First Universalist Church
March 12, 2015
Issue No. 10, Volume 2
In This Issue
Sunday Worship for March 15, 2015

Join Rev. Jen Crow for her sermon,  "Grace-Full"

For additional information, and to access the Sunday Order of Service online, click here .

What does it mean to be graceful?  To live through a trying time with grace? Inner strength, courage, vulnerability, and honesty are a few of the hallmarks. Connection, humor, and deep commitments that reach outside of the self are there, too. Join us as we explore what it means to live a life - and to live in a world - that is full of grace. 


Service is at 9:30 and 11:15 AM


Did You Miss Last Sunday's Service?

We have podcasts available online of all of our sermons!  

To listen to Rev. Elaine Aron Tenbrink preach "How the Light Gets In" this past Sunday, March 8th, click here.

"Grace is an unbidden gift that breaks into our lives, reminding us of our wholeness and evoking our gratitude and awe. Theologian Frederick Buechner reminds us that grace cannot be earned or deserved any more than "you can deserve the taste of raspberries and cream, or earn good looks, or bring about your own birth." Even though this gift cannot be earned, are there ways that we might cultivate a life that is an environment hospitable to grace?"

Upcoming Worship

Sunday March 15
9:30 - 11:15am
Rev. Jen Crow
Music: First Universalist Choir singing Sunday by Sondheim

Sunday March 22
9:30 - 11:15am  
Rev. Justin Schroeder
Music: Universal Rock Band

Sunday March 29
9:30 - 11:15am  
Pastor Danny Givens
Music: First Universalist Choir singing We Found Love by Rihanna

March Worship Theme:


The great theologian, Paul Tillich, once described grace, as that thing which breaks into our lives and surprises us into wholeness. We are struck alive like a bell awakened with sound and purpose. We ring with a new pattern emanating from the experience of grace. Grace communicates a sense of assurance, grounding, and hope: "You are accepted." Tillich continues: "Grace transforms fate into a meaningful destiny; it changes guilt into confidence and courage." This month we explore the nature and movements of grace.




Resources by Rev. Ruth



Catching Song 

with Bobby McFerrin



An incredible interview between Krista Tippet and Bobby McFerrin as he speaks about the elemental force of music and the human voice, a place where grace can come in.


Ordinary Grace

by William Kent Krueger

William Kent Krueger's "Ordinary Grace" is set during the summer of 1961. It is a touching coming-of-age novel about family, faith and the empathy that can come from a violent loss.



This treasury of quotes and passages on leading a centered, purposeful, and spiritual life offers the advice and observations of leaders from all walks of life. Included are Gandhi, Lao-Tzu, Maya Angelou, Martin Luther King, Jr., Mother Teresa, and hundreds of other unique and inspiring voices on subjects like compassion, kindness, forgiveness, and purpose.


The Shaking of the Foundations 

by Paul Tillich (online)
Click on Chapter 19 

'You Are Accepted'

"Restore the Vote" Program This Sunday!

Please join MUUSJA and LWVMN -leaders in defeating the harmful 2012 Photo ID amendment - in our current drive to promote voting rights in Minnesota: restoring the right to vote to the 47,000 citizens with felony convictions who live in our communities. 


Don't miss our program on Sunday, March 15, 1:00-2:00pm, in the Chalice Room. Hear attorney Josh Esmay, Public Policy Director of the Council on Crime & Justice and co-chair of the MN Second Chance Coalition. He'll provide background on the issue and tell us about the unlikely coalition of 60 organizations and bipartisan legislators working to pass legislation that will raise Minnesota up to North Dakota's standard.  Support from suburban voters could be especially helpful because 65% of those with felony convictions live outside of Hennepin and Ramsey Counties.  Also, while a vast majority of those impacted are white, African Americans are particularly hard hit, being disenfranchised at seven times the rate of whites - worse than Texas. This year's 50th anniversary of the Voting Rights Act adds urgency to pass this legislation now.  This legislation has the best chance ever but is by no means certain. Like Photo ID, we need your support!  We'll give you some easy ways that you can make a difference. 

