September 28, 2017  |  Vol. 4 No. 39
A Love So Big It Holds No One Outside of the Circle
Rev. Jen Crow
I'm proud to be a part of this church on a daily basis, and this past week, that pride came through again.  On Tuesday night, we hosted a forum on the topic of homelessness for the mayoral candidates of Minneapolis. Eight candidates joined us, hearing and responding to questions read and crafted by people who know about homelessness from their own first hand experience. The idea came from our own Barb Melom, someone you may know from her leadership in Hats for the Homeless or from her tireless efforts to make life better for people living on the streets. Barb saw a need to focus the candidates' attention, and gathering up friends and volunteers from the congregation and partners from the community, she did something and she did something big. 

The church was packed  on Tuesday night with faces both familiar and new. It was an honor to host this event, and to offer the candidates and everyone who came a taste of who we are and what we are about at First Universalist. Sometimes it can be hard to describe what we believe in as Unitarian Universalists, so I thought I'd share my "elevator speech" from  Tuesday night here. We really can say a lot about who we are in under two minutes!

Good evening, and welcome. My name is Jennifer Crow and I am the Executive Minister here at First Universalist. Here at First Universalist Church we welcome, affirm and protect the light in each human heart, we listen deeply to where love is calling us next, and we act with courage, humility and compassion in service to justice. We do all of this as a faith communi ty deeply committe d to racial justice.
Eight Minneapolis mayoral candidates participated in a forum on homelessness held at church Sept. 26.

As a community of faith, we cannot and we do not endorse any particular candidate for any particular political office. 

As a community of faith, we can and we do endorse particular values and ideals that guide our civic engagement. 

Love is at the center of our faith, a love so big that it holds no one outside of the circle. 

Here in Minneapolis today, there are many people who are being held outside of the circle of love. We are appalled by the racial disparities in our city in education and employment, in housing, incarceration, opportunity, and in the experiences of police harassment and brutality. We can do better and we expect better. 

If justice is what love looks like in public, as the author and activist, Cornell West says, then we are a long way from being the city of love that we long to be. 

We look forward to hearing from you tonight, candidates, about how you will acknowledge and right the wrongs of the past and present. 

We welcome you the candidates, and we welcome you, the people, trusting that together we can create the city of love and justice we long for.  Welcome to this community of faith, and welcome to this conversation. 

I am, as always, grateful to be in this church and this ministry with each of you.

In faith,

October Worship Theme: Outsiders
Worship this Sunday
Sunday, Oct. 1, 9:30 & 11:15  a.m.
Sharing Sunday*
"This Is Us"
Rev. Ruth MacKenzie
What happens when the color of life turns gray? What happens when depression or anxiety get the best of us? Where do we turn when we are tested both physically and mentally? In this opening Sunday exploring the theme Outsiders, we will address the issues of mental health and illness, the ways in which we "outsider" one another, and "outsider" ourselves during times of trial. This service will feature the voices of those who live with mental illness, who work in the field of mental wellness, and those who walk alongside. *Children 4 years through 5th grade attend the first part of the service.
A Look Ahead
Sunday, Oct. 8, 9:30 & 11:15 a.m.
"I'm That, Too"
Rev. Jen Crow
Sunday, Oct. 15, 9:30 & 11:15 a.m.
Capital Campaign Wrap-Up Celebration
Rev. Kate Tucker

