Touchstone Winter 2019
From the Minister…
Dwell in Possibility: The Power of We
I find that I need to look out the window a lot more lately. I watch the play of light on the branches of the trees, marvel when snow attaches to still clinging leaves. I need to watch the squirrels running up and down the tree trunks and chasing each other around the yard; need to breathe in the bright blue of a clear sky and appreciate the wild colors at the end of day. I need to reconnect with the beauty, the solidity, the eternal is-ness of the natural world because it feels like the rest of the world is now splintering before my eyes.
These days, I’m struggling to figure out that balance between being in the world and of the world. I’m trying to understand the difference between maintaining an inner connection to the whole and burying my head in the sand to avoid the feeling of impending doom.
The world, and our government in particular, is a mess right now. Impeachment proceedings are in full swing and I find that I don’t trust that all will be well. Too much anger, partisanship, and self-interest is on display. My question today is – what is my role?
Will standing up for my values simply be adding more noise to the cacophony? Will that one more letter to my congressperson make any difference if I live in a blue state? What happens when the conservative judges who have been appointed start making their mark on our country? How will I stand with the oppressed, the disenfranchised, the people who are suddenly “othered” by a “we” that doesn’t include them – or me?
And on top of that, we have the shadow of a global climate crisis that more than half of our population refuses to even admit.
As a people of faith, people who understand our interconnection to one another and to the whole of life, how can we bring sanity, decency, respect, and courage to our daily lives? How can we bring light to shine in the darkness and comfort to those in distress?
My answer, besides looking out the window, is to look to you. To look to all the people in this tiny corner of our country and see how much light you shine. I see the folks struggling with unpleasant realizations, but pushing through, in our Beloved Conversations class. I see adults mentoring our youth and teaching them through conversation and sharing. I see folks reading books and sharing ideas, gathering to create warm and welcoming events, making sure the dishes are done and the lights are turned off after coffee hour.
I see people living the values I hold dear here in our community, and I remember the power of “we.” That power of people of goodwill gathering to live life together in fullness and compassion. Evil in the world only wins when people of goodwill give up – and here at UCH, there is a strong community of people who refuse to back down, who hold onto truth and kindness and connection to one another and to the whole.
I see hope – no matter what the future brings – that the light of humanity will continue to shine. Thanks to you.
Beloved Conversations and UCH
This Fall, UCH embarked on its third round of participating in Beloved Conversations: Meditations on Race and Ethnicity. After an initial 1½ -day retreat in October with multiple churches, nine UCH participants are meeting for eight sessions, along with two facilitators and Rev. Pam Rumancik, to explore how each of us has been influenced by race and ethnicity.
One of our current participants, a white male, recently spoke about hearing several African Americans share painful instances where white UUs had made them feel like outsiders in their own churches. During an exercise where each participant was asked to consider areas in their lives where they benefited from unearned privilege because of their identities, such as white, male, heterosexual, etc., he realized that he was the beneficiary of a lot more privilege than he had thought. Such conversations can be both challenging and rewarding; reflecting on these issues in a small group setting with people that we’ve come to trust can create an opening for growth and change.
For some of us, Beloved Conversations has been an opportunity to continue to expand our knowledge around these issues; for others, it’s an opportunity to jump-start our learning. For all of us, it’s an opportunity to form relationships with people who will support our continuing efforts to learn about how we can help dismantle society’s racial injustices. After this round, 27 persons at UCH will have completed Beloved Conversations. I hope you will consider participating when the program is offered again at UCH. All UCH members and friends are welcome to attend our Racial Equity Team meetings on the third Tuesday of the month at 7:00 p.m. In this forum, we continue our conversations and plan pathways to substantive change. Contact Marian Honel-Wilson (firstname.lastname@example.org) for more information. ~ Marian Honel-Wilson
We have made $13,500 (and that money has all been collected!) We also came in under budget for our expenses, so we will have more to invest in our spring raffle and gala event.
I want to thank all my amazing volunteers for their time and effort, and especially highlight KC Edgin’s contribution coordinating the donations. If you see her please thank her. She is a newer member and really stepped up to make the event a success.
