August 31, 2017  |  Vol. 4 No. 35
A Sabbatical Blessing
Rev. Justin Schroeder
As many of you know, I will be on sabbatical during the months of September and October. I am using this time to deepen my study of race, racism, and whiteness, as it relates to the history of our country, our faith, and our ministry at First Universalist, as we seek to become a multi-cultural, multi-racial faith community.

Rev. Jen Crow will be Acting Senior Minister during my time away, and will be in touch with me in case of church-related emergencies. You're in good hands! Jen and the rest of our staff team have been hard at work, creating programming, planning worship, and partnering with many of you, as we live into our Visionary Goals.

I am incredibly grateful for this time away for study and growth; and I will miss you all! I so deeply cherish the religious journey we're on together. While I am away, on Sunday, Oct. 15 we will publicly wrap up our Capital Campaign, "Not For Ourselves Alone: Building An Inclusive Future." Ann Reed and Give Get Sistet will be a part of the service, and I'm delighted to announce that Rev. Kate Tucker will be preaching! I'm also delighted to share the news that thanks to the generosity of several church members, we have a Capital Campaign challenge match of $95,000! This means that any new Capital Campaign pledges or additional Capital Campaign gifts will be matched dollar for dollar! If you'd like to learn more about the Campaign, or make a gift, please contact Andrea Love at the church office: .

Earlier today, Rev. Jen Crow led staff members in a "Sabbatical Blessing" for me. I was moved to tears. And so, as we begin a new church year, I offer this blessing to you: May you feel the strength and power of this faith community; may you know you are wanted and worthy of love; may you know you are not alone; may you be blessed and be a blessing.  

I'll see you in November. In gratitude and love,


Worship this Sunday
Sunday, Sept. 3, 10 a.m.
"Sacred Reflections"
Pastor Danny Givens, Jr.
& Rev. Laurie Pound-Feille
This week with guest ministers Pastor Danny and Rev. Laurie, we'll take an in-depth look into the experiential truth, trauma, and resilience of communities of color who have endured colonialism, gentrification, and white supremacy in the Twin Cities and abroad.  Join us for our final summer Sunday worship service this Labor Day weekend!
A Look Ahead
Sunday, Sept. 10, 9:30 & 11:15 a.m.
Water Communion Sunday
Multigenerational Worship
Return to two services

Recent Sermon Podcasts
August 27, 2017
"Stronger Together" 
Rev. Jen Crow

August 13, 2017
"Song of My Song"
Rev. Ruth MacKenzie

August 6, 2017
"Making Honey from Failure"
Rev. Elaine Aron Tenbrink
Newcomer Circle 
Sundays, Sept. 10, 17, 24 & Oct. 1,
1-2:30 p.m., Room 203
Are you new to First Universalist? You're invited to join a Newcomer Circle! These four-session gatherings of 6-10 newcomers offer a chance to explore core Unitarian Universalist values, reflect on our spiritual journeys, and connect with others who are new. Sign up by emailing
Water Communion Sunday
Sunday, Sept. 10, 9:30 & 11:15 a.m.
Water is a gift. On Water Communion Sunday, we celebrate the many rivers, eddies and waterways of our life experiences. We embody this truth by bringing water from our homes, our travels, and our walks, and combine them in a ritual during this first Sunday service of the church year. Please bring a small jar of water to the service.
Young People's (20s & 30s) Brunch 
Sunday, Sept. 10, 12:30 p.m. (offsite)
Meet and connect with other folks in their 20s and 30s at our Young People's Brunch.  On Sunday, Sept. 10 at 12:30 p.m., the group will gather at Abbie Finger's home for good food and conversation. Please bring something to share if you're able. To RSVP and get the address, email  or talk to Sandy at the Info Table in the social hall. 
"25 by 25" Workshop
Sunday, Sept. 17, 12:45 p.m., Cummins Rm
The Environmental Justice team is hosting a " 25 by 25" workshop on Sunday, Sept. 17 at  12:45 p.m. in the Cummins Room. Refreshments will be provided.  What is 25 by 25?  Governor Dayton is asking Minnesotans to set a goal of 25% water quality improvement by 2025. His has supplied packets and discussion guides so that communities can meet and set goals to accept the challenge.  The Governor wants citizens to discuss and agree upon tasks that make sense for their region. 
Attend a Sunday Capital Campaign Info Session; Double the Impact of Your Gift!
From the beginning, the goal of our capital campaign, "Not for Ourselves Alone: Building an Inclusive Future," has been to meet with all members and friends so that we can share in person the vision for the campaign and what our needs and opportunities are as a church.

Drop-in Capital Campaign Info Sessions are being held after services each Sunday now through Sunday, Oct. 8. If you haven't yet had a chance to sit down with a campaign volunteer - either individually or in a group - to learn about the campaign, please plan to attend one of these sessions!

When you attend, you will learn about our vision for the future of First Universalist - 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. You will also receive a pledge card which you can use to inform us of your gift intentions. All gifts, in any amount, matter, and pledges can be paid over a period of five years. 

Now is a great time to give to the campaign! T hanks to the generosity of several congregants, we are delighted to have nearly $100,000 in matching funds available to us. N ew pledges (and additional gifts) to First Universalist's  capital campaign  will now be matched through this challenge grant! 

Help us wrap up the capital campaign on  Sunday, Oct. 15 by making a pledge before this date, and plan to join us after worship for festivities as we celebrate the campaign's successful completion!

Thank you to all those who have helped us raise  $5.3 million thus far toward our capital campaign  Not for Ourselves Alone: Building an Inclusive Future!  
First U to Host Mayoral Forum on Homelessness
What considerations are most important to the mayor's leadership role in addressing homelessness?      

