Thursday, August 14, 2014

Oh, Those Summer Nights! Share Your Memories at the Ingathering Service

On Sunday, August 24th, we will have our traditional Ingathering Service, which will include a Water and Stone Communion. Please remember to collect a small vial of water, or a stone, from your summer travels and activities, which you can share in the service.

Building Community, Strengthening Connections with Membership Committee

Many thanks to those who participated in the Membership Committee’s (MC) brainstorming meeting on July 9th when we identified priorities for building community and strengthening connections with visitors as well as new and longtime members of the church. We hope you will notice the following new MC efforts in the coming weeks:
(1)  We will be “invigorating” our Sunday morning welcoming practices with more attention given to our greeting and hospitality experiences after Sunday services. Watch for details on how you can be part of this effort.
2)   We are introducing a new table in Fellowship Hall on Sunday mornings beginning August 24th. This Connections Hub table will include information about the many ways to connect within our congregation. Be sure to stop by!
3)   We are updating the church’s Photo Directory, which was last published in 2011. Portrait sessions will be conducted during the week of October 7th through 11th, so mark your calendars! Sign-ups for portraits will be available at the Connections Hub table in Fellowship Hall beginning August 24th.
4)   Finally, to offer members more opportunities for connection, we are changing our procedure of notifying members about Sunday Crew needs (which includes welcomers, announcers, and ushers). In the coming weeks, all members of the church will be added to the Sunday Crew email list to receive information about opportunities and needs to assist with this important activity of our church. While all members will be added to the list, members can ask to be removed from the Sunday Crew emails at any time. 

Feel free to contact Peggy Patten ( or Karen Retzer ( with your comments and questions or to be included on the Membership Committee listserv. 

Monday, August 4, 2014

August's Shared Offering: RACES

The August Shared Offering organization is Rape Advocacy, Counseling, & Education Services (RACES). Half of the cash collection and designated checks each Sunday in August will benefit this organization.
RACES is the community-based rape crisis center serving Champaign, Douglas, Ford, and Piatt Counties in East-Central Illinois. They provide free, confidential services to any person who has experienced sexual assault, abuse, or harassment as well as their loved ones. They also offer public education and training to schools, employers, and other organizations throughout the service area.
The mission of Rape Advocacy, Counseling, & Education Services is to challenge the rape culture and empower victims and survivors of sexual violence through advocacy, counseling, education, crisis intervention, and activism. They also work with non-offending significant others, allied professionals, and the community at large to end all forms of sexual violence. RACES believes that working to end sexual violence, a widespread form of oppression that primarily victimizes women and children, is essential to building a world free of all forms of oppression.
Services include: a 24-hour a day crisis hotline, Medical Advocacy and Legal Advocacy for victims of sexual violence, Free Individual, Group, Family, and Child Counseling, and Public Education and Training about Sexual Assault, Abuse, and Harassment to a wide variety of audiences. RACES accepts volunteers of any background 18 and older.
For more information, check out their website at

Thursday, July 17, 2014

No Place Like Home With Habitat for Humanity

Join other UUs in helping build a Habitat for Humanity house in Urbana. Our church is signed up to provide the work crew on two Saturdays: August 23rd and September 20th. We need 12-15 volunteers on each date. You don’t need to have any particular skills to participate as there are jobs for all skill levels, plus supervisors who will teach you tasks if you don’t know how to do them. Join us in making a difference in our community! Sign-up sheets are at the Social Action table on Sunday mornings or email Jim Hannum directly at to volunteer.

Centennial Celebration of This Old Church House

The service next Sunday, July 20th is titled “Our Church Home” and will be led by Jerry Carden and feature music by local celebrity John Coppess. This year is the 100th anniversary of the stone church building and the 50th anniversary of the Religious Education wing, so come listen to the story of how Unitarians and Universalists in Champaign-Urbana have built and maintained their structures to house over 150 years of religious liberal activities.

Monday, July 7, 2014

July Shared Offering: The Union of Concerned Scientists

The Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) seeks to apply rigorous and independent science to issues of public concern. Their staff of engineers, policy experts, economists, and scientists work to provide policymakers and the wider public with the data and analysis needed to make informed choices and develop effective solutions. They have worked on a wide array of issues, including nuclear power, nuclear weapons, global security, agriculture, and climate change.
Their recent scholarship includes an examination of the inequitable burdens of climate impacts. Hurricanes Sandy and Katrina showed that communities of color and poor communities are particularly vulnerable to coastal storms and heightened storm surge.
This past May, their report National Landmarks at Risk received nationwide attention from policymakers and the media. In it, they demonstrate the threats posed to our shared heritage by the consequences of climate change using multiple lines of robust scientific evidence. They also note practical strategies to manage these risks and protect our history.
But not all of their work is nationwide in scope. In January 2014, the UCS sponsored a training session on sea-level rise for 35 South Florida elected officials. The workshop covered climate impacts and science, with each participant receiving a set of maps localized to their zip code showing inundation risks and storm surge for 2030 and 2060.
The aim of the UCS is to provide society with the tools, expertise, and advocacy needed to achieve a healthy, safe, and sustainable future. What's not to like?

Thursday, July 3, 2014

The Beauty of Language, The Poetry of Summer

On July 13th, we will have a morning of poetry and music. Please bring a poem about summer to share. This could be a favorite poem written by another or by yourself. Some of our music will be provided by the Black Velvet Band of Patten, Kinney, Hannum, and Herzog and will include vocals by members of our Youth Choir.