Kairos March 30, 2021

Kairos                                                      03/30/2021

Do Not Be Afraid: Mindfulness in Christianity

April 4, 2021, at 10:00 a.m. (Online Only at ReStream)
Rev. Dr. Matthew Johnson
During April, we will explore the mindfulness practices of three major world religious traditions, beginning on Easter with Christian practices.  The great Christian mystics and prophets give us a way to be more mindful, centered, and at peace.  As we remember the life and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth and celebrate the triumph of love, we will explore these teachings. 
Happy Birthday to: Dianne Stenerson (03/31), Ayo Carter (04/01), Dan Wilkins (04/02), Kevin Fisher (04/02), Juliette Kula (04/04), & Del Clark (04/06)!
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.  One thing they cannot provide is school uniforms, and for many years we have helped to 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
Mar 30, 2021

I’m looking forward to our annual Passover Seder this Friday at 6 pm on Zoom.  Please join us!  We will do the ritual together online. This is a long-standing tradition of this congregation, and we hope you will be part of it.  Note this is a different Meeting ID than other events.  Please use this one. 

Topic: UU Passover Seder
Time: Apr 2, 2021 06:00 PM Central Time (US and Canada)
Join Zoom Meeting
Meeting ID: 865 6184 8608
Here is information from Teresa so you can participate more fully.  But remember, even if you do NONE of this but just sign on, that is wonderful. 

It will be helpful to have:
One candle: with matches
Ceremonial wine: traditionally, this is Passover kosher wine, available in the US as Manischewitz and Mogan David. However, in this emergency, any wine will do, as well as grape juice.
Unleavened bread: Matzo is the Jewish bread for Passover. This is the one special food that I recommend you buy. It comes in boxes of about 10 large, flat crackers. While I buy matzo special for Passover, any matzo will do. Look for it in the ethnic section of the grocery store. Soda crackers, while leavened, will do in a pinch.
Bitter herbs: Parsley is the official “bitter herb,” but cilantro, endive, or even freshly picked dandelion leaves would fit that description.
Saltwater: This is easy to prepare. Just add a half teaspoon of salt to a cup of water and place it on the table.
Hirose’s: This is a salad with many different recipes. Most recipes use
apples, honey, and nuts. My recipe is:
1 apple, peeled and finely chopped
½ C. finely chopped walnuts
½ t. cinnamon
1 T. honey
1 T sweet red wine
This makes about 1 cup; make multiples for a larger quantity.
Horseradish: This is usually found in the refrigerated section of the grocery
Chocolate Coins: If you have children at your dinner, these coins will be used
at the end of the dinner.
Usually, in the middle of the ceremony is the dinner. However, we will complete the ceremony before folks can eat on their own. When we eat together at church, our Seder is usually Gefilte fish (appetizer), chicken soup with matzo balls, tossed salad, baked chicken with a potato dish, and fruit salad with Passover macaroons for dessert. Your dinner can be whatever you want to eat.

However, I always end dinner with Passover macaroons. I found macaroons in the kosher section of Woodman’s last week, but they didn’t have many.
Clean Air at Church!  We need your help!
We are planning to install 16 “Ion Generators” for our 16 HVAC units, which will keep the air in our building clean.  These devices reduce the amount of dust, allergens, VOCs, and pathogens – including COVID – in the air. They are part of our way to keep us safe.  Each until is $800.  So, if you don’t need all of the $1400 American Rescue Plan payment many of you will soon get, and want to donate that to the church, we would be grateful.  Send a check and mark it in the memo line, or give online and email us to let us know. 
Coffee Hour with Ministerial Intern–New Hours!
Join Omega for an informal chat on Zoom Fridays between 10 and 11am. Can’t make that time? Feel free to contact Omega to set up a private meeting! 

Zoom information:
Join Zoom Meeting


Meeting ID: 566 236 4814
One tap mobile
+13017158592,,5662364814# US (Washington DC)
+13126266799,,5662364814# US (Chicago)

Wonderful Wednesday
Two-session class on “How to Have Hard Conversations.”  April 14, 21 at 7 pm

This two-week adult program will discuss how to have hard conversations with folks we disagree with — and when not to.  We’ll discuss political, theological, and social differences.  When do you engage?  When do you walk away?  We’ll talk about how to respond to conspiracy theories as well.  Most importantly, we’ll look at how to uphold our 1st principle, that everyone has worth — in a way that also respects our integrity and the truth.  

