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110 S. 2nd Street
Geneva, IL, 60134




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Pioneer Newsletter

April - May 2018

From the Pulpit
the Rev. Dr. Lindsay Bates
I probably should have guessed something odd was going on. Chip Roush, our Student Intern back in 2003-04, emailed me to say he was getting ready to go on Sabbatical and had a sermon he really, really wanted to preach during his Sabbatical time and would I please invite him to Geneva on April 22, Earth Day Sunday, so he could share his message combining Earth Day and Immanuel Kant’s birthday, “Our Categorical Imperative to Save Our Biosphere.”

I could feel the yawns coming on from all over the congregation. I already had plans for the Earth Day service, I knew Green Sanctuary had some plans and expectations, and I was not at all excited about Immanual Kant. Besides, time is short – at this point, I have only 7 more services to lead, and not all of them involve sermons. I told Chip I’d have to think about it, check in with a few folks, let him know. It was sweet and generous and all that to offer to cover the pulpit for me, but I wasn’t particularly interested in having anyone else cover the pulpit, thank you.

But my spouse said, in loving tones, “Don’t be an idiot. We haven’t seen Chip and Becky in a long time; we can take them to lunch, have a relaxed afternoon with friends, and you’ll have a less hectic week. Take him up on it.”

That’s when I really should have gotten suspicious. 

But I didn’t. And when Chip announced that he needed some help with the For All Ages from other former Interns, the words didn’t quite register. I stood up, and looked, and sat down again. Eyes and brain had a bit of communicating to do. Oh yes, I was surprised. Overwhelmed. And so happy, so touched, and so honored that they were there. 

“Operation FoxTrot,” they called it. “Sneaky,” is my response. Sneaky. Well-planned. Well-executed. Co-conspirators well coached and well disciplined. Cards, notes, good wishes from our Interns – that I would have expected. But for these three guys and their wives, Craig & Cheryl, Chip & Becky, Bret & Cindy, to make the time, travel the distances, and organize it all as a surprise for someone who they know is not fond of surprises – well, what can I say. Well done, gentlemen. Once again, you’ve made me very proud of all of you! 


Circles of Life
We’re sorry to announce the dissolution of marriage between John Rosenkrans and Tracy Dullea (Tracy is reclaiming her own family name). We’re glad, though, that the two households will remain in the area and continue their involvements here at UUSG. To Tracy and John, Anna and Erin, we send our loving support and the hope that you will all find happiness and peace in this new chapter of your lives.

We Don't Want To Say Goodbye For The Summer

We will all be sad to say goodbye to Reverend Lindsay at the end of June…but we don’t have to say goodbye to UUSG! The Worship Planning Team has put together an exciting summer worship program with something for everyone. Here is our July schedule:

July 1: kick off the summer with a service celebrating Independence Day, led by our own Aaron Fogleman.

July 8: we welcome long time UUSG member, friend, and current seminarian Thom Thomas to the pulpit.

July 15: Alan Mills, director of the Uptown People’s Law Center in Chicago, will give a talk on incarceration in America, with a special focus on prisons in Illinois.

July 22: our service will be led by Reverend Linda Slabon, recently retired after 26 years as minister of the UU Fellowship of DeKalb, who knows we will be working on our transition to a new Interim minister.

July 29: Huda Husseini, whom many of you got to know at a Women’s Circle event last year, will be presenting on Islam and aspects of Muslim faith and cultural issues, especially for Muslim women.

August will feature more UUSG friends: our old friend Bob McWilliams is back in the pulpit, Cynthia Spiegel guides us through a chant service, Julie Riffle leads a Reader’s Theater, William Elbert returns with our popular poetry service, and guest Chazmin Baechler helps us explore the connections between fairy tales and ethics. Check the June Pioneer for more details, including information about child care for the little ones and activities for older kids. We hope to see you all here!

Proposed Slate of Candidates & Annual Meeting
The Proposed Slate of Candidates for the 2018-2019 Board of Directors and Nominating Committee has been announced. View the slate at or in the Common Room, and join us at our Annual Congregational Meeting to be held on Sunday, May 20, at 12:30pm. Voting Members, please RSVP here

UUSG Music

Our musical offerings warmed a chilly April capped last Sunday by the final church year appearance of the powerful UUSG Choir led by Cynthia Spiegel. We also enjoyed the lovely clarinet playing of one of our Junior High youth, Ben Budke; moving vocals, guitar and keyboard from Tom Zimmerman; and talented turns at the piano by Sandra Anderson-Cordogan and Lynn Fisher McCanne.

