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110 S. 2nd Street
Geneva, IL, 60134




UUSG Pioneer Newsletter, July - August 2017
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Pioneer Newsletter

July - August 2017

From the Pulpit
the Rev. Dr. Lindsay Bates

Actually, this isn't "From the Pulpit," exactly. It's really from my Senior Minister's Annual Report, which will be coming out along with all the other ministry team, staff, and leadership reports at the end of the summer. My experience with those reports, however, is that not everyone reads them. The newsletter has a somewhat higher "opening" rate. So I'm putting this out now rather than waiting.

By now everyone knows that our pledge drive, despite incredible efforts by Kevin Beyer and his team, came in far below what we needed in order to fully fund UUSG in this new year. We're not the only congregation discovering that the money it takes to run the church just doesn't seem to be out there in members' and friends' wallets any more. We need to be looking at new revenue sources.

A couple of us were talking about this idea some time ago, but set it aside when New2U got started. New2U was a terrific idea, but it has now closed for lack of response/involvement within our UUSG community. The basic concept, however, was sound. So I'm again raising the question: Could our New2U donations be marketed more effectively on, for example, eBay? Do we have some experienced eBay sellers in the congregation who would be willing to give their time & skill by taking on a limited number of items a month to sell – their expenses paid, of course – and the profit after eBay takes their cut coming to the church?

It’s time to be welcoming in more “outside” money. Swedish Days has done an exceptional job with that. Compare it to our Auction, which is great fun and a successful in-house fundraiser - but the Auction does not welcome people we don’t already know. If you're not interested in the eBay idea, What about a giant yard sale for all the interesting gently-used things we don't want for the auction? We could certainly welcome the public for that, especially if it’s specifically used to finance our Social Justice commitments. Maybe hold it on our Third Street property (if city ordinances permit)? Would a couple of yard-sale-savvy volunteers be willing to take that on as a one-time experiment? Or at least explore the possibilities?

It’s time to get creative. Times have changed, suddenly, radically, and things are not going back. We need to be exploring and trying out new ways of financing the needs of the Church Institutional. Are there ways you could help UUSG fund our work, balance our budget, and have fun and build community all at the same time? Please talk to me, or to Board President Jean Pierce, or indeed to any member of the Board, and let's see what we can accomplish!




board blog - Brian Doyle
In his book, The Heart of Christianity: Rediscovering a Life of Faith (HarperCollins, 2003), Marcus Borg writes about the importance of intentionality for spiritual growth and transformation. Using the Christian metaphor of rebirth, Borg argues that we can’t change ourselves or the world around us on our own, not “either by strong desire and determination or by learning and believing the right beliefs. But we can . . . midwife the process. This is purpose of spirituality: to help birth the new self and nourish the new life. Spirituality is midwifery.”

I think this is a beautiful and powerful metaphor. It simultaneously affirms that we have a degree of agency in helping to foster change. Yet, we are not in control of the outcomes.

At the start of every UUSG board meeting, we begin with an invocation that reminds us of the deeper reasons for our work together: “nurturing relationships; encouraging constructive change; acknowledging and guiding into reality the best dreams of this community of faith.” 

As I see it, our job as board members is to help cultivate the conditions that enable and empower our minister, staff, and ministry teams to do the real work of the church. Although we are entrusted by the congregation with certain powers and authority, our work would be meaningless if not for the efforts of our paid and unpaid ministry team members. They are the heart and soul of UUSG.

Who are you in this story? Are you the midwife, encouraging and nurturing others through the pains of labor? Are you the mother, grimacing every time you’re told to push just a little bit harder? Or, are you like the fathers of my parents’ generation, sitting nervously in the waiting room, removed from the mystery and miracle of birth, either by choice or by tradition?    

In my six months on the board, I’ve been amazed and humbled by the many “mothers” in the church (both men and women) who are laboring on behalf of our best dreams. I’ve also come to realize that my encouragement and appreciation, although important, are not enough. For us to guide our dreams into reality, we need more mothers. This is what the board hears again and again from ministry team leaders. If I may be excused for mixing metaphors, “the harvest is great but the workers are few” (Matt. 9:37). 

UUSG is coming to a crossroads. In the next year, we’ll all be asked to think very intentionally about our dreams for the church and who we want to be as a community. In the meantime, if you are not doing so already, I encourage you push a little harder and get involved in a ministry that speaks to you. To learn about volunteer opportunities, visit the church website at and click “Get Involved.”

Circles of Life
Welcome to Eleanor (Ellie) Sue Hoerdeman! Ellie could not wait for her expected due date and was born June 3, 2017. Mom (Sara Hoerdeman), Dad (Joe Gange) and brother Asher Hoerdeman are all doing great!

And joy to Sarah (Dooley) and Jon Sebby on the June 29 arrival of Charlotte Amelia Sebby! Gramma Anne Wilson-Dooley and Aunt Carol Dooley Corwell were there for Charlotte’s arrival.

Music at UUSG

Music continues to play a high note this summer. We enjoyed the shining sound of Sandra Anderson-Cordogan, Mary Phillips, and Dean Malambri at the piano, as well as Alexander Cordogan on violin and four-hand piano.

With the Rev. Bob McWilliams as guest in the pulpit, the congregation was treated to several songs carrying his original lyrics. The outstanding musicians were vocalist Cynthia Spiegel, violinist Mary Phillips, and pianist Lynn Fisher McCanne.

Guest artist Angela Salvaggione played wonderful bassoon, recorder and piano, including one of her own keyboard compositions. Cynthia Spiegel shared her exquisite vocal skills, and accompanists were Tracy Rosenkrans on double bass and pianist Geoff Pynn to round out a spectacular quartet. 

