The Journey Home
July 18, 2021, at 10:00 a.m.Onlineand In-Person
Rev. Dr. Matthew Johnson Now that parts of life are “turning back on”, we’re beginning to deal with the work of our hearts. And the emotional and cognitive cost has been paid during this pandemic, political upheaval, and racial reckoning. In the hero’s journey, coming home is often more difficult than just coming back through the door. Now that everything is different, how do we come home?
Or just email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and let me know and I’ll put you in the system for that day.
Happy Birthday to: Maria Arreaza-Coyle (07/15), Christine Pomatto (07/15), Betsy Urbik (07/16), Shari Smallwood (07/17), Neita Webster (07/18), Chantal Pellman (07/18), Tammy Hoffman (07/19), Ed Miller (07/20), & Alex van Est (07/20)!
From the Caring Team
Shari Smallwood welcomes calls and notes from UU friends. Her partner, Clay Johnson, was diagnosed with brain cancer in March and is now in care at St. Anne Center. Shari can be reached at (815) 977-5895. Her address is 2140 Wedgewood Way, Rockford 61107.
We will Share the Plate with Action for Children Uniforms
The Families in Transition program in our Rockford public schools does an excellent job of providing services for those students who have no permanent place to live i.e. homeless. They cannot provide school uniforms, and for many years, we have helped fill this need. Our Share the Plate this Sunday will ease this concern for a required uniform and foster many confident happy kids and grateful families. Thank you for your generosity. Click Here to Donate
Matthew’s Memo July 13th, 2021
I want to give you an important update about masks, accessibility, and safety. First, let me say how grateful I am to work with the staff and board of this church. I hear from my colleagues, and while many of them have great teams, some are struggling with folks who don’t hold the whole all-ages community in care or are too divided to make a plan. And your leaders are wonderful. Be glad for that.
We have reviewed the growing science around masks and vaccination. We’ve heard from those of you who struggle to breathe for an hour through masks. We’ve talked with parents of children under 12 who aren’t eligible for vaccination yet. We’ve listed to the UUA advice and the CDC and WHO advice. And here’s our plan.
Beginning this Sunday, July 18th, we will start streaming the service into Deale Hall, on our large screen TV – and Deale Hall will be a “masks optional for vaccinated people” space. If you are vaccinated, and you’d like to come to church and see people, but need to remove your mask for all or part of the service, Deale Hall is open to you. We’ll start the stream at the beginning and let it run, so you can use this space for all or part of the time.
Masks will continue to be required in the Sanctuary for all, regardless of vaccination status. We are taking a slow approach to this to provide maximum safety to those who are not yet eligible for vaccination, and those for whom vaccinations are not recommended or less effective due to medical reasons. If you can safely be vaccinated, and you haven’t yet, please do so!
Our adults wear masks for our Religious Education program, which is outside, and masks are optional for children. If the children come inside because of the weather, masks are required. We will follow the school-based instructions for this program, which means masks will be required until all children can be vaccinated for this group.
For small groups, team meetings, and the like, the questions of masks if for you to decide. Poll each and every participant – if anyone asks for masks, everyone should wear them. People have many reasons for needing them, and we should respect that. If everyone is okay with them optional, then they may be optional. Masks are never prohibited at church.
What about worship in the Sanctuary? The Board and the staff have agreed that when two conditions are met, masks will become optional – always welcome, but not required – in the sanctuary during worship. Those two conditions are:
Cases remain below 5 per 100,000 people in Winnebago County. If the Delta variant or other variants push cases high, then masks stay on.
The next batch of children is five weeks past eligibility for vaccination. This probably means 8-11 year-olds, and will probably be in September. Though children are very unlikely to get sick, they can transmit, and we will feel more secure when another batch is eligible. (This includes, of course, my own 11-year-old).
When those two conditions are met, we will let you know. Again, masks will always be welcome (and very very very strongly encouraged during flu season, please!).
The other question you are asking is about the choir singing. Tim will decide that with input from me and the choir when he gets back from his summer vacation. It will be guided by science on choral singing, which we are following closely.
When will children return to the sanctuary for the beginning of the service? We haven’t decided. Eventually, for sure – Lindsay and Lauren, and I will decide that, with input from parents and the Board, in the fall. For now, we are so glad to have our beautiful grounds to work with.
