And the Trees Shall Clap Their Hands
January 24, 2021, at 10:00 a.m. (Online Only at facebook.com/uurockford)
Rev. Matthew Johnson We conclude our series on Isaiah with words from Isaiah 55. Words of hope, joy, and celebration. Let us name what is good, and remember what is worth working for.
Happy Birthday to: Saundra Berglund (01/20), Cheryl Delgado (01/20), Eileen Stephens (01/20), Xap Esler (01/21), Tom Jones (01/24), Scott Stear (01/24), & Larry Swacina (01/24)!
We would appreciate your thoughts and prayers for Cindy and Christina Fischer who lost their father/grandfather Dan Ferri on Monday, January 11th.
We will share the plate with UUSC
The Unitarian Universalist Service Committee (UUSC) is a nonprofit, nonsectarian organization advancing human rights together with an international community of grassroots partners and advocates. For more information click here. Click here to donate.
January 19, 2021
Of course, today a lot of folks are thinking of the great Ramones song, “I Want to Be Sedated,” which begins with the line “20-20-20-4 hours to go.” As I write this, it’s 25 ½ hours to go; you’ll read it with less than a day before Joe Biden and Kamala Harris take their oaths of office.
It is time to exhale, but not time to be sedated. One of the things I’m excited about it begin able to advance our goals for human dignity and justice, instead of always playing defense. I want to see concrete permanent steps to reduce child poverty, promote racial justice, and advance human dignity at home and around the world. And if rule designed to protect white supremecy (I’m looking at you, the filibuster) get in the way, then I’ll be encouraging our IL Senators to get rid of it.
And so much of the work we can do with our re-found energy is local. Getting involved on things like how the City Council spends pot money, how the County Board deals with its budget shortfall, how local law enforcement complies with the new laws, and how we build capacity and equity in our early childhood space – all these things, and more, will make a real difference for our community.
It is time to exhale, too. I preached back in November, after the election, that my great hope is that we can use some of this energy to build spiritual health and well-being among our folks and in the world. Life is about more than news, politics, and policy. What nurtures the soul, extends love, and grows spirit will, in the end, be what really matters.
So exhale, put on some Ramones, or your favorite anticipatory music, and let’s stop playing defense, and start building the lives and the nation we long for.
MELD’s Thank You Letter to the Church
Dear Lindsay and the Members of The Unitarian Universalist Church of Rockford,
Please accept our sincere thanks for the generosity and care you shared with the young families of MELD at Youth Services Network. Because of the unprecedented circumstances of the COVID pandemic so many things changed…but your willingness to help bring our young families some Christmas joy continued! Thank you for your determination and creativity in suggesting the Amazon Wish List. Many of your members ordered items which were sent to MELD and as a result, we were able to fill up a basket for each of the young families in our programs with cozy socks, 2021 planners, kitchen items, fluffy towels (and so much more).
May the New Year bring you continued health and blessings.
Pandemic, IL Prisons, and our Power
As we begin a new year, join the Rev. Allison Farnum, Director and Minister of the UU Prison Ministry of IL for a conversation about not only the bad news of how COVID-19 and the prison industrial complex reveal systemic harm, but the hopeful news of ways we can easily work to deepen our connections with people locked up in this often invisible system and join with others who are part of solutions that realize our dreams for a world that is more just and equitable. We will do a brief overview of UUPMI’s ministries as well as offering some opportunities to engage via advocacy and/or learning opportunities. Zoom ID: 337- 267- 3668
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.
I was in the hall of General Assembly 2014 at the convention center in Providence, RI during the debate on a business resolution, “Fossil Fuel Divestment.” The delegates were overwhelmingly enthusiastic in support for the UUCEF, the pooled endowment funds of the UUA, and 200 of its congregations, divesting of all fossil fuel investments. And I was one of those enthusiastic delegates.
But members of the UUCEF, the Treasurer, Tim Brennan, and members of the Investment and Socially Responsible Committees, presented an amendment to this resolution. Their argument was not about “return on investments,” as might be expected, but rather the impact of stockholder actions in lobbying large companies to change their policies.
The FTC requires only $2000 in common shares of a company to allow stockholders to bring resolutions to a company’s annual meeting. Tim Brennan told stories describing how our smallholdings had allowed us to bring resolutions to large corporations and, by lobbying other shareholders, convinced a majority to support changes in the actions of those corporations. If we were to divest these smallholdings, we would no longer be at the table. Our voice would not be heard.
As I heard the Treasurer’s reasons, my objections dissolved. I understood the power of stockholder actions. And I wasn’t alone. Tim Brennan’s arguments swayed the mood of the hall. His amendment passed.
“BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that, notwithstanding any provision above, the UUA may purchase the minimal shares of CT200 companies necessary to permit the introduction of shareholder resolutions seeking environmental justice or transition to clean and renewable energy;”
At General Assembly 2019 in Spokane, WA, five years after the resolution passed, the UUCEF presented its progress report. This 5-minute video is a summary of their report.
*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
and password. Please make sure to tell Autumn if you are having a meeting so we can put it on the calendar.
Literature Link for Jan 17 sermon about “every valley will be exalted”
• Here is the article from which Matthew quoted in the benediction on Jan 17. “To be a country of all the world, a country made up of all the countries, a country without a center of identity, without a default idea of what a human being is or looks like, without a shared religious belief, without a shared language that is people’s first language at home. And what we’re trying to do is awesome.“ https://the.ink/p/hope
Eliminate Racism 815, Learning About Racism for a Change 2021
In partnership with Rockford Public Library
Book Discussion 6:00-7:45pm, last Thursday of the month
January 28, 2021: Caste: The Origins of our Discontent, by Isabel Wilkerson
A portrait of a deeply researched narrative and stories about real people, how America today and throughout its history has been shaped by a hidden caste system, a rigid hierarchy of human rankings.