February 22, 2018  |  Vol. 5 No. 8
From Suffering to Transformation
Rev. Jen Crow
The images feel incongruent this week. The glitzy gold of the Olympics and the stories of whole families and communities who have come together to support the passion and achievement of singular athletes that represent us all - and then a fade in or out and a different picture appears - a child, murdered at school or in an attack in Syria - and the same story, the teachers, families, friends, coaches, communities of faith who came together to raise that child and now mourn that child, who are coming together now for the good of the whole, sharing their stories full of love and loss, that we might know their pain and be inspired to make the changes that have been needed for so long.

We all know something of suffering. Several years ago, a mentor introduced me to C.S. Lewis' writings on pain and suffering. Lewis asserts that while pain and suffering are inevitable in human living, pain is not inherently good and does not necessarily lead to the good. For Lewis, there are at least two kinds of suffering: useless suffering and useful suffering. Useless suffering is the suffering that leads to nothing but more suffering. It can include all kinds of feelings such as shame, regret, worry, and guilt that does not lead to changed behavior. Useful suffering, on the other hand, is the suffering that leads to transformation for the individual and possibly for the community. I've read recently about the newer concept of post-traumatic growth. Post-traumatic growth is positive psychological change experienced as a result of adversity and other challenges in order to rise to a higher level of functioning. I think that C.S. Lewis' spiritual understanding of useful suffering may have a lot in common with this newer psychologically-based concept of post-traumatic growth.

The pain present in our community is great right now. We know suffering that comes from submission to money as a higher god than human life, to power as a greater good. We know suffering that comes from the common experiences of loss that can break our hearts. And this suffering will continue to show up - sometimes seemingly in the same breath as joy.

This week, as the incongruent images move across my news feed, I am seeing something more than useless suffering and hedonistic joy. I am seeing children and families and whole communities rising up in service to each other, refusing to be silent. I am seeing suffering being transformed into solutions that reach across party lines and into people's hearts. If the loss of the 17 students in Parkland, Florida and the loss of so many lives to needless violence in our communities and in our world is to turn from useless suffering to useful suffering, we have a long road ahead. May we be people of the long haul, trusting our deep-seated faith in the power of love, living into our commitment to nurture and protect the light in each human heart that we might do the spiritual work of alchemy in human living, turning suffering into transformation for us and for our world.

In gratitude,

Rev. Jen

February Worship Theme: The Long Haul
Worship this Sunday
Sunday, Feb. 25, 9:30 & 11:15 a.m.
Sanctuary and Resistance Sunday
Guest Speakers incl. Steve Kraemer
Over the past year and a half, our Sanctuary and Resistance Team has been hard at work: we've become a Sanctuary Congregation, we're deepening our relationships with organizations and individuals working for immigration justice, and we're teasing out the connections between racial justice and immigration justice. This Sunday, we'll hear voices and stories of those most impacted by our current immigration policies, and those who are working in solidarity with those impacted.
A Look Ahead
Sunday, March 4, 9:30 & 11:15 a.m.
Rev. Justin Schroeder

