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Newsletter of 2nd Unitarian Church of Chicago
August 1, 2017
In This Issue...
Worship at 2U

Sunday, August 6
Service at 10:30
Worship Leader: Tom Denio
Sermon: Robert Collyer: A Man for Our Times
Music: Amanda Thomas
Accompanist: Carl Kennedy

Sunday, August 13
Intergen Service at 10:30
Worship Leader: Jim Redlich
Sermon: Embracing My Conflicted Life
Music: Linda Rest and Linda Rios
Accompanist: Carl Kennedy

Sunday, August 20
Service at 10:30
Preacher: Rev. Jennie Barrington
Sermon: Reflections on Neighborhood
Music: Reece Johns

Sunday, August 27
Service at 10:30
Preacher: Rev. Jennie Barrington
Sermon: Engaging with the Wider Community
Music: Kimberly Bares and MarySue Barrett
Accompanist: Carl Kennedy
__________________ ___
Children & Youth Faith Development Schedule
Child care for infants and toddlers is available every Sunday in the Green Caterpillar room.

Sunday, August 6
Summer Classes

Sunday, August 13
Intergenerational Service

Sunday, August 20
Summer Classes

Sunday, August 27
Summer Classes
Recent 2U Plate-Sharing Recipients

Church Office Information & Staff

Interim Minister
773-549-0260, ext. 13
Office Hours: 
B y appointment

Director of Faith Development
773-549-0260, ext. 12

Director of Music
773-549-0260, ext. 14

Congregational Administrator
773-549-0260, ext. 10
Office Hours: 
Mon-Thurs 10:00-4:00
Other days & times by appointment
Community Minister
Community Minister
2U Ministry Leaders

Board of Trustees


Buddhist Fellowship

Building & Grounds

Covenant of Earth & Sky

Fellowship Committee

Finance Committee

Green Sanctuary


Leadership Development and Nominating Committee


Lifespan Faith Dev.




Night Ministry Outreach

Pastoral Care

Safe Congregations 

Senior Potluck Lunch

Social Justice

Sunday Services

Transylvania Church


Young Adult Group
Board of Trustees 

From the Interim Minister, Rev. Jennie Barrington
"Gamache remembered being shown into Chief Inspector Comeau's office his first week on the job. The wiry, self-contained man told him the four sentences that lead to wisdom: 'I'm sorry.' 'I was wrong.' 'I need help.' and 'I don't know.' He'd never forgotten them, and when he took over as Chief Inspector, Gamache passed them on to each and every one of his agents. Some took them to heart; some forgot them immediately." [adapted from,
Bury Your Dead, by Louise Penny]

Dear Members and Friends,

Insights can come from some surprising sources. I've been reading the mystery novels of Louise Penny. They are set in the fictitious town of Three Pines, south of Montreal. [This temporarily satisfies my need to experience a country with calm and orderly national politics, but that's fodder for a whole 'nother newsletter column...]

In each of her Chief Inspector Gamache stories, Ms. Penny again reminds us of the four things that can guide us toward wisdom-- The ability to say: I'm sorry; I was wrong; I need help; and I don't know. Chief Inspector Gamache also always tells his new team members that they must listen; they must listen more than they talk; that listening is how they will learn; and that they won't really be learning while they are talking. All of these insights feel important enough to me to set them down in writing for us all, now, at the very start of our time together. Unlike some of Gamache's agents, I do not want to forget how important those four sentences are, nor how important it is that I listen more than I talk. Though I do not want to whine nor complain about the process of relocating from South Carolina to Chicago, it has been quite an undertaking. Though overall it has gone very smoothly, I never would have accomplished it without saying, many times: I don't know; I'm sorry; I was wrong; and most especially, I need help.

