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Pioneer Newsletter

May - June 2018


From the Pulpit
the Rev. Dr. Lindsay Bates
 
Dear friends, this will be brief – I hope you’ll spend more time and attention on the good news from our Interim Task Force below! I’ve known Jennifer Innis and Patrick Price for many years, and I’m deeply relieved to be handing “my people” over to two colleagues I like and admire and trust.

“Thank you” is inadequate for the gratitude I feel on being elected your Minister Emerita. I will still observe that Ministry of Absence (for my own sake as well as yours – we all have to get past the point of thinking of me as UUSG’s minister). But as Emerita, I retain the right to build a new relationship with you after your new settled minister is in place and they and I have worked out a Covenant to guide us all in creating the appropriate role for the Minister Emerita as UUSG goes forward. This means more to me than I can say. So again, thank you.

On June 3, I say goodbye to our high school graduates. My final sermon is on June 10. Then on June 17, in the morning we will observe the Release of Covenant, I’ll get my last chance for “A Few Final Words,” and in the afternoon, we party!

And our forty years together will come to the official end at end of day on June 30.

As Dr. Seuss once asked, “How did it get so late so soon?”

With love,

Lindsay

Introducing Your Interim Co-Ministers

The Interim Task Force is very excited to share that, as of last Friday, we have a completed agreement with our new interim minister! Actually, as you can see, it is with 2 ministers who happen to be married to each other. They are the Revs. Patrick Price and Jennifer Innis. They will begin their co-ministry with us here at UUSG on August 1. 

They are coming to us from the Community UU Church in Plano, Texas, where Reverend Patrick has served as the Minister since 2006. Reverend Jennifer currently serves there as the Interim Director of Religious Education. They will celebrate their 15th wedding anniversary in June. They have two children—Nate (9) and Abby (6). We look forward to welcoming them to UUSG!

Are you thinking Jennifer looks familiar? Well, as a matter of fact, she spent a year with us in 2005-2006 as the Interim Associate Minister of Religious Education before moving to Texas.

Rev. Jennifer earned her Master’s in Divinity in 1998 from Harvard Divinity School. She was raised as a UU in Massachusetts and was very active in UU youth events as a teenager. She has particular expertise in religious education and has served since 2014 as the Assistant Director of Spirit Play - a UU religious education method and ministry. Prior to her ministry at the Community UU church, she served in consecutive roles as Consulting Minister for 3 years and Developmental Minister for 4 at the First Jefferson UU Church in Fort Worth. 

In describing her hopes for ministry, Rev. Jennifer writes, “More so than anything else, Patrick and I hope for a shared ministry, and not just between the two of us! We believe that all people, whether ordained or not, bring unique gifts and perspectives to congregational ministry. Just as our liberal religious tradition values the voice of the people when making decisions, it is the committed involvement and leadership of the congregation—the sharing of gifts and perspectives—that makes truly transformational ministry possible.”    

Rev. Patrick earned his Master’s in Divinity from Meadville/Lombard Theological School in 1995. He was raised in Ft. Worth as a fourth generation member of The Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)—a denomination that emphasizes non-creedalism, lay empowerment, and congregational polity. Rev. Patrick’s theological journey has encompassed Contemporary Paganism, Humanism, and historical Jesus studies. He writes: “I understand Unitarian Universalism to be a pluralist faith learning to practice grounded openness.” 

Rev. Patrick is a Certified Shamanic Practitioner and a Certified Hypnotist (although we didn’t require that as part of the job!) In addition to his broad theological perspective, he has particular strengths in strategic planning, governance, and administration. 

You might be wondering what co-ministry is exactly and how it will work. It is an arrangement – not unknown to the UUA – where two ministers share the responsibilities and rewards of a single position. Some advantages of co-ministry include: 
  • Complementary strengths and opinions
  • Increased variety of sermon styles and topics 
  • Combined experience, training, and skills of two people.
Per the advice of the UUA’s Transitions Office, one of the first steps upon the arrival of Rev. Jennifer and Rev. Patrick will be to schedule ample time with the Board for a deep conversation about how their ministry work will be shared. For example, who will be on point for worship, religious education, stewardship, etc? How will church members know whom to contact in different situations? Answers to these and other questions will be determined during the onboarding process in August and communicated to the congregation as soon as possible. 

