Editor’s Note: eNews Park Forest photographer Wendy Heise continues her photo spotlight on places of worship in the Park Forest and surrounding areas. More photos are available here.
Park Forest, IL—(ENEWSPF)— What do Isaac Newton, Thomas Paine, Daniel Webster, Frank Lloyd Wright, Kurt Vonnegut and Park Forest all have in common?
Besides being American icons, each of those individuals were Unitarian Universalists, and Park Forest is home to a church carrying on that faith tradition at the Unitarian Universalist Community Church on Sycamore Drive.
According to official literature, Unitarian Universalism is a “faith that aspires to be a truthful, serving, holy, and loving community”.
With American roots going back to the Congregational parish churches of New England, Unitarian Universalists continue to attract people today who are looking for a religious home where the free and responsible search for truth and meaning is embraced.
The Unitarian Universalist Community Church in Park Forest has been serving the community for over 50 years, offering a multi-faceted approach to religious and social involvement.
“Connections not differences” is the phrase that captures the heart of this congregation.
Rev. Ana Levy-Lyons, a graduate of Brown University and the University of Chicago came to UUCC in October 2007 to pastor the church.
Levy, along with other members of the congregation, has begun a four-pronged approach to growth and reaching out to the community that utilizes Marketing, Welcoming, Integrating, and Serving.
A quick glance at the church’s activities support those efforts: a Soup Kitchen Fundraiser; yoga classes; Covenant and Meditation Groups; the Rainbow Café –a once a month community service and outreach intended for gay men and women, bisexual and transgendered adults and their allies; regular book discussions and forums; and member involvement in community projects such as Habitat for Humanity and the PADS shelter program.
Children and families are a high priority within UUCC, and the current Sunday, series geared towards children, is Life Lessons with Dr. Seuss.
The church’s facility is warm and inviting, situated in a wooded area on Sycamore Drive.
Recently, UUCC held their first Earth Day Seder.
Taking elements from the traditional Passover Seder, the Earth Day Seder takes the story of liberation and applies it to the environmental issues facing our planet today.
“Let My People Go” becomes “Let My Planet Go.” The lively discussion during the meal time revolves around the concept of liberating the earth from modern-day plagues. Each food item is organic and vegetarian.
The Earth Day Seder was a new concept introduced by Levy, who has a background prior to ministry as a singer-songwriter, bringing a creative energy to UUCC in music and the spoken word in her role as pastor.
“We offer something unique to the south suburbs,” says Levy. “This is a place where religious liberties come together, a place where people can be supported in their quest for truth and spirituality.”
Readers can explore more about the UUCC of Park Forest at their web site – http://www.uuccpf.org.
More pictures from the Earth Day Seder are available here in the eNews Park Forest Photo Gallery.
God speaks to Moses from the burning bush at the Earth Day Seder. (Photo: Wendy Heise)
Chuck Anderson is Pastor of Reunion Church in Frankfort, IL. This is our second article in our series on churches and places of worship in the Park Forest area.
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