March 8, 2018  |  Vol. 5 No. 10
Adapting Hope, Finding Our People, Living Fully
Rev. Jen Crow
I recently attended a conversation led by a grief counselor and cancer therapist that included a panel of women living with treatable but incurable cancer. The women living with cancer described the way that their hope changed in each phase of their experience. First they hoped for a cure, or for the diagnosis to be wrong. Then, when it was clear that this was the cancer they had, and that a cure was impossible, they hoped that the treatment would work and the side effects wouldn't be too bad. Then, when that treatment eventually stopped working, they hoped that the next treatment would work, and that these side effects wouldn't be too bad. And they knew that when all the treatments stopped working, their hopes would shift again. They'd hope for loved ones around them and meaningful time and experiences when they had energy. They'd hope that their pain was manageable, and for peace in knowing that they'd prepared themselves and their loved ones as best as they could for their death. They'd hope for joy in every moment they could find it - from birds out their window and sun on their face, to a bite of their favorite ice cream and the sound of a dear one's voice. They'd hope to live until they died.

The grief counselor and therapist asked these women repeatedly, "How do you find hope when things feel hopeless?," and the women were unanimous in their reply. "We talk to our people. You know, the people you can tell everything to. The ones where you can swear and cry and they won't try to cheer you up too fast. The ones who can be with you in the suffering, and then help you laugh about it later and find the absurdity in the difficult moments. You have to have your people, and you have to tell them the truth."

I listened hard to these wise women that night, listening in on a conversation that was at once mine and not mine. I am not living with incurable cancer, as so many people are. But I, and everyone else in the world, live with my own experiences of suffering and I, like many of you, accompany others through the ups and downs of life. We have to have our people. We have to tell the truth. And we have to let our hopes shift and change as our experiences and our possibilities change, claiming joy and hope in things large and small, in each moment.

May this be a place where we find our people and tell our truth whether we are suffering or not. May this be a place that reminds us to live this life we have as fully as we can, right here and now.

In gratitude,
Important Things to Know About Annual Giving
On Sunday, we launched this year's annual giving campaign, All In, an important thing we do each spring to help us to know how much financial support we can count on for the next budget year (July 2018 - June 2019). Did you know that more than 80% of our annual budget comes from the support of you - the members of our community? If you weren't with us in worship on Sunday, March 4, we highly recommend listening to Rev. Jen's wisdom story here, and Rev. Justin's sermon here!

We are asking every individual and family - whether you are an official church member or someone who attends services, participates in the choir or small groups, or whose children are registered in religious education classes - to make whatever gift you can to support the work of the church - and to let us know! If we are going to continue to be a beacon of love and justice in our community, we need each other to be All In.

N ew this year, we're offering the option to make your gift ongoing so that your commitment automatically renews in future years. When you opt in to make your gift ongoing, it will help simplify the process of annual giving going forward and reduce the amount of administrative work for staff and volunteers. You can do this by filling out the paper card (please pick one up in church this Sunday - they're in the packets!) or online - but please note that you do have to sign in or create an account to set up recurring gifts. We've added some helpful instructions here (scroll to the bottom of the page!).

Finally, please pick up your packet of materials this Sunday after either service if you haven't already. Packets will be available at tables just outside the sanctuary this Sunday and next. Remaining packets will be mailed after that. Help us save on postage by picking up your packet in person!

