Fall 2018 Edition
Remember those essays we used to write when we got back to school each September? I suspect it was a way for our teachers to help shake the rust out of our brains by asking us to actually think about what we’d done all those long lazy days. Deciding it probably wasn’t the worst idea, I’ve decided to follow that time-honored tradition and share a few of the projects that kept me busy during my time away.
As you may recall, I took an extra month of Sabbatical in June, thinking I would catch up on reading and meditating and puttering around the house. Interestingly enough, as I slowed down enough to actually listen to spirit, I was not called to the huge pile of unread books sitting on my desk. Most of them still patiently await my attention. I was called to my back yard, to my garage, to all the dusty and cluttered places in my home which have been receiving short thrift over the last few years.
The back garage, filled to bursting with artifacts from both my own and Karen’s parents’ houses, was opened up and everything pulled out into the sunshine to be sorted, organized, and distributed to other people’s houses before a fairly successful garage sale.
Closets were cleaned, shelves were organized, books were categorized, and new wallpaper and flooring were installed in our office. I planted grass in the bare areas of the yard and finally got around to adding some perennials and larger bushes around the house, creating an inviting outdoor area that seems like someone actually lives here. Finally, for my pièce de résistance, I dug and laid a stone patio outside our front door. Karen and I now have somewhere to sit in the cool of evening and listen to the cicadas’ soaring songs.
In short, my body kept moving all summer; I grew stronger, feeling healthier and remembering muscles that I hadn’t heard from in years. Believing myself in need of quiet meditation, I found I was actually fed by sustained and strenuous activity. Go figure.
Here it is, time to dive back into the waiting work of church, and I am feeling renewed and refreshed, returning with plans, inspirations, and designs for the coming year.
Life is often weird that way – what our brains think we need might be entirely different from what our spirit yearns for. Sometimes, for us humans, it’s just a matter of getting out of our own way – listening to the call of bodies and spirits, which takes us exactly where we need to be.
What is calling you today? Is there a quiet nook awaiting your presence? Some piece of earth needing your gloved hands? A pot of stew which just needs to be simmered? There is no one-size-fits-all answer, and no one can tell you what you need. In the midst of the noise and haste of life, take a brief moment to listen to the still, small voice inside and follow its whispered call. I suspect you’ll be glad you did.
A Year of Principled Living
As Unitarian Universalists, we do not share a creedal statement. We do embrace seven sacred principles as guides for wholistic, life-affirming, and meaningful lives. They seem simple on the surface (although somewhat wordy as they were written by committee) but can be challenging – even perplexing -within the demands of everyday living.
This year we are offering a deep dive into our principles – including the newly proposed Eighth principle.
Each month, one Sunday sermon will focus on an individual principle. The following Saturday, a conversation will be opened up to share individual understandings, struggles, and insights into that principle. It will follow a drop-in format so no need to register; times may be adjusted as we go along to accommodate schedule changes.
We hope you will join us for one or all of these rich and deep conversations exploring the complexities of being human in a postmodern world. What’s on your heart and mind these days?
Saturdays from 10:30 to 12:00pm
|Sept 29th||4th Principle||Search Freely and Responsibly for Truth & Meaning|
|Oct 27th||5th Principle||Right of Conscience & Democratic action|
|Nov 17th||6th Principle||Improve Global Community|
|Dec 15th||3rd Principle||Accept one another & encourage spiritual growth|
|Jan 19th||1st Principle||Worth & Dignity of Every Person|
|Feb 16th||8th Principle||Build a diverse multicultural Beloved Community by working to dismantle racism|
|March 16th||2nd Principle||Justice, Equity, & Compassion in human relations|
|April 20th||7th Principle||Respect interconnected web of Life|
2018-19 Church Year Curricula
BIRTH THROUGH AGE THREE
For our youngest children from birth through age three, volunteer parents and paid high school youth will provide an opportunity for the children to learn through play, to build relationships with the church and its members, and to have fun during “church time.”
FOUR YEARS THROUGH GRADE TWO
Children ages four years through second grade will be introduced to the magic of Spirit Play. Spirit play seeks to engage children in the questions of life within the context of the Unitarian Universalist faith. The program encourages independent thinking through wondering with an adult who mediates correct answers but truly wonders with the child. It gives children real choices through freedom within a structure that promotes a sense of community and develops an underlying sense of the spiritual and the mysteries of life. Each week stories are presented through active storytelling followed by a “wondering” time that opens up the child’s response to the story. Time is then allowed for the child to work directly with that story, or another, or to respond to the story through art materials.
