November 22, 2017  |  Vol. 4 No. 47
"Christmas Is Not Your Birthday!"
Rev. Justin Schroeder
"Christmas is not your birthday!"

That's a what a Christian colleague of mine once said, as we talked about Christmas pageants, candlelight services, and how we celebrate Christmas in our respective traditions.

"Christmas is not your birthday." That line has stuck with me.
Perhaps a few of us were actually born on December 25, but for the rest of us, Christmas is not our birthday. In the Christian tradition, Christmas represents the birth of Jesus. In Unitarian Universalism, we celebrate not only the birth of a human being named Jesus, but the birth of every child, on every night. We celebrate the birth of light, hope, and possibility in this season of darkness.

And we remember that Christmas is not our birthday.

For me, this is a powerful reframing of what the holidays might be: a time to take inventory of our lives, the many gifts that already reside there, and to turn our gaze and our giving outside of our circle of friends and family. Through our collective giving to something larger than ourselves, we can live out the true meaning of the holidays, consume less, and help hope and possibility come to life around us.

This year, as we did in 2015 and 2013, we're inviting church members, families, and friends to cut their holiday spending in half, and to give what they've saved to Marnita's Table, our 2017 Holiday Giving Recipient. Marnita's Table is a local organization that is dedicated to bridging gaps across difference. Working with neighborhood groups, government agencies, schools, and faith communities, Marnita's Table empowers people of all ages and backgrounds to make genuine changes toward equity, inclusion, and understanding.

On December 17, during both worship services, in a powerful ritual of giving, we will invite everyone present to give what they have saved. If you're unable to join us on December 17, we hope you will mail in your gift or give online. (We are accepting gifts from now through the end of the holidays.) Learn more on our website.

And if you are financially struggling, we want you to know that this church is here for you. Please reach out to me, or to any of our staff, if you are struggling during the holidays or throughout the year. Thanks to the generosity of church members and friends, the Ministers' Emergency Fund is there to offer financial support during times of need.
It is always a blessing when we are able to be there for one another.  

I'll see you in church,

November Worship Theme: Sources of Trust
Worship this Sunday
Sunday, Nov. 26, 9:30 & 11:15  a.m.
"Is There Enough?"
Rev. Justin Schroeder
Is there enough? Is there enough love, trust, resources to go around? Is the world (and our thinking) abundant enough to sustain us in a way that is viable for the earth and one another? As we launch this year's Holiday Giving Program, we'll explore these questions and more.
A Look Ahead
Sunday, Dec. 3, 9:30 & 11:15 a.m.
Rev. Jen Crow
"Hope Against Hope"

Recent Sermon Podcasts
November 19, 2017
"Inscribed on Your Heart"
Rev. Ruth MacKenzie

November 12, 2017
"An Honest Look"
Rev. Jen Crow

November 5, 2017
"Building Blocks of Life"
Rev. Justin Schroeder
Launching Our 2017 Holiday Giving Project
Marnita Schroedl
This Sunday in worship, meet Marnita Schroedl, co-founder of the organization that is our Holiday Giving recipient for 2017: Marnita's Table! Marnita will be speaking during both worship services, sharing information with us about the important work her organization is doing in the community.

This holiday season, we're inviting you and your family to join us in rethinking the meaning of gift-giving. By redirecting a portion of our would-be holiday spending to a local nonprofit that advances racial equity, we can strengthen our community ties and rekindle the season's true spirit.

Marnita's Table was co-founded in the living room of Carl Goldstein and Marnita Schroedl in 2005. The nonprofit originally launched to ignite enduring cross-cultural connections through intentional social interaction (a model they developed now fondly called "IZI"). The first 14,000 of the over 40,000 guests who've attended a "Table" actually came to Carl and Marnita's home . Guests were served a feast that satisfied everyone from vegan to carnivore, with the food lovingly prepared by Marnita. The growing organization has now  trained more than 1,500 home hosts, who are conducting IZIs in community centers, church basements and other people's homes all over the country. 

