First Universalist Church
Weekly E-News: August 14, 2014

Love Reaches Out

a note from Rev. Justin

Robin Williams and Mike Brown died two days apart.  Robin Williams was 63 and took his own life on August 11. Michael Brown was 18 and was shot to death by police officers in Ferguson, Missouri, on August 9th. Both deaths break my heart. I imagine the pain and suffering that Williams must have lived with. I know that many of us live and struggle with such pain and suffering, and despite apparent successes, or the happy faces we wear, inside we ache or are numb.

And when I see pictures of a once living, smiling Michael Brown, I can't help but think of a once living, smiling Trayvon Martin. While all of the details are not yet clear, what is clear is that once again, a young, unarmed black man has been shot. I grieve for everyone involved, including the police office who pulled the trigger. I can only begin to imagine the grief and anger that Brown's family and the Ferguson community feel. Despite strides we've made around racial equality in this country, the fact remains that much of this country was build upon the bodies of black men, women, and children, as well as the resources and land of Native Peoples. We are still living with the aftermath of centuries of slavery and violence against people of color.  We are still living with a racial narrative that says black men are dangerous and violent, their lives worth less than white lives.

Depression and despair are real. Racism, and the daily verbal, emotional, and physical violence against people of color, is real, as well. Our broken hearts, anger, suffering, and despair, are real. So when we are suffering, let us remember that we need not suffer or struggle alone. If you are carrying a great sadness about Williams, Brown, or anything else, please reach out to me, or Rev. Jen, Rev. Elaine, or Rev. Ruth.

In this faith community, we have promised (covenanted) to dwell together in peace, to seek the truth in love, and to help one another.  We can't bring back Williams or Brown, but we can reach out to one another; we can strengthen our commitment to work for a racially just world; we can break the silence around depression and mental illness. Even with broken hearts, we can reach out to one another in love. May it be so.


I'll see you in church,


August 17th Order of Service and Bulletin
To view the August 17 Order of Service and Bulletin online, click below. 
Summer Worship Schedule, one service at 10:00AM.


Office/Front Desk Volunteer Opportunity! 


The front desk at First Universalist Church needs more cheerful volunteers to join our reception team. The first impression many visitors get of our church is from the smiling faces they see when they walk into our office.


We're looking for friendly and reliable folks who want to get more involved in our community. Hours and time commitments are flexible and can be as much as a few shifts per week or as little as one Sunday a month.


Represent First Universalist by greeting visitors, answering phones, monitoring doors and helping out with projects, all while spending time in a vibrant and welcoming office environment.


If you are interested in volunteering or learning more, please contact Chelsea Bertsch, Administrative Assistant, at 612-825-1701 or at 

Announcement from First Universalist Foundation


The First Universalist Foundation Board is thrilled to announce that for their Fall Grant Cycle, they will once again be accepting nominations from the congregation and those meeting "most" of their criteria will be invited to apply for a small grant via a Letter of Interest.

Mission Statement:
First Universalist Foundation acts as a catalyst for social change by promoting and supporting the development of emerging leaders, youth, young adults, and/or disenfranchised communities through monetary grants to nonprofits working in those communities.

To inquire or make a submission, please e-mail:

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A Note From Rev. Justin
August 17 OOS & Bulletin
Office Volunteer Opportunity
First Universalist Foundation News
Backpack Blessing Aug 24
Backpacks for AFA Students
First U Annual Family Campout
Interim Pianist
Children's Choir Director
"Backpack Blessing" on Sunday, Aug. 24th


Join us for a special multigenerational "Backpack Blessing" and worship on Sunday, August 24 at 10am. The service will offer children, youth, and adults of all ages the opportunity to reflect upon how we might carry the love of our church community and the tools of our faith with us as we walk through our days. As we approach a new school year -- and a new church year -- let's affirm the boundless worth of each and every person, and encourage one another to seek a path of integrity and compassion. 

Children and youth are encouraged to wear their school backpacks to church, so that we can include them in the Backpack Blessing ritual. If you are able, please bring a backpack to donate (see more information about what kinds of backpacks are needed below). If your student is in need of a backpack, please email: so we can set one aside for you.


Backpacks For Augsburg Fairview Academy Students


New or gently used backpacks are needed for Augsburg Fairview Academy (AFA) high school students.  Students prefer black or neutral colors (and want to avoid gang colors like bright red, blue and green).  Bring your donations to the HUB on Sundays.


First Universalist Church supports AFA  as part of our racial justice and housing ministry.  We provide supplies for a Food and Clothing Closet as well as tutors and classroom assistants.  In addition, AFA received a grant from the First Universalist Church Foundation to develop student leadership.  Food donations will begin in September, and the tutoring will begin in October.  More information on how to get involved will be available in September.


First Universalist Church Annual Family Campout


Labor Day Weekend
Saturday, Aug 30 - 

Monday, Sep 1

Our 3rd Annual Family Campout is a great way to start the church year! All families with children and youth enrolled in Religious Education at First Universalist are welcome.

Just 20-30 minutes from the cities, we spend three days and two nights tent camping, playing, and relaxing together in the beautiful, secluded woods of the  Camp Sacajawea Retreat Center.

More info and registration at:



Interim Pianist/Accompanist 


Starting in September, Dr. Jerrod Wendland will serve as our worship pianist and our choir accompanist. This is an interim position. Starting in August, Rev. Ruth and Dr. Randy Buikema will be searching for our permanent Church Pianist/Accompanist, the position to be filled by Jan. 1, 2014. At the beginning of the church year, listening sessions will be held to gather hopes and dreams for our worship life, and this important position of Church Pianist/Accompanist. 

Please keep an eye out for the listening sessions, and help us welcome Jerrod into our midst when you see him.

Children's Choir Director

In August, a small group of parents, and Rev. Ruth will be interviewing applicants for our Children's Choir Director, a position posted in June. An audition, with choir members will be held mid, to late August and our new Children's Choir Director will begin Sept 1, 2014. We are very excited about our applicants so far, and look forward to children's voices ringing out in our worship services once again.


First Universalist Church
3400 Dupont Ave South
Minneapolis, Minnesota, 55408


In the Universalist spirit of love and hope, we give, receive, and grow