Recent Sermon Podcasts
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

January 28, 2018
"Loving Resistance"
Rev. Jen Crow
Musical Guest this Sunday: Dean Magraw
Dean Magraw is a consummate guitarist, playing with wit and soulful abandon. A performer like no other, he is part-comedian, part-philosopher and all-around musical genius. Transcending genre, he has performed with a cornucopia of collaborators from jazz organist Jack McDuff to folk icon Greg Brown, traditional Irish supergroup Altan to classical violinist Nigel Kennedy.
February Worship Theme: The Long Haul
The Chinese symbol for perseverance is a knife poised over a heart. There is something about the long haul that requires big heartedness, strength, a willingness to be wounded, and still lean into life. Author and social critic Margaret Wheatley writes, "Human experience is the story of perseverance." Every one of us knows what it is to be in it for the "long haul." At one point or another this life will require us to do something that's hard, that we hate, that hurts, or that we don't believe we can do, but we do it. The question is how to go the distance without the journey eating you alive? This month we explore the nature of perseverance, the long haul, and finding the life-giving qualities entwined in it all.
Project Art for Nature Artists' Reception
Sunday, Feb. 25, after services
Meet the artists featured in our current art show at an artists' reception this Sunday, Feb. 25 in the social hall after each service. The exhibit showcases artwork featuring the waters and land along the Mississippi River and its tributaries, by four members of Project Art for Nature: Suzanne Lewis (botanical drawings), Tom McGregor (plein air paintings), Robyn Beth Priestley (mixed media block prints) and Diane Wesman (paintings).
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.
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.
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  Sandy@firstuniv.org  or 612-825-1701.
Sanctuary and Resistance Sunday: Feb 25
Immigrants are under attack under an oppressive system, and families are being torn apart all around us. We all need to learn as much as we can in the days ahead so that we can take action to stop these abuses of power. Please join us in worship this Sunday, Feb. 25 (9:30 or 11:15 a.m.) and hear stories directly from immigrants who are impacted and Steve Kraemer from 'Conversation with Friends,' a visiting and letter writing friendship program for immigrants who are being held in Minnesota's detention centers.   
Before Luis Candela's recent arrest, his wife, Sandra, and other women and youth from Oak Grove Mobile Home Park in New Brighton, had been organizing since August 2017 in Resistance Circles that began with funding from the First Universalist Foundation. They came to First Universalist to share their stories of how their park manager was harassing them and their children and threatening to call ICE to have them deported. Fifteen people have been detained or deported from the park, and are now being targeted because of their public demands for justice. Our support is needed. Learn more.
We have started our own First Universalist Sanctuary and Resistance Fund to continue to support families like this who are suffering as a result of the policies and practices of our broken immigration system. We hope to deepen our relationships with our collaborators for justice and support them in ways they want to be supported.
Sanctuary and Resistance at First Universalist
As you'll hear in the service, immigrants are under attack under an oppressive system, and families are being torn apart all around us. Detentions in Minnesota have gone up 72% in one year. Our collective liberation depends on us working together for justice.  Resist with us! 
  1. Sign up: Get on the Sanctuary and Resistance listserv to get messages about upcoming actions, needs, and events. Contact: resistance@firstuniv.org.
  2. Join 'ART for Action': Help build the First Universalist Sanctuary and Resistance Immigrant Fund by donating, purchasing an Interfaith Spiritual Practice bracelet, or developing your own creative response to raising money for the fund with your friends and family: art sales, concerts, cook-offs, or make and take events - all ideas are welcome! Contact: Denise Konen - denise@netgains.net
  3. Values Action Group: Join others working to advance a progressive agenda which includes racial, economic and immigrant justice. In collaboration with ISAIAH, we are aligning with other faith communities and nonprofits to garner support for these issues in the political arena. Contact: Jeanne Guignon - jeanneg195@gmail.com.
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 exclusive Marnita's Table tools that will help you host your own personal IZIs; and
  • Explore practices to engage under-represented or under-resourced individuals."

Several church members have already received this training. Our goal is build a cadre of trained IZI facilitators so we can host IZI tables of our own.


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 lukas.udstuen@gmail.com .

Finally, we invite you to follow the work of Marnita's Table on their website or by liking them on Facebook.
Benefit Concert: Indigenous Youth to the Vatican
Save the Date! The Environmental Justice and Racial Justice Teams and Veterans for Peace are co-sponsoring a concert that will take place in the Sanctuary at First Universalist Church on Sunday, March 18. It's intended to fund a trip for 12  First-Nation youth and adults to visit the Vatican to discuss the historical and inter-generational trauma resulting from the Doctrine of Discovery.  Performers include: Waubanewquay Dorene Day; Max Gail; Prudence Johnson; Tom LaBlanc; Larry Long; and Mitch Walking Elk. Indigenous youths will do story-telling.  Doors open at 1 p.m. for a silent auction and food, and the concert begins at 2 p.m. Tickets will be availa ble for $20 advance purchase online or in cash. More details and link to purchase tickets will be available soon!
Last Habitat for Humanity Volunteer Day
Until the Summer Work Week
Habitat Crew Feb. 2018
First Universalist has a Habitat for Humanity work day coming up on Thursday, March 8, and we'd love to have you on the crew! 

