First Universalist Church
October 16, 2014
Issue No. 3, 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 19th, 2014

Rev. Jen Crow will be preaching "Letters to Ourselves" at both services, with special musical guest and spoken-word artist Guante performing.  To view the Order of Service & Bulletin online, click here.

This Sunday is youth-friendly worship!
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.

Additional information about special musical guest, Guante:

Guante is a hip hop artist, two-time National Poetry Slam champion, social justice activist, educator and writer. 

He and/or his work has appeared on Upworthy, MSNBC, Racialicious, Feministing, MPR, the Progressive, City Pages' "Artists of the Year" list and URB Magazine's "Next 1000" list, and he's shared bills with Talib Kweli, Saul Williams, Brother Ali, Dead Prez, Sage Francis, Andrea Gibson, Doomtree, Zion I and more. Guante's work explores the intersections of art, media and social justice education; to that end, he facilitates workshops on identity, power and privilege, founded the MN Activist Project and Hip Hop Against Homophobia concert series, writes essays and op-eds, and works with COMPAS, TruArtSpeaks and others to engage in artist residencies around writing and performance for youth.

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, Taking Spiritual Inventory:

"When we take spiritual inventory - when we make and rest in a clearing, whether for 10 minutes, an hour, or a day - when we ask, "Who am I?" and "Whose am I?" the promise is that we might hear the song that is our life."

To listen to Rev. Justin's October 12th 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.

Join The Pastoral 
Care Team
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. 

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
Upcoming Events
Thursday, 10/16
Board of Trustees Meeting, 6:30 PM, Cummins Room

Saturday, 10/25
Pathway to Membership, 9:00 AM, Cummins Room

Saturday, 10/25
Young Families Halloween Party, 9:00 AM, Social Hall

Sunday, 10/26
Cracking the Codes Film Viewing, 1:00 PM, Cummins Room

Tuesday, 10/28
Cracking the Codes Film Viewing, 7:00 PM, Room 203


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

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:  
Next Up For 
The Weekly Liberal
As you might soon notice, 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.

Up on deck, for next week:

~ House That Love Built dedication for Mai Kee Lee

~ The blood drive is just around the corner!

~ Volunteer opportunities at First Universalist

~ Circle Supper Sign-ups

...and much more!
Tending to the 2nd Half of Life
By Rev. Justin Schroeder, Senior Minister

This past Sunday, between services, we had a beautiful "Commissioning" for our Chalice Lighters, those young children who kindle our chalice each worship service, helping the flame of compassion, justice, and love burn brightly.

Our Chalice Lighter program is just one of the ways we tend to the souls of the children of the church. All said, the 500 children and youth registered in our Religious Education Program regularly experience classes, rituals, retreats, and spiritual practices that strengthen and deepen their identity as Unitarian Universalists.

Now, thanks to the efforts of a committed group of church leaders, working in partnership with Rev. Elaine Aron Tenbrink, we are focusing on creating meaningful programming for people in the second half of life. This Senior Advisory Team helps coordinate Daytime Connections (a monthly interactive program and luncheon) as well as creating daytime Circles and other opportunities for learning, reflection, socializing, and fun.

In all their offerings, the Senior Advisory Team aims for deeper engagement and reflection on:

* What gives meaning to our lives
* Living in the present with serenity and hopefulness
* Pro-actively managing our health
* Managing our important life transitions

This team would welcome the participation of a couple more people on the team. This team enjoys thinking creatively together, reflecting on the spiritual needs of our community, laughing together, and making great programming a reality by tapping into the amazing talents of our community. Please contact Rev. Elaine Aron Tenbrink ( for more information.

It a great blessing to serve a church that ministers across the generations, tending to our children, youth, adults, and elders. Together, we give, receive, and grow in the ways of love.

I'll see you in church,

The Sr. Advisory Team, from left to right: Hall Schroer, Pat Gottschalk, Rev. Elaine Aron Tenbrink, Janet Merrill, and Larry Anderson

News and Announcements
Racial Justice Movie Discussion
Cracking the Codes, Part I

Created by Shakti Butler, this film examines the causes and consequences of systemic inequity. Cracking the Codes: The System of Racial Inequity features moving stories from racial justice leaders including Amer Ahmed, Michael Benitez, Barbie-Danielle DeCarlo, Joy DeGruy, Peggy McIntosh, Rinku Sen, Tilman Smith and Tim Wise. Discussion facilitated by Brian Eshult, Margaret Manderfeld, and Lark Weller

