Kairos September 14, 2021

Kairos                                                      09/14/2021

Faith and the Climate Crisis
September 19, 2021, at 10:00 a.m.
 Online and In-Person
Rev. Dr. Matthew Johnson

The Climate Crisis is an existential threat to life as we know it.  It impacts human thriving, equity, and our natural world.  It is about how we live now and how we will live in the centuries to come.  It requires a faithful response, and the very fact of it should make us think deeply about our faith.  In our commitments to reason and science and justice, how do we respond to the climate crisis? 
Volunteer for Sunday Morning
We still need Greeters and Guest table volunteers this Sunday!
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: 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), & Judith Boone (09/20)!

Mardie Blomgren Memorial Service
Saturday, September 18th, 1:00 pm

Unitarian Universalist Church of Rockford, 4848 Turner St., Rockford IL 61107
With the current surge of delta variant COVID cases, we are being extra cautious with this event. We invite those who are vaccinated to join us in person if you are comfortable doing so. We will gather outside behind the church with a canopy available for shade/ rain protection. Bathrooms will be accessible inside. Unfortunately, the canopy will be somewhat challenging to access for people with mobility issues; the Livestream may be a better option if mobility is a concern.

We request that attendees also wear a mask during the service. Chairs will be provided. No need to bring your own chairs. Following the service, we will offer light refreshments and guests can choose to wear a mask or not at that point, once it is easier to socially distance.

We encourage anyone else who is unable to join, who has not yet been vaccinated, or who would be more comfortable, to view the service through a 
 live feed on Facebook which will be shared here.
uusc-logo-color - Unitarian Universalist Service Committee
We will Share the Plate with UUSC
The Unitarian Universalist Service Committee (UUSC) is a nonprofit, nonsectarian organization advancing human rights together with an international community of grassroots partners and advocates. For more information click here.

Click Here to Donate
Matthew’s Memo Sept 14, 2021
We had a lovely homecoming service on Sunday, which including a blessing of Rev. Joyce Palmer’s new ministry among us, as well as affirmations of the power of hope and our call to repair the world.  It was great to have you with us, in person or online. 
We have now been back with an in-person option long enough to have a sense of how things are going.  I’m pleased that our attendance has been strong – a little higher than pre-pandemic, if you include both the in-person folks and the online folks.  You have been great about wearing masks, and the kids have been loving Nature Sunday School.  You’ve been inviting friends to come (yay!) and we had our first real Path to Membership class on Saturday since January 2020.  It was wonderful. 
We’re also seeing where our needs and areas for growth are and thinking about the next steps. 
  1. Autumn Powell started doing tech for worship when the Pandemic happened.  She’s learned a ton and does a great job.  And, other than the GA worship Sunday, she hasn’t had a Sunday off since the Pandemic started.  And other than me running back and forth, we have no backup plan if she has an emergency.  So, we need to train 1-2 people on the system so that she can take a real vacation and we have coverage.  Let me know if you are feeling technically competent and reliable enough for this and we’ll arrange a time. 
  2. The choir has decided to begin singing and recording this for worship.  They will not be singing to a full room, but to an empty one with special “choir masks” and social distancing.  Then we will get to see and hear them on Sunday, through the recording. This is wonderful news, and if you are interested in being part of the choir, please let Tim know.  Now’s a great time to join. 
  3. We continue to need regular Religious Education volunteers.  If you are interested in working with our children, please let Lindsay Trank or Lauren Smith know. Email reuurockford@gmail.com.
Whether you worship with us in-person, live online, or delayed online, we are thrilled to have you with us.  Let me, Rev. Joyce, Tim, or Autumn know if you have any suggestions or ideas.  We are doing this great work together.
In faith,

Faith and the Climate Crisis

Confronting the climate crisis will require our faithfulness and our religious values, and to form interfaith coalitions.  How does our UU Faith inform our approach to both reducing climate change and building resilient just responses? How can we make cross-religious coalitions for this vital work?  This is a two-session Wonderful Wednesday program on Sept. 29th and Oct. 13th at 7pm.  Mark your calendars for both.  Both sessions will be exclusively on zoom.  The first session will focus on UU approaches to the climate crisis. Professor Brian Wagner from Rock Valley College, an expert in this field, will join Rev. Matthew for the second class, to explore interfaith responses.  
“Incarcerated Person” vs “Inmate”
Sunday, I attended a Zoom meeting of the UUPMI, the Unitarian Universalist Prison Ministry of Illinois.  During the meeting I spoke up, using the word “inmate” in my statement.  I was called out, gently, by Rev. Allison Farnum, the executive director.  This didn’t upset me; with my experience in anti-racism, I understood that I’m always at risk of saying something that will hurt someone else.  But I knew that I needed to learn why this word is hurtful, and what words to use in its place.

