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110 S. 2nd Street
Geneva, IL, 60134




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Pioneer Newsletter

December 2017 - January 2018

From the Pulpit
the Rev. Dr. Lindsay Bates
December 26, 2017

It’s Boxing Day today as I’m writing this – among clergy often a day for sleeping in (or getting up for waffles & mimosas, and then going back to bed!), ignoring the computers, finishing up our own shopping and cards and making the phone calls to loved ones we simply could not make on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day, quietly celebrating a Holy Day on our own. We don’t, as a rule, have servants to trade places with (the old English custom), but we do have boxes to pack up or to break down for recycling, things to put away, services to analyze for future years (write it all down now; you’ll never remember it next November!), attendance records to fill out… In years past, I’ve made a point of being in the office the week between Christmas and New Year’s, slowly puttering my way through various tasks. Not this year. Next year, others will need to remember where things were stored, how many Orders of Service to prepare, how to make the Chalice stand safely in the middle of the Wreath (turn the bowl that it should be packed with upside down in the center of the Wreath and balance the Chalice on that). It’s time for me to let all of that go. I tried not to let that thought intrude during the December 24 services. I think I did pretty well. Only had to stop to catch my breath a couple of times. Started to tear up a couple of times, too, but I don’t think anyone noticed. I’m only retiring in June; not, so far as I know, dying. But releasing our Christmas Eves together is a loss. I will miss being with you. 

Lots of things are going to be different next year. Our MOM team (the “Ministry on Ministries” group – Bev Coe, Gail Tattersfield, Pat Ward, Ellie Radvanovsky, Patrick McGleam, Sean Hruby) has been noticing some of the anxiety over the realities of change peeking out at us and from us at some odd and unexpected moments. I’m writing this message at MOM’s request. Maybe if we’re more aware of what we’re doing and why, more sensitive to why others are doing it, too, maybe we can all take a deep breath, lower the anxiety level, and move forward with more enthusiasm and excitement into the next chapter.

Many of us seem to be a bit more sensitive than usual about our personal preferences, and about how strongly we need to demand that our own needs be met, that things be done MY way, “the way we’ve always done it,” without all these changes. The list of things that some of us want changed/left alone in Worship in particular is getting rather amusing: no more jazz in services! lots more jazz! not so much modern music! not so much classical music! no more contemporary folk-rock! more contemporary folk-rock! can we have the Band every week? do we have to have the Band so often? why do people have to applaud? why can’t we all clap our hands, shout, and dance in the aisles? why do we have to have guests in the pulpit? shouldn’t we have more guest speakers so we can get used to it not being Lindsay? I don’t like this! It shouldn’t be different! It needs to be different! I want it MY way!!! 

It’s not just Music & Worship, of course – we’re hearing it (and sometimes thinking it ourselves) in just about every area of our community life.

So, whatever happened to that “not as agreeing in opinion” line? Or its logical companion, the reminder that “You can’t always get what you want/But if you try sometimes/You just might find/You get what you need!” (from the Rolling Stones – as many recognized, and as many most likely did not!)

It might help to remember that the specific thing you don’t care for is almost certainly essential to someone else’s positive church experience. In any group of people, the simple truth is that no one is going to like what they get or get what they want all the time. There are different tastes, different perspectives, different preferences, and short of any viewpoints that cause actual harm, they’re all valid – we are indeed diverse in our opinions and partialities! That’s a strength of our UUSG community. We learn to expand our abilities to be genuinely accepting, to be appreciative of differences, to be open to new experiences, new ideas, new forms of expression. We need to hear stories that are not our own, to sense the depths and wisdom of those whose paths have been quite different from ours, and to explore a deeper, richer, interdependent and shared universe of humanly Being. “Pay attention,” writes poet Sally Atkins; “We are listening each other into being.” (“Picking Clean the Bones”)

So those who are lifting up concerns about how things will be different are right – things most definitely will be different. But they will still be good – challenging, inviting, stretching, creating and recreating over and over again the shape of this Beloved Community. Things aren’t the way they were in 1842, after all, or in 1857, when Augustus Conant left this church to go to Rockford, or the way they were when Dr. Lyttle rescued a dying little church in 1926, or when, in 1978, Don King retired after 40 years of ministry, 13 here at UUSG. Things are not like they were when I arrived in August of 1978. And things will never again be the way they are going to be in 2018. 

