December 8, 2016  |  Vol. 3 No. 49
Introducing the Capital Campaign Steering Committee
A note from Board President Eric Cooperstein

Dear Church,

As you know, we conducted a series of focus groups in October to present a vision of how we might repair and upgrade our Church home. Based on the strong support from the focus groups and after considering the comments and issues raised in those meetings, I am excited to share that your Board of Trustees has decided to move forward with our capital campaign!

This past Sunday in worship, we introduced and asked for your blessing of our Capital Campaign Steering Committee, led by co-chairs Dan Berg and Sofi Ali. Dave Bach, Cindy Marsh, Craig Bierbaum, Rich Jaeger, Keven Ambrus, Channing McKinley, Caitlin Rogers, Jenelle Masterson, Liz Short, Zack Steven, Lisa Haugen, Katie Oberle, and Dick Niemiec make up the rest of this dream team. They're joined by ex-officio members Rev. Justin Schroeder, Rev. Jen Crow, myself as your Board President, and our Campaign Consultant Skip Schlafer. 

Our Capital Campaign Steering Committee. Front Row: Sofi Ali, Eric Cooperstein, Katie Oberle, Caitlin Rogers, Lisa Haugen, Keven Ambrus, Craig Bierbaum; Back Row: Dan Berg, Dick Niemiec, Cindy Marsh, Dave Bach, Zack Steven, Jenelle Masterson, Liz Short, Channing McKinley, Rich Jaeger, Skip Schlafer. (Not pictured: Rev. Justin Schroeder and Rev. Jen Crow.)

The theme of the Campaign is Not for Ourselves Alone: Building an Inclusive Future. The goal of this campaign is to meet with the entire congregation and invite participation in the vision to: Expand Welcoming Hospitality, Enhance our Worship Experience, Ensure Inclusive Programs, and Encourage Future Ministries. In these troubled times, we can be a beacon of light!

For the next few months, we will be in the preparation phase of this campaign, getting ready for the formal start of the campaign in late winter/early spring, when we will have a kick-off event for the whole congregation. 

Introducing the Steering Committee in worship on Sunday, Dec. 4.
We are grateful for our Steering Committee, a dedicated group of people who have enthusiastically said "yes" to the vision of this campaign, promising to faithfully ensure that the campaign stays true to our values of racial justice and deep inclusion, and to share their passion and deep commitment to this church, so that together, all of us will make this campaign a success.

In faith,

Eric Cooperstein
President, Board of Trustees

Information about the Capital Campaign can be found on our website here.
Worship this Sunday
Sunday, Dec. 11, 9:30 & 11:15 a.m.
Choir-led Worship
"Joy in the Midst of It All"  
Rev. Justin Schroeder & Rev. Ruth MacKenzie
Joy is the harbinger of our true nature and a sign of right relationship. It is more than a sense of happiness. It is better understood as getting into the flow. Joy/flow can be experienced even in the midst of ambiguity and suffering, of struggle and hardship. In this season of Presence, we invite you into a full hour of getting into the flow, joy in the midst of it all.

At this Sunday's special music-filled worship service, the First Universalist Choir and Orchestra will be leading worship, performing "A Symphony of Carols" by Randol Alan Bass. Arranged to resemble a four-movement choral symphony, this 1997 work is an arrangement of six holiday carols.
A Look Ahead
Sunday, Dec. 18, 9:30 & 11:15 a.m. 
Rev. Justin Schroeder

Sunday, Dec. 18, 4 p.m.
Christmas Pageant

Recent Sermon Podcasts
December 4, 2016
"Everything We Need is Here"
Rev. Jen Crow
November 27, 2016
"The Long Haul"
Rev. Justin Schroeder
Listen to the podcast
November 20, 2016
Making Space for Discomfort:
Worship led by People of Color Circle
November 13, 2016
"What Have We Done?"
Rev. Justin Schroeder
Holiday Service Schedule
Our Christmas Pageants, Solstice Service, and Christmas Eve Candlelight Service are cherished traditions at First Universalist. Please note that Sunday services on Dec. 25 and Jan. 1 will be offered at 10 a.m. only. Mark your calendar and join us!

Christmas Pageants: Sunday, Dec. 18 and Saturday, Dec. 24 at 4 p.m. each day
Winter Solstice Service: Wednesday, Dec. 21 at 7:30 p.m. (doors open at 7 p.m.)
Christmas Eve Candlelight Service : Saturday, Dec. 24 at 9:30 p.m.
Contemplative Christmas with Music and Poetry : Sunday, Dec. 25 at 10 a.m. only
Singing Sunday: Sunday, Jan. 1 at 10 a.m. only
December Worship Theme: Presence
Sufi teacher and scholar, Kabir Helminski, writes "Presence signifies the quality of consciously being here. It is the activation of a higher level of awareness that allows all our other human functions - such as thought, feeling, and action - to be known, developed and harmonized." Presence is named as awakeningmindfulnessdhyana, or remembrance in other religious traditions. Some might be surprised to discover that repentance, derived from the Greek, metanoia, means to enter the big mind/presence. Common to all the great spiritual traditions is a spiritual philosophy of presence. In this season of advent, of waiting and listening, we will explore and experience Presence, the intersecting places of sense and spirit.
Choir-Led Worship
Sunday, Dec. 11, 9:30 & 11:15 a.m.
Don't miss this Sunday's special music-filled worship service! The First Universalist Choir and Orchestra will be leading worship, performing "A Symphony of Carols" by Randol Alan Bass. Arranged to resemble a four-movement choral symphony, this 1997 work is an arrangement of six holiday carols.
"Doctrine of Discovery" Film Screening
Sunday, Dec. 11, 1 p.m.
  The Environmental Justice and Racial Justice teams at First Universalist are co-sponsoring a screening of the film, "The Doctrine of Discovery: Unmasking the Domination Code" with film director Sheldon Wolfchild of 38 Plus 2 Productions present on Sunday, Dec. 11 at 1 p.m. in the Cummins Room. The film tells the story of how little-known Vatican documents of the fifteenth century resulted in a tragic global momentum of domination and dehumanization.
Senior Hike with Daytime Connections
Tuesday, Dec. 13, 10 a.m. 
The next Senior Nature Hike offers an opportunity to check out the newly refurbished Old Cedar Avenue Bridge in Bloomington. It is on the National Register of Historic Places and provides a spectacular view of wetlands off the Minnesota River.  Meet at the Old Cedar Bridge Unit Parking Lot of the Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge ( 9500 Old Cedar Ave. S, Bloomington, MN 55425) at  10 a.m.
The group will hike for about 2 hours along the Minnesota River. As this is an out-and-back route, hikers are able to turn around and head back whenever their spirits and bodies move them to do so.  RSVP to Tom Saterstrom:  or
 952-239-3629. Learn more.
Daytime Connections: 
Somali Wisdom Keepers
Thursday, Dec. 15, 11 a.m.-1 p.m.
  The Somali community in Minnesota is widely admired for its enterprise and resilience while facing significant and unique challenges. Join us in learning how Somali elders help younger generations navigate American culture while sustaining long-held cultural/religious values and traditions. The program begins at 11 a.m., followed by lunch at 1 p.m. A $5 donation for lunch is encouraged. Registration is requested for lunch planning: contact Sandy DiNanni at or 612-825-1701.  Through  Daytime Connections , older adults empower each other to live intentional, joyful, purposeful, and spiritually fulfilled lives.
Christmas Pageants
Sunday, Dec. 18 & Saturday, Dec. 24, 4 p.m.
Our annual Christmas Pageant is a beautiful telling of an ancient story. It is a tale of hope and hospitality, a reminder that every child is born a redeemer, a story that speaks to us all of what it means to be a seeker, a star, a wise one, a wanderer. The Pageant is held twice; on Sunday, Dec. 18 (reception follows the program) and Saturday, Dec. 24 at 4 p.m. each day. Drop-in childcare for ages 6mos-3yrs is available on Dec. 18 only. There will be no childcare on Dec. 24.
Winter Solstice Celebration
Wednesday, Dec. 21, 7:30 p.m.
  For 36 years, First Universalist has honored the longest night of the year, and joyously celebrated the return of the Sun! Join us on Wednesday, Dec. 21, as we observe another turning of the year. Sanctuary doors open at 7 p.m., and the service begins at 7:30 p.m. The evening includes a 12-minute period of darkness. As always, we will move through the evening with beautiful music, participation for all ages, and spreading of the light. Childcare for ages 6mos-12yrs is available if requested online by Dec. 14.
Happy Holidays from the Visual Arts Committee!
Photo by Janet Mills
Happy Holidays from the Visual Arts Committee! The sparkling, silver holiday decorations throughout church are the Visual Arts Committee's gift to our congregation. Committee member Pamela Balabuszko-Reay provided vision for this year's unique sparkly, silver chancel décor. More than 20 members of the committee helped in painting, pounding, and creating arrangements and wreaths to decorate our building for the holiday season. 

Many of you have been asking:
"How did they do it??"
Pamela Balabuszko-Reay drilled thousands of holes into tongue depressors (large popsicle sticks). Bette DeMars painted fourteen 8- and 10-foot pine boards white. Then, Pamela, Bette, Janet Mills and Marjie Smith spray painted all of the sticks a variety of colors - silver, grey, gold, and sparkly white. Several days later most everyone on the Visual Arts committee brought their hammers to use large silver nails to attach all of the sticks to the boards in a random fashion. Bill McTeer attached boards and eye hooks to the back of the chancel wall and Pamela, Bill, Janet, Steve Oakley, Dick Rueter, Suzan Klein and Anne Frenchick orchestrated hanging the boards with very heavy gauge fish line.
Remembering Loved Ones:
Help Us by Delivering a Poinsettia!
We need your help delivering poinsettias to our members and friends who have lost loved ones in the past year, who are struggling with ongoing, serious illness, or who are living in nursing homes. Caring for each other, offering support and comfort in times of illness and loss, and remembering those times as the year moves on are essential to what we do as a religious community.

This Sunday, Dec. 11, poinsettias ready for delivery will be in the foyer outside the sanctuary doors with the cards and addresses of recipients. Please help us by picking up a poinsettia and card to deliver to a member of our church community.

Some of you will find your name on the list. Please take your poinsettia as a remembrance of your loss and of the love and caring that surround you. This is how we give, receive, and grow together with love and compassion.

- Kathy Coskran and Kathy Urberg for the Congregational Care Committee
Celebrate Guest At Your Table & Support the UUSC
This December, First Universalist Church is supporting UUSC (Unitarian Universalist Service Committee) through the Guest At Your Table campaign. Watch for Guest At Your Table boxes and brochures, and look for the link on our website to make your tax-deductible donation online. You can also donate in the social hall using a credit card after each service on Dec. 11 and 18.

Thanks to the generosity of the UU Congregation at Shelter Rock (New York), your donation of $125 or more will be matched dollar-for-dollar!
The Unitarian Universalist Service Committee is OUR human rights organization, reflecting UU values in the world. UUSC advances human rights through grassroots collaboration. In more than a dozen countries throughout the world, UUSC fosters social justice and works toward a world free from oppression. UUSC's innovative approaches and measurable impact - in promoting economic justice, bolstering environmental justice, and protecting rights at risk - are grounded in the belief that all people have inherent power, dignity, and rights.
Visionary Goals Refresh 
In 2012, as part of the development of the Church's governance documents, the Board adopted four Visionary Goals as the focal points for the execution of our mission and vision. From these Visionary Goals, the Board also adopted a strategic plan. This fall the Board reviewed the Visionary Goals based on the results of the annual congregational survey and the Rainbow Research report on racial justice work at First Universalist. At its October meeting, the Board approved draft revisions to the Visionary Goals, to be made available to the congregation for consideration and comment. The Board will consider all comments and approval of the revised goals at its first meeting after the State of the Church meeting (likely in February). The draft revised Visionary Goals may be found on our website. Comments may be sent to
Tickets Now Available: 3rd Annual Winter Warm Up 
Our third annual Winter Warm Up Dance Party is set for Saturday, Jan. 21, 2017 from 7:30 to 10 p.m. 

Mark your calendar and plan to join us that evening for music and dancing, drinks (available for purchase) and snacks, fun and good company!

Tickets are available 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: New Baby Welcome
Having a baby? Want to help welcome a new baby? Contact co-chairs of our new baby welcome team, Ann Terlizzi at 612-728-7232 or, or Jody Beresford at 952-828-9977 or
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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Church Office Hours
Sundays  8 a.m.-1 p.m.
Monday-Thursday  8:30 a.m.-8 p.m.
Closed Fridays and Saturdays
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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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