Thank you all for your patience with the search process. What we want to emphasize is how excited we are about the promise of this special approach to shared ministry, given Rev. Jennifer and Rev. Patrick’s unique gifts and experience.

We know you will welcome them with open hearts!

Trish Beckjord, Brian Doyle, and Gail Tattersfield
The Interim Minister Task Force
interimtaskforce@uusg.org.

Board Blog: Pride in the Past, Eager Anticipation of the Future
by Jean Pierce

UUSG has MUCH to be proud about. This past year, WOW provided 154 practical acts of goodness, 186 people volunteered on the Day of Service, and so far this year we have donated over $14,000 to causes Beyond Our Walls.
 
Ours is a strong, caring, inclusive, liberal voice in the Fox Valley. That will not change when Rev. Lindsay retires. The best way we can honor her legacy is by staying on the path she has helped us forge.  
 
This church is greater than the sum of its parts. There is no question that we will mourn Rev. Lindsay’s retirement, but our presence in the community will not be diminished as we continue to live our mission:

The Unitarian Universalist Society of Geneva is a diverse, welcoming community which endeavors to make its Covenant a living reality. We provide religious education and opportunities for spiritual growth. We encourage individual and mutual responsibility as together we work to be a liberal religious voice in the community and a force for compassionate social justice.
 
Our pledge drive this year demonstrated that you are committed to the future of UUSG. This week we learned the exciting news that we have not just one but two interim ministers, each bringing different strengths, and one of whom is already familiar to many of us.
 
Indeed, we are well-positioned to enter the next 175 years. I am looking forward to walking with all of you as we take our first steps on this new journey.

Letters to the Congregation
a Green Sanctuary Project
 
“On the Urgency and Need for Action on Climate Change”

April 2018 was the 400th consecutive month of global temperatures above the 20th-century average, the NOAA, 5/17/18.

From our Unitarian Universalist list of Principles, number 7: Respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are apart.

From the list of responsibilities of the Green Sanctuary Ministry, number 1 and 2: Raise member awareness of environmental issues that impact our congregants, our community, our country, and our planet. And encourage action to rectify environmental injustices.

In an effort to fulfill our responsibility to uphold the principles of respect for the web of life and the responsibility of the Green Sanctuary Team, this letter is presented to our congregation.

This is the first in a series of letters to ourselves about the need for action to fight climate change. It is an effort to bring Climate Change back to the conversation at the level of immediate concern. During the last presidential election, it was not even part of the debate.

There are, of course, very many human rights and environmental concerns. And Climate Change seems like just one more, one so large and far away that maybe it's solution is also very large and far away. “Maybe something to deal with at a better time, say when we have a magic bullet to make it cheap and easy to do.” The cheap and easy we lost decades ago when this conversation started. And by the time we develop a silver bullet, we will need that too.

And if we don't deal with Climate Change very soon, it will dwarf all other concerns.

As complicated as the details of Climate Change and the responses to it are, it is valuable to remember the goal is simple – More clean energy, less fossil fuel, and an equitable carbon tax to facilitate the transition.

Illinois has already passed a major clean energy bill called FEJA. The profound nature and value of a carbon tax is already revealing itself in our congress.But the effort to stop investing in fossil fuels is severely lacking. And this puts everything at risk. This means we must end fossil fuel use as soon as possible. That includes all of our personal carbon footprints and our much larger social carbon footprint. 

These congregational letters will focus on our social carbon footprint and the need to reach out to other congregations in this effort.

There are many rich and powerful interests involved in investment in fossil fuels and continuing the maximum use for as long as possible. From those who simply want to protect highly skilled and very valuable jobs to foreign corporations, there is plenty of influence on both sides of our political divide. 

Unless and until our elected representatives hear from us, the voice of money for a few will win out over the human rights and the environment for the many. And by the many, we are talking about all of humanity, not just another special interest group. And in this case, we are talking forever, for everything. For everything and everyone we know and love – all of civilization.

