The Uniter - Unitarian Universalist Church of Urbana-Champaign

The Uniter
Newsletter of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Urbana-Champaign
October 15, 2014
Worship Services
October 19, 2014
9:30 a.m. and 11:15 a.m.
“In Search of Sanctuary”
The Rev. Axel H. Gehrmann
October 26, 2014
9:30 a.m. and 11:15 a.m.
“Whose Promised Land?”
The Rev. Axel H. Gehrmann
After each service, we will have a period of
Reflection & Response for those who
would like to gather and share their thoughts.
November 2, 2014
9:30 a.m. and 11:15 a.m.
“Seasons of the Soul”
The Rev. Axel H. Gehrmann
Daylight Saving Time Ends
Our Mission
Build Community.
Seek Inspiration.
Promote Justice.
Find Peace.
Minister’s Message
– The Rev. Axel H. Gehrmann
Last week I attended the annual fall meeting of my
central Midwest UU ministerial colleagues. Fortysome of us spent three days in Racine, Wisconsin,
at a peaceful retreat center right on Lake
Michigan. The topic at this tranquil gathering was
Often when thinking about conflict, we may
imagine two people at loggerheads, or two parties
engaged in a tug of war. The dynamic is one of
push/pull, either/or, win/lose. Our presenter
associated these notions with “linear thinking,”
and a rather narrow understanding of human
A more helpful approach, she suggested, is to
think in terms of “systems.” “The interdependent
web of which we are a part” provides a better
metaphor for how we are linked to one another.
We are not on opposite sides of a single rope, but
rather we are bound together in a network, each of
us standing at a different spot. And when anyone
plucks at the web, all others will notice and be
affected by the movement.
Rather than understanding conflict as a contest
between opposing beliefs and mutually exclusive
interests, we were invited to think of conflict
simply as several different ideas co-existing in the
same time and place. Conflict, we were reminded,
is a precious opportunity to re-examine our
respective values. It is a critical step toward
reaching common ground.
We were also reminded that every person has a
preferred conflict management style. Some of us
may try to persuade or compel others to come
around to our point of view. Some of us (especially
stereotypical Midwesterners) would rather avoid
conflict, or try to accommodate others’ wishes.
Some of us try to engage in collaboration or
negotiation to resolve differences of opinion.
Depending on the situation, each of these
approaches can be helpful. We each probably have
a particular style that comes easily for us, we
learned. However, we would each be wise to
broaden our repertoire.
These are a few of the ideas we pondered in the
course of a presentation entitled, “Getting Smarter
about Systems, Stressors, and Conflict in the
Church.” And while these ideas are certainly
relevant for any congregational leader, they are
also worthwhile reminders for how we might
approach a multitude of conflicts playing out all
around us – whether religious or political, racial
or cultural; whether among strangers or friends,
political parties or countries at war.
Economically, politically, environmentally, and
technologically, we’re bound together ever more
tightly in a world wide web. Understanding our
differences, and embracing them as precious
opportunities to grow in wisdom and compassion
– this is a lesson we all desperately need to learn.
May whatever lessons we learn within the walls of
our church home help teach us how to build a
better world, beginning with ourselves.
See you in church!
RE News
– Cindy Wakeland,
Director of Religious Education (RE)
The season of fall is upon us. The weather has
turned colder. The leaves are changing colors.
Pumpkins are all around, some even set aglow.
The rain is intermittent and sprinkles down from
the gray colored skies. The fall season also finds us
busy with school, soccer, football, and bonfires.
The season is the kick-off of new committees and
classes across many arenas. Even here at church
we have our Re-visioning Task Force beginning to
think of new ways to engage the
congregation in worship and
ministry of UUCUC.
This is also the time for fall
festivals of all kinds. I went to the
Carmi Corn Festival this past
weekend. I watched my
The Uniter
goddaughter compete in her high school marching
band competition. Her group received first place
in music, color guard, and drumming. The whole
community came together despite the drizzling
rain to watch the youth compete and march in the
parade; to grab a corn dog, listen to music, and
peruse the homemade crafts. It reminded me of
my childhood and my first county fair. There was
something new to see around every corner,
someone you knew just around the block. All
joined together for a common cause, a fall
community tradition.
