Kairos September 12, 2023


Kairos                                                       09/12/2023

Preemptive Radical Inclusion
September 17, 2023, at 10:00 a.m. Online and in-person 
Rev. Dr. Matthew Johnson
We’ll explore some of the complicated parts of welcome and inclusion.  How do we move from assimilation to inclusion?  What are the boundaries around welcome? What does it mean to recenter a community toward those often marginalized? If you think you know what I have to say about this, you may be surprised!

We will Share the Plate with Peacebuilding Connections

Peacebuilding Connections works to bring together broad and diverse individuals and organizations around nonviolent goals and objectives. The act of individuals and institutions working together within a community strengthens that community and makes it more resilient against future risks and conflict. Peacebuilding Connections’ projects celebrate and uplift communities. Peacebuilding Connections was founded by peacebuilder Bob Schlehuber in 2013.
Click Here to Donate

Volunteers for Sunday, September 17
Greeters: We Need 2 Volunteers
Guest Table: We Need 2 Volunteers
Ushers: We Need 2 Volunteers
Coffee Hosts: We Need 2 Volunteers
Please note that if you volunteer for coffee host you will need to clean up afterward and run the cups through the sanitizer. Spitty and others are happy to help you become familiar with how to handle this easy job.

Sign Up Here

Happy Birthday to: Gary Soper (09/12), Glen Pietrzyk (09/12), Eugene Gustafson (09/13), Kullen Cravens (09/14), Levitikus Herrmann (09/16), Rich McKnight (09/16), Ann Caskey (09/16), Ed Kuehl (09/18), Eric van Est (09/18), Ernie Stephens (09/19), Rhonda Best (09/19), & Gary Huckstep (09/19)!

Matthew’s Memo

Sept 12, 2023
There are so many things happening that are connected with our church’s mission and ministry!  It’s wonderful.  I hope to see you at some of them. 
Tonight is the Winnebago County Citizens for Choice fundraiser, at the church at 5:30.  I’m told that there are tickets at the door ($50 for general admission, and $25 for students). 
Saturday is Raise the Roof, the fundraiser and celebration for Rockford Promise.  It’s at 6 pm at Starlight Theater – you do need tickets in advance, which you can get at https://rockfordpromise.org/raise-the-roof-2023/.  I’ll be there!

Our church auction is Sept. 23rd, from 5-7 pm.  There are many wonderful items for bidding, and it will be a fun time!  So plan to come and bid it up for our church. 
And we have some wonderful worship services planned.  Religious Education is starting up for the church year – though we are in deep need of more volunteers.  Please consider helping out, and contact Lindsay if you are interested at reuurockford@gmail.com. You can do 1x a month.  It’s fun and joyful and really matters. 

Small groups are beginning the new church year with the Soul Matters topics.  Multiple groups have room to welcome new folks, and participants in these groups find them to be nurturing, connecting, and enlightening.  Contact Rev. Joyce at assistminister@uurockford.org if you’d like to join.  If you are new with us, there is a Path to Membership session this coming Sunday after church as well.  Love to see you there!
So, dive in!  Show up!  You won’t regret it.
In faith,

Come one, come all to the Oktoberfest Auction, on Saturday, September 23, 2023. Silent Auction begins at 5:00 p.m., Live Auction begins at 6:00 p.m., and the event will be over at 7:00 p.m., in time for dinner on the town, because we are serving appetizers only. Beer and wine are available, and childcare too. If you are late to donate, no worries, we are still accepting donations!
Click Here to Donate
Bring a favorite appetizer of yours to share! Bonus points if it is Oktoberfest or German-themed! 

If you have any questions or need assistance in entering your donation, you can reach out to Katie Kerr at k.m.mutert@gmail.com.

We appreciate your support. Your generosity in the auction helps support the continued work of the church. Thank you!

Photo of the Week
Goats helping to clear the trail near the Woodsong Nature School Playground. Renee Mealey is pictured here with 3 of her goats. Renee and Andrew have other animals on their little farm. Thanks for the help.

The Little Free Pantry shed is starting to be built by our church members! Thank you to all those helping to complete this project!

Choir Start-up

The Unicantors will have their first rehearsal of the new program year at 7:00 p.m. on Thursday, September 7. We’ll meet in the sanctuary. Newcomers are most welcome! Questions? Contact Music Director Tim Anderson (music@uurockford.org). We hope to see you there!

Avoiding Scams
Wonderful Wednesday, September 13 6 pm

We strive to be open and loving people. There are times when we need to be more aware of people and situations that are dishonest and harmful. Join a representative from Midland Bank to learn about the most common scams and how to avoid them. For yourself and your loved ones.

