May 7, 2015
Issue No. 18, Volume 2
In This Issue
Sunday Worship for May 10, 2015

Join Rev. Justin Schroeder for   "Mothering and Messiness" on this Mother's Day, as we explore the beauty and complexity to be found in the messiness of being alive and of being in community.

For additional information, and to access the Sunday Order of Service online, click here .


Service is at 9:30 and 11:15 AM. 

First Universalist Folk Band Performing This Sunday !



Did You Miss Last Sunday's Service?
We have podcasts available online of all of our sermons!  

To listen to Rev. Justin Schroeder preach "Holding Lightly" this past Sunday, click here.

At stake in these different views - on the one hand, the idea that everything is predestined, and on the other hand, the notion that we are saved by love, and can grow in the ways of love, developing our moral character - at stake is the issue of human agency and freedom.

Upcoming Worship


May 17                   

9:30 - 11:15am                    Worship: Rev. Ruth MacKenzie

Music: First Universalist Choir


May 24                        

10:000 am

Worship: Rev. Jen Crow

Memorial Day Sunday


Please Note: Sunday Service Time Changes on May 24th

Beginning Sunday, May 24, we will have one Sunday service at 10am for the summer months. During this time, we ask you to bring your own mug to the social hour after the service. This helps save on water, labor, and keeps the kitchen cool during the hot summer months. We look forward to seeing you at church!

May 31                        

10:00 am                

Worship: Rev. Jen Crow

Flower Communion Sunday   Music: Inter-generational Choir

Congregation Annual Meeting


Flower Communion Sunday

Please remember to bring a flower or two on May 31 to commemorate Flower Communion Sunday, an annual ritual that celebrates beauty, human uniqueness, diversity, and community.


Originally created in 1923 by Unitarian minister Norbert Capek of Prague, Flower Communion was created to acknowledge our unique place in creation, and the beauty we create when we come together as a bouquet of faith.

May Worship Theme:


(photo credit: Ruth MacKenzie)


The nature of thresholds is that there is one foot in what was, and one foot in what is to become. The present of thresholds is a lesson in pausing, noticing, remembering, and dreaming. This month we practice suspending our wish to know, and our penchant for planning, and surrender ourselves to the spiritual journey of not knowing, and living comfortably between worlds.


We look with uncertainty
by Anne Hillman

We look with uncertainty
beyond the old choices for
clear-cut answers
to a softer, more permeable aliveness
which is every moment
at the brink of death;
for something new is being born in us
if we but let it.
We stand at a new doorway,
awaiting that which comes...
daring to be human creatures,
vulnerable to the beauty of existence.
Learning to love.


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. If you'd like to be included in our Cycle of Life each Sunday in worship, please contact Sandy DiNanni at ( ) or (612) 825-1701. If you would like support, please contact Rev. Jen Crow ( or 825-1701) or any member of our Pastoral Care Team.

Upcoming Events
Sunday, 5/10
Child Dedications, Sanctuary, 9:30 and 11:15 AM

Friday, 5/15
AUW Annual Meeting, Social Hall, 5:00 PM

Saturday, 5/16
Racial Justice and Our UU Faith, Cummins Room, 9:00 AM

Saturday, 5/16
Coming of Age Service and Celebration, Social Hall, 3:00 PM

Thursday, 5/21
Board Meeting, Cummins Room, 6:30 PM


For more information about events at First Universalist, check out our website by clicking here! 


To view the online space-use calendar, click here.

Do you have news, information, an announcement, a photo, or an article that you would like to see published in  The Weekly Liberal ?

Click here to fill out our online submission form!  Please note that edits for length and/or content may occur.

The deadline for submission is always Tuesday at 10:00 AM.  The Weekly Liberal is published Thursday afternoon.

Would you like to join our mailing list?

Click here to receive
The Weekly Liberal from First Universalist Church in your inbox every Thursday!

If you have limited access to email/internet and would like to be on our hard copy mailing list, contact the church office at 612-825-1701 and ask to speak to Chelsea, our Administrative Assistant.

News for Families:

Would you like to sign up for the Children, Youth, & Family Ministries Weekly E-News? 
Click here to sign up online!

2014-15 Annual Events

Our 2014-2015 schedule of Annual Events is available online!  

Change of Date for Lake Harriet Bandshell Service:

Due to an error with Lake Harriet planners, our date at Lake Harriet Bandshell has been changed to Sunday, Aug 30. The Rock Band will be performing at this service. Mark your calendars-we hope to see you there!