Each year has been tweaked with
something new. A little change
is always good. Perhaps you
have already been to many
country fairs and festivals, but
have you been to the Arthur
Pumpkin Patch with the UUCUC community? It’s
not too late to join us! You can still sign up for our
trip to be held Saturday, October 25th at the
Religious Education table in Fellowship Hall. All
present and future members of the Pumpkin
Patch Community, please note the departure time
has been adjusted from what we previously
planned; we’ll need to leave the church at 1:00
p.m. since it will take about an hour to get there.
We’ll play and have fun for an hour and a half, and
then take an hour to drive home. Sign up today
and you will be kept informed.
Mindful thinking can also be a part of our fall
season days. Fall makes our outdoor walks
different. There are different sounds, different
smells, and different feelings. Something I’ve
learned from “The Mindful Child” book study
group is to be more intentional
about enjoying the season
around me as I take my daily
walks. If you take walks or
outings, bring your child
along; feel the air blowing,
smell the bonfires, and hear
the crunch of the leaves. Then ask the child how
they are feeling.
Another way you can be part of the season is to
mark your calendar for Sunday, November 9th
as we plan the annual Rake-a-thon! Children will
rake during the RE hours. Parents are invited to
help. Take time to be part of the fall season– hear
it, smell it, feel it, taste it, and enjoy it!
October 15, 2014
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Musings on Membership
– Sam
Shore, Membership Coordinator
I don’t think it comes as a surprise to anyone
when I declare that I’m a proponent of always
finding more and better ways to enact our shared
values through congregational life. That’s why I’m
so pleased that our worship theme for the month
of October is Immigration, echoing our two-year
commitment to focus on immigration justice and
As many of you know, our congregation voted at
our annual meeting this year to involve our
congregation in efforts that tackle the very real
struggles of immigrants to the United States. As
strangers to this country, there are unique hurdles
challenging those who seek a new and better life in
our country. Congregations like ours have the
energy and the means to support these individuals
as they find their way.
On a much less dire scale than immigrants,
visitors to our church are also strangers striving
for a new way of life in a new context. Even as we
focus outward on our two-year initiative, we can
also focus inward on the welcoming culture of our
congregation. Over the next few months, the
Membership Committee will be turning its
attention to how we interact with visitors and
facilitate their transition into making UUCUC
their spiritual home.
Being mindful of the ways in which we can enact
our largest ideals on the very local level will help
us see ourselves with fresh eyes, and this month’s
focus on Immigration allows us to do just that.
Until next time,
Your Membership Coordinator
More Membership Matters
Thanks from the Membership Committee
Many thanks to the members and friends of the
Membership Committee who assisted with our
new church photo directory project. Hats off to
Gail Schiesser and Virginia Brubaker, who
served as coordinators of the project, which
The Uniter
entailed many tasks including working with
LifeTouch staff to organize the project and staffing
the sign up table after each Sunday service
between August 24th and October 5th.
Thanks to Dave Barr, Peggy Patten, and
Karen Retzer, who together made 175 phone
calls between September 29th and October 1st to
those who had not yet signed up to have their
portraits taken. And thanks to the many
volunteers who served as greeters during the
five days when portraits were taken: Sally Babbitt,
Peggy Patten and Todd Kinney, Mike and Karen
Retzer, Karla Peterson, Elaine Rockett, Pat Shaw,
Mona Shannon, Jenna Zeidler, Jennifer Thomas,
Cathy Cunningham, John Milano, Dave and Anne
Sharpe, Gail Hueting, Gina Cassidy, Marcy
Joncich, Beth Cobb, and Gail Schiesser and
Virginia Brubaker (who staffed the greeting table
every single day).
Finally, thanks to everyone who had their picture
taken! Our new photo directory will be useful to
all of us as we strive to become better acquainted
and build community.