On zoom, led by Rev. Dr. Matthew Johnson.  There will be time to practice what we learn in class and work through example situations. 

Zoom ID: 337-267-3668

Upcoming Wonderful Wednesdays

May 5, 2021: Socially Responsible Investing


Thanks to those who have already supported this virtual event/fundraiser-greatly appreciate it! For those who have not had the time to do so yet-I want to remind you that it is almost done!

Please do go to
www.jhoole.org to enjoy a variety of free videos on many aspects of Indian culture! These videos will stay on for another week by popular demand!

the ONLINE AUCTION and the ability to SHOP using the discount on the beautiful eco-friendly Athleisureware collection, that you can go to by clicking links on top of the web page will end tomorrow, 3/31 at 7 PM CST. Womanspace and Jhoole are collaborating to co-create space and programs to reach more people in our area. Your financial support of this fund-raiser will help us with our efforts. Thanks! And ENJOY India while sitting right where you are- folks of all ages in our own Rockford community & around the world have contributed to the programs! I have been listening to the presentations and music while cooking & cleaning-just so you know-given you may also be short on time!

Submitted by Shiraz Tata


Lunch with Matthew
Each Wednesday, starting on March 31st, you are invited to join Matthew and other church members at noon, at the church, to chat, catch up, and reconnect.  We’ll talk about whatever is on our mind.  Bring your own lunch if you like — and bring a lawn or folding chair, because we’ll be outside for this.  (Vaccination encouraged but not required).  If the weather is bad, we’ll skip that week, so check in with the church’s facebook page if you’re unsure. 
Around 12:45, those who are interested are invited to join Matthew on a walk through our neighborhood, as part of the “Faith Leaders ‘Walk the Neighborhood'” challenge.  We’ll see what’s going on in our neighborhood — to celebrate and connect folks.  
Click Here to Join the Book Discussion
An Old Way to do Banking
            As a white, middle-class person of privilege, my financial transactions are free.  I have a checking account with no minimum balance, I use free checks, and mail my deposits in postage-paid envelopes.  While I don’t earn a lot of interest on my savings account, I have no restrictions, and my money is secured by the US government.
            But about 50% of black families don’t have bank accounts.  Sixty-three percent of majority-black census tracts don’t have an active bank branch.  Banks don’t try to attract customers who live paycheck to paycheck.  They charge fees for low balances, high fees for checks that bounce, and minimums for savings accounts. 
             “The average unbanked family with an annual income of around $25,000 will spend about $2,400 per year, almost 10 percent of its income, on financial transactions,” writes Mehrsa Baradaran in 
How the Other Half Banks. “This is more than these families spend on food.”
            The ACLU is lobbying for a return to a historical bank—the US Post Office, or USPS.  From 1911 to 1967 the US Postal Savings System handled about 10% of the assets of our banks or $35 billion in today’s dollars.  And, in a win-win situation, adding these services to its portfolio could help the financial future of the USPS.
            There is a post office in every zip code in America. That includes the 59% of zip codes that don’t have a bank branch.  After 1967, check cashing and pay-day-lender businesses proliferated, filling the vacuum left from the Postal Savings System.  Today that industry commands $100 billion.  While the average payday loan is $375, it accumulates $500 to $600 in interest and fees.  The $1.35 the USPS charges today for a money order instead of my free check, is very reasonable compared with other financial options for low-income families.
            The 2006 Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act authorize the agency to expand beyond money orders to other affordable services, including payroll check cashing, domestic money transfers, and bill payment.  The USPS has not taken advantage of this authorization.  Louis DeJoy, the current Postmaster General, is unlikely to take this step.  Replacing him requires changing the composition of the USPS’s Board of Governors, filled by President Trump.  Those appointees have 7-year terms.  Biden’s appointees would still result in a 5-4 split.
            It’s a paradox to me that the more money I have, the less I have to pay for financial services.  The poorest people in our economy pay the most for the services they need for their money, while I get a free ride.
Submitted by Teresa Wilmot

Do You Have Church Keys?