The work day is from 8:15 a.m. until 4 p.m., and lunch will be provided. Volunteers must be over sixteen years of age, and sixteen- and seventeen-year-olds must be accompanied by an adult. 

Worried that you don't know much about building and using tools? No worries! Your fellow volunteers and the Habitat site supervisor are there to help you. 

Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity is one of six Faithful Action community partners of First Universalist.
"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.
The Ordination of Terri Burnor: Saturday, March 10
First Universalist Church will host the ordination of Terri Burnor on Saturday, March 10 at 3 p.m. (clergy, candidates, and aspirants gather at 2:30 p.m.). Terri was an intern minister at First Universalist several years ago, and recently received ministerial fellowship through the UUA. The Church of the Larger Fellowship will be ordaining her, with Rev. Meg Riley preaching. First Universalist members and friends are invited to attend! RSVP to: terriburnor@gmail.com 
Camp UniStar Celebrates Its 57th Season
Stop by the UniStar table in the Social Hall this Sunday after  services. You will find the new Program Week Brochure  and registration information as well as enthusiastic congregation members who are also  UniStar campers to answer your questions. 

Camp UniStar is a camp for Unitarian Universalist individuals and families and other like-minded people, nestled in the Chippewa National Forest on Star Island in northern Minnesota. Each year we welcome campers of all ages for a week-long stay, with activities for children and youth, and a daily program for adults on topics such as spirituality, science, sailing, social justice, self-reflection, yoga, dance, music or crafts. The lake encourages water activities; the forest trails attract hikers; sunrises and sunsets invite meditation.
The vision for Camp UniStar is as clear as the water of beautiful Cass Lake; fresh as the air you breath boating to this remote island; bright as the stars you see at night; and heartfelt as the memories you will, or already have, of this magical place.
For more information and registration instructions, visit:  www.CampUniStar.org.
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 janetmerrill@comcast.net
Community Partner Application Info Session
Information Session: Community Partner Applications for 2018-2019 Year
Sunday, Feb. 25, 10:30-11 a.m. (between services) in the Cummins Room
The Faithful Action Council has opened up the Community Partner application process for 2018-2019. A Community Partnership is a relationship between First Universalist and an organization that shares our vision of love and justice. Each partnership is led by a congregant Team Lead and supported by dedicated volunteers. If you are interested in submitting an application for a new Community Partner for which you will be the Team Lead, please attend an informational session on Sunday, Feb. 25 at 10:30 a.m.  If you are interested but unable to join us for the info session, please contact Joan Naymark ( jnaymark@gmail.com ) to learn more.  New and renewing partnership applications for the 2018-2019 year are due April 1 to the church office, FaithfulAction@firstuniv.org .
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 sandy@firstuniv.org 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.
Fundraiser for Rohingya Refugees
Saturday, Feb. 24, 5:30-8:30 p.m. 
NorthWest Islamic Community Center (3300 Plymouth Blvd, Plymouth, MN)
The Syrian American Medical Society is sponsoring a fundraiser on Saturday, Feb. 24  for the Rohingya refugees. The situation for the hundreds of thousands of Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh is dire. A recent article outlines their plight in pictures and words.  Funding goes to the Syrian American Medical Society's (SAMS) Global Response to support their medical efforts and clinic in Cox Bazaar caring for the Rohingyan refugees who have fled genocide in Myanmar.
CARAG Chilly Chili Fest + Fundraiser 
Sunday, Feb. 25, noon-2:30 p.m. at Bryant Square Park
You're invited to our neighborhood chili fest - a benefit for the Joyce Uptown Food Shelf! Cash and non-perishables are appreciated. Chili is available for $5 per bowl ($3 for kids and seniors). Free childcare, crafts, prizes and a silent auction. First Universalist Church is located within the CARAG neighborhood, and this neighborhood event is being held at Bryant Square Park - 3101 Bryant Ave. S. A great lunch option following the second service this Sunday!
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 www.hearttoheartmn.org or email h2hretreat@gmail.com. Space is limited to 15 couples. 
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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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