Karla’s Korner
– Karla Peterson, Chair of the
Board of Trustees
I just returned from an Executive Committee
meeting with Axel Gehrmann and Chris Hannauer
(Axel as minister, me as Board of Trustees Chair,
and Chris as Vice Chair). This is the meeting
where we decide on the agenda for the upcoming
BOT (Board of Trustees) meeting. Because
members of the BOT are kept “in the loop” on the
work of various committees and task forces, and
receive monthly staff reports, we are constantly
reminded of the amazing and talented people in
our congregation.
For example, the Membership Committee is trying
out new ideas – some gleaned from other
congregations. Have you noticed sometimes
there’s a greeter standing near the entry door(s) in
addition to the Welcome Table? And have you
visited the Connections Hub table to learn more
about what’s going on at UUCUC – and where you
might like to be involved? Or perhaps you’ve
joined a “Hospitality Team” to help with snacks
October 15, 2014
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during fellowship hour. In Religious Education
(RE), Cindy Wakeland as Director of RE reports
that we’ve had a total attendance of 390 children
and youth for the first five weeks of the year – up
from a total of 305 for the same period last year.
This number includes 20 new children attending
classes from 10 new families. In addition, YRUU
has 18 youth signed up, and OWL has 10 youth. It
also sounds like the Holiday Pageant will be
different and unique this year… I can’t wait to see!
Our office administrator Brittni Ballard’s report
reflects the many ways in which she connects with
members of the congregation and the community
beyond our doors. She is SO positive about the
way she reports things, referencing the “acclaimed
Axel Gehrmann,” “most treasured Treasurer Lynn
Wiley,” “proficient Property Committee Chair
Jerry Carden,” “marvelous Myron Winkler” (our
sexton), “cool Choir Director Matt Shepard,” and
“valiant Virginia Brubaker” – who has signed up
to be at EVERY photo session as people came in to
have pictures taken for the new directory. Not
only is it really fun to read her reports, but she
mirrors the friendly and open culture of UUCUC.
I could share tidbits from Axel’s and Sam’s
reports, but instead, go visit the Connections Hub
table between services in Fellowship Hall (I
mentioned that before, didn’t I?) on a regular
basis. It seems there’s always something new
going on! And as for Axel… He is truly on top of
what’s going on. I see him at almost every meeting
– whether it’s the Immigration Task Force, the
Re-Visioning Task Force, or one of the many
committee meetings. Many of the new things
happening in Worship have come from his (and
his wife Elaine’s) visits to other congregations, like
the candle lighting on Sunday mornings, and he’s
working with the Worship Committee on
incorporating lay leaders into worship services.
As I’ve said before, I’m grateful to be working with
such an amazing group of people – members,
volunteers, friends, and staff. Thank you.
Our Church Family
Joys and Concerns
This information is not available in the online
version of The Uniter.
The Uniter
Coming Events
Three-Part Orientation to UUism
Are you new to this church? Have you recently
signed the membership book, or are you
considering joining? Would you like to learn more
about Unitarian Universalism? Sam Shore, our
Membership Coordinator, and the Rev.
Axel Gehrmann will offer a three-part orientation
at 7:00 p.m. on Thursdays, October 16th,
23rd, and 30th.
The sessions focus on individuals’ religious
journeys, discuss UU history, beliefs and polity, as
well as explore the various groups and activities of
this particular church. If you are interested, please
sign up using the sheet on the Minister’s Office
door, call the church office, or email Axel at
[email protected]
Ready, Set, It’s Happy Hour!
Join us at the next UU Happy Hour on
Thursday, October 16th at Po’Boys restaurant
located at the corner of Cunningham and
University (behind the University of Illinois Credit
Union) in Urbana.
October 15, 2014
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Ready, Set, It’s Happy Hour, cont.
