November 30, 2017  |  Vol. 4 No. 48
A Few Words About Sanctuary
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.

In faith,

December Worship Theme: Hope
Worship this Sunday
Sunday, Dec. 3, 9:30 & 11:15  a.m.
Sharing Sunday
"Hope Against Hope"
Rev. Jen Crow
This Sunday, we delve into our December worship theme, Hope.  Pre-K through 5th graders attend the first part of the service with their families.
A Look Ahead
Sunday, Dec. 10, 9:30 & 11:15 a.m.
Rev. Justin Schroeder
"Stubborn Hope"

Recent Sermon Podcasts
November 26, 2017
"Is There Enough?"
Rev. Justin Schroeder

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

November 12, 2017
"An Honest Look"
Rev. Jen Crow
December Worship Theme: Hope
Barbara Kingsolver writes, "The very least you can do in your life is to figure out what to hope for. And the most you can do is live inside that hope. Not admire it from a distance but live right in it, under its roof." Some of us struggle to find hope. Some of us take hope for granted. Hope is what sends a student to school, an addict to a 12-step program, an activist out into the street. Theologian Julie Neraas writes, "While hope is a strengthening force, it also lays a person open to the vulnerabilities of love, desire, expectation, disappointment, loss." This month we wrestle with hope, what to hope for, with all its complexity, and how to live under its roof.
Holiday Service Schedule
Our Christmas Pageants, Winter Solstice Celebration, and Christmas Eve Candlelight Service are cherished traditions at First Universalist. Please note that Sunday morning services on Dec. 24 and Dec. 31 will be offered at 10 a.m. only. Mark your calendar and join us!

Christmas Pageants: Sunday, Dec. 17 and Sunday, Dec. 24 at 4 p.m. each day
Winter Solstice Celebration: Thursday, Dec. 21 - doors at 7 p.m., ritual at 7:30 p.m.
Christmas Eve Candlelight Service: Sunday, Dec. 24 at 9:30 p.m.

Christmas Eve Morning: Sunday, Dec. 24 at 10 a.m. only
Singing Sunday: Sunday, Dec. 31 at 10 a.m. only

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? Come to the Young Adults Soup and Gift Swap! 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
Understanding Immigration:
Where we are, How we got here, and the impact on Minnesota's communities
Thursday, Dec. 7, 7-9 p.m., Chalice Room

We are living in a time when rhetoric and inflammatory speech are often substituted for facts when it comes to discussing the issues dividing us as a country, and very little is more divisive than the discourse surrounding modern U.S. immigration. For many opposed to undocumented immigrants, the fault lies with their failure to "get in the line" and enter the U.S. "the right way." Even some who morally support undocumented people have concerns that they are "law breakers," and feel unable to counter the "criminal" narrative.

But how easy is it to "just get in line" and become a U.S. citizen? What are the laws surrounding immigrants in our country? As a country with a long and complicated history with immigrants, it can be hard to tell fact from fiction when it comes to our modern immigration legal system.

Join us as Michele McKenzie breaks down the complex U.S. immigration system from the very beginning, shedding light on how immigration laws originated and evolved; who was - and was not - allowed into the country; the various statuses that non-U.S. citizens can occupy; and the effect on those who are currently caught in the cross-hairs of the system.

Opening the evening will be members of  Sembrando Poder, who will share their personal experiences of the U.S. immigration system.  Women, children and youth who have had their families torn apart will be present to tell their stories and how they are organizing collectively to take action against these grave injustices against them, and so many others.

Speaker Michele Garnett McKenzie serves on the senior leadership team at The Advocates for Human Rights, and also leads the organization's research, education, and advocacy team. She joined the staff of The Advocates in 1999 as an attorney representing asylum seekers and detained immigrants. 
Christmas Pageants
Sundays, Dec. 17 & 24, 4 p.m.
Our annual Christmas Pageant is a beautiful telling of an ancient story. It is a tale of hope and hospitality, a reminder that every child is born a redeemer, a story that speaks to us all of what it means to be a seeker, a star, a wise one, a wanderer. The Pageant is held twice; on Sunday, Dec. 17 and Sunday, Dec. 24 at 4 p.m. each day.  There will be a  cookies and cocoa reception  immediately following the Dec. 17 pageant. O ptional drop-in childcare for ages 6 months to 3 years is available during the Dec. 17 pageant only. No childcare available on Dec. 24.
Daytime Connections
Thursday, Dec. 21, 11 a.m. (lunch at 1 p.m.)
UUs are making a difference and enriching their own lives with powerful volunteer work through church initiatives like Families Moving Forward , Congregational Care, Environmental Justice, and Sanctuary & Resistance. Come hear their stories and enjoy a special holiday meal and white elephant exchange! Register by December 17 with Sandy at 612-825-1701 or . $5-10 suggested lunch donation. And bring a wrapped treasure to swap for  the optional exchange. 
Winter Solstice Celebration
Thursday, Dec. 21, 7:30 p.m. (7 p.m. doors)
For 37 years, First Universalist has honored the longest night of the year, and joyously celebrated the return of the Sun! Join us as we observe another turning of the year. Sanctuary doors open at 7 p.m., and the service begins at 7:30 p.m. The evening includes a 12-minute period of darkness, and we will move through the evening with beautiful music, a story for all ages, and spreading of the light. Childcare is available by advance request only; submit the childcare request form no later than Thursday, Dec. 14.
Christmas Eve Candlelight Service
Sunday, Dec. 24, 9:30 p.m.
The Christmas Eve Candlelight Service at First Universalist is a time of mindfulness, meaning making and music. This service is a weaving of scripture readings, poems, musical offerings, silence, and lighting our hearts and spirit with the candlelight and hope.
Welcoming Franco Holder, Our New Pianist
It is with great pleasure that we welcome Franco Holder to our First Universalist staff and to our worship team! 

