First Universalist Church
Weekly E-News: September 11, 2014

Joining a Circle: 

Letting Your Soul Catch Up With Your Body


by Rev. Justin Schroeder


In his book, Sabbath, Wayne Muller writes, "The story is told of a South American tribe that went on a long march, day after day, when all of a sudden they would stop walking, sit down to rest for a while, and then make camp for a couple of days before going any further. They explained that they needed the time of rest so that their souls could catch up with them."


What a powerful image: stopping to rest, so that your soul can catch up with you. Resting, so that your head, heart, and soul can arrive in the same place, at the same time, in some kind of alignment.


Whether or not you believe in a "soul," surely we all yearn for moments when we can slow down enough to tenderly and gently welcome home all of who we are, all of what we're carrying. Surely we yearn for those moments of stillness, where our deepest wisdom and knowing emerge, where we can discern the movement of Love in our lives.  


At First Universalist, through our "Circles," we have created dozens and dozens of such spaces to slow down and listen deeply.


Circles are groups of 8-10 committed participants who come together with a trained leader. These groups are grounded in the spiritual practices of deep listening and open-hearted reflection. Each gathering offers an opportunity for deeper connection: connecting with our own inner truth, connecting with other people, and connecting with something greater than ourselves.

We live in a time when we have millions of data points in our life, all clamoring for our attention. We are in the midst of an information overload, that taxes our bodies and spirits.  


The practice of sitting in a Circle, of intentionally slowing down, gives us time to see ourselves and our lives more clearly. Sitting in a Circle can awaken our hearts in ways we scarcely can imagine, as the non-essentials fall away, and the information that really matters, begins to emerge. 


Circles fill up fast; take a look at what we're offering 
and sign up by September 21st. If you have questions, or aren't sure what Circle is right for you, please talk with Rev. Elaine Aron Tenbrink, our Minister of Membership and Adult Ministries, at

This fall, let your soul catch up with you body; give yourself the gift of participating in one of our Circles. 


I'll see you in church,



September 14 Order of Service and Bulletin
To view the September 14 Order of Service and Bulletin online, click below. 
Worship Schedule: two services at 9:30 and 11:15 AM
Staff Transitions: A Season of Hellos and Goodbyes
By Rev. Justin Schroeder

This Sunday, September 14, after both services, we'll recognize and celebrate the work of Abe Levine, our Youth Ministries Coordinator, and of Emily Christie, our Religious Education Program Assistant. Both Emily and Abe are leaving First Universalist as they move on to other opportunities and the next chapters in their lives. We're so grateful for their contributions and generous spirits! Please stop by the Social Hall this Sunday to express your gratitude to Abe and Emily.

I'm pleased to announce that the portfolio of the Rev. Ruth MacKenzie is expanding, and she will be leading our Coming of Age Program and working closely with our Sr. High Youth as they plan Youth Sunday. Ruth's new title, "Minister of Worship Arts and Coming of Age Program," reflects these changes. Please join me in extending a warm welcome to Paula Goldade, who will be with us for one year, filling in for Emily as the Program Assistant to the Young Children's Programs and Childcare. Finally, we welcome Emma Paskewitz as our Senior High Youth Group Class Coordinator,  and Jeremy Korpi as our Program Assistant to the Coming of Age Program.  Welcome, Paula, Emma, and Jeremy!


A Note From The Pledge Team


This year's Pledge Team has started meeting and planning for the next Pledge Drive.  No worries. We're not asking for money yet.  Last year David Potyondy chaired our team and did amazing work getting us organized and creating a solid foundation for us this year. Zack Steven has joined the Pledge Team this year as David has completed his term.  This year I don't anticipate any major changes to the Pledge Drive. We'll be updating the web site and try to keep you up to date on any news in these E-Blasts.  Thank you for your commitment and generosity to First Universalist.

Richard Jaeger
Pledge Team Chair
Sign Up Sunday: 
Get Involved!

Next Sunday, September 21 is Sign Up Sunday, an opportunity to learn more about the groups and committees at First Universalist.  Information, friendly conversation, and sign up sheets will be available in the social hall after both services.  With a variety of opportunities ranging from knitting, to delivering meals, to circle suppers, you will find great ways to get connected socially and contribute to the life of this vibrant community. 

Questions? Please contact Sandy DiNanni, Membership Support Staff, at or 612-825-1701.


