First Universalist Church
February 19, 2015
Issue No. 7, Volume 2
In This Issue
Sunday Worship for February 22, 2015

Join Rev. Justin Schroeder for his sermon, "A Dangerous Faith".

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

Is Unitarian Universalism a 'safe' or a 'dangerous faith?' Over the centuries, we have been called heretics, dissenters, and free thinkers. In other words, we were often seen as 'dangerous people,' in a dangerous faith. But what about now? Are you still dangerous? 

This Sunday, we'll explore what it means to truly embrace the theological claims of Unitarian Universalism, and how our lives are upended and changed when we do so.


Service is at 9:30 and 11:15 AM


Did You Miss Last Sunday's Service?

We have podcasts available online of all of our sermons!  

To listen to Rev. Ruth MacKenzie preach "Make Them Hear You" this past Sunday, February 15th, click here.

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

Sharing the Love

By Kimberley Debus
Intern Minister at One Island Family, the Southernmost UU Congregation, Key West, Florida

Love is a way of life.

It should be how we make our way in the world. And truth be told, we should be preaching love every Sunday.

I think at our best, those who are fortunate enough to fill Unitarian Universalist pulpits each week are preaching love every Sunday. But sometimes we need to be woken up, given a spiritual wedgie, and reminded to actually talk about love, not just talk around it.

Love is vital to who we are as Unitarian Universalists. Many of our congregations use an affirmation each week that begins "Love is the doctrine of this church." Probably half our readings and hymns contain the word love. Others use "compassion," but I like the word "love." It's both simple and complex, particular and all encompassing...

(click HERE to read more)

Upcoming Events
Sunday, 3/8
Race: The Power of An Illusion, Part III, 1:00 PM, Cummins Room

Sunday, 3/8
Artist Reception for Ann Papadiuk Larson, after both services, 
Social Hall

Tuesday, 3/10
Race: The Power of An Illusion, Part III, 7:00 PM, Cummins Room

Wednesday, 3/11
Pledge Day, 7:00 AM - 9:00 PM, Social Hall


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


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

Housing Advocacy at First Universalist 
We are leveraging 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.

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!

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.

Celebrating Our Church

A Message From Richard Jaeger, 
Pledge Team Chair

This year the Pledge Drive will be short and fun. By the end of the day on Pledge Day we will need to have all pledges in so we can plan our 2015-2016 budget. This shaves two weeks off our usual Pledge Drive. It can work if we all step up and make our pledge by the end of Pledge Day. This is our responsibility.

After Sunday's service, be sure to pick up your pledge packet! Volunteers will be handing them out at the tables outside of the sanctuary immediately following the service. 


Pledge Day is on Wednesday, March 11th

From 7 am - 9 pm 

This is a day to reflect, pledge and celebrate your church. Breakfast, lunch and dinner will be served complements of fellow congregants. Planned giving team is sponsoring the breakfast, Barbara Melom and friends is sponsoring lunch and Geoff Lenox is leading the Choir in sponsoring the dinner. We are planning family friendly activities throughout the day. Look for a schedule of events coming soon at:

We are here because of the generosity of those around you now and those who came before you. 

We have four main goals for this 2015-2016 Pledge Drive:

1. Increase pledging to account for the elimination of RE Fees
2. Increase pledging to support the racial justice work within our walls and activism in our community. (Beacon Interfaith Housing Collaborative, trainings and events.)
3. Increase the number of members that pledge.
4. Increase the number of members that sign up for automatic payment.

We have so much to be grateful for and are well on our way to meeting these goals. Most of your fellow congregants on the Pledge Team and on the Board have committed to pledging 5% of their incomes to First Universalist Church. Not all of us could afford this level but we are all aspiring to reach it. 

Our church has grown in strength and influence and has become a force for change in the greater community. We are strong because of our beliefs and our mission. If we are to exercise our strength and live our mission we must all share the financial cost of our work. Use our Generosity Calculator in the Pledge section our website to help you discern how your beliefs and stewardship align. Think about the abundance you have and pledge. 

