First Universalist Church
February 12, 2015
Issue No. 6, Volume 2
In This Issue
Sunday Worship for February 15, 2015

Join Rev. Ruth MacKenzie for her sermon, "Make Them Hear You".

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

Over the course of two weeks in January, Rev Ruth met with tribal peoples, human rights visionaries, Dalit girls of Vidhayak Sansad, and warrior organizers in middle and western India. Each and all are living out to powerful effect the clarion call: We Are the Ones We've Been Waiting For.  

In this youth friendly service, we explore how we might truly meet, and join in solidarity with justice movements in our own backyard and on the other side of the world.


Service is at 9:30 and 11:15 AM


Learn More About Families Moving Forward

Join us THIS SUNDAY 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. 

Did You Miss Last Sunday's Service?

We have podcasts available online of all of our sermons!  

To listen to Bishop Carlton Pearson preach "What You Want, Wants You!" this past Sunday, February 8th, click here.

"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."

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.

The Pathway to Membership
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 

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

All Gender Restrooms

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 by clicking here.

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.

Newcomer Circle

Are you new to First Universalist? 

Whether you are a recent visitor or a new member, you're invited to join a Newcomer Circle. These four-session gatherings of 6-10 newcomers offer a chance to explore core Unitarian Universalist values, reflect on our spiritual journeys, and connect with other folks who are new to church.

Our next Newcomer Circle runs on Tuesdays, March 3, 10, 24, 31 from 7:00-8:30pm (Please note that we skip a week.)

Registration is required; you can sign up at the Information table in the social hall or by emailing

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

Sunday, 2/15
No Way Out But One Film Viewing 2:00 PM, Cummins Room

Wednesday, 2/18
Lantern Festival Workshop
6:00 PM, Chalice Room

Thursday, 2/19 
Daytime Connections
11:00 AM, Chalice Room

Thursday, 2/19
Board of Trustees Meeting 
6:30 PM, Cummins Room


Please note the Church Office will be CLOSED on Monday, February 16th, in observance of the holiday.


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.

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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: 
Accessing the Online Calendar

A Message From Bree Mattson, 
Office & Events Manager

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

If you've visited the "My First U" section of our website and logged into our new ACS database, you may have noticed that you also have access to an online church calendar there. To view it, click on "Events." This will bring you to our space use calendar, which means it shows everything happening in all the spaces in the church. You can always login and check here if you are wondering where a meeting or event is being held.


You can also use this section to request a reservation! First, check the date and location to see if the space you'd like to reserve is available.
Then, follow these steps:

1) Click the "Add Event" button in the upper right corner

2) Select "Reservation Request."

3) Enter the information about your event date and time

4) Click "Add Location" and select your location from the dropdown menus

5) Enter details about your event, such set up and equipment

6) Click "Save"

7) You will see your event listed on the calendar as "Pending"

8) Wait for a confirmation from one of our reservations team
members. The space is not reserved until you have received

If you have any questions, please contact me at 612-825-1701 or



News & Announcements
We Need Your Feedback!

By Heidi Johnson,
Communications Manager

We need YOUR feedback on church communications! 

The staff at First Universalist Church are working on a communications audit so that we can learn more about the ways in which we all communicate here at First Universalist...

...which is where we need your help!  

We are gathering feedback from congregants. Click on this survey link to answer ten quick questions and give us your feedback about church communications, and any ideas that you may have for improving them:

This survey should take about 10 minutes to complete. 

Hurry!  This survey closes on Tuesday, February 17th!

Pledge Drive Kick-Off
By Marcia Wattson,
Pledge Team Member

Our 2015-2016 Pledge Campaign starts Sunday, February 22nd; make your pledge by Pledge Day, March 11th, to be eligible to win an IPad mini. Pledge packets will be distributed after church on February 22 and March 1 (if not picked up, they will be mailed). We will establish our budget this spring based on your generous pledges. 


* Make your pledge by Pledge Day, March 11, to be eligible to win an iPad mini;

* Pledge using automatic deduction; and,

* Consider making a multi-year pledge.

Automatic deduction helps the church to manage regular expenses, and helps you manage your budget and your pledge, saving you time to focus on other things. For those who are ready to "set it and forget it" for more than the coming year, we are making it possible for the first time to make a pledge for 2, 3 or more years. Two iPad minis will be given away at our Pledge Day celebration on March 11, one for all pledges submitted by that day, and one for pledges using automatic deduction. We are grateful for all people who pledge, contribute and serve in so many ways. 

Thank you for your generosity.

First Universalist Church Welcomes Dominique Wooten Feb 15th

This Sunday, February 15, the First Universalist Choir and Orchestra team up with tenor, Dominique Wooten to perform "Make Them Hear You" from the musical Ragtime, and Puccini's beloved aria "Nessun Dorma" from the opera Turandot.

Mr Wooten studied vocal performance at University of Northern Iowa. Originally from New Jersey, Dom has been in the Twin Cities for a little over three years. He has been seen on the Bloomington Civic Theater, Minnesota Opera, and Mill City Summer Opera stages in the choruses and various roles. This spring you can see Dom as Billy in Bloomington Civic Theater's Carousel.

This will be a collaboration not to be missed!

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!

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

New Art Exhibit:
Ann Popadiuk Larson

A new art exhibit will soon be 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.

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. She will be available to talk about her work after both services on Sunday, March 8.

Learn How to Make Your Own Paper Lantern!


First Universalist is hosting a free community lantern-making workshop leading up to the inaugural Mpls Lantern Fest, which will Light the Winter Night on February 21 from 5 pm - 8 pm in Downtown Minneapolis.

People of all ages and abilities are invited to come to the lantern workshop on Wednesday, Feb. 18 from 6 to 8 to learn to build a paper lantern with the help and guidance of In the Heart of the Beast Theatre teaching artists. Workshop participants will then convene at Mpls Lantern Fest with their illuminated lanterns to join in a movement of light beginning at 6 pm. The lantern you make is yours to take home afterwards.

Workshops are FREE and open to all ages and abilities, and all supplies are provided. HOBT teaching artists will be demonstrating how to construct the lanterns throughout each workshop, so drop by at any time.

Mpls Lantern Fest is produced by the Minneapolis Downtown Council in partnership with In the Heart of the Beast Puppet & Mask Theatre (HOBT). 

For more information, visit


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.


Unity Church welcomes Rev. Dr. S�ndor Kov�cs, Associate Professor of History at the Unitarian Seminary in Transylvania, who will visit Unity Church from February 18 through 22, offering two programs and preaching. S�ndor is well known to many who have traveled to Transylvania. He is an engaging speaker, extremely well-versed in the history of Unitarianism. He was among the first Bal�zs Scholars in the early 1990s and returns to Starr King for the current semester as professor in residence.


These events are held at Unity Church (733 Portland Avenue, St. Paul) and all are welcome. More information at:


Wednesday, February 18 * 7:15 p.m. * Foote Room

"Sharing the Journey: Religious Dissenters in Europe"

Stories of the relationship that developed between Hungarian Unitarians and their English speaking counterparts, including the joys and the struggles. This is a wonderful opportunity to go deeper in the story of our faith's European roots and to get to know international Unitarianism today.


Saturday Forum, February 21 * 10:00 a.m. * Parish Hall

"The Development of Unitarianism in Transylvania in 

the 16th Century"

All are welcome to this history lesson which will include time for questions.


Sunday Worship, February 22 * 9AM, 11AM., 4:30PM * Sanctuary

"Imagining Paradise"

An exploration of paradise - lost and found - with a uniquely Hungarian Unitarian approach.

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, Floyd E. Queeb, 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.
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.