STORIES OF UNITARIAN UNIVERSALISM, THE WORLD RELIGIONS AND BIBLE TALES
GRADES THREE AND FOUR
The goal of this curriculum is to introduce first our own Unitarian Universalist faith and then Christianity and world religions through stories and allow children to explore the differences and similarities within their own lives. It is difficult for children to grasp the abstract concepts of comparative religious studies. But we can share beautiful picture books and stories that highlight UU principles and celebrate different faiths and help them begin a journey of understanding, tolerance and celebration for the diversity of human expression of faith.
HARRY AND UU
GRADES FIVE AND SIX
The Harry Potter series of books by J.K. Rowling are an excellent way to immerse children in the idea that one can work to make the world a better place. These books offer important moral and social values for children, guiding them toward making good choices. This curriculum seeks to help participants learn that change is possible through multiple avenues, and can happen whether the problem is local or worldwide. Students will have the opportunity to make a difference in their community and the world in a meaningful way through hands-on projects.
OUR WHOLE LIVES
GRADES SEVEN AND EIGHT
OWL is a comprehensive approach to human sexuality presented in an age- appropriate manner. It is firmly based on the values of respect, responsibility, justice, and inclusivity. The junior high youth will examine their values and discuss sexuality and body awareness, gender and diversity, sexual orientation and gender identity, relationships, lovemaking, responsible sexual behavior, STIs and sexual abuse.
SENIOR HIGH YOUTH GROUP
GRADES NINE THROUGH TWELVE
Senior High Youth Group youth meet weekly with adult advisors to participate in a supportive environment in which they can explore their feelings about themselves, their world, and their religion. Some curricula are used, as determined by the desires of the group. Youth and advisors work jointly to plan and participate in social action projects, leadership development, and opportunities for worship. The youth will be invited to attend district and local youth conferences throughout the year and will create and present a worship service for the congregation.
Caring Circle Reminder:
The Caring Circle continues in our efforts to provide support to our church community in times of need, transition and celebration. Our ability to provide support is made possible not only by the many volunteers who offer their time, but also by the information that is provided to us by our members so that we may reach out to those in need.
The Caring Circle provides support and coordinates assistance such as phone calls, cards, visits, and email. We are able to provide assistance that may include simple errands, rides, meals, and small chores.
CARING CIRCLE COORDINATORS
AREA 1 (Hinsdale, Clarendon Hills, Burr Ridge)
Deborah Stillman (630) 908-7508
Pam Fodor — (630) 795-0295
AREA 2 (Willowbrook, Darian, Westmont)
Jen Hopkins — (630) 488-9889
Sandy Buboltz — (530) 6137099
AREA 3 (Indian Head Park, Western Springs, Willow Springs)
Susan Hebble — (708) 784-1688
Char Cepek — (708-334-9361
AREA 4 (Elmhurst, Villa Park, Bensenville, Des Plaines, Roselle)
Lynn Brackett — (630) 279-5851
Mary Getty — (630) 833-3082
Karen Hays — (630) 209-9340
AREA 5 (Westchester, Brookfield, River Forest, Riverside, Chicago, Berwyn)
Nancy Kranz — (708) 387-1247
Nancy Keane — (708) 352-0454
AREA 6 (LaGrange Park, LaGrange, Countryside, Hodgkins)
Nancy Weill — (708) 352-9128
AREA 7 (Downers Grove, Lombard, Oakbrook)
Jill Jackson — (312) 231-9870
KC Edgin — (773) 294-7773
AREA 8 (Woodridge, Plainfield, Romeoville, Shorewood, St Charles, Glen Ellyn)
Paula Sejut-Dvorak –(815) 210-1909
Janice Sejut — (630) 207-2856
WELCOME NEW MEMBERS
Since Fall 2017, we have welcomed thirteen new members and their children. Their pictures were included in the last issue of the Touchstone. If you haven’t had a chance to talk with some of them already, here are a few short bios that they have offered.