With gratitude, 

Richard Jaeger
Pledge Team Chair


News & Announcements
Introducing ACS:
Pledging & Setting Up Electronic Giving Online

By Brad Schmidt,
Assistant Finance Administrator 

This is part three of a three-part series exploring our new online ACS membership database. Part one was "Setting Up Your Profile", part two was "Accessing the Online Calendar", and part 3 is "Pledging & Setting Up Electronic Giving Online." 

This Sunday we are kick starting our annual pledge drive. New this year we are offering the option of making your pledge online. In addition, our new database system, ACS, allows members and friends of First Universalist to process online pledge payments.

There are two steps to the pledging process: making your pledge, and setting up your method of giving. Listed below are the steps to do both online, but please note that you can also set up your pledge and giving method by filling out a Pledge Card or by calling the church office at 612-825-1701 and making arrangements (ask to speak to Brad!)

To pledge online and set up an online gift, please follow these steps:

1) Click on the "My First U" tab from the First Universalist Church homepage. Select the option "to pledge online or make an electronic payment"

2) You are now on the electronic giving hub. Under the "For Members and Friends Looking to Pledge" title, follow the prompts to pledge online (you will automatically be directed to the online payment page after submitting your online pledge form)

It's as easy as that! If you have any questions about making your pledge or payment online, you can contact me at or call the church office at 612-825-1701.

General Assembly 2015

General Assembly (GA) is the annual meeting of our Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA). Attendees worship, witness, learn, connect, and make policy for the Association through democratic process. Anyone may attend but to be a delegate you must be a member of the church. 

General Assembly 2015
June 24-28, Portland, OR

The theme for GA 2015 is Building a New Way. Most events will be held in the Oregon Convention Center, 777 NE Martin Luther King Jr Blvd, Portland, OR 97232.

2015 schedule of events
Housing for General Assembly
Registration and Financial Aid
2015 Ware Lecturer Dr. Cornel West

If you have questions, or to sign up as a delegate, email:

Heritage Circle
By Peg Meier,
Member of the Planned Giving Committee

Not everyone has substantial assets to pass along someday to First Universalist. But perhaps you would like your will to include a legacy to help build the church's future. Any amount, no matter how small, is appreciated. As a retired Minnesota teacher put it, "My estate will never be large enough to build libraries, but it may be large enough to buy books for a library."

To learn how to structure such a legacy - or if the church is already in your will and you haven't NOTIFIED the office - please contact one of the ministers or Diane Gavere, the congregation's Director of Operations, at or 612-825-1701. Thank you for considering a gift, "for days you will never see."

The 2015 Minnesota UU Justice Forum
Saturday, February 28, from 1:00-5:00 PM
Hosted by First Universalist Church

In these turbulent times, as we watch people's movements for justice rise up powerfully around the country, people of faith are called to ask, "How can we be architects of the Beloved Community here on earth?" This spring, in the midst of this "movement moment" in the United States, MUUSJA invites you to join us as we build relationships beyond our congregations, deepen the spiritual grounding of our work for justice, and increase our capacity to live out our mission to "unleash courageous leadership and collective power to build a just and loving world."

The centerpiece of the first-annual 2015 Minnesota UU Justice Forum will be interactive workshop by author, educator and movement organizer Chris Crass:


WORKSHOP DESCRIPTION: We want to change the world. We want to live into the fullness of our purpose, build loving community, take effective action for social justice, and be part of people's movements that make history. We also know that we live in a deeply unequal society and that oppression, privilege and power profoundly impact our lives, faith work, and the world around us. This participatory workshop will focus on how we can help create supportive and healthy culture that enables more and more of us to be effective anti-oppression leaders in our congregations and communities.

Chris Crass is a longtime social justice organizer and anti-racist educator who has worked with Unitarian Universalists for over a decade supporting efforts to deepen UU anti-oppression social justice political education and action. He believes that the process of moving through fear into action to build our social change movements is a transformative spiritual journey- a journey that progressive/social justice spiritual leaders are both called to go through, and to support large numbers of other people to go through as well.

Registration is FREE!  Click here to register.