I will be taking some time off of planning fundraisers to celebrate the holidays but please expect a huge push at the beginning of 2020 for our spring raffle. I am really looking to expanding the event and exceeding our budgeted goals for fundraising this year!
The date for the spring raffle April 25th 2020. Please be prepared to help out as that date approaches! ~Paula Sejut Dvorak
The Unitarian Church of Hinsdale invites you to the 150th year anniversary Homecoming weekend.
OCTOBER 16-18, 2020
SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 23rd at 11:45am
There are three important matters that need attention prior to our annual meeting in May:
- Voting to adopt a church covenant (see additional article)
- Voting on a by-law change to address a technical issue with board term limits more specifically: “When a new board member is appointed to fill another board member’s term, is this new board member then allowed to serve another full term?”
- Beginning a conversation concerning accessing the Perpetual Pledge Fund (see additional article)
Please join us to uphold our fifth principle!
Upcoming Vote on a Congregational Covenant
For approval of the congregation, a Congregational Meeting will be held on February 16. At that meeting, among other things, your Board of Trustees will ask you to vote on a new covenant statement.
First, a little review. We have a mission statement. It’s on the back of every Sunday’s order of service. So what’s a covenant? In the UU world, a congregation’s mission statement is a concise statement of what the congregation wants to be known for, or known as, within the wider world; what the congregation wants to mean to the community. On the other hand, a covenant is a statement of how members of the congregation will be with, and will behave toward, one another, as well as what is promised or vowed to one another and to the congregation as a whole.
Unlike most other organized religions, our denomination is not a creedal one – i.e., we have no set of “truths” to which members must subscribe. Instead, we are a “covenantal” religion, in which members come together in their own search for the truth. And, in that “coming together”, “UU congregations are bound together primarily by the promises we make to each other, rather than by creeds we affirm together.” (See, https://www.uua.org/worship/theory/worshipworks/129229.shtml)
Over the past year, Rev. Pam has helped us in creating our own congregational covenant by including a number of different covenantal statements in her worship services, most notably the Blake Covenant:
Love is the spirit of this church, and service is its law: this is our great covenant:
to dwell together in peace, to seek the truth in love, and to help one another.
Also, she has recently posted around the church illuminating examples of covenant-like statements from our congregation’s past.
As you will recall, in February, the Board held a series of “workshops”, to which all members of the congregation were invited to assist in crafting a covenant. At those gatherings, folks were asked to describe what was important to them about their relationship with the congregation, including what promises they would like to make to the congregation and what promises they would like the congregation and its members to make to them. With the help of Theresa Kenders and Dave Lloyd, your Board has carefully considered all of the input you provided and, based on that input, has crafted the following covenant statement for your approval:
The members and friends of Unitarian Church of Hinsdale promise each other to:
- Listen and learn together with compassion, curiosity, and an open mind;
- Stay engaged and participate to create a warm, welcoming, and financially healthy church community;
- Work together and beyond our walls to address social and environmental challenges; and
- Support our church and its mission with time, talent, and treasure.
The very fact of our existence as a congregation is evidence of the implied promises that we have already made to each other. A written covenant statement would be our specific articulation of those promises. Granting that there will be times when we fail to live up to those promises, the nature of a written covenant means that we give one another the right and responsibility to call us back together – back to the promises we have made. Please plan to attend the February 16 meeting to cast your vote on the proposed covenant statement.
Perpetual Pledge Fund
At the February Membership Meeting, one of the topics we will discuss is what to do about the Perpetual Pledge Fund. The Perpetual Pledge Fund was established in the 1990’s, when a few families decided that they didn’t want to make annual pledges for the support of the church. Consequently, they made large deposits as their “perpetual pledges” – a sort of lifetime membership. There was no limitation on these deposits, and the church could have used the money in the annual budget if it wished. Instead, the church set up the “Perpetual Pledge Fund” and the money has been kept separate ever since. The amount on hand is now about $100,000. The interest on this money has gone to the church’s operating account as part of the annual budget every year.
In the 2000’s, the church membership amended the By-Laws to make it very difficult to withdraw any money from the Perpetual Pledge Fund. The provision, Article IX.B.3, requires a 3/4 vote of the total voting membership of the church to withdraw any money. Since three-quarters of the church membership is never present in one place, even at an Annual Meeting, this will virtually never happen. It is as easy to dissolve the church as to withdraw money from the Perpetual Pledge Fund—both take a 3/4 vote of the entire voting membership.
