Letters from Leadership
As 2022 winds down and we approach the mid-point of our fiscal church year, it is a perfect time to step back and take pride in all we’ve accomplished. In her December 1st letter from the Board of Trustees, Krista Wagner shares a poem from Donna Ashworth.
So, in the spirit of acknowledgement and being seen, here is a list of some of the things we, as the living and breathing community that is UUCE, have accomplished in 2022.
- We reopened for on-site services on March 20 in the wake of a two-year pandemic.
- Religious Education (RE) classes were reborn under the guidance of our RE Coordinator Marjorie Askins, with two classes: one for those 11 and under and one for the Youth. Classes are made possible thanks to volunteer teachers.
- Live music returned to our services in early July under the guidance of our Music Director Chelsea Musson. In addition to her singing and playing violin at Sunday services, the Unichords (bell choir) and the Prairie Voices (vocal choir) each gave several performances throughout the balance of the year. And let’s not forget Music Sunday in November, the first on-site one in two and one-half years!
- We reopened Sunday childcare with the hiring of three new part-time staff, thanks to the efforts of our administrator Mila Brinker and others.
- Thanks to generous earmarked donations from two members and the efforts of the Audio/Video team, we began broadcasting our onsite Sunday services via Zoom, allowing those who cannot join us in person to experience the services and stay connected.
- Masks became optional for all attendees in mid-August. It was a long wait, but we all hung in there!
- The Revitalization Team planned and coordinated many social events including a winter bonfire, a Fox River Trail walk & Farmers Market gathering, camp night on church grounds, volunteering at the Food for Greater Elgin pantry, a Halloween movie night, a pre-Thanksgiving potluck, and a Christmas gift-wrapping party! Wow, what a list of great events, all designed to bring us closer together!
- The Worship Team provided 51 services – one for every Sunday of the year, with all but four written and/or delivered by members of that team! And not only did this team meet the demand for quantity, but the quality of the services remained outstanding throughout the year!
- UUCE’s commitment to social justice was strong, providing hot lunches every Monday to the PADS homeless shelter. We also continued our tradition of ‘Share the Plate’, donating a portion of non-pledge donations every Sunday, with more than $5500 being given to eleven different organizations.
- Small Groups began meeting in person again including several covenant groups, the Buddhist Sangha group, the Alice Macy Book Group, several Circle Supper dinners, and the wildly popular Ethnic Eating!
- The Finance Committee moved our finances into the 21st century going paperless and using email and online services to increase efficiency, reduce waste, and lower costs.
- Repairs and refinishing of our building’s exterior were completed a year ahead of schedule, ending the short era of free rent for the local bird population. More importantly though, it provides a fresh, welcoming face to our ‘prairie cathedral’ that invites people to come and check us out.
- And despite the pandemic, endless Zoom services, and the long wait for masks to disappear, we have grown in numbers of both members and friends of the church. We must be doing something right!
Borrowing from the Revitalization Team’s recent letter, Margaret Weis, in her poem “The Church Has Left the Building” reminds us that “… the church is us—each and every one of us—together.” I think the breadth of our accomplishments this year gives living proof of that. And the credit for our accomplishments must go to so many different people beyond our dedicated staff – many selfless, committed volunteers – that there was just not room to include names. But thank you to all who’ve worked so hard, giving of your time and effort to make these important events happen!
As I do most holiday seasons, I watched the classic Christmas movie It’s a Wonderful Life. And as I consider this list of amazing accomplishments resulting from the dedicated hard work of so many different people, I find myself thinking, “You see, we really do have a wonderful church!
Mike Moutrie, Executive Team Chair