First Universalist Church
January 22, 2015
Issue No. 3, Volume 2
In This Issue
Sunday Worship for January 25, 2015

Join Jim Foti, Assistant Minister at First Unitarian Society of Minneapolis, for his sermon, Love Across Change.  For additional information, and to access the Sunday Order of Service online, click here.

Our relationships, our institutions, and ourselves all change -- sometimes quickly, other times perhaps not quickly enough. What are the stories that point us toward cultivating a constant love in an ever-changing world?


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!  

Here is a snapshot from Rev. Justin Schroeder's sermon this past Sunday, "Unseen Change Agents":

"A faith community is about expanding our consciousness and our awareness; it's about making known and visible those things which too often have remained unknown and invisible."

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

January Worship Theme:

"Arc of Change"

In his poem, "The Layers," Stanley Kunitz looks back on his life of changes, "the milestones" and "abandoned campsites," of his journey. All of us leave a trail of hopes that have fallen along the wayside, or burning embers of insight that light the way forward in our changing patterns. Change is. That is the nature of things. In a beautiful turn of phrase the poet writes, "a nimbus-clouded voice directed me: "Live in the layers, not on the litter." 


This month we live in the layers of change, exploring the arcs of our own lives, the arc of this faith community, and the arc of history and change. To paraphrase Kunitz's final line: We are not done with our changes.

Congregational Care: the Core Ministry of Give, Receive, and Grow

Congregational Care touches us all--when we write or receive a note of comfort or congratulations, when we deliver or receive a meal in times of need, when we greet or usher at a memorial service or receive the gift of a beautiful memorial reception in a time of loss, when we knit a comfort shawl or pull one around our shoulders, when we welcome a new baby, give or receive flowers after a worship service, when we share a moment of connection during the Cycle of Life meditation on Sunday morning. We are all needed to reach out to others, to ask for help for ourselves, to make those connections again and again.

Say yes when a meal is needed, take a moment to write a card, make the call or visit, deliver flowers or a comfort shawl, help at a memorial reception.

Contact the church or Congregational Care Coordinators, Kathy Urberg: 
or Kathy Coskran:
when we or someone we know suffers a loss, needs support, a meal, a visit.

Environmental Justice Meeting

Does your faith compel you to act to preserve and care for our earth?

Are you concerned that environmental damage disproportionately impacts people of color and the poor? 

Do you want to work with others at church to learn, inspire others, and act for change? 

If so, join us: TONIGHT, 
Thursday, January 22nd 
from 7-8:30pm as we continue to map out our work for environmental justice.

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.

Heritage Circle

It's not just about luncheons and accolades.

For those of you who have the church in your will-kudos!

However, if you have the church in your will and don't want the hooplah, that's fine with us.

However, PLEASE tell the church office (Diane, Director of Operations, at, so that your wishes will be honored when you leave this earth. Sometimes, depending on the language of your will, the church will not receive the funds unless we pursue them. I know this sounds odd, but if you have an IRA, you cannot name an entity, but a person/individual as your beneficiary and if you bequeathed a percentage of your assets, it gets even more complicated. So, we understand if you do not want to be recognized publicly. Just let the church know of your intentions. Thank you for your continued support!

Marjie Smith 
of the Planned Giving Committee

Upcoming Events

Saturday, 1/31
Winter Warm Up Dance Party, 
8:00 PM, Social Hall

Sunday, 2/1
State of the Church Meeting, 
12:45 PM, Sanctuary

Sunday, 2/8
Race: The Power of An Illusion, 
Part 2, 1:00 PM, Cummins Room

Tuesday, 2/10
Race: The Power of An Illusion, 
Part 2, 7:00 PM, Cummins Room

Sunday, 2/15
Families Moving Forward Information Session, 12:30 PM, Sanctuary


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


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

Augsburg Fairview Academy
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.
Little Free Library Needs All of Us!
First Universalist Church's Little Free Library (LFL), located on the north side of the building, needs your help. 

