Friday, November 14, 2014

Take it to the Streets: Backpacks of Love

Our church is once again participating in the Daily Bread Soup Kitchen backpack project, as we have done for the last few years. The Soup Kitchen celebrates the holidays by giving filled backpacks to the men and women who are guests at lunch. The Champaign-Urbana community is very generous to children at Christmastime through such projects as Shop with a Cop, Salvation Army Toy Store, toy drives, etc. However, the men and women who attend the soup kitchen daily are rarely remembered. For many, these backpacks will be their only presents.

Backpacks should be stuffed with toiletries such as deodorant, hand lotion for hands chapped by the cold, toothpaste, toothbrushes, shampoo, shaving cream, and cold weather items such as gloves, hats, scarves, socks, sweatshirts, tee shirts, long underwear, and regular underwear. Other appreciated items include hand warmers, cough drops, books, decks of cards, small fleece blankets, candy, gum, and food items. All items should be new. We are asking that all backpacks be new or nearly new as well.

All backpacks should be labelled with the gender and size of recipient (i.e. Man-XL). We found last year that most of our guests requested at least a size Large, while most preferred XL or even XXL. There is also a need for some bags with size 3X.

Bags for children up to age five are also needed. Please label these by gender and age of the child. Children’s bags may include small toys. We would also like to have diaper bags filled with baby items.

We will collect filled backpacks at the church on Sunday, December 7th and 14th. When you drop off a backpack, please let us know so that your gift can be acknowledged. Tax forms will be available. Backpacks will be given away at the Daily Bread Soup Kitchen on Friday, December 19th beginning at 10 a.m. 

If you have questions about this project, visit the Social Action Committee table after services or contact Sandy Hannum at

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Friendsgiving, Food, and Fun

Would you enjoy Thanksgiving dinner with UU friends? Our church's second annual Thanksgiving potluck will be held in Fellowship Hall on Thanksgiving Day, November 27th. We will sit down to eat at 5 p.m. Sign up in Fellowship Hall after each Sunday service, or contact Sylvia McDermott at to let her know you will attend and what dishes you’ll bring. We hope to see you there! Like last year, we're asking for contributions of food and/or beverages amounting to a $10 expenditure per person. 

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Invitation to Apply: Accompanist

The Unitarian Universalist Church of Urbana-Champaign seeks an Accompanist with advanced keyboard skills in both piano and organ. S/he must be familiar with a broad repertoire of sacred and secular keyboard music, including but not limited to classical pieces. The Accompanist works part time from late August to mid-June, performing for all Sunday and holiday services and accompanying soloists and the choir as needed during weekly choir practices and during worship services. Previous experience in a related position is strongly preferred. Candidates should send a cover letter and résumé to by December 1st, 2014.

The Accompanist works in close cooperation with the Music Director, the Minister, other staff members, and committees as needed; helps build and organize a music program in the congregation; joins in collaboratively planning and accompanying worship services; keeps a list of qualified substitute accompanists; and arranges for maintenance of the organ and piano within budgetary limits. The Accompanist should have or gain an understanding of UU history and values, as well as UU congregational structure and governance; should have familiarity with a wide variety of musical resources; and should be able to support the congregation’s efforts toward being anti-racist, anti-oppressive, and multi-culturally competent.

For more information about the Unitarian Universalist Church, go to To review the full Accompanist job description, please click here.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Citizens' Climate Lobby: Political Will for a Livable World

Save the date: Thursday, November 13th at 7:00 p.m. marks an evening of solutions to climate change as we explore local actions for global problems. 

This event, which is free and open to the public, is sponsored by the church's own GreenUUs and Social Action Committee.

A preliminary presentation led by Holly Nelson and titled "Putting Solar PV on the Roof of First Mennonite Church" will begin at Holly Nelson will begin at 7:00 p.m.

The main presentation by David Holmquist, Illinois CCL State Co-Coordinator, titled "Building the Political Will to Stop Climate Change: An Introduction to Citizens' Climate Lobby" will begin immediately following at 7:20 p.m.

All are invited to attend to learn how ordinary citizens are changing the conversation in Congress and building support for putting a price on carbon emissions to curb global warming. Find out how you can help.

"Politicians do not create political will, they respond to it. If we want Congress to address climate change then they have to hear from us." -- Mark Reynolds, CCL Executive Director

Monday, October 20, 2014

A Coffeehouse Celebration

Join us in an intergenerational celebration dedicated to Kent Conrad, our beloved former Music Director, as we hold a UU Coffeehouse Saturday, November 8th from 7:00 to 9:30 p.m. in Fellowship Hall. You’re invited to present a song, skit, musical theater snippet, poem, dance, or whatever else you think the congregation would enjoy. Take advantage of the church’s new percussion instruments (drum set, maracas, claves, cymbals, etc.) purchased this summer!  We will follow the usual format of brief performances (8-10 minutes), yummy desserts, and beverages for the entire family.

For more information, please view our online flier.

Sign up to perform, bring goodies, or help with setup/cleanup in one of three ways: in person between Sunday services or via email to either Jim Hannum at or Sandy Hannum at

Kent Conrad Memorial

A celebration of our longtime Music Director Kent Conrad’s life will be held on Monday, November 3rd at 2:00 p.m. in the Foellinger Great Hall at the Krannert Center for the Performing Arts. We know that individuals from the many worlds Kent contributed to will want to attend. These will include current and former students, members of the faculty, community members, and members of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Urbana-Champaign.

Because of the large number of people who would like to share memories of Kent, we are seeking comments from those who would be willing to write about one or two of their favorite memories and experiences with him. Our minister Axel Gehrmann has agreed to collect these writings and we will be identifying individuals to read excerpts during the service. If you would like to share your stories, please send them to Axel at

Immigration Justice Task Force Needs UUs!

This fall, our church kicked off our two-year initiative focusing on Immigration Justice with the C-U Immigration Forum as our September Shared Offering, and also by hosting a well-attended community dialogue titled “Central American Children at the Border: What Can We Do?” In addition, you may have noticed that Axel’s sermons this month all have immigration justice as a theme. Several other events have been held and others are being planned by our UU Immigration Task Force in conjunction with the C-U Immigration Forum.

Would you like to get involved with the UU Immigration Task Force and help make our two-year initiative a success? The next meeting is this Thursday, October 23rd at 7:00 p.m. in the church Library. All who are interested in participating and planning activities around this theme are welcome!