Court Watching for the end of Cash Bail
Rev. Matthew’s sermon on Sunday mentioned the approaching end of cash bail on 9/18/23.  One way we can support this new law is to attend court, watch that the procedure is fair, and submit notes of our observations for analysis.  If you are one of the members of our church who would love to make a difference in Rockford’s anti-racist efforts, consider joining this program,
Rev. Violet Johnaker of RUM, Rockford Urban Ministries, is supporting this activity locally as part of a state-wide program to oversee the implementation of this law to increase fairness.  Sign up for the ZOOM training on Wednesday, 9/13 at 6:00 pm. 

RUM will provide a note-taking form for court watching, which starts on Monday, 9/18 and will run for just one month, Monday thru Saturday, for about 2 hours each day starting at 1:15 pm.  You can commit to as few as 2 sessions during the month.
RUM participated in an earlier program through Chicago Appleseed Center for Fair Courts.  Their statewide analysis of court watching concluded:
findings make clear that criminal courts are intimidating environments where efficiency and procedure are prioritized over wellbeing and that people in bond court fight desperately for their freedom while struggling to convey their humanity to a system that is often indifferent to their suffering.
Join the program to hold our courts accountable to the law and respect for the all persons.

Grief Support Group
Monday, September 18, 6 pm

Join Rev. Joyce and Rich McKnight for a 7-session Grief Support Group. The group will meet every other week beginning on Monday, September 18 at 6 p.m. through December 11. The group is for anyone dealing with the loss of a loved one. The group will provide a safe place to share, grow, and learn while coping with the pain of your loss.

Come Play with Flowers
Wonderful Wednesday September 20th at 6pm

Register using this link https://uurockford.breezechms.com/form/449f42

WNIJ Fundraiser
Many of our members are loyal listeners and even supporters of WNIJ, our local public radio station.  But did you know that you can both support WNIJ and support our church congregation at the same time?
Many years ago, Rev. Weissbard encouraged donations from our members, earmarked for WNIU (back before WNIJ) that were donated to the station to provide spots during the broadcast day announcing the UU Church of Rockford.  These spots might provide the first notice of our liberal congregation to prospective members.  Several of our neighboring congregations followed suit.  Now you hear announcements from the Rockton, Elgin, DeKalb and even Stockton congregations.
Any money you earmark to WNIJ, either on-line or by the note line on your check, will all go to the station—not just 80% as with share-the-plate donations.  And the donation is still fully tax deductible.   The church doesn’t fund these WNIJ donations—only the money donated specifically for this purpose by our members.
Why not get 2 donations for the price of one:  one to the church and one to WNIJ?
Submitted by Teresa Wilmot

The parent orientation for Our Whole Lives (grades 7-12) will be held in the Commons (downstairs) from 11:30 – 12:00 on Sunday, September 24.  Please reach out to Lindsay Trank, Director of Religious Education, at
reuurockford@gmail.com if you have any questions. 

Religious Education
Hello Everyone!

We are looking forward to kicking off another wonderful church year with all of you!  I’d like to give you a quick overview of the Religious Education programs that we will offer this year, help you get to know our Religious Education staff, and invite you to join us for a Backpack Blessing at the Homecoming service this Sunday, September 10.


  • Building Community
  • Faith Formation
  • Caring for Others
  • Equity and Diversity


Kindergarten & Under

Using stories, conversation and activities,
children learn the seven core values of Love,
Pluralism, Transformation, Equity, Justice,
Interdependence, and Generosity. Themes
such as how we are connected to the earth,
how to be kind and fair, how everyone is
different, and how change is part of life are
explored, creating a values-based
foundation for future learning.

1st-3rd Grade

The 1st-3rd grade group focuses on stories
and biographies. The children learn about
Unitarian Universalists and other notable
figures who inspire them and exemplify our
values and tradition. This age group learns
through stories, activities, and outdoor
exploration about people who exemplify each
monthly theme.

4th-6th Grade

The 4th-6th grade group focuses on the
religions of the world. They might look at
the monthly theme and learn about how
different faith traditions (including ours)
approach that theme. For example, they
might compare how Buddhists, Taoists,
and Christians think about a theme like
Resistance or Peace.

7th-12th Grade

The 7th-12th grade group (Youth Group)
rotates between our three core programs:
Coming of Age, Neighboring Faiths, and Our
Whole Lives (OWL). These programs help the
youth understand themselves, the religious
world we live in, and their relationships with
others. These programs build on the faith
formation and values the youth have learned
in previous years.


