First Universalist Church
February 5, 2015
Issue No. 5, Volume 2
In This Issue
Sunday Worship for February 8, 2015

Join Bishop Carlton Pearson for his sermon, "What You Want Wants You!"  For additional information, and to access the Sunday Order of Service online, click here.

IWhat you want, wants you, because what you want IS YOU!

The loneliest moment in your life is not when you lose friends, family or things. You are loneliest when you are away from, unaware of, or missing part of yourself....your own soul.

You are most lonely and depressed when you have lost your essence or forgotten who you are. Because of this or our spiritual amnesia, we have become transient souls, all but spiritual vagabonds seeking our own Self, our forgotten Self, the one we somehow and somewhere mislaid or misplaced and in some cases, replaced with the impostor. Eckhart Tolle says in his book, A New Earth: "In the seeing of who you are not, the recognition of who you are, emerges."


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 Minister of Program Life, Rev. Jen Crow, preach "We Are The Ones We've Been Waiting For" this past sunday, click here.

"What is it that you are uniquely called to do? What is it that only you can do?"

February Worship Theme:

"We Are The Ones We've Been 
 Waiting For"

This phrase is the final statement of a writing attributed to Hopi Elders (which is in doubt), referenced by President Obama in 2008, but probably originates with the poet June Jordan in a commemoration of South African women. Although no one is really certain about its origins, the statement rocks the spirit and challenges our understandings of how the world works and the part we play. The beloved community, the kingdom of God, a world of peace will not come about simply by following a great leader or praying for a messiah. We are the ones we've been waiting for. This month we address ourselves, and our place in the change we seek.


Message from Hopi Elders


You have been telling the people that this is the Eleventh Hour, now you must go back and tell the people that this is the Hour. And there are things to be considered...

Where are you living?
What are you doing?
What are your relationships?
Are you in right relation?
Where is your water?

Know your garden.
It is time to speak your Truth.
Create your community.
Be good to each other.
And do not look outside yourself for the leader.

This could be a good time! There is a river flowing now very fast. It is so great and swift that there are those who will be afraid. They will try to hold on to the shore. They will feel they are being torn apart and will suffer greatly.

Know the river has its destination. The elders say we must let go of the shore, push off into the middle of the river, keep our eyes open, and our heads above the water.

See who is in there with you and celebrate. At this time in history, we are to take nothing personally. Least of all, ourselves. For the moment that we do, our spiritual growth and journey comes to a halt. The time of the lone wolf is over. Gather yourselves!

Banish the word struggle from your attitude and your vocabulary. All that we do now must be done in a sacred manner and in celebration.


We are the ones we've been waiting for.

Learn More About Families Moving Forward

Join us on Sunday, February 15th at 12:45 in the sanctuary to learn more about the Families Moving Forward program - a program of Beacon Interfaith Housing Collaborative that brings over 60 congregations together to provide shelter for families experiencing homelessness. We hope to join this program this year, opening our upstairs religious education classrooms to house families as soon as September. Program Director, Jacqueline Scott-Hopkins will be with us to share information about the program and to help us prepare. 

Join us to learn more, find out about key volunteer positions, and get excited about opening our doors. 

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.

Upcoming Events
Friday, 2/7, 
Bishop Carlton Pearson, 
7:30 PM, Sanctuary

Sunday, 2/8
Habitat Housing Advocacy Postcards, after both services, Social Hall

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.

Housing Advocacy at First Universalist 
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.

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!

Questions? Contact 612-305-7136 or

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!  

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.

Introducing ACS: Our New Online Membership Database & Directory

A Message From Diane Gavere, 
Director of Operations

This article is part one of a three-part series exploring our new online ACS membership database. Week one will be "Setting Up Your Profile", week two will be "Accessing the Online Calendar", and week three will be"Setting Up Your Pledge".  

We are excited to announce that the Member Portal section of ACS, our new database, is now live! 


Through the Member Portal, you can see and change your own contact and family information, upload a picture, and access your past giving information. To sign in for the first time and set up your profile, follow the steps below:

1) Visit our Member Portal on our website by clicking here.
Follow the prompts to access your online profile/membership directory.

2) You are now in the ACS sign-in window.  Click on "Need a Login?"



3) Fill in your email address, first name and last name and click 
"Find Me." 

4) Check your email for a message with further instructions to finish setting up your account. This will direct you to set up a password. 

5) Use your email address and this password to log in.

Once you have done this, take a moment to check over the information listed in your profile and change anything that is incorrect. 