Online SPRING Worship Schedule

The 2014-2015 Spring worship schedule is now included in this document. Click here to view.

Are You a Professional Fundraiser?  A Development Director?

If so, we want your input! The Program Team of First Universalist is in the early stages of creating a development and fundraising plan for 2015-2016 and beyond. Interested? Please connect with Rev. Justin Schroeder at 612-825-1701 x 102, or

Connect With First U


Church Office Hours
8:00 AM-1:00 PM

8:30 AM-8:00 PM

8:30 AM-8:00 PM

8:30 AM-8:00 PM

8:30 AM-8:00 PM

The church office is closed Fridays and Saturdays.  You can reach the office by dialing: 612-825-1701.

Senior Minister
Rev. Justin Schroeder

Minister of Program Life
Rev. Jen Crow

Minister of Worship Arts and Coming of Age
Rev. Ruth MacKenzie

Minister of Membership and Adult Ministries 
Rev. Elaine Aron Tenbrink

Director of Children, Youth, & Family Ministries
Lauren Wyeth

For additional staff contact information, click here.

The Weekly Liberal is compiled and edited by Communications Manager Heidi Johnson. To submit an article or announcement for publication in  The Weekly Liberal , please fill out the online submission form here

Please note that edits for content and/or length may occur. Additional information about publication deadlines, submission requirements, and policies can be found in the communications section of our website.  

Any questions, comments, or concerns about  The Weekly Liberal or church communications in general can be directed to:  
A Note About
The Weekly Liberal

As you might have noticed, we rotate news and feature articles in and out of the Weekly Liberal via one week, two week, and one month cycles, depending on the content.  While we always provide new & updated content in every edition, we also cycle in important pieces that run multiple times (usually twice) to ensure that members and friends of First Universalist have the opportunity to view this information.

Crossing the Threshold...
By Rev. Justin Schroeder, 
Senior Minister

This year, more than other years, I am aware that spring is a time of many thresholds. We cross over from winter, sleet, and snow, into rain, sunlight, and birdsong. With the coming of spring, we prepare our hearts for the thresholds our children will cross, as they graduate elementary, middle, high school, as well as college. 

In our country, too, it is a time of threshold crossing. Organizers and activists across the country are declaring this a "Black Spring," a time of truly transforming our country and democracy into one in which black lives do matter. ("Black Spring" is a reference to "Arab Spring," a wave of uprisings against unpopular rule, which began in December of 2010 and swept through a number of countries in the Arab world.) We are on the edge of a new thing, taking steps toward the beloved community, toward a world of peace and justice.

In my family's life, too, it is a time of thresholds. Though our due date is not until May 19, we move through each day now, knowing that our lives, patterns, and family life will drastically change, as we soon cross the threshold and become a family of four. 

In this season of change, what thresholds are you approaching? What changes have been building below the surface of your life and are waiting to blossom in the spring air? What new thing is waiting to be born into your life? Whatever thresholds you are approaching, may your companions be gentleness, deep compassion, and curiosity. 

I'll see you in church,
Rev. Justin Schroeder

Walking Our Talk and Putting Words to Our Walk

By David Bach, Board President

At the April 21 meeting of the Board of Trustees, Rev. Justin Schroeder brought to us the question, "What do you think about First Universalist putting a Black Lives Matter banner on the outside of our building?"  With the amount of support we are already showing as a church for racial justice and Black Lives Matter, this seemed like an appropriate way to show the community what is going on behind our doors and throughout the community with our advocacy and actions. As we talked more we realized our racial justice work  has grown and has been publicly expressed by pockets of committed staff and church members in the community and the media without our ever formally stating our commitment as a church of nearly 1,000 members to the important work of racial justice. The Board of Trustees decided that our appropriate step was to author a Racial Justice Resolution that would allow our whole congregation to join in a formal statement of our commitment to racial justice. We drafted the Resolution, received very helpful feedback from the Racial Justice Leadership Team, and acquired more than the signatures of  5% of our current membership, or 47 people, in the Social Hall on Sunday, May 3. Our Bylaws require that any resolution introduced at an Annual Meeting be supported by at least 5% of the members.

The Resolution will be on the agenda for our Annual Meeting, on Sunday, May 31, at 11:30 a.m.  We will need approval from 2/3 of those present to approve the Resolution. The Annual Meeting requires a quorum of 10% of the membership, which is currently at 941, to vote on items. With approval of Rev. Jen Crow as a "called" minister on the agenda as well, we need a quorum of 25%, or 236 members, to "call" a minister; 4/5 of those present need to approve the motion.  An earlier article in the Liberal and an announcement in church explained the "call." 

