March 1, 2018  |  Vol. 5 No. 9
Launching Our Annual Giving Campaign: All In.
All In . That's the theme of our annual giving campaign this spring, which we're launching this Sunday, March 4, in worship.

Our church has been growing these past few years - growing in its sense of meaning and purpose, growing in the ways we live our values out loud, and growing in numbers. Maybe you've noticed the way that our building is full during the week - hosting small groups of church members, community arts and justice organizations, and teams hard at work to help us live our values. Maybe you've noticed that our religious education classes for children and youth continue to be full to overflowing at our 9:30 a.m. service and that our youth are leading the way in justice efforts throughout our city.

Maybe you've been thinking that First Universalist is a place, maybe even the place, that helps you find your bearings and keeps you working toward the world of love and justice you know we are meant to create together. This community means so much to each of us - as a place to nurture our spirituality and the spiritual lives of our children, a place of support when life's ups and downs break our hearts, and as a beacon of learning and justice for us and our larger community. First Universalist means so much to each of us, and First Universalist needs each of us to thrive.

This year, we're asking you to be All In with your annual giving. This means that 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. More than eighty percent of our budget comes from annual gifts from people like you, and 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.

Over the past few years, we have taken steps to ensure that we pay all adult staff members a living wage of at least $15 an hour. We've eliminated our Religious Education fees, so that Sunday School is accessible to all children and youth. We've worked together to ensure that our racial justice commitment is alive in our Worship, our Religious Education, our Programming, and our Vendor Policy. Together, as a faith community, we continue to move beyond good intentions to create patterns and practices that align us with our values of inclusion, equity, welcome, and justice.

Join us in being All In this year, as each of us gives what we can to sustain this community of faith, hope and love in times when we are needed more than ever.

In gratitude,

Rev. Justin Schroeder, Rev. Jen Crow, 
and the Annual Giving Team: Jeanne Guignon, Jane Baudelaire, and Tim Gluszak

P.S. This year, we are striving for All In, 100% participation-which means we would like to hear from everyone regarding your giving intentions for the 2018-19 fiscal year. And - new 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. Your prompt response is helpful and appreciated!

P.P.S. Please pick up your packet of materials this Sunday before or after each service. Packets will be available at tables just outside the sanctuary for the coming three Sundays. Remaining packets will be mailed after that. Help us save on postage by picking up your packet in person!
Close the Gap Update: We Did It!
At our annual State of the Church meeting in early February, we shared with the congregation that we were experiencing a larger than anticipated shortfall in this year's budget. In an effort to help "Close the Gap," we collected a special offering  on Sunday, Feb. 18, asking all who could to make an extra gift. A generous donor stepped forward to offer a $20,000 matching gift --- and thanks to that gift and the generosity of all who gave on the 18th in church, made gifts online, and sent in checks for our Close the Gap fund, we've collected more than $42,000! This will allow us to end the fiscal year (June 30, 2018) strong. We are so grateful for your generosity and your care of our church community.

March Worship Theme: Wrestling with Joy
Worship this Sunday
Sunday, March 4, 9:30 & 11:15 a.m.
Sharing Sunday
"Finding Joy in Unexpected Places"
Rev. Justin Schroeder
It seems that almost anything can be done with "joy." In fact, a quick search on Amazon pulls up The Joy of Sex, The Joy of Gardening, and The Joy of Parenting. The list goes on and on. Interestingly, I didn't see anything on "the joy of being part of a religious/faith community," and yet for many of us, First Universalist is where we find and wrestle with a deep, abiding, almost nameless kind of joy. In this service, as we launch our "All In! Annual Giving Campaign," we'll explore the nuances of joy that can be uncovered and discovered in this community.
A Look Ahead
Sunday, March 11, 9:30 & 11:15 a.m.
Rev. Ruth MacKenzie

Recent Sermon Podcasts
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

February 4, 2018
"Fractal Theology"
Rev. Justin Schroeder
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 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.
Bde Maka Ska Community Conversation
Saturday, March 3, 10 a.m.-2 p.m.
Have you wondered what these conversations are about? Did you join our church recently because of our justice work? Please join us - and bring your teens if you have them! These conversations bring together our church, our indigenous neighbors and the community as a whole around our concern for water. We cannot share a future without knowing one another. Come share what is in your heart and learn what lives in the hearts of others. Experience a process that contrasts with more typical forms of activism. More details are available on the Facebook Event.
Conversations on Affordable Housing, Homelessness, and Racial Justice
Sunday, March 4, 1-3 p.m.
OR Tuesday, March 6, 7-9 p.m.
Join us for a round table discussion exploring our individual and collective perspectives and hopes around the issues of racial justice, affordable housing, and homelessness. Both sessions will be preceded by a simple complimentary soup and bread lunch or supper 30 minutes before the session starts. Our congregation is holding these conversations to explore the intersection between systemic racism and housing inequity. As congregational members of Beacon Interfaith Housing Collaborative, our collective ideas will help form future decisions on the next steps in eliminating homelessness and creating affordable housing in the Twin Cities. REGISTER HERE.
Open Labyrinth Walk 
Thursday, March 8, 6:30-8 p.m.
First Universalist's labyrinth is located in the social hall. Join the Labyrinth Circle for an Open Labyrinth Walk on Thursday, March 8; arrive any time between 6:30 and 8 p.m. Walk at your own pace, and stay as long or short as you like. Allow at least 15 minutes minimum for a full fast walk. A member of the Labyrinth Circle will be available to answer questions and offer guidance. For more information, contact: Ann Hobbs, 763-546-3337 or
Racial Justice & Our UU Faith Workshop
Saturdays, March 10 & 17, 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 next be offered on Saturdays, March 10 and 17.  To register, contact Sandy at  or 612-825-1701.
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.
Spotlight on Simpson Housing Services
This past Sunday, Feb. 25, in worship, we highlighted the work of Simpson as one of our six Faithful Action community partners.

