With sincere apologies to EBB, EBB fans, sonnet fans, & English teachers everywhere, here goes:

We love you our bidders, our volunteers, our donors
From scarves & dinners and paintings & hikes,
To vans & vacation homes & games & bikes
We wish we could have our Auctioneer clone ya!
We love you for how often you lifted the bidding pen
We love you purely, we give you highest praise
We love you fiercely for all the times your paddle you raised
We love you and the passion you showed to win!
Our Sandburgers always add so much to the fun
Our volunteers kept their smiles even into the 13th hour
Having been there since the rising of the sun.
But all we saw were smiles, no countenance was dour-
And no wonder, with your help, we had an auction well done
Together, People, love + fun+ giving = GOAL-MEETING POWER!!!!

The Spirit of Generosity

As we embrace the season of giving, let us open our hearts to the transformative power of generosity. In this time of reflection and gratitude, let our actions speak volumes about the depth of our compassion and the strength of our faith community.  Generosity is not merely an act; it is a spiritual practice that connects us to a higher purpose.  When we give with open hearts, we participate in a sacred act that transcends the tangible, weaving a tapestry of love and support that binds us together.

In supporting our faith community, you are giving to the sustenance of sacred spaces where souls find solace, hearts find healing, and spirits find renewal. Your contributions of time, talent, and treasure become a vessel for carrying out the essence of our shared beliefs and values. No matter how or what you give, you are investing in the spiritual nourishment of our community.  

Speaking of giving, let us not overlook the practical considerations that come with end-of-year charitable giving. The tax benefits of end-of-year giving provide a unique opportunity to contribute to our financial health while also optimizing your tax deductions.  Check out these strategies to optimize your end-of-year giving (Kang, 2022*):

  1. Donate appreciated non-cash assets instead of cash. 
  2. Consider using a donor-advised fund account, making tax-deductible contributions before year-end, and deciding on grant recommendations next year. 
  3. Donate cash from the sale of depreciated securities.
  4. Use a part-gift, part-sale strategy to offset capital gains tax from investment portfolio rebalancing at year-end. 
  5. Contribute appreciated privately held business interests or real estate.
  6. Satisfy an IRA Required Minimum Distribution (RMD) through a Qualified Charitable Distribution (QCD). 
  7. Use a charitable deduction to offset the tax liability on a retirement account withdrawal or conversion to a Roth IRA.

*Talk to your own personal tax advisor about current strategies to maximize your unique situation.  

If you’d like to make a special year-end contribution, contributions can be made through Realm from your checking or savings account, and through the office for IRA or Brokerage account and donor advised giving.  You can also mail in or drop off your contribution.  If you’d like to explore Legacy Planning, please reach out with any questions and we can help connect you with someone from the Legacy Committee.  

In this season of reflection and gratitude, let our generosity be a testament to the love that binds us as a faith community. Let us give in the ways we can, whether it be incentified as a tax deduction or not, for every gift, no matter how large or small, is an act of demonstrating your commitment to our faith community and the work of our congregation.  May the spirit of generosity illuminate our path, strengthen our bonds, and inspire us to continue building a community founded on love, faith, and shared purpose.

With heartfelt appreciation for all you do,

Wendy Motch-Ellis, Director of Administration

Justice Ministry Film Night – Dec 1

Jeffery Robinson had one of the best educations in America. He went to Marquette University and Harvard Law School and has been a trial lawyer for over 40 years – as a public defender, in private practice, at the ACLU, and now at The Who We Are Project. In 2011, Robinson began raising his then 13-year-old nephew and, as a Black man raising a Black son, struggled with what to tell his son about racism in America. How, he wondered, did we get here? And when he started looking at our Nation’s history, Robinson was shocked by what he had not known. For the past 10 years, in community centers, concert halls, houses of worship, and conference rooms across America, he has been sharing what he learned. In WHO WE ARE – A Chronicle of Racism in America, Robinson faces his largest audience, asking all of us to examine who we are, where we come from, and who we want to be.

Anchored by Robinson’s 2018 performance at NYC’s historic Town Hall Theater, the film interweaves historical and present-day archival footage, Robinson’s personal story, and observational and interview footage capturing Robinson’s meetings with Black change-makers and eyewitnesses to history. From a hanging tree in Charleston, South Carolina, to a walking tour of the origins of slavery in colonial New York, to the site of a 1947 lynching in rural Alabama, the film brings history to life, exploring the enduring legacy of white supremacy and our collective responsibility to overcome it.

Note: This film will be shown in person in Sandburg Hall and on Zoom.   If you wish to view the film on Zoom, request a link from Charlie Wussow at

There will be a guided discussion after the screening of the film. 

Trailer          Runtime  118 min


Sometimes the Work is Resting

The downtown YMCA has a large glass jar at the front desk with bright, colorful strips of paper and an invitation to “take a blessing” upon entering or departing. Recently, on my way in, I chose a yellow strip with the words “sometimes the work is resting.” It felt like a message from the universe, a reminder to slow down, to put my commitments in perspective. 

In these times of heartbreak, frustration and anger, as war, gun violence, poverty and other oppressions are destroying so many lives, rest seems to be a luxury we can ill afford. But is it?  To live into our commitments there is work we must do, and we must also give ourselves permission to rest, to re-energize our spirits for the sustained engagement that allows us to live into our call, whatever that might be.  We need time for solitude and time to enjoy the company of our beloveds. We need time for laughter, joy and lightness. I have found that when I truly take time off by ignoring the inbox or silencing my phone while I am away, I return ready to re-engage, with greater creativity, enthusiasm, and a clearer vision for the work before me.
How about you, what is your call to live into your values in the world?
Do you allow yourself time to rest?

I invite you to consider Rev. Lynn Unger’s words from her poem, Camas Lilies

“And you—what of your rushed
and useful life? Imagine setting it all down—
papers, plans, appointments, everything—
leaving only a note: “Gone
to the fields to be lovely. Be back
when I’m through with blooming.” 

May your useful, precious life be one in which there is space for setting it all down and taking time to rest. And then, let’s get back to it. There is so much good work to do, good trouble to get into – if we’re rested and energized for the job!

In faith,

Rev. Claudia Jiménez