Kairos May 4, 2021

Kairos                                                      05/04/2021

The Good Enough Parent
May 9 2021, at 10:00 a.m. Online Only
Rev. Dr. Matthew Johnson

D.W. Winnicott, the influential pediatrician and theorist, argued that instead of shaming mothers, in particular, for not being “perfect”, we needed to focus on the “good enough parent.”  His research showed that being “good enough” was more useful than striving for some fake ideal.  Knowing what matters helps us to do what is important.  We’ll celebrate the theme of “acceptance” and honor mothers in particular and parents and caregivers in general who are “good enough.” 

We will Share the Plate with Womespace

Connecting, empowering, creating and transforming our world — one woman at a time. Our goal is to offer programming that stimulates awareness, develops competency, encourages creativity, and generates healthy decision-making. We do this by providing environments of support that offer honesty, compassion, challenge, and spiritual growth. Womanspace works cooperatively with others, striving for collaborative partnerships in our endeavors.
Click Here to Donate
Happy Birthday to: Ed Foster (05/04), Mary Ann Brown (05/05),  Carol Fox (05/09), & Christe Lunsford (05/09)!
Matthew’s Memo
We announced on Facebook, in the Friday Update, and during the Sunday Service that Sunday, June 6th, will be our first “multi-platform” in-person worship service since last March.  I am so excited to welcome many of you back to the sanctuary to worship together in person. 
Here are important things for you to know.
  1. This only happens if we have enough volunteers for Religious Education.  If you are willing to spend a Sunday or two each month with our kids – outside, masked – please contact Lindsay right away. 
  2. Masks are required for everyone over 2.  Masks must be worn properly, over the nose and mouth.  I, other participants, and the soloist will remove our mask to speak – but keep your mask on, please.
  3. When we have hymns or responses, I’ll ask you to simply listen or hum, and let the soloist sing.  Everyone else, “sing in your heart.”  This is temporary. 
  4. We will have social time, but no coffee or snacks yet.  Just conversation – outside or inside, your choice. 
  5. We will need greeters, but no ushers – there will be a box for checks and cash as you leave, or give online for the offering. 
The service on the 6th will be a short service to rededicate our space, and then social time to see each other.  There will be a full-length service on the 13th and each Sunday after that. 
We’ll continue streaming on Facebook Live and YouTube.  If you are not feeling well, busy, or at a distance, we welcome you to watch online. 
Please get vaccinated, if you haven’t already and are medically able to do so.  It protects everyone.  Register through your health department or at Walgreens.com. 
See our re-opening guide for more, elsewhere in this newsletter, and ask whatever questions you may have – we will answer!
See you soon!!!
In faith,
Board Update
The Board heard updates on the stewardship campaign and the plans for multi-platform worship.  They began to set the annual meeting agenda, and set the date for the meeting for June 13 and decided the meeting would be both in-person and online simultaneously. Details to come. We discussed the upcoming UUA General Assembly and decided to cast our ballots for Sam Trumbone for UUA Board Trustee.  We approved a modest improvement to the security camera system and discussed priorities for the upcoming budget.
Calling ALL Ramblers (and wanna be Ramblers)!!

Spring is bursting forth and we are bursting with enthusiasm for starting our Rambles.   

We plan to Ramble at 2:00 pm on the second Wednesday of the month. In the event of tornados, incredible rain, or a plague of snakes we will move the Ramble to the following (third) Wednesday of the month. 

You must be fully vaccinated to participate!

Date                                   Place                                                Facilitator

May 12                Kilbuck Forest Preserve                                      Francie
June 9                 Sugar River Alder Forest Preserve                        
July 14                Ferguson Forest Preserve                                   Neita
Aug 11                Pecatonica Wetlands Forest Preserve                   
Sep 8                  Francie’s house at Wesley Willows                     Francie
Oct 13                 Downtown Rockford’s murals                              Neita
Nov 10                Severson Dells Forest Preserve                         Sue Molyneaux 
                                 Library and/or trails
Dec 8                  IKEA

We have also proposed a few extras that we might visit on a unscheduled whim: 
Nygren Wetland Preserve lookout 
Oak Ridge Forest Preserve
Searls Prairie and marsh
Harlem Hills Nature Preserve

Questions?? Ask Neita (815-541-3508) or Francie (815-904-1293)