We want to make sure our records are correct and do a bit of “spring cleaning” on our security system. Please email Autumn at uurockford@gmail.com with which keys you have, if you have a front door key we will need the number stamped on it and your security code. If you have lost any keys, it is ok! Just please let us know. If you do not need your church keys anymore you can drop them off in an envelope with your name written on it in our mailbox located outside the office doors.
Thank you!
Eliminate Racism 815
April Book Discussion is:  I’m Still Here: Black Dignity in a World Made For Whiteness,
By Austin Channing Brown.
April 29, 2021,  6:00-7:45pm

An In-Person and Online Future

The staff and board have created a draft plan of how we welcome in-person participation in church programs, including worship.  This plan is for your feedback, questions, concerns, and suggestions.  This is a community process, and we want everyone to have lots of time to consider these matters.  We are planning for a future where we have both online and in-person programs, including worship.  We are planning for a future when we can hug – if both people want.  Where we can see each other’s faces, hear each other’s voices, and be in each other’s presence – and where robust online options, safety measures, and other steps keep everyone connected and safe.


Our general principles remain:

  • Inclusivity and justice: We will not exclude people and will take special care that equity and anti-oppression are centered in our decision-making.

  • Safety: We will do our utmost to keep our people and the community safe.  We will not contribute to community spread.

  • Community matters: We value our community and being together.  As soon as it is safe to gather in an inclusive way, we will. 

  • Pro-science: We support vaccination for those who are able to as scientific, reasonable, and loving decisions.  You protect yourself and others. We believe that vaccines are effective and trust the scientists who have worked on them. 


Here is our plan: 

We are in Phase 4.  Matthew will be 10 days past his second dose on Feb 22nd, and at that point in person pastoral care with other vaccinated people will begin in earnest.  Beginning in March, small groups can choose to meet in person or stay online.  We will always continue to have some online-only small groups.  However, worship will remain an online only experience.


When three criteria are met, we will plan to begin hybrid worship – online and in-person – for six weeks following the ascertainment that the criteria are met.  Those criteria are:

1. Illinois has entered or is clearly on track to enter, Phase 5 of the recovery plan.

2. On CovidActNow, Winnebago County’s Infection Rate and Test Positivity is “green.”

3. The vaccine is widely available to adults.  Widely available means free to patients, at multiple accessible locations in the County, with a same-day appointment.    


Once these criteria are met, we will select a Sunday, at least six weeks out from that date, to welcome in-person worshipers.  The first Sunday may be an outside service, before moving inside the next week. 

Assuming this date is in the summer, we will have outdoor-only children’s programs through at least Sept 5th.  If the weather cooperates, children’s programs will be outside as long as possible.  It is important to note that we cannot begin hybrid worship until we have enough RE volunteers to staff the program, including when Lauren and Lindsay are off.  These volunteers cannot be anyone – they need to be able and willing to be out in the woods, on the grounds, being active with children during Summer Sundays.  Vaccines are required for volunteers who work with children, for so long as children cannot be vaccinated.  If you know you will be vaccinated by mid-summer and are ready and able to be a regular RE volunteer, please contact Lindsay. 

Only people who have been vaccinated should volunteer as greeters, ushers, and hospitality hosts.  Contact Chris if you are interested in these roles when we return. 

We pledge that we will be transparent, responsive, and deliberate about how we go about this.  Below is our beginning list of questions and answers.  If you have a question, please ask – it will help us think through all the aspects of this process.  You can email or call Matthew at minister@uurockford.org or 815-398-6322. 



What about masks?

We will require all people to wear masks until Winnebago County reaches a “herd immunity” threshold of at least 70% of the total population vaccinated.  (Staff may remove their masks when working in their own office, and Matthew and Tim will remove their masks when speaking or singing, with adequate distance.) 

After we reach the 70% vaccination threshold, people who cannot be vaccinated for medical reasons, or because they are children for whom the vaccine is not yet approved, should continue to wear masks.  Other people are more than welcome, though not required, to wear masks, whether they’ve been vaccinated or not.  People with any COVID or flu-like symptoms should worship online, and not in person. We may adjust these requirements based on CDC and IDPH guidance.


Will we require proof of vaccination?

We will only require proof of vaccination for RE volunteers.  Hospitality volunteers should be vaccinated, but that, and our encouragement for everyone who is able to be vaccinated, is on the honor system.  We did not feel it was appropriate for the church to ask or keep track of this information.  However, if we find that we have a large number of unvaccinated people whose choice to not get a vaccine puts those who cannot get one for medical reasons at risk, we will reevaluate this.  The Board and staff agree that you can be trusted to get your vaccine – please do so.


Why don’t we worship outside all summer?

Outside worship, though lovely on a mildly warm day, is not accessible.  It is hard to make audio work well outside, it can be too hot for many people, and, if we are on the lawn, folks with mobility challenges cannot access it.


What happens if new variants or slow vaccine uptake changes things?