We need you to make a commitment now to be at this very important Annual Meeting.  Your presence is critical. Thank you in advance for making time for this in your church life.

Click here to read a copy of the Racial Justice Resolution.  Please feel free to contact me at  with any questions about this Resolution or the "calling" of Rev. Jen Crow as our Minister. 


David Bach

President, Board of Trustees

News & Announcements
Wellspring Orientation

Have you heard about Wellspring? This year, more than 50 members of our church participated in this amazing journey. Wellspring offers spiritual deepening within our Unitarian Universalist tradition, an opportunity for learning more about ourselves and our faith through a year-long small group experience. 

There are five interconnected components: commitment to a daily spiritual practice, monthly spiritual direction (self-reflection with a guide), small group meetings, reading about the theological and historical foundations of our faith, and putting our faith into action. After a day-long opening retreat in September 2015, Wellspring will meet every other week through May 2016.

You are invited to an information session to learn more and to help you decide whether Wellspring is a commitment you want to make. Attending the orientation is required if you wish to participate in Wellspring next year. 

Please join us on Thursday, May 28 from 7-8:30pm or on Sunday, June 7 at 11:30am. Bring your questions and your open hearts. We look forward to seeing you there!

'Being Mortal' Book Discussion

Led by Karen West
Sunday, May 17 at 1pm in Room 203

For all but our most recent history, death was a common, ever-present possibility, but advances in modern medicine have changed that. As we live longer and longer, many of us choose not to think about death, but in the best seller "Being Mortal," Atul Gawande argues that facing and accepting the fact that we are mortal is crucial if we want to continue being the authors of our own lives. Join us for a discussion of this empowering, life-changing book.


Open Labyrinth Walk 
Thursday, May 14th 6:30-8:00pm

Spring is finally here! The birds are returning, the trees budding and the air warming. Everywhere nature is opening up to new growth and new life. Come walk the Labyrinth with us to celebrate, recharge and reconnect with nature. All are welcome!!


The Weekly Liberal to Take Summer Vacation

The Weekly Liberal will be taking a summer break starting May 29th, lasting until August 15th.  

The May 28th edition of the Weekly Liberal will be the last edition before the break.  For the months of June and July, a monthly version of the Weekly Liberal will be published on June 15th and July 15th.

Communications Manager Heidi Johnson will be working on a number of communications projects over the summer, including a website upgrade, mobile-friendly website, writing new communications plans for church programs, and a number of additional strategic communications projects.  The  News and Updates  section of the First Universalist website will continue to be updated on a daily and weekly basis throughout the summer.  If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to contact Communications Manager Heidi Johnson at

House that Love Built 
on Display

By Bette DeMars

Last year, our congregation accomplished something quite amazing...raising enough money to become a Habitat for Humanity sponsor and involving over 100 people in building a house for Maikee Lee and her children. A review of all we did to make our House that Love Built project happen and photos of the building process is now on display in the Office Reception Area. The gift that Maikee gave Jen and the congregation along with photos of Maikee and her home are on display in the Library.


Vases Needed for Visual Arts!

The Visual Arts Committee along with Congregational Care members have coordinated an effort to bring Sunday's flowers to those who are unable to attend church services and to go to Augsburg Fairview Academy.  We are presently needing more medium and quite large size vases to continue this effort.  Clear vases are preferred.  If you have vases to contribute, please take them to the office or place them on the table behind the sanctuary.

SUMMER CAMPS at First Universalist Church 
Register Today!

By Lauren Wyeth,
Director of Children, Youth, & Family Ministries

Summer camp registration is open now, with options for kids entering 1st grade through high school. 

CHALICE CAMP for kids entering 1st-6th grade, June 22-26
This year's Chalice Camp features all-new activities, so it's a good choice for both new and returning campers. On the agenda: making story stones, building a water obstacle course, painting wish sticks, giant-ball games, knot bracelets, swimming at Bryant Park, knuckle prayers, running a car wash, learning new songs, and singing onstage at a Thursday evening family potluck. There is a place for every kid at Chalice Camp - we'll feel like cousins by the week's end.

CREATIVITY JAM CAMP for kids entering 1st-6th grade, July 13-17
Creativity Jam Camp is the place to be if you like building, performing or creating! Every day brings new options, and the creative process is where we explore, express, and interact with new ideas. Kids use all kinds of materials and are inspired by energetic camp counselors and daily time in nature. Every voice matters as we play and learn in our community of friendship and fun. Parents will get to tour our art gallery at the week's end. 

