First Universalist Church
Weekly E-News: September 4, 2014

A Note From Rev. Justin Schroeder


It's early Tuesday morning, September 2nd, as I write this. There's a hint of fall in the air. It's the season of new beginnings, as many children and youth return to school. And at church, too, we roll into a new season of our lives together, recommitting to giving, receiving, and growing together in the ways of love.  

Giving away the majority of our Sunday offering plate is one of the ways that our love reaches out, and this is really a "crowd sourced" project. If you have an idea for an organization that might receive our offering, please submit that to the Community Investment Team - a group of church members who review and make recommendations to the Worship Team about who receives the Sunday morning offering plate. You can submit a nomination here.  Over the past five years, we've given away over $200,000 to local non-profits and organizations. This ministry of generosity, of investing in our community, has become a central part of who we are.

Our racial justice commitment is a central part of who we are, as well. We continue to educate ourselves about race, racism, and whiteness. We are learning to see more and more clearly how our faith calls us to become an institution committed to racial justice. Through classes, workshops, and sermons, we'll continue this work this year. In the meantime, if you're looking for books to read, consider The Color of Water, by James McBride, Americanah, by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (she has a great Ted Talk, too) or Tim Wise's book, White Like Me, and join the conversation on about White Like Me on September 14th. 

Some of you know that I'll be returning to school this fall. Not as a student, but as a teacher. I'll be representing First Universalist at United Theological Seminary, in New Brighton, as the Rev. Victoria Safford and I will be teaching a preaching class for Unitarian Universalist students.


It will be a full, rich year together and I'm looking forward to seeing many of you at our Water Communion service this Sunday, at 9:30 and 11:15. Please bring water from a sacred or special place as we gather and merge the waters that sustain and connect us all.


I'll see you in church,



P.S. I strongly encourage you to
sign up for a Community Circle, a Spiritual Deepening Circle, or Newcomers Circle.  Sign up begins this Sunday, September 7th, and many of the groups fill up fast. For more information about Circles, please see Rev. Elaine Aron Tenbrink's piece in this week's E-news. 


September 7 Order of Service and Bulletin
To view the September 7 Order of Service and Bulletin online, click below. 
Worship Schedule: we now go back to TWO services: 9:30 and 11:15 AM

Water Communion

Water Communion Sunday is a worship service of reunion and recommitment. One of the meanings for the word communion is: united in a common fellowship. On Water Communion Sunday, members of First Universalist Church embody our unity and recommitment as Love's people. We bring a small sample of water from our journeys near, or far during the year, and merge them together in a single body of water. We do this to celebrate our unity as a faith community and remember that we are held in an ocean of love.

Water Communion is an inter-generational service. We will sing, listen to Ann Reed, make a thunderstorm with our hands and feet, and merge the waters in a beautiful dance presented by our youth and young adults.

Just bring a small vial of water from your backyard, or from your travels, to merge with other waters from around the globe. It's a great day. Don't miss it!  

'Share the Bounty' is THIS Sunday


Every fall we collect fresh garden vegetables to be delivered to Joyce Food Shelf.  If you are a gardener you no doubt have some surplus veggies to share....if you aren't a gardener, check out some of some of the neighborhood farmers' markets to obtain your contribution. 

We will be collecting fresh  vegetables on Sunday, September 7th.  

Donation baskets will be on the front steps of the church.


Last year we collected over 200 pounds of fresh vegetables......let's see if we can surpass that amount this year.  We appreciate everybody's support of this community outreach project.

Habitat for Humanity Partnership Leadership Changes

What an amazing couple of years we have had working with Habitat for Humanity! What began as a work day and a donation grew into an annual work week commitment and most recently, the House that Love Built. This past year, we raised $115,000 to become the primary financial sponsor of a house with Habitat for Humanity, and many of you were on-site day after day this summer making that dream a reality. This fall, a family will move into the House that Love Built on Morgan Avenue - and as they do, Chuck Coskran and Tom Saterstrom, our fearless Habitat partnership leaders, will step down from their roles. It is with deep gratitude for their vision and their dedication that we thank them as they move on to other things. 

We are also happy to report that the leadership of our partnership with Habitat for Humanity will pass into strong and capable hands. Geoff Lennox will take on a leadership role in our partnership, coordinating volunteers for our work days. A member of the House that Love Built committee, a regular Habitat volunteer, and the coordinator of our meals and volunteers at Simpson Shelter, Geoff is passionate about affordable housing and alleviating homelessness in our community. We are also thrilled that Joan Naymark will continue on as our advocacy coordinator in our partnership with Habitat for Humanity. Joan serves as an experienced neighborhood family partner with Habitat, and will be partnering with the family that moves into the House that Love Built. Joan will also continue to keep us informed and organized as we advocate for affordable housing in our community. With their vision and leadership, who knows what we will do next?


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.

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A Note From Rev. Justin
September 7 OOS & Bulletin
Water Communion Sept 7
Share the Bounty
New Habitat Partnership Leadership
2014-2015 Annual Events
Pastoral Care
Adult Ministries at First U
New: 'The Weekly Liberal'
Women's Ritual Circle

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. 


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.


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:


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.

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


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