Recent Sermon Podcasts
September 24, 2017
"Stories of Intention"
Worship Associates
September 17, 2017
"Strategic Intentions"
Rev. Jen Crow
Listen to the podcast
September 10, 2017
"The Way of the River"
Rev. Jen Crow
September 3, 2017
"Sacred Reflections"
Pastor Danny Givens, Jr. and
Rev. Laurie Pound-Feille
Traffic Alert for Sunday, Oct. 1
Traffic alert: Please make sure plan for increased travel time to church this Sunday if any of this weekend's road closures will affect your area/route to church. The Twin Cities Marathon is happening this Sunday (see the course map here), plus I-35W will be closed between downtown Minneapolis and Hwy. 62 over this busy weekend - read more here.
Drop-In Capital Campaign Info Sessions 
Sundays, Oct. 1 & Oct. 8 after services
Learn about our vision for the future - deepening our presence in the city as a place of action as well as worship - and our ideas for renovations and construction to repair, improve, and make more accessible our Dupont Avenue home. If you haven't yet had a chance to sit down with a campaign volunteer to learn about the campaign, please plan to attend one of these sessions!
Artist's Reception with Martha Bird
Sunday, Oct. 1 after services
You're invited to an artist's reception this Sunday for an opportunity to meet artist Martha Bird and see more of her history in basketry. "Finding Focus: Returning to a First Love" is an exhibit featuring her work with willow from her travels. The exhibit has been on display in the Social Hall since August and is closing this Sunday.
Peace, Justice & Climate Change Forum I: 
"Implications of Climate Change
for War and Peace"
Sunday, Oct. 1, 12:45 p.m. in the Sanctuary
Climate change is not just a threat - it is also an opportunity for peace. In this panel discussion, three experts will discuss threats posed by climate change, including weather-related disasters, international conflicts due to water shortages, and population displacement. Panelists will also address how climate change problems offer opportunities for international collaboration and peaceful resolution of conflict. Learn more.  A second forum on a related topic will be held on Oct. 22. Find more information here .
Pathway to Membership Class
Sundays, Oct. 8 & 15, 1-3 p.m.
If First Universalist is feeling like your spiritual home, then we hope you'll take part in the Pathway to Membership! Joining First Universalist is a symbolic, spiritual act of saying "yes" to growing your soul in this place, with these people, within our free faith tradition. This new member class is a great chance to build community, explore Unitarian Universalism and our church's history, and learn how to get involved. To register, contact Sandy DiNanni at or 612-825-1701. Childcare is available free of charge with at least seven days advance notice.
Newcomer Circle
Sundays, Oct. 8, 15, 22 & 29, 1-2:30 p.m.
Are you new to First Universalist? Whether you are a recent visitor or a new member, you're invited to join a Newcomer Circle. These four-session gatherings of 6-10 newcomers offer a chance to get to know Unitarian Universalism, reflect on our spiritual journeys, and connect with other folks who are new to church. Registration is required. Sign up online here.
Let's Talk About White Fragility
Sunday, Oct. 15, 1-2:30 p.m.
When white people experience racial stress, we often withdraw, defend, cry, argue, minimize, ignore, and in other ways push back to regain our racial position and equilibrium: a response known as white fragility. This limits our capacity to bridge cross-racial divides and harms people of color. Join us for a conversation about white fragility based on "White Fragility," an essay by Dr. Robin DiAngelo. Please read the essay in advance; you can read it here. Discussion will be facilitated by Susan Schultz and Lark Weller.
Daytime Connections:
The Journey of the Hero & Heroine
Thursday, Oct. 19, 11 a.m.-1 p.m.
How does your life story fit into the larger, mythic story of human experience? The Rev. Barbara Kellett, Spiritual Director and First Universalist member, invites us into a deeper understanding of our life story. Join us in an exploration of this powerful roadmap to guide us through life's challenging phases. To register, contact Sandy DiNanni at or 612-825-1701. Lunch follows the program at 1 p.m. ($5-10 donation requested).
13th - A Documentary Screening in 2 parts
Sundays, Oct. 29 & Nov. 5, 1-3 p.m.
What does the passage of the 13th Amendment in 1865 have to do with today? Everything. The powerful documentary "13th" analyzes the criminalization of African Americans, the U.S. prison boom, and their relationship to the abolishment of slavery via the 13th Amendment.  Join us for a two-part screening and conversation in community.  Discussion will be led by Jeff Sylvestre and Margaret Manderfeld.
Moving Forward with Our Building Project:
Get to Know the Architects
With the capital campaign nearing completion, we are now moving forward with plans for our building project and renovations! In Spring 2017, our Architect Selection Committee developed criteria for sourcing and evaluating potential firms, and after interviews unanimously chose Miller Dunwiddie Architecture (MDA).  