Ahead will be special music for the celebration of the life of George Hickman by Cynthia Spiegel, Elena Spiegel, Lynn Fisher McCanne, and Dean Malambri. The Montgomery Family Band will show off the talents of Andy, David, Ellie, Jake, Jenny, and Max. And as if that weren't awesome enough, singer-songwriter Kristin McFadden will be back in August. She just graduated this spring from Oberlin with a BA in musical studies and is starting her Masters of Popular Music degree at Goldsmiths, University of London, in September.

There is a place for you in our Music Ministry. Please contact Music Director Tracy Rosenkrans at today!

RE Teachers Still Needed
We are still seeking additional teachers for our Grade K-2 and Grade 3-5 Religious Education classes at both services. Teaching is a fun and rewarding way to contribute to our community, and one of the best ways to learn more about the topics covered in our curricula. 

Our goal is to have full four-person teaching teams for grades K-2 and 3-5 at both services. However, if we cannot meet that goal, we will offer the K-2 and 3-5 classes at the 11:15 service only. This will help ensure that all of our teachers have the support of a fully-staffed team and that our kids have the best possible experience in their classes. 

If you would like to volunteer or find out more about what is involved, please e-mail or speak with one of our LRE Team leaders, Jennifer Klein or Bill Pokorny. Please respond by August 12, as teaching teams will be finalized at the LRE Steering Team meeting on August 13. 

Staff Time Off
Christine Imielski, Congregational Administrator, will be on vacation August 2-12.

The Rev. Dr. Lindsay Bates will be on Study Leave August 9-13, and on vacation August 14-16.

Friday Flicks - Now is the Time: Healthcare for Everybody
Friday, August 25, 7pm
UUSG Common Room

The United States is the only country in the developed world that does not guarantee access to basic health care for residents. Countries that guarantee health care as a human right do so through a “single-payer” system, which replaces the thousands of for-profit health insurance companies with a public, universal plan.

The United States pays nearly twice as much for healthcare as any other industrialized nation, yet it still does not provide care for all its citizens. While the Affordable Care Act has helped some people, many of us are feeling the pinch of rising costs and narrowing networks. Polls show that 58% of Americans favor a national publicly funded healthcare program. So why has the US Congress not passed such a plan and, in fact, looks to eliminate coverage for millions more?

Now is the Time: Healthcare for Everybody delves into what single payer healthcare is, how it saves money and what behind-the-scenes people are doing to clear the fog of misconception that keeps us from moving forward.

Save the Date! UUSG Women's Retreat
The 5th Annual UUSG Women's Retreat: Discover Your Flow...Pause and Bond with the Women of UUSG, will be held January 19-21, 2018. 

Fox Valley Folk Festival
On Saturday, September 2 at 7pm, UUSG will host a live WFMT (98.7 FM) radio broadcast! The concert will feature folk musicians from the Folk Festival being held in Geneva that weekend. For tickets and more information visit:

Young Adults Habitat for Humanity Trip
Last month Young Adults from UUSG traveled to Boone, Iowa to work with The Heart of Iowa Habitat for Humanity Chapter. Read this wonderful letter from the Heart of Iowa's Executive Director thanking them for their service. Thank you to our Young Adults for "Promoting Practical Goodness" in our world!

Going Green with the Mini-Pioneer
Beginning on Sunday, September 10 we will be projecting the Mini-Pioneer Order of Worship and Announcements in the Sanctuary instead of providing hard copies. The Mini will continue to be available online at our website ( Thanks for helping us reduce our paper use and costs associated with printing!

Snip, eat, enjoy!
The herbs in the garden maintained by the Green Sanctuary Team in front of the Pioneer House are growing! Ready for harvest are: dill, parsley, thyme, sage and chives. Soon the basil and rosemary will be large enough to harvest. Snip a sprig or two to add to your favorite dish. 

Fox River Valley Initiative Summer Assembly:
There will be a combined assembly of the Fox River Valley Initiative and DuPage United on Thursday, August 3, 7pm at Benedictine University Goodwin Hall Auditorium, 5700 College Rd, Lisle. We will be meeting with key public & private officials and asking for their support on our Mental Health and affordable housing campaigns, especially Crisis Diversion Centers and CIT. Our attendance is needed to demonstrate strong community support. RSVP at

Change for a Change

Many thanks to everyone who dropped coins (or bills) in the "Change for a Change" Jar in the Sanctuary during the 2016-2017 year. We raised $690.03 for CHIP IN Batavia! This group provides clothes, school supplies, etc. for children of homeless families. The jar is ready to fill again, this time to support Elba’s Kids. 

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.

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

The Office Report

In less than a week I'll be on my way to London to visit my sister and brother-in-law who live right outside the city. My 18-month-old son will be staying behind with Grandma and Grandpa, and while my husband and I will miss him dearly, I have to admit I am really looking forward to catching up on a year and a half of sleep! I will be back in the office on Sunday, August 13, hopefully not too jet-lagged and ready to meet the line of UUSG-ers that will surely be at my door ;) While I am out of the office please remember to send all announcements and information for the Mini-Pioneer and Sunday E-Blast to Lisa at Thank you, Lisa!

In the upcoming month I'll be working on compiling and editing the 2016-2017 Annual Report (Team Leaders, a reminder that these are due to me on August 11), going "live" with our 11th Annual Homecoming Picnic Sign-Up, and making sure the office is ready to kick off the 2017-2018 Church School Year. I hope everyone is enjoying these beautiful summer days! 


Christine Imielski
Congregational Administrator
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