Each month one family or individual makes sure the the LFL is filled with books on Sunday. It takes only 3-4 minutes! Please sign up on the LFL bookcase to be a monthly caretaker. Instructions are also posted on the bookcase.
We are also in need of donations for children's books and novels.
This is the work of our church.

Youth Cultural Exchange (YCE) 
Truffle Sale

YCE is selling handmade truffles!

These delicious truffles are hand made by First Universalist youth, using fair trade chocolate.  The candies come beautifully packaged in decorative boxes-just in time for Valentines Day.

Order: January 25
PickupFebruary 1 or 8

In the Social Hall, after both services on Sunday

Pay by cash or check 
(at the time of order)

Box of 4 (assorted flavors) $6
Box of 6 (assorted flavors) $9
Box of 8 (assorted flavors) $12

All proceeds benefit YCE-thank you for supporting this important work of our church!
Habitat for Humanity Crews Needed in 2015

There are exciting opportunities for new and veteran Habitat for Humanity volunteers in 2015! Don't worry about your skill level--Habitat welcomes all volunteers and will make sure you have meaningful work. 

We need 10-13 people for each of the following dates: February 12, March 14, April 9, May 14 and a week in August (dates TBD). You can sign up by visiting the information table in the social hall after services or online at the following link:

Racial Justice Within the Walls of First Universalist Church
Fellow Congregants,

One of the points of our focus on racial justice is to find areas in our church life where patterns of racism or a white racial narrative may be occurring. 

Today a new document has been added to the Racial Justice Page on our web site. It is an executive summary of the results from a 'Mapping Racism' exercise done in May. Led by our racial justice consultant Dr. Heather Hackman, about 35 congregants who went through the G1 or G2 racial justice trainings with Dr. Hackman met to identify areas in church life where racism and whiteness may be occurring. Participants were able to identify areas for investigation by looking through a sharper racial justice 'lens' than they may have had before going through training. Check it out by clicking HERE. We hope you'll find it thought provoking. Perhaps you will use it as fodder for meaningful conversations.

Based on this information, the Racial Justice Leadership Team has prioritized the worship and communications/culture/identity aspects of our church for investigation, and is currently assembling teams to address these area. A team will also be created to connect those of you with a passion for racial justice more deeply with this ministry.

Also, a new staff intern with a social work background will be helping to create a set of questions to use for all of our Faith in Action work that will help assure that we assess all such efforts with a racial justice lens.

Racial Justice Leadership Team Members,

Kristen Mengelkoch 

and Emma Paskewitz

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!  

Winter 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 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:  
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.

Making Visible What's Been Invisible
A Message From Rev. Justin Schroeder


On Sunday, during my sermon, I said, "A faith community exists to expand our consciousness and our awareness; a faith community exists to help make known and visible those things which are often have remained unknown and invisible."

This was certainly the message of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., during his life time. Through direct action, non-violent demonstration, and consciousness-raising, he sought to make visible and bring changes to the injustices of our country.

I am proud of First Universalist Church and the dozens of friends and members who participated in the #ReclaimMLK day march last Monday, seeking to make visible the work we have yet to do to truly create a just society. We were praying with our feet, and many of you were there in spirit. As always, if you have thoughts or questions about our racial justice work and its spiritual imperative, please don't hesitate to reach out to me. You can connect with me at 612-825-1701 x 102 or

On a related note, I hope you've already signed for a Circle. Circles, though the spiritual practice of deep and openhearted listening, are another place where those "things which have been unknown and invisible, become known and visible." I'll be offering a Circle this semester, and there are dozens of other Circles to choose from. Learn more about which Circle might be right for you, and sign up here.

I'll see you in church,


P.S. If you attended the #ReclaimMLK march on Monday, you're invited to join us for a debriefing meeting on Thursday, January 29, at 7 p.m. at church.


News & Announcements
Buy Your Tickets Now to Dance, Dance, Dance at the Winter Warm-Up!

