First Universalist Church
January 29, 2015
Issue No. 4, Volume 2
In This Issue
Sunday Worship for February 1, 2015

Join Rev. Jen Crow, Minister of Program Life, for her sermon, "We Are the Ones We Have Been Waiting For".  For additional information, and to access the Sunday Order of Service online, click here.

It's both an empowering and an overwhelming thought: the idea that whatever it is we hope for, it is up to us to create. Join us as we launch our new worship theme: We Are the Ones We've Been Waiting For - and explore the ups and downs of truly believing that the present and the future are up to us. We will commission our new Pastoral Care Team members at both services.


Service is at 9:30 and 11:15 AM


Did You Miss Last Sunday's Service?

We have podcasts available online of all of our sermons!  

To listen to guest preacher Jim Foti, (Assistant Minister at First Unitarian Society of Minneapolis) preach this past sunday, click here.

February Worship Theme:

"We Are The Ones We've Been 
 Waiting For"

This phrase is the final statement of a writing attributed to Hopi Elders (which is in doubt), referenced by President Obama in 2008, but probably originates with the poet June Jordan in a commemoration of South African women. Although no one is really certain about its origins, the statement rocks the spirit and challenges our understandings of how the world works and the part we play. The beloved community, the kingdom of God, a world of peace will not come about simply by following a great leader or praying for a messiah. We are the ones we've been waiting for. This month we address ourselves, and our place in the change we seek.


Message from Hopi Elders


You have been telling the people that this is the Eleventh Hour, now you must go back and tell the people that this is the Hour. And there are things to be considered...

Where are you living?
What are you doing?
What are your relationships?
Are you in right relation?
Where is your water?

Know your garden.
It is time to speak your Truth.
Create your community.
Be good to each other.
And do not look outside yourself for the leader.

This could be a good time! There is a river flowing now very fast. It is so great and swift that there are those who will be afraid. They will try to hold on to the shore. They will feel they are being torn apart and will suffer greatly.

Know the river has its destination. The elders say we must let go of the shore, push off into the middle of the river, keep our eyes open, and our heads above the water.

See who is in there with you and celebrate. At this time in history, we are to take nothing personally. Least of all, ourselves. For the moment that we do, our spiritual growth and journey comes to a halt. The time of the lone wolf is over. Gather yourselves!

Banish the word struggle from your attitude and your vocabulary. All that we do now must be done in a sacred manner and in celebration.


We are the ones we've been waiting for.

Congregational Care: the Core Ministry of Give, Receive, and Grow

Congregational Care touches us all--when we write or receive a note of comfort or congratulations, when we deliver or receive a meal in times of need, when we greet or usher at a memorial service or receive the gift of a beautiful memorial reception in a time of loss, when we knit a comfort shawl or pull one around our shoulders, when we welcome a new baby, give or receive flowers after a worship service, when we share a moment of connection during the Cycle of Life meditation on Sunday morning. We are all needed to reach out to others, to ask for help for ourselves, to make those connections again and again.

Say yes when a meal is needed, take a moment to write a card, make the call or visit, deliver flowers or a comfort shawl, help at a memorial reception.

Contact the church or Congregational Care Coordinators, Kathy Urberg: 
or Kathy Coskran:
when we or someone we know suffers a loss, needs support, a meal, a visit.

Learn More About Families Moving Forward

Join us on Sunday, February 15th at 12:45 in the sanctuary to learn more about the Families Moving Forward program - a program of Beacon Interfaith Housing Collaborative that brings over 60 congregations together to provide shelter for families experiencing homelessness. We hope to join this program this year, opening our upstairs religious education classrooms to house families as soon as September. Program Director, Jacqueline Scott-Hopkins will be with us to share information about the program and to help us prepare. 

Join us to learn more, find out about key volunteer positions, and get excited about opening our doors. 

