Kairos October 31, 2023


Kairos                                                       10/31/2023

November 5, 2023, at 10:00 a.m.
 Online and in-person
Rev. Dr. Matthew Johnson
If we were centered in a theology of abundance and a practice of gratitude, how might it change how we live, individually and together?  When we praise what is good, might it give us the courage and power to change what is not good?  How? 

We will Share the Plate with Cornucopia Food Pantry

Click Here to Donate

Volunteers for Sunday, November 5
Thank you to our Board members for volunteering for hospitality this Sunday.

Happy Birthday to: Ellyn Ahmer (11/01), Beverly Olpaka (11/03), Valerie Stenerson (11/03), Abraham Shelton (11/03), Bernard Dorner (11/04), Mary Anderson (11/04), Yvonne Beach (11/05), Crista Swanlund (11/05), Elly Ressue (11/06), Luke Welch (11/07), & Will Boelcke (11/07)!

Please keep Magda Pandya in your thoughts and prayers. Magda’s brother Erik Haelman died. He lived in Rockford for 25 years before moving to Milwaukee.

Please keep Louise Mayhall’s family in your thoughts and prayers. Louise M. Mayhall, 92, died on October 27, 2023. She had been a member here since March 12, 1968. A Celebration of Life service for Louise Mayhall will be held at Wesley Willows Town Center on Saturday, November 11 at 2:00 p.m.

Please keep Jan Scott’s family in your thoughts and prayers. Jan Scott who has been a member of this church since 1984 died on Friday, October 27, 2023. A Celebration of Life service will be held on December 2nd at 1:00 p.m. here at the church.

Matthew’s Memo October 31, 2023

Three weeks after Hamas’ terrorist and vicious attack on Israeli civilians, including hostage-taking (and some hostages remain in captivity), the conflict in the region continues.  The government of Israel tightened the existing blockade of Gaza, accelerating starvation and other humanitarian disasters, and a full-scale invasion seems likely. 

 To me, the whole situation is just a disaster.  One clear consequence is the rise of anti-Jewish and anti-Muslim acts and words around the world, including in the United States.  When hatred is “let off the leash” it will rampage through us, and the fomenting of this hatred by media platforms and public figures is reprehensible. 
On the ground in the Levant, what causes me the most grief is that neither the actions of Hamas nor the actions of Netanyahu’s right-wing government have the support of the majority of Palestinians or Israelis.  Polls both in Gaza and in Israel have shone a desire for peace, and an end to both the occupation and terrorism.  Neither party has leadership worthy of the people. 

How does it end?  It is important to remember that it wasn’t always like this.  Jews and Muslims have often lived in peace together in this land – before the Crusades, and again during the Ottoman empire.  But the Holocaust, nationalism, and British and American Imperialism have proved a toxic mess.  The people will need to wrest control from their leaders and insist on peace. 

My own personal belief is that everyone: Jewish Israelis, Arab Israelis, Palestinian Muslims, Palestinian Christians – has a right to live in peace, security, and freedom.  All parties have historic claims on the land that go back thousands of years.  All parties deserve to be treated with dignity and peace.  The extremists who wish to wipe the other party off the map should be condemned as destructive, naïve, and inhumane.  Whether it is a two-state solution or a pluralistic, democratic state with strong protections for all parties – a way to live in peace must be found. 

If Zionism means that Jewish people must have a place to live that is safe and autonomous, then count me in.  History requires no less.  But if it means permanent occupation or the removal of Palestinians from the Levant, then I am strongly against it.  If “Free Palestine” means that the people of Palestine should be free, secure, and able to thrive without occupation, on land they can build a life on, then I am all for it.  If it means “from the river to the Sea” and the expulsion of Jews from the Levant, then I am strongly against it.

I particularly admire those Jewish leaders who call for a ceasefire and new leadership, and those Palestinian leaders who call for Hamas to lose control and hostages to be immediately set free. I am not a policymaker, and I am neither Jewish nor Palestinian.  I have been to this beautiful and complicated land, where so much history and so many dreams live.  All I can do is pray for peace, speak for peace, and assert, without qualification, the human dignity of each and every person in this and every land. 
In faith,

Board Update
The board reviewed legacy funds and bank account reconciliations (everything is balancing).  We made plans for an anti-racism, anti-oppression, multiculturalism training for the board in the new year. We made plans to support our staff. 

What’s Really in the Bible?

