July 20, 2017  |  Vol. 4 No. 29
Our Hearts Are Heavy
Rev. Ruth MacKenzie
Last Sunday I preached about getting comfortable with grief. Little did I know how prescient that topic would be. This week our community got a taste of what it is like to live in the storm of grief. Justine Damond was a neighbor to some of our members; her death occurred just down the block from their homes. There was no way to hold this incident of police violence at arm's length, or go about daily life as usual. Everything stopped, and grief had its way with us.

For some of us this is a first-time experience of police violence in the heart of our community, and the waves of confusion and grief are surprising. For others, Justine Damond's death is a complex navigation of grief, anger, exhaustion and more, because police violence has been visited on you, your family, your people far too many times. To be black or brown-skinned in this country means your humanity is under constant attack, and grief is your constant companion.

The death of Justine, and Jamar, and Philando, is not about an individual police officer's bad action or that any of these people behaved in such a way deserving of this ultimate penalty. It is about the institution and practice of policing that we need to address together, and the frameworks of racism that feed and perpetuate tragedy after tragedy.

As the media does as the media will do, hold fast to our racial justice work, and anchor your spirit to the constitution of our faith, the inherent worth and dignity of every human being and the interconnectedness of all things. If you are a white person, amplify the voices of leaders of color who are helping us all understand the connections between white supremacy and the norms of policing. If you are a person of color, connect with others who make room for the complexity of your grieving response.

Our hearts are heavy. Our tears are flowing. Our work as a community committed to racial justice is real. Our call as religious peoples is to move toward the hurt, together, grounded in faith, tested in the work of justice and held in rituals of care, in order to create a real and flourishing life for ourselves, our faith community, our city, and for this world.

In faith,
Rev. Ruth MacKenzie 

Summer Worship Theme: Meeting the Moment

Worship this Sunday
Sunday, July 23, 10 a.m.
"Threads of Faith"
Arif Mamdani
Sometimes, we describe Unitarian Universalism as a "tapestry of faith" woven out of the different strands that we each bring to our larger community. This Sunday, we'll explore one way we might understand faith, and how, as a community, our faith holds us in challenging times.
Summer Sundays for Kids 

A Look Ahead
Sunday, July 30, 10 a.m.
Rev. Karen Gustafson

Recent Sermon Podcasts
July 16, 2017
"Getting Comfortable with Grief"
Rev. Ruth MacKenzie

July 9, 2017
"Have Mercy"
Rev. Elaine Aron Tenbrink

July 2, 2017
"Transmogrify, Breathe, Repeat"
Rev. Jim Foti
Seniors Nature Hike
Thursday, July 27, 10 a.m., Minnehaha Falls   
Join us for our next seniors nature hike with Daytime Connections!  Meet at 10 a.m. at Minnehaha Falls, adjacent to  Sea Salt Eatery  (map). We will descend about 100 steps to the creek and hike about 30 minutes on a somewhat rustic trail along the creek to its mouth at the Mississippi River. The return hike includes an ascent of the ravine to the campus of the Mpls VA home and dramatic views over the bluff. RSVP to Tom Saterstrom: saterstromtom@yahoo.com or 952-239-3629. Get details on our website.
Young Adults: Let's Reminisce Together!
Movie in the Park: "Top Gun"
Friday, July 28, 7:30 p.m., Lake Harriet Park
First U Young Adults will gather on Friday, July 28 to attend the Movies in the Park screening of "Top Gun" at Lake Harriet Park ( map). Gather at 7:30 p.m.; movie at 9 p.m. Hosted by Naira and Nate. Questions? Email youngadultsfirstu@gmail.com or join the First U Young Adults Facebook group
Next Pathway to Membership Class is Aug. 9 & 16

If First Universalist is feeling like your spiritual home, if our mission moves you, then we hope you'll take part in the  Pathway to Membership

Joining First Universalist is a symbolic, spiritual act of saying "yes" to growing your soul in this place, with these people, within our free faith tradition. This new member class is a great chance to build community, explore Unitarian Universalism and our church's unique history, and learn how to get involved. In the final session, participants are invited to sign the membership book and officially join the congregation.

This class is offered as a two-part series, the next of which is offered on Wednesdays, Aug. 9 & 16, 6:30-8:30 p.m.  To register, contact Sandy DiNanni at  Sandy@firstuniv.org  or 612-825-1701. Childcare is available free of charge with at least seven days advance notice when you fill out this form.
Lake Harriet Bandshell Worship Service & Potluck

Join us for our annual outdoor worship service and potluck picnic at the Lake Harriet Bandshell on Sunday, Aug. 20 at 10 a.m.!

We'll enjoy music, an inspiring message from Rev. Justin, and a delicious potluck picnic together afterwards.  Please note: this will be our only worship service on Sunday, Aug. 20.

For the potluck, please bring a dish and/or beverage to share, as well as chairs or blankets to sit on. Bring plates, cups and eating utensils for everyone in your party. 

