August 17, 2017  |  Vol. 4 No. 33
The Limits of Prayer
Rev. Justin Schroeder
Every Sunday, during the Cycle of Life in Worship, we make space to sit together in silence, to notice the turnings and changes in our lives, to remember we are mortal, and to hold the larger human family in our prayers. Our prayers matter. Holding those we name in compassionate care helps remind us that someday it will be our name that is spoken out loud, because being human means living with joy as well as with great struggle and sorrow. These weekly prayers matter a great deal, and they are one of the things that anchor me. And yet, what comes after we pray matters just as much. When we pray for a congregant recovering from surgery, it matters. But the prayer takes on additional life when we send a card, or bring a meal, or follow up with that person several months later. When we pray for Dar Al-Farooq Islamic Center in Bloomington, or the family of Heather Heyer, the young woman killed by white supremacists in Charlottesville, Virginia, this past weekend, it matters. But it's what we do next that matters even more. Do we reach out to our Muslim neighbors? Do we deepen our racial justice learning and commitment, especially if we identify as white? Do we ask: 'What concrete steps can I take to bring these prayers to life?'

One concrete step you might consider is to attend "BlackWomenBeing: An Evening with Safety Pin Box," on August 24 at 7 p.m. at First Universalist. ("Safety Pin Box" is a monthly subscription box for white people striving to be allies in the fight for Black Liberation. You can learn more at )

The program on August 24 will be "a fireside-style discussion with Safety Pin Box Co-Founder & activist Leslie Mac and #SPBLive Director, Paige Ingram, moderated by Black Lives of Unitarian Universalism Executive Director, Lena K. Gardner. These women will discuss what it means to be a Black Woman doing liberation work in 2017 and how white people do or do not fit into the work of fighting oppression."

There are many ways to make our prayers come alive with concrete actions; this is but one possibility. I'll be there. I hope to see some of you there as well!

I'll see you in church,
Our Shared Ministry: A Special Note from Rev. Justin Regarding Upcoming Sabbatical Time
Eight years ago, I felt excited, curious, energized (and frankly, a little nervous!), as I began my first day at First Universalist as your Senior Minister. Like any new relationship, we had to spend time together to get to know and understand one another, and to discover the strengths of our shared ministry.

And goodness, have we grown together! These past few years have been some of the most rewarding years of my ministry. We are nearing the completion of our Capital Campaign, "Not For Ourselves Alone: Building an Inclusive Future," we have strengthened our ministry for children, youth, and adults, and have created a stable and dynamic staff team that partners with congregants in our shared ministry.

It has been a particular joy to work so closely with Rev. Jen Crow. She is a true partner and collaborator in ministry, and as the "Senior Leadership Team," we bring out the best in one another.

When I first began my ministry, the idea of taking a sabbatical was a foreign concept. I'd never had a sabbatical before, nor understood the need for a sabbatical. However, eight years into ministry, I must confess how grateful I am to accrue sabbatical time. The Board has approved a two month sabbatical for me for September and October, and I will be out of the office during this time of renewal, reflection, and continuing education. Specifically, I will be doing personal and institutional learning to support the racial justice journey I am on and we are on together. I hope these efforts will help me (and us, as a faith community) continue to faithfully explore the many dimensions around race, racism, and whiteness.

I'm in the office through the end of August, and would be delighted to connect with you during the month. I'll be preaching at our Lake Harriet service on August 20, as well.
During my Sabbatical time, Rev. Jen will be Acting Senior Minister, working closely with our staff and lay leaders. You could not be in better hands!

In gratitude, 

Join us at the Bandshell this Sunday!

Worship this Sunday
Sunday, Aug. 20, 10 a.m.
Worship at the Lake Harriet Bandshell
"MN Nice: Are You Idol-ing?"
Rev. Justin Schroeder
Is Minnesota Nice really nice, or is it something else entirely? Are people of faith called to be "Minnesota Nice" or something else entirely? In this Lake Harriet service, Rev. Justin will reflect on the times we're living in, the idols we've been loyal to, or have mistakenly been worshiping, and how our loyalty might shift, as we meet this moment, striving to create a country that names and knows its history, willing to live in discomfort, working to create the beloved community in the here and now.
A Look Ahead
Sunday, Aug. 27, 10 a.m.
Rev. Jen Crow and Lauren Wyeth
Music: First Universalist Choir

Recent Sermon Podcasts
August 13, 2017
"Song of My Song"
Rev. Ruth MacKenzie

August 6, 2017
"Making Honey from Failure"
Rev. Elaine Aron Tenbrink

July 30, 2017
"Capturing the Moment"
Rev. Karen Gustafson 

July 23, 2017
"Threads of Faith"
Arif Mamdani
Musical Guest at the Lake Harriet Bandshell this Sunday: Terrell "Carnage The Executioner" Woods 
Terrell "Carnage The Executioner" Woods
At this Sunday's worship service at the Lake Harriet Bandshell, we'll be joined by Minneapolis-based hip hop artist Terrell Woods, a.k.a. Carnage The Executioner .

