ALUUC News

The latest ALUUC news about the Abraham Lincoln Unitarian Universalist Congregation!

Coronavirus Message: Sunday worship services & other in-person gatherings are POSTPONED

UPDATE March 27, 2020: Due to recommended health and safety guidelines which have been enacted in response to the pandemic, all church events and reservations are cancelled/postponed until the ALUUC board of directors has authorized a date for us to reopen. This decision will be made in accordance with Governor Pritzker’s orders.

Jump to Ways to Stay Connected and Other Resources…

Dear Members and Friends of ALUUC,

On Wednesday evening (March 11, 2020), the Board of Directors discussed appropriate steps that we intended to implement immediately in the hope of reducing the risk associated with coming into contact with the Coronavirus (COVID-19). As we have all heard, this disease has now been declared a pandemic, disrupting the lives of millions of people at home and abroad. In the thirty-six hours which have passed since the Board met, there has been a cascade of updates by health agencies, including the Sangamon County Department of Health which has declared that “cancellations are not an overreaction.” Although there are no confirmed reports of anyone living in central Illinois testing positive for this illness, countless local institutions, ranging from schools to museums, have responded by announcing closures and large events have been indefinitely postponed.

On Thursday, March 13, 2020, the President of the UUA, Rev. Susan Frederick-Smith issued a recommendation that all UU congregations suspend worship and other activities . I have consulted not only with UU colleagues but most especially with ALUUC Board President Deborah Hagan and we have agreed that the proper course to take at this time is to err on the side of caution. Therefore, starting with this Sunday, March 15, our regular Sunday worship services and other in-person gatherings – including concerts, groups, and other events – will be postponed, at least through the remainder of March 2020.

We understand that many of us value not only the content of our worship but also the bonds of fellowship – to address these needs, we are exploring ways so that groups and meetings can transition to on-line platforms. More details will be shared in the days ahead.

I would encourage each of us to reach out to our friends and family members, so many of whom are experiencing a lot of uncertainty and anxiety. This is an opportunity for all of us to create a deeper pastoral relationship with one another, albeit from a safe distance.

We will reassess the situation for April as things progress. Right now, our volunteers are exploring ways that we might pivot to worship online. Please check our website (www.aluuc.org) for updates. We will continue to post sermons, newsletters, etc., there. If you have not already joined the ALUUC Facebook Group, please consider doing that now — updates will be shared there too.

Last night, I wrote the following reflection and posted it on my Facebook page:

“Many people are now facing a sudden and significant disruption in their daily lives, if not their expectations. For some, this is a sobering moment, for others, chilling. As people of faith, we are reminded that throughout our lifetimes, each of us is often a vulnerable being, and that compassion is sorely needed. This appears to be such a time. Those in school, those who are employed, those with children, those already in ill health, etc., are experiencing much anxiety. Let us remember, as one blessed soul wrote, ‘that we are not isolated beings, but connected in mystery and wonder’ … and include that we are also connected to one another in our circles of care and concern. Let us be generous with one another, and may we find ways to uplift and support one another, through these difficult days and weeks.”

We hope that our response will alleviate some of the concerns raised by the current health crisis. Please feel free to call me if you have any questions.Sending my best wishes to one and all,

Rev. Martin Woulfe


Letter from UUA President, Rev. Susan Frederick-Gray:

Originally Published March 12, 2020

I know that this is a time of uncertainty and concern for all of us and I wanted to be in touch with you to share some of the ways that the UUA is deepening its response to COVID-19.

We are monitoring the situation closely and doing our best to implement public health and CDC recommendations. In Boston, the cases of COVID-19 have been doubling most days. On Monday, UUA leadership shifted staff to working virtually, I have suspended all of my travel at least through mid-April, and we are cancelling events or moving them to online formats.

Additionally, we strongly recommend that congregations avoid gatherings of more than 25 people, including worship and religious education for the time being.

Read the full letter at UUA.org…


Ways to Stay Connected

ALUUC Private* Facebook Group

facebook.com/groups/aluuc/
*You must request an invitation to join.

ALUUC Public Facebook Group

facebook.com/AbrahamLincolnUUCongregation/

Sunday Services by video are on ALUUC YouTube channel

YouTube videos of services…

Additional information is coming soon.

Rev. Woulfe’s Podcast

Rev. Woulfe’s is reaching out to the ALUUC Congregation while the State of Illinois continues “Shelter-in-Place” practices intended to mitigate the growing COVIC-19 pandemic.

Other Resources

Stores that Deliver, Ship, or Provide for Local Pick-Up in the Springfield Area

Facebook Group: Springfield Families Helping Families

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ALUUC Welcomes People to the 2018 Springfield, IL PrideFest!

Thanks to everyone who stopped by the ALUUC table at PrideFest to visit us and request information about our congregation.

ALUUC is a Welcoming Congregation that has participated in every PrideFest here in Springfield.  For 65 years, ALUUC has supported vulnerable communities and diversity.  We have long been a public advocate for Marriage Equality and for promoting the inherent worth & dignity of the LGBTQQA community in Central Illinois.

As our banner at PrideFest proclaimed:  We believe that Love is Love / Black Lives Matter / Climate Change is Real / No Human Being is Illegal / All Genders are Whole, Holy and Good / Women have Agency over their Bodies.

– Rev. Martin Woulfe
Abraham Lincoln Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Springfield

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Minister Takes His Stand In The Gun Debate

Excerpted from an article published on April 30th, 2018 by NPR Illinois at  http://nprillinois.org/post/minister-takes-his-stand-gun-debate

The Rev. Martin Woulfe of Springfield has spoken from the pulpit about the need for what he calls saner gun control measures.