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

Saturday, 1/31 
Winter Warm Up Dance Party, 
8:00 PM, Social Hall

Sunday, 2/1
State of the Church Meeting, 
12:45 PM, Sanctuary

Sunday, 2/8 
Race: The Power of An Illusion, Part 2, 1:00 PM, Cummins Room

Tuesday, 2/10
Race: The Power of An Illusion, Part 2, 7:00 PM, Cummins Room

Sunday, 2/15
Families Moving Forward Information Session, 
12:30 PM, Sanctuary


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


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

Habitat for Humanity Crews Needed in 2015

There are exciting opportunities for new and veteran Habitat for Humanity volunteers in 2015! Don't worry about your skill level--Habitat welcomes all volunteers and will make sure you have meaningful work. 

We need 10-13 people for each of the following dates: February 12, March 14, April 9, May 14 and a week in August (dates TBD). You can sign up by visiting the information table in the social hall after services or online at the following link:

Racial Justice Within the Walls of First Universalist Church
Fellow Congregants,

One of the points of our focus on racial justice is to find areas in our church life where patterns of racism or a white racial narrative may be occurring. 

Today a new document has been added to the Racial Justice Page on our web site. It is an executive summary of the results from a 'Mapping Racism' exercise done in May. Led by our racial justice consultant Dr. Heather Hackman, about 35 congregants who went through the G1 or G2 racial justice trainings with Dr. Hackman met to identify areas in church life where racism and whiteness may be occurring. Participants were able to identify areas for investigation by looking through a sharper racial justice 'lens' than they may have had before going through training. Check it out by clicking HERE. We hope you'll find it thought provoking. Perhaps you will use it as fodder for meaningful conversations.

Based on this information, the Racial Justice Leadership Team has prioritized the worship and communications/culture/identity aspects of our church for investigation, and is currently assembling teams to address these area. A team will also be created to connect those of you with a passion for racial justice more deeply with this ministry.

Also, a new staff intern with a social work background will be helping to create a set of questions to use for all of our Faith in Action work that will help assure that we assess all such efforts with a racial justice lens.

Racial Justice Leadership Team Members,

Kristen Mengelkoch 

and Emma Paskewitz

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?

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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.

2014-15 Annual Events

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

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

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 Operations
Diane Gavere

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.

Re-imaging the Day of Service: Engaging in Year-Round Service, Learning and Advocacy 
A Message From Rev. Justin and Rev. Jen


One of the staff goals this year has been to re-imagine how our Faithful Action Ministry happens - to bring a racial justice lens to all that we do, to get clear about how our holiday giving recipient is chosen, how new projects and partnerships are determined, and to create a strong Faithful Action Leadership Team. Rev. Jen Crow and the Leadership Team have been making great progress in these areas and there is exciting news to report.

Because of the work of the Faithful Action Leadership Team, we are moving in the direction of being able to offer service, learning, and advocacy opportunities year-round for all ages. Because of this, we are canceling the previously scheduled Day of Service for 2015. All activities that are already scheduled for that day will proceed as planned - so if you signed up for a Habitat build day on March 14th - please be there!

As we partner with Families Moving Forward, we'll be able to offer a week full of opportunities to serve families experiencing homelessness who will come to live at the church. We continue to collect food and clothing and offer support in the classrooms at Augsburg Fairview Academy. We provide meals for Simpson House, our partnership with Habitat for Humanity remains strong, and there will be ongoing opportunities there, as well. Our Environmental Justice Team is exploring partnerships and offering opportunities to learn and advocate for justice. The Faithful Action Leadership Team is inviting all of our partnerships to host service, learning and advocacy opportunities for all ages throughout the year. We are excited to move away from a model that offers a single day of service to a model that fosters year-round opportunities. 

Finally, moving forward, the Faithful Action Leadership Team is excited to create a resource for any group that engages in a service project, so they can reflect on the work, the partnership, and what they've experienced through a racial justice and Unitarian Universalist lens.

We are grateful to the many people over the past few years who have helped make the day of service a success, and we are excited about offering multiple year-round service and justice opportunities for all.

In faith,
Justin, Jen, and the Faithful Action Leadership Team


News & Announcements
Buy Your Tickets Now to Dance, Dance, Dance at the Winter Warm-Up!

