Advent, Business and Christmas!

Advent has begun! Our annual Advent Festival will NOT happen this year. With more people worshiping in person but not quite ready to gather together over food in the dining room, and others “Zoomed out,” we decided to instead add some fun to our Annual Congregational Meeting as a way of connecting more safely while reflecting on 2021 and planning for 2022.

The Annual Congregational Meeting IS happening Sunday, December 12 at noon. If you’re in the sanctuary for morning worship, plan to stay for the meeting. If you’re worshiping on Facebook Live, join us via Zoom (you’ll find the link on the calendar). It won’t be all business: we promise to work a little festiveness into our time together. Never been to an annual meeting at University Church? Then find out what it’s all about! (Spoiler alert: we’ll do a brief review of activities during 2021, vote on board members for 2022, and review and approve the 2022 budget. )

If you need a little nudge to get you in the Christmas spirit, music might be just what you need. Charles Hayes will direct the Chatham Choral Ensemble and University Church’s Bunton Sanctuary Choir at a free Christmas Concert Sunday, December 19, at 4:00 PM in the sanctuary. Masks are mandatory, and distanced seating will be enforced. If you’d rather watch from home, the concert will be live streamed on Facebook Live.

To settle our spirits into the wonder and awe of the birth of the Christ child, we’ll meet together for our special Christmas Eve Eve service on Thursday, December 23 at 6:00 PM in the sanctuary. The service will also be live streamed on Facebook Live.

Join us every Sunday at 10:30 AM in person or on Facebook Live for our weekly worship service. We will celebrate Christmas and Kwanzaa during our morning service Sunday, December 26, with reflections, music and drumming.

For last minute stocking stuffers, Barb H will be selling a few Fair Trade items in the library after the worship service December 19, including coffee, tea and chocolate.

We look forward to seeing you and hope you will join our community as much as possible during the holiday season!

—University Church Staff

Returning to in-Person Worship

September 15, 2021
Hello All,

For the past few months we have been discerning when to open our pews again for Sunday worship. We’ve been listening to you and following the science closely, and I write to you with good news! At our latest meeting, our church board has discerned that it is time to gather again physically at 5655 S. University Avenue. The plan is to make the in-person option available beginning September 26, with a few notable safety measures (in addition to more regular building cleaning, which is already happening) listed below:

  • Masks over the nose and mouth to be worn at all times while in the building, regardless of vaccination status.
  • If you are not feeling well or are experiencing known Covid symptoms, we ask you to stay home and participate in worship online.
  • Specially marked seating to respect 6’ physical distancing.
  • Frequent hand washing and sanitizing.
  • All church staff have been vaccinated.
  • If you are traveling out of state, a 14-day quarantine period is required (per city guidelines).
  • Congregational singing, passing the peace, offering, communion and other parts of the service will be adjusted to limit known risk factors.
  • Liturgists during service may unmask while speaking, but will immediately re-mask after, and all equipment will be sanitized regularly during service.

Please note that we will continue to gather online and will reformat the service for a hybrid model that allows for those not in the building to still participate in meaningful ways. Also note that we are figuring out separate protocols for our children’s program, so families will need to remain together in the sanctuary in the meantime.

We understand and appreciate that not all parishioners will feel comfortable or be physically able to join us in person on Sunday, September 26, or at any point in the near future. We respect you, we love you, and we consider you no less a part of this church family regardless of how you show up.

I want to thank the board, staff and volunteers for their faithful work over the past several months, continuing to be the church while our pastor was on sabbatical.

We want to welcome everyone and enjoy fellowship safely on September 26 and moving forward.

If you have any questions or concerns, or if you want to help us realize this plan, please be sure to reach out. We will continue to listen and adjust as needed, as we strive to ensure that everyone is comfortable and feels safe during worship.

Peace be with you all,
Deidre Searcy-Long
University Church Board Moderator
Posted 09.15.2021

For All the Saints…

University Church lost three pillars the first week of August: Pat Wilcoxen, Curtys Berry, and Glenn Klipp.

Pat Wilcoxen was respected and beloved not only in our church congregation, but throughout Chicago and especially the South Side as she tirelessly advocated for affordable housing, and racial and economic equity. Her firm yet gentle way of communicating (always with a smile on her face) made her an effective negotiator, and she usually was able to accomplish what she set out to do. Pat was surrounded by family August 6 as she made her transition.

A memorial service will be held in person Friday, September 10, at 2:00 PM in the sanctuary of University Church. The service will be live streamed on Facebook Live for those who cannot, or prefer not to, attend in person.

For those who had the good fortune to sing in the church choir with Curtys Berry, you have witnessed his sharp wit and his clear voice that anchored the bass section. If you were in the congregation when the choir sang “Total Praise,” you watched him sing his heart out with his entire body. And his genuine concern for others showed up during prayers of the people during worship services: always prayers for others; never for himself. Curtys passed away August 6 after battling multiple myeloma.