What this brings to mind for me is that our time together will be so much more rich and full if we dare to say to one another: I don't know, I'm sorry, I was wrong, and I need help. I certainly do not want any of us to do our ministry together trying to talk and act like some sort of definition of "perfect." One of the best things about an interim period is that it's a time when we can experiment, and try lots of new things, in new ways, all the while preserving 2U's most treasured traditions and stories. My time serving you, in your dear congregation and this fantastic city, will be a time for me, also, to do some things in new and different ways, both personally and professionally. I am imagining that, by talking and working together, we will come up with better answers to what is best for 2U, in this interim time, and in its future, than any one of us could figure out on our own-- especially if we keep in mind Chief Inspector Gamache's four sentences. I am happily looking forward to learning all about you and 2U. And I thank you so very much for this opportunity to serve as your Interim Minister. I can be contacted by phone at (773) 549-0260, ext. 13, or by email at

With care and cheer,
Rev. Jennie

"It's a privilege to be here."
Teach-In on State Budget Issues
August 6, 12pm, after service, join us in the sanctuary to learn some ways you can ensure investment in our community institutions, neighborhood programs, education and health care systems, and families. Jonah Bondurant will facilitate a workshop on the state budget and a few pieces of Illinois legislation including the TRUST Act, $15 minimum wage, Elected Representative School Board, and Closing the Carried Interest Loophole. These are all pieces of legislation included in Illinois People's Agenda which is championed by the Grassroots Collaborative, an alliance of membership-based organizations that includes our partner ONE Northside.
Beloved Conversations
September 22 to 23 , our congregation will kick off our inaugural offering of Dr. Mark Hick's Beloved Conversations. The program consists of a 1.5 day retreat that launches the curriculum, followed by 8 non-consecutive sessions of guided dialogue and experiential exercises, each two hours long.

The retreat will be held in community with other congregations and not at 2U, but the follow-up sessions will be at 2U.

Beloved Conversations is an experiential curriculum that provides a space to re-form/fuse the brokenness of racism into new patterns of thought and behavior ushering in social and spiritual healing. This is a small-group experience for approximately 10 to 12 people.

The curriculum differs from many approaches to anti-racism/multicultural work in that it frames the discussion not only in terms of demographic urgency or cultural critiques (both of which are useful to understand!), but how developing skills and the habits of an anti-racist mind helps everyone -- those in dominant groups as well as those who are targets of oppression -- heal from the wounds of racism. 

Interested? Have logistical questions?  Contact Tom Denio at  773.458.3674  or

For more information:

Webpage  at Meadville Lombard.

Discussion about the development of Beloved Conversationsvideo from Meadville Lombard.

Church of the Larger Fellowship Google hangout on Beloved Conversations at the VUU, in both podcast and video.
Social Justice Conversations
Saturday, August 12 and Thursday, August 24
6:00 to 8:30 p.m.
Palmer Room at 2U

With some community input, we have chosen two more evenings to meet up this summer to share food and conversations about current issues, what calls us to acts of social justice, and ideas about social justice in the coming months at Second Unitarian.

Want to lend a hand? Topics of conversation to share? Dates don't work? Out of town?  Contact us with questions or suggestions. Future Thursdays conflict with 2U Choir!

"Thank You Adam" 
Upon request, Jim Simonis is sharing his song, "Thank You Adam", for your personal use. Please download the sheet music here!
Healthy Financial Results for 2U's June 30, 2017 Fiscal Year End - Thank You!
The church's fiscal year ended June 30 and we are pleased to report that our appeals for pledge payments by year end were heard and we exceeded our pledge budget for the year by $7,269 with total pledges for the year of $218,360!  Many thanks to all who paid their pledges! Other revenues (collection plate $16,728, fundraising $12,262 net of expenses) also moderately exceeded budget. And net rental income was over budget by a strong $14,842 thanks to the fine work of Andrew Zallar, our Congregational Administrator. On the other hand, we spent more than budgeted on computer hardware and software, building supplies, building repairs and maintenance, etc. so that our net surplus for the year was $17,854. This will certainly help us with our ministerial transition.

As a result of your generosity , we were able to provide meals to the homeless via the Night Ministry ($2,036); and support community organizations such as the Lake View Pantry, RefugeeOne, Sit Stay Read, CAIR, Legal Assistance Foundation (LAF), Alexian Brothers Housing and Health Alliance, Jane Addams Senior Caucus, etc. with $8,355. In addition, we contributed $4,807 to the UUA and Mid America Region; and $1,000 in dues to 3 community organizations: ONE Northside, Community Renewal Society and the Chicago Council of Welcoming Churches. The Board and Rev. Robersmith allocated $500 to Black Lives of Unitarian Universalism ("BLUU") at our May board meeting. Donations to the Minister's Discretionary Fund (to help members & friends in need) were $2,323. It should be noted that our support for the UUA is well below the recommended Fair Share amount and for the year just ended we paid only 29% of Fair Share.

