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110 S. 2nd Street
Geneva, IL, 60134




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Pioneer Newsletter

July - August 2018
Table of Contents

Board Blog

Circles of Life

UUSG Music

Our House

UUSG Auction 2018

Friday Flicks

Save the Dates

Pulpit and Pew Tales

Equal Exchange Fair Trade

Bible Study for UUs

Letters to the Congregation
Want to Know More?

UUSG Calendar
Board Minutes
Team Reports
Financial Reports

Board Blog: by David de Coriolis

“Summertime, and the livin is easy, fish are jumping and the rivers high…”

Lying in the hammock, vacations on the beach, relatives from out of town, barbecues and oh my, our interim ministers, Patrick and Jennifer will be here on August 1. Where does the time go? We’ll all get a chance to meet them at the August 5 service so be sure to stick around for the receiving line right after service in the Common Room.  

And I’m sure you noticed our Worship Team planned three heavily attended services in July with another coming up and more planned through Labor Day. Please take time to give a shout out to Geoff Pynn, Rhonda Robinson, Deb Brod, Cynthia Spiegel, Aaron Fogleman, Jeff Stibal and Tracy Dullea for their efforts in planning the services this summer. I know we are all grateful for their terrific work. 

Thanks to Aaron, Thom and Geoff. From Aaron we learned about early American history and patriotic practices around our 4th of July holiday. Thom Thomas pulled us out of the mud just in case we were stuck or feeling hopeless. Geoff Pynn introduced us to Alan Mills, an attorney dedicating his life to reforming the injustices of mass incarceration.
Thank you to the Rev. Linda Slabon and Dr. Toni Tollerud for their inspiring music and heartfelt sermon. Rev. Linda reminded us of the inevitability of change and the need to live with joy in the present. We will all remember to raise our voices in song.  

Next Sunday, Huda Husseini will reflect on being a Muslim woman in the United States. 

And the Pathway to Membership team has been busy, successfully ushering in nine new members. Congratulations to all the speakers and Kate and Jim Frazier, the leaders.  

Your new board of directors met for the first time on July 10. We had the distinct pleasure of unanimously approving the Finance Team’s recommendation of transferring last year’s surplus to our endowment.  

So let me get this right, our summer services are going great, we had a budget surplus last year, we’re gaining new members and not one but two new ministers are on their way to us? I have got to be the luckiest board president ever!

Heartfelt thanks go out to Jean Pierce, our outgoing board president who guided us with grace and skill through a difficult year. And thanks especially for the furry hat. It looks better on Kevin O’Neill.

Speaking of this old house, UUSG will shortly be graced with a new and improved flat roof and three new skylights. And if you look skyward you’ll notice that the bell tower got a new coat of paint. 

Finally, if anyone wants a sensational recipe for a sweet corn and blueberry salad, just ask. Sounds weird but it’s delicious.  

Let’s keep coming to our beloved church and get ready to welcome Patrick and Jennifer. It’s going to be a great year!

Happy summer and thank you to all of you who make UUSG a welcoming home. And thanks to everyone who had been so supportive, it means a lot. 


Circles of Life

We are saddened to learn that Sasha, our former Congregational Administrator Katie Phillips' beloved malamute, passed away on June 30. Sasha accompanied Katie to work and brought joy to everyone she met. We send our love and condolences to Katie and her family.

UUSG Music

Beautiful music has not taken a vacation at UUSG this summer. This month, we’ve been treated to the dynamic mother-and-son duo of pianist Sandra Anderson-Cordogan and Alex Cordogan, including an exquisite violin and piano duet and rousing four-hand piano.

Intricate vocal harmonies were brought to us courtesy of the Montgomery Family, their latest terrific configuration featuring dad Andy along with Ellie and David, and John Rosenkrans at the keyboard.

The transformative power of music was at the heart of the most recent worship service and sermon, led by the Rev. Linda Slabon, joined by Toni Tollerud, retired music director of the UU Fellowship of DeKalb, and our own singer and pianist extraordinaire – Lynn Fisher McCanne. Among the many memorable songs was their a cappella trio.