Saturday, January 31st
Live Music, Appetizers, Beverages, Dancing!

What is Winter Warm-Up? It's a live music dance party FUN-raiser featuring First UU's own Rock Band!

Join us Saturday night, January 31, 2015 for the Winter Warm-up!  

We'll have dancing and light appetizers with beverages, featuring beer from Lake Monster Brewery and wine from Hennepin Lake Liquors, available for purchase. Dancing starts at 8pm.  

Stop by on your way home from the Loppet and help warm-up the social hall at 2015's first congregational fundraiser of the year!

Suggested donation for admission is $10-$20 but no one will be turned away based on ability to pay.  If your budget allows it, consider paying more to support others.  Visit this URL to buy your tickets in advance:

Tickets will also be available for purchase on Sundays in the Social Hall between services.

Save the Date: Annual State of the Church Meeting

February 1, 12:45 PM

Everyone is invited! 

At this meeting, the Board of Trustees and Staff of the Church will share updates on their respective goals for the year. This meeting will be a time to celebrate shared accomplishments, and to outline emerging opportunities and next steps in various ministry areas. We'll have a current year budget update and we'll outline the budget and programming for the year to come.

We have so much to be proud of as a faith community, and big goals still in front of us. Join us, on February 1!

In faith, 
Rev. Justin Schroeder

To register, contact Rev. Elaine at 
 or 612-825-1701 ex. 124

Childcare is available with 7 days advance notice.  To sign up for childcare online, click here.

Connect with Circles in 2015!
Note: Circle Registration Closes THIS Sunday--Be Sure to Register!

Community Circles Logo
Our Circles are groups of 8-10 committed participants who come together with a trained leader to nurture spiritual growth in community. These groups are grounded in the spiritual practices of deep listening and open-hearted reflection.

Which circle might be right for you?

*Community Circles offer an opportunity to reflect more deeply on our Sunday services and monthly worship themes.

*Spiritual Deepening Circles gather for in-depth study of a particular topic or spiritual practice, such as UU History: Our American Roots, Listening to the Soul Through Poetry and Examining Whiteness.

*Newcomer Circles offer an opportunity to learn more about our liberal faith tradition and connect with others who are getting to know First Universalist.

*Care Circles offer participants support and encouragement during a particularly challenging period of their lives.

Online registration runs through Sunday, January 25. 

Sign up at For more information, contact Rev. Elaine Aron Tenbrink at or 612-825-1701 x124.

It's Tea Time!

Dust off your fanciest hat and get ready to attend AUW's (Assocation of Universalist Women) annual Winter Tea!!

TIME: 2:00 - 4:00 pm

SIGN UP: We will be at the AUW table in the Social Hall on Sundays in January or sign-up online by clicking here.

VOLUNTEER: We need help with set-up, clean-up, bringing food, serving food and decorating tables in your own personalized theme.

DONATE: Make a contribution at the tea to Augsburg-Fairview Academy to support its academic program and to stock the Food Closet.

Joanne Engelking will be at the tea to take your donations.

Augsburg Fairview Academy is asking for:
Cash donations for a field trip in March to the University of Minnesota. This field trip will include a campus tour and meetings with counselors in the American Indian Studies program, the GLBTA Program and the African-American/African Studies program.

Food donations for the students to take home at the end of the school day. Shopping lists are available at the Hub on Sundays.

A Note to Those Who Donated Gift Cards to AFA

If you would like a receipt for your gift card donation to AFA, please pick up a form letter from AFA at the Hub or in the church office. Complete the form, keep one for your tax records, and return a copy to AFA. Thank you again for your contribution!