THIS SATURDAY, January 31st
Live Music, Appetizers, Beverages, Dancing!

What is Winter Warm-Up?
It's a live music dance party FUN-raiser featuring First UU's own Rock Band!

Join us Saturday night, January 31, 2015 for the Winter Warm-up!  

We'll have dancing and light appetizers with beverages, featuring beer from Lake Monster Brewery and wine from Hennepin Lake Liquors, available for purchase. Dancing starts at 8pm.  

Stop by on your way home from the Loppet and help warm-up the social hall at 2015's first congregational fundraiser of the year!

Suggested donation for admission is $10-$20 but no one will be turned away based on ability to pay.  If your budget allows it, consider paying more to support others.  Visit this URL to buy your tickets in advance:

Tickets will also be available for purchase on Sundays in the Social Hall between services.

Bishop Carlton Pearson to Speak at First U February 6

United Theological Seminary of the Twin Cities' Multicultural Program Presents:

Journey from Exclusion to Inclusion in Story and Song

Bishop Carlton Pearson

Friday, February 6, 7:30 PM
First Universalist Church
3400 Dupont Avenue South, Minneapolis

Bishop Carlton Pearson's transformation from an evangelical celebrity preacher to a radically inclusive cyber minister is nothing short of remarkable. A charismatic presence on the Trinity Broadcasting Network and an award-winning vocalist, the bishop was declared a heretic by Christians who are more conservative when he began to spread a new message of universalism. His program in song and story reveals his exceptional public transformation and carries the message that you are in a relationship with God-no matter where you stand.

FREE, but registration is requested at

*Parking is limited.

Annual State of the Church Meeting THIS Sunday

February 1, 12:45 PM

Everyone is invited! 

At this meeting, the Board of Trustees and Staff of the Church will share updates on their respective goals for the year. This meeting will be a time to celebrate shared accomplishments, and to outline emerging opportunities and next steps in various ministry areas. We'll have a current year budget update and we'll outline the budget and programming for the year to come.

We have so much to be proud of as a faith community, and big goals still in front of us. Join us, on February 1!

In faith, 
Rev. Justin Schroeder

It's Tea Time!

Dust off your fanciest hat and get ready to attend AUW's (Assocation of Universalist Women) annual Winter Tea!!

TIME: 2:00 - 4:00 pm

SIGN UP: We will be at the AUW table in the Social Hall on Sundays in January or sign-up online by clicking here.

VOLUNTEER: We need help with set-up, clean-up, bringing food, serving food and decorating tables in your own personalized theme.

DONATE: Make a contribution at the tea to Augsburg-Fairview Academy to support its academic program and to stock the Food Closet.

Joanne Engelking will be at the tea to take your donations.

Augsburg Fairview Academy is asking for:
Cash donations for a field trip in March to the University of Minnesota. This field trip will include a campus tour and meetings with counselors in the American Indian Studies program, the GLBTA Program and the African-American/African Studies program.

Food donations for the students to take home at the end of the school day. Shopping lists are available at the Hub on Sundays.

Weathering the Storm: 
A Futurist's Look at Our Climate Challenges

Thursday, February 19, 
11:00am-12:30pm, Chalice Room

Daytime Connections, along with First Universalist's Environmental Justice Group, MUUSJA, and MNIP&L, invite all who are interested to join us for an interactive session with author Michael Conley and First Universalist panelists Stan Sattinger and Joy Throm exploring the intertwined environmental and behavioral challenges that are on track to create a global crisis.

After the 11:00 presentation, join us for lunch at 12:30pm. 
A $5 donation for lunch is appreciated.

For more information, contact Hal Schroer at or 763-218-5167. 

To RSVP, contact Rev. Elaine Aron Tenbrink at: or 612-825-1701 x124.

Winter Feast for the Soul: 
A Retreat
Saturday, February 21 from 10:00am to 2:30pm

Join Rev. Jen Crow, Minister of Program Life, for this retreat focused on the enriching experience of claiming, re-imagining, and practicing the living tradition of Unitarian Universalist spirituality. We'll spend time together in large and small groups, bearing witness to the holy within and among us. 

