Kairos February 20, 2024


Kairos                                                       02/20/2024

What is Restorative Justice?
February 25, 2024, at 10:00 a.m. 
Online and in-person
Rev. Joyce Palmer & Ellyn Ahmer

Come learn and experience the power of the restorative justice circles. Restorative circles are a pathway to restore relationships, build community, and resolve conflict. We will experience the benefits of reflective listening in a facilitated group relying on a compassionate process with opportunities to acknowledge harm and move toward repair.

We will Share the Plate with Carrie Lynn Children’s Center
Carrie Lynn Children’s Center helps families in Boone and Winnebago Counties address the problem of child sexual abuse and serious physical abuse by facilitating access to much-needed social, mental health, and other support services, in a neutral, child-focused setting.

Click Here to Donate

Volunteers for Sunday, February 25
Ushers: 2 Volunteers Needed
Greeters: 2 Volunteers Needed
Guest Table: 2 Volunteers Needed
Coffee Hosts: 2 Volunteers Needed

Sign Up Here

Happy Birthday to: Lee Johnson-Doyle (02/20), Roland Christen (02/20), Nicole Ticknor (02/21), Tracey Armstrong (02/22), Leslie Williams (02/22), Billie Callahan (02/22), Chizuko Duncanson (02/25), Larry Heibner (02/26), & Andrea Schultz (02/28)!

Kay Hotchkiss is in rehab at Wesley Willows and would love visitors.

Matthew’s Memo
February 20, 2024

I like to crunch data.  I think that data, thoughtfully used, can give a good sense of trends, patterns, and opportunities.  I got very excited about an early childhood data system some years ago and helped bring that to Rockford, where it is helping drive investments of non-profits and government bodies to improve outcomes.  And of course, I like church data.
Each year, the member churches of the UUA certify their membership information, including financial data and enrollment information.  I took some time to crunch this data a few days ago, and you might be curious about some of it. 
969 congregations certified – about 50 more missed the deadline, and some will get it in, so we are at about 1000 congregations.  Most of these congregations are small – the median size is 86.  Our congregation is the 104th largest, with 292 members.  The average pledge is $1947.  This is quite a bit higher than our average pledge of $1579.  The average congregation has 11 children enrolled in RE for every 100 adult members; we have 20 per 100, so almost double – that’s good news. 
What if we look at congregations that are a lot like us?  Here’s a little chart:


  Members RE Enrollment Total Operating Expenses (excludes capital projects and pass-throughs) Average Pledge
Rockford 292 59 472,022 1579
Peoria, IL 300 39 423,710 1778
Deerfield, IL 270 27 548,929 2424
Kalamazoo 259 85 408,419 1901
Eau Claire, WI 271 55 286,280 1414
Iowa City 303 75 587,901 2003


These are just a few examples to give you a flavor of it.  Congregations vary widely – some are in college towns or growing suburbs, and some have large rentals, legacy funds, or other sources of income.  It’s not our job to be like someone else, but there are things we can learn from each other, and that’s useful. 
How is Unitarian Universalism doing overall?  Compared with last year, our total membership is down 1.3%, which is not as bad as I feared.  We are doing better than many traditions, which are in free fall.  Our growth is mostly happening in the South, where liberals are finding a real need to be together in the community.  And too many of our congregations have too few children and are below the “critical mass” point for an RE program.  It’s important that we continue to invest in our RE program so that we can be there as folks come looking for what we are doing. 
I have a lot more thoughts about this data, but that gives you a flavor of what I noticed. 

In faith,

Thank you to all of the participants at this year’s Chili Cook-off. We had 15 entries of delicious chili. Our winners are pictured above.

3rd Place Billie Cunningham and Jim Callahan
2nd Place Eli Logemann and Family
1st Place Keith Kruchten and Family

Best in Show Rebecca Quirk and the Quirk-Peckels Family

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 Experiencing the Sexual Other, focusing on sex beyond vaginal/penile intercourse, and examining the lovemaking continuum. Folks are welcome to join for a single session or sign up for all of them. 



Click Link to sign up

Wednesday Feb 21 6:30pm

Experiencing the Sexual Other

Sign up!

Wednesday March 20 6:30pm

Sexuality & Relationships

Sign up!

Wednesday April 17 6:30pm

Sexuality & Spirituality

Sign up!

Wednesday May 15 6:30pm

Sexual Pleasure

Sign up!

Wonderful Wednesday Conversation and Practice

February 28, 6 pm
Church Library

Nonviolent Communication – A Language of Compassion

The founder of Nonviolent Communication (NVC), Marshall Rosenberg, believed that it is our nature to enjoy giving & receiving in a compassionate manner.  He developed a way of speaking that leads us to give from the heart – to balance our logic & feelings in a way that leads to genuine connection with other people.


NVC teaches how to

  • Transform potential conflicts into peace dialogues

  • Break patterns of thinking that lead to anger & depression

  • Speak your mind without creating hostility

  • Communicate compassionately using the healing power of empathy

  • Hear whatever is said to you as a “please” or “thank you”

  • Make life more wonderful for yourself & others

If you have any questions, please contact Ellyn Ahmer at 520.456.4366.