Sunday, October 26 
from 1:00-2:30pm in the Cummins Room
Tuesday, October 28 
from 7:00-8:30pm in Room 203

This is a drop-in group; no registration is required. Childcare available with at least 7 days advance notice at:

From Swords to Plowshares:
Raising Faith-Based Voices to End Gun Violence

OCTOBER 26, 2014

2:30 Doors open and registration
3:00 Forum starts promptly
5:00 Conclusion and action steps

1360 Minnehaha Pkwy, Minneapolis 55419
Entrance on Girard Ave. South 

(leave time for street parking)

Pathway to Membership
By Rev Elaine Aron Tenbrink, 
Minister of Membership & Adult Ministries

Feeling like First Universalist could be your spiritual home? Join us for The Pathway to Membership, which invites you into an exploration of Unitarian Universalism, the history of this congregation, our racial justice commitment, and the experience of membership. The Pathway to Membership is required for joining the church. 


The next class will be held on Saturday, October 25 

from 9:00am-3:00pm

To sign up, contact the Rev. Elaine Aron Tenbrink at or 612-825-1701x124. 


Childcare is available with at least 7 days advance notice at

Environmental Justice Gathering

Monday, October 20th at 7pm

Join our environmental justice lay leaders and Rev. Jen Crow for a conversation about our environmental justice priorities for the year and some initial planning on how to make them happen. All are welcome. Contact Rev. Jen Crow ( with any questions.

Universalist Jazz Band Concert, November 8th!

Do you long for the return of the big, beautiful sounds of the First Universalist Jazz Band? 

Here's your chance! Come join John Jensen and his Big Band on Saturday, November 8th at 7:30 p.m. for a rousing, free concert in the First Universalist Sanctuary. 

Also joining John for some songs of the era will be First Universalist members George Dow and Kira Berglund. Mark your calendars now, and swing by for a hot time in the old sanctuary!

Guilt-Free Halloween Alternative


Wait--don't buy Halloween candy yet! 


6th graders will be offering fair-trade chocolate and packets of popcorn between Sunday services on Oct 19 and Oct 25. 

As part of a social justice project, the 6th grade 9:30 Religious Education class chose to learn about how children are exploited by the chocolate industry. They have done research, will be offering information at their table in the social hall, and hope congregants will buy fair-trade products instead of the usual candy to hand out on Halloween.

Please stop by the sales table and ask them what they learned. It has been an eye- opening journey for them. You can support the kids' efforts and take a small, easy step toward social justice with your donation, knowing the treats you'll hand out are good for ALL kids.


Get To Know Your First U Staff!  
 Five Questions with Chelsea Bertsch

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?

My position here is Administrative Assistant. I work closely with the Office and Events Manager with room reservations, supervise front desk volunteers, assist the Senior Minister, and provide general clerical support to the staff.

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

The people here are wonderful: staff and congregation! I can't stress that enough. This is going to sound real soppy, but this is the first job I've had where I feel like I truly belong. Also, I really enjoy the work I do. I'm thrilled to have the opportunity to do so many different things. As Brad mentioned last week, the variety is truly refreshing.

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

Okay, is there a way I could make all six of my dinner companions be Bob Dylan? ... Well one would definitely be Bob Dylan. My other five? I'll go with Oscar Wilde, Nina Simone, David Bowie, Dorothy Parker, and astrophysicist Neil DeGrasse Tyson.

What are your top three favorite movies?

My three favorite movies are (in no particular order) Breakfast at Tiffany's, Midnight Cowboy, and 1776. The musical, not the HBO special.

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

Full disclosure, I still (not-so-secretly) hope to become Sailor Moon one day. But since I can choose only one super power, I would choose luck. Once you have luck everything else should fall into place.

Did You Know?

By Lauren Wyeth, Director of Children, Youth, & Family Ministries


Did you know that you can see what our children and youth will be doing on Sunday mornings by checking out our online class calendars? In addition to regular Religious Education sessions, we look forward to four Youth-friendly Worship Sundays (like the one coming up this weekend!), when 6th-12th graders join adults in the Sanctuary. We've also scheduled several Special Art Days in K-5th grades this year (our first will happen this coming Sunday!), where children connect creativity and spirituality. Lesssons and special events are laid out for September through May here.