March Worship Theme: Wrestling with Joy
Worship this Sunday
Sunday, March 11, 9:30 & 11:15 a.m.
"Body of Joy"
Rev. Ruth MacKenzie
Poet Mary Oliver writes, "Every day, I see or hear something that more or less kills me with delight." Oftentimes the things that slay us with delight are found in paying attention to the small things, the simple acts; coming back to the texture of our own breath, the basic goodness of our beings and our bodies. This Sunday, we explore the joy we find in the embodied world and how we might cultivate love for our bodies, our physical world and the glory found in our fleshy beings, or as the prophet sings out, "even the desert rejoices."
A Look Ahead
Sunday, March 18, 9:30 & 11:15 a.m.
Rev. Jen Crow

Recent Sermon Podcasts
March 4, 2018
"Finding Joy in Unexpected Places"
Rev. Justin Schroeder

February 25, 2018
Sanctuary and Resistance Sunday
Guest speakers including Steve Kraemer

February 18, 2018
"What Gets You Through the Night?"
Rev. Justin Schroeder

February 11, 2018
"Daily Renewal"
Rev. Jen Crow
March Worship Theme: Wrestling with Joy
What purpose does joy serve? What is its function? Joy has no utilitarian use, so why is it so necessary? Why does life feel flat without it? In Jack Gilbert's poem, A Brief for the Defense, he states: "We must risk delight. We can do without pleasure, but not delight." Joy lightens the heavy lifting of justice work, or the difficulty of simply living. Joy is about experiencing life welling up, of lithe spirit having its way with us even in the midst of sadness. This month we wrestle with the meaning of joy, something that serves no practical purpose but is absolutely necessary. We cannot make it come to us, nor can we corral it into staying. Still we can invite it, become more prone to its appearance. Most certainly, it takes wrestling with all the ways and means by which we tell ourselves that joy is frivolous.
Daytime Connections:
"The Talk" with Family 
Thursday, March 15, 11 a.m.-1 p.m.
Not the birds and the bees - this "talk" with family focuses on end-of-life matters from medical care to memorials. Helpful stories and lively interaction will be led by Harlan Limpert, longtime First U member, minister and outgoing UUA executive. Program begins at 11 a.m., followed by lunch at 1 p.m. $5-10 donation for lunch is encouraged.  Register by March 11 with Sandy at or 612-825-1701.  Through  Daytime Connections , older adults empower each other to live intentional, joyful, purposeful, and spiritually fulfilled lives.
"13th" Documentary Screening
Part 1: Thursday, March 15, 7 p.m.
Part 2: Sunday, March 18, 12:30 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.
This is a drop-in opportunity - no registration required. Led by Jeff Sylvestre and Margaret Manderfeld, members of the First Universalist Racial Justice Education Team.
Electronics Collection Event with Tech Dump
Saturday, March 17, 9 a.m.-noon
Drop off your unneeded electronics in the church parking lot on Saturday, March 17! We're partnering with Tech Dump, a local nonprofit which provides job training and practical experience for adults facing barriers to employment, for this electronics collection event. Tech Dump reuses and recycles, offering a "green" alternative to throwing away your old electronics. Find details about which items are accepted on our website. Boxes for you to drop off smaller items will also be at church Sunday, March 11 through Monday, March 19 (in the social hall on Sundays and in the office during the week). This box can hold laptops and smaller electronics such as phones, cords, etc.
Benefit Concert:
Indigenous Youth to the Vatican
Sunday, March 18, 2 p.m. (1 p.m. doors)
Join us for a benefit concert that will help fund a trip for 12 First-Nation youth and elders to visit the Vatican to discuss the historical and inter-generational trauma resulting from the Doctrine of Discovery. The concert will feature an incredible line-up of performers:  renowned singers Prudence Johnson and Larry Long; Hollywood actor and director Max Gail; and First Nation performers Dorene Day Waubanewquay, Tom LaBlanc, Joe Savage, Keith Secola and Mitch Walking Elk.  Doors open at 1 p.m. with refreshments and a silent auction, followed by the concert at 2 p.m.  Tickets are $20 in advance; $25 at the door. Purchase tickets at
Rescheduled: Conversation on Racial Justice, Affordable Housing and Homelessness
Tuesday, March 20, 7 p.m. (6:30 supper)
Join us for a round table discussion exploring our perspectives and hopes around the issues of racial justice, affordable housing, and homelessness. The session will be preceded by a complimentary soup & bread supper at 6:30 p.m.   As congregational members of Beacon Interfaith Housing Collaborative, our collective ideas will help inform future decisions on the next steps in eliminating homelessness and creating affordable housing in the Twin Cities.   Register here.
Seniors Hike with Daytime Connections
Thursday, March 22, 10 a.m.
Join us for a hike with fellow seniors from church! Meet at 10 a.m. at Black Dog Cafe in St. Paul (308 Prince Street). The group will hike a loop route east along the urban trail that parallels the Mississippi River and Shepard Road; work its way up to the top of the bluff overlooking downtown St. Paul; through Indian Mounds Park;
and back past CHS Field returning to Black Dog Cafe for lunch and conversation. We will be on an asphalt or concrete surface for the entire 1.5 - 2 hour hike.  RSVP to Tom Saterstrom:  or cell: 952-239-3629.
Congregational Meeting with the Architects
Sunday, March 25, 12:45 p.m.
After taking additional time to explore a design direction that hadn't previously been thought possible, we are excited to invite you to our rescheduled congregational meeting with the architects to review design ideas for our renovations and construction. Please join us for this meeting in the sanctuary after the second service - the meeting will begin with short presentation by the architects, who will share the preferred design direction and talk about the work they've done thus far. There will be time for Q&A following the presentation.
Workshop: The Aging Brain and Maintaining a Meaningful Life
Sunday, March 25, 1-2:30 p.m.
Maintaining a meaningful life is a powerful antidote to an aging brain.  This workshop is for anyone who is interested in gaining a better understanding of the cognitive changes that may occur as the brain ages and strategies for continuing a rich and meaningful life even in the midst of this challenge. Presented by Carol Stephens, PsyD. Licensed Psychologist. Read more.
All In: Sharing Why We Give
Jane Baudelaire, Annual Giving Team Member
Jane Baudelaire
First Universalist member Jane Baudelaire, who is on the Annual Giving Team for her second year, writes:

First Universalist Church is a beacon, a harbor in the storm and has been a life raft for many. Myself included. When I tell people about my church, I talk about the people. The people who work tirelessly and selflessly to make a difference. Sometimes it's the small things like visiting one of our shut-in members or giving someone a ride to a doctor appointment. A lot of time, however, this church, these remarkable people, do BIG and amazing things. We built a house and host homeless families. We partner with local food shelves; knit hats for the homeless and tutor and mentor young people in our own church community and beyond. The love of this church simply has no limits. Holding church in the frame of limitless love challenges me to stretch my limits to support the church financially. My financial commitment is intended as a loving gesture. A gesture that supports my fellow congregants, staff and brick and mortar of the building itself. It is my pleasure to do what I can to support the church in the most practical and necessary way. And it feels great!
Spotlight on Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity
This Sunday in worship, we'll highlight the work of Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity, one of our six Faithful Action partners for 2017-18. 
Twin Cities Habitat is an ecumenical ministry whose mission is to eliminate poverty housing from the Twin Cities and to make decent, affordable shelter for all people a matter of conscience. Each year, in partnership with donors and volunteers, TCHFH builds or repairs approximately 50 homes. Additionally, TCHFH repairs 140 homes each year through the 'A Brush with Kindness' program and has served more than 5,000 local homeowners through the Mortgage Foreclosure Prevention Program. TCHFH vision: a Twin Cities region where hard-working families can own homes in healthy neighborhoods with access to jobs, transportation, and quality schools.
Seeking Candidates for Church Leadership Positions
The Nominating Committee is recruiting candidates for leadership positions on the Board of Trustees and the Foundation Board for the next church year. We encourage you to step forward and share your time and skills!

Now is an exciting and important time to serve as we continue to build on the positive energy and growth of our congregation. Serving on one of these bodies provides unique opportunities to deepen and enrich your personal connection to the church while broadening your circle of relationships within our spiritual community. Committee members have unique opportunities to collaborate with our passionate ministers and lay leaders to advance the mission of the church.