To register, contact Rev. Elaine Aron Tenbrink at

Heart to Heart:
A Couples' Enrichment Weekend
April 10-12, at Holy Spirit Retreat Center


Heart to Heart is a program designed to enrich communication and deepen the intimacy in your relationship. The weekend emphasizes personal reflection and couple dialogue. Participants are not asked to share with the group, but rather, to dialogue privately with their partners. All couples committed to their partners and to their relationships are welcome-same-sex and opposite-sex, married and unmarried.

A team of three experienced volunteer couples lead our retreats. The cost is $385 and includes two nights lodging and meals Saturday and Sunday. Thanks to the generosity of previous participants, "scholarship" assistance is available. If the weekend cost is too high and would prevent your being able to attend, please contact us.


Space is limited to 15 couples, so please register soon.

Led by: Allen Desmond/Cheri Desmond May; Susan Hoffman/Nancy Gossard; Jane Rauenhorst/Brian Nofzinger

Supported by: Unity Church-Unitarian
For information: 

email: or call Cheri 612-750-6747.


Housing Advocacy:
First Universalist is Addressing 
Critical Housing Needs


By Joan Naymark


We can leverage First Universalist's Faithful Action energy and HTLB success by advocating for affordable housing and fighting homelessness in 2015. Housing and supportive services are critical needs in Minnesota. The Homes for All Coalition coordinates housing advocacy strategy for many organizations across Minnesota, including First Universalist partners Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity and Beacon. More than 600,000 households in Minnesota pay more than they can afford for housing, and more than 14,000 Minnesotans are homeless on a given day. Nearly half of the homeless are children or young adults. There are 3-4 times as many applications for affordable housing as there are housing units available. The 2015 Homes For All legislative agenda requests a $39 million increase in state funding for affordable housing and supportive services for the Minnesota Housing Finance Agency and Minnesota Department of Human Services. Read more by clicking here.

What can you do?

February 8 - Sign a Housing Postcard at First Universalist, available after both services. Join us in the social hall with your family, yourself, or your friends to have your photo taken as a Housing Hero and sign a postcard to your legislator. Twin Cities Habitat will deliver your postcard to your MN State Legislator in support of the housing funding bill. Last year, First Universalist signed 400 postcards. Let's beat that number in 2015. It's easy and fun. See you on Feb. 8!

March 3 - Twin Cities Habitat is offering a twist to their Annual event - "Habitat Off the Hill -MN 2015". Because the State Capitol is constructing new offices for the Senate, parking and opportunities to advocate at the Capitol building are severely limited. Twin Cities Habitat will host their annual event at their new Habitat headquarters on University Avenue in St. Paul. "Habitat Off the Hill" will be held on the evening of Tuesday March 3rd and will be a family friendly event. Stay tuned for more details but put a save-the-date on your calendar now!

March and April - Meet with your Legislator. A Twin Cities Habitat staff member will join you in a meeting with your legislator at your preferred date and time. You will address Affordable Housing, Homelessness, your experience as a member of First Universalist or with our partners Twin Cities Habitat, Augsburg Fairview Academy, or Simpson Housing. The personal stories of constituents are powerful in St. Paul.

Together, we will make a difference. Faithful Action is the work of our church - congregants of all ages are welcome to join us in advocacy.

Questions? Contact 612-305-7136 or  


"No Way Out But One" 
Documentary Viewing
February 15th, 2:00 PM, Cummins Room

By Maria Maki

The Documentary "No Way Out But One" is a dramatic true story of Holly Collins, a mother who decided to "run away" with her children who were being abused by their father as she had been. After a long journey she ended up in a refugee camp in Holland with the children. She was given political asylum after the Dutch court found her case violated International Laws of Justice for children. She came back to Minneapolis to respond to FBI charges of kidnapping once the children were adults. This story shows many of the terrible flaws of the dysfunctional Family Court System. 