When you make a change, you will see a notice that you "have a change request pending." The change will go through when our staff updates the system. 

Once you've logged in, take some time to explore. You'll find the membership directory, space use calendar and places to make donations or pledges. Some sections are still under construction, so stay tuned to the Weekly Liberal for updates as new features become available. 

If you have any questions, please contact our Administrative Assistant, Chelsea Bertsch, at 612-825-1701 ext. 107 or


News & Announcements
Bishop Carlton Pearson to Speak at First U February 6

United Theological Seminary of the Twin Cities' Multicultural Program Presents:

Journey from Exclusion to Inclusion in Story and Song

Bishop Carlton Pearson

Friday, February 6, 7:30 PM
First Universalist Church
3400 Dupont Avenue South, Minneapolis

Bishop Carlton Pearson's transformation from an evangelical celebrity preacher to a radically inclusive cyber minister is nothing short of remarkable. A charismatic presence on the Trinity Broadcasting Network and an award-winning vocalist, the bishop was declared a heretic by Christians who are more conservative when he began to spread a new message of universalism. His program in song and story reveals his exceptional public transformation and carries the message that you are in a relationship with God-no matter where you stand.

FREE, but registration is requested at

*Parking is limited.

Race: The Power of an Illusion 

Join us in the Cummins Room for drop-in screenings and discussions of this acclaimed series. This month, we will view the second chapter, which takes us back into history to discover the origins of the concept of race. All are welcome, regardless of whether you have seen the first chapter. Join us for one of these two showings:

Sunday, February 8 at 1:00pm
Tuesday, February 10 at 7:00pm

For more information, contact Rev. Elaine Aron Tenbrink at

Weathering the Storm: 
A Futurist's Look at Our Climate Challenges

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

Daytime Connections, along with First Universalist's Environmental Justice Group, MUUSJA, and MNIP&L, invite all who are interested to join us for an interactive session with author Michael Conley and First Universalist panelists Stan Sattinger and Joy Throm exploring the intertwined environmental and behavioral challenges that are on track to create a global crisis.

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.

All Gender Restrooms
By Bree Mattson,
Office & Events Manager

Many of us don't think twice about using the restrooms at church or in other public spaces. But for people who are transgender or gender non-conforming, the choice of which restroom to use can lead to anxiety, ridicule or violence.

To ensure that our church is a safe and welcoming space for everyone who comes through our doors, we are adding new, all gender, signs to the restrooms on the second floor and in the Chalice Room. Additionally, on the restrooms outside the Sanctuary and in the lower hallway, we are placing signs alerting visitors to the locations of our all gender restrooms. 

The signs that you see now are up temporarily as we research our best options for permanent signage. 

If you'd like to read more about this issue and why we've made this decision, visit the UUA website:

Winter Feast for the Soul: 
A Retreat
Saturday, February 21 from 10:00am to 2:30pm

Join Rev. Jen Crow, Minister of Program Life, for this retreat focused on the enriching experience of claiming, re-imagining, and practicing the living tradition of Unitarian Universalist spirituality. We'll spend time together in large and small groups, bearing witness to the holy within and among us. 

To register, contact Rev. Elaine Aron Tenbrink at

Open Labyrinth Walk Thursday, February 12th 

6:30-8:00 PM in the Social Hall

Come move from the heart of winter darkness to the light within. The labyrinth invites you to enter and walk, meditating on your inner darkness and, as you walk out, reflect on your interior light and what nourishes it. All are welcome!

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

While adults worship in the sanctuary each week, children and youth fill our Religious Education wing. Throughout the year, we'll provide periodic snapshots from our classrooms in this ongoing series, titled
My Church
In this issue, we look at Sunday morning through the eyes of a 5th grader.

It's February and our 5th graders are a few weeks in to their Our Whole Lives (OWL) unit. Our Whole Lives is a comprehensive sexuality education program published through a collaboration between Unitarian Universalists and the United Church of Christ, with age-appropriate curricula for children, youth and adults of all ages. 

For many years OWL has been offered as a year-long class for 8th graders at First Universalist. And for the second year now, we are offering 5th graders the eight weeks of curriculum that have been developed for their age group. OWL gives our young people a chance to explore their values, gain accurate information about topics that are often not easily accessible, and develop skills that will benefit their health and relationships throughout their lives. We recognize that in order for young people to grow into spiritually whole, mature individuals we need to help them address the topic of sexuality, and that these conversations are best when they happen in the sturdy container of our shared UU values.

