Kairos January 23, 2024


Kairos                                                       01/23/2024

Love Beyond Belief
January 28, 2024, at 10:00 a.m. Online and in-person
Rev. Dr. Matthew Johnson
Unitarianism and Universalism have held, for hundreds of years, that what we believe matters much less than how we love and live.  In today’s divided and fractured world, how can the practice of Love Beyond Belief show us a way forward that is pluralistic, interdependent, and just?  Invite a friend to join us today!

We will Share the Plate with Get Connected 815
Our mission is to help (High-Risk) Re-entry individuals impacted by incarceration ENTER into the community successfully and self-sustainably. Here at Get Connected, we respond to various needs within the High-Risk Re-entry population. Risks are assessed utilizing a Risk, Needs, & Responsivity Assessment Model. The latter model is utilized in evidence based practices and programming. Reducing Violence & creating awareness of resources to eliminate real-life barriers due to former incarceration is an important Get Connected Vision.
Click Here to Donate

Volunteers for Sunday, January 28
Greeters: We Need 2 Volunteers
Guest Table: We Need 2 Volunteers
Ushers: We Need 2 Volunteers
Coffee Hosts: We Need 2 Volunteers
Thank you Caring Team for volunteering for Hospitality this Sunday!

Sign Up Here

Happy Birthday to: Nicole Ranz (01/23), Larry Swacina (01/24), Thomas Jones (01/24), Scott Stear (01/24), Brock Heckel (01/27), Ana Maria Warner (01/28), Nancy Hyzer (01/29), Xander Brandon (01/29), & Sue Garwick (01/31)!

Matthew’s Memo
Jan 23, 2024

It’s not unusual for us to see a lot of visitors in January, as folks seek, in the new year, to actualize their desires for a life of meaning and purpose.  This year, we’ve had some newcomers who have braved the cold, but a lot of folks, I’m sure, thought “I’ll wait till it is warmer.” 
This Sunday is forecast to be mid-thirties and cloudy, a veritable heat wave for this time of year.  And the topic is a perfect introduction to Unitarian Universalism and who we are.  I’ll be preaching about “Love Beyond Belief” and what it means to be a non-creedal, pluralistic faith where we value “deeds, not creeds.”  This is the theological position that really attracts folks to our faith, so this is a wonderful Sunday to invite people to attend. 
You know people who are searching for meaning and connection, so please do invite them to come to church. 
You might be curious to know what we see in terms of what sorts of folks seek us out and become members.  We do ask folks how they heard about us and what drew them to us. 
The largest number of newcomers were invited by another member, and it’s not even close.  Inviting someone you know is the best way to connect them, and folks want that personal invitation to know they really are welcome.  Especially for folks who are nervous about church, to know that they would be welcome matters a lot.  A smaller number of newcomers were Unitarian Universalists somewhere else or found us online, or through some public witness we did. 

The folks who come to us usually fall into one of five categories (though not all). 

  1. They are establishing their lives as young / emerging adults.  They’ve made Rockford their home, and are looking for spiritual connection, opportunities for justice-making, and a source of meaning.  Many of these folks are LGBTQ+. 
  2. New parents – especially folks who have enrolled their kids in the Woodsong program.  They discover that the values and staff of that program are grounded in our church and try us out.  It helps that their kids already love it here.  These folks are looking for help to raise their kids, and for like-minded parents to be with, and for an hour of peace and to be an adult. 
  3. Folks new to town.  Folks who have moved here and looking for religious community, activities, and friendship.  Often these folks were UU somewhere else and are ready to plug in. 
  4. Empty-nesters and newly retired.  These folks (which sometimes overlap with #3) suddenly have more time in their lives and looking to figure out what matters to them now.  They are looking for meaning and activities. 
  5. Folks experiencing a big life change.  This can be divorce, death, coming out, job change, a shift in faith, marriage, a spiritual epiphany, etc. A realization that they need comfort, want more out of life, are done with compromising their values, and so on.  They can be of any age. 

As you can see from this list, making sure folks know we exist and are here for them means that when they need us, they’ll come on by.  So keep inviting and sharing about why you love this church and what you get out of it.  Welcome others.  This is a great Sunday to begin.
In faith,

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.

January 28 Getting Connected with Rev. Joyce Palmer. Creating community is an important part of our being together. 
The link for the videos and January’s session dates and topics are below. 

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

Wonderful Wednesday event cohosted by REJ Team, UU-C, Rockford & Inscape Collective volunteers
Join us to hear the history of justice work at 201 7th Street involving UU-Church members & friends, 
the mission & work of Inscape Collective, who is honored to be in that space now, and 
have a voice in the future of community engagement in Midtown Rockford.
January 31st 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.
Doors open with soup & bread to welcome you there: 5:00 PM
Presentation & discussion: 5:30 -6:30 PM
Tour of space: 6:30-7 PM

Wonderful Wednesday Tour

February 7, 6 pm
Tour the Family Peace Center

On average, 20 people per minute experience domestic violence by an intimate partner in the United States. In a year that adds up to more than 10 million people. Domestic violence comes in many forms and survivors require support, services, and space to heal.

Join our Sex and Gender Justice team at the Family Peace Center for a tour of the facility and an overview of the services provided locally.

There will be Childcare in the Kid Space at the center. 

Following the tour, we will have a debriefing session at the Hart Interim Library.

For questions, see Allyson Rosemore or a member of the Sex and Gender Justice Team.

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!

Liberation and the UU Church: Saturday, March 2nd, 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.

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 January 23, 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 “Transformative Advocacy”
Literature Link in Memory of Dale Dunnigan “Love in the New Year” 1/7/24
Click Here to view Ministers and Staff: Duties, Hours, Contact

Click Here to View UUA GA 2024

Community Events

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

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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