Other musicians to look forward to in coming weeks include Angela Salvaggione; vocalist Cynthia Spiegel and Tom Zimmerman; Geoff Pynn, Cynthia and Tracy Dullea; Thom Thomas and Dean Malambri.

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 today!

Our House
Tis the season for building repairs. The belfry was painted last month. Did you see the huge lift parked on James Street? In addition, several painting touch ups were completed on the Pioneer House and Sanctuary. Big thanks to Tom Lichtenheld for managing this project!

The Facilities Team recommended Klemm Roofing to replace the flat roof over the Common Room, and the Board approved. Klemm is in the process of scheduling the work, which will most likely be done in September. We’ll keep everyone informed as to when. Big thanks to Dave Tomell for organizing this!

We are also in the process of scheduling a weekend in September or October to replace the porch floorboards on Pioneer House. We have the building permit, and know what materials we need. But we’ll need additional people to help. Are you interested? Anyone with HFH experience? Please let Kevin O’Neill know. The specific date for the project will be determined soon.  

There will be other opportunities to help. The Facilities Team is planning a Work Day, most likely on a Saturday. We have a fairly long list of minor projects and improvements we’d like to get done. Some projects are outside and some are inside, and they range from organizing the paint closet, to replacing ceiling lights, to doing touch-up painting. More information will be made available. 

The Facilities Team is looking for members and 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

UUSG Auction 2018!
Now is the time to begin thinking about how you will help with our 2018 Auction taking place on November 3, from 5-8:30pm. In August and September, we need you to approach your favorite vendors in the tri-cities area and ask them to donate an item or a gift certificate. - a hairdresser, theater, restaurant, brewery, winery, bookstore, jeweler, toy store, you name it!

Tell them that some of the proceeds will be going to support the Northern Illinois Food Bank and Mutual Ground Shelter. Please ask Jean Pierce ( for Merchant Donor Forms. 

Friday Flicks: "Night School"
August is the beginning of the new school year for children across the United States. Perhaps no other indicator of future success is as important as a degree for most in our society. And yet, the number of students who drop out before graduating high school is about 15%. This month’s Friday Flick looks at 3 students who never finished high school but are committed to improving their chances in life by going back to the classroom.

Indianapolis has one the lowest high school graduation rates in the country. For adult learners Greg, Melissa and Shynika, finally earning their high school diplomas could be a life-changing achievement. Emmy award-winning director Andrew Cohn’s absorbing documentary observes their individual pursuits, fraught with the challenges of daily life and the broader systemic roadblocks by many low income Americans.

Please join us in the Common Room on Friday, August 24, at 7pm as we look at these 3 students and the challenges they face in meeting their goal.

Save the Dates!
Green Sanctuary's Harvest Dinner will be taking place Saturday, November 10. Watch for details in the Mini-Pioneer and Weekly Emails.

The Annual UUSG Thanksgiving Dinner is scheduled for November 22. More information in September.

These are two yummy and popular gathering you surely will not want to miss!

Pulpit and Pew Tales - Back by Popular Demand!
Don’t Know Much about UUSG History?

Here’s your chance to learn more!

The Heritage Team has reprinted “Pulpit and Pew Tales” (1842-1992). This book was first published to celebrate our Sesquicentennial and includes information about early and recent ministers as well as anecdotes about church life. It’s a wonderful look at our church history for only $10.

In addition, the recently published “Lighting the Chalice” is still available. Inside you’ll find a comprehensive history of our church written by Pat Ward as well as information about church events spanning the years 1992-2017.

SPECIAL OFFER! Add the set of both books to your library and SAVE $5! 2 Books only $15

See Christine in the office to purchase your copies now!

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 plus specialty coffees are available from Serrv. Visit the armoire in the Common Room and take a look at the terrific products!

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 August 20. We'll be finishing our discussion of "The Triumph of Christianity: How a Forbidden Religion Swept the World" by Bart Ehrman.

