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110 S. 2nd Street
Geneva, IL, 60134
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630-232-2350

Newsletter

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Pioneer Newsletter

June - July 2017


From the Pulpit
the Rev. Dr. Lindsay Bates
 
Dear friends, I think it’s time for a re-run:

Signs of a Healthy Church [author unknown]:
  • People are constantly expressing disagreement, right out in the open!
  • The ministers are always behind in their work.
  • The Board can never seem to make ends meet while the church is forever giving money away.
  • New groups keep cropping up and bumping into each other over schedules and competing over volunteers.
  • A number of people occasionally miss meetings and insist on spending time with their families.
  • The kids are noisy and all over the place, including worship.
  • The carpeting is wearing out, the coffee hour is crowded and confusing, the front door is almost off its hinges, the electric bill is way over budget, and it seems that an awful lot of people are coming and going.
  • The place is full of people who know they can't make it on their own, who are finding greater meaning in their lives in receiving and giving a lot of service, a lot of energy, a lot of love.....

No question but that the Pledge Drive results were disappointing. Larger numbers than usual of our members and friends seem to be moving, retiring, looking for work, raising young families, supporting elderly relatives, experiencing health issues, and otherwise finding themselves stretched financially. Add to that our current political atmosphere, with nearly everyone concerned about health care access for themselves and/or their loved ones, and it’s not a scenario for great generosity. Our pledgers – multiple blessings be ever upon them – have done the best that they could. Some who chose not to pledge this year had their own good reasons – may all ills and evils pass them by and the new year bring improvements. Those who chose not to pledge, or chose to cut their pledges, in spite of their own relative financial security in order to “send a message” of discontent – well, OK, but I doubt that undermining the financial health of the Church Institutional is going to improve anything. I’d love it if you’d sit down with me or a Board member and talk about your concerns, rather than reduce your support for the church you say you care about.

But all in all, it’s healthier for a church to have dreams that outpace our means than the other way ’round. There will be noticeable cuts in programs in Church Year 2017-18 as we all share the results of our financial realities. So long as we remember, though, that money is not the only measure of generosity, so long as we keep our hearts open to one another, so long as we continue to show up for worship, church school, social activities, special programs, our Days of Service and all the other opportunities we share for building a community that lives our highest values out into the world, we’ll find ways to manage our financial challenges. 

In Choruses from the Rock, T. S. Eliot asks, When the Stranger says, / “What is the meaning of this [place]? / Do you huddle close together / because you love each other?”/ What will you answer? “We all dwell together / To make money from each other”? / or "This is a community"? 

I think we all know the answer. This is, always and forever, a community.

Blessed Be ~ Lindsay

Circles of Life
 
We send our loving sympathies to Anne Wilson-Dooley and all her family - husband Jeff, adult children Sarah, James, Carol, and their families - on the passing of Anne’s mother in a nursing home in Maine. It was a blessedly gentle passing, with Anne and her sister at their mother’s side. Prayers for comfort and peace to all.

Best wishes and congratulations to UUSG friend Teri Fuller and her new husband, Brian Rouse, married by Rev. Lindsay on June 4 in Elburn.

And congratulations to Sam Atac on achieving the rank of Eagle Scout!

Music at UUSG

 
Warming our worship services this spring have been soaring vocals by Kelly Herz; powerfully voiced inspirational pieces by the UUSG Choir led by Cynthia Spiegel; and EnsAmble Ad-Hoc’s moving, samba-infused songs exquisitely sung by Francy Acosta, accompanied by flutist Ruth Cavanaugh and guitarist Jose Luis Posada. The Moving Up service featured terrific singer Will Vandre, Ryan Thornton wowing in a trumpet tour de force, the winning combination of vocals by Jessica Littlefield accompanied on guitar by Grace Christiani, brothers Declan and Nolan Brown at the piano, and a wonderfully heartfelt song by singer-pianist Anna Rosenkrans.

An array of amazing student performers helped turn the Coming of Age service celebratory, including Collin Klein on trumpet, Madelyn Glazier on piano, Stephan Cordogan on cello; and Maya Steinke on vocals, accompanied by guitarist/percussionist Liam Johnson, followed by a rousing finale with the congregation in “Kum Ba Yah.”

Shining at the keyboard are our gifted regulars who spoil us: Dean Malambri, Sandra Anderson-Cordogan, Geoff Pynn and Lynn Fisher McCanne.

There is a place for you in our Music Ministry. Be brave and talk to Music Director Tracy Rosenkrans at music@uusg.org.

A Record Year! Swedish Days Pizza Booth Results!