The service will take place rain or shine. Sunglasses and/or hats are recommended for your comfort.  Get complete details, RSVP, and share on Facebook here !
Hosting Families at First U: The Space of Welcoming
Submitted by Jessica Leigh Lyons
Jessica Leigh Lyons

I arrived in Minneapolis, knowing two people. I was in the midst of a transition; my partner had ended our relationship rather abruptly, and I had found myself without a home. I knew my tender heart needed a community to share sacred space and fast internet searches bring up First Universalist (the SEO is strong with this one!). As I sat in the pew, week after week, grateful to be holding hands with folks in this community, I kept my eyes peeled for opportunities to deepen my connection here. I had been reminded in a very deep way, that when you don't have a home - a safe place to return to -  all of your energy goes towards finding warm beds, food, and a comfortable place to rest. There is little time for anything else. As a former teacher, I had witnessed how difficult transition was for children's tender hearts. I was always amazed by their resiliency and the joy and play that they had amidst transitions. I wanted to be a part of easing their transitions.

For the fourteen days of Aug. 20 through Sept. 3, w e will again host families from Beacon's Families Moving Forward, providing physical necessities like comfortable sleeping spaces and plentiful food, allowing families to concentrate their energies on finding affordable housing and employment that will sustain them. Families of all configurations arrive at our church around 5:45 p.m. each evening, share a meal with us prepared by volunteers, and engage in activities ranging from family games to age-specific activities for children. As our guests prepare to depart at 6:30 a.m. each day, they are greeted by our overnight hosts and offered breakfast.  

Your presence matters! We need approximately 60 volunteers each week. Each night we ask for 3 volunteers to prepare dinner, 3 volunteers to coordinate 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.

Please know that you can be creative in your service. Volunteers have offered to wash sheets from "accidents' mid-week, prepare a hot breakfast on Saturday morning, or rearrange a bedroom as one family transitions out and another comes in mid-week.  

This is multi-generational hospitality! Families from our congregation have had wonderful experiences spending the evening, whether it be meal prep and/or evening activities. We have observed 10-year olds helping 6-year olds read, 13-year olds turning fingernails into works of art, and 60-year olds and 14-year olds orchestrating a full-blown game of kickball. 

We welcome all people interested to visit the table in the Social Hall following services on Sundays, Aug. 6 and Aug. 13 to learn more and sign up, or sign up online. Questions and comments can be directed to david.j.caccamo@gmail.com or jess@jessicaleighlyons.com.
First Universalist Stories: Kaitlyn Hunt
Each week throughout the summer, we're featuring one or two stories submitted by members about what First Universalist means to them. Kaitlyn Hunt  writes:

Kaitlyn Hunt
"The multitude of positively transformative experiences felt and witnessed within the walls of First Universalist are infinite. While a part of me has always been spiritual, it wasn't until coming here that I found what I didn't even know I was looking for. Like any new love, I was instantly captivated and over time that love has not only expanded, but continues to grow. 

"I consider my participation within the Young Queer Adults community circle to be one of the most vital components of my own "coming out" journey. I have found inspiration and solidarity within the social justice work that is a foundational component of this community. I am in absolute awe of programs available for youth within this space which provide so much hope for the future. Without having spiritually practiced in this space, I truly do not believe that I would be entering into the sacred covenant of marriage with my life partner as intentionally as I will be this fall. 

"This work is important. This safe space is paramount. This acknowledgement of connectedness is significant. The amazing people, vast ideologies, and continuous openness here is everything.  

"These are a few amongst the many things from First Universalist
that fuel my being, and it's the questions, not answers, that I gladly leave with."
Volunteer Opportunity: Mni Ki Wakan 
Are you available during the day on July 31, Aug. 1 or Aug. 2? If you are available for a full day on any of these days for easy tasks, then this volunteer opportunity is for you!

You may have heard that the first Mni Ki Wakan: World Indigenous Peoples' Decade of Water Summit is being held here at First Universalist Church on Aug. 1 and 2. Pre-conference activities will be held at Mde Maka Ska (Lake Calhoun).

Mni ki wakan means 'water is sacred' in the Dakota language. Having grown out of the community conversations around the spirit of Mde Maka Ska, this is an indigenous-led, youth-oriented conference. It is dedicated to the protection of water and human rights.

Can you help support this?  To volunteer, contact john_saxhaug@yahoo.com. To donate to defray costs for the youth, or to register to attend the summit yourself, go to mnikiwakan.org.
SHEtalks WEtalk 2017 RaceTalks for Women  with Catrice M. Jackson
August 5 & 6 in Minneapolis
During this two-day retreat, take a deep, honest and truthful dive into the issues of race, racism, whiteness, white supremacy and Intersectionality. This workshop will include diverse modes of learning such as presentation, small and large group activities, video, and experiential exercises. You will be actively engaged for two days requiring you to stretch outside of your comfort zone and examine your own beliefs, thoughts and behaviors that perpetuate racism.    Learn more.
  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 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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