First Universalist Church
December 4, 2014
Issue No. 10, Volume 1
In This Issue
Sunday Worship for December 7, 2014

Senior Minister Rev. Justin Schroeder will be preaching "Slow Church" at both services. To view the Order of Service 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.


Guest Musician Dick Hensold


Dick Hensold is an American folk musician based in the state of Minnesota. An active promoter of bagpipes, he plays Northumbrian smallpipes, Swedish pipes (s�ckpipa), medieval great-pipes, reel pipes, Montgomery smallpipes, Great Highland bagpipes, recorder, seljefloyte, low whistleand string bass. He played the Edinburgh Folk Festival in 1994, the Lowland and Border Pipers' Society Collogue (Peebles, Scotland) in 1997, and has taught Northumbrian smallpipes at workshops in the United States, Canada, and Northumberland.



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. Jen Crow's sermon this past Sunday, 
"The More We Give Thanks":

"It won't be long and the Christmas pageant will be here and many of you will be in it--Mary and Joseph will be walking down that aisle worried and tired, expecting a child any moment, asking us, do you have any room--is there room for us? When this happens as it does every year, I want you to imagine that it isn't a story from long long ago--but something that is happening right now, in your community, in your neighborhood, in this day and time. Every day, people who are tired and lost are asking--do you have any room? Do you have room in your heart? Do you have room in your holidays--for one more neighbor, stranger, friend? Let this be a place where our answer is always yes."

To listen to Rev. Jen's sermon in its entirety, click here.

December Worship Theme:

"Slow Church"

In our commodified society, we are told over and over again that what we own is what we're worth, that "buying" some thing will bring happiness. In the ancient world, a form of "buying" meant buying back life, delivering a life from slavery based on the payment of a price by the redeemer. This form of buying was called redemption.  This month we will focus our attention on buying back our lives, of practicing redemption for our own lives and others. The first step in this exchange is slowing down. We will practice mindfulness, listening, and opening to the spirit. 


We will practice slow church.

Worship Resources

Resource list compiled and reviewed by Rev. Ruth MacKenzie

Braiding Sweetgrass:


By Robin Wall Kimmerer


Drawing on her life as an indigenous scientist, a mother, and a woman, Kimmerer shows how other living beings--asters and goldenrod, strawberries and squash, salamanders, algae, and sweetgrass--offer us gifts and lessons, even if we've forgotten how to hear their voices. In a rich braid of reflections that range from the creation of Turtle Island to the forces that threaten its flourishing today, she circles toward a central argument: that the awakening of a wider ecological consciousness requires the acknowledgement and celebration of our reciprocal relationship with the rest of the living world. For only when we hear the languages of other beings will we be capable of understanding the generosity of the earth, and learn to give our own gifts in return. This is a book about slowing down, listening, and developing a posture of gratitude.


Psalms for Praying: 
An invitation to Wholeness

By Nan C Merrill


Every commentary on the Book of Psalms has had to face the issue that many of these prayers commemorate and celebrate wrath and vengeance. What is needed is not ingenious exegetical rationalization of ancient texts, but the kind of transformation into a work of piety and art that is provided here.Addressed are the needs of a world seeking to counter individual and societal injustices by a global peace born of personal peace through prayer and practice. In short, here is the Book of Psalms recast in the light of the continuing revelation and evolution of the authentic religious spirit of the scriptures.


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.

Wellspring Program

UU Wellspring™ is a 10-month program of Unitarian Universalist spiritual development developed in 2005 by Rev. Jen Crow in her prior position at First Unitarian Church of Rochester (NY). The nationwide program, now administered out of First Universalist, has grown to include four separate years of curriculum. To date, Wellspring groups have been offered in 26 UU churches from coast to coast. This year, 14 different UU churches are running Wellspring groups, including First Universalist. 

Are you thinking about signing up for UU Wellspring next fall, when registration opens again? Are you a current or past Wellspring participant who is looking for a continued source of inspiration, Wellspring-style? Check out the UU Wellspring website:, which features a frequently updated blog. Also, like Wellspring on Facebook. Look for UU Wellspring: Spiritual Deepening for Unitarian Universalists-- you might just see a few familiar faces!