Register Here!

Please Note the Date Change

Liberation and the UU Church: Saturday, March 9th, 9:30 am-12:30 pm at the Church.
All members and friends are welcome and encouraged to attend.


Faith communities have been grappling for many years with the ways that cultural and congregational practices in church settings still reflect historical and institutional patterns of racism and white supremacy culture. This interactive workshop will provide an opportunity to feel and think together about opportunities and challenges for liberation and transformation in Unitarian Universalist congregations.  Together, we will look at the frameworks that we are currently engaging in Unitarian Universalism to close the gap between the values we espouse and the values we practice with regard to anti-racism.  We will consider some anti-racism tools, and how they can help us in this journey.  Join us for an authentic exploration of the work we need to do to continue to bend the arc toward justice in our congregations and in our communities.

Julica Hermann de la Fuente is a coach, trainer and facilitator for liberation, transformation and justice, and is currently completing her path toward ordination in Unitarian Universalism. In addition to this freelance work, she also serves as the Special Advisor on Justice and Equity at the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee.  Born and raised in Mexico City, she first became committed to social justice when she came to the United States for college. Since then, Julica has been an anti-racism/anti-oppression educator and trainer in a variety of capacities over the past three decades. In addition to a Lay Community Ministry degree from Meadville Lombard Theological School, she also holds an MSW from the University of Michigan and is certified as a master life coach.  Julica stubbornly believes that liberation is found at the intersection of joy and justice. When not on shift for the resistance, you will find her playing with fabric, planning her week-long costume extravaganza for Halloween, looking for more excuses to frost fancy cakes, and reading optimistic sci-fi and fantasy possibilities of a just and equitable universe.

Getting to Know UU Sessions

We have revised our newcomer and welcome program 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 to 11:45. You can complete the sessions at any time. Sessions will repeat monthly.

February 25 Getting Connected with Rev. Joyce

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

Gently Used Shoes Collection

Hi, UUs! This is Kathy Spataro McGinty, Jon’s wife. My church, 1st Congregational UCC in Pecatonica is collecting gently-used shoes—all sizes & styles—to send to developing nations to start their own micro-businesses—that’s right! Selling used shoes! Recycle and Empower! A collection bin will be in the narthex until the deadline, March 10. Please help! Thank you!

Eliminate Racism 815

Book Discussion
Thursday February 29, 2024  6:00-7:30 p.m.
Join us by zoom for a discussion of The LightMakers Manifesto: How to Work for Change Without Losing your Joy by Karen Walrond who asks us to name the skills, values, and actions that bring us joy, identify the causes that spark our empathy and concern and then put it all together to change the world.
Please read the book on your own and we will discuss it. 

Join the Zoom Meeting here: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/81211275487

Book discussions are presented in partnership with Rockford Public Library. 

Looking for a copy of one of the books? The Rockford Public Library is pleased to offer the books for our discussion series in multiple formats. In addition to in print, RPL has many in the Cloud Library which may be accessed with your RPL card.  Titles are available in audio and e-book formats.

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 February 27, 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 “Ho-Chunk Environmental Culture”
Literature Link in Memory of Dale Dunnigan “2/18 Howard Thurman”
Click Here to view Ministers and Staff: Duties, Hours, Contact

Click Here to View UUA GA 2024

Community Events

Our Eco-Justice Team will be at this event!

SPRING Into Action Education Volunteer Event

Severson Dells Nature Center
Wednesday, March 13, 5:30-7:00 pm
8786 Montague Road
Rockford, IL, 61102

Seasoned Severson steward or an eager beaver ready to serve? Join us for a fun evening of community, snacks, and learning! We are looking to grow and strengthen our team of education volunteers! For the returning volunteers, we want to hear your voice and vision as we plan for an exciting season of programs. If you are new, learn all about the opportunities you have to help children connect with nature! Join us from 5:30-7:00 pm at Severson Dells on March 13; hors d’oeuvres provided.

RSVP by calling 815-335-2915 or emailing andrea@seversondells.org

We hope to see you there!

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

Civil Rights Trip
Atlanta, Georgia
June 20-25, 2024
Zion Lutheran Church is sponsoring its third Civil Rights Trip this June.  I traveled with this group two years ago on their grip to Alabama.  This is more than a sight-seeing tour.  The trip is by bus, and the traveling itself is part of the education.  Travelers are:
Instead of sitting with people I knew, I sat with people I didn’t know–until we traveled many miles sitting next to each other.  When the bus stopped, we changed seats—to meet another person, who might be a teenager or a different race.   We watched movies about civil rights during part of the trip.
The itinerary includes MLK National Historical Park, the King Center, Jimmy Carter Presidential Library and Museum, the National Center for Civil & Human Rights, HBCU’s, Clark Atlanta University, Morehouse College and Spellman College, Ebenezer Baptist Church, and the National Museum of African American Music.
The cost is very reasonable and includes the bus trip, lodging, entry fees, and at least one meal per day.
For more information, contact Pastor Michael Thomas,
zionrockford@gmail.com, 815-964-4609.
Submitted by Teresa Wilmot

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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