Kairos October 12, 2021

Kairos                                                      10/12/2021

Reverence: Language and Silence
October 17, 2021, at 10:00 a.m.
 Online and In-Person

Rev. Dr. Matthew Johnson
When we have experiences of reverence, we might respond with words – to try to describe and share that experience.  But words never quite capture it, do they?  On the other hand, some words have a dose of spiritual power.  And there are other times that we might respond with silence.  We’ll reflect together on how we give voice and name to the experience of reverence.

Volunteers for Sunday Morning October 17

R.E. K and Under:  Cindy Schwartz & Lauren Smith
R.E. Grade 1 and Over: Steve Hall & Kim Vollmer
Ushers: Dick Lake & Myrna Lake
Greeters: We Need 2
Guest Table: We Need 2

Thank you to those of you who have volunteered already!  Here is the google doc where you can sign up: 

Or just email me at office@uurockford.org and let me know and I’ll put you in the system for that day.  

Thank you!
Happy Birthday to: Jesse Parker (10/13), Kevin McAllister (10/16), Kathy Jones (10/18), James Rentz (10/18), & Tom Walsh (10/18)!

Members and friends of the church who live at Wesley Willows are invited to join others and Rev. Matthew on the 4th Tuesday of most months.  Our next meeting will be October 26th at 9am.  We will meet in the fellowship hall at Aldersgate United Methodist Church.  

We will Share the Plate with Sustain Rockford
Sustain Rockford’s main vision is to be a community organization that educates and advocates for practices and policies that protect our community’s land, air, and water to benefit all. We work to accomplish this by close collaboration with those citizens, organizations, businesses, and governmental bodies that have a heart for our community and its ongoing sustainability and resilience. Sustainability is not just about air, water, and clean energy. It is also about social equity, economic stability, equal opportunities, and health. We often talk about the triple bottom line – people, planet, and profit. True sustainability must include all three. For more information click here.

Click Here to Donate

Matthew’s Memo October 12, 2021

In the next few weeks, the staff will be having a conversation about the weekly newsletter, and our communication methods overall.  We’ll be talking about the best ways to reach members and friends of the church with news, reflections, and information.  Some of the factor we are thinking about:
  • What should go in the newsletter?  What belongs in another form, and what might that form be?
  • How do we respond, if at all, to the fact that Facebook is a deeply unethical company – and an essential way to reach many people?
  • About 1/3 of the people who get this newsletter open the email.  How do we reach the others? 
  • Many people don’t check email often.
  • The postal service is getting slower and slower, and paper and stamps add up.  Yet, people do often read what comes in the mail. 
  • Some are very comfortable with technology, and some are not. 
These are just a few of the realities we face in thinking this through.  We have multiple things to share, and multiple formats we could use, and multiple places to reach folks.  And we have limited hours to do the work. 
In preparation for this conversation, I’d like to hear from you.  Where do you go for information about the church?  What would work for you?  What suggestions do you have?  What have you seen work well for other organizations? 
Send your thoughts along to me at
In faith,
Rev. Matthew
Our Whole Lives for the 2021-2022 School Year
We will be offering Our Whole Lives (the UU sexuality education program) this school year for grades K-1st, 4th-6th, and 7th-9th. Families with eligible children were sent details via email. Anyone who is interested that did not receive an email should contact Lindsay at 
reuurockford@gmail.com for more information.

Grades K-1: Parent orientation Sunday, Oct. 17th immediately following service, childcare provided. Sessions will be 11:30-12:30 on Oct. 31, Nov. 7, 14, 21, Dec. 5, 12, and 19. 

Grades 4-6: Will be offered later in the school year, exact dates TBD.

Grades 7-9: Parent orientation Sunday, Oct 17th at 3pm, childcare for siblings provided. Sessions will be 3:00-4:30 on Nov. 7, 14, 21, and Dec. 5, 12, and 19. Students in 10th-12th grade who have not previously attended 7-9 OWL are welcome to attend as well.
We had our new members ceremony this past Sunday and we want to welcome the following new members to our church, we hope you will as well!
Robert E. Sharp
Larry Hughes
Steven Anderson
Tracey Koppen Davis
Sue Garwick
Scott Garwick
Fred Rogers
Touchstones-Explore Meaning, Transform Community
Newcomers Touchstone Group
Join us for a Newcomer’s Touchstone Group to explore religious and spiritual themes on a deeper level. We will reflect on readings and participate in thoughtful discussion while getting to know others better.