Upcoming Events

Sunday, 12/7
Global Gift Fair
9:00 AM, Social Hall

Thursday, 12/18
Board of Trustees Meeting
6:30 PM, Cummins Room

Friday, 12/19
Winter Solstice Ritual
7:00 PM, Sanctuary

Sunday, 12/21
Christmas Pageant
4:00 PM, Sanctuary

Wednesday, 12/24
Christmas Pageant
4:00 PM, Sanctuary

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

Augsburg Fairview Academy
Please consider a holiday donation to AFA students. Our goal is to give each student a $20 Target gift card--simple compassion for young people who seldom receive gifts and may not have a holiday celebration. Bring $20 Target gift card(s) to church on Sunday (give to Sandy at the Hub, Cindy Marsh, Pat Gottschalk or Joanne Engelking) or to the church office. Joanne spearheaded this effort last year and the students received them with great joy and thanks.

Donations for the Hope Food and Clothing Closets can be brought to the Hub on Sundays or left in the AFA storage area in the Welcome Center at any time. Pick up shopping lists at the Hub on Sundays for a list of needed items. Clothing needs include hooded sweat shirts, knit hats, warm scarves, black knit gloves, winter ski-type jackets and lined warm up jackets--black and dark colors preferred. 

Thanks for your generosity! 
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.

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2014-15 Annual Events

Our 2014-2015 schedule of Annual Events is available online!  

NEW! Winter Schedule
The 2014 Winter worship schedule is now 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:  
Next Up For 
The Weekly Liberal
As you might have noticed, we rotate news and feature articles in and out of the Weekly Liberal via one week, two week, and one month cycles, depending on the content.  While we always provide new & updated content in every edition, we also cycle in important pieces that run multiple times (usually twice) to ensure that members and friends of First Universalist have the opportunity to view this information.

Next on deck,
for The Weekly Liberal:

~ Five Questions with staff member Sandy DiNanni

~ Daytime Connections Holiday Party

~ Newcomers Circle

...and much more!

Holiday Giving
A Message From Rev. Jen Crow


With Thanksgiving just passed, attention is turning toward the winter holidays. Whether you celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, the Winter Solstice or all of the above - each of these holidays remind us of the importance of light in our darkest days. These holidays are not about new gadgets, or going into debt, or finding ourselves seduced by the messages of ever present advertising and consumer culture. These holidays ask us to open our eyes and pay attention to ourselves and each other. These holidays remind us that together we can do what no one of us can do alone. 

Last year, we asked each other to take a look at our holiday spending and consider cutting it in half. We then gave that half to the church and funded the House That Love Built, a home built with Habitat for Humanity. Our hearts responded to the call to build something lasting, to bring the spirit of love and hope to life in our community - and just last week, Mai Kee Lee and her 5 children moved out of their single room and into the House That Love Built. Next year, in December 2015, we will join together again to fund a single project for the community.

This year, however, we are inviting each other to continue the holiday tradition of sharing the Universalist spirit of love and hope a little bit differently. We're still asking you to consider spending less and giving more away, if you are able. But this year, we want you to choose. Below you'll find a short list of suggested organizations that reflect our commitment to racial justice and that our congregation partners with to help end homelessness, support students, and change the world. And of course, you may want to add your own choices to the mix - maybe your passion lies with environmental justice, or maybe you want to give to the church, or somewhere else altogether. Slow down, pay attention, and listen to where love is calling you.

Where will you bring your light this holiday season?

And as always, if this is a time when you or your family is in need of support, please don't hesitate to let any church staff member know. Our Ministerial Emergency Fund exists specifically to support church members and friends in times of financial difficulty. We want to be there for each other and our larger community.

However you give and receive and grow this holiday season - be it through time, money, or attention - may you lean into the love and hope that surrounds you, even in these darkest of days.

In faith,

Rev. Jen Crow


Unitarian Universalist Service Committee
UUSC advances human rights through grassroots collaboration. In more than a dozen countries throughout the world, UUSC fosters social justice and works toward a world free of oppression. UUSC's innovative approaches and measurable impact are grounded in the belief that all people have inherent power, dignity, and rights. Gifts of $125 or more are eligible to be matched by the UU Congregation at Shelter Rock, in Manhasset, N.Y.

Augsburg Fairview Academy
Augsburg Fairview Academy invites young adults from diverse communities to prepare for college, career, and life. For the last 3 years, our congregation has partnered with AFA to support a food and clothing closet, as well as classroom assistance. This year, we are hoping to collect 143 $20 Target gift cards - one for each student - by December 14th. Gift cards can be brought to the church office anytime or to the Hub during coffee hour on Sunday mornings.

Beacon Interfaith Housing Collaborative
More than 70 congregations strong, Beacon is working to end homelessness in Minnesota. Through shelter, housing, and advocacy, Beacon is helping us to change lives and our community for the better. Its Families Moving Forward program provides emergency shelter for families, its housing units support veterans, youth & young adults, individuals and families and people in recovery, and its concerted advocacy efforts help us to shape our communities and our state. With Beacon, we believe in home.

Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity
We know that decent housing saves lives. It rekindles hope, and roots families and communities. In decent housing, the walls are strong and the roof is secure - and the family inside focuses more on thriving than on surviving. Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity partners with individuals and families to build decent, affordable housing - and to provide repairs that help keep people in their homes.



News & Announcements
Video From Today's Protest:

Today, joining other concerned Minneapolis citizens in demand of racial justice for our community, First Universalist ministers, staff, and members staged a sit-in on I-35 and marched towards City Hall.  For additional photos posted on Facebook, click here.

Protest on I35 Minneapolis #BlackLivesMatter
Protest on I35 Minneapolis 

Open Labyrinth Walk

Thursday, December 11th 
6:30-8:00 PM

December can be so busy! Trying to take time to remember what's really important can be difficult in the midst of the busy-ness. The act of walking increases oxygen flow to the brain while using a predeterminted route (like a labyrinth) lets you stay awake and focussed. Come walk the labyrinth and take some time to reflect and renew. All are welcome!

Holiday Office & Building Hours
By Bree Mattson,
Office & Events Manager

In December, the office will be closed from December 22 - January 3. 

It will reopen for regular hours Sunday, January 4.

The building will be closed on December 25, December 26, half of December 31 and all of January 1.

The 2014 Global Gift Fair
By Marjie Smith

On Sunday, December 7th, thirteen local groups will be giving you the opportunity to shop for goods. They will be selling crafts/clothing/food from different parts of the world and will be using the proceeds to benefit people of the wider community. This event will take place in the Social Hall from 9:00 AM to 1:00 PM. Join us!

Holiday Decorations 

Each year the Visual Arts Committee collaborates to decorate the church as a gift to the congregation. 

This year, the talented Meredith Sims took inspiration from the French artist Matisse and dreamed up gold stars for the sanctuary.

Happy Holidays!

Welcome Oyewole Dosumu!

We are delighted to welcome Oyewole (Wole) Dosumu to our church staff. Wole will serve as a half-time intern, working specifically with Rev. Jen Crow in our Faith in Action ministries. Wole comes to us for his final project at Augsburg College's Master's in Social Work program, and will focus on supporting our racial justice commitments. Wole will be in the office on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Please stop by to introduce yourself and to welcome him to First Universalist.  

Oyewole Dosumu Bio:

Oyewole Dosumu is a social work graduate student at Augsburg College in Minneapolis. He is also a minister with The Redeemed Christian Church of God Chosen Generation Parish Rochester MN. Oyewole is passionate about serving others outside his congregation; he collaborates with other community organizations to provide services to underserved families and individuals in the Rochester community. Oyewole enjoys travelling, listening to contemporary gospel songs and reading motivational books. In his spare time Oyewole enjoys watching wrestling (WWE). Oyewole is married to Adedayo Dosumu, a registered nurse, and they have five children. He can be reached at
Remembering Loved Ones


By Kathy Coskran

We need your help delivering poinsettias to our members and friends who have lost loved ones in the past year, who are struggling with ongoing, serious illness, or who are living in nursing homes. Caring for each other, offering support and comfort in times of illness and loss, and remembering those times as the year moves on are essential to what we do as a religious community.

On Sunday, December 7, poinsettias ready for delivery will be in the foyer outside the sanctuary doors with cards and addresses of recipients. Please help us by picking up a poinsettia and card to deliver to a member of our church community.

Some of you will find your name on the list. Please take your poinsettia as a remembrance of your loss and of the love and caring that surround you. This is how we give, receive, and grow together with love and compassion.

- Kathy Coskran and Kathy Urberg 

for the Congregational Care committee.


Get To Know Your First U Staff!  
 Five Questions with Tracy Van Eps

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 Facility Manager, it is my job to make sure that the day-to-day events are set up and ready to go, and that the building is clean, safe, and comfortable. I work with staff, church members, groups, and city officials to ensure the building is safe and up to code. I also work with a variety of vendors to get projects done, or I do them myself.

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

I enjoy the challenge older buildings present and the ways you have to come up with solutions to problems. I also enjoy working with staff and the congregation to come up with ways to overcome challenges. I like that I work with a church community that acts on their words--i.e., The House That Love Built--and that love does matter. It is also nice to be a part of a staff that works so hard to see the church's work made into reality, and to know that my feelings and opinions matter.

