White supremacy, racism, and racial violence is on our minds yet again. For some, it never left our minds and bodies. This is the “how-to” sermon you’ve asked for. What can we do?

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Sacred Complexity
Kimberlee Tomczak Carlson
We are woven together in ways seen and unseen. What does the Earth teach us about the connections that bind our fates intricately together?
Today our world is so often being dismantled, I will share how our Unitarian Universalist faith helps me tend to the sacred connections that hold us all together.

Kimberlee Tomczak Carlson is an educator, artist and candidate for Unitarian Universalist ministry enrolled at Meadville Lombard Theological School. Kimberlee began her work in Unitarian Universalism over 15 years ago working first for the UUA and then for the district in Youth and Young Adult Ministries. She continued on to be the Program Director for six years at The Unitarian Unviersalist Church in Rockford, Illinois and then the religious education curriculum creator for Soul Matters. Kimberlee has just finished her chaplaincy training at St. Luke's Hospital in Milwaukee, Wisconsin and is currently living in Kenosha, Wisconsin with her precocious son Miles, patient husband Rev. Erik David Carlson and mouthy cat Amelia. She is eager to return to church work, beginning her ministerial internship at Church West in Wauwatosa, Wisconsin next month. She is delighted to be returning to The UU Church in Rockford!

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Forgiveness, redemption, and atonement are concepts​ we wrestle with in our everyday lives. Things go wrong and we find ourselves asking for or giving forgiveness; allowing for redemption; and perhaps even welcoming an act of atonement. When someone is imprisoned this cycle is truncated by systems built to thwart any real reintegration. Separated from community there is little opportunity for reparation. Our ministry in prisons and jails is based on the radical notion that every person is worthy of respect and has the capability of completing this cycle of forgiveness. Come and learn how all of us are affected and how together we can offer hope and help. Forgiveness, redemption, and atonement are not ​ethereal ideas​;​ they live and transform with us.
 
Rev Karen Mooney - Is a community minister working with the UU Prison Ministries of Illinois. This newly formed group is bringing the hope-filled message about belief in every person's inherent worth and dignity to those incarcerated and returning to our communities. Karen is a life-long Unitarian Universalist who learned the art of church from her very involved parents She has been educated far and wide working and playing, listening and walking with people. She loves that UU communities are places where you find people who are alive and seeking throughout their lives. 
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While in New Orleans, we went out to see music. Some bands were great. Others were rotating sets of soloists -- they didn't know how to play together.  This made me think of teamwork, and how we learn -- as lovers, families, neighborhoods, co-workers, volunteers, congregations, and citizens to play together. What spiritual practices, life lessons, and tips might we learn about how the whole can actually be greater than the sum of the parts?

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Did Jesus choose the theme of his first miracle to show everyone how much value he placed on having a good party?  Maybe it was deeper than that. Maybe not. Let's have some fun talking about it! 

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Especially in these times, we need joy in our lives to sustain us. How can we cultivate joy as a spiritual practice?

Rev. Darrick Jackson

The Rev. Darrick Jackson is the Director of Contextual Ministry at Meadville Lombard Theological School. Darrick is involved denominationally as Treasurer of  DRUUMM (the UU ministry for people of color) and as co-chair of the UU Minister’s Association CENTER Committee and Institute for Ministerial Excellence. He is also the treasurer and Workshop Leader for Healing Moments (a ministry for caregivers of people with Alzheimer’s). In his free time, Darrick likes to knit and to be involved in theatre. He is married to James Olson, a United Church of Christ minister and lives with their two cats, Merlin and Morgana.

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Intolerant Unitarians
Stanley Campbell

We rarely think of ourselves as intolerant bigots, but our subconscious actions and responses can hurt people we don't even know. "And I should know!" says Stanley Campbell, director of Rockford Urban Ministries, which the UUs support, will share some thoughts on how not to offend those we might disagree with, nor even notice.
Mr. Campbell has worked for 32 years as "the only paid peace activist" in Rockford and says, “As a Vietnam veteran, I learned to hate war. I found healing by organizing.”
A long-time Rockford IL resident, he established the Rock Valley Food Pantry while a student at Rock Valley College in 1976. Since hired by RUM (as it is affectionately called) Mr. Campbell has started non-profit organizations including JustGoods fair trade, and the Rockford Work Camps volunteer program.
He speaks out against war, urban sprawl, and treating the poor poorly. He speaks in favor of immigrant rights, safer communities, and getting involved in issues.

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We complete our series on joy. On Father’s Day, I’ll share something of what I learned from my father, and try to teach to my children as their father, about what it means to live a joyful life.  What is important? What is worthy? What does happiness mean, really?

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What does it mean to say we are a church of joy? On “annual meeting Sunday”, how might we reflect on the purpose of the church and the qualities of beloved community that we seek to embody?

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We begin a three sermon series on joy — first, what it means to be guided by a joyful spirit and see, in the divine, joy and passion.  We’ll also celebrate Flower Communion! Bring a flower (or two) from your home to share.

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