The July 11 board meeting allocated up to $8,405 of the surplus towards our Interim Minister's moving expenses which are in our contract with Rev. Jennie Barrington. We also allocated the full 20% of rental income from January 1 ($3,089) to the Building Fund. The Finance Committee and Board also discussed the expected need to use an extra $400 - 1,000 for the Beloved Conversations program this fall vs the $1,000 we had expected. And, we have been advised that search expenses for a settled minister will likely range between $10,000 and $15,000 over the next two years. So, there is no shortage of uses for additional funds.

We would also like to point out that our June installation of air conditioning in the sanctuary and Palmer Room was made possible thanks in large part to an anonymous donor who generously gave $24,000 for the project. A second anonymous donor also contributed $4,500 and directed the gift to a number of uses. Many thanks!

We continue to maintain satisfactory reserves in our bank account and are above the minimum level desired of 6 weeks of budgeted expenses. Let's keep up the good work - there is much to be done!
August Book Report
Hi Book Lovers,

Here's a newish book you may want to check out of our library.

The World as It Is, by Chris Hedges.

I have an ongoing discussion with my sister-in-law. She believes that the world is becoming better and better. I ask her periodically if that is still her answer. Hodges wrote this in 2011 and you can follow him and others in today in answering that question. Booklist, a reviewing source that librarians use said Hodges "analyzes politics, economics, health-care, reform, the environment, and foreign policy...and critiques policies favoring corporations over citizens." The book, published by Nation, is 352 pages. But book length isn't that important if the message or the content is important and interesting.
Pick Up the Kite String and Send It Soaring
When I think of a leader, I think of someone who has a magnetism that influences another to follow. This person doesn't necessarily need to be a boss, a religious leader, a state or national government official, or a professor/teacher.  There are many types and levels of leadership. Leadership does not have to begin in a huge capacity. It can begin by a small act. For instance, my first leadership role was a small one-in high school. A classmate's father had died, and I organized the class communication of our sympathy. We not only sent a card, we attended the funeral.

You may be a beginner leader and not even realize it. Or you might be a leader within a group bringing in new ideas or acts of kindness. On a study tour to Europe, I engaged in a conversation which essentially complained about our tour guide's leadership. One of the women listened for a moment, then walked away. Her act led me to walk away too from that complaining session. I still remember her example and try not to complain about a person to whom I haven't first spoken with directly.

Having been a part of the Leadership Development and Nominating Committee for several years, I have observed some good 2U leaders. These have been folks involved in various committees including but not limited to Hospitality, Finance, Religious education, Board of Trustees, and Leadership Development and Nominating Committee. I decided to ask several of these leaders their opinions on leadership. Because some opted for anonymity, I decided to keep all responses anonymous. I sent the following questions to over 20 people; 7 responded.

1) What is a great leader?
2) Do you see yourself as a great leader? Why, if yes/ Why not, if no.
3) Are there areas of leadership that you'd like to improve in your development?
4) Common mistakes that leaders make.
5) Why do you think folks are hesitant to be leaders?