Looking ahead, we’ll be treated to the beautiful vocals of Cynthia Spiegel and the UUSG Jazz Combo featuring Michael Townley, Tracy Dullea, Geoff Pynn, Jeff Teppema and Nate Thomas; the stirring harmonies of the FUUsion choral group; and a wonderful collaborative event from Angela Salvagionne, Cynthia Spiegel, Elena Spiegel, Tracy Dullea, and Ruth Cavanaugh.

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 Dullea at today!

Retirement Party for Rev. Lindsay!
You are cordially invited to a very special party in honor of Rev. Lindsay's retirement after 40 wonderful years serving UUSG as our senior minister! Save the date: Sunday June 17, 1:00 - 4:00pm. This will be an open-house style party for all of our members and friends and their families - come as early as you can and stay as long as you can. We will be celebrating in the church and (weather gods permitting) the front lawn and memorial garden. There will be fabulous music, yummy refreshments, and just a bit of programming. And - of course - there will be cake! AND since it is a party for Lindsay - there will be chocolate!

Please plan to join us for this celebration of our amazing Lindsay as we wish her an amazing next chapter in her life, and as she wishes us well on our journey into the future. More details will be coming so watch for additional messages.

The Celebrations Committee (formerly known as the 175th Anniversary Committee) is looking for additional UUSG members and friends to help with planning, preparations, and day-of tasks. Please get in touch with Jill Brown or Kathy Cornell to "sign up" and be part of this significant, and significantly stellar, celebration.


Kathy and Jill and the Committee

Our House

Big thanks to Dave Tomell for applying a sealant on the roof to stop a leak that was occurring near the hallway bathroom, and also for cleaning out the west side gutters. Another big thanks to Hal Schulman, Ron Craig, and Dave Hansen for installing emergency signage that identifies where you can find the fire extinguishers, automated external defibrillator (AED), and tornado safe locations. Additional thanks go to Sherri Casterline, and her husband, for hanging the spring curtains in the sanctuary, and to Tom Lichtenheld for installing coat hooks in the back hallway.

We are making good progress towards our three high priority maintenance projects. Dave Tomell secured three quotes from contractors to replace the flat roof over the Common Room. Ron Craig prepared the plans, architectural drawings, and city applications to replace the Pioneer House porch floorboards. Tom Lichtenheld prepared the RFP and secured quotes from three contractors to repair and paint the sanctuary belfry. Now we are waiting to see if next year’s budget can accommodate these projects. 

The Facilities Team is looking for members or volunteers. If you’re interested in helping us preserve our historic site, improve our meeting space, or enhancing our classrooms, please contact Kevin O’Neill.

Scrapbook for Lindsay

We're putting together a scrapbook for Lindsay, composed of pages from you, the congregation. We invite individuals, families, informal or formal groups, teams, committees and boards to create a page.

Plain printer paper is fine as your page will be tucked into an opaque page protector. A hand-written or typed note, sayings, verses, memories, drawn or painted artwork, hand prints, cut and pasted images or photos, collage, a family photo, a team photo, all are welcome. (Please note: We won't be including greeting cards or folded note cards in the scrapbook because the thickness needs to be manageable - please feel free to give or mail these cards directly to Lindsay).

Martha Tabis has been carrying around a white 3-ring binder at Coffee Hour, or you may find it on the table near the pink hats for sale. Take a look for examples of completed pages. This is Martha's wonderfully creative idea and we encourage everyone to participate.

Size:  8 1/2" x 11" and due to Martha Tabis by June 3.

Thank you!

Kathy, Jill and the Celebration Committee

April Friday Flick: The Reluctant Radical

If a crime is committed in order to prevent a greater crime, is it forgivable? Is it, in fact, necessary? The Reluctant Radical follows activist Ken Ward as he confronts his fears and puts himself in the direct path of the fossil fuel industry to combat climate change. The film reveals both the personal costs and also the fulfillment that comes from following one’s moral calling- even if that means breaking the law. The film follows Ken through a series of direct actions, culminating with an action that shuts down all the U.S. tar sands oil pipelines and threatens to put him behind bars for 20 years. Ken Ward has no regrets, and his certainty leaves the audience to consider if he is out of touch with reality, or if it is the rest of society that is delusional for not acting when faced with the unsettling evidence that we are collectively destroying our world.  