The Newcomer’s Touchstone Group is a great way to experience small group ministry at Unitarian Universalist Church Rockford.
Newcomers are friends and new members who would like to join a group of others
who are new to UU Church Rockford. Rev. Joyce and two members will lead the group for the first 6 weeks. We will determine a date and time based on the availability of those interested.
The group is starting the week of October 24.
If you are interested, please email Rev. Joyce at 
assistminister@uurockford.org or sign up at the Guest Table on Sunday.

Ministers and Staff: Duties, Hours, Contact

With the arrival of Rev. Joyce Palmer as our Assistant Minister, with a focus on caring, membership, and adult programs (including small groups), and with the increased hours for our RE Assistant, Lauren Smith, and with us coming back from COVID (sort of?), it’s a good time to let you know which staff member does what, and how to reach us. 
Please note that the ministers and staff either have other employment or obligations elsewhere or have school-age children (or both!) and that flexibility is one of the core benefits of working at the church.  People’s day-to-day schedule will shift based on other obligations, school holidays, children’s illnesses (especially in COVID, when staff are required to stay home if anyone in their home has symptoms until a negative test is secured, and many of our children are not yet eligible for vaccination).  Email is a great way to make an appointment, ask a question, or make a connection. 
The Rev. Dr. Matthew Johnson, Senior Minister.
            Rev. Matthew is responsible for overall spiritual leadership and serves as chief-of-staff.  Areas of focus include the strategy and vision, worship, social justice, and wider UU connections.  Come to Matthew if you’re not sure where to turn.  Rev. Matthew also offers pastoral care and counseling.
            Matthew is usually in the office Monday-Thursday from around 9:30 until about 5, but he often has meetings, so please schedule time in advance.
            The best way to reach Rev. Matthew is email – at minister@uurockford.org.  You can call him at 815-398-6322 ext. 4, but email is strongly preferred. 
The Rev. Joyce Palmer, Assistant Minister.
            Rev. Joyce focuses on adult programs (including small group ministry), caring, and membership.  Come to Rev. Joyce if you are interested in joining or starting a group, need or want to offer pastoral support, or are new to the church – or want to welcome newcomers.  Rev. Joyce also offers pastoral care and counseling. 
            Rev. Joyce is ½ time at the church.  She will usually be in the office on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9-4.  She often has meetings or other responsibilities, so make an appointment ahead of time.
            You can reach Rev. Joyce at
assistminister@uurockford.org or call her at 815-398-6322 ext.3. 
Tim Anderson, Music Director.
            Tim is responsible for music for worship and leadership of the choir, the Unicantors. 
            Tim is ½ time at the church.  He mostly works from home, other than Thursday evening choir rehearsal and Sunday worship. 
            You can reach Tim at
Lindsay Trank, Director of Religious Education.
            Lindsay is responsible for ministry for children and youth and their families.  She is also the Co-Director of Woodsong Nature School.  Come to Lindsay if you want to engage your children with our program or want to volunteer with our children and youth. 
            Lindsay is full-time; half her time is devoted for Woodsong.  She is usually in her office after Woodsong (around noon) until about 3pm, M-F; though this can vary. 
            You can reach Lindsay at
dre@uurockford.org or 815-398-6322 ext. 5. 
Lauren Smith, Religious Education Assistant.
            Lauren assists with our religious education program, with a special focus on our 0-5 year old children, and our Our Whole Lives sexuality education program.  She is also the Co-Director of the Woodsong Nature School. 
            Lauren is 4/5 time at the church, with ½ her time devoted to Woodsong.
            Her hours vary, so please make an appointment if needed.
            You can reach Lauren at
If you interested in the Woodsong Nature School for a two-year old in your life, you can reach the Co-Directors at director@woodsongschool.com
or 815-324-3282. Please use these for Woodsong matters only. 
Autumn Powell, Office Manager
            Autumn is responsible for the day-to-day office, communications, finance, and building areas of the church.  Come to Autumn with announcements for the newsletter, questions about pledges, building reservations, and similar administrative needs. 
            Autumn is 38hrs/week.  She is usually in the office Tuesday-Friday from around 10:30am to around 4pm, and Sunday after church, but that can vary.  She does some work from home as well. 
            Reach at Autumn at
office@uurockford.org or 815-398-6322 ext. 2.