“It all starts with a label. Nazi Germany, Rwanda, and American slavery all hold that in common. In each case, targeted groups were assigned names that had the psychological effect of dehumanizing. Once you’re not seen as a human, you don’t see yourself as human — and inhuman treatment begins that could cause your end.”  This is quoted from an essay entitled “What Did You Call Me?”  by Rahsaan “New York” Thomas, the co-host and co-producer of the Pulitzer Prize-nominated podcast Ear Hustle.  Rahsaan is an “incarcerated person” and his essay is in the Brennan Center for Justice website. 
Rahsaan describes how prison guards use the word “inmate” to dehumanize the persons they guard, which makes disciplining easier.  “I’ve seen incarcerated people internalize that word, lose touch with their personhood, and do nothing with their prison time but mop floors. If we use “person” as the noun and “incarcerated” as the adjective, we keep their humanity front and center.”
Find Rahsaan’s full essay here: 


Some people find that “politically correct” language is ridiculous.  How can a word be so horrible?  But that term “politically correct” masks the real effect of the language.  Perhaps we need to consider the term, “hurtful” instead.  Because that’s the real problem with using politically incorrect language.  Consider the effect on some persons who hear the word as dehumanizing.

Submitted by Teresa Wilmot
The Gift of Eating
Wonderful Wednesday, October 20 at 7pm. Session on Zoom

Food is the gift of life and so much more. This engaging book is for those seeking a deeper and more authentic approach to eating and food, In today’s culture, we are frequently bombarded by negative food messages and rules. Our workbook will guide you on your personal journey of discovering the positive aspects of food and appreciation for the gifts of eating.  During the presentation we will explore highlights of the journey, including the spiritual gifts.


Eating Experts was founded in 1993 by Barb Kaney Ferry, RD and Kathie Buchmann Mattison, MS, RD. We shared a passion for food, eating, family meals, and dietetics. Both of us grew up in culturally rich food traditions, Barb was immersed in rural farm traditions and Kathie experienced the food of her Italian, Polish, and German ancestors. We each valued delicious family meals, produce from home gardens, and cooking experiences with our mothers and grandmothers. As Registered Dietitians, our foundations of meaningful food histories and love of cooking paired beautifully with a desire to help others find health, enjoyment, meaning and peace of mind through satisfying eating.

The book may be purchased from Kathie or Barb for $27.19,  Please contact Kathie if you wish to buy one before October 20.  (kathiemattison@gmail.com)

You may also purchase the book at:

Amazon – $34.50,  Barnes & Noble  $39.95,   Kindle version – $9.99

Literature Link for Sept. 12, 2021-Mending our World, Grounded in Hope.
On Being with Krista Tippet is a podcast from NPR. In this recent episode “Forests are Wired for Wisdom, “Suzanne Simard is the forest ecologist who has proven, beyond doubt, that trees communicate with each other — that a forest is a single organism wired for wisdom and care. Simard found that the processes that make for a high-functioning forest mirror the maps of the human brain that we’re also just now drawing. All of this turns out to be catching up with intelligence long-held in aboriginal science. She calls the mature hub trees in a forest “Mother Trees” — parenting, eldering, in a mode of mutuality and reciprocity, modeling what we also know to be true of genuinely flourishing human ecosystems.” Truly a fascinating discussion.  51-minute audio.

“An ‘Unfolding Poem’ for the Moment We’re In” by John Paul Lederach.  “Remembering forward requires we keep our frail filaments soft and supple./ It’s a summoning thing.” This is sort of about the pandemic and being forward-thinking. https://onbeing.org/blog/an-unfolding-poem-for-the-moment-were-in/
The Overstory by Richard Powers. [public library] “The Overstory, winner of the 2019 Pulitzer Prize in Fiction, is a sweeping, impassioned work of activism and resistance that is also a stunning evocation of—and paean to—the natural world. From the roots to the crown and back to the seeds, Richard Powers’s twelfth novel unfolds in concentric rings of interlocking fables that range from antebellum New York to the late twentieth-century Timber Wars of the Pacific Northwest and beyond.” One reviewer comments “Richard Powers’s novel will complicate the way you think about the environment, activism, our gossamer connection with each other and nature…[I] cannot recommend The Overstory enough.” 
For raving reviews go to this link which includes a brief reading by the author. 
• “Once the World Was Perfect “by Joy Harjo, our country’s Poet Laureate. A favorite line “A spark of kindness made a light.”
Here is an audio reading from December 21, 2019.