We are so excited to announce that our Swedish Days Pizza Booth was an absolute success! Take a look at our results: 
 
Money Raised for UUSG: $10,017.98
Money Raised for YRUU's H4H Trip: $247.00
Number of 2-hour shifts: 100+
Number of Volunteers: 97+
Number of Pizzas: 232

A HUGE thank you and PPG award goes to Mary Swanson, Tom Russo, and Molly MacKay Zacker who coordinated the fundraiser, worked many hours, and were always on hand to answer questions and encourage volunteers! We’re so grateful for your energy and dedication. We couldn’t have done it without you.

We are also extremely grateful to our Day Managers, who kept the Booth stocked with pizza and worked hard to make it a success:
        
        Mark Adams                     Bob Atac
        Nancy Christensen           Eleanor Hamilton    
        Molly MacKay Zacker       Dave Zacker
            
Many thanks to this year’s counters, who handled the money so the Day Managers could concentrate on pizza:
        
       Brad Lipman                Eric Jonke
       Tom Haslett                  Bob Prahl
       Kevin O’Neill
            
And last but not least: to everyone who worked at the Booth, or volunteered their time and talent in other ways -- THANK YOU!
 
Mark Adams, Bob Atac, Katerina Baar, Kevin Beyer, Dan Bottoms, Sandy Bottoms, Jodi Brown, Declan Brown, Nolan Brown, Nancy Christensen, Bev Coe, Steve Cordogan, Alex Cordogan, Stephan Cordogan, Kathy Cornell, Teal Cyko, David de Coriolis, Amber Dotson, Lynn Fisher McCanne, Aaron Fogleman, Ellie Fusaro, Roger Gallentine, Winelle Glaser, Maddy Glazier, Andrea Gruszecki, Eleanor Hamilton, Sharon Hansen, Christy Hickey, Sean Hruby, Eric Jonke, Mary Jonke, William Koehl, Karen Laukaitis, Doris Lipman, Molly MacKay Zacker, Rosemary Maziarz, Tracey McFadden, Kathy Meier, Samantha Mejia, Omar Mejia, Jan Miller, Ellie Montgomery, Andy Montgomery, Jenny Montgomery, Craig Moore, Wendy Mosier, Fred Mosier, Carol Myers, Jeanne Neltnor, Glenda Peck, Jean Pierce, Lou Pierce, Kenna Powell, Emily Plass, Bob Prahl, Manya Prahl, Rhonda Robinson, Tracy Rosenkrans, Erin Rosenkrans, Anna Rosenkrans, Pat Rouille, Kerry Sapet, Jason Sapet, Christine Schulman, Hal Schulman, William Scown, Jeff Stanley, Ben Stibal, Jeff Stibal, Llona Steele, Amy Swanson, Bob Swanson, Martha Tabis, George Tattersfield, Ryan Thornton, David Tomell, Pat Vary, Pam Verner, Althea Welsh, Elliott Welsh, Quinn Welsh, David Zacker

We try to keep accurate lists of who is involved in our fundraisers, but sometimes we accidentally leave people off of lists like these. If we missed your name, let us know!

Friday Flicks - National Bird
Friday, July 28, 7pm
UUSG Common Room

National Bird follows the dramatic journey of three whistle-blowers who are determined to break the silence around one of the most controversial current affairs issues of our time: the secret U.S. drone war. At the center of the film are three U.S. military veterans. Plagued by guilt over participating in the killing of faceless people in foreign countries, they decide to speak out publicly, despite the possible consequences.

Their stories take dramatic turns, leading one of the protagonists to Afghanistan where she learns about a horrendous incident. But her journey also gives hope for peace and redemption. National Bird gives rare insight into the U.S. drone program through the eyes of veterans and survivors, connecting their stories as never seen before in a documentary. Its images haunt the audience and bring a faraway issue close to home.

 

Within-Our-Walls & LRE - Classroom Prep
 
LRE is working to organize, clean, and prepare the classrooms for our coming school year. We are planning a Within-Our-Walls mini day-of-service, July 10, 9-11am. Please click here to volunteer. Thank you!

UUSG Women's Circle
 
The second year of Women’s Circle was a great success. Thank you for your participation, energy, help, and enthusiasm! We are now beginning to plan the coming year’s programs and have a tiny ask…Would you please take a few minutes to complete a short survey for us that will help with our planning? Information from those of you who have not participated will also be helpful!

We would like to have this information collated for our July 10 planning meeting and request that you complete this by Friday July 7. Better yet, why not just do it now? Here’s the link and thank you for your input!