Arrangements for Curtys: Visitation at A.A. Rayner Funeral Home, 318 East 71st Street, Chicago, Thursday, August 19, from 3:00-7:00 PM.
Funeral: Friday, August 20, 11:00 AM at University Church with visitation from 10:00-11:00 and burial immediately following the service.

Glenn Klipp was a one-of-a-kind music director at UChurch (2004-2012), with the uncanny ability to work patiently with even the nearly tone deaf. He was always positive, and somehow managed to smile his way through any mistakes the choir may have made. He always made time for whoever walked in the door and into his “east aisle ministry” during choir rehearsals, frequently giving up his last dollar or offering a ride to anyone who asked. Glenn spent his last few years of life with his daughter and her family in the Netherlands, who cared for him during his dementia until he passed away last week.

We are continuing in prayer for their families and our community as we mourn their transitions from this life and honor their legacies. The Spirit of God continues to comfort us and unites us with them as they join the great cloud of witnesses before us.

Summer Fun 2021

Summer Fun 2021

Here’s a list of the remaining August activities planned for church fun while Pastor Julian is on sabbatical. Please check this list, the church calendar, and the outgoing phone message (773-363-8142 ext. 4) for updates. Each event is also posted on the church’s Facebook page. Unless otherwise noted, please RSVP to Valerie by email, text, or by voice after 5:00 PM weekdays.

From Valerie, our Summer Fun Coordinator:

We are winding down this Summer of fun and celebrating community with two more Saturday events. All of our events meet CDC guidelines by default because 6-10 people participate and they are outside or on Zoom.

SATURDAY, AUGUST 21: Lunch on the Beach! The church will buy lunch for all those who come and RSVP (thanks to the pastor’s sabbatical grant). We will meet at the church at 11:00 AM to car pool to Rainbow Beach. So far, the Mayfields and I are feasting and playing in the sand. Please e-mail me your RSVP by Wednesday August 25.

SUNDAY PICNICS, 4:00 PM: Our new location for the 4 pm picnic is fabulous! There are benches in a shaded, wide-open grassy area. It is in the park by Amanda’s Garden at the end of Kenwood Ave. just south of 56th Street, next to Ray School. It’s across the street from Andrew’s house, so good bet he’ll be there. We have such a delightful time that some of us are talking about continuing the picnics into September. (Beware— Valerie usually brings a sweet treat she has baked from scratch to share with whoever attends!)

Seven UChurch members pose for a photo during the lakefront walk Saturday, August 7.
A few hearty souls faced the hot weather and took a walk along the lakefront after coffee, tea, and snacks at the Havens’ on August 7.

In Memoriam: Rev. Dr. Eugene Winkler (1933-2017)

We are saddened to announce the death of Rev. Dr. Eugene Winkler, our beloved interim pastor from 2008-2010 and, as his son Jim put it, a “fearless advocate for social justice.” From being a founding member of Protestants for the Common Good to the very first contact that began our work with the trauma center coalition, “Gene” was a giant in Chicago and in this congregation. He served for years as pastor of Chicago Temple, a United Methodist congregation right across from City Hall. Many don’t know the street right in front of Chicago Temple is named Eugene H. Winkler Way.

We usually will make this page available for you to make remembrances, tell stories, and share condolences, but the family has a page already and we invite you to use that.

Also, please read the touching tribute given by his son, Jim Winkler, who is the current President and General Secretary of the National Council of Churches…

A memorial service will be held Saturday, June 24, 11am at:

Barrington United Methodist Church
98 Algonquin Road, Barrington, IL 60010

In lieu of flowers memorials may be made to Barrington UMC, where another son, Rev. Chris Winkler, is senior pastor. Gene’s legacy continues on. He lived in power. May he rest in peace.

Summer Fun 2021

Remembering Irving Bunton

The University Church community is saddened to announce the passing of Irving Bunton, our Music Director Emeritus and a shining light in our congregation. Irving was a giant in the Chicago music community, using his gifted ear to serve as a teacher, mentor, and friend, and he was beloved by his five children and wife, Ragina. Let us keep the Bunton family in our prayers.

A homegoing service filled with the beautiful music he loved was held September 19, 2015, at Second Presbyterian Church in Chicago.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to the Irving Bunton Memorial Skinner Pipe Organ Fund. Make checks payable to University Church, 5655 S. University Ave., Chicago, IL 60637.

Let us PRAISE GOD for the life of Irving Bunton, our beloved maestro!!!


Summer Fun 2021

Pastor Julian on the Chicago Sunday Evening Club

CSEC-2Rev. Julian DeShazier, Pastor of University Church will appear on the Chicago Sunday Evening Club documentary, Violence in Chicago: Responding in Faith. The documentary highlights the city-wide cost of violence for all the citizens of Chicago – the damage done not only by bullets but by feelings of fear and hopelessness that stretch from the inner-city neighborhoods to the suburbs. We hear from journalists, government leaders, and victims of violence, as we explore the dynamic between acute and chronic violence throughout Chicagoland. The documentary premieres on May 28, 2015 at 9:00 pm on Channel 11.