This month’s Friday Flick is sponsored by the UUSG Green Sanctuary Committee. Please plan on joining us in the Common Room April 27, at 7pm, for this provocative film on Environmental activism.

May Friday Flick: Served Like A Girl

Director Lysa Heslov's powerful documentary, Served Like A Girl, follows several American women who were wounded in action and are now transitioning from soldier to civilian after serving their country in Iraq and Afghanistan. Struggling with PTSD, homelessness, broken families, divorce, serious illness, and military sexual abuse, these remarkable women harness humor to adapt to the emotional, social and economic challenges they face, through the Ms. Veteran America competition. Balancing beauty and brawn, they are guided by event founder and veteran Major Jas Boothe, using the competition to regain their identities and way of life that they sacrificed in foreign wars. It is an engaging and honest look at an often-unseen veteran reality. 

Please plan on joining us in the Common Room for our last film of the church year on Friday, May 27 at 7pm. As a reminder, the next Friday Flicks showing will be on July 27, as we take a break in June.


Our Facility Has A New Signage Look

As you roam around UUSG, please notice the newly installed emergency related signage throughout our spiritual home. Signs and placards now indicate a variety of helpful aides in times of an unplanned incident.

This includes the location of our AED unit, fire extinguishers, and first aid kits. Signs are installed to indicate that the addition basement is our designated shelter-in-place area. And most rooms have a wall notice to help inform you of steps to take for various emergency scenarios.

The update was a joint Facilities-ERT effort. Please share any feedback with Hal Schulman,  

Thoughts on Third: Our New Green Space on Third Street
Can our 3rd St. green space paint a picture of who we are as a church community? How can it welcome like-minded strangers who are seeking a church family? We hope our new green space on Third Street will do those things, and we would love your input. What are your dreams, visions and ideas? Even the smallest notions generate new ideas, and we want to hear them. This is our opportunity to turn this space into a beautiful, welcoming, multi-use retreat that reflects who we are as a church and as a community. Please, drop us a note in the Idea Box, located in the Common Room. Thank you!

We're Back On Our Rockers!
Thank you to Diane Gallentine, who took the two rocking chairs from the front porch of Pioneer House, scrubbed and scraped and sanded off a dozen years of paint and grime, repainted them, and returned them to Pioneer House in time for the warm weather’s return. They look great, and we are most grateful!

New2U: Dragon Flagon

Have you always wanted a Dragon Flagon but just couldn't find the right one? The search is over! Reverend Lindsay's is looking for a new home, and it is listed on New2U. And, check out her other great offerings ­ a small elegant table, various travel/tote bags, a doll. The opportunity to own one of Lindsay's treasures won't last long ­so check them out now.

Project SnowFall
The postcard campaign continues. The day of service event was very successful and there are enough cards to be mailed throughout all of April! But there is always room for more.

Letters to the Congregation, a sister project of the postcard campaign, will begin soon. This will allow for the contemplation of the larger concept of the need and opportunity for action on climate change. And of course - to be shared with our representatives.

Chasing Spring Ephemerals (another sister project to the SnowFall campaign) is happening now. With any luck, this will last for several more weeks as wildflowers in our local forest preserves spring to life. If you would like to be added to the email list to see where the action is now or just to view what others have found, contact Bill Koehl at

This is proving to be a very popular program and participation is unlimited, free and time flexible - at least for as long as it lasts.

Green Sanctuary News

First Annual Green Dinner: 
The Green Sanctuary's first ever Green Dinner will be Saturday, May 5, from 5:00-9:00pm! It looks like it will be a lot like the Harvest Dinner, only a little more cozy. Citizens Climate Lobby will have a presentation about their Carbon Tax and Dividend proposal. This is an excellent opportunity to learn about this very important idea. Find out why the carbon tax is considered the gold standard of climate solutions. And we are looking forward to seeing you there. Sign up here or on the signup sheet in the Common Room.

Green News & Local Events

Kane County Forest Preserves Event: "By the Light of the Moon Night Hikes" April 29, 8-9 pm. Johnson's Mound Forest Preserve (41W600 Hughes Rd.). Free Event. Registration is required at 630-444-3190 or

Stroll through the woods with a naturalist and learn the native wildflowers that carpet the forest floor on Thursday, May 10, from 5:30-6:30pm, at Johnson's Mound Forest Preserve. 630-444-3190 to register. 

