Lobs and Rubies
January 31, 2021, at 10:00 a.m. (Online Only at facebook.com/uurockford)
Intern Minister Omega Burckhardt
How do we learn when to move forward and when to move back? Wrapping up our month-long series on consolation and desolation, join us in an exploration of the connections between tennis lessons, tidal waters, choir practice, and a progressive ethic of risk.
Happy Birthday to: Brock Heckel (01/27), Ana Maria Warner (01/28), Lola Gustafson (01/29), Nancy Hyzer (01/29), & Martha Zinn (02/02)!
Pat and Steve Lewis and family are mourning the sudden death on January 22 of Pat’s beloved sister, Jerrianne Schneider. A lovely obituary is available on the Fitzgerald Funeral home website.
We will share the plate with UUA Living Traditions Fund
The 1988 General Assembly established the Living Tradition Fund and requested that “Ordination and Installation Services held in member societies include an offering” to the fund. Over the years, that request has become a tradition among us. For more information click here. Click here to donate.
As of yesterday, Illinois moved to authorize vaccination for stage 1B. That means people who are 65 or older, as well as “essential frontline workers” are now eligible to get vaccinated against COVID. They join the folks in phase 1a, which is the residents of long-term care facilities as well as health care workers of all kinds.
There are some folks who can’t get a vaccine because they have certain allergic reactions, medical conditions, are pregnant, or are under 16. We can all help protect these people when we get vaccinated. It is something we do that helps us and helps others.
I know some folks are nervous about this vaccine. We have months of data, but not years. The science is solid, but it’s a new technique. I get that. If it makes you feel better to consult with your doctor, please do so. But I, for one, am confident in its safety and efficacy. Indeed, since Illinois listed clergy who visit hospitals and nursing homes as healthcare workers, I was able to get my first dose last week. It hardly hurt at all (less than some other shots). I’m very excited to be able to increase my face-to-face ministry with you, as you too get your vaccine.
I celebrate science, scientists, and the healthcare providers who are administering these vaccines. Register for yours, take advantage of employer or community-based vaccination programs, and do your part to keep us all safe.
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
Another amazing anti-racism book debuted in August by Pulitzer-award-winning author Isabel Wilkerson, author of The Warmth of Other Suns. I first heard about this book from another member of our congregation, either Linda Johnson or Neita Webster, in a Zoom meeting a few weeks ago. A discussion of the book will be led by Eliminate Racism 815 this Thursday at 6 pm. (I had to read fast.)
The title announces the focus of the book: the racial construct of our country is compared with the ancient caste system of India and the recent construct in the Third Reich of Nazi Germany. Ms. Wilkerson defines the caste system in eight “pillars.”
But more than the comparison, Ms. Wilkerson describes the results of racism in the United States of America, both on the “dominant,” white class and on the “subordinate” African-American class. She uses the metaphor of an old house that we inherit. “We did not erect the uneven pillars or joists, but they are ours to deal with now. . . . When you live in an old house, you may not want to go into the basement after a storm to see what the rains have wrought. Choose not to look, however, at your own peril.” We have 400 years of history in our “basement.”
Einstein found when he arrived in America in 1932, “The worst disease is the treatment of the Negro.” He saw in our racial class system a reflection of the dehumanization of Jews he experienced in Germany. In fact, Wilkerson reveals that when Hitler researched race in the US in the 1930’s in order to design his caste system, he found our system too extreme.
Ms. Wilkerson has hope. “It turns out that everyone benefits when society meets the needs of the disadvantaged. . . . You cannot solve anything you do not admit exists. . . Radical empathy, on the other hand, means putting in the work to educate oneself and to listen with a humble heart to understand another’s experience from their perspective, not as we imagine we would feel. . . . A world without caste would set everyone free.”
*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 sermon after the inauguration: “And all the trees clapped with joy”
• Rebecca Solnit: On Letting Go of Certainty in a Story That Never Ends :Finding Communion in the Fairy Tales We Tell. An enticing essay about building the skills for the work and hope we need to go forward-and in a time of pandemic. One of the few times lately that I printed it out so I could underline and highlight–I love good writing too! “Underneath all the trappings of talking animals and magical objects and fairy godmothers are tough stories about people who are marginal, neglected, impoverished, undervalued, and isolated, and their struggle to find their place and their people.. . .Those tasks and ordeals and quests mirror the difficulty of the task of becoming faced by the young in real life and the powers that most of us have, alliance, persistence, resistance, innovation. Or the power to be kind and the power to listen—” lithub.com/lit-hub-daily-april-23-2020
• “My Unlikely Pandemic Dream Partner” By Merissa Nathan Gerson. This essay touched me with its story of building community and building their relationship back. A woman’s mother comes to visit to help after the daughter’s surgery.”We loathed each other quietly, until we made space for grief and food. . . .We gave Josh and his boyfriend, Michael, cake and bread; they dropped off curry and let my mother pick their mulberries. This was also the start of my mother and me falling in love. She came alive when the neighborhood did,” https://www.nytimes.com/2021/01/22/style/modern-love-my-unlikely-pandemic-dream-partner.html
If you’ve ever hosted a dinner party, company meeting or life celebration, then you know how beneficial the guest count is to ensuring a successful experience.General Assembly is the same. The sooner we know how many UUs will attend, the sooner we can finalize decisions about what and how much to invest in production technology, speakers, programming, accessibility services, music, worship services, and financial support for attendees and volunteers. Moreover, the benefit of time means we can be more thorough in recruiting, onboarding, and training our volunteer teams. Help us serve our community by registering early. If need be, make a deposit using our payment plan. It’s one way to let us know you plan to attend even as you take more time to prepare due to the pandemic, political climate, and/or personal concerns. Let’s top the attendance charts this year!
Registered attendees are among the first to hear program announcements, including featured speakers and the Ware Lecturer and only registered attendees will have access to the new GA app (coming soon!) So, register early to join online discussions, familiarize yourself with the GA schedule, and find your tribe in our community of communities.
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.