For more info, please contact Jim Frazier at

Project SnowFall: The Third Letter to Our Congregation "Environmental Privilege"
It’s a beautiful day today. Blue sky, puffy clouds and a gentle breeze. A day like many others. There is no evidence here of climate change, just occasional thoughts of something distant, far away in time and space. The effects of climate change are most noticeable at the polar extremes, the equator and the coast lines. All, a very long way from here.

Stories of few degrees of energy accumulating in the vast stores of the atmosphere and the massive oceans over the decades seems like something that might just not be much of a problem. The temperature here can change by 30 degrees in a single day. 

We live with climate privilege. Something all of us share, anyone who lives here, the upper middle west. The land of the Great Lakes, with vast stores of fresh water, like few places on earth.

There are other, more abstract benefits like the luxury to contemplate whether it does more harm than good to prepare for climate change. All of the immediate short-term cost can be amplified. The long-term cost diminished. And much of the pollution problems we can see, are in poor neighborhoods. It seems a rational approach to not make any changes to business as usual. 

I have been struck with one particular message from the 2017 UIC conference, Untroubled the Waters, about the Great Lakes. That was question of who was making preparations for the 10-20 million refugees expected here in the next decade or two. It seems the whole world can read a map. The whole world will come to appreciate the climate privilege we take for granted.

When enough change has happened to make it obvious, the fix will be very expensive, if possible at all. Considering this, waiting to see what happens is not the responsible conservative thing to do. It is a very radical thing to do.

With the need for so much to do and so little happening, how does the story of climate change stay in the background, easily drowned out by all the other chaos of daily life?

We recognize that we live both with climate privilege and the knowledge that something must be done. We are studying this situation in our monthly letters to let us know there are things that can be done. And to share this with our elected representatives.
From The Institute for Governance and Sustainable Development ( a reference to their work by the Vatican:

Vatican City, Vatican, 9 November 2017 – Scalable and practical solutions exist to help preserve the quality of life of future generations in the face of accelerating climate impacts, and with perhaps a decade left to put these into place, the time for climate change action is now. These are the conclusions of the Declaration issued last week by the Vatican’s Pontifical Academy of Sciences, entitled “Our Planet, Our Health, Our Responsibility”.

And the 60 page report: “Well Under 2 Degrees Celsius”, on what to do. From page 10, Ten Scalable Solutions –

Table 1: Ten Scalable Solutions

Science Solutions
1. Show that we can bend the warming curve immediately by reducing SLCPs, and long-term by replacing current fossil fuel energy systems with carbon neutral technologies.

Societal Transformation Solutions
2. Foster a global culture of climate action through coordinated public communication and education at local to global scales.
3. Build an alliance among science, religion, health care, and policy to change behavior and garner public support for drastic mitigation actions.

Governance Solutions
4. Build upon and strengthen the Paris Agreement. Strengthen sister agreements like the Montreal Protocol’s Kigali Amendment to reduce HFCs.
5. Scale up subnational models of governance and collaboration around the world to embolden and energize national and international action. California’s Under 2 Coalition and climate action plans by over 50 cities are prime examples.

Market- and Regulation-Based Solutions
6. Adopt market-based instruments to create efficient incentives for businesses and individuals to reduce CO2 emissions.
7. Target direct regulatory measures—such as rebates and efficiency and renewable energy portfolio standards—for high emissions sectors not covered by market-based policies.

Technology-Based Solutions
8. Promote immediate widespread use of mature technologies such as photovoltaics, wind turbines, biogas, geothermal, batteries, hydrogen fuel cells, electric light-duty vehicles, and more efficient end-use devices, especially in lighting, air conditioning and other appliances, and industrial processes. Aggressively support and promote innovations to accelerate the complete electrification of energy and transportation systems and improve building efficiency.
9. Immediately make maximum use of available technologies combined with regulations to reduce methane emissions by 50%, reduce black carbon emissions by 90%, and eliminate high- GWP HFCs ahead of the schedule in the Kigali Amendment while fostering energy efficiency. Atmospheric Carbon Extraction Solutions
10. Regenerate damaged natural ecosystems and restore soil organic carbon. Urgently expand research and development for atmospheric carbon extraction, along with CCUS.

* Adapted from Ramanathan et al. (2016) and modified by authors of this report.
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