Housing Advocacy:
First Universalist is Addressing 
Critical Housing Needs


By Joan Naymark


We can leverage First Universalist's Faithful Action energy and HTLB success by advocating for affordable housing and fighting homelessness in 2015. Housing and supportive services are critical needs in Minnesota. The Homes for All Coalition coordinates housing advocacy strategy for many organizations across Minnesota, including First Universalist partners Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity and Beacon. More than 600,000 households in Minnesota pay more than they can afford for housing, and more than 14,000 Minnesotans are homeless on a given day. Nearly half of the homeless are children or young adults. There are 3-4 times as many applications for affordable housing as there are housing units available. The 2015 Homes For All legislative agenda requests a $39 million increase in state funding for affordable housing and supportive services for the Minnesota Housing Finance Agency and Minnesota Department of Human Services. Read more by clicking here.

What can you do?

February 8 - Sign a Housing Postcard at First Universalist, available after both services. Join us in the social hall with your family, yourself, or your friends to have your photo taken as a Housing Hero and sign a postcard to your legislator. Twin Cities Habitat will deliver your postcard to your MN State Legislator in support of the housing funding bill. Last year, First Universalist signed 400 postcards. Let's beat that number in 2015. It's easy and fun. See you on Feb. 8!

March 3 - Twin Cities Habitat is offering a twist to their Annual event - "Habitat Off the Hill -MN 2015". Because the State Capitol is constructing new offices for the Senate, parking and opportunities to advocate at the Capitol building are severely limited. Twin Cities Habitat will host their annual event at their new Habitat headquarters on University Avenue in St. Paul. "Habitat Off the Hill" will be held on the evening of Tuesday March 3rd and will be a family friendly event. Stay tuned for more details but put a save-the-date on your calendar now!

March and April - Meet with your Legislator. A Twin Cities Habitat staff member will join you in a meeting with your legislator at your preferred date and time. You will address Affordable Housing, Homelessness, your experience as a member of First Universalist or with our partners Twin Cities Habitat, Augsburg Fairview Academy, or Simpson Housing. The personal stories of constituents are powerful in St. Paul.

Together, we will make a difference. Faithful Action is the work of our church - congregants of all ages are welcome to join us in advocacy.

Questions? Contact 612-305-7136 or  


We Are The Village

By Rich Jaeger,
Pledge Team Member

We are fulfilling a promise this year, a collective promise we make at child dedications when we-the whole congregation-pledge to partner with and support families in the religious upbringing of their children.

We are eliminating religious education fees next year, fees for a core ministry of the church that have been borne solely by families. Ours is a theology of inclusion with a love big enough to welcome every person, every family, which means not charging extra for any church ministries--Sunday morning worship, religious education for youth and children, Wellspring, Circle Groups, Daytime Connections.

We all share the financial responsibility for nurturing and supporting children and youth--our ministry of love and hope begins with them--and depends on our collective generosity. Depending on family size and pledging status, RE fees have ranged from $75 to $350 plus extra charges for overnights and the Coming of Age program. Scholarships were available, but we don't know how many simply didn't participate because it was too hard to ask for help. We are taking one more step in the direction of our mission by remembering our covenant with the children when we make our annual pledge this year.
Get To Know Your First U Staff!  
 Five Questions with Rev. Jen Crow

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?

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

I can't answer question 1 without answering question 2 at the same time. One of the things I love most about my work at First Universalist is the variety. One moment I'll be supporting someone through a time of grief and the next I'll be marching for justice. Another moment I'll be leading a meeting of staff or lay leaders (or both) and the next I'll be reading and writing for an upcoming Sunday morning worship service. If you look at our organizational chart, I oversee and support the ministries of pastoral care, faithful action, membership, adult ministries, and ministry with children, youth and families - while also supporting the worship experience and meeting with Justin and the Board of Trustees. But if you go beyond the chart, my main job is enabling the ministry and mission of this church and its members. You all are simply amazing, and it is a joy to work with such a fun, dedicated, creative, quirky, and downright smart staff team.

What are a few of you favorite books?