At the February meeting, we will not be voting on anything regarding the Perpetual Pledge Fund but starting a conversation about what to do about the fund. There are many options, including leaving the money where it is; changing the character of the fund to an “emergency fund”; using the money a bit at a time to supplement the budget; transferring all or a part to the endowment fund; a combination of these actions, or something else entirely.
Once we’ve had these conversations, we will be ready to consider, at the Annual Meeting in May, amending the By-Laws to eliminate the 3/4 total membership requirement. This would make it possible, in the future, to make decisions at an Annual Meeting or special membership meeting, to devote the funds to a different purpose if those present at that future meeting agree.
Remember that we are not voting on anything regarding the Perpetual Pledge Fund in February, and we will not be voting on moving the money in May; we are starting with discussion and consideration, then perhaps changing the rules to make it easier to make decisions about the money in the future. We are taking a slow and considered approach—the UCH Way. We look forward to a discussion in February.
Parliamentarian, Membership Meeting
Leap Into Leadership Luncheon
Sunday, January 26th at 11:30am
Discover the light in you and how to
shine it out into your community!
Animal Ministry Post-Holiday Dinner and Survey
Please join Animal Ministry at its annual post holiday dinner at 6pm on January 29 at Kao Gaeng Thai restaurant in Darian. We had such a great time there last year with our family style menu that we’re doing it again this year. Please RSVP to UCHAnimalMinistry@gmail.com no later than January 20th.
Animal Ministry, in addition to its regularly scheduled programming, has brainstormed a few possible activities for the new church year, and we’d love your input on which ones you’d like to attend and when. Please take one minute of your time to answer a few poll questions here: We’d love to see some first time attendees at our events this church year.
Finally, save the date for our annual Worldwide Vegan Bake Sale on April 26! It’s never too early to start thinking about the baked good you’ll contribute this time
Fair Trade at UCH – Roots and Current Update
Did you know that the coffee served during coffee hour is all fair trade? That started back in 2010 when the senior youth group service trip focused on hunger and included an intense 5-day program at the Heifer Ranch in Arkansas. All were challenged before leaving to write a plan of action for how they personally would work to combat hunger. Since one of the things learned during the week was that coffee was the number one agricultural import to the US and also how little the coffee growers benefited from it – often facing hunger as a result – the youth decided to commit to switching our church coffee consumption to fair trade, which had been offered as one means of addressing that disparity. The youth presented their case to the board, and the board voted to serve only fair trade coffee as a result. The youth also began selling coffee some Sundays, with any profits benefiting the youth group.
I was one of the youth advisors that year, and that same service trip was transforming for me as well, since I understood that fair trade could be a more effective means of fighting global poverty than I had realized. In my plan, I committed to getting involved as a volunteer with the fair trade shop in Glen Ellyn called Ten Thousand Villages. Bob and I had registered for our wedding there, so we had a long connection to the store, but I had never volunteered. Following a year of working as a volunteer, a paid position opened, and I began working as the assistant manager. A couple years later, I decided to leave that position, but I was still passionate about fair trade, and so talked with folks at the church about running a sales table more regularly with fair trade items as a fundraiser for the church. I went to the sidewalk sale in Glen Ellyn, where I got items at a deep discount and then sold them at UCH on Sundays.
That fair trade table was part of my business plan when I decided to open a fair trade gift and bookshop in Door County Wisconsin during the summer season. Now I sell fair trade in Wisconsin May – October, and at UCH from November- Mother’s Day. The church helped me establish my business by splitting the profits of UCH sales 50/50 the first year, but soon sales had increased enough to donate all the profits from UCH sales to the church. UCH members have purchased over $50,000 in fair trade items over the last 5 years, and that doesn’t include coffee! Because of the church’s support of fair trade, I have been able to grow the percentage of fair trade sold through my year-round business from 25% the first year to over 42% of sales last year. Total fair trade sales over those years is over $230,000, and that is making a real difference in the lives of artisans working their way out of poverty around the globe.