Notes for the above:

Excerpts from 2006 Statement of Conscience – UUA.

“We as Unitarian Universalists are called to join with others to halt practices that fuel global warming/climate change, to instigate sustainable alternatives, and to mitigate the impending effects of global warming/climate change with just and ethical responses.

“Leadership, by calling upon the major political parties to develop energy and climate change policies and to make them central topics of debate in state, congressional, and presidential elections

“Given our human capacity to reflect and act upon our own lives as well as the condition of the world, we accept with humility and determination our responsibility to remedy and mitigate global warming/climate change through innovation, cooperation, and self-discipline. We undertake this work for the preservation of life on Earth.”

And from another source:

“Adversity tends to empower demagogues with easy answers, and climate change will bring plenty of adversity.” Kate Marvel - Five Books on Nature and the Environment

Bill Koehl
Green Sanctuary

Retirement Party for Rev. Lindsay!
 
You and your family 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! On Sunday, June 17, 12-3pm, we will enjoy an open-house style party for all of our members, friends and families - come as early as you can and stay as long as you can.

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! We will be celebrating in the church and (weather gods permitting) the front lawn and memorial garden. Mini-sandwiches and beverages will be provided, and we invite you to bring a finger-food to share. RSVP here.

Lindsay would like to have a little time with just the kids from 12:30-1, so please have your kids available for some private time with Rev. Lindsay as she wishes them a very fond farewell. We will have special treats for the kids as they spend time together with their Rev. Lindsay. (More details to follow in upcoming announcements.)

At 1:15 we will have a program of enjoyable remarks by members with a long history at UUSG plus some newer members, and terrific musical entertainment - UUSG style - for Lindsay and everyone present. After the program we will go back to eating and drinking and enjoying our time with Lindsay and our fellow UUSG members and friends.

The Celebrations Committee is looking for additional UUSG members and friends to help with planning, preparations, and day-of tasks. Questions? Please get in touch with Jill Brown or Kathy Cornell

Come to our super-party and be part of this significant, and significantly stellar, celebration in honor of our beloved Rev. Lindsay's retirement! 

UUSG Music

Spring brought a bouquet of music including vocalists Cynthia Spiegel and Nate Thomas with the UUSG Jazz Combo featuring Michael Townley, Tracy Dullea, Geoff Pynn, and UU Hinsdale fiddler Jeff Teppema in beautiful selections. FUUsion returned to dazzle with the voices of Trish Beckjord, Pam Birch, Lynn Fisher McCanne, Kelly Herz, Rhonda Robinson and Pat Vary.

Dean Malambri shared masterful favorites of his mother at the piano for the Mother’s Day service. And pianist Angela Salvaggione improvised a whole service full of lush flourishes at the keyboard. Pianist Lynn Fisher McCanne carefully selected the perfect Memorial Day music and Eric Peterson premiered his electronic composition talent. For more info on Eric's music, email him and check out more of his music here.

Looking ahead, we’ll be treated to the music of Leo Liang, Alex Cordogan, Meredith Vandre, Sandra Anderson-Cordogan. And something special for the Rev. Dr. Lindsay Bates’ final sermon from the Bye-Bye Band with Geoff Pynn, Tracy Dullea, Tracey McFadden, Andy Montgomery and Jim Miles. Many musicians will be offering their gifts at Lindsay's send-off party that afternoon. 

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

Our House
 
Thanks to the Facilities Team for hosting social hour on April 22. Also thanks to our office staff – Christine and Lisa - for going above and beyond when they picked up and delivered 20 bags of mulch.  

We had a couple of unexpected repairs this month. The water heater that services the kitchen failed. It was 13 years old, so it was time to replace it. Also, there is a grease trap in the kitchen that collects debris from the sinks. Recently a hole was discovered in it and the contents were leaking into the crawl space below the kitchen. Dave Tomell contacted the city plumbing inspector and it was determined that we don’t need a grease trap, and a more simple plumbing repair will be sufficient. Big thanks to Dave!

