First Universalist Church
October 2, 2014
Issue No. 1, Volume 1
In This Issue
The Weekly Liberal

We are excited to introduce to you The Weekly Liberal, our new publication hybrid combining the best features of the 'old' Weekly E-News and Liberal monthly newsletter!

The Weekly Liberal is the result of a variety of congregant feedback and staff research, in the hopes of bringing you relevant, informative, and inspiring content in a timely and vibrant format.  By combining these two former publications and creating a new, weekly digital newsletter, we save on paper consumption, staff and volunteer resources, and mailing costs, all while providing a weekly news and worship source that is also synced up with our other church publications.  If you have received this email in error, and do not wish to be on the mailing list for The Weekly Liberal, simply unsubscribe by clicking on the 'SafeUnsubscribe' link near the bottom of this email.

Any questions, comments, or feedback can be directed to Communications Manager Heidi Johnson at:
Sunday Worship for October 5th, 2014

Rev. Ruth MacKenzie will be preaching "In the Belly of the Whale" at both services.  To view the Order of Service & Bulletin online, click here.
Service is at 9:30 and 11:15 AM. The church office is open from 8:00 AM--1:00 PM on Sundays.

Parking information, maps, and directions to First Universalist can be found by clicking here.
Did You Miss Last Sunday's Service?
We have podcasts available online of all of our sermons!  Here is a snapshot from Rev. Justin's sermon this past Sunday, I Got What I Wanted...Now What?! 

"When the illusions fade, when the enchantments melt away, then the real relationships - with ourselves, with others, with God - than these relationships can begin, and we can build a life with what is, rather than a life of fantasy enchantment."

To listen to Rev. Justin's September 28th sermon in its entirety, click here!

October Worship Theme:
"Keeping it Real"

Every so often we need to clean out the spiritual closet. The stack of games we've played on ourselves or others have fallen on our heads just one too many times. It's time to make an accurate assessment of our disarray and discontent, keep what we need, and discard what we don't. In this way, we make room for the whole and the holy in our lives. This month we will be talking about the importance of taking a spiritual inventory and keeping it real.

Resources from Rev. Ruth MacKenzie:

By Anand Giridharadas 

The True American tells the story of Raisuddin Bhuiyan, a Bangladesh Air Force officer who dreams of immigrating to America and working in technology. But days after 9/11, an avowed "American terrorist" named Mark Stroman, seeking revenge, walks into the Dallas minimart where Bhuiyan has found temporary work and shoots him, maiming and nearly killing him. The True American traces the making of these two men and follows them as they rebuild shattered lives-one striving on Death Row to become a better man, the other to heal and pull himself up from the lowest rung on the ladder of an unfamiliar country.

By Rev. Erik Walker Wikstrom

Drawing from the wisdom of the world's religions, Simply Pray offers us an easy-to-use modern prayer practice free from any particular theological orientation.Rev. Wikstrom identifies and defines the four major types of prayer that are practiced by all the world's major religions:

* "Naming" the many ways in which the holy is present in daily life and the wider world

* "Knowing" the self introspectively-both in its strengths and weaknesses

* "Listening" to the "voice of quiet stillness" that resides in each individual

* "Loving" by reaching out to the world

All of these four kinds of prayer are ways in which we keep it real.

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.

Augsburg Fairview Academy
This year marks the third year of our First Universalist Church support and partnership with Augsburg Fairview Academy (AFA) as part of our racial justice and housing ministry. AFA is a public charter school which provides opportunity for students who have not been successful in the public school system to complete high school and prepare for college or other post-secondary education. The 175+ students are primarily African American, Native American, and Somali. Over 60% are homeless and others are marginally housed.
First Universalist provides staff and supplies for the Hope Food and Clothing Closets as well as academic assistants in the classroom. Our congregants generously donated 48 backpacks for students at the start of this school year.

Donations for the Hope Food Closet can be brought to the Hub on Sundays.  Pick up a "shopping list" at the Hub.  Briefly,  we need snacks like granola bars and easy to prepare foods like single serving microwavable soups, mac and cheese, stews, and other meals. Toiletries needed include toothpaste and toothbrushes, deodorant, and tampons (we have plenty of travel size shampoo, conditioner, lotion and soap).
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?

Click here to receive The Weekly Liberal from First Universalist Church in your inbox every Thursday!