Why Miller Dunwiddie? Miller Dunwiddie Architecture has extensive experience in churches, education buildings, and restoration work. (In fact, three members of our project team worked on the recent renovations/expansion at Unity Church-Unitarian in St. Paul.) In conversations with MDA, it was clear that the firm highly values teamwork, consensus building, careful listening, proactive communication, transparency, and stewardship of resources. They share our values on equity, community, sustainability, and commitment to employees in the form of fair wages and strong benefits. MDA is a 100% employee-owned company, and has intentionally formed a diverse team of employees that currently includes 45% women and 16% self-identified minorities. The architect selection committee, board and staff are confident that MDA is an excellent fit for our project.

Architect Paul May from MDA facilitates discussion and gathers input from Listening Session attendees on Sept. 27.
Read more about Miller Dunwiddie Architecture and about our core team (pictured above) on our websiteA summary (2012 to present) of how we arrived at this point in the project is also available on our website , as well as information about next steps. 

And thank you to all those who came out for our two Listening Sessions with the Architects this past week! Your input and feedback are much appreciated and will help the architects and building team as we move forward with design. 
An Exciting New Partnership:
Mental Health Connect Collaborative
First Universalist is now part of a brand new Mental Health Connect Collaborative. With grassroots efforts by long time church member, Martha Bird, an application was submitted to Bethlehem Lutheran's Mental Health Connect (MHC) program - in existence since 2015 to assist individuals and families in accessing and navigating mental health services. Each of the 10 member churches has members of its own congregation as Ambassadors dedicated to spreading awareness of the MHC program, helping start conversations about mental health, bringing events and resources to the community, and more.
First U's Mental Health Ambassadors, Michelle Tierney and Janet Houck, are happy to announce the launch of the " Make It OK" initiative to de-stigmatize mental health conditions and encourage us all to talk more openly about mental illness. In conjunction with Pastoral Care, headed by Rev. Ruth MacKenzie, you will begin to see posters around the church, informational articles, event announcements, workshops and a special church service on October 1.  We invite you all to join us as we begin this journey: "If we know more, we can do more. If we understand more, we'll Make it OK."  
Sign Up for Circles Now:
Registration Deadline is Sunday, Oct. 1
One of the core spiritual practices of this community takes place in circles: groups of 8-10 committed participants who gather to reflect on their lives and contemplate our worship themes. You are welcome to register this Sunday in the social hall, or online any time through October 1. Descriptions, schedules, and registration are all available online.
Sunday Flowers: Arrange, Donate, Share
Flower Arrangers Needed
If you enjoy Sunday flower arrangements, have a bit of creativity, and would like an enjoyable way to contribute to our congregation, consider arranging Sunday flowers. Committee members will be happy to assist you the first time or two as you select and arrange the flowers from your local florist or floral wholesaler.
Donating Sunday Flowers
If you have a special occasion or individual you would like to honor, consider donating a Sunday flower arrangement. A Visual Arts Member will consult with you, arrange your flowers, and the flowers will be yours after the services. 
Sharing Sunday Flowers
Wonder what happens to Sunday flower arrangements once the services are done? Most often, flowers are delivered to individuals in our congregation who are unable to attend services or who are experiencing a life-changing event.  Several more individuals are needed to help with this meaningful role. Please consider joining or forming a team of 2 - 3 people to distribute flowers on Sunday after the second service or on Monday. This will be a once a month commitment and is a meaningful way to connect with others in our congregation.  