Sunday, 11:45-12:45, Nov 5 and 12
No advance sign up required.  Do bring a bible if you have one, but not required.  Any translation is fine. (we will compare).  

You do not need to attend all sessions, but it will be helpful, as they build on each other.  
In the sanctuary.  

Soul Matters Groups are small groups that meet for deep listening and support. We have group openings for new people to join existing Soul Matters Groups.
Groups meet at the following times:
Judy Johnson 2nd and 4th Mondays in the evening 6pm (Church Library)
Neita Webster 2nd and 4th Tuesdays 9:30 – 11:30 (Church Library)
Jami Edmonds 3rd Tuesdays 6pm (Church Library)
Roger Benedict 2nd and 4th Thursday 9:30 – 11:00 (Church Library)
Gloria Perez 2nd and 4th Thursdays 11am – 12:30pm (Online)
Teresa Wilmot & Matt Menze 2nd and 4th Thursdays 4pm (Online and In Person)
If you are interested in a group, please email

White Oak Grove CUUPs Annual Samhain Party and Potluck
Sunday, November 5th at 12:15 pm in Deale Hall

Please join us for our annual event! Fun for the whole family! All the things we love about the
Samhain parties in the past! Potluck and maybe a game or two. Wear a costume – or not!
Please bring a potluck dish to share (a list of ingredients is never a bad idea!), your own
non-disposable feast gear (you might want to bring bowls as well as plates and silverware)
and beverages for all family members. Mark your potluck dishes and serve ware. Don’t
forget to bring a plastic bag to take your dirty dishes home in. RSVP and more info HERE.

UUANI 10th Anniversary Celebration:
Building Community, Bending the Arc Toward Justice!

Join UUs from across Illinois as we celebrate 10 years of spiritually grounded, relationally accountable, strategically effective work for justice, beloved community and a healthy planet. Nicole Pressley from Side With Love/UU the Vote will be our keynote speaker.
We’ll share ideas and plans for the year ahead, showcasing social justice work around the state as well as upcoming campaigns with our statewide partners. This event will be both in-person at Abraham Lincoln UU Congregation in Springfield and online via Zoom. Please register by October 30 to get the Zoom link and in-person details.

10 am to 3 pm Saturday November 4

Abraham Lincoln UU Congregation (Springfield)

and Online
Watch parties at Carbondale Unitarian Fellowship, Unitarian Church of Evanston, UU Church Rockford, and Unity Temple (Oak Park)

10:00  Opening with Music & Review of UUANI’s First Ten Years
           with UUANI Founders and Board Presidents from:

Abraham Lincoln UU Congregation
Hinsdale Unitarian Church
UU Church Rockford
Unitarian Church of Evanston
Unity Temple UU Congregation

10:30  Keynote & Panel Discussion
Nicole Pressley, Side With Love/UU the Vote
Rev. Gianni Fogliano, Office of the UUA President
Curtis Smith, Second Unitarian Church
Mony Ruiz-Velasco, Second Unitarian Church
11:30  Lunch with cake! (in-person and watch parties)

12:30  Breakouts showcasing congregational social justice work:

Engaging Your Congregation with GRACE
Carbondale Unitarian Fellowship

Metro East UU Congregation (formerly Alton)
Unity Temple UU Congregation
Organizing Teams for Legislative Advocacy
Unitarian Church of Evanston
North Shore Unitarian Church

Mutual Aid: Meeting Our Neighbors Where They Are
UU Church Rockford: Free Pantry
Second Unitarian Church: Jail Support

Migrant Support: Welcoming New Arrivals to Illinois
Countryside UU: Chalice House
*Note: We have had to cancel our planned session on Multicultural Organizing in UU Congregations. We plan to continue working with DRUUMM to organize BIPOC UUs in the year ahead.

1:40    Breakouts spotlighting upcoming partner campaigns:

Climate Justice
Tyshianna Bankhead, Faith Coalition for the Common Good/
Illinois Clean Jobs Coalition

Gender Justice
Mony Ruiz-Velasco, Equality Illinois/Second Unitarian
Dezi Primous-Gillon, Midwest Access Coalition

Restorative Justice
Rev. Allison Farnum, UU Prison Ministry of Illinois
Quonie Barney, Faith Coalition for the Common Good

Voter Engagement/VoteLove
Nicole Pressley, Side With Love/UU the Vote

2:45 Closing with Music

Be inspired! Get connected! Empower your congregation for action!


for  Adults

Do you people do anything but talk about sex? No. Not really. The Unitarian Universalist Association has developed a stellar comprehensive sex education curriculum known as Our Whole Lives. As the title suggests, it is not a one and done, but rather a topic to be revisited as we grow and mature. Join us as Wendy Bennett and Leah Krippner facilitate an adult exploration of sexuality in the 21st century. Anyone 18 and up is welcome to join. 