Join us anytime between 5:00 and 7:00 p.m. to
get together, chat, and relax. For more
information, contact Russ Rybicki at
[email protected]
Eat, Drink, and Be Merry for a Good Cause
Mark your calendars: Saturday, October 18th
at 5:30 p.m. is the annual Partner Church
Committee's (PCC) fundraising dinner for our
partner churches in Transylvania, Romania, and
the Khasi Hills in India. Our theme this year will
be a dinner/film combination honoring the
Transylvanian region of Romania. Enjoy a light
dinner consisting of sour cherry soup, artisan
rolls, a selection of sandwiches, and
German strudel with ice cream for dessert. The
dinner will cost $15 per person, with larger
donations welcome, to support our partner
1. Use the new online nomination form, available
under “Quick Links” on the church homepage.
2. Email Ryan Latvaitis, SAC chair, with your
suggestions at [email protected]
The deadline for nominations is Friday,
November 14th.
The meeting to choose 2015's Shared Offerings
will be Monday, November 17th at 7:00 p.m.
in Fellowship Hall. All are welcome and
encouraged to attend.
Re-Visioning Task Force
Hello Today, Envision Tomorrow
You have probably noticed that our Sunday
worship experience has changed a little this year.
The process for lighting candles of joys and
concerns is different. The chalice is now front and
center. We have a Suggestion Box to receive
feedback from the congregation. These changes
are all a part of our efforts to realize our second
Strategic Plan goal, namely to “support our
current worship services and explore, experiment,
and evaluate new and innovative worship
services.” A major step towards fulfilling this goal
was taken this fall when the Board of Trustees
created the Re-visioning Task Force, a group of
church members and friends who will be spending
this year looking at how we “do” worship and what
things (large or small) we might change to
improve the experience.
– Chris Hannauer
The Uniter
Help Decide Next Year’s Shared Offerings
The Social Action Committee (SAC) is now
soliciting nominations for the 2015 Shared
Offerings. Those organizations that are chosen for
a Shared Offering will receive half of the plate cash
collection and all designated checks from each
Sunday service for a month.
There are two ways to nominate an organization:
To purchase your ticket, contact Brigitte Pieke
at [email protected]
In the coming weeks, you will be hearing more
from this task force. In the meantime, if you have
any questions or would like to participate, please
send us an email at [email protected]
Social Action News
Shared Offering choices are divided among local
organizations, as well as national and
international. Organizations are chosen to
represent different categories of help, such as
Housing, Environment, Food, Children,
Medical/Health, and social justice concerns.
Toward a Deeper
Join Our Church!
We strive to deepen the religious life and support
the spiritual growth of members and friends who
join together here, working to build a better world
beginning with ourselves.
If you find you are in sympathy with our principles
and at least 14 years of age, then we invite you to
sign our Membership Book.
There is no one single, right path to membership.
But here are a few options: participate in worship
and other events; attend a Q & A Session, or
perhaps one of the three-session Orientations that
are offered twice a year. Above all, familiarize
yourself with our congregation.
October 15, 2014
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Join Our Church, cont.
Then fill out a Membership Information Form,
which you can find at our Welcome Table in the
lobby or in the church office. The form asks for
your contact information and encourages you to
consider the kind of church involvement you seek.
After you return the completed form to the church
office, you will be contacted by the minister or
someone from our Membership Committee, to set
up a time for you to receive additional information
about the church, and sign the book.
— From Axel Gehrmann and
The Membership Committee
Groups and Chalice Circles
Caregiver’s Chalice Circle
Meets the third Monday of the month at 7:00 p.m.
Contact Sylvia McDermott at [email protected]
Feminist Book Group
Meets the third Tuesday of
the month at 7:00 p.m. in the
Library. Contact Karen Folk
at [email protected] This
month’s book is Bound for
Eternity by Sarah Wisseman.
Grief Chalice Circle
Meets the first and third Saturdays of the month
from 2:00 to 4:00 p.m. in the Library. Contact
Pamela Van Wyk ([email protected]) or Mona
Shannon ([email protected]).
MUUviegoers Group
Share movies, coffee, and discussion on an
irregular basis. Contact Sylvia McDermott
([email protected]) to join the Google group.
The Uniter
Simplicity Chalice Circle
Meets the fourth Sunday of the month after the
second service at 12:30 p.m. in the church Library.
Contact Carol Osgood ([email protected])
or Nancy Dietrich ([email protected]).