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's 35 year history has produced many additional services for under-served people in our community.

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
"At Simpson, we believe everybody has the right to safe and affordable housing. We celebrate and embrace the uniqueness of each person. Join our efforts to be a part of the solution to end homelessness in our community." 

Learn about all that Simpson is doing and how you can volunteer and help at:
All In: Sharing Why We Give
Jeanne Guignon, Annual Giving Team Chair
Jeanne Guignon
First Universalist member Jeanne Guignon, who is this year's Chair of the Annual Giving Team, writes:

As a life-long seeker, I was surprised when, after just one visit to 1st Universalist in 2010, I knew I'd found my 'spiritual home'. This truly is a place where I give, receive and grow. I'm challenged to GROW through learning and faith-in-action opportunities - racial justice, gender equity, immigrant rights; and through participating in various groups and circles. I RECEIVE so much from this community - spiritual inspiration and guidance, deep friendships and connection, and support during times of grief and loss. And so I also GIVE, freely and with joy, of money, service and presence, taking part in and taking care of this very important 'home' in my life.
Marnita's Table: Next Steps
Collectively, we raised more than $26,000 for Marnita's Table through our Holiday Giving Project.
On February 4, our church presented a ceremonial check for $26,102.32 to Marnita's Table, the recipient of our 2017 Holiday Giving Project. Many church members expressed enthusiasm for an ongoing, deeper relationship with Marnita's Table. Please note these two opportunities and join us in taking the next steps!

March 6, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.: Introduction the IZI Experience. Our social hall will be the site for Marnita's Table's next training in IZI (Intentional Social Interaction). Organizers say: You will deepen your own leadership skills and cross-cultural competency, while learning methods to effectively engage people across difference! You will:
  • Play with and eat delicious food and beverage while thinking deeply about the practical logistics of consistently creating an authentically welcoming environment;
  • Learn the 5 foundational roots and 20 touchpoints of IZI;
  • Practice inclusive tools to facilitate individuals across difference;
  • Receive access to tools that will help you host your own personal IZIs; and
  • Explore practices to engage under-represented or under-resourced individuals. 

March 13, 7:30 p.m.: Inaugural meeting of the IZI Planning Group. Help plan IZI tables organized and conducted by First Universalist members to advance our dreams of racial justice and a radically inclusive society. Bring your ideas for themes to address, communities to invite, and outcomes to aim for. We'll meet at the church (room to be determined). To register your interest or for more information, contact .
Benefit Concert: Indigenous Youth to the Vatican
Join us for a benefit concert at church on Sunday, March 18! Proceeds 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, and the concert will feature an incredible line-up of performers - this is one you won't want to miss!

The concert will take place in the sanctuary on Sunday, March 18. Doors will open at 1 p.m. with refreshments and a silent auction, followed by the concert at 2 p.m. Special musical guests include renowned singers Prudence Johnson and Larry Long; Hollywood actor and director Max Gail (best known for his film and TV work on Barney Miller and General Hospital); and First Nation performers Dorene Day Waubanewquay, Tom LaBlanc, Joe Savage, Keith Secola and Mitch Walking Elk. Youths planning to participate in the trip will also be introduced. 

The mission of the Indigenous Youth Ceremonial Mentoring Society is to teach ceremonies to a group of Native youth in the St. Paul School District. Last November, First Universalist was asked to help finance travel for youth and elders of the Society to visit Pope Francis at the Vatican. Their intent was to be a discussion of the historical and inter-generational trauma endured by First Nations people for centuries due to publication of the Doctrine of Discovery by Pope Alexander VI in 1493. With the help of folk singer Mitch Walking Elk, coordinator of the Society, and David Logsdon of Chapter 27 of Veterans for Peace, First Universalist's Environmental and Racial Justice Teams made plans for a benefit concert to help make this trip possible. "Ultimately the goal of this trip is to have every Papal Bull that was written that called for the subjugation of Indigenous people and lands, revoked," adds David Logsdon.

Tickets are available for $20 in advance in the Social Hall on Sundays and online at Eventbrite or at the door for $25. Please join us!
Our Connected Church: Racial Equity & Housing Justice
Submitted by Joan Naymark

As an active member of the Faithful Action Council and recent co-chair with Rev. Justin, we have been working on ways to make it easier and more accessible to more people to engage in Faithful Action work - congregants, friends, families, seniors, youth. One of our often-stated objectives is to remove barriers to participation in this important work.