Summer Fun 2021

Remembering Charles Harvey Lord

A brief biography of Charles Harvey Lord


Harvey Lord0008A native of Little Rock, Arkansas, Harvey was ordained into the Christian ministry in 1947. He received his B.A. (1945) from Phillips University in Oklahoma, his M. Div (1952) from Union Theological Seminary, an M.A. (1965) from the University of Chicago, and his Ph.D. from the University of Chicago while serving University Church. Harvey married his sweetheart, May Sweet Lord, who preceded him in death in 2011. Harvey Lord0001Harvey served in ministry in the Philippines, where his oldest son, Timothy, was born. He also served in ministry positions at Northern Christian College, the Vigan Christian Training Institute, Apayao Christian High School, and prior to University Church, Harvey served as pastor of First Christian Church in Edmond, Oklahoma, where his son Stephen and daughter, Marilyn were born.

Harvey also served as organizing pastor of the Christian Church in Villa Park prior to joining University Church. Harvey also served at the Christian Theological Seminary in Indianapolis where he became a leading political organizer. Harvey began his ministry at University Church as co-minister with Charles Bayer until 1973, when Charles resigned. Harvey again entered into shared ministry when Peg Stern served alongside him from 1973 to 1982. Harvey Lord0005

It was during Harvey’s pastorate that Juan Jose and Maria Teresa Gomez and their three children entered into Sanctuary at University Church as we began our decades long relationship with Saq Ja’ which continues as the current delegation of University Church prepares to head to Guatemala. Harvey Lord0003

As he prepared to retire from active ministry in his final message to the University Church community in the June 1989 edition of the Messenger, Harvey said, “I fell in love with this congregation…you are an exceptional people…thank you for our time together.” As a community, through our sadness, we remember that Harvey was an exceptional human being who sought after God’s heart. We thank God for allowing Harvey to reside with us as we commit his soul, with great gladness for his time with us, to eternity.

FLY and the Trauma Center Campaign Win

FLY and the Trauma Center Campaign Win

Mourning has BrokenOn December 4th, Vimary Couvertier-Cruz, Tangie Purvis, JC Wilson, Jené Colvin, and Johnny Kline were part of a performance called Mourning Has Broken, a multi-media, interactive play in three acts. Set in current-day Chicago, it seeks to address and ameliorate, i.e., “metabolize” the collective trauma all of humanity is undergoing as a result of historical, ongoing, and unrelenting warfare, including urban warfare. Chicago Theological Seminary’s Dr. JoAnne Marie Terrell and students of the course TEC 484
Theological and Ethical Perspectives on AIDS and Violence have written and produced this timely and relevant play in recognition of the 100-year anniversary of World War I and many subsequent wars – World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, the Gulf War, and the Iraq War – and the long-term consequences of such massive violence for our lives together. The story follows the lives of centenarian Olivia Bible Whisler and Chiquita Jones, her nursing assistant, permitting us to recoil in horror at the violence of militarized police, giving us inner perspective on the dynamics of repressed trauma and the need for mourning, and calling us to the work of building a fence around the most vulnerable of our neighbors. 

On December 8, 2014, The Univ of Chicago Children’s Trauma Center announced that they have raised the age limit up to 18 for children needing trauma care!!! Now all children on the southside have access to trauma care. This is a major step in the right direction and though there is still work to be done, we celebrate this news. View the story in the Chicago Sun Times here

Canata Preschool Making a Difference in Angola

 —by the Angola Partnership Group
We have received a letter of appreciation from Rev. Jose and Eva Chipenda acknowledging the impact of our University Church partnership with IECA (Evangelical Congregational Church in Angola. As forwarded to Rev. Jorge Morales, the Conference Minister of the Illinois Conference–UCC, we also want to share it with everyone at University Church, especially those of you who have so generously supported our Angola Partnership:

Dear Rev. Jorge Morales:

We are writing to thank the Illinois Conference for forwarding a generous contribution of $1,000 towards the work at the Canata Preschool Program, reflecting support provided by University Church, a member church of the statewide Angola Partnership. (This) support over the years has been and continues to be instrumental and greatly appreciated and has helped further our work. Donna Dudley brought us the check since we are visiting family here in North Carolina and we had a very good visit.

We are currently putting together a short picture presentation of the program, which we will send under separate cover. In addition, please know you have an open invitation to visit Angola to see the work first hand and strengthen the partnership with the Evangelical Congregational Church of Angola.

Wishing you blessings in your work,
Rev. Jose and Eva Chipenda

We are excited that 2012 marks the tenth anniversary of University Church’s Angola Partnership with IECA.  On Sunday February 12, the picture presentation of the Pre-School Program mentioned by the Chipendas will be available for viewing as part of our Angola Sunday.  Please, mark your calendars to come join the celebration of our partnership as we recommit ourselves to walking with our Angolan brothers and sisters as they declare that God is at work in their midst!