Free REGISTRATION appreciated at Light lunch served at 12:45pm.


Contact Jenny Thomas for information: 

or 612-386-5724.

Sponsors: Minnesota Unitarian Universalist Social Justice Alliance (MUUSJA), Association of Universalist Women (AUW), and League of Women Voters Minnesota (LWVMN).

Art Exhibit 
in  Social Hall 

A new art exhibit is now in the Social Hall.  A collection of work inspired by nature-some influenced by Russian or Mexican icons-oil on wood or canvas and some tooled metal pieces is now on display.

Artist Ann Popadiuk Larson will have her exhibit up 
Feb 22--March 29.

Ann has been drawing since she was two and working on creative pursuits ever since. A few years ago she decided she needed to focus on one medium. She has been involved in several artists' groups including the WARM Mentor program, Project Art for Nature (PAN), and the St. Paul Art Collective.

Ann was previously a member of First Universalist, so she looks forward to reconnecting with church friends. 

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 News

By Cindy Marsh

AUW generously donated the offering from the AUW spring tea, over $600, to AFA to help pay for a field trip to the University of Minnesota. Many of the students have never visited a college campus so this is an important and broadening experience for them. The donation will be used to help pay for the bus transporting them to the University and lunch on the campus. 

First Universalist AFA volunteers, provided a pot luck lunch for AFA staff on Friday, February 20 at AFA. Staff felt appreciated and special, which was our goal, and also expressed their deep gratitude for the consistent work we do to support students at AFA. Participating volunteers were: Cindy Marsh, Pat Gottschalk, Barb Sindelar, Cynthia White, Guy Johnson, Joyce Case, Rita Franchett Jerry Satinger, Susan Schonfeldt, Mike Day, Geoff Lenox, Rita Langteau, Birch Cappetta, and Wendell Vandersluis.

Donations Needed for Hope Food and Clothing Closets:

Desired food and toiletry items include: single serving microwavable soups, mac and cheese, and stews; snacks like fruit cups, granola bars or cracker and cheese packages; chapstick, toothpaste and toothbrushes, men's and women's deodorant, and tampons (we don't need travel size items).

Needed clothing items include: men and women's socks, men's medium and small briefs, and men and women's hoodies - dark colors preferred.

Bring items to the Hub on Sundays or leave in the cupboard marked AFA in the Welcome Center. Thanks for your generosity!

Upcoming Events
Sunday, 3/15
AUW/MUUSJA Restore the Vote, 1:00 PM, Chalice Room

Thursday, 3/19
Board of Trustees Meeting, 
6:30 PM, Cummins Room

Saturday, 3/21
Winona LaDuke Public Teach In, 8:00 AM, Sanctuary 

Tuesday, 3/24
"Hands Up Don't Shoot Our Youth Movement" Film, 
6:30 PM, Social Hall


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


To view the online space-use calendar, click here.

Store-to-Door Volunteers Needed
Store To Door delivers peace of mind for seniors and their caregivers.

This volunteer-based shopping and delivery service gives seniors reliable access to their choice of food and household essentials, so they can continue to live in their own homes. Clients appreciate the friendly volunteers and staff, wholeheartedly recommending the personal service to others.

Store To Door needs Volunteer Order Takers! As an order taker you form an ongoing relationship with your clients, taking their grocery orders over the phone and entering them online. You choose the day, time and place to make calls, spending about 30 minutes per call and in the process, enhancing the well-being of seniors who can no longer shop for themselves.

Volunteer Shoppers are also needed to fill grocery orders at one of six Cub Foods locations during 6:00 to 10:00 a.m. shifts on weekday mornings. Volunteers shop once a week or every other week, enjoying their teammates, being active, and knowing that they are providing a vital service for seniors who cannot get out to the store or handle heavy items.