The new Connected Church project helps identify congregant interests and provide opportunities for all to engage. What are people passionate about?   What skills and interests do they have? What are priorities for our congregation as a whole and for different age groups? When are people available?  With about 200 people signed up with the ACS Connected Church Database at First Universalist so far, some opportunities are emerging.  
  • Many people want to DO something to make this a more racially equitable world.   There are many ways we could engage as a congregation, but how do we choose?  
  • The Faithful Action Council has three Community Partners that focus on homelessness and affordable housing. Our members have passion for these issues. They enjoy working with influential local partners who get things done through direct service and advocacy (Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity, Simpson Housing Services, Beacon Interfaith Housing Collaborative/Families Moving Forward). How broad based is our church's interest in housing justice?
We wondered, how many who are interested in Racial Justice are also interested in Housing Justice? We turned to the Connected Church database and found answers! Racial Justice is the highest area of interest for us, which wasn't a surprise. It is followed by Homelessness; Environmental Justice; Sanctuary, Immigration & Refugees; Poverty and Economic Justice; Education and Literacy; Housing Issues; Hunger & Food Access; and Criminal Justice, Prison & Reentry. Next we asked how many people were interested in both Racial Justice and Housing/Homelessness? It's a very strong correlation - half to two-thirds of those interested in Racial Justice work also have a passion for Housing Justice.  

With this information, we knew there would be interest in the intersection of these Faithful Action arenas. The Faithful Action Council and Racial Justice Educational Team are co-sponsoring "Congregational Conversations," linking racial equity and housing justice in the Twin Cities. The forum will be held twice, on Sunday, March 4 at 1 p.m. and Tuesday, March 6 at 7 p.m. Please join us if you are interested in racial equity, eliminating homelessness, and increasing affordable housing. Register here! 

For those who have not yet signed up for Our Connected Church, please join us! It's easy and it's a way to become part of our strategic planning process to engage the passions and skills of our church community. We need to hear from all congregants so that we can provide opportunities that are of interest to everyone. Sign up HERE
"Greening" Our Church Parking Lot
on St. Patrick's Day: Electronics Collection Event
No green beer or silly leprechauns, but we are excited to invite you to join the parade of cars through our parking lot on Saturday, March 17, from 9 a.m.-noon. to drop off your unneeded electronics. Mark your calendars now, and plan your Spring cleaning!
For this electronics collection event, we are partnering with Tech Dump, a local nonprofit that provides job training and practical experience for adults facing barriers to employment. They never export unprocessed materials, reuse where possible and then recycle, and guarantee that all data is destroyed at their facility. Items accepted include notebooks/laptops/desktops/servers, unbroken flat panel TVs and monitors, hard drives/motherboards/switches/routers/firewalls, cell phones/iPads-Pods/tablets/MP3 players, stereos/speakers/audio receivers, printers, scanners, VCRs, DVD players, misc. household electronics, and cables/cords/chargers.
We ask for and need a donation of between 50 cents and $1 per pound of donated items. There is a larger charge for CRT TVs and monitors, depending on the size.
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 believe the congregation is full of untapped talent and encourage people to step forward and share their 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 any Nominating Committee member to learn more: Suzann Willhite (chair), Pat Gottschalk, Greg Hoelzer, Sharon Ramirez, Jim Ramnaraine, and Marcia Wattson, or email
Association of Universalist Women Spring Retreat
The AUW (Association of Universalist Women) Spring Retreat is April 13-15 (Friday 4 p.m. through Sunday noon). It will be held at Koinonia Retreat Center in South Haven, MN. The Retreat theme is "Living Our Values" and keynote speaker is Rev. Kelli Clement!  For information about the sessions and to register, visit the AUW website .

You can also register in person at the AUW kiosk in the Social Hall after each service.  NEW THIS YEAR at the Retreat - a Talent Show! Those not performing can play a supportive role as an enthusiastic audience member.  If you have questions, contact  Janet Merrill at  612-354-2743  or
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.
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, and many of our members have attended over the course of almost three decades.

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. Participants are NOT asked to do any sharing with the group.

Past participants from First Universalist Church have praised the weekend for offering them a deeper understanding of the joy and work of relationship.

The retreat is held at Koinonia Retreat Center in South Haven, MN. The cost for the weekend is $425, which includes accommodations, meals, and healthy snacks. Limited partial scholarships are available.

To register, visit or email Space is limited to 15 couples. 
Join Our Mailing List
Subscribe to The Weekly Liberal here
Sign up to receive our weekly Children Youth & Family Ministries news here
Church Office Hours
Sundays  8 a.m.-1 p.m.
Mondays-Thursdays  8:30 a.m.-8 p.m.
Closed Fridays and Saturdays
Weekly Liberal Submissions
We encourage you to submit news!
Do you have an announcement that you'd like published in  The Weekly Liberal? Fill out our  online submission form. Edits for length and/or content may occur.  The Weekly Liberal  is compiled and edited by Communications Manager Jenn Stromberg. Past issues, deadlines, and policies can be found on our  website
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


Copyright © 2018. All Rights Reserved.