Anxiety about changes, dissatisfactions with differences, a sensitivity to what makes us comfortable and uncomfortable and of course wanting more of the former – all this is normal when major transitions come. The anxieties are overcome with intention. Decide that you will enter into the transition with a sense of adventure, curiosity, hope for the future you’re going to be creating together. Be enriched by the wild and unexpected variety of this community. Explore the new ideas, insights, messages and possibilities that will be opening up. And remember that underlying it all will be that 1842 Covenant, those 175 years of history, and the connections you have been making and strengthening with one another in these more recent years together.

End of homily. May you be still enjoying the season, and preparing for a New Year of Joy, Love, Faith, Hope, and Peace ~


Circles of Life

It was a sadness, although not a surprise, to learn that Eleanor Lukazewski, a member of UUSG since 2000, died peacefully in her home, surrounded by family, on December 17. Her health had been failing for quite some time and her activities almost entirely curtailed. Since Eleanor was always active and involved - at both UUSG and Third Church, Chicago, working for social justice, women’s rights, health care, peace (and that’s the short list) - her inability to be out in the world was a frustration. But she leaves a legacy of countless people helped, powers challenged, injustices protested, and communities more effectively aware of the world. We send our loving condolences to all her family and friends. She did not want a memorial service and we are respecting her wishes. But friends do need to share remembrances, and there will be a private gathering of her closest friends in mid-January. (If you would like to be included, please let our Congregational Administrator, Christine Imielski, know.)

Staff Time Off
The Rev. Dr. Lindsay Bates will be on vacation through December 30, and Christine Imielski will be on vacation January 2-4. Office hours through December 30, will be by appointment only.

Music at UUSG

December brought us beautiful gifts of music including a chance to hear a rare turn by Tom Zimmerman on guitar and vocals in addition to piano. You never know what our musicians will come up with next! He joined vocalist Andy Montgomery for great guitar duets. Pageant Sunday was a showcase for young performers in the congregation. There were wonderful selections featuring Quinn Welsh & Calvin Hruby on piano, Alexander Cordogan & Skiaya MacPebbles on violin, Stephan Cordogan on cello, Max Montgomery on bells, a family quartet with Ellie, David, Jake and Max Montgomery, Ivan Pynn on trombone, Anna Rosenkrans on horn and Erin Rosenkrans on trumpet. Veteran musicians capped the service with rollicking holiday songs performed by Tracey McFadden on guitar and drums (surprise!), Andy Montgomery on guitar, Tracy Rosenkrans on double bass, and Geoff Pynn on piano.

The morning of Christmas Eve, we were treated to gorgeous music by guest classical guitarist Paul Moeller and his cellist wife, Kerena. The candlelit late service glowed with music by the UUSG Christmas Eve Choir and lush string arrangements by John Rosenkrans. Cynthia Spiegel conducted the joyful songs, wonderfully embellished by violinists Wendy Evans-Glazier & Mary Phillips, cellist Larry Glazier, bassist John Rosenkrans and pianist Sandra Anderson-Cordogan.

Showing their piano artistry this month were Lynn Fisher McCanne and Dean Malambri. Next month, we'll be treated to another amazingly talented guest – harpist Lillian Lau – as well as our own Geoff Pynn.

Be a part of the joy of music – there is a place for you in our Music Ministry! Students, amateurs, professionals, adults & youth. Please contact Music Director Tracy Rosenkrans at today!

Promoting Practical Goodness at UUSG

A PPG award to Kevin O'Neill, for serving as Finance Team Leader for the past 18 years! Kevin, thank you for your financial expertise and leadership over the years. UUSG is extremely grateful for all that you have done! We now welcome Tom Haslett, who will be the new Team Leader of Finance beginning in January 2018. Thank you to Kevin and Tom!

Our House
Big thanks to Sherri Casterline, Larry Casterline, Eric Peterson, George Tattersfield, David de Coriolis, Rhonda Robinson, and Linda O’Neill for hanging the garland and wreath in the sanctuary, and for putting the garland and lights around the sanctuary’s entrance!

The Facilities Team is in the process of setting priorities for upcoming projects. Some of the projects that are likely to rise to the top of the priority list are: replacing the flat roof above the Common Room, replacing the porch deck boards on the east side of Pioneer House, repairing and painting the trim around the bell tower, and replacing the carpet in the Common Room. Cost and urgency will be the key variables for selecting our highest priorities.

The Facilities Team is looking for more members, so if you’re interested in helping us preserve our historic site, improve our meeting space, or enhance our classrooms, then please contact the team.

Winter Weather Closing Policy

Because we're a regional congregation, with many of our folks traveling a considerable distance to get to Geneva, we do have a policy for winter weather.