Please join us this Sunday to learn more about how the organization accomplishes its goal of bridging gaps across difference - both during the service and after services in the social hall. You can also learn more  on the church website , and  contact the Holiday Giving team at if you have any questions.
Global Gift Fair
Sunday, Nov. 26, 9 a.m.-1 p.m.
Our Global Gift Fair will be held this Sunday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the Social Hall. As in the past, we have invited the participation of those organizations/vendors with which we have deep connections. This is your chance to one-stop shop for gifts that are reasonably priced and whose profits benefit our larger community. This year's vendors include: Under One Roof, Mano a Mano, Frybread Love/Project Offstreets, Tibet Arts @ The Midtown Global Market, and our very own Sanctuary and Resistance team. Read descriptions of this year's vendors hereJoin us in this annual favorite!
Seniors Hike with Daytime Connections
Thursday, Nov. 30, 10 a.m.
Meet at Lakewood Cemetery (map)
Join other First U seniors for a hike in Lakewood Cemetery  (3600 Hennepin Ave. S. in Minneapolis) on Thursday, Nov. 30!  Meet in front of the cemetery administration building, just inside the 36th St. entrance, at 10 a.m.  Lakewood Cemetery has more than eight miles of interconnected roadways on the grounds. Established in 1871, it beautifully reflects the history of Minneapolis and First Universalist Church. The group will walk for up to two hours After the hike, those who wish will gather at  Gigi's Cafe RSVP to Tom Saterstrom (  or cell: 952-239-3629).
Racial Justice and Our UU Faith Workshop
Saturdays, Dec. 2 & 9, 9-11:30 a.m.
Join us for an interactive, reflective workshop exploring a framework and tools for understanding race, racism, and whiteness and the spiritual imperative that drives our racial justice work.  This two-part workshop will be offered on Saturdays, Dec. 2 & 9, 9-11:30 a.m., and will be led by Channing McKinley, Jeff Sylvestre, and Emma Paskewitz.  To register, contact Sandy at  or 612-825-1701.
Young Adults Soup and Gift Swap
Saturday, Dec. 2, noon-2 p.m., Social Hall
Are you in your 20s or 30s? Looking to meet some new friends? Share some delicious soup? Swap a gift? Then the Young Adults Soup and Gift Swap is for you! Join the group on Saturday, Dec. 2 at noon in the Social Hall at church. Please bring four quarts of homemade frozen soup and/or a wrapped gift that you no longer want/use that another person would love. Complete details can be found under the discussion tab of the Facebook event. RSVP on Facebook as well!
Common Ground Meditation Center + First Universalist Connection Meeting
Sunday, Dec. 3, 12:45 p.m., Room 203
Do you attend both First Universalist and Common Ground Meditation Center?  Let's meet each other! Chuck LeGros and Karen Heegaard invite you to join them on Sunday,  Dec. 3 from 12:45 to 1:45  in room 203 for a 15 minute sit, introductions and conversation about how we might be connected or support each other in our spiritual practices. We hope you can join us. 
Pathway to Membership Class
Sundays, Dec. 3 & 10, 1-3 p.m.
Thinking about becoming a member of First Universalist Church in the New Year? The next two-session Pathway to Membership class is set for Sundays, Dec. 3 and 10, from 1 to 3 p.m., after the second church services. This new member class is a great chance to build community, explore Unitarian Universalism and our church's unique history, and learn how to get involved. Free childcare is available, with seven days advance notice before each class. Give yourself a lifetime present!  To register, please email Sandy at
A Reminder About Our Sanctuary Resolution
A note from Rev. Jen Crow:

Many of you probably remember that last winter our congregation voted to become a sanctuary church, a faith community committed to providing safe space for those at risk of deportation. ( Read the text of our Sanctuary Resolution here.) This brave commitment fills me with pride, and as I come to more fully understand the responsibilities that come with this commitment, I find myself humbled, too.

In this political climate, providing physical sanctuary to someone at risk of deportation is a risky and complicated undertaking. While we will not actively hide anyone in our building, it is possible that people being housed with us may want to actively guard their privacy. This may mean that if a person or family does come to stay with us, we will not be sharing this information widely with the congregation. In some situations, it will be important for very few people to be aware of a person's presence with us. You can rest assured that the authority you have given to Rev. Justin, along with the Board of Trustees, to make decisions about when and if and who we might offer physical sanctuary to is carried with great care.

Regardless of the pride or excitement we may feel should we provide physical sanctuary to anyone at risk of deportation, we must put the safety and privacy of the individuals who are staying with us above our individual desire to talk or share. Even having friends, family members, congregants, coworkers or neighbors know that our church is housing someone would put people we care about at risk. It must be enough to simply know in our hearts that we are doing the spiritual work of putting our faith into action, fulfilling our promise to honor the worth and dignity of every person. Please join us in this important work by putting your trust in our church leaders, and by actively protecting the privacy of any individual or family who may come to stay with us.
Our Connected Church
Last Sunday in a raffle drawing of 200 congregants who had completed a volunteer profile, the following won two tickets:
  • Bill Lewis - to the Mixed Blood Theater
  • Karen Larson -  to the Penumbra Theater
We are still looking for your help! Please take 5 minutes to submit your profile in one of two ways:
  1. If you want to fill out the profile online and you have a church User ID and password, go to "MyFirstU/Profile/Serving." Questions? Contact Larry at
  2. If you want to fill out a hard copy profile, send an email request to Hal at halschroer@gmail.comand either email it back or drop it off on Sunday at the "Connected Table."
Call for Pastoral Visitor Applications
Are you someone who enjoys meeting members of our community, one on one, getting to know them, being able to offer support to shut-ins and to those with other physical and spiritual needs? If you are, please consider  joining the Pastoral Visitors Team under the direction of the Rev. Ruth MacKenzie. To do so, fill out an application here.