His sermons at the Abraham Lincoln Unitarian Universalist Congregation preaching gun safety have gone back more than a decade. And he’s talked about gun violence as a social justice issue.

“It just seems that if you’re going to be a shooting enthusiast, you don’t really need an assault weapon,” he said. “And I think that it is a military weapon that properly belongs in the hands of a trained military person and is not designed to be a civilian weapon at all — that if someone seriously has concerns about guarding his or her castle that is not the weapon that a person ought to have at their disposal.”

What may be surprising is that Woulfe is a gun collector who shoots competitively with black powder weapons through the North-South Skirmish Association. The minister’s 17-gun collection includes modern and antique weapons. He’s got shotguns, handguns, rifles, carbines, a musket and a pistol.

Not every shooting enthusiast is a fan of Woulfe’s approach to guns.

But Woulfe says, “The notion of the militia is obsolete. I think, if we’re going to be honest, that waving the Second Amendment as permission for any individual to carry any type firearm at any time is a gross exaggeration and is contrary to the intent of  the authors of that document.”

Woulfe says something needs to be done in terms of gun control in this era of school shootings and mass murders.

“We wring our hands and we offer our hopes and prayers for the victims and their families, but we don’t do anything as far as curtailing the availability of certain weapons and certain accessories.

I think it’s been demonstrated to horrible effect just how effective it is to upgrade a weapon which is supposed to be fired by single-trigger action into a semi-automatic weapon and a silencer. I cannot see any reason anyone outside of a James Bond movie would need a silencer.”

Read the full story at NPR Illinois

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2013 March for Marriage Equality

Excerpted from an article by Unitarian Universalist Advocacy Network of Illinois (UUANI) on November 1st, 2013 http://www.uuani.org/new-blog/2017/5/20/illinois-uus-march-for-marriage-equality

Rev. Khleber Van Zandt didn’t think he or anyone else from First Unitarian Church of Alton would make it to Springfield for the March for Marriage Equality on October 22. Then at church two days before the event, he was talking with a 71 year-old member of the congregation who was apologizing for being a little grumpy. The member commented that it had been an emotional time in their life. Rev. Van Zandt suggested that perhaps he had said something that had made the member upset. “No,” the member replied, “it’s because I’m this close to being considered equal to you. I’ve been down in the bottom of the closet for 71 years, and it’s finally time I came all the way out so I can marry the person I love.” Both Rev. Van Zandt and the member made it to the March, along with five other members from Alton.

Stories like this were the heart of the day as 300 UU’s from 23 congregations – from Carbondale to Stockton, from McHenry to Quincy – gathered in Springfield to march for marriage equality and launch the Unitarian Universalist Advocacy Network of Illinois (UUANI). Buses full of UU’s left from Chicago, Evanston, Palatine, Naperville, Rockford, Peoria, and Bloomington starting at 6 am, and met in Springfield, where we birthed UUANI with songs and stories, leadership elections and lunch, and a rally and march at the state Capitol.

About 100 of us gathered first at Abraham Lincoln UU Congregation in Springfield. Over a soup and sandwich lunch graciously provided by the Springfield congregation, we got to know UU’s from other congregations and share why we were there and what we hoped for. Also with us were 5 young adults from the Ujima homeless shelter in Chicago, one of whom serenaded us on the piano.

UU’s were out in force at the Capitol, with at least a dozen Standing on the Side of Love banners and scores of yellow shirts. Four members of the Unitarian Church of Hinsdale met with their state legislator and helped clear up some of her misconceptions about the marriage equality bill. Meanwhile, dozens of UU’s continue to make calls from phone banks at their home congregations.

Sharing stories, making connections, building relationships, growing spiritually, deepening our values, creating partnerships, and putting all that into action that makes a difference – that’s what UUANI is all about.

Note: Marriage equality was passed in Illinois on November 5, and the governor signed the legislation on November 20.

Read the full article at UUANI.org

 

 

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ALUUC is a UUA “Honor Congregation”

The ALUUC received notice (August 31, 2010) that it has, once again, been recognized by
the Unitarian Universalist Association as an “Honor Congregation 2009-2010” for our full financial
support through contributions to the UUA Annual Program Fund. The letter-of-recognition
indicates that: “The UUA is keenly aware that the recent economic recession has posed
great challenges, and despite the challenges that your own congregation may have faced, your
congregation made the choice to contribute at the full requested level. This conveys a commitment
to fulfilling our mission of support to your convenental partners, the 1,050 member
congregations that bring our Unitarian Universalist principles and values out into the world.”

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Universalists offer support for Muslims

Letter to the Editor of the SJ-R Friday, September 10, 2010

On behalf of the Abraham Lincoln Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Springfield, we wish to extend our full support to our neighbors and friends within the Islamic community. We further offer our best wishes to you as you celebrate the end of Ramadan.

As a religious community, we are appalled by recent events across the nation that have sought to marginalize your community and demonize your religious tradition.

We condemn any violence directed toward our Muslim brothers and sisters; we further condemn the desecration or destruction of the Quran. Finally, we support the effort currently under way to establish a new Islamic community center in New York City.

It is our great hope that unlimited acts of good faith planted by people from the many religious traditions will eventually supplant the finite seeds sown by others through ignorance and hatred.

We do not doubt that such a goal will require much effort but we are confident in our eventual shared success: to paraphrase the Rev. Theodore Parker, a 19th century Unitarian minister who toiled for social justice, “The arc of the universe is long, but it bends towards justice.” We share his faith, and we trust that by acting justly towards one another, with loving mercy, and walking together, we may all further the blessings of Creation.

Kurt DeWeese, president of the Board of Directors
Rev. Martin E. Woulfe, minister,
Abraham Lincoln Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Springfield

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