Mental Health Ministry

Join us for our next topic in our Mental Health Series Presentations: From Psychoanalysis to Psychopharmacology—The Changing Nature of Mental Health Treatment. Members of the Mental Health Ministry will talk about their own experiences to illustrate the various modalities of treatment. Join us in the Common Room for this two part series on Sunday, April 29, at 1pm & Sunday, May 6, at 1pm.

Come and Explore the Labyrinth!

This month’s Women’s Circle will explore the history, symbolism, and ritual of this ancient form of self-discovery. Throughout the ages, labyrinths have been used by people of many cultures and faiths to bring more spiritual, emotional, and physical well-being into their lives. It is a walking meditation, which blends movement with inner calm as well as a metaphor for our spiritual journey, with all its twists and turns.
We hope you can join us on Saturday, April 28, 1-4 pm, for the Women’s Circle’s final session of this church year. Julia Friesen and Pat O’Malley will facilitate. After a discussion on labyrinths, we’ll have the opportunity to walk an indoor labyrinth. Come and learn about and experience this fascinating archetype.
You will also have the opportunity to make a free-will donation to help defray the cost of renting the labyrinth.

Sign Up Here!

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 at 12:30 on Sunday, May 20, to plan upcoming activities for Pride Month in June and discuss current community events. For information please contact Lynn Steele at

Bible Study for UUs

For UUs who simply want to learn more about the Bible as literature, "Bible Study for UUs" is on the third Monday of each month, 7-8:30pm. 

Our next meeting will be on May 21. We'll be discussing "The Triumph of Christianity: How a Forbidden Religion Swept the World" by Bart Ehrman.

For more info, please contact Jim Frazier at

Day of Service - Thanks!

Thank you to everyone who participated in the April 7 Annual Day of Service! We had 180 church members and friends helping to make the event a success - promoting practical goodness in the world and strengthening our UUSG community. Some key accomplishments:
  • 75 volunteers visited the Northern Illinois Food Bank and packaged 26,745 lbs of potatoes, fruits, vegetables, and food for the children's food backpack program.
  • 23 efficient packers assembled 136 Senior Gift Bags for Humanitarian Service Project. The congregation donated approximately $2,000 for this effort and area businesses contributed about $150 more.
  • 17 lively partygoers played BINGO with area senior citizens at Bria Health Services of Geneva.
  • 6 dedicated people worked in 18 degree weather to spruce up the fence area around Mutual Ground and to hang a sign promoting Sexual Assault Awareness Month.
  • 6 artistic children created cards for sick children in hospitals.
  • 16 nature lovers created cards for Project Snowfall, thinking about the "interconnected web of which we are a part."
  • 24 shoppers donated paper products for low-income seniors.
  • 13 creative souls provided lovely School Supply kits for disadvantaged children.
  • 2 helpful volunteers transported a truckload of paper products, School Supply kits and Senior Gift Bags to Humanitarian Service Project.
  • 1 thoughtful volunteer who is creating welcome bags for new immigrant families using the extra toiletries and items from the Senior Gift Bag project.
  • Dozens of people attended an inspiring worship service.
  • 21 gracious volunteers put on a lovely dinner for 82 hungry volunteers!

New UUs ReUUnion!

If you attended “New UUs,” “Membership Preparation Class,” or a “Pathway to Membership” session since January of 2016, you are invited to attend a reunion potluck party hosted by the Welcoming Team on Sunday, May 6, at 6pm. Leaders from various teams will be there to talk about their work and mission. Bring a spouse, partner, or a friend, (and a dish!), and join us for an evening of food and fun. RSVP at

Dungeons & Dragons Group at UUSG
Wanted: A party of brave adventurers, mages, fighters and the like to be sent on an epic quest wherein lie hoards of gold and magical treasure! Dungeons and Dragons tabletop role playing group to be held every 3rd Tuesday and 1st Friday of the month, 4:00 to 6:30pm and 7:00 to 9:30pm at UUSG. No role play or gaming experience necessary. If you wish to create your own character, please come at least half an hour early. A Dungeon Master (DM) will be available to walk you through the process. Otherwise characters and dice will be provided. BYO 5th edition Level 3 characters and dice welcome as well.  

Please register at Questions? Contact Teal Cyko at
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