For Everybody...
Worship on Sunday, January 17, 10:00
Accepting God (On God's Terms)

Although we redirected things last week because of the attack on Congress, we have started a new sermon series on the book of Ecclesiastes. In all likelihood, Ecclesiastes is not super familiar to you - and who can blame you? The book can certainly sound like it has a pretty bleak message. For example, the opening lines in the traditional translation are "Vanity of vanities! All is vanity!" - but that sounds a lot less "fancy" when you realize that root word of "vanity" means "emptiness, nothingness." Not a cheery message. Or is it? We are calling this series "Accepting God (On God's Terms)," and we think there just may be an important message in this "bleak" book.

As Mike did last week, Grant is going to dig into the text this week, and bring out a message for today, part corrective of our assumptions, part challenge, part message of hope.

The online service will premier at 10:00 a.m. on Sunday morning, of course, and you can find the service on our YouTube Channel, here.

P.S. In case you didn't read this last week, I'll link again this letter from the Pastors of University Church at Yale about the January 6 attack on Congress. I thought it was excellent and many expressed to me their appreciation.
Important News About Our 9:07 Service, Now In-Person

We have decided to have our 9:07 service in-person, outdoors! And the first week was such a joy! It was wonderful to see so many of you in person - even masked from a safe distance.

Let's call it "Faithful by the Fireside!" Or perhaps, Friluftsliv. That's the Norwegian word for "open-air-living" and it is first and foremost about feeling the joy of being in nature and doing something that is meaningful. Knowing that we all need joy and connection to others in the dark of winter and with the limitations of corona-time, we are taking inspiration from our Scandinavian neighbors of the north, embracing nature and having our 9:07 service outdoors in-person. 

Intended to be a point of connection for all members of our congregation and all ages, this is a multi-generational service. Join us in the Close weekly for a 20ish-minute service focusing on the lessons we learn from children of the Bible. This week, Moses as a child! Winter through a child's eyes is magical and joyful! We'll capture that whimsical sense of wonder as we gather together, with safe social distancing, around a fire for this brief service. Bundle up and mask up. Fresh air and movement is good for us all!

We hope to see you there at 9:07 (and then perhaps "see" you again online at 10:00)! Please allow 10 feet distance between family units. Contact Carissa Kapcar for more information.
In Remembrance of Those Who Have Died from Covid -19
Tuesday, January 19, 4:30 p.m.

Next Tuesday at 4:30 p.m. we will be participating with other Hinsdale churches in the National Moment of Remembrance and Unity by ringing our church bells and lighting luminaria in memory of those lives lost to Covid-19. Wherever you are, we invite you to have a moment of silent prayer for those who grieve and to bring our community and country together in peace.
Annual Congregational Meeting
Sunday, January 31, via Zoom
We need you for a quorum!

Our Annual Congregational Meeting will be on Sunday, January 31, beginning at 11:00 a.m. (or immediately after the online 10:00 service). To continue to care for each other by not meeting in person, the meeting will be entirely online this year, via Zoom (here's the link - available in future emails also).

Before the meeting, all reports and action items will be emailed to the congregation on January 19 (and hardcopies can be requested). We will celebrate some of our mission and ministry in 2020, and vote on the important matters of our slate of officers and Ministry and committee members, our budget for 2021 (current draft budget available here), and some minor changes to the Constitution.

We encourage you to be part of this important meeting. If possible, please plan to for each person in your household to be logged in separately for the meeting (it will make voting easier). If you want to participate, but cannot use Zoom, please contact Moderator Marilyn Johnson, and we'll see if we can find an alternative.

We suspect it might be challenging to reach a quorum for the meeting, so we really need everyone to participate! We promise the meeting will go quickly, so please plan to login!

Draft Church Budget

At the Annual Congregational Meeting on January 31, we will vote on the church budget for 2021. Here is a copy for your review.

To request a hardcopy of the budget, or with any questions, just contact Laura LaPlaca, the Chair of Trustees. Thanks!
Staff News - Welcome to Carissa Kapcar!

We are very happy to welcome Carissa Kapcar to our church staff as our new Coordinator of Ministry with Families. Carissa is a member of the church and her family has been very active for many years. Currently raising three kids in the church and as the leader of one of the mom's groups with UCECP, Carissa knows the church and UCECP well. One of our goals for Carissa is making sure we are well attune to the current realities and needs of our young families, so we encourage you to have a conversation with her about church and family life today. She'd love to get to know you, so send her an email to say 'welcome," and let her know how you are doing in these days.
Are Girl Scout Cookies Happening in Corona-time?
Why yes, they are! Order here!

Church member Debbie Hopkins is a Girl Scout leader at Anne M. Jeans school in Willowbrook. This year the leaders are helping the girls with cookie sales since they have not been able to set up a cookie booth due to the pandemic and social distancing guidelines. However the revenue that they earn from the sale of cookies is important to cover the costs of the troop.

Information about the cookie sales is here. If you are ready to order, just go straight here! The deadline is Sunday, January 17. You have the option to have cookies delivered (by Debbie!) or shipped to you for an additional cost. Cookies should be delivered mid February. Any questions, please contact Penny Johnson. Thanks, and enjoy those Tagalongs!
Upcoming Events
Women of a Certain Age
January 17, 11:15 a.m.

The next Women of a Certain Age meeting will take place on Sunday, 1/17 at 11:15 am via Zoom. Kristen Lugo, Church Member and Directory Guru will help answer questions on keeping your cell phone and computers safe, changing passwords, phishing schemes and other things you want to know. This group meets for fellowship, friendship, and fun! ALL WOMEN ARE WELCOME!!! For more information please contact, Melissa Barnes Mann. Thanks!
Weekly Bible Study Each Wednesday - Online
Wednesdays, 3:00 - 4:15 p.m.

The truth is, the Bible is awesome. Not so sure about that? Then join us and give it another shot, at our weekly "everybody is welcome" Bible study. We meet online each Wednesday at 3:00 p.m. The sessions are about 75 minutes, and are led by Rev. Mike Solberg. All are welcome to join, consistently or sporadically, new to the Bible, or otherwise.
 
We meet online via Zoom. If you are interested in joining us, just save and click on this link (it will be in future emails too): https://us02web.zoom.us/j/84028449233
 
Email Mike if you have any questions. Again, all are welcome, and we look forward to learning together!
Authentic Woman Discussion Group - Caste
Wednesdays, 10:00 a.m.

America today and throughout history has been shaped by a hidden caste system, a rigid hierarchy of human rankings. In Caste, by Isabel Wilkerson, the author discusses why the cruel logic of caste requires a bottom rung for those in the middle to measure themselves against. Addressing the difficult realities, the author also looks at ways to move beyond the destructive separations of life divisions and work towards the hope of mending humanity.

The Authentic Women’s Discussion Group will continue our Zoom discussions, and you are welcome to join us in reading about 30 pages a week and having a hearty discussion each Wednesday morning at 10:00. The book Caste is currently on the New York Times Bestseller list and has been recommended by many organizations as the best Social Justice book of 2020. Jacki Peterson Sluder continues as our excellent discussion leader. How about taking an hour or so out of your schedule for friendship and “growth”! Email Sue Nibeck for more information.

Other Important Stuff
Need something announced in the midweek email or online?

Send any requests to disseminate information to the Union Church congregation to communications@uchinsdale.org. This allows the email to be distributed to everyone involved in getting the word out.