Learn how to volunteer or sign up for services at: 
or call 651-642-1892.

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?

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If you have limited access to email/internet and would like to be on our hard copy mailing list, contact the church office at 612-825-1701 and ask to speak to Chelsea, our Administrative Assistant.

2014-15 Annual Events

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

New! SPRING Worship Schedule
The 2014-2015 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.  You can reach the office by dialing: 612-825-1701.

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 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:  
A Note About
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.

Want to Hear from People in Ferguson, MO?
By  Rev. Elaine Aron Tenbrink,
Minister of Membership & Adult Ministries 

Come see ' Hands Up Don't Shoot Our Youth Movement' here at church. 

It's a documentary filmed in Ferguson on the day of Michael Brown's funeral, by Ralph Crowder III.  We'll be screening it on Tuesday, March 24th at 6:30 in the Social Hall, and you will have a chance to meet the filmmaker. 

Contrasting with the mainstream media coverage and speculation of the events leading up to his death, you will see, hear and feel the perspective of African Americans there about how he died.

Have you struggled with talking to friends, family or co-workers about how we at First Universalist are beginning to understand how racism really works? Invite them to join you for the film. Because the film deals with a widely covered event, it will help deepen your conversations with them about the white privilege that most of us have been so blind to.

The Selma March
Rev. Justin and Rev. Ruth, in addition to members of First Universalist Church and thousands of other Unitarian Universalists, joined the crowd of marchers in Selma, Alabama this past weekend.  Here are a few thoughts and pictures from Rev. Ruth and Rev. Justin:

From Rev. Justin: "I woke up this morning, feeling Faulkner's words more than ever: "The past is never dead. It's not even past." Thinking about the set backs we've experienced in voting rights. Thinking about the housing crisis and wealth lost by people of color. Thinking about the New Jim Crow."

From Rev. Ruth: "Miles of people, 100,000 or more. A steady, grace filled movement across the bridge in Selma. Fifty years ago people risked it all to "make something new" as the Bible says. 

Yesterday we walked, our footsteps like prayers, to move in the same river of right relationship and gestures of justice. We pray to make something new, something vital, and flourishing in wholeness. From the arc of the bridge I looked down and saw the river below making it's way, sure and determined. All I could think was: God below us, God above us, God among us, grant us your sure and determined strength. So grateful to be in this time and place with such blessed colleagues and friends. Amen."


News & Announcements
Pledge Day 2015:
Thank You For Your Generosity!

Still haven't pledged yet?  Click here to pledge online, or call the office at 612-825-1701 8:30am-5:30pm, Monday-Thursday to pledge over the phone.
CD, DVD, Video Game & Book Donations Needed

By Rick Schuster

The Youth Cultural Exchange CD, DVD, Video Game & Book Sale fundraiser will take place April 19 and 26 in the church social hall.

Please drop off your gently-used CDs, DVDs, Video Games and Books in the social hall March 15, March 22, March 29, and April 12 after both services.

This summer twelve First Universalist 8th and 9th grade youth will travel to Sutiaba, Nicaragua, where they will live with local families to gain cultural understanding and forge lasting cross-cultural friendships. Your donations and purchases will help us bring the twelve Nicaraguan host siblings to Minnesota for two weeks in 2016.

Questions? Contact Amy Scott at 612-730-0434 or

Thank you for your support!

First Universalist Youth Cultural Exchange

Staff Transitions 
A Message from Rev. Justin

Thursday, February 26th, was Diane Gavere's last day. Diane served for nearly two years as our Director of Operations, and I am grateful for the many gifts she shared with us. We wish her well and thank her for her service. If you have finance related questions, please contact Brad Schmidt at

I am working closely with the Board of Trustees and the staff to assess this position and the needs of the church moving forward.

We'll keep you posted.