Wonderful Wednesday:  Socially Responsible Investing
Are you retired and monitoring your retirement account?  Are you a millennial who wonders what it would be like to invest now in your retirement?  Are you working for a company that has a 401k plan?  Join the Rev. Dr. Sidney Morris on Wednesday night, May 5nd at 7 pm for an introduction to Socially Responsible Investing, or SRI, and its cousin, Environmental, Social and Governance, or ESG.
Besides being a life-long UU and a retired ordained UU minister, Rev. Dr. Morris is committed to ethical investment.  Her Ph.D. dissertation was on ethical economics.  In 1981, she joined 4 men to form the Calvert Social Investment Fund, the first mutual fund using SRI criteria.  She is a pioneer in socially responsible investing.
In the UUA, Rev. Morris chaired the Socially Responsible Committee of the UUCEF or UU Common Endowment Fund.  In fact, the name, UUCEF, was established during her tenure between 2004 and 2008. 
With this legendary guru, we will learn why there’s so much hype about Socially Responsible Investing — why, today, 1 of every 3 dollars of professionally managed assets is in SRI funds.
Rev. Sidney invites us to prepare for this session with a little homework.  The US SIF association of SRI companies has a free, online class for individual investors.  This program takes about 30 minutes if you don’t click on any of the links along the way.  It’s a great introduction to SRI, and it doesn’t try to sell you anything.  Take a look: 

Then join Rev. Dr. Morris and me on May 5th at:
Zoom ID: 337-267-3668
Submitted by Teresa Wilmot

Coming Up

Please join us on Wednesday, May 19th as we promote “Transgender Inclusion in Congregations”, a 6-session course, offered to individuals, groups, and congregational teams who want to take their knowledge and skills to the next level in terms of trans identity and how to create congregations that are fully inclusive and affirming of the full breadth of gender diversity. 

We will watch a short video and then Zr. Alex Kapitan will join us for a short Q&A. 7 pm Zoom ID 337 267 3668
     Becoming an Anti-Racist Parent
Mark your calendars! We hope you will join our Senior Minister, Matthew Johnson, and our Director of Religious Education, Lindsay Dunn, for our Becoming an Anti-Racist Parent discussion group.  We welcome parents and caregivers of children ages 0-18 to join us for some discussion, resources, and time to share with peers.  Sessions will be held on the church playground from 4:30 pm – 5:30 pm on:
Wednesday, June 2
Wednesday, June 9
Wednesday, June 16
Wednesday, June 30
For planning purposes, please RSVP to Lindsay at
reuurockford@gmail.com by Monday, May 31.
*Please note: childcare will not be provided by the church.  If you would like to have your children join you, they are welcome to play on the playground while we meet. 
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. 
Drop-In Coffee Hour with the Intern Minister 
Join us for informal conversation and community on Friday mornings! Can’t make that time? Contact Omega to set up another meeting!

10:00-11:00am every Friday
General Assembly 2021:  From your Living Room
General Assembly this year is a reprise of last year’s virtual assembly.  Who could benefit from this experience?  Board members would gain a feel for the Association’s governance.  Congregational members could choose from a smorgasbord of workshops on whatever are their particular interests, be it RE, music, social justice, membership, or investment.  If you crave spiritual worship, you can share the inspiration of music, poetry, and some of our denomination’s foremost preachers.  The Ware Lecture, a staple of GA’s, offers Stacy Abrams.  And you can take a break whenever you feel like it.
Most events require registration, which costs $200 for the 5-day event.  There are volunteer positions which waive this fee in return for 20 volunteer hours over the 5 days.
GA provides the main governance for the UUA.  This is a democratic event in which delegates from all of our thousand congregations represent their individual churches.  Our church is entitled to 7 delegates plus Rev. Johnson, Rev. Palmer, Rev. Weissbard and Lindsay Dunn, who may serve as our delegates as well.  If you want to represent our congregation, let Rev. Matthew know; the Board appoints delegates and there are official documents filed with the UUA.  Delegates need to attend business meetings, which are not scheduled at the same time as workshops.
You don’t have to serve as a delegate to attend GA and participate in all its events, even the business meetings.  But you need to be a delegate to vote.
There is Youth programming as well.  Check out
Take a few minutes to explore GA on-line:  https://www.uua.org/ga
And, when you’re ready to register, here’s the gateway:  https://www.uua.org/ga/registration
Submitted by Teresa Wilmot
Opportunity & invitation to help with community gardens
Possibilities =
1. build friendships with folks who are different from us
 2. grow real food
3. learn & teach gardening
4. enjoy time outside with others while accomplishing worthwhile goals
5. dirty hands, face & clothes – be in touch with the earth
6. identify bugs & perhaps overcome fear of them
Where =
– Spectrum School garden on church property
 – Beautiful Beginnings @ Fairgrounds (Rockford Housing Authority family site) – Beautiful Beginnings K-8 21st Century One Room Schoolhouse @ Rockford Community Church, Auburn & Meridian
Beautiful Beginnings is a free private school which serves high-risk children who have been removed from or have abandoned public school. It pushes innovation envelopes by bringing learner-centered best practices and community support to children the system has failed. These include GED prep, apprenticeships, entrepreneur opportunities, and project-oriented, multi-age instruction. Community participation and wellness are critical to this mission, and I believe growing food and flowers will change children’s lives.
Beautiful Beginnings develops skills and self-reliance to successfully return to school or to enter into meaningful work. The children we serve often have no place to go other than the streets, gangs, or juvenile homes. Continuing to provide them opportunities to develop life skills, education, and hope has been imperative throughout this pandemic. We are a school and community center that gives young adults and adolescents a place to be, a place to hope and to believe in themselves when no one else does.

