Forgiveness is Not Forgetting
March 1, 2020 at 10:00 a.m.
Rev. Dr. Matthew Johnson
The first in a three-part series one what forgiveness is, and what it isn’t. Can we forgive what has happened, but still learn from it? Does forgiveness mean we have to trust one who has hurt us? What’s the relationship between forgiveness, memory, justice, and peace?

The Case for Reparations
February 23, 2020 at 10:00 a.m.
Rev. Dr. Matthew Johnson
The question of generosity has led us to think about economic justice. During Black History Month, we are all invited to reconsider the myth of American history and lay it aside in favor of the truth. These two themes connect when we consider what is owed to those who, without freedom or compensation, built this country, and what might be, now, owed to their descendants. 

Toxic (and non-Toxic) Charity
February 16, 2020 at 10:00 a.m.
Rev. Dr. Matthew Johnson
Recently, leaders in the non-profit world have wondered more clearly about the “charity industry” and how to make sure that charity actually makes the world better, instead of repeating patterns that are unhelpful.  Two local leaders who have worked on this question will share their learnings with us. 
Linda Sandquist is a lifelong Rockfordian and has made her career in the human service sector for the last 15 years. She currently serves as the Vice President of United Way.  She has two “do-gooder” daughters, one a hospice social worker and one a kindergarten teacher. She is the proud grandma of 10 month old granddaughter, Joanna, and to 4 year old granddog, June.  Brab Roos, also a lifelong Rockfordian, is a volunteer consultant with the Northern Illinois Center for Non-Profit Excellence.  He was executive director of Zion Development for twenty years, helping lead the revitalization of Midtown, before his retirement in 2014.  He and his wife Susan have three adult sons. 

Go Beyond
June 2, 2019 at 10:00 a.m.
Rev. Dr. Matthew Johnson

There are moments when we transcend our day-to-day realities, and touch the divine mystery. These moments can produce wonder, “fear and trembling,” and transformation. How do we seek out these moments, and what do we do when they happen to us?  This is part one of a two-part series; the second part, on how we recognize the sacred in the day-to-day, will be on June 16th. 

Rich Man, Poor Man, Beggar Man, Thief
February 9, 2020 at 10:00 a.m.
Rev. Dr. Matthew Johnson

Last week, we explored Luke 15.  This week will be Luke 16: stories about greed, generosity, loyalty, and the great chasm that can open between love and fear.  Jesus has something to say about economic inequality! 

A Generous Interpretation
February 2, 2020 at 10:00 a.m.
Rev. Dr. Matthew Johnson

Sunday begins a two-sermon series on Luke 15 (this week) and Luke 16 (next week).  These two chapters tell some of the most vivid stories in the Christian scripture, including The Prodigal Son.  They are stories about generosity, greed, and hope. This week, we’ll explore what it means to “give the benefit of the doubt” and to believe the best of others, even if we might be disappointed.

Authority Song
January 26, 2020 at 10:00 a.m.
Rev. Dr. Matthew Johnson

How it come it so often feels like when we fight authority, authority wins?  Are we always fighting their battle on their terms?  Is there another way?  What should our relationship to authority be?  Special guest musician Ron Holm will join us.  Bring a friend!

T’Challa, Rey, and Clark Kent
January 12, 2020 at 10:00 a.m.
Rev. Dr. Matthew Johnson

What do these superheroes, each reluctant leaders, have to teach us about leadership and authority? We’ll explore the metaphors of Vibranium, the Force, and Kryptonite, think about the meanings of “Wakanda Forever” and “Truth, Justice, and the American Way,” and wonder about what it means to claim your superhero name.

Like Cooking A Small Fish
January 5, 2020
Rev. Dr. Matthew Johnson

Lao-Tzu says that “governing a large country is like cooking a small fish.”  Why might that be?  What are the spiritual qualities of leadership and authority?

Celebrating the Spirit of Kwanzaa
December 29, 2019
Rev. Joyce Palmer

Kwanzaa is a holiday designed to honor and celebrate African American culture, values, and community. During the Kwanzaa celebration, everyone pledges to work together to improve themselves and to make their community a better place to live. This is a celebration that all are welcome to join. 

Joyce Palmer served as the Assistant Minister at Unitarian Universalist Church West in Brookfield, WI. She received her Master of Divinity degree from the Candler School of Theology at Emory University in Atlanta, GA. She served as Director of Membership and Lay Ministry at All Souls Church UU, in Washington, DC. Joyce is the lead on the Marjorie Bowens Wheatley Scholarship Committee through the UU Women’s Federation. Joyce and her family recently moved back to Rockford, IL to live closer to family. Joyce currently works at Lutheran Social Services of Illinois as a Child Welfare Specialist Supervisor. She is also a Community Minister at the UU Church of Rockford. She enjoys reading, teaching Nia dance classes, spending time with her husband Tim and sons Dorien and Antonio, and walking her terrier mix, Rosey.

The UU Church-Rockford, IL
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