First Universalist Church
Weekly E-News: August 7, 2014


for our Time

a note from Rev. Justin

I hope many of you were able to join us at our annual Lake Harriet service; it was a beautiful day, with great music from John Jensen and the Universal Jazz Band, followed by a picnic and fellowship.

At the service I preached a short homily reflecting on the historical understandings of Universalism and Unitarianism; I also offered, based on the reflections of a colleague, a more contemporary interpretation of Universalism:

1.) That whatever else God may or may not be, God is love, and that even if we don't believe in God, we can still believe in love and know that love is bigger than us.

2.) No one person or tradition possesses the whole truth; each of us, and each tradition, holds a piece of what is true.


3.) People are somehow sacred, whether we call this inner divinity, or simply human dignity.


4.) We are bound together in one shared destiny. We all share the same fate.

These four tenets are the heart of Universalism; at First Universalist, grounded in these tenets, we articulate our purpose in this way:

In the Universalist spirit of love and hope, we give, receive, and grow more fully into Love's people, as we welcome, affirm, and protect the light in each human heart, act boldly in the world, and listen deeply to where Love is calling us next.

It is a great joy and privilege for me to serve a faith community that aspires to make these words - this mission - come alive in all that we do together. We're not trying to be perfect people together, we're trying to be Love's people together, and in the world. And these ideas - this message - clearly touched a number of guests I spoke with, who were with us last Sunday at Lake Harriet. I suspect some of these guests will visit us this Sunday. May we warmly welcome and reach out to each and every one of them!


I'll see you in church,


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

Welcome, Chelsea! 


Introducing the newest addition to our First Universalist staff team: administrative assistant, Chelsea Bertsch!  Chelsea has spent the majority of her life in the Twin Cities, having grown up on the East Side of St. Paul, and now resides in the Whittier neighborhood of Minneapolis. 

She has worked for a variety of customer service and office jobs including, but not limited to, a skincare and spa facility, an insurance brokerage, and the Nicollet Mall Macy's. She is ecstatic to now be imparting her skills and knowledge to First Universalist. In her free time, Chelsea enjoys dancing to pop hits of the 60s & 70s, singing and playing the ukulele, and serving as the auxiliary tambourine player for the Brian Just Band. Please join us in welcoming Chelsea to First Universalist!

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A Note From Rev. Justin
August 10 OOS & Bulletin
First Universalist Foundation News
New Administrative Assistant
First U Annual Family Campout
Chancel Update
Children's Choir Director
Seeking TV Donations
Interim Pianist
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:


Chancel Update
By Rev. Ruth

Over the past few days, several volunteers from our congregation have been busy painting and refurbishing our sanctuary. If you're like me, you may have a multiplicity of reactions to the new colors of our chancel wall: liking the clean look, wistful about the old colors, not sure, loving how the blue at the top of the chancel really pops and looks like the sky.

Here are a few things I'm keeping in mind as I look at the chancel:

This is the first step in beautifying our chancel. 

The colors the team chose are to provide a more neutral, inviting palette on which our visual arts team can create. 

The chancel colors will lend themselves to new artistic endeavors, such as fabric artists creating large banners that compel our imaginations and anchor our worshipful hearts. 

Other pieces that will come into play are a new pulpit, and chalice next year.

Thanks to AUW for their generosity in financially supporting this endeavor. Thanks to Bill McTeer, Weld Ransom, Kristen Mengelkoch, Averil Bach,and Meredith Sims for their expertise. Thanks to all the painters! And thanks to First Universalist Church for its sense of adventure.

See you on Sunday!
Rev. Ruth MacKenzie

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.


Seeking TV Donations!

If you're upgrading your television, please consider donating your old TV to church! We are seeking TV monitors for use in our classrooms; they will be mounted and equipped with inexpensive Roku devices so classes can easily access online resources. Your generosity will enable us to incorporate more music and short videos that inspire deeper exploration of Religious Education lessons. 
In order to meet our needs, donated TVs must be flat screens with integrated speakers and an HDMI input. If you have it, mounting hardware is appreciated, too. Please deliver your donation to the church office, and leave your name and address for Brad so he can provide a letter documenting receipt for use in tax preparation. Thank you!

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.

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


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