First Universalist Church, with assistance from the League of Women Voters, will be hosting a forum for Minneapolis mayoral candidates focusing on issues of homelessness: the presence of homeless individuals in the community, sleeping in public, community livability, access to shelter, and interaction with resources. This forum, which will take place on Tuesday, Sept. 26, from 7 to 8:30 p.m. in the sanctuary at First Universalist Church, will be moderated by Monica Nilsson, a local advocate for the homeless, and is being organized by long-time members of First Universalist, Barb and Gary Melom.

Minneapolis mayoral candidates planning to be present include: Jacob Frey, Betsy Hodges, Raymond Dehn, Nekima Levy-Pounds, Tom Hoch, Al Flowers, Captain Jack Sparrow, and Aswar Rahman.
Candidates will be encouraged to demonstrate a depth of knowledge that shows their ability to be a leader in multi-agency efforts to address homelessness. Questions related to affordable housing will be deferred to a forum at Plymouth Congregational Church on Oct. 2,  sponsored by Make Homes Happen.
The  Star Tribune has reported that the 3,125 homeless people identified in Minneapolis this year represent an overall increase in homelessness by 231 people over the last 10 years. How did this happen, despite significantly intensified efforts to combat homelessness?
The Office to End Homelessness reports that the number of persons identified as chronically homeless in Minneapolis dropped from 919 in 2009 to 360 in 2016. What issues are at the base of chronicity and how should they be addressed?
Co-Sponsors:  First Universalist Church of Minneapolis, Street Voices of Change in collaboration with the Downtown Congregations to End Homelessness, BEACON Interfaith Housing Collaborative, Simpson Housing Services, The SAFE Group, Peace House Community, Our Saviour's Housing, St. Stephen's Human Services, St. Joan of Arc Catholic Church, and Hats for the Homeless.
First Universalist Stories: Dick Rueter & Ray Dillon
Each week throughout the summer, we're featuring one or two stories submitted by members about what First Universalist means to them. Dick Rueter and Ray Dillon  share:

Ray Dillon & Dick Rueter
"Jolted out of our complacency by the announcement of Rev. Kate Tucker's impending retirement, we at last understood that we needed to come back to First Universalist. In quiet ways we had been drifting apart as a couple, and growing together spiritually struck us as a good path to walk together. This time we began attending every week and participating in several circles; the ones that were the most helpful were Conscious Aging, Circle Supper, and New Member. For the past two years we also have been singing in the choir, which has grown us musically, emotionally and spiritually, strengthened our relationship, and brought us satisfying new friendships.

"We are very grateful to the ideals of this church that keep binding all of us together, leaning into our areas of discomfort, and asking where love is calling us next. The racial justice journey has been spot on for our own growth. The Sunday services consistently call us to be our better selves. The sermons, interlaced with our ministers' personal experiences, have given us much to chew on, discuss, and be nourished by. The Calls to Worship, the tremendously varied music, and the cumulative effect of sharing silence together have all contributed to our deepening commitment to this community.   Now that we have entered into this Capital Campaign, we want to acknowledge the shoulders of those who have gone before us, and we want to be the shoulders for the ones who will come after.

"Everyone has experienced enough emotional pain in life to understand the depth of our gratitude that we are seen and embraced by this community as a gay couple.   We are joyfully looking forward to this September when Rev. Elaine, the choir, our families, and friends new and old will help us celebrate our wedding in this church."
Meera Kannan Hired as Young Children's Program Assistant
We are so pleased to welcome Meera Kannan to the Children, Youth and Family Ministries staff of First Universalist Church! 

Meera brings rich skills and knowledge that will enrich our Religious Education programming for young children and their families. Look for her in the lower Religious Education hallway this Fall, where she will be supporting classroom volunteers, preparing lessons, and leading a brand-new Rainbow Chapel to start the morning with PreK through 1st graders.

Meera was born in New York but grew up surrounded by corn fields in South Dakota. She went back to New York to attend Vassar College, but completed her biology degree at the University of Minnesota in 2007. Since then, she's made a home in Minneapolis and dedicated her life to helping foster a love of learning in children. Prior to joining First Universalist, Meera was a teacher in Montessori schools, working with children from ages two to six. From her experience as a teacher, she has learned that adults have as much if not more to learn from young children, particularly when it comes to love and kindness. She believes that the best way to teach children is through our actions and the most important lesson we can teach is love for all living things. Meera is excited to be at First Universalist and to be a part of the young children's program. She wants to continue to help children understand the world around them and to know that they are beautiful and valuable just as they are.  

When not working with children, Meera can be found with her two puppies, Satchel and Lilo. The trio loves to go hiking and to play frisbee together. She also finds time to practice yoga regularly, takes spontaneous road trips, volunteers with a local dog rescue, enjoys live music, and hopes for more time to travel.
Women's Ritual Circle: Open Ritual Dates this Fall
Self-identified women interested in earth-based and pagan spirituality are welcome to attend the upcoming open rituals of the Under Northern Skies Women's Ritual Circle. The circle is open to newcomers on Wednesday, Sept. 6 (Cummins Room); Tuesday, Sept. 19 (Cummins Room); Thursday, Oct. 5 (Room 200); and Thursday, Oct. 19 (Cummins Room). For women who choose to join, there will be a commitment ritual on Friday, Nov. 3 in the Cummins Room, after which the circle will close to new members until next fall. Ritual begins promptly at 7:30 p.m. Contact Beth at for more information.
Church Office Closed Monday, Sept. 4
Please note that the church building and offices will be closed on Monday, Sept. 4 for Labor Day. Regular office hours will resume on Tuesday, Sept. 5.
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.
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Church Office Hours
Sundays  8 a.m.-1 p.m.
Monday-Thursday  8:30 a.m.-8 p.m.
Closed Fridays and Saturdays
Closed Monday, Sept. 4
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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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