ANDREA MANDAL and Alessia, (3-1/2)
Andrea Mandal is a Texpat who has lived in the Chicago area for two years. She is a Human Resources tech geek and loves to sing and learn new languages. Alessia loves dinosaurs, the color purple, and wearing her rain boots in case she spots a stray puddle to jump in.
LENNY, KC and AJ EDGIN (8)
We are the Edgin family, Lenny, KC, and AJ. Our blended family came together about five years ago and will be celebrating our second anniversary this June. AJ is an intelligent, precocious boy who loves music, dancing, Legos, and reading. KC is a wonderful wife and doting mother who is also a scrapbooking fanatic. Lenny is the ultimate family man with a very strong determination, who loves running and making others laugh. We love to travel and enjoy spending time as a family. We were all born and raised in the greater Chicagoland area and currently make our home in Lombard. We are excited to be joining this warm, welcoming congregation and continuing our spiritual journey with you all!
BRIAN and EMILY STOUFFER and Colin (5), Lucy (3) and Nora (1)
The Stouffers have lived in Westmont for 3 years and are happy to join a group of open-minded people and to have a support system in this difficult political climate. They have 3 children (Colin (5), Lucy (3) & Nora (1)), who have kept them coffee-dependent and sleep-deprived for the past 5 years. Brian enjoys playing ice hockey and Emily likes to do yard work and go for jogs around the neighborhood. They both love to watch football in the fall and hockey during the winter. Most importantly, they enjoy spending time together, maintaining their home, and raising their kids.
Char Cepek: baptized Roman Catholic; became Methodist while sons Mike and John were young; joined a Lutheran church, which was right at the corner, after a new move to La Grange Park; First Congregational of La Grange beckoned when son John came out as gay; began spending winters in San Antonio, Texas, where son Mike lived, and so spent Tuesday evenings at the Plum Branch Buddhist Sangha and Sunday mornings at the San Antonio Unitarian Universalist church. Oh, and lest we forget, Char and her husband led the Open and Affirming process at the First Congregational Church of La Grange in the 90s. Since church affiliation was obviously no problem, Char began looking for a new church home when her beloved husband of 47 years, John, suddenly passed away in 2017. She needed a place that was friendly, socially active, and committed to social justice work. Thus, here she is at UCH. She credits Noreen Costelloe and Nancy Kranz for reaching out and issuing the invitation—they are two great pals!
Char was already familiar with UCH, having spent many Sunday afternoons in the basement at PFLAG (Parents, Families, and Friends of Lesbians and Gays) meetings. During her 22 years as an English and English as a Second Language teacher at Lyons Township High School, she also helped start a gay-straight alliance.
Char has an MA in Linguistics from the University of Illinois at Chicago. In her free time, she likes to take long walks with her little rat terrier, Sammy; read; do yoga; exercise; spend time in nature; and travel. Her most recent excursion was to Morocco, and the Canadian Rockies are on tap for this fall. Next spring, Egypt already has a down payment. She also likes to spend at least a couple months in San Antonio, Texas, where her son Mike and daughter-in-law Amy live. Mike is an anthropology professor at the University of Texas in San Antonio—he is a cultural anthropologist who specializes in the Cofan Indians of the Ecuadoran rainforest. His wife is head of special collections at the university.
A native of Colorado, Carol came to Illinois in 1950 and has lived in Downers Grove since 1969. After retiring from the Morton Arboretum in 1998, she has continued with various volunteer activities, currently with the Morrison-Shearer Foundation, a dance & arts organization in Northbrook. Carol’s favorite activities are writing, gardening, politics, and reading, with special interests in history, biography, architecture, and nature. As an “out” lesbian, she has long considered herself a Unitarian but did not join a church until recently.
ASHLEY and NATE MAKDAD and Nora, Luke, and Patrick
Nate and Ashley live in La Grange Park with their three young children—Nora, Luke and Patrick—along with their dachshund, Sam. Together, they share a passion for travel, fine food and wine, movies, running, audio books…and of course, spending lots of quality time with their children, families, and good friends. Nate is originally from the Rockford area. He is a data analyst, and loves cooking, coffee and the Cubs. Ashley is originally from the Champaign area. She is a filmmaker and educator, and loves theatre, public speaking and art. Nate and Ashley joined UCH in 2017 after many years of casually attending various Unitarian churches in both Illinois and Massachusetts…and they look forward to a renewed focus on UU values and a committed relationship with this church and community.