In faith,
Dale Dunnigan
Social Justice Updates
Eliminate Racism 815
Book Discussion  
Thursday September 30, 2021  6:00 p.m.

Join us by zoom for a discussion of  An Indigenous People’s History of United States by Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz. The book challenges the myth of the US and shows how policy against indigenous peoples was colonialist designed.
Please read the book on your own and we will discuss it. 
Join the Zoom Meeting here: 

Book discussions are presented in partnership with Rockford Public Library.
UU The Vote has joined with many other justice groups in supporting the “Finish The Job” rally on Friday, September 17th at 5 PM at the Federal Courthouse in Rockford. This is a nationwide effort with rallies expected to be held in nearly all the states. Locally, the Political Action Committee of the Rockford NAACP, in collaboration with the UUAW, League of Women Voters, Women’s March Rockford, and others are organizing this. Current speakers include former State Rep. Litesa Wallace, Boone County Board member Freddy De La Trinidad, and representatives from the GRLWV, AAUW, NAACP, Women’s March Rockford, and more.
Over 400 bills have been submitted in 49 states to abridge voting rights! This drama has been playing out for years in Georgia, but in the end, we won! You’ve been hearing about Texas, Florida, Arizona, and others. 

We’re supporting the John Lewis Voting Rights Act and the For The People Act.

Democracy has been failing as big money controls the media, impacting the vote; voters are PURGED on a targeted basis resulting in skewed “elections” (like 2016!); congressional districts are gerrymandered to manipulate majority votes, polling places are eliminated; the voting period is shortened; along with many other tricks that frustrate voters’ efforts to participate in democracy.

It’s time we have a government “Of the People, By the People, and For the People” instead of the powers that attempt to control real democracy!

More information: Bob Babcock – 630.417.0042

Join us by registering at: 
Finish the Job Rally · Declaration for American Democracy Coalition (mobilize.us)
Green Sanctuary will meet on the 4th Sunday of each month at Mary’s Market at 11:45 a.m.
*Church Calendar*

-Justice for All Meeting will meet on October 10th at 11:10 a.m. in the Conference Room

-Social Justice Committee will meet on November 17th at 7:00 p.m. in the Library 

Coffee Hour on Sunday Zoom 337-267-3668. 11:10 am.

Touchstones: contact your touchstones group facilitator for the time, if you don’t already have it.

– Caring Team Meeting – The first Tuesday of each month
The next one is Tuesday, October 5th at 6 pm in the Library

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

– Green Sanctuary will meet on the 4th Sunday of each month at 11:45 a.m. at Mary’s Market
Community Events

The climate crisis is upon us. GreenTown Rockford will address how climate solutions and equity go hand-in-hand to create a healthy, sustainable Rockford Region for all. On Thursday, September 30 at 10 am, GreenTown will be hosting a pre-event webinar.

To attend the free webinar, register below.

The GreenTown Rockford “main event” will take place Friday, November 12 at the Embassy Suites in Downtown Rockford. 



Topics Include:

  • Building locally equitable and sustainable food systems
  • Affordable housing and net-zero developments
  • Energy assistance programs


  • Lindy Wordlaw, Elevate, Chicago, IL 
  • David Pope, Oak Park Residence Corporation, Oak Park, IL 
  • Reverend Marvin Hightower, Mount Zion Baptist Church, Rockford, IL 
  • Bryant Jones, Twin Cities Relief Initiative, Minneapolis, MN

Thursday, September 30

Zoom Webinar

For free registration and to receive Zoom information, please click the link below: 


               UU   RETREAT   EVENT

We are excited to announce a Virtual Retreat Event for Sat. Sept. 25th at 1 pm.

Trans and Non-Binary Inclusion with featured speaker  Alex Kapitan.
What does it mean to be a men’s group, woman’s group, community or congregation that affirms and embraces gender diversity? As Unitarians honor their commitment to practice “welcoming all,” it’s important to engage in what this practice calls on us to do. Alex Kapitan, a trans and non-binary UU leader, who has served as a consultant for Unity Temple on this topic, will lead us in learning and conversation about understanding gender expansively and what trans and non-binary inclusion would look like for our groups. As always there will be interactive discussions. 

Approximate length of this event = 120 min. 
TO REGISTER- GET LINK:  Send name & e-mail address to markeric-j@hotmail.com

Sponsored by the Men’s Retreat committee: Mark Johansen, Rich Pokorny, Gerry Messler, Bob Innocenzi, Alan Johnson, Doug Erickson & Ron Dubreuil.

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