2014-15 Annual Events

Our 2014-2015 schedule of Annual Events is available online!  The 2014 Fall worship schedule is also 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.
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:  
Improving Our Communications
By Rev. Justin Schroeder, Senior Minister

Welcome to the new Weekly Liberal!  We hope this weekly publication keeps you informed and inspired by the work we do together.  Here you will learn more about our ministry efforts, connect with sermon resources, and stay up-to-date with volunteer opportunities. Additionally, we will be highlighting various staff and church members in the coming weeks so we can learn more about each other.

It was so wonderful to celebrate my five year anniversary with you all this past Sunday.  I geared the sermon towards this occasion, and you can listen to it here (sermon podcasts are made available every Wednesday following the Sunday service).  After five years of keeping it a secret, the video showing how I prepare for sermons has found its way online--you can check it out below.

I hope that this new channel of communication--and the articles, videos, links and information held within it--will prove to be an important resource for everyone.  I have been working closely with Communications Manager Heidi Johnson on refining and improving our church communications, and The Weekly Liberal is a direct result of this careful planning and research.  We hope you enjoy this first edition!

I'll see you in church,
Rev. Justin prepares for sermons
Get To Know Your First U Staff!  
 Five Questions with Brad Schmidt

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

As the Assistant Finance Administrator I assist the director of operations with the church's daily bookkeeping, accounts payable, reporting, and other miscellaneous accounting needs. I handle everything from the weekly deposit preparation to being a checkout clerk for the church's annual auction. 

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

There are many things that I enjoy about working at First Universalist Church but one thing I appreciate is the small staff structure that allows me the opportunity to wear multiple hats within my profession. I came to First Universalist Church from a large corporate structure that provided little to no variety in my daily assignments which made it challenging to be excited about coming into work each day. As I referenced earlier, It's refreshing to know that each and every day at First Universalist Church with be different from the day before.

If you were stranded on a deserted island and could only bring two things with you, what would they be, and why?

If I were stranded on a deserted island the first item I would bring would be a zero gravity chair, a necessary item to take in the evening sunsets as well as a place to sleep. The second item I would bring would be my golf clubs. Assuming the island is big enough, I'm sure there's a way I could figure out how to play 18 each day.

What are your top three favorite movies?

Almost Famous, Top Gun, Wall-e

And lastly, If you could have any superpower, what would it be?

Superhuman Strength

Upcoming Events


Saturday, October 11

Universalist History with Rev. Justin Schroeder, 10:00 AM, 

Cummins Room 

Sunday, October 12

Racial Justice as a Spiritual Imperative, 1:00 PM, Cummins Room

Tuesday, October 14

Pathway to Membership, 6:30 PM, Cummins Room

Thursday, October 16

Board of Trustees Meeting, 6:30 PM, Cummins Room


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


My Church: 
A Religious Education Snapshot
By Lauren Wyeth, Director of Children, Youth, & Family Ministries

While adults worship in the sanctuary each week, children and youth fill our Religious Education wing. Throughout the year, we'll provide periodic snapshots from our classrooms in this ongoing series, titled My Church. In this issue, we look at Sunday morning through the eyes of a 2nd grader.

In 2nd grade, our kids make a big leap, as they begin attending weekly Children's Chapel with the 3rd-5th graders. The 15 minute chapel in the Chalice Room includes all the elements of the service in the sanctuary, scaled down for elementary age kids. Second graders love rituals, and especially enjoy adding their coins and dollars to the offering basket as we sing Magic Penny, and dropping a stone in the "water of friendship and community" when their joys and concerns are read. Their favorite homilies are humorous and have a twist or surprise ending.

 As Children's Chapel ends, 2nd graders head to their classroom on the upper level with the other "big kids." Their Moral Tales & Stories of Justice curriculum draws them into the circle by engaging their hearts, minds and bodies. If the tale is a quiet one, we might sip tea together as we listen and wonder. If it's a more energetic story, we might jump around and act it out with our bodies. Each week adds another concept to the large "moral compass" hanging in our classroom. We talk about orienting ourselves with these directions to guide us in acting for goodness and justice each day. So far, our compass includes the words interdependence, inner voice, faith, and empathy.