For more information about any of these opportunities, contact Visual Arts Flower Chair Dick Rueter at
Time to Get Serious About Parking
We all know our parking lot overfills every Sunday. Last winter, 12 church members contacted a number of other churches to see what they do. The group has sifted through ideas and come up with two to try this year at First Universalist: shuttle service and ride sharing.  The goal is to double the number of family units accommodated by our lot.

Idea 1: Shuttle service to/from a nearby parking lot. This idea works well at White Bear UU. A team of 3-4 volunteer drivers with their own cars shuttle people from a nearby lot before each service, and back to the lot after each service.
Need: one or two coordinators to post sign up sheets in the social hall for volunteers to sign up for the month ahead, each volunteer taking one service on one or two Sundays. The coordinators will also monitor for problems. 

Idea 2: Members can agree to car pool to/from church with another member or family that lives near them. The two households would check in on a Saturday evening that the other family is also going to church, agree who will drive, and when pick up time is.
Need: one or two coordinators to take names of those who agree to try this and suggest ride sharing matches. The coordinators will also monitor for problems. 

If you can help us work on either, please speak with Larry Gottschalk at the Connecting Table in the social hall during coffee hour after either service this Sunday or next.
Lend-A-Hand Next Thursday
Could you join the  Lend-A- Hand group  on ThursdayOct. 5, from  9:30 a.m. to noon, to work on some fix-up projects at church?  Lend-A-Hand is a handy, high-spirited group of folks who come once a month on the first  Thursday , to fix up, mail, sort, paint, clean up, or do whatever jobs need doing to keep the church running smoothly, efficiently, and beautifully!  If you're available, please email Sandy at  or call Monday through  Thursday  from 3  to 9 p.m . We hope to see you there!
Donations for AFA Hope Food & Clothing Closets
First Universalist is beginning our sixth year of partnership with Augsburg Fairview Academy (AFA), one of our six faithful action Community Partners. Young adults from diverse communities who face educational barriers to achievement in traditional schools are welcomed into AFA, a charter high school  that prepares them for college, career and life. The 125+ students come from diverse backgrounds including African American, Somali, and Native American. Many are homeless or marginally housed during the school year.  The Hope Food and Clothing Closets were developed by AFA students; they chose this project to meet their needs and to provide hope. First Universalist is the primary contributor to the Hope Food and Clothing Closets.
We are currently focused on building up our supply of toiletries: toothpaste and toothbrushes, men's and women's deodorant, lotions, condoms, tampons and other sanitary products, chapstick, and ethnic hair products - buy these at Target, Wal-Mart, etc.  in the ethnic hair products aisle.
Clothing: hoodies; fall jackets; t-shirts; jeans for men and women; and men's and women's underwear and socks. Clothing should be clean, teen appropriate, and in good repair.
Bring items to the Hub on Sundays or drop off during the week at the shelves labeled for AFA by the 34th Street entrance. Thank you for your generosity!
Circle Suppers: A Great Way to Meet People!
"Sharing a meal in someone's home on a Saturday evening . . . I can't think of a better way to get to know people in our Church. We've been doing this for 20 years!" 

Circle Suppers are a decades-long tradition at First Universalist Church, and they are open to everyone in our beloved community. 
Meet at a different person's home for dinner on the first Saturday of each month from December through March. These intimate gatherings are a recipe for good conversation and good food while enjoying the camaraderie of other First U members. These are welcoming, adults only get-togethers for couples and singles. Everyone is responsible to host one time during the four months. Hosts determine the number of guests they can accommodate, usually 6-8 people. 