Franco Holder
Franco hails from Indiana and has worked for many years as freelance musician in the Twin Cities. Franco has performed with the Kenwood Symphony Orchestra and at such venues as the Schubert Club, Baroque Room, and Nimbus Theater. He is a past winner of the Artistic Ambassadors Competition and regularly performs with the MNKINO Film Festival Orchestra which brings together filmmakers, composers, and musicians in collaboration to create new short films and original scores, performed live. 

Franco holds a B.M. degree in Piano Performance from Indiana University, as well as a degree in Religious Studies from Iowa State University.  Franco is a piano/music teacher at Hopewell Music Cooperative North, an organization committed to empowering community and enriching lives through accessible high quality music education.

Franco loves helping students reach their potential through music and has taught piano for more than twenty years. He is an active member of the Minnesota Music Teachers Association.

We are very lucky to have this wonderful artist in our midst. Please say hello, and welcome him.
Holiday Giving 2017: A Gift for Marnita's Table
Last Sunday the church's Holiday Giving season got into full swing. We began accepting monetary gifts for Marnita's Table, a Minneapolis-based organization dedicated to bridging gaps across difference through a process of Intentional Social Interaction (IZI).    

Several First Universalist members have experienced the impact of IZI firsthand. Sherry Kempf participated in a conversation organized by Marnita's Table for the St. Paul schools. " It was an opportunity to talk with people of different ages, races, backgrounds, and lived experiences - some of whom were people I don't normally have a chance to engage in conversation with," Sherry told us. "It was energizing, interesting, challenging, supportive, and engaging!" 

Six congregants recently spent a day exploring the principles of IZI with co-founder Marnita Schroedl and residents of several Minnesota communities. They learned the touch points of the method and practiced some of the techniques. Suzan Klein called the training "awe-inspiring, humbling, and paradigm-shifting." In addition, Suzan noted the transformative nature of the IZI model: "I've been convening structured conversations with multi-stakeholder groups for a decade professionally and am blown away by how Marnita's Table turns the paradigm that I (and other sufficiently-resourced people) typically work and engage with completely upside down - and with effective outcomes." In the future, we envision using the IZI model to convene conversations on critical issues that affect the communities our church is part of.

We aim to raise money for a significant gift for Marnita's Table to support and extend their vital work. As a Holiday Giving Team member puts it, "It's the weekly shared offering on steroids." Please contribute generously to help this visionary, community-strengthening organization grow and thrive.   

Your donations for Marnita's Table are welcome at any time from now through December 17, when our worship will include the ritual gathering of our gifts. If you can't be with us on the 17th, you may contribute by online payment , by check (payable to "First Universalist Church" with "Holiday Giving" on the memo line), or by dropping a donation into the jar in the social hall after services.  

More information about Marnita's Table and the Holiday Giving project can be found on the church website , in past and future editions of The Weekly Liberal, and at post-service social hours. If you have questions or want to help out, please contact the Holiday Giving team at .
Holiday Greeters Still 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!
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.
Remembering Loved Ones:
Help Us by Delivering a Poinsettia
We need your help delivering poinsettias to our members and friends who have lost loved ones in the past year, who are struggling with ongoing, serious illness, or who are living in nursing homes. Caring for each other, offering support and comfort in times of illness and loss, and remembering those times as the year moves on are essential to what we do as a religious community.

On Sunday, Dec. 10, poinsettias ready for delivery will be in the foyer outside the sanctuary doors with the cards and addresses of recipients. Please help us by picking up a poinsettia and card to deliver to a member of our church community.
Some of you will find your name on the list. Please take your poinsettia as a remembrance of your loss and of the love and caring that surround you. This is how we give, receive, and grow together with love and compassion.
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
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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Sundays  8 a.m.-1 p.m.
Monday-Thursday  8:30 a.m.-8 p.m.
Closed Fridays and Saturdays
Closed Dec. 22 - Jan. 1
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Contact Us
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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