Women’s Brown Bag Luncheon
Meets the second Wednesday of each month from
noon to 1:00 p.m. in Fellowship Hall. To join the
listserv and receive reminders, contact Anine
Singh-DeGrood at [email protected]
Women’s Spirituality Group
Usually meets on the dates of the full moon.
Newcomers are welcome. Contact Cindy Ingold at
[email protected] or 344-8254, or Marcy
Joncich at [email protected] or 384-5544.
Bridge Group
Meets from 1:00 to 3:00 p.m. in the Children’s
Chapel on the second and fourth Monday of each
month. Contact Barbara Mann at
[email protected]
Gastronomical Society Group
Enjoys gourmet meals which cover every theme
imaginable. Contact Ursula Reuter-Carlson for
information at [email protected]
Reflective Writing Chalice Circle
Meets the third Thursday of the month at 7:00
p.m. Contact Pat Nolan at 384-7477 or
[email protected]
Young Adults Group
Meets twice a month or more to socialize and
participate in discussions. Anyone ages 18 to 35 is
invited to join. To join, contact leader Amanda
Owings at [email protected]
In the Community
Give Back with Soup!
Join us for the monthly Stone Soup at Common
Ground Food Co-Op on Friday, October 17th
from 6:00 to 7:30 p.m. Volunteers gather to
cook a meal for the TIMES Center, a local nonprofit men’s Transitional Living Facility that
empowers men to transition to independent
living, using produce and items that would
otherwise go to waste. Sign up at or call 217-352-3347.
Cooking, Community at Cookbook Club
The Common Ground Food Co-op Cookbook Club
meets monthly on the third Sunday of each
month. All are welcomed and the eating is good,
so come explore with us!
Upcoming meetings are Sunday, October 19th
from 4:00 to 6:00 p.m. and Sunday,
October 15, 2014
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Cookbook Club, cont.
November 16th again from 4:00 to 6:00
p.m. All ages are invited. Cost for these events are
$2 for owners and $4 for non-owners.
For October, we’ll be cooking out of the Middle
Easter Vegetarian Cookbook. For November, the
group will meet for a potluck with their favorite
Thanksgiving dish. So if hanging out with fellow
food lovers sounds fund, sign up online at or in store.
Story Time, Toddler Time… Good Times
Join UUCUC’s own Carol Osgood as she fascinates
and entertains children ages one to four. This
event is free and includes an organic snack. Join
us Tuesday, October 21st and November 18th
from 10:30 to 11:00 a.m. at Common Ground
Food Co-op in the Lincoln Square Mall in Urbana.
How to Reach Us
Office Hours: Monday-Friday, 9 a.m. – 2 p.m.
Telephone: (217) 384-8862
Mail: 309 W. Green St., Urbana, IL 61801-3221
Email: [email protected]
Publications and Deadlines
The Uniter is published every two weeks from
September through May, and every three weeks
during the holiday season and summer months.
Send announcements to [email protected] To
receive The Uniter electronically, contact the
office. The next submission deadline is noon,
Thursday, October 23rd.
Subscribe to our weekly E-News!
The E-News comes out on Fridays and provides
last-minute news and reminders of events taking
place in the coming week. To sign up, contact
[email protected]
For questions about pledge payments or
Trust Fund donations, contact the
Financial Secretary, Amy Robison,
at [email protected]
The Uniter
Axel Gehrmann, Minister
([email protected])
Tu., Wed., Fri., 10 a.m. – 1 p.m.
Cindy Wakeland, Director of Religious Education
([email protected]) 10 a.m. – 4 p.m., M-Th
Brittni Ballard, Office Administrator
([email protected]) 9 a.m. – 2 p.m., M-F
Samuel Shore, Membership Coordinator
([email protected])
Wed. 10 a.m. - 4 p.m.; Sun. 9 a.m. - 1 p.m.