Second graders love the games and crafts tied to the lesson theme, from stringing prayer bead necklaces to playing cooperative musical hoops (unlike musical chairs, we win this game by squeezing everyone into the circle!). Over the course of many Sundays, with the guidance of adult volunteers, the group makes memories, opens up, and gels into a real religious community.

Surprised parents often report that their kids draw inspiration from their lessons when times get tough, and take pride in teaching other family members what they've learned in their class. It's easy to underestimate a 2nd grader, but beneath the wiggly exterior we see kind hearts and keen minds grappling with big questions. Church seeks to provide them what their spirits need most at this age: hope and a sense of belonging; wisdom and guidance for becoming a person committed to justice and compassion; and the company of a multigenerational community of people who welcome, affirm and protect them as they grow.


If you'd like to join us for the journey, we are still seeking volunteers to help in a classroom alongside the lead teacher once a month. Come on in - we've been waiting for you! Email

Investing in Our Community: 
Nominations Needed

By Gil Wahl, member of the Community Investment Team


First Universalist Church gives away a sizable chunk of our Sunday offerings to non-profit organizations that do community based work. We believe that "We all do better when we all do better" (Paul Wellstone). This is a value we hold high, and we put our money where our mouth is. Since 2010, we have given money to local, statewide, national, and international organizations that do work that we, as a congregation, value! We are working to make a difference!

We divide our Sunday collections into three categories of recipients:

1. Faith In Action Partners and Allies
2. Racial Justice Organizations
3. Organizations responding to a timely and critical problem

To continue funding important social justice work, the Community Investment Team needs your help. If you know of an organization that is doing love's work in the world, please make them a recipient nominee.
It's easy! Click here to fill out the form and send.  It really can be that easy to make a difference in the world! 


We want to hear from you!

The Community Investment Team 

(Umesh Berry, Andrea Brown, Ed Cerier, Gil Wahl)

Universalism For Our Time: 
What Will Save Us?

A Conversation With Rev. Justin Schroeder, Senior Minister

Saturday, October 11, 2014 at 10:00 AM, 
Cummins Room 

Universalism is a tradition with roots that go back centuries: from the 3rd century Greek philosopher Origen, to the Welshman John Relly in the 18th century, to the early years of the city of Minneapolis, our faith has responded to the prevailing questions of the day. What gifts and challenges does Universalism bring to the conundrums of modern living? Join the Rev. Justin Schroeder, Senior Minister, for a lively discussion of our life-giving faith.

Join The Pastoral Care Team!
Who We Are

The Pastoral Care Team is a group of First Universalist Church congregants, led by the Rev. Jen Crow, who provide confidential pastoral care to friends and members of our congregation in need of support. We visit people at homes, hospitals, and hospice or at the corner coffee shop. 
While our ministers will continue to be with members of the congregation in crisis situations; this team will be able to provide continuing care to our growing community and enhance the practical support offered by our Congregational Care team. Our goal is to offer compassionate presence to our fellow congregants in the knowledge that this too is a spiritual practice.

How to Access Support

If you are in need of a Pastoral Care team visit, please contact Rev. Jen Crow at

How to Join the Team

If you would like to join the Pastoral Care Team we'd love to hear from you. Team members will agree to serve for a two-year term, attend a day long training session, and attend monthly meetings led by Rev. Jen Crow. On boarding of new Pastoral Care Team members will occur in January of 2015. For a description of the job please click here. To apply, click here for an application. Applications are due by December 1st, 2014.

For more information, please contact Andrea Johnson, Pastoral Care Team coordinator at

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
Did You Know?

By Heidi Johnson, Communications Manager


Did you know that 'Cycle of Life' is available online to view?  We upload it every Friday to our website.  This page is password protected, so you need to know the password to see it.  Follow the instructions below:



Password: member


Cycle of Life is sponsored by the Congregational Care Council.

News From The UUA: Highlights From The Unitarian Universalist Association


Copyright: UUA

Restored to Sanity: Essays on the Twelve Steps by Unitarian Universalists, is the newest release from Skinner House Books, and the first to explore the intersection of UUism and Twelve-Step recovery programs. In this book, each Step is explored with two heartfelt essays, plus a meditation or prayer, making it ideal for small groups to read and discuss, or for individual reflection. Purchase your copy today from your UUA Bookstore by clicking here.

First Universalist Church
3400 Dupont Avenue South
Minneapolis, MN, 55408