GARY and KATHIE NOLL
We are both from a small town in northern Pennsylvania, true Appalachians. As a child, I spent a few years in Brazil, living a block from Copacabana Beach. Then I returned to PA. I started at Penn State a couple of years before Kathie did. We started dating there after she helped me with a serious problem. Her attraction helped to change me from an engineering major to a major in psychology. I was politically active, opposed to capital punishment and the Vietnam War, and engaged in Civil Rights actions. We were married in France, at the end of a study abroad semester of hers. I earned my Ph.D. and then went on to teach at the University of South Dakota for five years. I quit that job, and we moved to DuPage County, where I worked in the Health Department for 25 years, running its mental health program most of that time. I left and took up teaching again at the University of Illinois at Chicago.
We had two daughters while still in graduate school. They have each had two daughters, too. To me, nothing we have done is as fulfilling as parenthood and grandparenthood.
I was born in Omaha, Nebraska. My father was drafted into WWII the day I was born. After trying to work and care for me for a year and a half, my mother began to follow my father around the country with the army until the war was over and my father mustered out. Work was hard to find, and we ended up moving to Pennsylvania, where my mother’s brother found a job for my father. A few years later, my dad was recruited by the Sylvania Company in Emporium, PA, where I grew up. Emporium was a very small town with a very good school system, and after graduating, I went to Penn State, where I discovered Gary studying in the library. I had known him since I was 11 years old, when I had fallen in love with him. I was delighted to help him with his problems, and after two years, we became engaged. I spent my last semester as a study-abroad student in Strasbourg, France, and at the end of that time, Gary flew over, and we were married in the Strasbourg City Hall (which had actually been very difficult to arrange). We traveled around Europe for two months on $5 a day for our honeymoon, and then returned to Penn State, where Gary was already in grad school, and I was accepted in the graduate program in Psychology.
Gary wanted children very much, and after 2 years, we had our first daughter, Erika. Eighteen months later, we had a second daughter, Alyssa, and I withdrew from the graduate program. We moved to Des Moines for Gary’s internship and then to Vermillion, South Dakota, where Gary taught at the University of South Dakota for 5 years. I wanted to go back to grad school to finish my degree, and when the department chairman didn’t want me to do that, Gary took a job with the Health Department in DuPage County here. He stayed for 25 years and eventually became the Director of Mental Health Services. Our children went to Wheaton Public Schools and to the University of Wisconsin-Madison and University of Illinois -Urbana Champaign. They each married, and each has two daughters, all of whom are serious scholars. Our sons-in-law are wonderful.
I returned to graduate school at NIU in 1975 and received my doctorate in 1980. I taught at Elmhurst College for 6 years and then went into private practice for a number of years. After retiring from the Health Department, Gary began teaching at the University of Illinois at Chicago. I was winding down my private practice and had the opportunity to teach at UIC also. Since teaching had always been my first love, I was thrilled, and taught there for 7 years.
After we retired from UIC, we began to realize our house in Northwoods, near Winfield, was getting to be too much to take care of. Our daughter Alyssa, who lives in Elmhurst, helped us find a condo in Elmhurst and we moved here a year ago. We had been members of the Unitarian Universalist Society of Geneva for 40 years, but when our minister retired, we decided to come to the Unitarian Church of Hinsdale.
JANE and JIM HULBERT
Jim is originally from Barrington Hills, IL and Jane is from Indianapolis, IN. We have two children, Henry and Sarah. Henry is a rising senior at Illinois Institute of Technology, Chicago, where he is a computer science major. Sarah is in graduate school at Sciences Po in Paris, where she is getting a master’s degree in international development with a concentration in diplomacy and food security issues. Currently, she is interning for seven months at the World Food Programme, part of the UN, in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.
Jane and Jim are partners at The Jane Group, a crisis communications consulting firm specializing in training and crisis management for independent, private and international schools throughout the world. We work with schools all over the world and travel extensively.
Prior to the Jane Group, Jim was a labor and employment lawyer for 30 years in Chicago and Jane ran the crisis communications department at McDonald’s.
Jim is an avid tennis player, golfer, and fly fisherman. Jane is arts enthusiast and travels the country visiting museums with her friends. She loves singing in the choir after being away from music for 20 years. She loves the choir community. We are committed to social justice and education issues. We have one kitty named Don, in memory of Jim’s brother.