Matt Sheppard, Choir Director
([email protected])
Gonzalo Farias, Interim Accompanist
([email protected])
Beth Cobb, Assistant for Services
([email protected])
Anine Singh-DeGrood, Childcare Coordinator
([email protected])
Myron Winkler, Sexton
([email protected])
Josh Winkler, Sunday Sexton
([email protected])
Stephanie Cobb, Kitchen Helper
([email protected])
Board of Trustees
Karla Peterson, Chair
Chris Hannauer, Vice Chair
Lynn Wiley, Treasurer
Barbara Childers, Clerk
David Prochaska, Finance Liaison
Mona Shannon, Membership Liaison
Brian McDermott, Moderator
Barbara Hudgings, Personnel Liaison
Jared Lofrano, Property Liaison
Libby Tyler, Religious Education Liaison
Mike Retzer, Social Action Liaison
Sue Searing, Worship Liaison
Committees & Chairs
Care Core: Peri Ceperley, [email protected]
Finance: Phillip Abruzzi
Green UUs: Andy Robinson
Membership: Peggy Patten & Karen Retzer
Ministry: Jeff Unger
Music: Sarah Wisseman
Partner Church: Brigitte Pieke
Personnel: Kathleen Holden
Property: Jerry Carden
Social Action: Ryan Latvaitis
Stewardship: TBA
Religious Education: TBA
Worship: Amanda Ramey
October 15, 2014
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Calendar – October 15, 2014
Thursday, October 16
12:00 p.m. E-News and OOS Deadline
5:00 p.m. Happy Hour Group – Off Site at Po’Boys
7:00 p.m. Orientation to UUism – Children’s Chapel
7:30 p.m. Reflective Writing Chalice Circle – Library
Friday, October 17
9:00 a.m. Playgroup – Nursery
5:30 p.m. Jeff Ford’s Born Again Party – Fellowship Hall
Saturday, October 18
2:00 p.m. Romanian Dinner Set-Up – Fellowship Hall
5:30 p.m. Romanian Dinner – Fellowship Hall
6:00 p.m. Gastro Group – Off Site at Home of
Chris and Ursula Reuter-Carlson
Sunday, October 19
9:30 a.m. Worship Service, RE, and Child Care
10:30 a.m. Adult Discussion Group – Library
11:15 a.m. Worship Service, RE, and Child Care
Monday, October 20
7:00 p.m. Caregiver’s Chalice Circle – Library
7:00 p.m. Social Action Committee – Fellowship Hall
7:00 p.m. Re-visioning Task Force – Off Site at Home of
Elly Peirson
Tuesday, October 21
7:00 p.m. Feminist Book Group – Library
Wednesday, October 22
6:15 p.m. CrUUners Rehearsal – Sanctuary
The Uniter
6:30 p.m. “Work and Play”– 4th/5th Grade Classroom
7:00 p.m. Adult Choir Rehearsal – Sanctuary
Thursday, October 23
12:00 p.m. E-News, Uniter, and OOS Deadline
7:00 p.m. Ethics Chalice Circle – YRUU Room
7:00 p.m. Orientation to UUism – Children’s Chapel
7:00 p.m. Immigration Task Force – Library
Friday, October 24
9:00 a.m. Playgroup – Nursery
Saturday, October 25
1:00 p.m. Parents and Children’s Group – Meet at
Church for Arthur Pumpkin Patch Trip
Sunday, October 26
9:30 a.m. Worship Service, RE, and Child Care
10:30 a.m. Adult Discussion Group – Library
11:00 a.m. Partner Church Committee – Admin’s Office
11:15 a.m. Worship Service, RE, and Child Care
12:30 p.m. Simplicity Chalice Circle – Library
Monday, October 27
1:00 p.m. Bridge Group – Children’s Chapel
5:30 p.m. RE Committee – Fellowship Hall
Tuesday, October 28
7:00 p.m. BOT Study Session – Library
Wednesday, October 29
9:30 a.m. Uniter Folding Party – Fellowship Hall
6:15 p.m. CrUUners Rehearsal – Sanctuary
6:30 p.m. “Mindful Child” – Library
7:00 p.m. Adult Choir Rehearsal – Sanctuary
October 15, 2014
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