Oh, and we will continue to stream the whole service to YouTube and Facebook, for all of you not ready or able to be present in person. We’re thrilled so many are finding that useful.
If you have other questions, please let me know. See you soon!
Special MONDAY Night “Spiritual Journey” Class
Intro to the Enneagram — Monday, July 26, from 7 pm to 8:30 pm.
Masks are optional for fully vaccinated persons. A zoom option may be offered later this year.
The Enneagram is a system of understanding one’s core motivations, fears, and gifts. More spiritual and inward-focused than the MBTI or other systems, it is a fruitful way to understand oneself. We’ll give a basic overview of the system and how to use it.
Please note this is a change from our previous schedule!!
We will be Rambling NEXT Wednesday, July 14th, at Klehm Arboretum, NOT Ferguson Forest Preserve!! We are also switching to morning Rambles (should be cooler!). Meet in the far parking lot at 10:30 AM, NOT 2:00 PM!
Please note there is a fee for the arboretum – $5.00 for seniors (62+)
For more information about Klehm Arboretum click here.
Questions?? Call or text Neita at 815-541-3508
General Assembly 2021 Summary
GA 2021 was virtual again this year instead of being in Milwaukee. Hopefully, vaccinations will allow GA 2022 to be held in person in Portland, OR. However, what the UUA learned about virtual attendance will allow more people to attend by greatly reducing the cost.
Total registered attendance was 4,224 although it exceeded that number for open events like Sunday’s worship service. Of this number, there were 3,915 attendees through virtual portal access, 2,278 voting delegates, 1,727 member attendees, 415 ministers, 133 RE professionals, 37 youth, 329 young adults, and 3 representing associate groups. 656 congregations were represented of our roughly 1,000; 49 states; 3 provinces of Canada; Washington, DC; Mexico; and the Philippines.
Many workshops related to the current and on-going review of Article II of the UUA’s Bylaws. This article is “Constitutional,” meaning it’s foundational to the organization. Included in Article II are the Principles and Sources, as well as Purposes of the UUA, an “Inclusion” statement which documents inclusion of marginalized persons in our congregations and association, and a “Freedom of Belief” statement. The Eighth Principle movement, which we affirmed at our annual meeting on June 13th, will be incorporated into this article.
While the meeting was virtual, the city of Milwaukee benefited from our social witness. Milwaukee is the most segregated metropolitan area in the US. In 2010, 81% of the city was segregated, with the highest percentage for black and 7th highest for Hispanic. Suburbs are 38% black, 19.2% Latino, and 4.1% Asian. I recommend the PBS documentary about Minneapolis on youtube.com, 57.37: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XWQfDbbQv9E
MICAH: Milwaukee Inner-city Congregations Allied for Hope was the recipient of the Sunday worship service offering. Donations to several funds during GA totaled over $155,000.
The Commission on Social Witness (CSW) sponsored several initiatives. The Statement of Conscience (SOC) entitled “Undoing Systemic White Supremacy: A Call to Prophetic Action” passed with 92% of delegates’ support. The CSW will prepare a curriculum to present this UUA statement to congregations this year.
Three Actions of Immediate Witness (AIW) were passed as well. AIW’s represent the opinions of the delegates of just one General Assembly, and are short term positions. The three statements were:
The COVID-19 Pandemic: Justice. Healing. Courage.
Stop Voter Suppression and Partner for Voting Rights and a Multiracial Democracy
Defend and Advocate with Transgender, Nonbinary, and Intersex Communities
To read the full statements of the SOC and the 3 AIW’s, go to: https://www.uua.org/action/statements/search
Submitted by Teresa Wilmot
Eliminate Racism 815 2021 Book and Film Series
Thursday July 29, 2021 6:00 p.m.
Join us by zoom for a discussion of Me and White Supremacy by Layla F. Saad: A Resource for white people who want to change but don’t know where to begin. It shows how to move from your head to your heart while doing this important work.
Please read the book on your own and we will discuss it.
Book discussions are presented in partnership with Rockford Public Library.