In all cases, we’ll follow the most conservative advice of the WCHD.  That includes how we might respond to a new strain, to rising case numbers, or other measures.


What happens if we have an outbreak in the church?

If an outbreak occurs among our people (5 or more cases that may be linked), we will pivot immediately to online-only worship while we assess what happened and what steps we should take.


What happens if we can’t get enough RE volunteers?

If we cannot secure sufficient RE volunteers, we will have on-line worship only that week.  Under no circumstances will we have in-person worship without an RE option.


What about singing?

When and how we begin to sing at worship is an open question.  We await the science on this.  It may be that we can begin to sing when we return, or it may be that we wait for a herd immunity threshold. 


What if lots of non-vaccinated people are coming and putting folks at risk?

If we become concerned that a large number of unvaccinated persons is putting the health of those who cannot be vaccinated for medical reasons at risk, we may require vaccination (or proof of ineligibility) to attend.  The Board will make this decision. Please, plan to get vaccinated if you can.


I know this is driven by metrics, not dates, but what’s your best guess for when we will start in-person worship again?

The key measure is when vaccine supply outstrips vaccine demand. Folks have been guessing that this happens in May, which means it is possible – but by no means for sure – that we will have an outdoor informal worship on July 4th and begin in person worship on July 11th.  That’s a reasonable guess, but it could be a few weeks later or earlier, since some are now estimating that supply could outstrip demand as earlier, as production increases.  


What about Staff who can’t get vaccinated for medical reasons?

Staff who are contraindicated for a vaccine because of a history of medication-related anaphylaxis or another similar reason will be offered a reasonable accommodation when possible, and in accord with our staff policies.   That might mean limiting their exposure to crowds though shifts in duties (but not a reduction in hours), providing social distance space around their work area, or other measures.  We will not generally disclose which staff are contraindicated for vaccination, and we strongly encourage congregation members not to pry into the medical status of employees.  Staff who are not medically contraindicated may receive some accommodations, but there are no guarantees.  They have chosen to take that risk.  

How do I submit a question?

Email Matthew at minister@uurockford.org or call at 815-398-6322. 

Literature Link for Mar 28 sermon-Holy Disrespect
• The Traumatic Impact of Racism and Discrimination on Young People and How to Talk About It, by Maria Veronica Svetaz, MD, et. al.  Excerpted from Reaching Teens, Strategies Rooted in Positive Youth Development, pp. 307-328.   This book chapter, even if just skimmed, offers a thoughtful discussion about the impact on youth, including how to offer advocacy and agency.  The quotes on pages 311-312 from teens are eye-opening.
• “Sometime During Eternity …” by Lawrence Ferlinghetti. “Sometime during eternity some guys show up and one of them who shows up real late is a kind of carpenter from some square-type place like Galilee.” A favorite of mine.  It begs to be read aloud using a beat poet kind of tempo. [which I have performed] https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/42860/sometime-during-eternity-
“lady liberty” by Tato Laviera.  “and then, while she was being re-constructed,
and then, while she was being celebrated,/ she spoke. / if you touch me, touch ALL of my people/ who need attention and societal repair,”

• Rumpus Fiction: Three Short Stories by Sherman Alexie.  Sherman Alexie is a preeminent Native American poet, novelist, performer, and filmmaker. In his short-story and poetry collections, Alexie illuminates the despair, poverty, and alcoholism that often shape the lives of Native Americans living on reservations. His poems, novels, and short stories evoke sadness and indignation yet also leave readers with a sense of respect and compassion for characters who are in seemingly hopeless situations.
In faith,
Dale Dunnigan

Use this simple application to sign up to receive a Covid-19 vaccination through Winnebago County Public Health Department. 

Widening the Circle of Concern with Paula Cole Jones
Friday, April 2nd, 2021   12 noon ET | 11 am CT | 10 am MT | 9 am PT
Register Here
*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
admit you. 

Coffee Hour on Sunday. 337-267-3668. 11:10 am. Chris will
be host.

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

-Membership Team Meetings
are on the 1st Thursday of the month at 7 pm. Meeting ID: 980 2780 4780

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 at
 office@uurockford.org and 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.
The Unitarian Universalist Church, Rockford, IL  |   4848 Turner St., Rockford, IL 61107   |   815-398-6322    |   uurockford.org  |
Copyright © *|CURRENT_YEAR|* *|LIST:COMPANY|*, All rights reserved.

Our mailing address is:

Want to change how you receive these emails?
You can update your preferences or unsubscribe from this list.