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So far Carli Magel has created 188 blog entries.

UCE Organizing Team news and opportunities – CRS, Prison Ministry, UUANI, Green Team

Here are some news and events to know about.  For more information on any of these please contact Dale Griffin or other participants.

CRS (Community Renewal Society) – We are looking into local efforts supporting affordable housing with other north suburban CRS congregations.

The UU Prison Ministry of Illinois will hold part two of “Radical Hospitality” at UCE, September 9 from 9am to 1pm, on welcoming returning citizens at church and partnering with them to transition into life outside of prison. We are setting up support circles and other re-entry support for returning citizens. To be involved with this project please contact Dale Griffin.

UUANI (UU Advocacy Network of Illinois) continues to advocate  the areas of race, income inequality, and climate change. Contact Scott Aaseng or uu-advocacy-illinois.org to receive weekly emails that make it easy to join other UUANI supporters on timely advocacy on racial, economic and environmental justice, and more!  Over 50 members of UCE have participated.

The Green Team and Organizing Team invite you to a presentation Sunday, October 22 at 12:30pm on legislation to preserve beautiful red rock wilderness in Utah, championed by our own Sen. Durbin. Please RSVP to Heather Brown or Dale Griffin.

UCE Organizing Team news and opportunities – CRS, Prison Ministry, UUANI, Green Team 2017-08-17T19:38:13+00:00

Board of Trustees Kicks Off New Fiscal Year

The board of trustees got together on August 4-5 for our annual retreat (to Room 3!) to get to know new members Jane Bannor and Jim Clark, and get ourselves geared up for our new year.  Our new board president, Janelle Brittain, assembled an agenda that included collaborative communication, whys and hows of Policy Governance (the set of UU governance practices that we as a church having been using), selecting our board goals for the year, reviewing key aspects of our financial statements, and two guest speakers.

The most significant topic of our agenda was around taking our Policy Governance practices to the next level.  The board feels that we are working well together and we like the structure of Policy Governance, but that we perhaps spend too much time looking at staff reports instead of on our most important job of focusing on the big picture. Laura Park from Unity Consulting in St Paul, which specializes in UU Policy Governance, led us via teleconference in a 2 ½ hour workshop to help us improve on the areas where we think the board should do better.  We focused our discussion on increasing communication with the congregation (“board linkage”, in Policy Governance terminology), and on increasing attention on the congregation’s vision of ourselves and where we hope to be heading.

Our second guest speaker was Eileen Heineman, Director of Racial Justice Community Engagement at the Evanston YWCA.  Eileen spoke on sensitizing us to the sense of otherness anyone not fitting into a majority group might feel—and how best to approach situations where we want people to feel welcome and accommodated, but not singled out. Thank you to REAL for arranging this excellent talk.

Board goals for this coming year include:

    • – Use a “powerful question” as a way to have deep conversation among the board and the congregation members that will help tune us into our shared vision
    • – Improve board skills, especially specific skills around leadership and communication
    • – Help assure that the Capital Campaign has a good start
    • – Maintain good linkage with the congregation—gather information around needs and interests, and make sure relevant board information is shared with the congregation in interesting ways
     – Assure that the Long-Range Plan continues towards activation

In addition to Janelle, Jane and Jim, board members this year include Kerry Heckman, Heike Eghardt, Tom Ticknor, Susan Comstock, Gary Zachny and Jeanne Kerl.  All of us love to hear from anyone in the congregation—please grab any of us with any thoughts, ideas or concerns!

Board of Trustees Kicks Off New Fiscal Year 2017-08-17T15:50:51+00:00

Sunday, August 20, 2017

“Unconditional Love: Our Annual Pet Blessing Service” – 10:00am
It’s bring your pet to church day! They will worship with us, sing (or bark) along, and be celebrated as the important parts of our lives they represent. At the end of the service we will bless our furred and feathered friends. Rev. Bret Lortie leading.

Sunday, August 20, 2017 2017-08-14T16:26:21+00:00

Leadership Camp

A week in July in Decorah, Iowa. Summer camp for Susan Comstock and Eliza Khan-Roberts? Not quite. Susan and Eliza attended the UU Midwest Leadership School, a program which develops leadership tools and skills in the context of UU identity and congregational involvement.

Susan described her week as a “transformational” experience which centers on the individual, not the congregation. She was cautioned not to return to her religious community and say “I know it all.”

Eliza, a high school sophomore and member of the senior high group, compared her experience to a “week-long CON, more about learning, but still lots of fun.”


Each day was tightly scheduled starting with a 7 a.m. breakfast and ending with after-dinner worship. Throughout the week, in small group sessions, participants tackled difficult “situations” by discussing leadership options. Situations highlighted issues such as conflict, difficult people, change and mission.

In another daily activity, groups, combining adults and youth, wrote credos and developed worship services. Each day ended with the entire school taking part in one of the services which had been created. Susan mentioned that the youth had a much easier time with this creative exercise than many adults.

Susan learned that UCE is ahead of many congregations with policies in place which deal with personal conflicts, welcoming and steps to membership.

Both UCE participants enjoyed their week of sharing and learning with other UU’s, always a winning and worthwhile combination, especially in the middle of summer.

Leadership Camp 2017-08-10T19:26:21+00:00

Two Fun Upcoming UCE Choir Events!

August 31

On August 31, from 7:15-8:45 pm, Vickie will be leading a rehearsal/discussion covering the basics of choral singing.  This is for people who wish to become more familiar w/basic music terminology, basic music reading, and how to navigate your way through looking at a choral piece.

Here are some of the things that we will touch discuss:

  • Musical Terms and abbreviations  (such as p, sfz, rall., Moderato, D.S. al Coda, etc.)
  • Time Signatures
  • How to decipher which notes on the page are for accompanying instruments and which are vocal parts
  • The exciting world of diphthongs – What they are and how to sing ’em
  • Anything else that you have been wondering about

You are welcome to attend this whether or not you sing in the UCE choir.  If you are attending, please contact Vickie Hellyer at [email protected] so we can have enough materials for the class.


Expanded Choir for Ingathering – all are welcome!!!

Have you wanted to sing in the choir but don’t have the time to make the commitment?  Have we got a deal for you!  You are invited to join us in singing the choir pieces for our 11 a.m. Ingathering service on Sunday, September 10th.  Here are the particulars:

Participation is open to ages 12 and up.  Auditions are not required.  Simply attend the evening rehearsal on 9/7 (starts at 7:15 pm) and the 9:30 rehearsal on 9/10 and then stay for the service and sing the Introit and the Anthem with the choir.

This is a no-obligations opportunity for you to get the chance to sing with the choir once (though you’d be welcome to keep singing with the choir if you find it to be a good fit for you.)

We invite you to take advantage of this opportunity to sing shoulder-to-shoulder with our UCE Choristers.  Whoohoo!

Got questions?  Contact UCE’s Music Director, Vickie Hellyer, at [email protected]

Two Fun Upcoming UCE Choir Events! 2017-08-16T19:14:15+00:00

Sunday, August 6, 2017

“The Gods We Worship” – 10:00am
In 2001 author Neil Gaiman wrote a book, American Gods, that would capture the essence of Emerson’s warning “to be careful what we worship, for what we are worshiping we are becoming.” This summer American Gods was been made into a television series and is my summer “entertainment” pick.

August 6, 2017 – Rev. Bret Lortie

Sunday, August 6, 2017 2017-08-07T18:27:01+00:00