What are your top five favorite foods?  

Tuna casserole, fruit salad, potato salad, canatos (a family dish,) and steamed crab legs.

If you could attend a dinner party with any six additional people-- famous, dead, alive, anyone--who would they be?

I would like to be able to have a holiday dinner with my mother and father, who have passed. Also, at the same dinner, to meet for the first time my four half brothers and sisters.

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

A classic book to keep my mind active, music to keep my soul alive.

Did You Know? 

By Rev. Jen Crow,
Minister of Program Life

Did you know that we have a Pastoral Care Team at church? The Pastoral Care Team is a group of First Universalist Church congregants, led by the Rev. Jen Crow, who provide confidential pastor care to friends and members of our congregation in need of support. We visit people at homes, hospitals, hospice, or at the corner coffee shop. If you'd like to join the team, you can learn more here.  If you'd like a call from a Pastoral Care Team member, please contact Rev. Jen at 

Season of Giving:
Nominations Needed for the Community Investment Team
By Gil Wahl
Community Investment Team Member

We are coming to the end of another year of social justice work. First Universalist gives away a significant amount of money each week through our offering baskets. We give to organizations nominated by members of the congregation. The Community Investment Team (Umesh Berry, Andrea Brown, Ed Cerier, and Gil Wahl) takes the nominations and fits them into one (or more) of three categories of recipients:

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

In the last year, we have given over $30,000 to organizations that fit into the values of our congregation. Pat yourselves on the back!

If you know of a deserving organization that's fighting the good fight for social justice, PLEASE submit a nomination. We all change lives when we all give a little.

To make a nomination, click here.

The Community Investment Team
Umesh Berry, Andrea Brown, Ed Cerier, Gil Wahl

Racial Justice Web Source


By Heidi Johnson,

Communications Manager


We are excited to share with you the new online hub for our racial justice work at First Universalist Church, which can be found here:


This section of our website is dedicated to racial justice programs & events, sermons, resources, news, and general information relating to our racial justice commitment and activism.


Be sure to check in regularly, as we will be updating content on a weekly basis.  The 2015 programming for racial justice trainings, events, film & book discussions will be posted in December 2014: stay tuned!





Children, Youth, & Family Ministries at First Universalist Church 

My Church: A Religious Education Snapshot

By Lauren Wyeth,
Director of Children, Youth, & Families 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 6th grader.

In 6th grade, our kids transition from elementary school-age Religious Education (RE) to their introductory year of youth programming. Sixth graders are in middle school now, and in the midst of big changes as their relationships with peers and parents evolve. Though they still enjoy some of the Sunday morning rituals they've known since preschool, 6th graders demand that their RE lessons keep up with their expanding awareness of the world, support their developing sense of personal identity, and honor their desire for agency in their own lives. They are excited about being visible and valued as they serve and inspire the congregation.

And so their year kicks off with a curriculum we've created called Taking Our Place, which introduces various aspects of church life, including hospitality, pastoral care, stewardship, worship and social justice. Each unit begins with an overview of the theme, but quickly moves to a project or activity that teaches through the context of experience. Already this year, 6th graders have conducted a hospitality survey, educated the congregation and sold fair-trade chocolate for Halloween, hosted an info table and bake sale in support of environmental justice and animal rights, made crafts to sell at the annual church auction event, and prepared a presentation on Guest at Your Table for the Kindergarten and 1st graders. Soon they'll be making costumes for the Christmas Pageant!

From January through May, sixth graders will participate in Rites of Passage, another program we designed in response to their unique needs. Together, they cement their knowledge of Unitarian Universalism, practice communication and deep listening skills, initiate intimate conversations with their parents, explore a personal spiritual practice, and write "elevator speeches." They covenant with their families to take on a significant new responsibility at home - and to receive a significant new privilege - as a sign of their increasing maturity. 

In the final week of the church year, parents and youth participate in a Rites of Passage ritual, with a slide show of the kids' growing-up years, presentation of their elevator speeches, a promise to take care of one another as they navigate middle school and high school in religious community, and a blessing of the group. After the ritual, the class walks to a local coffee shop unaccompanied, symbolically entering the world as youth - no longer children - and charged with carrying their values and our love with them.

This is the kind of care and attention we seek to provide our young people at critical points in their spiritual development. By acknowledging important milestones, expecting youth to contribute and engage deeply, and trusting them, we discover that something counterintuitive happens: they turn toward us, seeking encouragement, wisdom and guidance, and our connection with them stays strong even as their independence grows. 


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