In faith,


Open Labyrinth Walk 
Tonight! March 12th 6:30-8:00pm

The March winds of change are blowing and spring is on it's way. It's time to think about what we'd like to plant in our gardens. What would you like to see growing in the garden of your life? Come walk the Labyrinth and quietly contemplate the changing seasons! 

All are welcome!!


Daytime Connections
Being Mortal: What Matters Most

Thursday, March 19, 11:00am-12:30pm, Chalice Room

Daytime Connections, along with First Universalist's Congregational Care Team, invite you to join us for an honest, inspiring conversation about Atul Gawande's best-selling book, Being Mortal. Together with panelists Bob Benjamin, Michael Day, and Carolyn Moe, we will consider the realities and limitations of modern medicine's approach to life transitions.

After the 11:00 presentation, join us for lunch at 12:30pm. A $5 donation for lunch is appreciated.

For more information, contact Hal Schroer at or 763-218-5167. 

To RSVP, contact Rev. Elaine Aron Tenbrink at 
or 612-825-1701 x124.

FREE Jazz Band Concert
April 17th, 7:30 PM, Social Hall

Something to look forward to after taxes!

Come join us at a FREE jazz band gig in the Social Hall on Friday, April 17th from 7:30 to 9:30 pm. John Jensen and the Jazz Band will be playing 30s and 40s ballads and swing music perfect for dancing and/or listening.

Several years ago a few First U members jointly scored an auction win for a performance by John Jensen and the Jazz Band and we've decided to share it with fellow First U folks.

Bring a finger food snack to share if you wish. We'll provide paper plates and napkins and will be taking up a collection to cover custodial charges. We will NOT have utensils, bar service or child care available that night. BYOB is also NOT an option but we WILL have terrific music in abundance!

No RSVP needed to come enjoy fabulous music! Dance or just enjoy the jazz! Have a blast with your community! Please join us!

The Nominating Committee is Actively Recruiting

By Greg Hoelzer
Nominating Committee Member

The Nominating Committee is actively recruiting candidates for leadership positions on the Board of Trustees, the Foundation Board, and the Nominating Committee itself for the next church year. We believe the congregation is full of untapped talent and encourage people to step forward and share their skills.

Now is an exciting and important time to serve as we continue to build on the positive energy and growth of our congregation. Serving on one of these bodies provides unique opportunities to deepen and enrich your personal connection to the church while broadening your circle of relationships within our spiritual community. Committee members have unique opportunities to collaborate with our passionate ministers and lay leaders to advance the mission of the church.

Board of Trustees: Trustees partner with the congregation and professional staff in shaping the vision and long-term goals of the church. They articulate these aspirations through policy and collaborate with the Senior Minister to see they are fulfilled.

Foundation Board: Board members serve as the stewards of our Foundation endowment. Members screen and select grant requests to non-profit organizations.

Nominating Committee: Committee members screen and recommend candidates to the congregation for vacant positions on the Board of Trustees, Foundation Board, and Nominating Committee.

Requirements: To qualify for any of these positions, you must be a member in good standing of the church. Elections occur at the Annual Meeting in June. Go online to view more detailed position descriptions and apply.

Contact any Nominating Committee member to find out more: Ginny McAninch (chair), Deborah Talen, Doug Smalley, Bob Albrecht, David Lauth, Greg Hoelzer, and Lark Weller, Board of Trustees representative. Email

Saturday, March 21: What's the Plan? 
A Teach-In on Fossil Fuel Infrastructure

Join us in the Sanctuary bright and early for "What's the Plan? A Teach-In on Fossil Fuel Infrastructure in MN," co-sponsored by MN350 and the International Forum on Globalization. 

Speakers include Winona LaDuke, Rep. Frank Hornstein, Victor Menotti, and regional leaders in movements to stop frac-sand mining, bomb trains, and oil pipelines. Minnesota is being besieged with new fossil fuel infrastructure that violates the treaty rights of indigenous people and endangers the health of our communities, and we are not prepared. 

