May 11, 2017  |  Vol. 4 No. 19
Hosting Families at First Universalist:
Offering Multi-Generational Hospitality
Beacon's Families Moving Forward: Ending homelessness one family at a time.
A note from Peg Mitchell, First Universalist member and coordinator of volunteers for our Families Moving Forward hosting weeks!

As we prepare to host families who are experiencing the loss of a "roof over their heads," I am remembering a period in my life where I had failed in my business, had spent all my retirement savings just to meet my daily living expenses and had to face making a career change that would allow me to get back on my financial feet. I was overwhelmed with fear and had little confidence in my future. However, I was supported by my community and learned to say the following words to myself each day: "I have a roof over my head, food in my refrigerator, gas in my car and a warm bed at night. For today, I have what I need." I repeated that sentence every day for over six months and as I entered month seven, I learned that what I had was "enough."
Hosting families in their time of transition allows us to offer those words of assurance through action. For the seven days of Sunday, May 28 through Saturday, June 3 and again Aug. 20 - Sept. 3, we provide a warm (or cool) bed, plentiful food, and access to transportation, allowing families to concentrate their energies on finding affordable housing and employment that will sustain them. Families of all configurations arrive at our church at about 5:45 p.m. each day, share a meal with us prepared by volunteers, and engage in activities such as games and movies. Families are also given time to prepare lunches for the next day. Each family finds their "bedroom" at the end of the evening. The set-up team has transformed the Religious Education rooms from classrooms to bedrooms, complete with matching sheets, toiletry items, and flowers on the table. As our guests prepare to depart at 6:30 a.m., they are greeted by our overnight hosts and offered breakfast.  
What does it take to pull it all off? Approximately 60 volunteers per week, in addition to the host coordinators. Each night we ask for 3 volunteers to prepare dinner, 3 volunteers to engage in evening activities, and 2 volunteers to spend the night (comfortable beds are provided). We need 12 volunteers to transform classrooms to bedrooms and then return them to classrooms at the end of the stay. Volunteers have also stepped in and offered to prepare a hot breakfast on Saturday morning when our guests can stay longer, scramble to rearrange a bedroom as one family transitions out and another comes in mid-week, and host a picnic over Memorial Day.   
This is multi-generational hospitality! Families from our congregation have had wonderful experiences volunteering with Families Moving Forward. We have observed 10-year olds helping 6-year olds read, 13-year olds turning fingernails into works of art, 60-year olds and 14-year olds orchestrating a full-blown game of kickball. Come one, come all! 

We welcome all people interested to visit the table in the Social Hall following each service on Sunday, May 14 and May 21. Volunteers can sign up directly online using Sign-Up Genius Questions and comments can be directed to , or .
Sign Up for a Capital Campaign Visit!
The wonderful Sandy DiNanni helped update our progress chart this week. We've added one more tile (each represents $100,000 in pledges received) and our total raised so far is now just over $4.8 million!
From the beginning, the goal of our capital campaign, Not for Ourselves Alone: Building an Inclusive Future, has been to visit with everyone in the congregation and have an in-person conversation about our church's needs and our vision for the future. 

Dozens of volunteer visitors from our congregation have been meeting with members of our community in recent months. We've already met with several hundred members (thank you!), and we know that many of you have been in touch with a visitor to schedule a visit. 

Are you a member of our community who hasn't had a visit yet? There are still about 200 people that we are working to set up visits with. Our volunteer visitors are eager meet with you! 

If you haven't had or scheduled your campaign visit yet, please help make this process easier by filling out this online form to request a capital campaign visit.  Pick an upcoming Sunday or a day and timeframe that works for you during the week.  Thank you for helping us meet our goal and wrap up this campaign in a timely fashion!


Worship this Sunday
Sunday, May 14, 9:30 & 11:15 a.m.
Youth-friendly Worship
"Love Is the Thing"
Rev. Ruth MacKenzie
Love is something we all hope to experience, something we hope we fall into someday. So what if love is more than a feeling? What if love is more than a nice word we say a lot  on Sunday? What if love is a commitment? Join us this Sunday to dig into the commitment of love and honor with our Coming of Age youth, who will be presenting excerpts of their credos (Statements of Faith). This is a  Sunday not to be missed!
A Look Ahead
Sunday, May 21, 9:30 & 11:15 a.m.
Youth Sunday
Sunday, May 28, 10 a.m.
Memorial Day Weekend

Recent Sermon Podcasts
May 7, 2017
"Embodied God"
Rev. Ruth MacKenzie
April 30, 2017
"Resisting White Supremacy: A Teach-In"
April 23, 2017
"The White Trash Among Us"
Rev. Karen Hutt
May's Worship Theme is Embodiment. In her poem, "Shoulders," Naomi Shihab Nye describes a man carrying his child across a busy street. He looks left and right several times, knowing he carries precious cargo. As he does, "His ear fills up with breathing. He hears the hum of a boy's dream deep inside him." She then says, "We're not going to be able to live in this world if we're not willing to do what he's doing with one another." Religion is more than just affirming a set of beliefs. Religion is embodying those principles in the real world, as a parent, a friend, an advocate, an ally, a lover, a colleague. We are here to have our ears filled with the world's breathing and embody the hum of one another's dreaming deep inside our living.
May 13 Coming of Age Ceremony & Celebration
What do you think is the nature of being human?