We are moving forward with two exterior repair and painting projects that will be completed by Inside-Out painting company. One project will focus on painting the belfry, while the other project will repair and paint selected areas, e.g., Sanctuary windows and Pioneer House siding.  

Two other projects are still being planned but we are awaiting more information. They are the replacement of the roof on the Common Room and the replacement of the porch floorboards on Pioneer House. 

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 enhance our classrooms, please contact Kevin O’Neill at facilities@uusg.org.

New Leadership Opportunities
 
The Board of Directors is looking for volunteers to serve on the Personnel Committee. If you are interested in becoming a member, please contact Jean Pierce at boardpresident@uusg.org.

Jeff Stibal is looking for people to serve as Chair or Co-Chair of the Technology Team. If you are interested, please contact Jeff at technology@uusg.org.

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 graciously extended the deadline for submissions to Sunday, June 10, to turn in for pages for Lindsay’s scrapbook. Any pages turned in after June 10, will not be in the book presented to Lindsay on June 17, but will be sent to her. Please get your pages to Martha in time for the party!


Size:  8 1/2" x 11" and due to Martha Tabis by June 10.

UUSG Buddhist Meditation and Study Group
 
UUSG’s Buddhist Meditation and Study Group started a new book on May 30 entitled, Meditation for Fidgety Skeptics, by Dan Harris. For more information, please contact uubuddhism@uusg.org.

Summer Youth Hang Time
 
Want to attend summer services, but not sure how to keep your child occupied? Our Worship Planning Team may have a solution for you - Summer Youth Hangtime!
 
We have a team of 10 people, so that 2 adult volunteers will be available every Sunday beginning on June 10, to play board games or otherwise hang with the kids who are between nursery and YRUU age, 7-14 yrs. Leaders may take the kids outside on appropriate days, do arts and crafts, board games, take a walk, play games, lay in the grass and chat or read something from our library. One leader mentioned she would like to do yoga with the kids! 

All participants will be required to have a permission form on file for these summer activities. More info to follow. Any questions? Contact Tracy Dullea at music@uusg.org.

March With Us!

 
UUSG is in the Swedish Days Parade! Sign up to march with us on June 26. We will be gathering at 12:45pm at the corner of Center and Anderson Streets (Geneva High School). Bring kazoos, bubbles to blow, and UU t-shirts to wear (and let us know if you have extras that can be shared with other marchers)!

Mental Health Ministry
 
Mental Health Ministry Presentation: Autism as a Spectrum Disorder. Teal Cyko will discuss issues in growing up, and potential parental and school problems. Bring your questions and concerns. She will be glad to address them. Join us Sunday, June 3, at 11:30 in the Common Room. 

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 do not meet in the summer months. However, on Sunday, June 3, we will gather after the service at about 11:30 and go to a local restaurant for our annual Pride Month Lunch. We will start regular meetings again in September. For information please contact Lynn Steele at interweave@uusg.org.

Pizza, Pizza, Pizza!

 
Our Swedish Days Pizza Booth Sign-Up is Now LIVE! And we need you to help sling some pizza pie! Please check your calendar, pick a few dates, and sign up at uusg.org/swedish-days. You'll be signing up for a two hour shift - working the counter or grabbing food and drinks. You'll be working alongside fellow UUSGers - so it's a great time to meet new people or reconnect with old friends

New this year: We have 2 shifts each day for picking up pizzas at Charlie Fox Pizzeria on Geneva's east side and delivering them to the booth. This is a great opportunity if you don't want to be in the booth, but still contribute to the cause from the comfort of your air conditioned car! Questions? Contact swedishdays@uusg.org.

Green Sanctuary News

Kane County's Recycling Extravaganza will be taking place Saturday, July 14, from 8am to 12pm at 540 S Randall Road in St. Charles. Check out the flyer for more information.

Thoughts on Third: Our New Green Space on Third Street
 
Have you submitted your idea for the 3rd Street Green Space yet?  If not, you only have a few days left. Submissions will only be taken through Sunday, June 3, at 11:30, so be sure to submit your suggestion(s) by then. Remember, we want to create a welcoming space that has a meaningful purpose that reflects our principles and values. We want the community to know who we are!
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