In all OWL classes for children and youth, parents and guardians are recognized as the primary sexuality educators. As a covenantal religious community, we recognize "we need not think alike to love alike," and so parents are actively encouraged to use OWL as a chance to engage in deeper discussions about the topics addressed on Sunday mornings. In 5th grade, adults at home actually do weekly reading homework to keep them, literally and figuratively, on the same page with their kids. 

The subject of a recent 5th grade OWL religious education class was family relationships. We focused on the UU principles of the inherent worth and dignity of all people and the message that all families should be treated with respect. The goals of the session were to define and explore the concept of family, to identify the different ways people create families, to explore the roles and functions of family members, to distinguish between the role of family and the role of friends, and to talk about marriage and commitment and the role they have on the definition of family.

We started off by sharing visual representations the kids made of their own families, which included clay figures, drawings, paintings and photographs. By doing this, we saw the wide variety of families in our group. Kids suggested that a family is the people you rely on and are committed to and who help take care of you. We discussed the variety of ways people might show their commitment, and the fact that family bonds are not always formed through birth or legally-recognized marriages.

Later, we brainstormed a list of roles or jobs people in families do - things like earning money, doing laundry, teaching, or showing love. The kids broke into small groups and talked about who in their family does these roles. We then got back into the larger group and shared what we had discussed. This activity provides a chance to appreciate the breadth and variety of "work" of a family, and to counteract dominant cultural messages about which work "should be" done people of a particular age or gender.

We are deeply grateful to the volunteer OWL facilitators of both our 5th and 8th grade classes, who go through an extensive training program to become certified, and then make the commitment to facilitate most every week of the program with the class of children or youth they serve. Their commitment, and that of the many OWL teachers who've served in years past, has touched the lives of so many families in ways we can never fully appreciate. Thank you.

Get To Know Your First U Staff!  
 Five Questions with Bree Mattson

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?

I'm the Office and Events Manager, and most of my day to day work falls into one of those two categories. I manage our space use calendar and schedule both church, member based groups and external groups who rent space from us. I then work closely with our facilities staff to arrange set up and logistics. On the office side of things, I supervise and work closely with our Administrative Assistant to make sure the church office is running smoothly. 

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

Since I have been here for just a little over a year, I have really enjoyed getting to know this diverse and passionate congregation; there is never a dull moment here! I feel grateful to put my work and energy every day into a place that builds and upholds the same ideals and values that I believe in. And the thing that enjoy most of all is the wonderful staff team that I am a part of. I think there are some days that I wouldn't get through nearly as well without the support of my brilliant co-workers.

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

The first thing I worry about is not having water to drink, so I'd bring a machine to turn salt water into drinking water. Then I'd bring some kind of e-reader, so that I'd have an endless supply of reading and wouldn't get bored. 

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

Alice Paul, Willa Cather, Gertrude Stein, Rachel Carson, Audre Lorde, Sylvia Rivera. Can you tell I spent 6 years studying women's and gender history? I wrote my MA thesis on Rachel Carson, so I'd probably spend a lot of the dinner talking to her--I have a lot of unanswered questions.

Where is your favorite place to be in the world?

Anywhere on Lake Superior. But, if I'm not up there, it's on the couch in my sun room, drinking coffee and reading with a cat curled up next to me on a Sunday morning.
The 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. Our next Pathway to Membership class will take place on Saturday, February 28 from 9am-3pm.

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

Childcare available from 9am-12pm with at least 7 days advance notice by clicking here.

Heart to Heart:
A Couples' Enrichment Weekend
April 10-12, at Holy Spirit Retreat Center


Heart to Heart is a program designed to enrich communication and deepen the intimacy in your relationship. The weekend emphasizes personal reflection and couple dialogue. Participants are not asked to share with the group, but rather, to dialogue privately with their partners. All couples committed to their partners and to their relationships are welcome-same-sex and opposite-sex, married and unmarried.

A team of three experienced volunteer couples lead our retreats. The cost is $385 and includes two nights lodging and meals Saturday and Sunday. Thanks to the generosity of previous participants, "scholarship" assistance is available. If the weekend cost is too high and would prevent your being able to attend, please contact us.


Space is limited to 15 couples, so please register soon.

Led by: Allen Desmond/Cheri Desmond May; Susan Hoffman/Nancy Gossard; Jane Rauenhorst/Brian Nofzinger

Supported by: Unity Church-Unitarian
For information: 

email: or call Cheri 612-750-6747.