​ ​"This August marks 25 years at war for the United States.  Come and explore the complex topic of how UU’s can act as people of conscious for peace while also more deeply engaging with and welcoming the veterans, military members and their families who give so much for our nation."

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​ ​"Spoiler alert! Love wins. It's been a summer of hard news in the world, or so it seems.  But maybe that's just because we haven't been looking in the right places. Let's talk about what's right with this world.  Rose-colored glasses encouraged."

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"What does it really mean to be an ally, an advocate,  and a friend to someone who is oppressed?  There's a story in the Christian New Testament about some friends of a person with disabilities who staged some radical advocacy on his behalf.  We'll talk about it and reflect on how that can apply to us today, if we choose it."

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​ "There is no wrong way to have a body." -Glenn Marla
Our bodies are sacred, blessed, and beautiful just the way we are.  Come join us for for embodied worship, thoughtful meditation, and permission to love ourselves and each other in the bodies we have right now.

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​ What can our nation look like if we love each other the way we loved Muhammad Ali? Why did America allow itself to unequivocally love this man who embodies so much of what large factions of us now fear and despise? What does our reverence at his death mean about who we are?

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Tom was born and raised in Rockford and is a strong advocate for the region with a firm belief in the importance of community service. Tom is excited to be serving Rockford’s 3rd Ward. He is the son of John and Barbara McNamara and sibling of Nell, Mary, Dan, Kate & John McNamara. Tom returned to Rockford after receiving his Masters Degree from John Carroll University in Cleveland, Ohio. Shortly after returning to Rockford, Tom was lucky to find his best friend and the love of his life, Sarah Ann Reed, at the Greenwich Village Art Fair. Sarah and Tom were married in May of 2011 and currently live on Harlem Boulevard. Sarah and Tom welcomed their beautiful baby girl Olympia Rose Maureen McNamara on February 29th, 2016. Both Sarah and Tom are strong advocates of Rockford and active community volunteers.

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While Rev. Lavanhar will not be present at the church on Sunday, you will be able to see and hear him deliver the inspiring sermon that he shared at the 2015 UUA General Assembly Servicve of the Living Tradition. 

Marlin Lavanhar grew up in Chicago. In 1990, he received a BA in Sociology from Tulane University. Upon graduation, he spent two years in Kyoto, Japan, after which he embarked on a three-year odyssey travelling 20,000 miles around the world on a mountain bike. He returned to the U.S. and entered Harvard Divinity School where he received his M.Div. Since 2000, Marlin has served All Souls Unitarian Church in Tulsa as their Senior Minister where, during his tenure, membership has increased by 80%. He holds an honorary Ph.D. from Phillips Theological School. Marlin and Anitra Lavanhar have two children, Elias and Lyla.

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Join the members of the UU Church's White Oak Grove CUUPs gathering to celebrate the Summer Solstice. Readings and personal testimonies from various traditions. All are welcome, so please join us--and bring a friend or two along. As usual, please join us for coffee hour where we can continue the celebration.

White Oak Grove CUUPs Mission Statement: We, the Dwellers in this Grove, acknowledging the power of spirit, the importance of living in harmony with the Earth’s cycles, and the vast resources found in the many traditions of Pagan and Unitarian Universalist spiritual practice do covenant and affirm our commitment to one another to work together to create and maintain a safe and loving space within which to share our lives and our spiritual quests in True Community.

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We can imagine a world with more equity and compassion, but the journey to get there is long. How do we celebrate ups and downs on the road while we travel? How do we find joy in the community that assembles along the way?
Join us for a service of rhythm and song as we celebrate this beautiful and complicated faith journey together.


Matt is a musician and community organizer who had lead hundreds of services for UU congregations across the country. He has a degree in music and has studied abroad in Cuba, Ghana, and Central America. Matt is a founding resident of the Lucy Stone Cooperative in Roxbury, MA, and serves as Director of Community Life for Sanctuary Boston.

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Sometimes called “The only paid peace activist in Rockford Illinois,” Stanley Campbell was hired in 1985 as director of Rockford Urban Ministries, an outreach of 23 congregations (mainly United Methodist, with two local UU congregations). He is happy that he gets paid to do what he loves: peace & justice work, and is very appreciative of the Rockford UU support.  Come join with us!

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