If the wind chill in the greater Chicago area is colder than 40 degrees below zero, or if travel advisories have been issued because of snow or wind, we cancel all church events, including any committee meetings, office hours, Sunday morning religious education, and Sunday worship services. During the week, if you're not sure about the severity of the weather, please check with your group's convener before heading for a winter meeting.

If Sunday activities are canceled, we'll try to get that information onto our homepage and the Congregational Administrator’s voicemail message (call the church office at 630-232-2350 and then press 1-0-0 to hear the message). But when in doubt, please stay home!

The Snowfall Project

Meditation, contemplation, social action, poetry and art. We are creating something new. There is no precedent for this. This is a story about to unfold. Everyone is invited to participate.

The UUSG Post Card Campaign, Project Snowfall, will start this January. The Green Sanctuary Team will host an introductory kick-off event after services on Sunday, January 7, 12:30-1pm. We will distribute introductory packets that include information about the campaign, it's purpose and style. There will be plain postcards included along with samples. 

Finished cards can be turned in at any time to the office and we will post and mail the cards out through out the month. Watch the Common Room for more information on the bulletin board.

UUSG Food Bank Team 
Thank you to the 118 individual volunteers who worked hard this year volunteering at the Northern Illinois Food Bank! In these past 12 months our members and friends helped pack 130,986 lbs. of food for our neighbors in need.

Thank you Adrien Aaron, Mark Adams, Alena Anderson, Allyson Armstrong, Melissa Auer, Kevin Beyer, Betty Bristol, Declan Brown, Jodi Brown, Nolan Brown, James Carroll, Jamie Carroll, Elke Chateau, Natalie Clippert, Kathy Cornell, Teal Cyko, Huli Davalos, Mary Davis, Brian Doyle, Kathy Doyle, Liam Doyle, Betsy Dunn, Aaron Fogleman, Lucas Fogleman, Noah Fogleman, Salome Fogleman, Lisa Gades, Keith Gesiakowski, Jenny Gresco, Andrea Gruszecki, Elizabeth Hagen, Eleanor Hamilton, Amy Hausman, Christian Hausman, Katie Hausman, Kevin Hausman, Jett Herrera, Kate Herrera, Piper Herrera, Jan Hershberger, Bobby Houseman, Becky Hruby, Calvin Hruby, Sean Hruby, Grace Johnson, Griffin Johnson, Kate Johnson, Liam Johnson, Bryce Jonke, Eric Jonke, Ethan Jonke, Mary Margaret Jonke, Frankie Kokkines, Dianne Kostner, Vera Lind, Brad Lipman, Doris Lipman, Gary Littlefield, Jessica Littlefield, Maissy Littlefield, Ashley Lynch, Doreen Mace, Molly MacKay Zacker, Tracey McFadden, Kathy  McFadden, Matt McGahan, Samantha Mejia, Mia Melone, Sam Mitchell, Andy Montgomery, David  Montgomery, Ellie Montgomery, Jake Montgomery, Jenny Montgomery, Max Montgomery, Craig Moore, Dave Moore, Rose Moore, Nate Ng, Gary Noll, Kathy Noll, Alyssa Palumbo, Diane Peters, Robin Pietrucha, Sophie Pietrucha, Ilysse Pitts, Page Poris, Sydney Prochaska, Amanda Riley, Irulan Riley, Isabel Riley, Diane Rodi, Chris Rojas, Alba Rusef, Hamid Rusef, Ramsey Rusef, Jason Sapet, Tom Schevers, Janet Shreeram, Jason Shreeram, Brigette Smith, Nancy Steinke, Bob Swanson, Mary Swanson, Martha Tabis, Teresa Urfer, Pat Vary, Susan Weimer, Chris Weithers, Joyce Whitehead, Jane Willard, Andrew Young, James Young, Abby Zacker, David Zacker, Julie Zacker, and Zoe Zacker!

Have You Looked at New2U Lately?

If not, click here to check out some great offerings: an armoire (great storage for crafts, toys, etc.), maple folding chairs (for when friends and family visit), an array of cross-body bags (for the traveler in your life), and hand-crafted pink kitty hats (keep warm and make a statement). All monies support UUSG.

Looking for New Ideas!