Facilities Update!
 
The sanctuary gutters are being replaced and the fascia is being painted this summer. Anyone who has questions can contact Tom Lichtenheld at facilities@uusg.org.

Staff Time Off
 
The office will be closed, and all staff off, on Tuesday, July 4, in honor of Independence Day.

New UUs Summer Orientation!
 
If you are new to UUSG and considering membership, the Welcoming Team would love to see you on Saturday, July 15, at our summer New UUs orientation. We will meet in the Common Room from 10am till 3pm. Continental breakfast and a light lunch will be provided. Due to the length of the program, please make your own arrangements for childcare at home.

This new, one-session format affords the opportunity for an intensely focused experience. Participants will share their spiritual journeys and explore their current beliefs in a group context. The faith traditions that shape Unitarian Universalism, the 175-year history of UUSG, and congregational polity will be examined. By the end of the day, you'll have heard about many different ways for YOU to become an active part of our church community. 

Please sign up at uusg.org/new-uus-megasession. We need  commitment from a minimum of 6 people in order to offer the program. If there is insufficient interest at this time, you will be notified by email. 

We look forward to welcoming you on July 15!  For questions or further information, please contact Jim or Kate Frazier at welcoming@uusg.org.

Taoism Discussion Group
 
"Wu-wei" is the lifestyle of one who follows the Tao. Its wisdom means knowing human and natural affairs well enough to use the least amount of energy in dealing with them. What does this mean for day-to-day life in 21st century America? Join the Taoism Discussion Group on July 9 from 11:45 to 12:45, right after Social Hour, in the Servetus Room.

Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes
 
We need a few people to change the decorations periodically at the front of the sanctuary (curtains, ribbons, Christmas garland, etc.). This is a generous way to provide a needed service that only requires a small time commitment. Training and assistance will be provided. We need people who are confident in climbing ladders, and being taller than 5’ 10” is a great benefit. If you enjoy the seasonal changes in our sanctuary decorations and can help the tradition continue, please let Sherri Casterline know at scasterline@earthlink.net or (847) 464-5302).

Immigrant Justice Leadership Team
 
On May 28, the Social Justice and Green Sanctuary Teams gathered to hear information collected by Jenny Gresko Schevers and Parvaneh Smith. The meeting was the beginning of examining whether our church can provide sanctuary for immigrants about to be deported. We were joined by members of Action for a Better Tomorrow and Fox Valley Jewish Neighbors. One of our priorities was creating the Immigrant Justice Leadership Team which includes Jenny and Parvaneh along with Tom Schevers, Bill Koehl, Bill Scown, Llona Steele, Salek Khalid (Action for a Better Tomorrow) and Lee Shumow (Fox Valley Jewish Neighbors).

We are excited to be starting this work. We will spend the next few months researching subjects related to sanctuary churches as well as other ways congregations can support this movement. We are hoping to have a service devoted to providing sanctuary sometime in the spring. In the meantime, if you have questions, please contact us at sanctuary@uusg.org.

Sister Suppers 2017

 
Modeled on the UU traditional Circle Suppers, Sister Suppers are social gatherings of women members and friends of UUSG. The goal of Sister Suppers is new and renewed connections between women inside our church family.

Scheduled to occur in August, September, October, and November, Sister Suppers involve groupings of participants who take turns hosting or providing a part of the meal for each of four monthly suppers. You can participate in one each month, or in months you choose. You do not have to host to participate. You can sign up as an alternate who will be called if last minute openings occur.

We started this new tradition 3 years ago, and it was lots of fun. Sign-up will be online at uusg.org/sister-suppers. If you have a friend in church who you think might enjoy this, but may not know about it, please consider forwarding this link to her and inviting her to CONNECT! Sign up will run through June, with email notifications going out in early July. 

Green Sanctuary Team News

 
Green Sanctuary wants you to know about the Town-Hall on the Environment that is taking place Monday, July 10, 7-10pm, located at The Arcada Theatre, 105 E. Main St. in St. Charles.

Special guest speakers include:
Chris Kennedy, Candidate for Governor - Environment 
Karen Hudson, Co-Founder of IL Citizens for Clean Air & Water - Factory Farming

Local Guest speakers: 
Mary Shesgreen of Fox Valley Citizens for Peace & Justice IL- Pipelines 
Debbie Dudek of Elgin Green Groups 350 - Growing local Food

This is an educational event on the environment. Let's educate ourselves on climate change and global warming. Come and learn how to be sustainable.