Northern Skies Women's Ritual Circle


Self-identified women who are interested in earth-based and pagan spirituality are welcome to attend the upcoming open rituals of the Under Northern Skies Women's Ritual Circle. Our circle is open to newcomers on Monday, September 8 in Classroom 105 (Full Moon in Pisces); on Tuesday, September 23 in the Cummins Room (New Moon in Libra); on Wednesday, September 8 in Classroom 105 (Full Moon in Aries); and on Thursday, September 23 in the Cummins Room (New Moon in Scorpio). There will be a commitment ritual on Thursday, November 6 (Full Moon in Taurus), after which the circle will close to new members until next fall. Ritual will begin promptly at 7:30 p.m. Contact Beth at: for more information.

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A Note From Rev. Justin
September 14 OOS & Bulletin
Staff Transitions
A Note From The Pledge Team
Sign-Up Sunday
Women's Ritual Circle
Adult Ministries at First U
2014-2015 Annual Events
New: 'The Weekly Liberal'
Pastoral Care

Food for the Soul: 
Adult Ministries at First Universalist Church


This year, we're offering something for everyone through our adult programming! Check out these opportunities to nourish your soul and get connected.

 Circles: Our Circles are groups of 8-10 committed participants who come together with a trained leader to nurture spiritual growth in community. These groups are grounded in the spiritual practices of deep listening and open-hearted reflection. Click here to learn more. Registration opens on Sunday and runs through September 21.


 Community Circles offer an opportunity to reflect more deeply on our Sunday services and monthly worship themes. 

Spiritual Deepening Circles gather for in-depth study of a particular topic or spiritual practice, such as The New Jim Crow: A Reading Circle, Writing Your Legacy Letter, and Mostly Silence Meditation.

Newcomer Circles offer an opportunity to learn more about our liberal faith tradition and connect with others who are getting to know First Universalist.  

Care Circles offer participants support and encouragement during a particularly challenging period of their lives. 


 Racial JusticeLearn about race, racism and whiteness and turn your heart toward compassion and justice through our film discussions and workshops. More information to come soon!


 Daytime ConnectionsDaytime Connections is a gathering of people in their second half of life.  We meet on the Third Thursday of the month for fellowship, reflection, inspiration...and fun!  Our program runs from 11:00-12:30pm, followed by lunch together. 


 Our Whole Lives: Sexuality Education For Young Adults

Our Whole Lives for Young Adults is a values-based exploration of sexuality.  We'll have some fun, grow in depth, and learn from each other around tough, everyday issues.


 Unitarian Universalist History Series: Learn about Universalism and its relevance in our time though a conversation with the Rev. John Cummins, Minister Emeritus, and our senior minister, the Rev. Justin Schroeder.  


 The Pathway to Membership: Feeling like First Universalist is your spiritual home?  Click here to take the next step towards joining this community grounded in love and hope.


For more information, contact Rev. Elaine Aron Tenbrink, Minister of Membership and Adult Ministries, at: or 612-825-1701 x124.


2014-2015 Annual Events and Fall Worship Schedule


The 2014-2015 Annual Events and Fall Worship Schedule is now available! Paper copies will be on hand during services this Sunday, and can also be found at the front desk in the church office.  The online PDF version can be viewed by clicking here.
NEW: The 'Weekly Liberal'


Exciting changes are on the horizon for The Liberal!  Over the past few months, while The Liberal was on its summer vacation, staff were given the opportunity to research and analyze the various publications and ways in which we communicate with one another at First Universalist Church.  Our new website, new layout of the Sunday order of service & bulletin, and new design of the weekly e-news are all direct results of congregant and staff ideas and feedback, and throughout this process, we have learned some things about The Liberal as well.


We know that producing a monthly newsletter requires considerable resources-of staff and volunteer time, costs associated with mailing and production, and paper consumption.  In reevaluating and assessing these points, we've also discovered that a monthly newsletter is perhaps not the most effective way of communicating timely and relevant information with our church community.  We also know that there are perhaps better ways for us to strengthen our commitment as a certified Green Sanctuary, via more environmentally friendly publication alternatives. 


Taking all of these things into consideration, the staff at First Universalist are excited to announce the launch of The Weekly Liberal, an electronic, multi-media publication that will combine the efforts and content of the current Weekly E-News and the 'old' Liberal.  This publication will include content from staff, congregants, and the greater church community, in addition to photos, videos, podcasts, and other interactive formats.  While we are hoping to cut back considerably on paper consumption and mailing costs, print versions for members who don't have internet access will be available via a new opt-in mailing list (details to come!), and copies will also be on hand during Sunday services.


While we are still sorting out the details of this new initiative, we wanted to share this exciting news with you now, in anticipation of the changes that are on the horizon.  We will be sure to keep you updated every step of the way!  It is our hope that The Weekly Liberal will launch the first week of October; in the meantime, should you have any questions or thoughts to share, feel free to email Communications Manager Heidi Johnson at:


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. 


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


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