The team meets in the evening on the third Monday of each month for support and training.  Deadline for new applications is Saturday, Dec. 16, and all the Pastoral Visitors will have an extended training session in January.  

While our ministers continue to be with members of the congregation in crisis situations, this team is able to provide continuing spiritual care to our growing community and enhance the practical support offered by our Congregational Care team. Our goal is to offer compassionate presence to our fellow congregants and to deepen our own spiritual lives.

If this sounds like a good fit, consider being a Pastoral Visitor and make an application.
Extra 2017 Holiday Greeters Needed!
Could you greet at First Universalist Church for any of the following events?:
  • Sunday Christmas Pageant: Sunday, Dec. 17, 4 p.m. (candlelight service): 4-5 greeters
  • Solstice: Thursday, Dec. 21, 7:30 p.m. (gigantic candlelight service): 4-5 greeters 
  • Christmas Eve Day, Sunday Service: Sunday, Dec. 24, 10 a.m.: 4-5 greeters
  • Christmas Eve Pageant: Sunday, Dec. 24 at 4 p.m. (candlelight service): 4-5 greeters
  • Christmas Eve Candlelight Service: Sunday, Dec. 24, 9:30 p.m. (candlelight service): 4 greeters
  • Sunday Singing Service: Sunday, Dec. 31, 10 a.m.: 4-5 greeters
Please email Sandy at if any of these dates fits your holiday calendar and you would like to share First Universalist's "radical hospitality" by welcoming our members, friends, and visitors to our holiday events. Families and friends are invited to greet as a group! Add this to your holiday list of fun things to do!
Join the Welcome New Child Team
Does supporting young families and helping them celebrate a newly adopted child or a new baby call to you? If your answer is yes, then join our team co-chaired by Sara McLoone and Sara McMullen. We have experienced quite the new child/baby boom at First Universalist with more on the way. This ministry needs volunteers to support families during this joyous and tender time.

Love calls us to connect families who have recently welcomed a new child or baby with a friendly and supportive visitor who can offer an hour or two of help while parents take a nap, take a shower, or any multitude of things they may need to tend to! Visitors can choose to bring a meal too, but that is not required. On occasion we work with Rev. Ruth and the Pastoral Care team to offer further support. To join the team or learn more, contact Sara McMullen at 612-805-5059 or
December Board of Trustees Meeting
The First Universalist Church Board of Trustees generally meets the third Thursday of each month (except July). The date of the December board meeting has been changed to the second Thursday of the month - Thursday, Dec. 14. Meeting materials may be found on our website here
Lost and Found
We periodically clean out our Lost & Found, located in the coat closet on the south side of the lower narthex. If you are missing anything that may have ended up in the lost and found at church, please contact the church office (612-825-1701) with a description of the item you are missing. Any unclaimed items remaining after November 30 will be donated.  
Cycle of Life and Pastoral Care
We celebrate with Elaine, Jason, and Sarah Tenbrink, upon the birth of a beautiful baby boy named Micah Aron Tenbrink, born Monday morning, Nov. 13. Micah was welcomed by his big sister, Sarah. 
The Tenbrinks, c/o First Universalist Church, 3400 Dupont Ave. S., Minneapolis MN 55408. 
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.
Exposed Brick Theatre: CLOTH
Exposed Brick Theatre, a social justice theatre company that rehearses at the church, is presenting its newest production, CLOTH, Dec. 7-10 at the Southern Theatre. CLOTH is written by Aamera Siddiqui, directed by First Universalist member Suzy Messerole and supported by a grant from the First Universalist Foundation.

How much is too much? How little is too little? And who gets to decide? From the burka ban in France to dress codes in our own communities, when it comes to women's clothing it seems like everyone has an opinion. CLOTH is a new work that explores women's relationship to cloth, covering and choice, and the avalanche of factors influencing that choice.

Dates & Times:
Thursday, Dec. 7 at 7:30 p.m. (preview);  Friday, Dec. 8  at  7:30 p.m.:  Saturday, Dec. 9  at  7:30 p.m.;  Sunday, Dec. 10  at  2 p.m.

Tickets: or call 612-326-1811.

First Universalist friends & members can order by Nov. 30 and us price code "sari" for $15 tickets to any performance. In addition, the performance on Thursday, Dec. 7 is pay-what-you-can. 
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Monday-Thursday  8:30 a.m.-8 p.m.
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Closed Nov. 23 & 24
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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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