 
2017 Conference and Lobby Day for the Citizens Climate Lobby

CCL is a nonpartisan group advocating for a simple carbon tax and dividend. The dividend would return the tax proceeds to the American people similar to plans for oil revenue in Alaska. 

There's somebody from our UUSG in the above picture!

1,000 volunteers lobbied their local congresspersons and senators.

This now annual event was preceded by 2 days of conferences. Links to some of the highlights below.

Introduction to CCL on NPR

A really awesome presentation about the lawsuit children are bring against the US for failure to act to prevent Climate Change: Julianna vs. the United States

See what the population really thinks about Climate Change: The Yale Program on Climate Communication

Energy Aware - Decarbonization: Energy Aware

Climate Justice: Climate Justice

Beyond Our Walls - Re-Member & Pottawatomie Habitat for Humanity

 
Re-Member is an independent registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization which works with the Oglala Lakota Nation on Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota to improve the quality of reservation life through relationships, shared resources and volunteer services.

From March through October each year, Re-Member welcomes more than 1200 volunteers of all ages and backgrounds to the Pine Ridge Reservation for week-long work projects with a strong emphasis on cultural immersion. Working with the Re-Member staff, volunteers complete various projects across the Reservation, while learning about the culture and history of the Lakota people. 

The work projects include building and installing bunk beds for children, building wheelchair ramps for elders, building and installing outhouses, and repairing homes (including steps, decks and trailer skirting). 

The Pine Ridge Reservation contains one of the poorest counties in the US. The population has the lowest life expectancy in the US with staggering high rates of diabetes, alcoholism and suicide. The Re-Member projects help families get through the next winter. The families also learn that there are people who care about the injustices that face them on a daily basis.

Re-Member seeks to heal wounds of the past, to “Re-Member”, by putting back together that which is broken, and build hope for the future.

Pottawatomie Habitat for Humanity is an affiliate of the world-wide organization bringing people together to build homes, communities & hope. The vision of H4H is a world where everyone has a decent place to live. Through shelter we empower! H4H partners with people all over the world to help them build or improve a place they can call home. Habitat homeowners help build their own homes alongside volunteers and pay an affordable mortgage. With our support, Habitat homeowners achieve the strength, stability, & independence they need to build a better life for themselves and for their families.

Membership Preparation Class

 
We make our Membership Book available for signing three times each year. "The Book" contains the names of all those individuals since 1842 who have built, cared for and worked toward the realization of the dreams of the Unitarian Universalist Society of Geneva. Copies of the pages of this Book comprise the base of the chalice in our sanctuary. 

If you are considering full voting membership status at UUSG, you must first attend a formal Membership Preparation Class (MPC). We will hold our next MPC on Sunday, July 30, from 1-3pm in the Common Room. A light lunch will be provided. The MPC outlines the 5 Points of Commitment and provides a forum for discussion of the expectations and responsibilities of members. If you have participated in the life of the church for at least 3 months, are in agreement with our Covenant, and are prepared to commit yourself to the mission, work and faith of the Unitarian Universalist Society of Geneva, you are eligible to sign "The Book" at the conclusion of the MPC. While attendance at our "New UUs" orientation program is not mandatory for membership, it is strongly recommended.

We ask that you sign this Book only when your heart and mind and convictions are such that this is both the right decision for you and the right time to act upon it. You may attend this or any future MPC without obligation to sign. If you do plan to attend on July 30, please register at uusg.org/mem-prep-class. If childcare is needed, please so indicate and we will try to accommodate any requests. 

Questions?  Please contact Jim or Kate Frazier at welcoming@uusg.org.

Mental Health Discussion Group

 
On July 16, The Mental Health Discussion Group will meet in the Common Room at 11:45 to discuss George Lakoff’s Book, Don’t Think of An Elephant. Tom Schevers and Bill Scown will be facilitating the discussion. Lakoff is a longtime researcher in cognitive science and linguistics. He brings a unique perspective that he applies to suggest an understanding of the Trump phenomenon. The book is available new or used at Amazon in paperback. We also suggest reading George’s article “Understanding Trump”.

Equal Exchange/fair trade

 
UUSG supports Equal Exchange fair trade by purchasing coffee, tea and sugar for church use. In addition EE/ft products are for sale to the Congregation and Friends at no or very low mark-up. New gift items displayed. Rooibos tea is great for sun tea. 

Save the Date!

 
The Annual UUSG Thanksgiving Dinner is scheduled for November 23. A special 175th Anniversary cake will be included in the menu. More info in September. 

UUSG Book Exchange

 
Located in the north entry. Please take and keep as many books as desired. Enjoy!