What do you think happens when we die?

How has First Universalist Church shaped you as a person of faith?

What do you think God is or is not?

These are some of the questions that 9th and 10th graders have grappled with throughout the year in Coming of Age class. Coming of Age is a beloved tradition in Unitarian Universalism. Instead of asking our youth to sign on to a particular creed or dogma, we charge them with discerning for themselves what they hold dear, using the 7 principles as a guide. To round out the Coming of Age experience, each student is asked to distill their core beliefs about life, God, and humanity into a personal statement of belief.

The yearlong Coming of Age journey will culminate on Saturday, May 13 at the Coming of Age ceremony. At this ceremony, each youth will stand on the chancel and share their personal credo with family, friends, and community members. Coming of Age youth have put in a great deal of time and thought into their statements. On May 13, our congregation has an opportunity to honor and celebrate the thoughtfulness of an incredible group of young people. All are welcome and warmly invited to attend.

The Coming of Age ceremony and worship service will take place on Saturday, May 13 at 3 p.m. in the sanctuary. A celebratory potluck reception in the Social Hall will directly follow the service.  
Daytime Connections: Community-Led Initiatives Transforming North Minneapolis 
Thursday, May 18, 10 a.m.
On a charter bus tour led by Mike Wynne, CEO and president of EMERGE, we'll learn about vibrant community groups in North Minneapolis who are building a more just, inclusive city. The visit will conclude  with lunch from Breaking Bread Café, a North Minneapolis nonprofit that's leading the way to engage youth in a food justice movement. Mike will lead us in a discussion to consider how WE can support their community work.  Co-sponsored with the Faithful Action Council. B oard the handicap-accessible bus at church at 10 a.m.; return at 1:30 p.m.  Register ($20) with Sandy at  or 612-825-1701. Transportation and financial support are available.
Backyard Composting and Organics Workshop
Sunday, May 21, 12:45-1:45 p.m.,
Chalice Room
Learn how to compost food scraps and yard waste in your backyard. This workshop will also cover residential organics collection, which is available in some communities, including Minneapolis and St. Louis Park. 
Participants will be entered into a drawing to win a free cedar/wire mesh compost bin! Refreshments will be provided. Presentation by Kira Berglund from Hennepin County. This workshop is sponsored by the Environmental Justice Team. 
Wellspring Info Session 
Sunday, May 21, 1-2 p.m.
Wellspring offers spiritual deepening within our UU tradition and is an opportunity to learn more about ourselves and our faith through a year-long small group experience. You're invited to join us at an upcoming info session to learn more! (Two additional sessions will be offered in June and July.) After a day-long opening retreat on August 26, Wellspring will meet every other week through May 2018. Attendance at an info session is required if you wish to participate next year. Learn more.
Seniors Hike with Daytime Connections
Thursday, May 25, 10 a.m.
Meet at: Moir Park in Bloomington, MN
Join us for our next seniors hike with Daytime Connections! Our May hike will take us along the banks of Nine Mile Creek in Bloomington. The hike is within the creek gorge - you will forget you are in the city! Meet at Moir Park Central Picnic Area at 10 a.m. on May 25. RSVP to Tom Saterstrom (952-239-3629 or Get complete details here.
Legacy Challenge Workshop 
Saturday, June 3, 10 a.m.-noon
Learn how you can make a difference for the UU organizations and congregations you care about through legacy giving!  Join us on Saturday, June 3 for a Wake Now Our Vision UU Collaborative Campaign (WNOV): Legacy Challenge workshop presented by Rev. Laura Randall, Legacy Campaign Director, and members of the WNOV partners.  The UU Congregation at Shelter Rock has offered a $5 million matching grant to incentivize new planned gifts through this Legacy Challenge. A l ight breakfast will be served at 9:30 a.m. RSVP (617-948-6511, ) by May 24. Learn more.
Flower Communion & Annual Meeting
Sunday, June 4 
10 a.m. worship, 11:30 a.m. meeting
Flower Communion is an annual ritual that celebrates beauty, human uniqueness, diversity, and community. Please bring a flower from your garden or from a bouquet to this multigenerational worship service on Sunday, June 4 at 10 a.m.   Following worship, t he  Annual Meeting of the Membership  will take place at 11:30 a.m.  We will present the Annual Report, elect church leadership and approve the budget for the 2017-18 church year. 
Join a Circle This Summer! Registration Open Through 5/22
Set some time aside to engage with life's deeper themes: Join a circle this summer!  These gatherings of 8-10 people are a great way to get connected at First Universalist and to stay spiritually grounded throughout the summer. 

Offerings this summer include: four Community Circles, Newcomer Circles, and four Spiritual Deepening Circles including Meditation for Teachers, Chi-Gung, Living Our UU Principles in Today's World, and Lectio Divina. View descriptions and schedules here

R egistration  for summer circles is open through Monday, May 22. You may register online or in the Social Hall on Sundays, May 14 or 21. For more information, contact Rev. Elaine Aron Tenbrink at  or  612-825-1701 x124.
Attend UUA General Assembly In Person or Online
The Fifth Principle of the Unitarian Universalist Association states we agree on "the use of the democratic process within our congregations." Here's an opportunity to act on that principle: Represent our church at the UUA General Assembly (GA) meeting the weekend of June 24 in New Orleans.
While part of what happens at GA is important association business - this year is a UUA President election year - by no means is GA all about work. It's also a UUA exhibition and conference. There are literally hundreds of inspiring and energizing workshops, worship services, vendors, and social events crowded into the schedule.
Full conference information is available at Conference registration and travel expenses are not sponsored by the church, but note that there is an option to attend online as an "off-site" delegate or participant.
Anyone can attend GA, but if you want to be able to vote on UUA business you need to be a delegate. Our delegation must be approved by a vote at our annual meeting on June 4.
If you wish to nominate yourself to be a delegate, please contact Nominating Committee Chair Doug Smalley as soon as possible at 651-955-8899 or
Worship Associate Applications Due May 17
Do you love worship? Do you have a flair for writing? Does your heart soar when you're telling a story about your spiritual journey? Consider applying to be a Worship Associate!
Here's what Worship Associates say about being a part of this group....

Being a worship associate has given me a chance to connect with this congregation on a new level. The most rewarding part has been seeing that my words can move others, and hearing from members of the congregation about their connection to my message. Through working to shape the services I have also been able to reflect on my own life and share experiences with my fellow worship associates. -Adrian Ali Caccamo

Being a Worship Associate puts me more in tune with Sunday services. Not only do I want to be there to listen to the stories from my fellow WA, but I also connect more with each month's theme. After I've told my stories, I've been amazed by the stories other church members share with me. -Welcome Jerde

Through this experience I have become braver and stronger in speaking my truth. It feels so good to know that my words have value to other people and that hearing about my experiences helps others in our congregation to feel less alone. -Denise Konen

Worship Associates speak 2 or 3 times during the church year in our worship services, September through May. Associates and Rev. Justin Schroeder gather during the year to discuss themes for upcoming months, talk about writing for oration, review how to lay out a manuscript, and practice public speaking.

If this interests you:
  • Write a 500 word piece about your experience with forgiveness .
  • Submit your manuscript to Rev. Justin Schroeder at:
  • Deadline for submissions is May 17, 2017.
The Worship Team will be choosing applicants that represent the multi-generational, multi-cultural, multi-racial congregation we are becoming.

Graduating Seniors: RSVP for Upcoming Events
On Sunday, May 14 at 10 a.m. we will hold a brunch and bridging ritual for all graduating seniors and their families. We will meet in the Cummins Room. If you haven't yet, please RSVP to Emma Paskewitz at with the number of family members who will be attending.  
Youth Sunday is on May 21. We will recognize all graduating seniors during both services. Please RSVP to Emma Paskewitz at by May 15 with the name of the graduating senior and which service(s) they will attend. 
New Chairs in Our Classrooms
Have you been in a meeting or Circle in a classroom at church and gotten uncomfortable sitting on our old, green plastic chairs? Thanks to the SPIFF committee in cooperation with Rev. Elaine Aron Tenbrink, you'll now be able to sit in our classrooms in comfort on new, padded chairs!
Resistance & Resilience: Sustaining Faithful Action
How are we -- progressive people of faith -- called to respond to the urgent needs of this political moment? Why does it matter that we approach our work as religious people, and as members of congregations and faith communities? And how do we sustain our spirits, our energy, our communities when there is so much to drain us and fill us with despair?  

Join MUUSJA, in partnership with the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee, for Resistance & Resilience: Sustaining Faithful Action for Justice & Solidarity in a Hurting World, hosted at First Universalist on May 19 and 20. The program will include moving interfaith worship, plenary discussions with religious leaders and political visionaries about the spiritual-political times we are in, collaborative strategizing for action and impact, a wide variety of workshops led by experienced justice leaders, and opportunities to build relationships with one another through reflection and discussion.

This event is open to all people of faith who are interested in building skills, relationships, theological grounding, and power to transform the world for justice. Learn more at
  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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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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