Inside a Circle: 

Queer Young Adults Community Circle
Interview by Rev. Elaine Aron Tenbrink, 
Minister of Membership & Adult Ministries

The Queer Young Adults Community Circle opened its doors again this fall to those who wish to reflect on our worship services in the company of other people in their 20's and early 30's who identify as queer. Kaitlyn Hunt and Andrew Hockman, the group's current co-facilitators, have generously offered The Weekly Liberal their reflections on this experience, what brought them to First Universalist, and the meaning of the word "queer." An excerpt from the interview:


What have you learned through participating in this Circle?

Andrew: That we all share in the human experience. It's probably a general truth about the human condition that we all at times are unsure of ourselves, fearful, joyful, excited, but in a society that tells us to have it all figured out, it's easy to lose sight of the fact that most of us don't. The circle brings me back to humility, vulnerability, and the strength that can only be found when we share honestly. 

Kaitlyn: Putting what I have learned into a short synopsis feels like it would be short changing something that has changed my life. Here are just a few of my key takeaways: I have learned that I am not alone. I have learned to embrace my True self. I have learned what it is like to intently listen to the beauty of others and their stories. I have learned to embrace the discomfort of silence. I have learned that there is hope for continuous change towards betterment. 

To read the entire interview, click here!


To learn more about circles at First Universalist, click here


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)


Guatemalan Rainbows: 
Photography and Textiles By Richard Nelson

Art Exhibit in Social Hall October 19 - November 23

This vibrant and informative exhibit provides a window into the world of the indigenous Maya of highland Guatemala and their weaving traditions. The photography is an 

ethnographic and aesthetic documentation of 40 years of travel, research and collecting of textiles and traditional clothing in the highlands of Guatemala. Like so much else in the Maya world, back-strap weaving is not simply a relic from the past but a living skill, responding to new ideas and recreated with each generation.

Richard is an artist, photographer, collector of Maya textiles and graduate of graphic design. His passion for back-strap woven textiles began in 1973 while studying photography in Tlaxiaco, Mexico through the University of Minnesota studio arts program. At a Saturday market in a small village he saw Mixtec women dressed in the same brightly brocaded clothing they had worn for centuries. He was amazed at the comparatively simple technology of the back-strap loom that produced the remarkably complex fabrics. During the following winters, Richard traveled to Guatemala where the indigenous culture and weaving traditions are even more prevalent. He collected textiles and took photos of the people producing the fabrics.



Richard spent 23 years as a designer and photo stylist for Macy's Marshall Field's, and Dayton's and is now a free-lance photo-stylist for Target and other companies. He consults, teaches and exhibits at local colleges and libraries and leads Maya weaving and textile tours to Guatemala through locally-based Art Workshops in Guatemala.


Visit Richard's website here:


First Universalist Church

Board Summary of the Congregational Survey From April - May 2014


Summarizing the great data from 347 of our wonderful congregants, even with the statistical development and analysis skills of David Leppik, is not easy. So much great detail, but with the power of statistical analysis, we have the ability to step into the "big picture" and come up with some "take-aways."


* We like this church. We feel nurtured here and nurture each other. We celebrate together and have developed our own rituals. We feel comfortable bringing our friends to First Universalist.

* Church is a place we have made new friends, not always of our generation either. We are still challenged to get to know our youth and children better and as a part of our church community.

* Spiritual growth is important to us. We feel that the programs and services of the church help us develop spiritually. But we don't necessarily bring that spirituality into our homes. 

* We are comforting to each other as we deal with life's challenges and help each other heal. 

* We are growing in our understanding of what it means to be a Unitarian Universalist and in understanding the beliefs of others. 

* We feel empowered to take action in the world and do. However, we must do better involving our children and youth in our work.

* We challenge ourselves as a congregation. We tackle big issue like Racial Justice and have big ambitions for our children, youth and adult education programs.

A survey shows us trends and that we are moving in a direction that inspires most people. People are excited to be a part of First Universalist Church. It doesn't negate the individual comments from those of you who find what we are today as a church to be not exactly what you expected or would like. Your voices and concerns are heard and many are influencing staff and board goals for this year. As we say so often, "we don't have to think alike to love alike."

As the Board of First Universalist, the annual congregational survey is only one piece of information that we use to monitor and shape the direction of the church. Our own careful evaluation of our progress on the Visionary Goals, information from our State of the Church meeting and budget meetings with the congregation, monthly monitoring of financial and membership information, and our monthly meetings and Working Sessions all give us additional information.

Thank you, as members of this church, for participating in this survey. We hope this summary is helpful as we, together, live into love's people.


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