Carnage The Executioner is widely recognized for his lyrical dexterity, abnormal freestyling ability, and uncanny knack to compose musical symphonies with his mouth through human beat boxing. He teaches beat boxing lessons to youth in community and school settings.  He is also a father, freelance social worker, mentor, community volunteer, motivational speaker and counselor to youth and adults in Minneapolis. 

"A lot of kids have feelings of hopelessness; I set an example that you can make a difference in your own life and make it better with lots of determination, regardless of how negative your surroundings are. I feel I have a responsibility to give something positive back to the community that helped me become the man that I am today."

Carnage The Executioner joined us in worship last summer, at a powerful service on Sunday, July 10. You can watch a short video from the service here. We are thrilled to be welcoming him back this coming Sunday, Aug. 20 at our Lake Harriet Bandshell service! 
Details for this Sunday: Lake Harriet 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. Rev. Justin will be preaching, and we'll be joined by hip hop artist  Carnage The Executioner Please note: this will be our only worship service on Sunday, Aug. 20.

After the service, we'll gather at the park on the hill opposite the bandshell for a delicious potluck picnic and social time together. 
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. If you have a yellow "Standing on the Side of Love" t-shirt, please wear it!  There is limited free parking near the bandshell. Parking pay stations and meters are available on a first-come, first-served basis.  RSVP and share on Facebook here !
Backpack Blessing Sunday
Sunday, Aug. 27, 10 a.m.
As summer comes to an end, don't miss our annual Backpack Blessing and worship service. The multigenerational service will offer children, youth, and adults the opportunity to reflect upon how we might carry the love of our church community and the tools of our faith with us wherever we go. Children and youth are encouraged to wear their school backpacks so that we can include them in the Backpack Blessing ritual.
Water Communion Sunday
Sunday, Sept. 10, 9:30 & 11:15 a.m.
Water is a gift. On Water Communion Sunday, we celebrate the many rivers, eddies and waterways of our life experiences. We embody this truth by bringing water from our homes, our travels, and our walks, and combine them in a ritual called Water Communion during this multigenerational service on the first Sunday of the church year.
First Universalist Stories: Joan Patterson

"I have found my "tribe" at First Universalist and I am very grateful."
Each week throughout the summer, we're featuring one or two stories submitted by members about what First Universalist means to them. Joan Patterson  shares:

Joan Patterson
"I joined First Universalist about four years ago after being without a church community for a long time. The first time I visited, I knew I had found my spiritual home. The focus on social justice PLUS action, along with the overarching theme of love for all really pulled me in. 

"The sermons challenge me and and of course, the music is beyond belief good. I felt very welcomed at FUC, particularly when I became more involved. I served on the Welcome Team for a couple of years, have participated in circles, AUW, and in Wellspring I and II. I volunteered with AFA and was co-leader for a difficult period.  

"My greatest involvement and satisfaction is the work I have done with the Daytime Connections program. I served on the planning team for two years and I am currently co-chair. I have really come to know many of our church members very well through this experience. My commitment to service and advocacy has been strengthened through First Universalist and as I age, this is becoming even more important to me as I think about my legacy. I have found my "tribe" at First Universalist and I am very grateful. "  
Volunteers Still Needed for Families Moving Forward!
"As a new member to First Universalist,  Families Moving Forward 
interested me because I saw it as both a way to get more involved with the beautiful community here, and spend time volunteering to help provide people housing. As I've learned, stable housing is critical in being able to reach positive health outcomes in other areas of life. (If you're constantly worrying about where to sleep, you're likely not getting to the doctor when you need, or taking medication on a regular basis.)   

"I worked with a sweet family from First Universalist to make a meal for our guests. Due to forces beyond our control, the crowd at dinner was actually much smaller than we had originally anticipated - a powerful reminder of the truly sporadic nature of being in unstable housing.  

