First U’s theme for April is emergence. Scroll down for thoughts about emergence for children, from Director of Religious Education Beth Moss. And photos!

April 1

April 8

April 15

April 22

April 28

April 29

May 5

  • OWL overnight – 5 pm to 9 am

May 6

  • All Creatures of the Earth and Sky: This Sunday, we will honor those furry, fluffy, scaled, shelled, and feathered friends who have been kind enough to grace us with their company. Please bring a photo of your beloved companions past and present to honor their memory, to show gratitude for the joy we share with them, and to wish them bright futures.
  • Multi-generational service: no RE

Questions? Please contact Beth Moss, our Director of Religious Education, at dre@firstuchicago.org.


On Emergence

This month’s theme is emergence. Just a few weeks ago, we celebrated the emergence of our new chalice lighters with a special dedication. Here, I share that chalice history once more, and honor the hard work of these young people as they make a transition in their church life.

Why does the chalice symbol matter? When Unitarian Universalists gather, we light a chalice as our sacred fire. Fire has been important to humans and to many faith traditions … but why, you might ask is that sacred fire inside a chalice important to us? As a creedless faith, there are but a few special things we consistently share. This is one of them, and in short, this is why.

A man named Hans Deutsch decided Unitarians needed a symbol to show refugees – from many different countries and faiths – that Unitarians were available to help them during the upheaval caused by World War II. When refugees saw the flaming chalice, they understood that the symbol stood for help. Unitarians loved being the church of the helping hands, and everything else the chalice stood for, so they kept it.

Today the flame gives us light, so we can see all different things. The two circles represent Unitarians and Universalists being united. Those two circles keep us all together, so we can help each other. The chalice, shaped like a communion cup, reminds us of our history as a Christian denomination, and today it reminds us we can share with each other, while the room inside the circles leaves space to invite everyone to come be a part of our church family.

This January, a few of our youth quietly found a new role as part of that church family. They became trained chalice lighters. Hidden behind the lectern, high fives and hugs have joyously celebrated the first time these young church members took on the important new responsibility of bringing that light to all of us.

I wanted to share that joy with everyone as we officially recognize our new chalice lighting crew. At church, the older trained chalice lighters were called upon to pass the flame to welcome the younger students into this new role. Please enjoy these photos of this special church event.

Keiran stands representing the previously trained chalice lighters

Twila stands representing the new chalice lighters

Keiran passes a flame lit from the chalice to Twila –
thus passing along the responsibility and honor
of becoming chalice lighters

Our new chalice lighters!
From left to right: Zoe, Tessa, Lex, Twila, Mathew, and Audra.
Not pictured, but honored in spirit: Zoey, Brian, Ty, and Addie.