We Are The Village

By Rich Jaeger,
Pledge Team Member

We are fulfilling a promise this year, a collective promise we make at child dedications when we-the whole congregation-pledge to partner with and support families in the religious upbringing of their children.

We are eliminating religious education fees next year, fees for a core ministry of the church that have been borne solely by families. Ours is a theology of inclusion with a love big enough to welcome every person, every family, which means not charging extra for any church ministries--Sunday morning worship, religious education for youth and children, Wellspring, Circle Groups, Daytime Connections.

We all share the financial responsibility for nurturing and supporting children and youth--our ministry of love and hope begins with them--and depends on our collective generosity. Depending on family size and pledging status, RE fees have ranged from $75 to $350 plus extra charges for overnights and the Coming of Age program. Scholarships were available, but we don't know how many simply didn't participate because it was too hard to ask for help. We are taking one more step in the direction of our mission by remembering our covenant with the children when we make our annual pledge this year.
Get To Know Your First U Staff!  
 Five Questions with Rev. Jen Crow

Every few weeks, we will be featuring a staff member in this section answering a few questions about their job (and a few fun questions, too!)

Tell us about your job. What do you do here at First Universalist Church?

What are some things that you enjoy about working at First U?

I can't answer question 1 without answering question 2 at the same time. One of the things I love most about my work at First Universalist is the variety. One moment I'll be supporting someone through a time of grief and the next I'll be marching for justice. Another moment I'll be leading a meeting of staff or lay leaders (or both) and the next I'll be reading and writing for an upcoming Sunday morning worship service. If you look at our organizational chart, I oversee and support the ministries of pastoral care, faithful action, membership, adult ministries, and ministry with children, youth and families - while also supporting the worship experience and meeting with Justin and the Board of Trustees. But if you go beyond the chart, my main job is enabling the ministry and mission of this church and its members. You all are simply amazing, and it is a joy to work with such a fun, dedicated, creative, quirky, and downright smart staff team.

What are a few of you favorite books?

Here are a few that I go back to all the time: Howard Thurman - Meditations of the Heart, Good Poems edited by Garrison Keillor, everything by Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau, Love in Action by Thich Nhat Hanh, Walking Toward Morning by Victoria Safford, How We are Called - a UU Meditation Anthology, A Hidden Wholeness by Parker Palmer, Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott, Here if You Need Me by Kate Braestrup - and most recently - Americanah - by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Where is your favorite place to be in the world?

The North Shore, or anywhere with my kids or my wife, Loretta, snuggled up.

What is the best piece of advice you've ever received?

"You are exactly enough, and you are never enough." It was meant as advice about ministry -- about leaving room for the other person and the holy to show up -- it was about humility and not beating myself up. It's advice I've hung on to for ministry, parenting, and life.

What would you do if you won the $10 million dollar lottery tomorrow?

Well, now that marriage equality has come to Florida, I can safely say that we'd move to Disney World and I'd become the on-site chaplain. The only disagreement in our house would be whether to live at the campground in an RV or in the homes that come with your own private boat to the parks. I could perform weddings, be there for crises, and ride Dumbo whenever I wanted -- all while bringing a racial justice lens to their view of history as an inside employee.


Free Arts Minnesota 

"Through My Lens" Photography Exhibit

January 11- February 15


"Through My Lens" is a  photography exhibit created by 65 teens from local social service agencies as a part of Free Arts Minnesota's summer 2014 Teaching Artist Series. This eight-week program, led by photographer Wing Young Huie in partnership with the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, used the medium of photography to help youth engage more deeply with their community. Using Huie's chalkboard interview method, teens interviewed and photographed their peers, mentors and members of the community. The program culminated in an exhibit of the teens' photographs at the MIA in August.


Free Arts Minnesota inspires hope and builds self-esteem for youth who have experienced poverty, homelessness, abuse and mental illness, using the healing powers of artistic expression and caring adult mentors. Their Weekly Mentorship and other educational art programs annually reach over 4,000 youth at homeless shelters, treatment centers, domestic violence shelters, and community centers across the Twin Cities metro.


For more information, visit