Films For Tough Times


Films for Tough Times — April 2023

The Mental Health Committee has selected the spiritual practice of viewing selected “Films for Tough Times.” The scarcity of mental health therapists and clinical psychologists, as America’s mental health needs have climbed, calls for the practice of self-care in not only personal relationships, but also with Planet Earth.

The newly-named Compassion, Peace, and Justice Mission notes that in order for there to be peace, there must be justice, and in order for there to be justice, there must be compassion.

In order to increase compassion-building for Earth Day (April 22),  the Mental Health Committee has chosen the viewing of The Green Planet (2022), narrated by David Attenborough. The strange and wonderful world of plants are revealed like never before. 

There are five hour-long episodes, unveiling the interdependency of humankind with nonhumankind, including Tropical Worlds, Worlds of Fresh Water, Seasonal Worlds, Desert Worlds, and Human Worlds. It is a testament to the immense complexity of our natural world.

The Biggest Little Farm (2019) is the true story of a natural farm built and based on biodiversity, with a recognition of interconnections, impermanence, and transformation.  The 8-year journey of John and Molly Chester, trading city living for 200 acres of barren farmland, reveals their dream to harvest in harmony with nature.  They provide a vital blueprint for better living and a healthier planet.

Here are the qualities used for evaluating the films for compassion-building, and for the outcomes hoped for, after watching each film:

Qualities for evaluating films include:

1. Demonstrating compassion given to all of humanity and to all of creation, so that the film makes us feel good about humanity and creation;
2. Making kindness a priority;
3. Working through uncomfortable situations, especially coming to terms with one’s own personal hurt, disappointment, and/or loneliness;
4. Having a joyful ending; and
5. Being free for borrowing at local public libraries or on YouTube.

Outcomes realized after watching a film includes these hopes:

Take note of the scene(s) which built up compassion within, for both humankind, and/or for nonhumankind.
Reflect with self, or a group, on the wisdom of compassion which could be applied to another current situation.
See, hear, and then act. “It only takes a spark to get a fire going,” wrote songwriter Kurt Kaiser in 1969: “That’s how it is with God’s love, once you’ve experienced it. You spread God’s love to everyone, you want to pass it on.”


​“Happy are people who are humble, because they will inherit the earth.”

​​Matthew 5:3 (Common English Bible) 

By the Presbytery of Chicago Mental Health Committee

Rev. Jefferson Caldeira, Moderator


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Pastoring for Justice & Healing in a Climate Crisis


On behalf of Creation Justice Ministries, the Anabaptist Climate Collaborative, Garrett Evangelical Theological Seminary, and Faith in Place, I’m reaching out to  invite your partnership in Pastoring for Justice & Healing in a Climate Crisis.”

Through this workshop at the Holy Wisdom Monastery in Madison, WI, we will explore climate impacts and ministry responses, including biblical, personal, scientific, community and congregational aspects of climate change.

We are offering this workshop for free to pastors and ministry in the region. We would like to invite you to share and support this opportunity for your leaders.

We invite your partnership in two ways: 

1. Share the attached letter or announcement below with pastors and congregations in your region. 

2. Consider being a co-sponsor by offering financial support. We have several sponsorship options listed in the attached document.

This retreat brings together the theological resources of Garrett Evangelical Theological Seminary with the ecumenical reach of Creation Justice Ministries, and the formational experiences developed by the Anabaptist Climate Collaborative. We begin with lunch on Monday, May 22 and continue until lunch on Wednesday, May 24. The application deadline is March 31, so please help publicize this soon! 

Creation Justice Ministries and the Anabaptist Climate Collaborative have decided to provide this event free of charge for those engaged in ministry in the region. In addition, other leaders who come with their pastor or executive are also free. Your support would help us over those costs. 

We have an exciting and diverse team of leaders from across the region. Presenters include:

· Rev. Dr. Otis Moss III, Senior Pastor of Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago, Illinois

· Victoria Loorz, “wild church pastor,” “eco-spiritual director,” and author of Church of the Wild

· Dr. Timothy Eberhart, Assistant Professor of Theology and Ecology at Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary

· Rev. Brian Sauder, President and Executive Director of Faith in Place

· Rev. Scott Onque, Pastor of St. Luke Missionary Baptist Church, a 100-year-old historic church on the south side of Chicago

· Doug Kaufman, Director of Pastoral Ecology at the Anabaptist Climate Collaborative

· Avery Davis Lamb and Karyn Bigelow, co-Executive Directors of Creation Justice Ministries

More information, including biographies and a full list of presenters, is available at or contact me at

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Church Furniture Giveaway

Hope UCC in Naperville is moving to a new space sharing location with another congregation at the end of this month. they have their altar, baptistry, pulpit, lectern, candles and 110 chairs to give away to any church that may need them. You would have to go and pick them up by the end of this month. Please get in touch with Pastor Rudra so you could arrange for a happy transition. 

Full Furniture Gallery

Rev. Dr. V. Rudra Dundzila, OCC (he, his, him)

Designated-Term Pastor

Hope UCC

1701 Quincy Ave #27

Naperville, IL 60540

Church: 630-922-0470

Pastor: 630-922-0471

Ministry days: Sundays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays

Height x width x depth Measurements

Altar – 36” x 72” x 38.5”

Baptismal font – 36.5” x 21” x 21”

Candle holders – 40” x 8” x 8”

Podium/Pulpit – 43.5” x 22.5” x 17.75”

Lecturn –  44.5” x 19.5”x 15.5”

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Lent Practices

Letting Go

Dear loved one –
I hope you let go.
I hope you let go of holding yourself to impossible
Lower the bar. Give yourself grace.
God delights in who you are.
And while you’re at it, I hope you let go of ignoring your beauty.

The mirror is tired of your harsh words, for you are
made of star stuff and music.
You are the only you there is, and you. are. simply. stunning.

And I hope you’ll let go of certainty.
For the sun will always rise and set, and you will always be loved.

What more do we really need to know than that?
So let go of your fear.
Let go of perfection.
Let go of busyness as a sign of your self-worth,

and the notion that creativity is a luxury.

Plant roots like a redwood,
and a spine like a sunflower;
For the days are short, and you are beautiful.
I love nothing more than to see you happy.

So don’t be afraid to let go.
The only thing you cannot lose is God’s, evergreen love.

 Sarah Are, from Sanctified Art: Cultivating and Letting Go




Tell me again.
Tell me again to cultivate new life-
a life where I believe in myself,
a life where, dare I say, I love myself.

Tell me again to cultivate new life –
a life of dancing in the kitchen
and slow cups of coffee;
a life where Sabbath is viewed as a gift
as opposed to a luxury;
a life where I trust my own voice
and speak words dripping in hope,
heavy in love.

Tell me again.
Tell me again because I will forget.
Tell me again because change has never come easy.
Tell me again, because on Monday I’ll wave palms
And by Friday I’ll be at the foot of a cross.
So if you can, tell me again
Of the love that changed the world,
And my invitation to do the same.
Sarah Are, from Sanctified Art: Cultivating and Letting Go

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The Grove City College Touring Choir

The Grove City College Touring Choir, under the direction of Associate Professor of Music, Dr. Katherine Mueller, is a select group of 43 singers. The choir consists of students from a variety of academic majors and tours annually throughout various regions of the United States. The GCC Touring Choir members desire to make beautiful music using the gifts and talents given them by God. In addition to the spring tour, the choir performs for churches, colleges, and community events in the western Pennsylvania area. Past honors include performing with Keith and Kristyn Getty, the Erie Symphony Orchestra, and the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra.

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