January 18, 2018  |  Vol. 5 No. 3
Construction Corner
Rev. Jen Crow
It's hard to believe that it was nearly a year ago that our church community gathered at the Minneapolis Event Centers to celebrate the launch of what has come to be a very successful capital campaign. Through our mission-based vision, Not for Ourselves Alone: Building an Inclusive Future , and through the hard work and dedication of hundreds of volunteers and even more donors, together we raised over $5.5 million. These funds will be used to make our building more welcoming and accessible through renovation of our existing spaces and construction of new spaces.

Through the summer, fall, and now winter, your Building Team, consisting of Keven Ambrus, Christa Anders, Eric Cooperstein, Shawn Gaither, Peter Styx, Kristin Mengelkoch, Christina Nicholson, Paul Kloth, Rev. Justin Schroeder, Jenn Stromberg, our architectural team from Miller-Dunwiddie, and led by Rev. Jen Crow, has been hard at work. Together, we've begun to understand our available budget and construction costs, we've gathered input and shared information with the congregation through open meetings and focus groups, and we continue to explore options for how to best meet our goals with the funds we have. 

Originally, we had hoped to begin major construction and renovation in the summer of 2018. As we've looked into options presented by our architects, though, we've slowed down our process to include the possibility of building up on our Religious Education wing. Pausing to include this possibility means pausing to allow the structural investigations necessary to be sure that our Religious Education wing can support the addition of a third floor. Our investigations so far have yielded positive results, and we've also learned a lot about our building. I hope you'll join us at the State of the Church Meeting on Sunday, Feb. 11 to hear more about how this process has been unfolding and the discoveries we've made.

For now, this means that whatever option best meets our congregation's needs and goals -whether that turns out to be adding a third floor on our RE wing or building a new addition - major construction will not begin this summer, but will occur in the summer of 2019. This will give us ample time to refine our options, communicate with the congregation through Liberal articles and open meetings, and plan for our major work. The Building Team is also in conversation about what work can occur in the summer of 2018. Stay tuned as we consider the possibilities for the summer of 2018, which may include improvements in the social hall, a new roof for the sanctuary building, and some areas of flexible seating to test out in the sanctuary.

As always, please be in touch with any questions or thoughts you may have. It is exciting to be building our future together.

In faith,
Rev. Jen Crow

Detail:  Anahita, Danami, and Roya , 2017, by Leslie Barlow

Worship this Sunday
Sunday, Jan. 21, 9:30 & 11:15 a.m.
"The Limits of Love... or
Limitless Love?"
Rev. Justin Schroeder
As a faith community grounded in the "Universalist Spirit of Love and Hope," love is a cornerstone of our tradition. It's easier to feel and practice this love when things are going well. But how does love work in the middle of an intense conflict? How does love function when you're in a gossip-filled environment? How can we stay grounded in love when fear, anger, and hate are red hot within us and around us? Are there limits to love? Or is love limitless? In this service, we'll explore the nuances of love and its possible limits.
A Look Ahead
Sunday, Jan. 28, 9:30 & 11:15 a.m.
Rev. Jen Crow
"Loving Resistance"

Recent Sermon Podcasts
January 14, 2018
"Fierce Loving" 
Rev. Justin Schroeder

January 7, 2018
"Why Is Grief Important Now?"
Rev. Ruth MacKenzie

December 31, 2017
"Hope Sings"
Rev. Justin Schroeder

December 24, 2017
"Wisdom of the Four-Leggeds"
Rev. Ruth MacKenzie
Give Get Sistet in Worship This Sunday
Give Get Sistet, our Artists in Residence for 2017-2018, will be joining us in worship this Sunday, Jan. 21! They are collaborating with our worship team to create and curate several services throughout the year, as well as developing a community building project for the spring. The Give Get Sistet is an improvisational chorus of women based in the Twin Cities with ties around the world. These women listen deeply and sing with great generosity and daring. First Universalist is honored to have these fine artists/community builders/activists in our midst.