New2U on Hiatus
 
Due to declining participation ­from both the listing aspect and the buying aspect ­the New2U program is on hiatus for the time being. To all of the sellers/donors and buyers, thanks for your support of the program. Because of you, since it's inception in January of 2016, New2U raised over $3,400 for UUSG.

If you or any one you know is interested in reviving New2U, please contact office@uusg.org.

Again, thanks for your support for UUSG; and, should the program resume, we'll let you know.

175th Anniversary Party - Thank you!
 
Many, many thanks to everyone who helped make the 175th Anniversary Party a splendid success! Thanks to Christine for helping publicize this party and the other anniversary events. Many thanks to Betty Bristol and Jill Brown, who brought yummy hand-made hors d'oeuvres; to David Tomell who came in to make decaf coffee; Don Brown, Winnie Blewitt, Bev Coe, Brian Doyle, and Ellie Fusaro, who helped with set-up; and Don Brown, Michelle Haugen, Patrick McGleam, Bill Koehl, and Pat Ward, who pitched in with cleaning up.

Special thanks to Don Brown for all the heavy-duty setting up, keeping the champagne and wine table stocked, and for big-time cleaning up. Special thanks to the Heritage Team for all your wonderful efforts to chronicle our illustrious history, and to Pat Ward for researching the background of the Roxbury UUs who fund-raised for our building. Special thanks to Lindsay for words of wisdom as we toasted our impressive anniversary. We hope we haven't missed anyone who helped - if we did, please know it's only because we were distracted - we really thank you all. 
The UUSG Emergency Response Team (ERT) is seeking additional volunteers to help ensure we make our spiritual home safer, stronger and better prepared to address accidents, threats of terrorism, crime and disasters. We certainly do not want a real incident, yet "just-in-case" could happen here! Should misfortune strike, we sure do want to be in the best position possible to handle it. "This could be the best job you never got paid to do."

Our Board of Directors has recently sanctioned an Emergency Response Guide (ERG) package covering a broad range of potential scenarios. One piece of the ERG is to implement a small, trained Security Team that would be "on duty" on Sunday mornings. While it is important for every person to individually take responsibility for his/her own safety, this new team would be specifically trained to handle unplanned situations arising from disruptive, threatening and violent types of behavior.  

It’s not a job for everybody - it takes commitment and it takes training. But, if you’re in good health and you’re willing to help, you can become part of our ERT volunteers. With your help, we can hopefully divert small interruptions from escalating, and minimize the potential damage of severe events. 

A professional background/degree in a related field is not required to join the ERT. Having a willingness to serve and respond to unplanned circumstances (equipped with applicable training) is a valuable prerequisite. For more information please contact Hal Schulman via either ertleader@uusg.org or cell: 630-886-8641.  
175th Anniversary Congregational Gift
 
The Congregational Gift fundraising campaign is $500 away from our goal!

With software that allows us to digitize items in our archives, we'll be able to preserve for the future things like:

-The original 1842 Covenant and Signers of The Book
-50th Anniversary information from 1892, as well as programs and items from subsequent  anniversary celebrations
-Programs from the Unity Club of the 1890s
-Christmas Pageant scripts from 1950 until the 1970s
-Schedules of Worship and Events from 1892 and forward
-Building plans and budgets for renovations and improvements over the years
-One-of-a-kind photos and illustrations
-And so much more!

Please consider contributing to the Congregational Gift fund today. You can make a donation in two ways: a check in the offering basket, payable to UUSG, and write “Congregational Gift” on the memo line or a checked mailed to UUSG, PO Box 107, Geneva, IL 60134. 

The Office Report

 
What a month! I was so happy to see the success of the Pizza Booth this year at Swedish Days. The coordinators--Mary Swanson, Tom Russo, and Molly MacKay Zacker--began preliminary planning for this year's event back in July of 2016! Their incredibly hard work and dedication was instrumental to the success of the booth this year. Thank you to every person that helped out--you made this year a record year!

Next up--we have some exciting projects going on in the office. We recently purchased a new church management software system that will be used to support so much of what is done at UUSG: Church School registration, volunteer sign-ups, team communication, and more. Special thanks to Bill Pokorny and Doreen Christiani who researched multiple church management systems before arriving at the final product: Realm. Over the summer Lisa and I will be working with the LRE Team to provide administrative support for registration and record keeping in the new database to get ready for the Church School year, and then rolling out the software to ministry teams and the congregation. Could this mean the end of clunky email forwarders and Reply All email strings?? Stay tuned!

~Christine

Christine Imielski
Congregational Administrator
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