Lindsay Trank

Lindsay (she/her) is a certified K-9 teacher with
over 15 years of teaching experience.
She is the Director of Religious
Education at the UU Church and Co-
Director of Woodsong Nature School.
Lindsay loves spending time
outdoors and is excited to share her
love of learning and nature with

Lauren Smith

Lauren (she/her) is a certified Montessori early
childhood teacher with several years
of teaching experience. She is the
Nursery Director at the UU Church
and Co-Director of Woodsong Nature
School. Lauren grew up in a rural
area and has fond memories of her
childhood spent outdoors.

Aubrey Baker-Clark

Aubrey (she/her) is a religious educator at the
UU church and primarily works with
the children in 4th-6th grade. She
has had such a great time getting to
know each of the kids! Aubrey works
full time at Raynor Door Authority
and enjoys the change of pace on
Sundays when she helps create a
safe and engaging environment for
the kids to explore the UU faith.

Allyson Rosemore

Allyson (they/them) is an urban
farmer as well as a food and
ecological justice educator and
advocate. As a devout believer in the
healing powers of time spent in
nature, it will come as no surprise that
Allyson considers themself the world’s
queerest Wendell Berry Enthusiast.
When weather and teen shoe choices
allow, you’ll find the youth group in
our woodland.

As always, if you have any questions, reach out to Lindsay Trank, Director of Religious Education, at reuurockford@gmail.com.

Hope to see you at the Homecoming Service this Sunday!

Multicultural Ministries
Anti-Racist Cookbook Workshop
Saturday, September 30 at 9am – 11:00am

Register using this link https://uurockford.breezechms.com/form/5a3bb3

Join members of the Multicultural Ministries group to learn about steps everyone can take to become more aware of the definitions and tools to use in everyday life to increase awareness and develop tools to have cross-racial discussions. The resources and conversations will help to address the question, “What can we do and how can we do it?”

Reading the book is helpful, though not required. You can buy one for $5.00 online.

Beginners Guide to the Prison Industrial Complex
Saturday, October 14 10 – 2pm
In person and Online

Feeling helpless in the face of the racial and economic injustice in our society?

Join the UU Prison Ministry of IL to explore injustices of the prison system and learn what we can do to change it. This workshop is intended to challenge participants towards growth & inspire ongoing work and action. Workshop held at UU Church Rockford.

Please register athttp://www.uupmi.org/pic-registration.html

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 September 19, 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

We are excited to announce that we are bringing Susana Mendoza to Rockford to speak at our annual WCCC Fundraiser.   The fundraiser will be at our church.  Please join us for an evening of inspiration as we raise funds to support Women’s Reproductive Health Care Access and elect Pro-choice candidates.

To get tickets, if you don’t have Facebook and/or don’t want to go through Eventbrite for the tickets and pay the additional $5, you can send a check directly to
WCCC at PO Box 4443, Rockford 61110.

Barb Giolitto
WCCC President


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 “Action: Declare Climate Emergency”
Literature Link in Memory of Dale Dunnigan 07/11/23
Click Here to view Ministers and Staff: Duties, Hours, Contact

Hymn of the Month
“We Welcome You” Hal Walker

Whoever you are, we welcome you.
Wherever you come from, we welcome you.
Whomever you love, we welcome you. 

Repeat 3 times.
On last time, repeat last line 3x. 

Community Events

Celebrate International Day of Peace on Thursday, September 21st at Rockford University. At 4 pm Reverend Naomi Tutu, daughter of South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu, delivers a Peace Day lecture in RU’s Maddox Theater. At 5 pm join Rev. Tutu for a tour and celebration of Roland Poska’s “Declarations of Interdependence – Rockford series” in RU’s Regents Hall.

Learn more about the event: Facebook Event Page

See Declaration of Interdependence photos across Rockford: Rockford Photo Album

Questions, sponsorship: BobSchlehuber@gmail.com; 815-519-1900


I am nearing the end of my second terms as a Habitat for Humanity board member. I consider myself as holding down the “Unitarian Board Seat” as the late Roger Oehlke preceded me as a long term board member.

I am inviting you to join me for a truly spectacular evening that will leave you feeling inspired and ready to make a difference, Rockford Area Habitat for Humanity is celebrating its 35th anniversary, and we want you to join us for a gala event. On October 14th, 2023, at the Radisson Hotel in Rockford, we will be hosting our Hard Hats and High Heels Gala to commemorate our 35 years of dedicated service by providing affordable housing and building strong comities.

By attending this event, you will be directly supporting Habitat’s mission of creating safe and affordable homes. So mark your calendars and save the date and sign up as soon as possible Together, let’s celebrate our achievements, create lasting connections, and raise vital funds to continue building homes, communities, and hope.

Tickets are limited, so get your ticket at rockfordhabitat.org/35years.

Submitted by David Black

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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