The DuPage Unitarian Universalist Church exists as a beacon of liberal religious thought and practice. Amid the challenges and changes of a chaotic world, we aspire to proclaim and embody the possibilities of meaning in human life, of freedom in human thought, and of peace and justice in human community.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Speak flowers, speak! Our UU Flower Communion

Speak flowers, speak!  At the end of each service year we gather together to celebrate the time we have shared together, the community we have worked to build, and to wish the summer season in.

Please join us for our  Flower Communion on Sunday June 1st at 9:30am.

This annual ritual of our church is called the Unitarian flower communion. Developed by the Unitarian minister in Prague, Czechoslovakia, before WWII, it has become a favorite of many of our congregations. Bring a flower with you, and bring the children as this a time for the whole congregation to participate together in a ritual.

From the Unitarian Universalist Association the beauty of the communion is described this way:  
The significance of the flower communion is that as no two flowers are alike, so no two people are alike, yet each has a contribution to make. Together the different flowers form a beautiful bouquet. Our common bouquet would not be the same without the unique addition of each individual flower, and thus it is with our church community, it would not be the same without each and every one of us. Thus this service is a statement of our community.

Please visit our website HERE for current events and directions.  For more information about the flower communion please feel free to visit the Unitarian Universalist Association.  

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Unbroken Circle: Mental Health Awareness

DUUC Editor's Note:   May is Mental Health Month.  In addition to the national advocacy for and awareness of mental health issues our congregation has been working on creating an atmosphere of understanding and care in regards to mental health.  We recently hosted a training seminar for Mental Health First Aid  and our pastoral care group is working to strengthen our community as a place for support.  In this blog post one of our congregants, Paul Sellnow, explores the taboo behind mental health and shares with us a piece of his own journey.  For more information on mental health issues and awareness visit the National Alliance on Mental Health

A few days ago, one of my coworkers arrived at the office just before lunchtime and announced "I'm late because I had to drive my wife to the doctor's office. She broke her arm roller skating last night." He did not seem the least bit embarrassed by his wife's apparent lack of rinkmanship, nor did he appear to have any reservations about her character or strength of will.

Most of us are comfortable talking about physical injuries and ailments. I've broken three bones, and each of them has a story behind it. I'm not the least bit squeamish telling you that I have had my gall bladder removed. I hesitate slightly when mentioning my incident with thyroid cancer, only because the "C" word can cause needless consternation on the part of listeners. (Completely treated, more than five years ago, no cause for concern.)

Other topics in our lives may be more intimidating. Some of us may feel awkward talking about money or political views, concerned that relationships with those of different positions may be strained. Some of us may be reluctant to discuss sexual orientation or religious beliefs, worried that family or friends may not approve and may even break off relations and cut us out of their lives. These can be difficult conversations, but a healthy respect for the inherent worth and dignity of the other person will often get us through.

Mental illness, however, retains a stigma in many people's minds despite years of progress in diagnosis and treatment. I've never heard anyone arrive late to work saying "sorry I'm late, my wife had a schizophrenic episode and I had to have her committed." Yet everyone should know that mental illness is a brain disorder, not a character flaw or a lack of willpower, and definitely not a choice. We should be able to talk about it as openly as we would an appendectomy or tonsillectomy.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Life with addiction, mental illness and stigma

DUUC Editor's Note: Our fellow congregant,Ruth Elliott, has graciously shared with us her family's journey of addiction, mental illness and facing the stigma that goes with each. Ruth previously shared this story with our congregation and we appreciate her sharing it again here.

It started about 9 years ago with a handwriting tutor.  In grade three Graham’s handwriting was terrible. I found him a handwriting tutor and drove him there three times a week until we realized it wasn’t having any effect on his handwriting. Over the next year it became clear it was something more than sloppy penmanship, it was like his brain was going way too fast for his hand to keep up. I found him a psychologist, had him tested and to absolutely no one’s surprise he was diagnosed with ADHD, and so started a long and inglorious period where I became an expert on 504 education plans, communicating with teachers, school social workers, and psychologists. I learned everything I could about the –constantly changing - prescribed medications and while I was at it I tweaked his already pretty healthy diet in an effort to improve his concentration and focus. At some point he told me he was seeing colors that weren't there, I had his eyes checked – all normal, and chocked it up to an intelligent and creative kid’s imagination.