Here are a few that I go back to all the time: Howard Thurman - Meditations of the Heart, Good Poems edited by Garrison Keillor, everything by Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau, Love in Action by Thich Nhat Hanh, Walking Toward Morning by Victoria Safford, How We are Called - a UU Meditation Anthology, A Hidden Wholeness by Parker Palmer, Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott, Here if You Need Me by Kate Braestrup - and most recently - Americanah - by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Where is your favorite place to be in the world?

The North Shore, or anywhere with my kids or my wife, Loretta, snuggled up.

What is the best piece of advice you've ever received?

"You are exactly enough, and you are never enough." It was meant as advice about ministry -- about leaving room for the other person and the holy to show up -- it was about humility and not beating myself up. It's advice I've hung on to for ministry, parenting, and life.

What would you do if you won the $10 million dollar lottery tomorrow?

Well, now that marriage equality has come to Florida, I can safely say that we'd move to Disney World and I'd become the on-site chaplain. The only disagreement in our house would be whether to live at the campground in an RV or in the homes that come with your own private boat to the parks. I could perform weddings, be there for crises, and ride Dumbo whenever I wanted -- all while bringing a racial justice lens to their view of history as an inside employee.


Second Chance Coalition Day:
Thursday, January 29th

Minnesota Unitarian Universalist Social Justice Alliance (MUUSJA) supports the Restore the Vote Coalition, working to restore voting rights for 46,000 citizens living in the community, holding jobs, and paying taxes but denied the right to vote due to a felony conviction. 

Join our Second Chance Coalition Day on the Hill, Thursday, January 29, at 10:00 AM to support legislation to restore the vote. 


Due to Capitol construction, we'll meet at Christ Lutheran Church on Capitol Hill and follow with brief visits to legislators. For more information, visit If you have additional questions, email: Jenny Thomas, or call 612-920-4246.




Free Arts Minnesota 

"Through My Lens" Photography Exhibit

January 11- February 15


"Through My Lens" is a  photography exhibit created by 65 teens from local social service agencies as a part of Free Arts Minnesota's summer 2014 Teaching Artist Series. This eight-week program, led by photographer Wing Young Huie in partnership with the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, used the medium of photography to help youth engage more deeply with their community. Using Huie's chalkboard interview method, teens interviewed and photographed their peers, mentors and members of the community. The program culminated in an exhibit of the teens' photographs at the MIA in August.


Free Arts Minnesota inspires hope and builds self-esteem for youth who have experienced poverty, homelessness, abuse and mental illness, using the healing powers of artistic expression and caring adult mentors. Their Weekly Mentorship and other educational art programs annually reach over 4,000 youth at homeless shelters, treatment centers, domestic violence shelters, and community centers across the Twin Cities metro.


For more information, visit


NEW: there will be representatives from Free Arts in the social hall after both services on January 25 to discuss the program and to discuss ways individuals can get involved!


NEW! Pledge Day: 
Wednesday, March 11, 2015

By Zack Steven,

Pledge Team Member


The Pledge Team is excited to announce the first ever Pledge Day on Wednesday March 11, 2015!  In keeping with the pledging rituals established in recent years, and with the goal of creating an intentional and positive, yet succinct, pledging experience for members, we looked to the voting process for inspiration.

Full details to follow, but you can expect an experience like Election Day, only more fun and with church friends rather than neighbors. We will be inviting members to submit their pledge on Pledge Day, either in person at church (election style, complete with snacks and "I Pledged" stickers), online or by phone. We'll be sharing Pledge Day progress with the congregation throughout, and the day will culminate in a community meal and celebration at church, with tasty food, good music, and fellowship. Please save the date!

As an expression of gratitude (and an incentive), all those who have made a pledge on or before Pledge Day will be entered into a raffle to win an iPad mini at the end of the Pledge Day celebration! Need not be present to win, but why not come anyway?

Also, in anticipation of Pledge Day, please have a look at the  Generosity Calculator that is now live on our website. It will help you explore your own goals and motivations for generosity and the role that your pledge to First Universalist plays.

Feedback? Questions? Want to help? Please contact me at


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