January Worship Theme: Loving
This month, we are inspired by the work of Leslie Barlow, a young artist who has taken the art scene in the Twin Cities by storm. In her series of paintings called Loving, Ms. Barlow uses the Supreme Court ruling of 1967 against anti-miscegenation (or anti interracial marriage) laws, as the launching pad for her study of family, challenging perceived family normalcy and the lack of representation of diverse family dynamics. Her series invites us into the extraordinary of ordinary love in all different kinds and variety of families. This month we explore Loving. The people we love. The variety of families from which we were born, and the big-hearted call to Love found in the very DNA of our family of faith.
Rumi and Islam: Insights for Our Time
Friday, Jan. 19, 7-9 p.m., Cummins Room
Join the Minnesota Sufi Community for a free presentation by Dr. Alan Godlas, Associate Professor of Religious Studies at the University of Georgia and a lifelong practitioner of Islamic Sufism, on Friday, Jan. 19. Dr. Godlas speaks and translates poetry and writings from the original Arabic, Persian, and Turkish. First Universalist Church is hosting this Friday evening program, which is jointly sponsored by the Minnesota Shadhiliyya Sufi Community and the Jay Phillips Center for Interfaith Learning at the University of St. Thomas. 
Minnesota Governor Candidate Forum
Wednesday, Jan. 24, 6:30-8:30 p.m.
Fourteen civic organizations are sponsoring "Our New Environment," a gubernatorial candidate forum on Jan. 24. All gubernatorial candidates have been invited. The original venue at Hamline University quickly filled, and First Universalist offered to serve as one of several remote satellite locations. All pre-registered participants at every location will have an equal chance to submit and vote on preferred questions.  Join us for this opportunity to hear candidates share their vision about environment and conservation issues in Minnesota. Space is limited; register for your free remote ticket today. Select "remote participation" with First Universalist as your viewing location. Because we will be expecting upwards of 200 attendees, please consider carpooling or using transit. 
Senior Hike with Daytime Connections
Thursday, Jan. 25, 10 a.m.
Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge
Start 2018 on the right foot and break the cabin fever from our early January arctic cold snap by joining us for our next Senior hike!
Meet at Long Meadow Lake Unit/Bass Ponds at Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge, 2501 86th St. E., Bloomington, 55425The group will hike for 1.5-2 hours depending on weather. Consider bringing hiking poles and ice spikes for your footwear to improve traction and safety. RSVP to Tom Saterstrom (cell: 952-239-3629 or saterstromtom@yahoo.com). 
Pathway to Membership Class
Tuesdays, Jan. 30 & Feb. 13, 6:30-8:30 p.m.
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 on  Tuesdays, Jan. 30 and Feb. 13, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.  Sign up by emailing Sandy at  sandy@firstuniv.org  or calling 612-825-1701.

Annual State of the Church Meeting
Sunday, Feb. 11, 12:30 p.m.
Please join us for our annual State of the Church meeting after the second service on Sunday, Feb. 11 (12:30 p.m.). At this meeting, the Board of Trustees and Staff of the Church will share updates on where we've been and where we're going! We will share a story about the history of our building that was discovered as the Building Team has been working with our architects on building and renovation plans and lay some groundwork for governance changes the congregation will be asked to approve at our annual meeting in June. And, of course, a high-level mid-year budget update and a look at upcoming programs and events.  We have so much to be proud of as a faith community, and big goals still in front of us. 
Workshop: Revolution is Not a One-Time Event: A Conversation for White People Newly Seeking to Be Anti-Racist
Sunday, Feb. 11, 1-2:30 p.m.
In this moment, many white people are answering the call to racial justice action and getting engaged for the first time. Well-meaning white people may be confused or not understand anger they may encounter as they enter contemporary anti-racism work. Do you have questions about why people get mad when someone says "All lives matter," or "I'm colorblind"? Does the statement, "If it's not intersectional feminism, it's white supremacy" leave you baffled? This group is for you! Please join us for this conversation on how white people can thoughtfully engage in anti-racism work!  Register by emailing  sandy@firstuniv.org  or calling 612-825-1701.
Beacon: Our Featured Faithful Action Partner
Beacon Interfaith Housing Collaborative will be in the "Spotlight" this Sunday as the Faithful Action Council continues its monthly feature of one of our six Faithful Action Partners. 

The Collaborative, consisting of nearly 90 congregations throughout the Twin Cities, has one primary goal: To End Homelessness. The organization works to achieve that goal through:
  • Affordable Housing. Beacon has developed 19 apartment buildings throughout the Twin Cities. Three of those are dedicated to affordable housing for homeless youth.
  • Advocacy. Members of the Collaborative, with support and direction from Beacon staff, engage with legislators and county commissioners to forward funding bills and to educate community leaders on the depth of the problem.
  • Shelter. Through Beacon's Families Moving Forward program, churches within the collaborative provide meals and shelter to families struggling to find permanent housing. First Universalist extends its hospitality for two back-to-back weeks each year, recruiting about 140 volunteers who plan, convert classrooms to bedrooms, cook meals, plan activities for the families, and serve as overnight hosts. Our next hosting dates are August 26 - September 9.
Beacon is asking congregations to provide input that will assist in designing the next building projects and increase the effectiveness of our advocacy work. Faithful Action team members, along with members of the Racial Justice Education Team, will be hosting in-depth conversations on Sunday, March 4 from 1-3 p.m., and Tuesday, March 6, from 7-9 p.m. Be on the lookout for invitations! Beacon also welcomes congregants to the Beacon All-Congregation Convening on Thursday, Feb. 8, 7-8:30 p.m. at Colonial Church, Edina. Online registration is available at the above site.

Homelessness is a complex issue, steeped in racial inequity and mired in low wages and limited availability of affordable units. To further explore the complexity,  Beacon is sponsoring an "Academy" for anyone interested in further education on the many issues related to homelessness. 