Board of Trustees: Trustees partner with the congregation and professional staff in shaping the vision and long-term goals of the church. They articulate these aspirations through policy and collaborate with the Senior Minister to see they are fulfilled. 

Foundation Board: Board members serve as the stewards of our Foundation endowment.  Members screen and select grant requests to non-profit organizations.

Nominating Committee: Committee members screen and recommend candidates to the congregation for vacant positions on the Board of Trustees, Foundation Board, and Nominating Committee.

Requirements, Application and Information: To qualify for any of these positions, you must be a member in good standing of the church. Elections occur at the Annual Meeting in June. Go online to view more detailed position descriptions and apply.  Contact the Nominating Committee to learn more:
Spotlight on Simpson Housing Services
Many First U members and friends know  Simpson Housing Services  because you have helped to provide meals at their shelter for homeless adults. Did you know that Simpson Housing is much more than that?  Simpson Housing Services helps thousands of people experiencing homelessness find the housing, support, and shelter they need in a time of personal crisis. Programs include:
  • Emergency overnight shelter for men and women
  • Stable and supportive housing for individuals and families
  • Specialized programming for children and youth designed to break the generational cycle of poverty and homelessness
Learn how you can volunteer and help at:
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.
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.
Nicaraguan Cultural Tour Informational Meeting
Sunday, March 11, 12:30 p.m. at Unity Church Unitarian in St. Paul
Project Minnesota/León is organizing a 10-day trip to Nicaragua this summer, led by Rev. Karen Hering, a Literary minister at Unity Church-Unitarian, focusing on art, literature, poetry, and writing. An informational meeting for this trip takes place on Sunday, March 11 at 12:30 at Unity Church, 732 Holly Ave., St. Paul.  The group will experience Nicaraguan arts, literature, history, music, food, and daily life in the city of León, the nation's intellectual center. Visit the birthplace of world-renowned poet Dario Ruben, the father of Modernism (a Spanish language literary and cultural movement) and enjoy activities at the Festival Azul Dario, celebrating his life and work. The group will reflect on these experiences with daily guided writing and conversation led by author and group facilitator, Rev. Karen Hering. The trip will be for 10 days in late July/early August 2018. More information.   If you have questions, contact Emily Wallace-Jackson at .
Heart to Heart Couples Enrichment Weekend
Friday, March 16 - Sunday, March 18
Koinonia Retreat Center, South Haven, MN
Heart To Heart Couples Enrichment Weekend is a retreat for all committed couples, married or unmarried, LGBTQ- or straight-identified. It is designed to enrich intimacy in your relationship by emphasizing personal reflection and communication. Heart To Heart was conceived of and founded by members of First Universalist and Unity Unitarian Church 27 years ago. A team of three experienced Heart To Heart volunteer couples lead the retreat. These couples give a series of presentations describing their own couples journey, offering insight into long-term committed relationships. Participating couples are offered opportunities for reflection and communication with each other about an array of topics key to relationships. The cost for the weekend is $425, which includes accommodations, meals, and healthy snacks. Limited partial scholarships available.  To register, visit  or email
Skylark Opera Theater Presents: "As One"
Performances March 16 - March 25, North Garden Theater in St. Paul
Skylark Opera Theatre presents the Regional Premiere of the new chamber opera, AS ONEThis groundbreaking piece depicts the experience of its transgender protagonist, who endeavors to resolve discord between self and the outside world. Performed in an intimate setting with a string quartet, the opera is sung in two voices, Hannah after (mezzo-soprano) and Hannah before (baritone). Fifteen songs comprise the three-part narrative: With empathy and humor, they trace Hannah's experiences from her youth in a small town to her college years on the West Coast, and finally to Norway where she is surprised at what she learns about herself. 
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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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