This month we will Explore Gender focusing on gender roles and stereotypes, sex vs. gender, transgender, and the queer umbrella. Folks are welcome to join for a single session or sign up for all six. 




Click Link to sign up

Wednesday Nov 15 6:30pm

Exploring Gender

Sign up!

Wednesday Jan 17 6:30pm

Sexuality & Aging

Sign up!

Wednesday Feb 21 6:30pm

Experiencing the Sexual Other

Sign up!

Wednesday March 20 6:30pm

Sexuality & Relationships

Sign up!

Wednesday April 17 6:30pm

Sexuality & Spirituality

Sign up!

Wednesday May 15 6:30pm

Sexual Pleasure

Sign up!

The fall scene currently hanging in the front of the Sanctuary is the work of a local artist:  Margo Shryack-Pagh.  The medium is batik.  The artist characterizes the creation as a “Trickster Triptych.”  Triptych refers to the three panels.  The “trickster” is a coyote that is not depicted, but is the cause of the one panel being fertile and the other barren.

The artwork is a gift from the Eliseo family in memory of Delores Eliseo

The Zanzen Meditation group is meeting in the church library every Saturday from 8:00 am to about 10:00 am for silent meditation and friendly discussion. We would like to invite all who are interested to check us out. There is no need to sign up or commit to anything. If you show up and behave we will probably be delighted to have you join us.

Rare Earth Food Collective
is an online farmers’ market featuring local food and products. We help producers work together to meet the growing demand for local, sustainable food in Winnebago, Boone, and McHenry Counties. Instead of you driving all over the countryside to buy from different farms, we collaborate to bring the food to you. You can choose home delivery or a nearby pickup location. We deliver orders every Tuesday, year-round. There is no minimum order, and no requirement to order every week. Ordering from REFC helps to build and support our local food community, preserve our agricultural land for future use, and reduce our carbon footprint. It also provides you with fresh food that tastes delicious and is good for you. 

For members who already attend UU regularly, we will be there on Tuesdays in Deale Hall to pack our orders for distribution – meaning you could place an order for Tuesday pick up right at the Church! 

To register as a customer visit: https://refc.localfoodmarketplace.com/

The next pick-up will be on November 7, 2:30 – 3:00. This time period may be adjusted.

The buying window on the website will go live with products (for shopping) from Saturday at Noon, until Monday at Noon, but you can sign up as a customer at any time!

We look forward to serving you!

Rockford UU Lunch Group

After coffee hour/meetings on Sundays, a group gathers for lunch at various locations. It’s usually Bob Babcock and Doug Rix, often with Sue and Scott Garwick. It’s a time to get to know each other deeper and form a better community. Tap any of us any Sunday and see what we’re doing if you’d like to join us. PLAN ON IT!!! Or Call Bob at 630.417.0042


List of resources that may be helpful to you or someone you know.

Family Peace Center – 1-779-348-7600 
Remedies Renewing Lives – 24-hour Domestic Violence Hotline – 1-815-962-6102

Catholic Charities Long Term Care Ombudsman Program – 1-815-316-0040 or 1-800-369-0895
Mercyhealth at Home/Older Adult Services – 1-815-971-3502
Lifescape Community Services – 1-815-963-1609 or 1-800-779-1189 

Center for Sight and Hearing – 1-815-332-6800 P
RAMP – 1-815-968-7467 
The ARC – 1-815-965-3455 

Click Here for More Resources

Click Here for Teresa’s Tablet “Inspiration from our National Parks”
Literature Link in Memory of Dale Dunnigan 10/17/23 “Indigenous People”
Click Here to view Ministers and Staff: Duties, Hours, Contact

Community Events

The Board of Trustees: 
President: Spitty Tata
Clerk: Kim Lowman Vollmer
Vice-President: Matt Menze
Treasurer: Steve Blomgren
Trustees: Clark Logemann, Sarah Greer, & Rebecca Beneditz

The Unitarian Universalist Church, Rockford, IL  |   4848 Turner St., Rockford, IL 61107   |   815-398-6322    |   uurockford.org  |





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