There is no easy fix. But there are opportunities to join in the solution. Stop by the Beacon table in the social hall following services this Sunday, Jan. 21, for information, your expression of solidarity and to meet others interested in this critical justice issue. 
Register by Sunday, Jan. 21 for Winter Circles!

Choose from a variety of Soul Matters Circles, Spiritual Deepening Circles, Care Circles, and Newcomer Circles. Complete information, including schedules and registration info, is available at firstucircles.weebly.com

Here are a few highlights from among this winter's Spiritual Deepening Circle offerings: 

Talking About Race and Racism with Kids
Let's come together as parents, caregivers, and teachers to build our capacity for talking with children and youth about race, racism, and whiteness in ways that are supportive, grounded in the realities of the world, and hopeful. 

Book Study on "Centering: Navigating Race, Authenticity and Power in Ministry"
Join Rev. Justin Schroeder and Rev. Karen Hutt for a 4-part conversation on the book "Centering," which invites and challenges us to keep the voices and experiences of religious leaders of color at the center of the discussion.

White Privilege: Let's Talk - A Resource for Transformational Dialogue
"White Privilege: Let's Talk" is an adult curriculum that's designed to invite church members to engage in safe, meaningful, substantive, and bold conversations on race.

"An Indigenous People's History of the United States" Book Group
Investigate the history of the U.S. as a country founded and expanded as a white colonialist project and its effects on the indigenous nations already here. We'll discuss how the information changes our view of ourselves, our country and our future. 

Details about all of our circle offerings are available at firstucircles.weebly.com and in Adult Programming Catalogs - you may view a pdf of the catalog here. 

Registration for Circles is open through this Sunday, Jan. 21 at firstucircles.weebly.com. Don't miss your chance to sign up!
First Universalist Foundation Seeking Nominations
The First Universalist Foundation board is beginning its 2018 granting season and we want to hear from congregants about which organizations would be good candidates for a grant. At this time, we are particularly interested in organizations that address human rights at risk. We are also interested in organizations whose leadership includes people of color, women, or other underrepresented groups. This year we will be granting up to 10 smaller grants (up to $5,000) and up to 5 larger grants (up to $20,000).

If you know of an organization that you would like to nominate, please fill out the nomination form:  First Universalist Foundation Nomination Form 2018

We are accepting nominations until Monday, Feb. 5, so please nominate away!  If you have questions, please email the First Universalist Foundation board at foundation@firstuniv.org.
Leslie Barlow Art on View Jan. 7 - Feb. 4 
Paintings by artist Leslie Barlow will be on display in the sanctuary and social hall gallery  January 7 - February 4 Primarily an oil painter, Leslie's work explores complex social issues like race, multiculturalism, "otherness," and identity . She investigates these through the use of the personal, revealing her own experiences as a mixed-race woman living in Minnesota. Her works often depict family, friends, and people in her community to reflect the subtle and not-so-subtle integrations of these ideas into individual lives and identities.  Many of the paintings on display are from Leslie's  Loving  series, which has gained wide recognition. Leslie has appeared on TPT's Minnesota Original ,  and in 2016 she was commissioned by the Minnesota Vikings to paint six portraits of iconic players.
January Board of Trustees Meeting
The First Universalist Board of Trustees generally meets the third Thursday of each month (except July). The January board meeting is being held this evening, Jan. 18, at 6:30 p.m. Board meeting materials can be accessed on our website.
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.
Building Heart Connections: Unity Church Men's Retreat
Saturday, Feb. 17, 8:30 a.m. - 5 p.m.,  Unity Church-Unitarian in St. Paul 

The Unity Men's Retreat, "Building Heart Connections," will explore some of the emotional and spiritual opportunities our lives give us to exercise courage in building and maintaining relationships with ourselves and with others in our lives.

Jose Santos, Assistant Professor of Anthropology at Metropolitan State University, will begin the conversation at this day-long men's retreat by speaking on his research and exploration of what it means to be male in today's society. Those ideas will be expanded upon through your choice of four workshops: Courageous Communications, Shame and Blame, Intimacy, and Spiritual Practice.  The retreat will wrap up with an intergenerational panel of men providing their perspectives on what it means to be male in today's world. 

Arif Mamdani, a First U member who is currently doing his ministerial internship at Unity, is one of the organizers.  Get complete details and registration information here
Mental Health Mondays
Monday, Feb. 1: "Ambiguous Loss" presented by Sara Lassig, LICSW, Ph.D., ACHP-SW, at Bethlehem Lutheran Church. CEUs available. (4100 Lyndale Av S, Minneapolis, MN 55409) 

Bethlehem Lutheran Church Twin Cities and St. Joan of Arc Catholic Community host a monthly mental health presentation with varying topics/speakers on the second Monday of every month. A light supper is served at 5:45 p.m. followed by the presentation at 6:30 p.m. All are welcome to attend! No registration necessary. More info.
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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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