A Great Leader Is:
  • Is one who knows how to move an organization forward to its goals without (or a minimum of) antagonizing the members of the organization.
  • Is one who knows the vision, the collective goal, and how to tell if it has been reached.
  • Is one who captures multiple views from a representative sample, find the wisdom and truth in the various perspectives, then create and articulate a path forward, adjust the plan as necessary, and rally everyone to the cause.  
  • Is one who can persuade those whose ideas aren't wholly integrated that their ideas are nonetheless valuable and were instrumental in developing the way.
  • Is one who is especially knowledgeable and understands the nuances and particulars of the situation.
  • Is one who is compassionate and firm, collaborative and decisive.
  • Is one who has boundless energy and focus.
  • Is one who is reflective and honest.
  • Is one who helps other people accomplish mutual goals, and who helps people be the best they can be on the way.
  • Is one who can articulate the vision and values of an organization to its stakeholder, and ensure the stakeholders support the vision and values and enable their successful implementation in the organization.
  • Is one who has the sensitivity to know her/his strengths and is able to invite advice/guidance on areas of weakness or unpreparedness.
  • Is one who can admit mistakes, but dares to go on without giving up or withdrawing.
  • Is one who is grounded in themselves and in their positivity and confidence, and that confidence radiates out to others.
  • Is one who has followers who feel empowered by that leader to be their best selves and do things that they might not have thought possible without the leader.
  • Is one who is good at listening and helping to communicate a vision and mission for the greater community that people feel engaged and passionate about.
  • Is one who spends as much time asking questions as telling people their own perspectives.
You, a Great Leader:
  • I think I am a good/very good leader, primarily because in past leadership positions I've been told that I am. While some leadership skills can be taught, it takes a certain amount of empathy for a person to become a great leader. If one listens carefully, and observes thoughtfully throughout their career, to all people in all situations, the skills to become a leader will be presented to you.
  • I think I have done a good job in several roles. In each of these roles, I was motivated by a singular purpose that helped guide my efforts. I learned through leading to be sympathetic to those who are willing to lead and to support them in their efforts by saying "yes" when asked and by serving as a sounding board.
  • I think I'm a good leader. "Great leader" seems too grand a phrase to say about oneself.
  • My wife says yes, but I am less certain. Why she says I'm good? Because I'm good at moving the ball forward.
  • No, I cannot say I'm a great leader because I tend to do the job at hand, instead of delegating or waiting for others to join in the task at hand.
  • Yes, depending on the situation. I enjoy working in a team, recognizing the strengths of team members, and driving the group toward goals.
  • Sometimes I have been a good leader when I have offered my talents and treasures to efforts that help others. At times I have not been a leader when I have shirked responsibility or not had the patience to understand and accept the perspectives and wants of others.
Any Areas of Leadership I'd Like to Develop:
  • There certainly are-always.
  • I would like to improve my public-speaking skills and learn more about the use of social media as an effective communications tool.
  • I'm always interested in strategies to reach goals with less time spent spinning wheels.
  • I've had various leadership positions in my career and during my retirement. While I'm still listening and observing, I think is it time to focus on the skills of those starting their careers.
  • Delegate, Delegate, Delegate and have faith that it will get done.
  • I get irritable in stressful situations or when I'm burned out. It's getting better.
  • Communication and listening are always areas that can be improved. Also finding ways to truly empower others by understanding them better would make me a better leader.
Common Mistakes Leaders Make:
  • They don't communicate or communicate well, to the stakeholders in the organization. Too often excuses are made about the reasons not to communicate: the topic is too complicated, you may scare people, they won't understand and may receive the news negatively, etc. All that is bull! Communication must be thoughtful to ensure there isn't unwanted results, but communicating continually is key to a successful organization.
  • They don't have communication channels developed throughout the organization so that information can not only flow down and across but also UP.
  • They are not completely honest to stakeholders about a situation the organization may face. I believe it takes all stakeholders to solve a problem. If you aren't honest, you quickly lose their support.
  • They get distracted from the project in front of them by wandering off on tangents.
  • One of the great challenges of leadership is to tease out of a person's story or position the underlying truth of that story and/or the reason for the position. It's hard to know sometimes why people believe what they believe, and this leads to misunderstandings. It's easy for leaders to make mistakes because there's incomplete or imperfect information. It's difficult to communicate effectively with an audience that's hard to reach and often inattentive. A common mistake is to give more weight to the opinion that's expressed the most loudly and to overlook or misunderstand those who are quiet.
  • They forget to let other people make decisions, and they feel that they must figure it out themselves.
  • They are impatient and just want to get the job done, so they do it. Others feel they aren't valued and stop being involved.
  • They get so caught in their vision that they aren't willing to listen to other options and therefore collaborate.
  • Often leaders are so focused on where they want to go that they forget to discern where others are. They also can sometimes be too slow in identifying the critical mass of a community and don't articulate the vision well enough to bring people along to take actions towards change. Sometimes they don't proactively communicate a vision in a way that people can also see.
Reasons Why There Is Hesitation to Accept Leadership:
  • It's a lot of work, responsibility, and pressure, and some take to it more naturally than others. Frankly, I think it is more important that we spend our resources on developing team players who can excel in an area and work with others well to be successful. We need a lot more excellent team players and project managers than leaders.
  • People don't see themselves as looking like what they think leaders look like. They don't see leadership as a shared task, and they're afraid of being stuck in a role forever.
  • It can be embarrassing if you fail. It can result in people not liking you. It is a lot of work.
  • People feel they aren't ready yet. They need more training or a better background before assuming a leadership position. They worry, what if nobody follows me, when I say, "Let's go..."
  • People are hesitant to lead because it's a very time-consuming effort. It's demanding and exhausting and there are a lot of things that can go wrong! I think that people often feel ill-equipped to lead, that they feel that they lack the skills. It's scary to be "the decider". But, leading at a place such as 2U is an unbelievably rewarding experience. People are supportive and appreciative and forgiving. We're almost always working with a common purpose. We listen to one another and assume the best of one another.
  • People are afraid of burning out with too much responsibility.
  • I think human beings have challenges often times in trusting leaders and building good followership. Leaders are often criticized and are lightning rods for conflict. It sometimes feels like a huge responsibility that is not always appreciated by others. Sometimes people make it into a bigger deal in their minds than it actually is. If the community at large communicated that every leader just needs to do their best and provided positive reinforcement and appreciation when leaders do the work and compassion when they make mistakes, perhaps people would feel better about it.
This discussion can go forward with your viewpoints on leadership. Perhaps you'll address different questions.