RACIAL JUSTICE JAM CAMPS for youth entering 9th-12th grade, July 20-23; and 3rd-8th grade, July 27-30. New this year, Racial Justice Jam Camp will get us talking about stuff that really matters, like race, culture, prejudice and put-downs, and standing on the side of love and justice. Racial Justice Jam Campers of different ages will have different groups, but everyone will be focused on the same four ideas: my own identity has many beautiful layers; others' identities are also complex and beautiful; now and in the past, people have had different opportunities and privileges based on their skin color and race; together, we can interrupt injustice and build a fair and compassionate world. 

Racial Justice Jam Camp will help us become people who notice what's happening around us, feel comfortable talking about it, and know how to stand up for ourselves and others. 

Please spread the word and invite your friends! To learn more, see camp dates, fees, and registration forms, visit

Augsburg Fairview Academy Update

By Cindy Marsh

Donations are needed for Hope Food and Clothing Closets! 

Needed clothing items include: Men's jean's - waist sizes 29, 30 and 32. Women's jeans - sizes 10 and 12. Spring items like men and women's windbreakers, hoodies, and t-shirts. Clothing should be clean and in good condition; keep in mind AFA students desire clothes that teens like and typically prefer dark colors. Men and women's socks, men's medium and small briefs are also needed.

Desired food and toiletry items include: single serving microwavable soups, mac and cheese, and stews; snacks: fruit cups, granola bars or cracker and cheese packages; chapstick, toothpaste and toothbrushes, men's and women's deodorant, and tampons (we don't need travel size items).

Bring items to the Hub on Sundays or leave in the cupboard marked AFA in the Welcome Center. Thanks for your generosity!


Fill Out the Congregational Survey!

By David Leppik

Sometimes the most important things we do go unnoticed and unrecognized. Sometimes the little things, like showing up year after year, are what make a difference.

First Universalist has made several commitments: to grow in our UU faith; to provide a home for ageless wisdom; to be an intergenerational community of mutual caring and support; and to build a just, loving and sustainable world.

To ensure that we are living up to these commitments, the Board of Trustees does a survey every year. It's survey time again, and whether you've been here 6 months or 60 years, we need to hear your voice. Please take 10 minutes to tell us how the church is doing.

Take the survey by clicking HERE.

Intergenerational Choir
By Randy Buikema,
Director of Choral Arts

Are you and/or members of your family interested in singing? Have you considered singing in the choir, but you couldn't make the long-term commitment? With 3 rehearsals and worship services on one Sunday, the Intergenerational Choir may be perfect for you. All ages are welcome. Here are the particulars:

Repertoire Sahayta by Ben Allaway

Sunday, May 17 10:35-11:10 (between services)
Wednesday, May 20 7:00-7:45 PM
Wednesday, May 27 7:00-7:45 PM

Sunday, May 31 10:00 AM (One service, Flower Communion)

Randy Buikema, Director of Choral Arts, will serve as the choir's conductor. The anthem, Sayahta is a unique musical experience for singers of all ages. The text of Sahayta ideals with themes of unity, peace and community, and it draws on words and phrases in Arabic, Hebrew, Hindi, Sanskrit, Spanish, English, Filipino and Swahili. With an infectious world beat, this song will unite the singers and the congregation. Come join the fun!!

If you have any questions, contact

Religious Education Registration Now Open


Online registration for the 2015-2016 church year is now open for children and youth ages six months through 12th grade. From September through May, First Universalist Church offers Sunday morning childcare for children ages 6 months to 2 years, and Religious Education classes for preschool through high school. 

We are home to nearly 300 families and close to 500 children and youth! There is no fee for Religious Education or childcare. Each family is asked to support the program by serving on a volunteer team approximately one Sunday a month, or ten times during the church year. Training, prepared materials, and staff support are provided.

The Class Descriptions page of our website gives an overview of the curriculum for each age and grade level.

Class assignments will be determined in late May, and families will receive confirmation by email on June 1. All returning children and youth must be registered in order to attend classes or childcare on Sunday mornings during the regular church year.



Summer Circle Registration 
Is Coming!

Online registration for Community Circles and Spiritual Deepening Circles opens on May 17. These gatherings of 8-10 people are a great way to get connected at First Universalist and to grow your soul in community. For more information, contact Rev. Elaine Aron Tenbrink at or 612-825-1701 x124