March 9, 2017  |  Vol. 4 No. 10
Discomfort, Risk, and Race 
Rev. Justin Schroeder
This quote, from Tara Brach, author of "Radical Acceptance," speaks to me: "All our reactions to people, situations, to thoughts in our own mind, are actually reactions to the kind of sensations that are arising in our body. When these sensations are unrecognized our lives are lost in the waterfall of reactivity. We disconnect from living presence, from full awareness, from our heart."

I recently joined a group of white-identified, nonprofit Executive Directors from the Twin Cities who are committed to leading racially just organizations.

In these meetings, and in our racial justice ministry at First Universalist Church, I am reminded that perhaps the most important work for people racialized as white is to notice our discomfort in conversations around race, racism, and whiteness. As Tara Brach says, "These reactions...are actually reactions to the kind of sensations that are arising in our body. When these sensations are unrecognized...we disconnect from living presence, from full awareness, from our heart."

Simply put, this is how racism works - it disconnects us from living presence, from full awareness, from our own heart. It allows indifference, outright hostility, or even anger toward others to grow within us.

Undoing systems of oppression is a spiritual endeavor that engages our whole self, including the body, and the sensations we are experiencing.

If we are to find a way forward as we seek to address the most vexing challenges of our time, we must risk feeling discomfort, trusting that if we follow the discomfort to the sensations and source within us, new wisdom, insight, and awareness will emerge.

Let me be clear: I am not encouraging any of us to place ourselves in dangerous situations, where we are at risk of physical or deep emotional harm. Rather, I'm suggesting that following the thread of our discomfort might ultimately lead to greater healing, wholeness, and awareness.

I wonder: What is making you uncomfortable? Is it conversations about race, racism, and whiteness? Is it conversations about money? Is it something else? What hidden treasures might rest in that discomfort?

I'd love to hear from you!

I'll see you in church,

Worship this Sunday
Daylight Saving Time begins this Sunday - don't forget to "Spring Forward!"
Sunday, March 12, 9:30 & 11:15 a.m.
"Not for Ourselves Alone"
Rev. Justin Schroeder
Life is a dance between risk and safety, between the known and unknown. Sometimes it feels impossible and far too risky to even imagine something other than what is. Other times, we're willing to risk it all for a dream of a new world, for loved ones, for the chance to truly be alive. As Rev. William Sloan Coffin writes, "I love the recklessness of faith. First you leap, and then you grow wings." This Sunday, we'll explore how our faith helps us leap, and take risks beyond what we imagined possible.
A Look Ahead
Sunday, March 12, 9:30 & 11:15 a.m.
"The Space Between"
Margaret Weis

Recent Sermon Podcasts
March 5, 2017
"Risking a New Story"
Rev. Ruth MacKenzie
Listen to the podcast
February 26, 2017
"The Day of Religion"
Imam Makram El-Amin
February 19, 2017
"The Way It Is"
Rev. Jen Crow
March Worship Theme: Risk
Risk is a dance with danger. It is stepping into a moment, unsure of what lies ahead. We may enter risk of our own accord or be pushed into risk-taking by life circumstances. Risk stands on the precipice of a failed attempt, a generative opening, or maybe a little of both. Whether we are comfortable with risk-taking or not, it is central to a whole and thriving life. There is no way to avoid it.  In this month, we explore the nature of risk, and the spiritual muscles we need to develop in order to meet it.
If you've registered to attend, we'll see you at our Capital Campaign Kickoff Party this Saturday, March 11! Watch for a separate email with a map to the venue, a schedule for the evening, and other helpful details. 
Daytime Connections:
Awaken Spirit, Create Justice!
Thursday, March 16,
11 a.m. program, 1 p.m. lunch
Join our talented Rev. Ruth MacKenzie in exploring singing and its role in spirituality and justice making. We'll sing songs of spiritual awakening and resistance, tell stories and create our own song to buoy and enliven our hearts. Experience the power of singing as one organism! All voices welcome.
$5-10 donation for lunch. RSVP to Sandy at or 612-825-1701. If you need transportation, let Sandy know when you register. 
A Good Time for the Truth Book Discussion
Thursday, March 16, 7-8:30 p.m.
In this provocative book, sixteen writers provide a range of perspectives on what it is like to live as a person of color in Minnesota. They bring us generously into experiences that we must understand if we are to come together in real relationships. The discussion will cover all essays in "A Good Time for the Truth: Race in Minnesota." This is a drop-in event, and discussion will be led by Suzanne Hay and Margaret Manderfield.
Mde Maka Ska Community Conversation
Wednesday, March 22, 5:30-9 p.m.
Join us as we allow the spirit of water to guide the flow of our dreams towards a more transformative way of life at the next Mde Maka Ska Community Conversation. Come together collectively to follow the flow of life-giving water, to look upstream towards the future in new ways that reflect its endless nourishment of water. We'll enjoy a light dinner at 5:30 p.m. followed by a conversation from 6:30-9 p.m. New this time: If you would like to participate in the meal, please RSVP to by Wednesday, March 15.
Senior Hike with Daytime Connections 
Thursday, March 23, 10 a.m.
Join us for our next senior hike with  Daytime Connections! We'll gather at 10 a.m. at the Dunn Brothers Coffee located at 4648 E. Lake St., Minneapolis 55406.  This month's route will take us north along West River Parkway through the U of M campus and back south on East River Parkway. It is about a 1.5-hour hike and a fairly flat route that offers stunning views of downtown Minneapolis and the Mississippi River canyon.  Following the hike we will gather at the Longfellow Grill for hydration, sustenance and conversation.
RSVP to Tom Saterstrom (cell: 952-239-3629; email: if you plan to participate.
Kinds of Light: SKY
Contemplative Evening Worship
Sunday, March 26, 5:30 p.m.
"Kinds of Light: SKY" is the fourth and final service in our 2016-17 Contemplative Evening Worship Series. Light divides our world into two hemispheres: land and sky. The one is where we live and work; the other represents our hopes, our aspirations, our dreams. The second illuminates the first, just as the dreams we have at night illuminate our waking life. What happens when we build a bridge between them? We'll explore these themes through the piano trio Ladders to the Sky, by Gwyneth Walker, as well as piano music by Gareth Farr and John Psathas, with the help of violinist Ginna Watson and cellist Corey Grossman. Please join Rev. Ruth MacKenzie and Dr. Jerrod Wendland on Sunday, March 26, at 5:30 p.m. in the sanctuary for a meditative hour of music and poetry for opening the heart and deepening the spirit.
Spring Clear Out Day
We often run short on storage space at church. One reason is that some of the spaces we have are filled with stuff that no one is using anymore. In an effort to tidy up some of our storage areas, the April meeting of Lend A Hand will be dedicated to clearing things out.