Are you a leader? Do you want to become one? Think of a forgotten kite fluttering on the ground. You can walk by and forget about it or pick up the kite's string and run with it. As you run, you'll watch it soar higher and higher. You and the kite are aloft. Watch for the next fluttering kite moment and pick up the string.

Further Reading from the 2U Library Collection (Note Call #)

Arnold, Jeffrey and Herb Miller. Starting Small Groups: Building Communities that Matter.  253.7 ARN

Hollister, William. Group Participation Methods. 301.14 HOL

Knight, Shauna Aura. The Leader Within: Articles on Community Building, Leadership, and Personal Growth. 291 KNI

Wikstrom, Erik. Serving with Grace: Lay Leadership as a Spiritual Practice. 253 WIK
Money Matters
What is our current financial condition? 
Our budget for the 2016-17 year was $303,451 or $5,836 per week!

Here is a summary of our current finances starting July 1 through June 30:

Actual Budgeted Over/Under Budget
Pledges $218,360
+ $7,269
New Pledges $3,074 $2,000
+ $1,074
Collection Plate $16,728 $15,000
+ $1,728
Special Gifts $14,970 $15,000
- $30
Fundraising $15,177 $14,000
+ $1,177
Space Sharing $37,512 $20,000
+ $17,512

If you have any questions about the budget or would like more information, please contact Andrew Zallar in the 2U office.

Collection Plate Sharing
In June, we raised $785.18 towards the collection plate sharing recipient, LAF.

Thank you all so much for helping to make 2U possible!
Interested in Social Justice?
Interested in social justice? If you haven't already, sign up for 2U's monthly social justice newsletter, The Hammer. You can "opt in" by clicking here  and entering your email. Both members and non-members are welcome to subscribe.
Do you love to shop? Do you love to support 2U? Well, now you can do both through AmazonSmile! 2U is now a supported charity on AmazonSmile. Click here to sign up and to learn more!
Stay Connected
Did you know that the UUA and MidAmerica Region UUA have their own respective newsletters?

Click here for more information about the UUA and click here to sign up for their newsletter, UU World .

Click here for more information about the MidAmerica Region UUA and click here to sign up for their newsletter.
Submission Deadlines
Have a message to put in the next Anvil or Orders of Service? Plan ahead! 

Please have all submissions for the next newsletter submitted by noon on Wednesday, August 9 .

Please have all submissions for the Orders of Service submitted by noon on the Wednesday prior to the Sunday you'd like the announcement to appear. All announcements are subject to change at the discretion of the Congregational Administrator. Space is limited!

Second Unitarian Church of Chicago
656 West Barry Avenue
Chicago, IL 60657

Phone:  (773) 549-0260
Office Hours: Monday through Thursday: 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM