February 15, 2018  |  Vol. 5 No. 7
A Minister's Musings: Everyday Miracles and a "Close the Gap" Matching Gift of $20,000
Rev. Justin Schroeder
Miracles and matching money are on my mind.

First: Miracles.

And when I use the word "miracle," I'm not talking a divine being doing something that defies natural or scientific law. Instead, I'm referring to a welcome or surprising event, something we didn't know was going to happen, that ends up being a gift or a blessing in our lives.

I truly believe that "miracles" of this nature happen every Sunday at church, and every time we gather as a community. Again and again, on Sunday mornings, or in Circles, I witness some gesture of kindness, a word of encouragement, or a willingness to linger after the sermon or Circle has ended. Every Sunday (and during the rest of the week, too), dozens of miracles happen. The sermon speaks to your life. The prayer opens a door in your heart that had been closed. The music takes you from despair to hope.

The miracles are here on Sundays, in simple and surprising ways, regardless of what the music is, or who is preaching, or the topic of the sermon.

Do you have a story of a "miracle" that happened to you at church? I'd love to hear it! Email me at justin@firstuniv.org .

Second: Matching Money - of $20,000. 

As you have probably heard, we have a financial gap between what we've budgeted for annual gifts and what's actually come in. This Sunday, Feb. 18, we're holding a special "Close the Gap" offering, trying to raise $30,000.  Thanks to a generous donor, we have a matching "Close the Gap" gift of $20,000, so every dollar given (up to $20,000) will be matched! This matching gift feels like a "miracle" of sorts, an unexpected blessing that will help us end the year strong without a deficit. I invite you to give as you are able, grateful that we are in this together, giving, receiving, and growing in the Universalist Spirit of Love and Hope.

I'll see you in church,

P.S. You can give online, here. Or make a gift right from your smart phone. Text firstuniv to the number 73256 and make a gift in under thirty seconds. Thank you!

February Worship Theme: The Long Haul
Worship this Sunday
Sunday, Feb. 18, 9:30 & 11:15 a.m.
Youth-Friendly Worship
"What Gets You Through
the Night?"
Rev. Justin Schroeder
In "Light of a Clear Blue Morning," Dolly Parton sings: "It's been a long dark night, and I've been a waitin' for the morning.... And everything's gonna be all right, 'cause I can see the light of a clear blue morning." 
After a night of worries, restlessness, and half-awake nightmares, the morning dawn can be such a welcome relief. But what is it that gets us through the night? How is our faith adequate for the hardest, longest, darkest nights of our life?
A Look Ahead
Sunday, Feb. 25, 9:30 & 11:15 a.m.
Immigration Justice Sunday

Recent Sermon Podcasts
February 11, 2018
"Daily Renewal"
Rev. Jen Crow

February 4, 2018
"Fractal Theology"
Rev. Justin Schroeder

January 28, 2018
"Loving Resistance"
Rev. Jen Crow

January 21, 2018
"The Limits of Love... or Limitless Love?"
Rev. Justin Schroeder
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.
"Doctrine of Discovery" Film Screening
Sunday, Feb. 18, 1 p.m., Cummins Room
The Environmental Justice team invites you to a screening of the film "Doctrine of Discovery: Unmasking the Domination Code."  The film helps unravel the connection between Christendom's principle of discovery and laws still being upheld in the U.S. and Canada, and examines a papal document issued in 1452, which sanctioned the conquest, colonization and exploitation of non-Christian peoples and their territories.  We will be joined by Mitch Walking Elk, a survivor of forced Boarding School who now works as a teacher of traditional culture and religious ceremony.
Seniors Hike with Daytime Connections
Thursday, Feb. 22, 10 a.m. 
Join Daytime Connections for a hike around Lake of the Isles or Bde Maka Ska!  Meet at 10 a.m. at the northeast corner of Bde Maka Ska 3000 E. Calhoun Parkway  in Minneapolis, where the Tin Fish outdoor restaurant was located.  The group will hike for up to 2 hours around whichever lake suits the group's desires and prevailing weather conditions dictate. This is very open topography; be prepared with something to cover your face from the wind.  Following the hike, the group will gather at Gigi's Cafe Important: please RSVP to Tom Saterstrom (952-239-3629 or  saterstromtom@yahoo.com ).
Project Art for Nature Artists' Reception
Sunday, Feb. 25, after services
Project Art for Nature is a group of artists, working in various media, who focus on an area of land needing protection. The current show at church 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). The exhibit is on view in the social hall through March 18, and an artists' reception will be held on Sunday, Feb. 25. 
Racial Justice & Our UU Faith Workshop
Sundays, Feb. 25 & March 4, 1-3:30 p.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 Sundays, Feb. 25 & March 4, 1-3:30 p.m., and will be led by Jeff Sylvestre, Susan Schultz, and Bianca Zick.  To register, contact Sandy at  Sandy@firstuniv.org  or 612-825-1701.
Habitat for Humanity Volunteer Day on March 8
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.
Recognizing Larry Gottschalk's Volunteer Work
Larry Gottschalk
Submitted by Hal Schroer

We wish to highlight the extraordinary contribution of church member Larry Gottschalk, who for the past four years has championed the use of the ACS database system in local UU churches. Due to recent health challenges, Larry will now move to an advisory role as Jane Baudelaire takes on his technology role.

Larry is an Adjunct Professor of IT at Metro State. In this role four years ago, he provided college interns and helped White Bear Lake UU Church develop its ACS database system capabilities to better coordinate its services to church members. 

Larry reached out to Rev. Jen and Rev. Elaine to initiate an effort to improve the use of this same system at our church. He has been a fierce champion for First Universalist becoming a "Connected Church" by more fully utilizing the system's capabilities.

We are not alone in this quest, as over 50,000 churches in the U.S. are now using ACS. 

In our connected church, we can:
  1. Find other members through our church directory (individual photos included)
  2. Submit a reservation request for meeting space
  3. Manage our annual giving and capital campaign gifts
  4. View our involvement history (giving, leadership, group participation, etc.)
  5. Indicate where and how we wish to invest our volunteer time
  6. Complete these transactions via a mobile app (Church Life)
To become connected, log on to "My First U," Select "Home," Select "My Profile," and "Save" the requested information.  If you don't yet have a login ID, you may request one. For assistance, contact  Jane Baudelaire at  jane.baudelaire@gmail.com or Ray Dillon at  dillonrueter@usinternet.com
Standing Up for Immigrant Rights
By Rev. Meg Riley

Luis Candela-Gonzalez and family
I learned about the plight of Luis Candela-Gonzalez when Rev. Justin announced it in a Sunday service. Candela-Gonzalez, who has lived in the U.S. for about twenty years, was picked up by ICE outside the restaurant where he supported his family by washing dishes. He now faces likely deportation to Mexico.
Many who are involved with struggles for immigrants' rights know Candela-Gonzalez and his wife Sandra Gonzaga Perez, who are leaders. Many, including the couple themselves, believe that he was picked up in retaliation for his activism. This is a pattern I've been seeing in articles across the U.S., so when Rev. Justin announced it was happening here, I was sad but not surprised.
When Denise Konen asked those of us on the sanctuary listserv to witness his bond hearing on February 12, I was one of four folks from First Universalist to attend. Besides the judge and the lawyers working for the U.S. government, and some independent filmmakers documenting the case, we were just about the only white folks in the room. In the hour before Candela-Gonzalez' case was heard, a number of other Latinos in orange jumpsuits were produced from behind a big door. In each case, they were sent back behind that big scary door without any betterment of their circumstances. I realized that this has been happening in my town, in a building about two miles from my home, for years, and it has not been visible to me.
Candela-Gonzalez came out smiling, as if he were being ushered into a picnic and not a hearing that determined the fate of his family. I could tell immediately this was the act of a loving father, determined not to make his children suffer any more than they were. I happened to be sitting right behind three of his four young children, who wept throughout the hearing, and therefore was able to catch his broad grin to them as he was escorted back through that ominous door. I began to weep myself.
Recently, in a sermon at a UU ministers gathering, Rev. Elizabeth Nguyen said that the news about immigration "For some people, it's headlines. For others, it's family." For one moment, in that courtroom, I became part of the families that are being ripped apart by our cruel and inhumane policies. That moment told me I have to do more.
I have vowed to go and watch bond hearings regularly. I am told that having white people in the room witnessing makes a difference, and even if that difference is minuscule, I want to provide it. 
Come to the Sanctuary and Resistance/ Immigration Justice Service on Sunday, Feb. 25 to find out how you can help resist and deepen our connections with those who are targeted!
You can support the Candela-Gonzalez family here.    

More Information:  Gaowen Li at Advocates for Human Rights,  gli@advrights.org
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. We currently have six Community Partners. 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. in the Cummins Room.  If you are interested but unable to join us for the info session, please contact Joan Naymark ( jnaymark@gmail.com ) to learn about expectations, timeline, and how the process works.  New and renewing partnership applications for the 2018-2019 year are due April 1 to the church office, FaithfulAction@firstuniv.org .
Conversations on Affordable Housing, Homelessness, and Racial Justice
Join us on either Sunday, March 4 or Tuesday, March 6 for a round table discussion to explore our individual and collective perspectives and hopes around the issues of racial justice, affordable housing, and homelessness.   
Our congregation is holding two 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.
We Want You To Join Us If:
  • You have a desire to share thoughts on these issues
  • You have a deeper understanding of the relationship of systemic racism to housing inequity in the Twin Cities
  • You want to learn what we can do to create the world as we want to see it.
  • If you've: built a house through Habitat; advocated on behalf of Homes for All, Habitat, or Beacon; volunteered with Families Moving Forward; donated to racial/housing justice; and/or wished you knew what you could do to eliminate homelessness and create more affordable housing
The conversations will be a mixture of:
  • Input on critical information on racism and housing inequity in the Twin Cities
  • Opportunities to identify our own experiences
  • Ideas for furthering affordability of housing and eliminating homelessness
Register here for either session. Both sessions will be preceded by a simple complimentary soup and bread lunch or supper 30 minutes before the session starts.
  • Sunday, March 4, from 1 to 3 p.m. in the Chalice Room
  • Tuesday, March 6, from 7 to 9 p.m. in the Chalice Room
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!

This fun-filled weekend will include an opportunity to build community, spirituality, and justice. All meals and lodging are provided for the registration fee of $200. The Retreat will feature: Nature Hikes, Meditation, Exploring Creativity, Aligning Our Values with Our Power, Gardening "With" Wildlife, Resilience, Healing Hands, Legacy Letters, Travel and Social Values, Having Fun Expressing Your Values, Mentoring Socially Responsible Kids, Red Cross/Volunteer Experience, Conscious Aging, Music with Shelly, games, AND MORE!

For more information, visit the AUW website at www.auwfirstuniv.org or contact Janet Merrill at 612-354-2743 or janetmerrill@comcast.netYou can register in the Social Hall after each service. Online registration will be available soon on the AUW website.
Last Chance for Truffles Handmade by YCE
Sunday, Feb. 18 is your last chance to purchase truffles handmade by Youth Cultural Exchange (YCE)! Truffles may be purchased using card, cash or check: $10 for a Decorative Box of 4, $20 for a Decorative Box of 8, or $2.50 individually.
Youth Cultural Exchange is an incredible First Universalist tradition. Twelve youth from our church participate in this cultural exchange with twelve youth from Nicaragua. For two weeks, they stay in one another's homes and learn about one another's world. This past July, our youth traveled to Nicaragua and this July we will host their Nicaraguan siblings.  Proceeds from the truffle sale (and weekly egg roll sales) are used to cover scholarships for First U YCE youth and pay for the Nicaraguan youth to fly here this summer. The Nicaraguan youth commit to working 100 hours in their community.
Mental Health Connect: The Power of Story
First Universalist is part of Bethlehem Lutheran's Mental Health Connect (MHC) program, which assists individuals and families in accessing and navigating mental health services. Each member church has Ambassadors dedicated to spreading awareness of the MHC program, starting conversations about mental health, bringing events and resources to the community, and more.

We are happy to continue our "Make It OK" initiative to de-stigmatize mental health conditions and to encourage us all to talk more openly about mental illness. If you'd like to participate in a short interactive learning experience, see Make it OK's "The Power of Story" which will allow you to conduct a "virtual interview" with individuals living with mental illness. Together by learning more we can increase our understanding of mental health, open our minds and hearts and take steps to Make it OK.
Sign Up for Sogn Valley Farm CSA Now Open
Sogn Valley Farm offers weekly deliveries of fresh, organic vegetables through its CSA (community supported agriculture) program. For a third year, CSA shares can be picked up at First Universalist Church on Wednesdays! There are also Twin Cities drop sites in Richfield, Plymouth, Eagan, and St. Paul. 

Summer Share begins the week of  June 4 and runs through  October 1 (18 weeks). The cost for new members is $575 for a full share or $340 for a half share. Fall Share begins in  October 8 and continues through the week of Thanksgiving (7 weeks), and is priced at $225.  Sign up and pay in full by February 15 for a 5% discount by using the coupon code "payearly".

Visit www.sognvalleyfarm.com to learn more about the farm and CSA program. Feel free to contact Dana with any questions:  dana@sognvalleyfarm.com
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.
"A Crack in the Sky" 
By Harrison David Rivers and Ahmed Ismail Yusuf, 
Directed by Faye Price
Feb. 10 - March 4 at the History Theatre
From Somalia to the U.S.A. 1984.   A young shepherd boy stands in front of his mother to tell her of the decision he has made in the night. He has had enough of the nomadic life, of herding goats and sheep, and is leaving to seek out a better life. With that, he sets off on an adventure that takes him on the road less traveled from Somalia to Minnesota. It's the epic tale of Ahmed Ismail Yusuf who, inspired by Maya Angelou, discovers the power of the written word. Tickets and information.
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.
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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