Sign up by Oct. 8 by calling or emailing Colleen Cavell at 612-323-4486 or

Circle Suppers begin with a Kick-Off Potluck in the social hall at church on Saturday, Nov. 11. 
Circle Suppers in member homes begin on Saturday, Dec. 2 and continue on Saturdays, Jan. 6, Feb. 3 and March 3. 
Become an Usher!
Ushers are needed for the 9:30 a.m. service on First and Fourth Sundays and the 11:15 a.m. service on First and Third Sundays. Ushering is a great way to meet others and help provide a welcoming Sunday morning experience once a month. If you're not free to make a monthly commitment, consider joining the team as a substitute usher. We can always use your help. If you'd like to know more or to volunteer, contact Karen Larson at
Association of Universalist Women (AUW) Fall Retreat
The AUW (Association of Universalist Women) Fall Retreat: Wide Open Heart will be held on Saturday, Nov. 4 from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at First Universalist Church.
This retreat, open to all women, will be a great way to relax, renew friendships, and share new experiences. Singer-songwriter Ellis will share her music.  Workshops include Belly Dancing, Nia, Beading, Painting, Handwriting Analysis, and much more. Free child care is available with one week notice. C ost is $35 for AUW members and $45 for non-members.

Sign up at church, by mail, or on AUW's website through October 29.   Contact Marilyn Lamoreux  612-388-3796  or Ann Styx  612-325-6747  with questions.
Cycle of Life and Pastoral Care
Let Us Keep You in Our Thoughts and Prayers
If you are experiencing a crisis or transition, or celebrating a joy, please let us know. To be included in our Cycle of Life each Sunday in worship, contact Sandy DiNanni at or 612-825-1701. If you would like support, call the office at 612-825-1701 or contact any member of our Pastoral Visitors Team.
Congregational Care: Caring Corner
Write a note to a congregant who could use support! There are cards available in the library, which is located off of the Social Hall. You are welcome to stop by and write a card at any time. Just leave it in the basket and the church will mail it for you. Learn more about congregational care on our website
Planned Giving & the Heritage Circle
Please let us know  when you designate First Universalist Church as a beneficiary in your will or estate plan so we can thank you for your generous commitment and welcome you to the Heritage Circle. The church office and the Planned Giving Committee can help you. Learn more on our website.
MN Interfaith Clergy for End-of-Life Options
Thursday, Oct. 5, 7-8 p.m. at Centennial United Methodist Church
Join Compassion & Choices and Minnesota Interfaith Clergy for End of Life Options (created by Rev. Harlan Limpert, First U member) for an event featuring Rev. Dr. Ignacio Castuera. Rev. Dr. Castuera is a graduate of the School of Theology at Claremont and was actively involved in the California End-of-Life Options campaign which culminated in the passage of that state's medical aid in dying law in 2015. He has a long career advocating for social justice and nonviolence, created a positive religious response to the AIDS pandemic in his religious community and became the first National Chaplain for Planned Parenthood Federation of America. Centennial United Methodist Church is located at 1524 County Rd C2 W. in St. Paul. RSVP here.
Radical Collaboration: MUUSJA's Annual Celebration & Fundraiser
Thursday, Oct. 5, 6 p.m. at First Universalist 
Join MUUSJA - Minnesota Unitarian Universalist Social Justice Alliance - for its Annual Fundraiser and Celebration, Transformative Collaboration: Honoring Partnership & Prophetic Witness for Justice.  This year's keynote will feature Rev. Karen Van Fossan, minister of the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Bismarck/Mandan, which has been a close partner with the Water Protectors at Standing Rock and other Native nations for the duration of the ongoing struggle to resist the Dakota Access Pipeline and work for Indigenous sovereignty. Speaking from her own experiences, Rev. Karen will reflect on the relationship between healing work and decolonization as spiritual justice practices, the transformative power of deep partnerships across experiences and identities, and the inevitability of making powerful mistakes in the work for powerful change. At the event, you'll also get to meet and hear from MUUSJA's new statewide organizer, Pastor Danny Givens, and enjoy food and drink from  the Sioux Chef Details & RSVP here.
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First Universalist Church of Minneapolis
3400 Dupont Ave. S.
Minneapolis, MN 55408
For staff contact information, please visit our Ministers and Staff page.
First Universalist Church of Minneapolis
3400 Dupont Avenue S.
Minneapolis, MN 55408


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