 Inline imageOct. 13th at 7pm Confronting the climate crisis will require our faithfulness and our religious values, and to form interfaith coalitions. How can we make cross-religious coalitions for this vital work?  Professor Brian Wagner from Rock Valley College, an expert in this field, will join Rev. Matthew, to explore interfaith responses. Session is on Zoom. https://us02web.zoom.us/j/86153185836 Meeting ID: 861 5318 5836

Inline imageOctober 20th at 7pm: You are invited to a Zoom chat with Kathie Mattison, a member of our church, and her colleague, Barb Ferry as they discuss their new book, The Gifts of Eating – A Workbook for Your Journey.  They will explore the Physical, Emotional, Creative, and Spiritual Gifts of eating and food. Barb and Kathie are Registered Dietitian Nutritionists, both retired. https://outskirtspress.com/thegiftsofeatingaworkbookforyourjourney Session is on Zoom https://us02web.zoom.us/j/86153185836 Meeting ID: 861 5318 5836
Literature Link for Oct 10, 2021-Reverence for the Land
• “The Powwow at the End of the World” BY 
Here is the text of the poem Rev. Matthew read. “I’m told by many of you that I must forgive and so I shall . . .”
• “Love Poem” by Leslie Marmon Silko. “Rain smell comes with the wind out of the southwest . . .tall grass glistening in the rain.”  This site has both the text and an audio reading.
For a 5 minute video interview with Native American Silko: http://nativeamericanlit.com/silko.html
Spirits of the Earth: A Guide to Native American Nature Symbols, Stories, and Ceremonies by Bobby Lake-Thom. “There are ancient secrets and lessons hidden in nature. If you seek for guidance, you will discover truth.”—Bobby Lake-Thom.
Much of the ancient knowledge that has been passed down from Native American medicine men, or shamans is in danger of being lost. Bobby Lake-Thom, a Native American healer known as Medicine Grizzly Bear, has sought to preserve this powerful heritage by sharing his wisdom and experience learning from the world around us. [public library, Amazon] If you click on the “Look Inside,” yuo can see the table of contents.


• “Coyote Takes Water from the Frog People” from the Wintu Indian Folklore about how Coyote distributed water to the people.  3 minute read
• In 1970, Duane Niatum published his first collection of poems called “After the Death of an Elder Klallam” which was the first writing to contain Northwest Native American myth and tradition, had set his career in motion.  Here is his bio and summaries of major works. The “Songs for the Harvester of Dreams” is especially interesting.

In faith,
Dale Dunnigan
Social Justice Updates

Community leaders will discuss the real-life impact of this new law. Carlton Mayers, II, Esq., consultant to the Ill. Black Caucus in writing the bill and State Rep. Maurice West will discuss the timeline for implementation, your rights, and associated trailer bills and issues. Dr. Litesa Wallace and her sister, Ivory, will discuss the real-world impact on people’s lives. It will be broadcast also on Facebook Live via the Liam Foundation’s page and the Rockford NAACP page. Attendees in person must abide by CDC Covid guidelines.

R.U.M. Updates

35th Annual Rockford Area CROP Hunger Walk
WHEN:  Sunday, October 17, 2021
             2 pm: Virtual Step off
WHERE:  From where ever you are
    Because of Coronavirus, this year’s Rockford Area CROP Hunger Walk will be mainly online and virtual. The “walk” will be held on Sunday, October 17, 2021, and can be completed at the individuals’ speed.  It is hoped that people can raise $45,000 to help support the local hunger programs and overseas relief.
Last year the Rockford Walk raised an astounding $44,000 online! There were some congregations that walked around their neighborhood, and other individuals that used Rockford’s bike paths.
    Donations will be raised through cash sponsorships solicited by the walkers themselves. Volunteer walkers can call 815) 964-7111 for sponsor sheets, or contact one of 41 congregations and businesses that are walking
    Local food banks and pantries will receive 25 percent of the money raised to help feed hungry people. The remaining 75 percent will go through Church World Service and other international relief agencies to provide food and disaster relief in more than 70 countries.
You may join RUM’s team if you wish: 

WE NEED YOUR HELP to support these efforts. Please support the local CROP Walk, or send your contribution to:
P.O. Box 968
Elkhart, IN 46515 
To make a contribution via credit card or for more information please call 800-297-1516 or visit 

    Rockford Urban Ministries, the Rock River Valley Pantry, Food Pantry Coalition, and Church World Service sponsor the CROP Hunger Walk. This will be the 35th annual Rockford Area Hunger Walk, this year with over 30 congregations and organizations participating.
Call David Jones for more info: 815-540-3703
Eliminate Racism 815
Film Discussion
Friday, October 8. 2021   6pm
How Racism Harms White Americans- Lecture by John Bracey: This film focuses on the high price that white people, especially working class whites, have paid for race-based policies.

Join Zoom Meeting here: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/81211275487
The film discussions are presented in partnership with Tony Turner of Conscious Coaching, The Baha’i Community of the Rockford Area, and Rockford Public Library.
The Unitarian Universalist Church, Rockford, IL  |   4848 Turner St., Rockford, IL 61107   |   815-398-6322    |   uurockford.org  |
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