We have a great team of volunteers who help set up, sell, and pack up the fair trade table at the church. Suzanne Williams, Linda Karlen, Wendy Hainey, Marian Hotel-Wilson, and KC Edgin have all helped with the table along with a couple of folks who volunteered with me at Villages. We’re a fun group and enjoy an annual international dinner party with the opportunity to shop at wholesale prices that evening as well as go home with a fair trade goodie bag. There’s also a regular volunteer discount on fair trade purchases throughout the year. If you’d like to join us, pop me a note at email@example.com
Thanks for your part in working to reduce global poverty by purchasing things from the fair trade table. Your dollars make a real difference in the world.
— Debbi Daniel-Wayman
Fair Isle Books
P.O. Box 129
1885 Detroit Harbor Road
Washington Island, WI 54246
Book Read and Discussion for our Families
February 9th at Noon in Joshi Chapel
Raising White Kids: Bringing up Children in a Racially Unjust America
Living in a racially unjust and deeply segregated nation creates unique conundrums for white children that begin early in life and impact development in powerful ways. Raising White Kids offers age-appropriate insights for teaching children how to address racism when they encounter it and tackles tough questions about how to help white kids be mindful of racial relations while understanding their own identity and the role they can play for justice.
Raising White Kids is a book for families, churches, educators, and communities who want to equip their children to be active and able allies in a society that is becoming one of the most racially diverse in the world while remaining full of racial tensions.
Contact Pam Fodor for more information and/or to borrow a book. firstname.lastname@example.org
A One Woman Performance By: Maureen Muldoon
March 8, 2020 in the UCH Sanctuary at 1:00pm
The goal of Trans-Parent Love is to help promote conversations that get people talking about the questions, concerns, and commonalities we have with each other. In our current culture, our children are leading a revolution of honesty, bravery and transparency that is both beautiful and baffling for parents and family members.
When a person identifies as trans-gender they have been having this internal conversation for quite some time. Just like any change in plans, it can provoke anger, denial, bargaining, depression and ultimately acceptance and PRIDE.
At every production, I have three moments. One before the show starts when I think, “Why am I doing this show? It is so… well, transparent and I feel vulnerable.”
Then there is a moment during the show when I make eye contact with a tearful member of the audience or watch someone blush and laugh and nod their head, and without saying anything, we have a connection, and I think to myself, “I am an a$$hole. I need to get out of my own way, and share this show more.”
The final moment comes after the show, and after the community conversation when all the words have been shared, and all the fears have been heard, and we all just sit there and see each other, and it feels like church, or at least how I think a church should feel.
As I do this show I realize the full spectrum of the word “transparency” and the healing that it offers. When you begin to turn the lights on… you get to see some really beautiful stuff.
Most every life faces one of those moments when just about everything seems to have gone wrong. Often, family and friends can help but sometimes no assistance is forthcoming – that’s why we have the UCH Emergency Relief Fund.
If a crisis swamps you or a family member and temporary financial assistance would make a difference, please contact Rev Pam and let her know what you need. All requests are confidential. This fund was established for our church family to be able to support one another in times of need. We refill the fund each year with the offering at our Christmas Eve services.
If you or someone you know needs help – please do not hesitate to talk to Rev Pam.
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, Oakbrook)
Linda Rio — (630) 269-3085
Pam Fodor — (630) 795-0295
AREA 2 (Willowbrook, Darien, Westmont)
Jen Hopkins — (630) 488-9889
Sandy Buboltz — (530) 6137099
Jill Jackson — (312) 231-9870
AREA 3 (Indian Head Park, Western Springs, Willow Springs)
Susan Hebble — (708) 784-1688
Char Cepek — (708-334-9361
AREA 4 (Elmhurst, Villa Park, Des Plaines, Roselle, Schaumburg, Itasca)
Lynn Brackett — (630) 279-5851
Karen Hays — (630) 272-2899
Kathie & Gary Noll (630) 217-2250
AREA 5 (Westchester, Brookfield, River Forest, Riverside, Chicago, Berwyn)
Nancy Keane — (708) 352-0454
AREA 6 (LaGrange Park, LaGrange, Countryside, Hodgkins)
Nancy Weill — (708) 352-9128
AREA 7 (Downers Grove, Lombard, Oakbrook Terrace)
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
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