"I'm grateful I was able to volunteer and am looking forward to being with families this go-around."    - Lukas Udstuen

Friends, we are a few days out from hosting Families Moving Forward and we are so excited to see so many individuals and families volunteering!

For our two weeks, Sunday, Aug. 20 through Sunday, Sept. 3, we have over 100 volunteers on board. However, we still need 39 volunteers for the following:
  • Meal preparation (7) - Prep and serve meal and eat with families
  • Overnight hosts (9) - Stay 8:45 p.m.-6:45 a.m. (mostly sleeping) & set out breakfast
  • Evening activities (15) -  E ngage in activities and conversation, a great family activity!
  • Breakdown (8) - converting bedrooms back to RE classrooms at the end of the stay
Please join us us in this Faithful Action.
You can go directly to  SignUp Genius   to register!
New Exhibit: Woven Baskets & More by Martha Bird 
A new exhibit of work by Martha Bird, "Finding Focus: Returning to a First Love," is now on view in the social hall through October 1, 2017. 

Martha Bird's first love is basket weaving. In 1994, she enrolled in a basket class and fell in love with the materials and wove her way into activity and health, after a back injury. Her art-making has expanded over the years into a personal exploration that utilizes a variety of mediums. Her basket weaving, though, has brought her many new opportunities, including traveling to Ireland and exhibiting across the U.S. 

"Finding Focus" is an exhibit that features her work with willow from her travels and will be on display in the Social Hall at church from Aug. 15-Oct. 1, 2017. Attend an artist's reception on Sunday, Oct.1, after both services for an opportunity to meet the artist and see more of her history in basketry. Martha is a long-time member of First Universalist Church.
Donations for AFA Hope Food & Clothing Closets 
First Universalist is beginning our sixth year of partnership with Augsburg Fairview Academy (AFA), one of our six faithful action Community Partners. Young adults from diverse communities who face educational barriers to achievement in traditional schools are welcomed into AFA, a charter high school that prepares them for college, career and life. The 125+ students come from diverse backgrounds including African American, Somali, and Native American. Many are homeless or marginally housed during the school year.
The Hope Food and Clothing Closets were developed by AFA students in a class on leadership and organization development; they chose this project to meet their needs and to provide hope. First Universalist is the primary contributor to the Hope Food and Clothing Closets.
Donations needed include: 
  • School Supplies: Backpacks (in dark colors), spiral notebooks, pens and pencils, pocket folders.
  • Clothing: hoodies; t-shirts; skinny jeans for men and women; men's and women's underwear and socks; fall jackets. Clothing should be clean, teen appropriate and in good repair.
  • Food and Toiletries: Single serving microwavable meals; fruit cups; granola bars; toothpaste and toothbrushes, men's and women's deodorant, lotions, condoms, and tampons and sanitary products.   
Bring items to the Hub on Sundays or drop off during the week at the shelves labeled for AFA by the 34th Street entrance. Thank you for your generosity!
Save the Date: Circle Supper Kick-Off Potluck
Looking for a way to meet new people in our congregation?  Circle Suppers may be the answer!  The group meets at a different person's home for an evening of good conversation and good food on the first Saturday of the month from December to April. These gatherings are for adults only - singles and couples are welcome! The kick-off potluck will be at church on Saturday, Nov. 11 in the social hall. Come join us! Contact Colleen Cavell at 612-323-4486 or for more details. 
"Safety Pin Box LIVE: Minneapolis" 
Event to be Hosted at First Universalist Church
On Thursday, Aug. 24 at 7 p.m.,  Safety Pin Box LIVE: Minneapolis will be hosted at First Universalist Church.  The event is a fireside-style discussion with Safety Pin Box Co-Founder & activist Leslie Mac and  #SPBLive  Director Paige Ingram moderated by Black Lives of Unitarian Universalism Executive Director (and First Universalist member) Lena K. Gardner.

These incredible women will discuss what it means to be a Black Woman doing liberation work in 2017 and how white people do or do not fit into the work of fighting oppression. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. Program starts at 7 p.m. 

* A limited number of comp seats available for Local Black Womxn organizers - Fill out this Google Form to be considered. 

Safety Pin Box is THE monthly subscription box for white people striving to be allies in the fight for Black Liberation. Box memberships are a way to not only financially support Black femme freedom fighters, but also complete measurable tasks in the fight against white supremacy. See more at

Learn more about the event and purchase tickets at the EventBrite link
  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 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.
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Monday-Thursday  8:30 a.m.-8 p.m.
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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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