To be a part of this adventure, contact Mary Beth Cunat – m.cunat@spectrumschool.org Submitted by Ellyn Ahmer

Lunch with Matthew Cancelled this Week  

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!
Book Discussion 

Join us for a discussion about Intended: A Marriage in Black and White featuring author Sharon Nesbit-Davis on Saturday, May 15th at 11 am outdoors on church grounds. If the weather does not cooperate we will meet in Deale Hall.  Social distancing and masks required.  
Intended is a memoir that explores race and relationships throughout the author’s life including her lived experience as a white woman marrying a black man. You won’t want to put this powerful and thought-provoking book down! 
 Sharon is a resident of Rockford and has been involved in the community in a variety of ways, including serving as the executive director of the Rockford Area Arts Council. 
We hope you can join us for this meaningful event. 

To RSVP contact Office Manager Autumn Powell at uurockford@gmail.com

You can purchase Intended: A Marriage in Black and White from Ten16 Press here: https://www.ten16press.com/product-page/intended-a-marriage-in-black-and-white

Copies are also available at Womanspace and through Amazon. 
Eliminate Racism 815

Film Discussion
Friday, May 14, 2021   6:pm
“They Came to Stay: A World of Their Own”  116 min.
In the 1700s, a small number of Jews came to America, struggling to hold fast to being part of the emerging nation. They were tolerated & shunned.

We will meet on Zoom until it is safe to meet face to face.

Join Zoom Meeting:

Book for May 25:   Critical Race Theory-An Introduction by Delgado & Stefancic
 CRT provides a radical and challenging perspective that reveals how racism shapes the everyday reality of the world from law courts, and prisons, to the economy, schools, media and health care.
Literature Link for May 2, 2021 sermon about serenity.
• “Strands of Eternity” by Vasant Lad poem “The attachment you feel to a particular outcome/ is like a vehicle./ Let the vehicle take you on a journey/ but when you arrive, you must leave it/ outside the door/ and enter the destination alone.“

• The Gift of Nature: Inspiring hope and resilience by Catherine DeVrye.  “Like tiny seeds with potent power to push through tough ground and become mighty trees, we hold innate reserves of unimaginable strength. We are resilient.” [non-fiction, public library] For a review, go to this link.
milk and honey by Rupi Kaur. #1 New York Times bestseller milk and honey is a collection of poetry and prose about survival. About the experience of violence, abuse, love, loss, and femininity.
The book is divided into four chapters, and each chapter serves a different purpose. Deals with a different pain. Heals a different heartache. milk and honey takes readers through a journey of the most bitter moments in life and finds sweetness in them because there is sweetness everywhere if you are just willing to look. The review here
https://www.amazon.com/Milk-Honey-Rupi-Kaur/dp/144947425X     Gives a wonderful glimpse into why we should read it.
A free pdf of the book is here:
In faith,
Dale Dunnigan

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 as a scientific, reasonable, and loving decision.  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 the Bridge phase between Phase 4 and 5, or has entered Phase 5.

2. On CovidActNow, Winnebago County’s Infection Rate and Test Positivity is “green.” (meaning below .90 and 3%, respectively).  These numbers may fluctuate, especially if the number of people getting tested drops.  We’ll look at the longer trend. 

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.    We’ll know we are at this point when the “Appointments Available” is green all the time on the Walgreens site, and/or the WCHD allows same or next-day appointments at the mass sites. 

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. At the moment, we are leaning towards having instrumental, vaccinated soloist, and/or pre-recorded music only until we get to 70% vaccination.  

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.  A fourth surge would delay our opening. We’re preparing for everything from June 6th to July 18th as first days for indoor worship. 


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. 


Use this simple application to sign up to receive a Covid-19 vaccination through Winnebago County Public Health Department. 
*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.
Register Here
The Unitarian Universalist Church, Rockford, IL  |   4848 Turner St., Rockford, IL 61107   |   815-398-6322    |   uurockford.org  |
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