If you are a group or committee that stores things here, please get in touch with Bree Mattson at . We won't get rid of anything that you're still using and want to keep, but we'll need to know before April 6.

Everyone is welcome to join Lend A Hand and SPIFF on Thursday, April 6 at 9 a.m. to help with the clear out. The morning will start with bagels and coffee and then we'll get to work. Come help us keep our church clean, orderly and looking good! If you would like to participate, please email Sandy at to sign up. 
Donations Wanted for Book/CD/DVD/Video Game Sale
Please consider supporting the Youth Cultural Exchange program by donating your used media items. Drop off your gently-used Books, CDs, DVDs and Video Games in the social hall March 26, April 2 or April 9. The sale will take place on Sundays, April 23 and 30.
This summer, twelve First Universalist 8th and 9th grade youth will travel to Nicaragua where they will live with local families to gain cultural understanding and forge lasting cross-cultural friendships. Your donations and purchases will help us bring the twelve Nicaraguan host siblings to Minnesota for two weeks in 2018.
Have a large number of items to donate and would like to arrange a time for pick-up?  Questions?  Contact Eric Schaefer at 612-414-7515 or

UUA MidAmerica Regional Assembly is April 28-30
Come to Regional Assembly! The annual meeting of the Unitarian Universalist Association's MidAmerica Region will be held April 28-30 in Oak Brook, IL, near Chicago.  Join UUs from our congregations throughout 13 midwestern states for:
  • A keynote speech from Rev. Dr. Lee Barker, President of Meadville-Lombard Theological School (and a former First Universalist member!)
  • A forum featuring all three candidates for the Presidency of the UUA
  • Fabulous workshops on our Anti-Racist/Anti-Oppression work, UUs at Standing Rock, Refugee Sponsorship, and much more
  • Inspiring worship
For more information, plus an "early bird" discounted registration and hotel reservation (through  April 5), go to  Hope to see you there!

- David Lauth
Member, MidAmerica Region Board of Trustees
Nominating Committee Recruiting Applicants for Church Leadership Positions
The Nominating Committee is actively recruiting candidates for leadership positions on the Board of Trustees, the Foundation Board, and the Nominating Committee itself for the next church year. We believe the congregation is full of untapped talent and we encourage people to step forward and share their skills!

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: To qualify for any of these positions, you must be a member in good standing of the church. Elections occur at the Annual Meeting on June 4.  The application deadline is April 2, 2017. Applications should be submitted to For position descriptions and to download the application form, visit our website .
Donations for Augsburg Fairview Academy
Your continued food and clothing donations are essential to help supply the Hope Food & Clothing Closets at Augsburg Fairview Academy. Here is what is most needed right now:

Donations for Hope Clothing Closet: Men's socks and underwear (t-shirts and briefs) - size M and L, men's jeans (size 30, 31 and 32), and women's underwear (size M and L). Wish list: basketball shorts. Always desired: hoodies; jeans for men and women (all sizes). Clothing should be clean, teen appropriate and in good repair. Dark colors preferred.

Donations for the Hope Food Closet: single serving microwavable soups, mac and cheese, stews, and dinners; snacks like fruit cups, granola bars, or nuts. Ethnic hair products are particularly desired (go to the ethnic products aisles at stores; brands include Jam and Edge Control). Other needed toiletries include lotions, chapstick, men's and women's deodorant, and condoms (note: we don't need travel size items).
Bring items to the Hub on Sundays or drop off during the week at the shelves labeled for AFA by the 34th Street entrance. Thank you for your generosity!
  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 Care 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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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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