Social Justice Updates
Groups all over the country are holding over 80 vigils on the anniversary of Cong. John Lewis’ passing at 8:30 PM on Saturday, July 17th in front of the Federal Courthouse in Rockford at 327 S. Church St. Please bring your own candles.
At a time when our democracy is under assault with well over 400 acts submitted in 48 states, we will urge our federal lawmakers to pass HR 1, the “For the People Act” and the “John Lewis Voting Rights Act” to undo efforts for voter suppression in states like Florida, Texas, Arizona and many others. John Lewis nearly lost his life protesting for democracy. Let’s see he gets his efforts supported!
Public Citizen is one of the prime groups supporting this and locally it’s being organized by the NAACP’s Political Action Committee with more coming on board soon.
For more info: Bob Babcock 630.417.0042
Rockford Urban Ministries Update
Meet Rev. Violet Johnicker, the New Associate Director for RUM
You are welcome to meet and greet RUM’s new Associate Director
WHEN: Thursday, July 22, 6 pm
WHERE: 2nd Congregational/First Presbyterian Church, 318 North Church, Rockford
Free will offering.
You are invited to meet and greet the Rev. Violet Johnicker, who is the new Associate Director of Rockford Urban Ministries.
The program, which will feature her introduction and ideas for urban ministry, will be Thursday, July 22, 6 pm, hosted at 2nd Congregational/First Presbyterian Church, 318 North Church, Rockford, one of the 24 member congregations of RUM.
Rev. Johnicker’s work will focus on organizational development and broadening RUM’s impact in the community.
“Thanks to the support of generous donors, we will ensure that Rockford Urban Ministries can continue to reach new generations and new regions with our longtime commitment to social justice work,” says RUM’s Executive Director Stanley Campbell.
Pastor Violet Johnicker has a Master of Divinity from McCormick Seminary as well as a Master of Public Policy from Adler and a BA in nonprofit management and is trained in community organizing. Before serving Brooke Road UMC she was at St. Pauls UCC in Chicago and has experience as an executive director of community and economic development nonprofits in Kenosha, Wisconsin and her hometown of Waukegan, Illinois. She is presently a member of RUM’s Executive Committee as well as a board member of the Rockford Arts Council, Bridge Ministries, Remedies, and the United Methodist Foundation of the Northern Illinois Conference. Rev. Johnicker is the 3/4 time Pastor at Brooke Road United Methodist Church.
“People of faith have a strong tradition of world-changing justice work, and it’s a joy and an honor to be part of Rockford Urban Ministries who has been a leader in this movement since 1962. My calling is to work with those most impacted by injustice as we embody the good news that a better world is not only possible but promised to us as we work alongside God to build love for neighbor into our public policies” says Rev. Johnicker.
For more information Call RUM at 815-964-7111
Literature Link for July 11, 2021, about Pilgrimage
• “From My Diary: Nature” by Agnes Drampe. “I walked on the bluffs above the sea. Orange poppies bloom in the dunes. I discovered the labyrinth: smooth stones spell the path. Peaceful pilgrimage.” A brief poem about a week of wandering. https://www.poetrysoup.com/poem/from_my_diary_nature_955441
• Poet Warrior by Joy Harajo, our US Poet Laureate [book of poetry, song, philosophy
Moving fluidly between prose, song, and poetry, Harjo recounts a luminous journey of becoming, a spiritual map that will help us all find home. Poet Warrior sings with the jazz, blues, tenderness, and bravery that we know as distinctly Joy Harjo. Here is a preview of this new work.
-Justice for All Meeting will meet on August 8th at 11:10 a.m. in the Conference Room
-Social Justice Committee will meet on September 8th at 7:00 p.m. in the Library
– Coffee Hour on Sunday Zoom 337-267-3668. 11:10 am.
– Touchstones: contact your touchstones group facilitator for the time, if you don’t already have it.
– Caring Team Meeting – The first Tuesday of each month
The next one is Tuesday, August 3 at 8 pm in the Library
-Membership Team Meetingsare on the 1st Thursday of the month at 7 pm. Meeting ID: 980 2780 4780
The Unitarian Universalist Church, Rockford, IL | 4848 Turner St., Rockford, IL 61107 | 815-398-6322 | uurockford.org |