The Board of Directors is looking for creative visionaries who would like to help brainstorm ideas for FUNdraisers and Short term and Long term uses of the 3rd Street property. Please contact Jean Pierce at

Friday Flick: Disneyland of War

Disneyland of War - We’ll start 2018 on January 26, at 7pm, with a film by Director Chris Smiley and Producer Mike Hanes, an Iraq War veteran. This short documentary covers the glorification of war and violence in our culture, shedding light on the indoctrination of the public including young children at events like the Miramar military air show. This air show is one of many outlets where war and violence is given a warm, inviting, and exciting aura. The utter horror and brutality is never understood by so many. Promoting a positive image of war and violence to people, especially children, is extremely dangerous.

Bill Koehl of our congregation will lead a discussion following the film to identify opportunities for future actions. Please plan on joining us in the Common Room as we embark on a new year of films that address todays major social justice issues.

Get Involved With Interweave

Interweave is a local group of LGBTQ members, friends, and allies who meet once a month to have time together for discussions and special events. We will meet Sunday January 21, after second service about 12:30pm to discuss current events. We will also be planning for our February and March LGBTQ church activities leading up to the annual LGBTQ service scheduled for March 4. For information please contact Lynn Steele at

February Sky Concert at UUSG

Join us for an Evening of Folk Music with February Sky on Friday, January 12, at 7pm in the Sanctuary. 

February Sky features traditional singer and Celtic guitarist Phil Cooper with songwriter and singer Susan Urban. Phil sings and plays his own arrangements of traditional songs and tunes on six string guitar and cittern, and he also interprets a number of carefully chosen songs from the best of modern Folk song writers, as well as backing Susan up on her songs. Susan Urban is a writer of story songs and humorous "slice of life" songs. She accompanies her songs, plus Phil’s songs and tunes, on six and 12-string guitar, six string banjo, mountain dulcimer, and hand percussion instruments. Phil and Susan present a combination of old and new songs and tunes, addressing the widest possible range of experience, complete with vocal harmony, intricate instrumentation and thoughtful stagecraft. They believe that Folk Music is a continuum - whether the songs are self-penned or have a history thousands of years old, as long as they speak to the human condition and the human heart, they carry on the Folk Music tradition.  

The duo has five CDs available, "Silver Wolf Moon," their 2017 critically acclaimed release,  along with "Ain't No Sangin'," an all instrumental project released in 2016, "Goldenrod," released in 2013, their 2011 release, "Time-Honored Pathways," and their 2007 release, self-titled "February Sky."

Joanne Laessig, of Folknet in Cleveland, OH, said of February Sky, "I've had the delight of watching two long time friends and musicians grow a duo. I've listened to Phil Cooper for years as part of a duo/trio/ensemble, with singing partner Margaret Nelson as the constant through all those years. Phil's darlin’ Susan wrote wonderful songs, sang wacky and ribald songs she'd found elsewhere and became an ever more deft musician through those years. Now they're a duo - February Sky - and the combination of Phil's incredible repertoire of very traditional song and tune and Susan's singer-songwriter orientation and addition of her skill with other instruments have been blended into something very different than what either had done before. Same songs, or tunes from previous repertoires... but whole different flavor. Each time I see them, what they do gets tighter, deeper, more distinctive. 'Course it helps that both are thoughtful, generous people who like each other lots."

Lazarus House Gala

Lazarus House is now accepting reservations for their 3rd annual “Unmasking the Face of Homelessness,” a special Gala being held on January 20, at St. Charles Country Club. Enjoy social hour with a cash bar, silent auction, mystery wine, and entertainment by pianist Sam Wyatt. After dinner and sweets, experience a heartwarming presentation and have an opportunity to bid on exciting live auction items.

Dinner tickets are $120 per person or purchase a table of 10 for $1000. Request an invitation or make your reservations by calling 630-587-2144.

Lazarus House is celebrating their 20th anniversary of helping neighbors in crisis by providing safe shelter, food, education and skills for life. Serving an average of over 300 individuals annually, Lazarus house offers Emergency Shelter, a Center for Transitional Living, and an Outreach Program for men, women, and children from Batavia, Geneva, St. Charles, and western rural Kane County. 

The Office Report

with Christine Imielski

Happy New Year! I hope that everyone has had a wonderful holiday season and is excited to bring in 2018. Just a reminder that for end-of-year contributions, donors must deliver checks on or by December 31, to claim a charitable contribution deduction for 2017. Checks that are placed in the church offering during the first worship service in 2018, will not qualify for a charitable contribution deduction in 2017, even if the check is predated to 2017, or was written in 2017. However, checks that are written, mailed, and postmarked in 2017 will be deductible, even if they are not received by the church until 2018.

We will be sending out donor statements in mid-January. Please feel free to contact me at or 630-232-2350 if you have any questions or concerns. 

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