In Appreciation and Gratitude

Nov 2022

Saying “goodbye” to Kathi Hillyer this past week was difficult. Kathi has been a member here for eleven years. During that time, she was active in many functions, a harmonious voice in the choir, the music librarian, and a valuable church leader. She was an important presence during her six years on the Board, first as a member, then as Secretary and finally as Vice President. She chaired the Worship Council and the Program Committee. When COVID struck, Kathi was one of the first Zoom worship assistants and quickly became skilled at all things technical. We were able to conduct virtual congregational meetings primarily because of Kathi’s organization and expertise. We would not have been able to get through the years of remote attendance without her determination. Kathi is moving to Milwaukee but has promised to stay in touch and visit every few months. I cannot overstate how much we benefitted from having her here and how much we’ll miss her talents and presence.

While I’m expressing gratitude, big kudos go to the Board which just completed one intensive retreat and is about to have another. The initial weekend saw the first Board retreat we’ve had in several years. This was a chance to build relationships and start the process of setting goals and priorities. We’ll have a second weekend retreat in early November with UUA consultant Rev. Dr. Lisa Presley. That one will be centered on the two-year process of our work with Rev. Denise as our Interim Minister. It’s a lot of work but is does help establish the foundation for moving us forward to this next chapter in our history. So don’t forget to thank your Board members for all they are doing.

Congratulations to our staff pianist, Dr. Janice Razaq on being named “Music Teacher of the Year” by the Illinois State Music Teachers Association. This well-deserved award is just one of many in Janice’s distinguished career.

Similarly, I want to congratulate Rev. Denise Cawley on being elected President of the Central Midwest District of the Unitarian Universalist Association. With Mike Gilley continuing as chair of the Chicago Area Unitarian Universalist Council, CCUU is well represented in our denomination.

Finally, I’m grateful for the continuation of our Thanksgiving Day Tromp. This tradition goes back many years. We meet at Deer Grove Forest Preserve in the morning, take a hike in the woods, express gratitude and celebrate being together. Since dinner is always at our house, I can attest that it’s possible to hike and host on the same day.

Times are exciting at Countryside. Amidst all our busyness, with Thanksgiving approaching, I’m grateful to be associated with all of you.

~ Tom Dempsey, CCUU Board President