by Zoom) of a group that is made up of over a hundred people from various UU congregations throughout the United States (many of whom have already adopted the 8th Principle). I am listening to the conversations of both people whose congregations have already adopted or are in the process of adopting the 8th Principle. I am reporting back to Justice for All… Committee on what the members of this group have been discussing. If you would like more information or want to be involved in learning more about this process, please let me or Shiraz Tata know. Thanks.
Submitted by Doug Rix
The Doctrine of Discovery was the basis of Spanish and then English colonization. Spanish explorers wanted merely to exploit the “new world” for its wealth—its gold. But England wanted to settle this new world, moving its trouble makers from its own shores and profiting from their labor. Settlers are the worst form of colonization because they flood the country with their own people, displacing the natives.
Pope Nicholas V in 1452 committed “Saracens (Muslims) and pagans and any other unbelievers” to perpetual slavery. He gave Christian European nations “dominion” over discovered lands. This doctrine was the theological basis of slavery in the US, of “manifest destiny,” and our treatment of Native Americans.
If you think this is an old document that is no longer pertinent, you’re wrong. As late as 2005 the Doctrine of Discovery was quoted by no less than Ruth Bader Ginsburg as justification in a case against the Oneida tribe. At our annual meeting in June 2012, our congregation voted to repudiate this “Doctrine of Discovery,” and the UUA’s General Assembly passed that resolution a few weeks later. However, Congress has not repudiated it.
Colonization began in the United States in the 1600’s. It wasn’t really “immigration,” in spite of what history books say. Immigrants follow the laws of the original people; colonizers bring their own laws.
At June’s virtual General Assembly, Decolonization was the overall focus. Edgar Villanueva’s book, Decolonizing Wealth: Indigenous Wisdom to Heal Divides and Restore Balance, was featured in a workshop I attended. Villanueva is a member of the Lumbee tribe on the coast of North Carolina. He is also the director of a philanthropic foundation that gives away about a million dollars a month. He views money as “medicine.”
Villanueva contrasts colonizing principles with indigenous wisdom, or “decolonizing.” Colonized — Decolonized
Divide — Connect
Control — Relate
Exploit — Belong
Division in the New World meant “us” versus “them,” explorers vs natives, English colonists vs Native American tribes, ship captains vs African natives, English vs French and Spanish, plantation owners vs slaves, north vs south, white vs black, Christian vs Native spirituality, western civilization vs native culture, haves vs have nots, blue vs red. Division is still rampant in the United States.
Native American, indigenous beliefs stress connection, relationship, and balance. Many of our hundreds of tribes stress long-term decision making. Decisions should be made based on 7 generations, which include the 3 that came before us and the 3 that come after us. This considers both understanding the past and imagining the future. How would our climate change problem be different today if we had used this belief system a century ago?
Our economy is based on profits, quarterly returns and concentration of wealth in a tiny segment of the economy. How might our economy be different if decisions were made based on relationships, connection to the world and all its life, and effects a hundred years into the future?
Submitted by Teresa Wilmot
UU Winter Concerts and Art Fair
News – the Web-site name changes.
If you need help, email to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Use this link to go to our marketplace website. https://www.auctria.com/auction/UUwinterConcertsandArt There is still time to get Sunday Streaming Concert tickets at our new web-site. Art Show items are still available.
It’s easy to feel helpless in the face of the racial and economic injustice in our society. This is an opportunity to learn and reflect on what we can do to change it. This workshop is intended to challenge participants towards growth and inspire ongoing work and action. During workshop participants will have the opportunity to:
Examine the prison industrial complex root: its reach, impact and our ability to transform it.
Connect Unitarian Universalist (UU) values to the work to divest from prisons and police and invest in building new systems of safety, healing, and accountability.
Build connections with organizations engaged in prisoner solidarity and restorative justice.
Learn about the UU Prison Ministry and how your congregation or community can support our work.
*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. Chris will
– 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 email@example.com she can give you the login
Literature Link for Dec 20 to celebrate the Solstice
• Trees at Night: Stunning Rorschach Silhouettes from the 1920s by Art Young [public library who was an activist and political cartoonist. His drawings are reminiscent of how trees look at winter solstice time. Also included is a link to “the fascinating science of what trees feel and how they communicate—.” [click on the red text] Many of the links here, as well as Young’s drawings, remind us of the interconnectedness of all things.
I wish you all a holiday of peace and joy.
The Unitarian Universalist Church, Rockford, IL | 4848 Turner St., Rockford, IL 61107 | 815-398-6322 | uurockford.org |