We are becoming a superhighway for oil that we neither produce or consume, yet we assume all the risk. Meanwhile, our water and sewer mains are crumbling. Let's come together and find common spiritual ground from which to address this public policy crisis and protect ourselves and the earth. FREE and open to the public. Teach-In begins at 9:00am, lunch by the Sioux Chef (for a small fee) at 12:30pm.

Get To Know Your First U Staff!  
 Five Questions with Justin Schroeder

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

As Sr. Minister, I am the lead preacher, and I am privileged to work with such a fabulous preaching team, and such a dedicated staff, as well. I also work closely with our Board of Trustees, our Worship Team, our Fundraising Team, and our Racial Justice Team. I work collaboratively with our staff to implement and fulfill the visionary goals of the church, to help all us give, and receive, and grow ever more deeply in the ways of love. I supervise four staff positions: our Communications Manager, our Minister of Program Life, our Minister of Worship Arts and Coming of Age, and our Director of Operations position.

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

Before I became a minister, I thought about being a teacher or a writer, and started to pursue that path when I attended Colorado State University. As I began to explore ministry as a vocation, I realized that ministry involved many of the things I loved: writing, reading, community building, public speaking, and teaching. It is an incredible blessing and privilege to do what I love!


Additionally, I love the variety of each day at First Universalist. Whether it's collaborating with staff or congregants to create or deepen some dimension of our ministry, or working with our Racial Justice Leadership Team, as we deepen our learning around race, racism, and whiteness, or standing with others and speaking for justice in the community, or journeying with someone through a significant transition in their life, there is never a dull day. 

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

Frederick Douglas, John Brown, Harriet Tubman, Dr. Martin Luther King, bell hooks, Dali Lama, and my great-great-grandparents, and other ancestors I don't know.   

What are a few of your favorite books?

The Black Hearts of Men: Radical Abolitionists and the Transformation of Race, by John Stauffer, A General Theory of Love, by Thomas Lewis, Fari Amini, and Richard Lannon, The Color of Water, by James McBride, Half of a Yellow Sun, by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, anything by Brene Brown, The Cross and the Lynching Tree, by James Cone, and Finding Beauty in a Broken World, by Terry Tempest Williams. 

Where is your favorite place to be in the world?

I love spending time with my family, regardless of the location, though we've had some great summer camping trips on the North Shore. I also love being in the Rocky Mountains. I grew up in Colorado, and the seeds of my ministry were planted during an overnight back packing trip with father and brother in the Rocky Mountains. Those mountains will forever hold a special place in my heart.  

Covenant of Right Relations: Opportunity for Input

As our congregation - ministers, staff, lay leaders, members and friends - works together to fulfill our mission and achieve our visionary goals, it is essential that we interact in ways that exemplify our spiritual values and honor our Unitarian Universalist principles. The UUA recommends developing a "Covenant of Right Relations" as an important step in clarifying expectations and creating a safe, respectful, and trusting environment for congregations and staff. Covenant is Latin for "come together" and means a "solemn agreement" or "promise from the heart" regarding a course of action between parties.

The Board of Trustees developed a draft Covenant that is intended to apply to relationships within our congregation - ministers, staff, lay leaders, members and friends. It is also designed to be a framework for our relationships with our partners and others as we work outside our walls in the larger community.

We believe that, most of the time, we act in ways outlined in the Covenant. Yet we recognize that differences or misunderstandings can arise as we tackle difficult issues, and conflict may occur between various individuals, groups, and lay and staff leaders. It is especially at these times that we may look to the Covenant to inspire us to be our best selves.

We present this document to you for your information and review. We hope that you agree it reflects our beliefs and values about right relationships congruent with our mission, principles and visionary goals. If you have comments and/or suggestions please address them to the Board of Trustees at by April 15.


Your suggestions will be considered as we prepare the final version of the Covenant, which will be voted on at the Annual Meeting on May 31.