Spring Book Reads: 
Upcoming Learning Opportunities
By Elaine Aron-Tenbrink
Minister of Membership & Adult Ministries

Listed below are a number of upcoming learning opportunities at First Universalist Church.  

First Universalist Spring Book Reads
This Spring, we are offer two opportunities to read and reflect on what it means to be human together. Now is the time to get your hands on these books so that you can join us for rich conversations in March and April!

Being Mortal
By Atul Gawande
Thursday, March 19, 11am
Chalice Room

Join Daytime Connections, a community of people in the second half of life, as we reflect on the realities and limitations of modern medicine's approach to end-of-life care and consider Gawande's vision of how we could do better. This interactive presentation will run from 11am-12:30pm. All are warmly invited to share lunch afterwards; a $5 freewill donation is appreciated. RSVP to Rev. Elaine Aron Tenbrink at or 612-825-1701 x124.


What Does Justice Look Like?: 
The Struggle for Liberation in Dakota Homeland
By Waziyatawin
Sunday, April 12, 1pm OR Tuesday, April 14, 6:30pm
Cummins Room

During the past 150 years, the majority of Minnesotans have not acknowledged the immense and ongoing harms suffered by the Dakota People ever since their homelands were invaded over 200 years ago. Many Dakota people say that the wounds incurred have never healed, and it is clear that the injustices: genocide, ethnic cleansing, mass executions, death marches, broken treaties, and land theft; have not been made right. The Dakota People paid and continue to pay the ultimate price for Minnesota's statehood. What can we do to reverse the patterns of genocide and oppression, and instead to do justice with a depth of good faith, commitment, and action that would be genuinely new for Native and non-Native relations? Led by Suzanne Hay, Kayci Rush, and Rev. Justin Schroeder, racial justice facilitators trained by Dr. Heather Hackman.

Get To Know Your First U Staff!  
 Five Questions with Heidi Johnson

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 am the Communications Manager, and my job covers a little bit of everything.  It is never a dull moment, that is for sure!  I work closely with Ruth and the Worship Team on creating the Order of Service for Sunday's services, design and coordinate the publication of The Weekly Liberal, maintain and update the First Universalist Church website and social media accounts, post daily blog entries on the News & Updates section of the website, design and create content for various collateral materials of the church (new member brochures, annual report, etc.) and work closely with Justin and other staff members and lay leaders of the congregation on the communication aspects of various campaigns and programs (such as the Pledge Drive, AFA and Habitat for Humanity partnerships, etc.)

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

Like so many other staff members have said before me, the best thing about working at First Universalist really is the people: the passion, dedication, and creativity of the congregants, volunteers, and staff here is truly amazing.  I also like working at an organization where my personal morals and values are mirrored by and aligned with the mission and work of the staff and membership; I consider myself lucky to have a job where that exists.  

Tell us a little unknown fact about yourself that people might be surprised to learn.

When I lived in Hawai'i and worked as an events production manager, I literally joined the circus for a five-day period. One of the circus performers cut her foot on a beach in Waikiki, and her backup was one of the I then became the stagehand.

What fantastic music--songs, bands, albums, musicians, etc.--
do you think should be on everybody's playlist?

Oh no. How can I possibly keep this answer short, and prevent myself from rambling on? I guess I'll list my top five albums that have been in my Spotify rotation for the month of February: 1) Exile on Main Street by the Rolling Stones (a classic that I constantly return to); 2) Hail to the Thief by Radiohead (also one of the best concert tours I have ever seen live!); 3) This is All Yours by Alt-J (a fantastic sophomore album by a fantastic band); 4) ...Like Clockwork by Queens of the Stone Age (a 2013 release that I still can't get enough of), and 5) the entire David Bowie catalogue (because...Bowie. Enough said).

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

One of my rhetoric professors in grad school always used to say, "human beings are not rational...they are rationalizing", which has always stuck with me.

Housing Advocacy at First Universalist Church
Mid-February Housing Update

By Joan Naymark    


Housing Postcards
Done! Thank you, church! Our congregants signed over 200 Housing Advocacy postcards on February 8. Twin Cities Habitat will deliver our postcards to MN State Legislators this week in support of the housing funding bill. Your voices matter. Thank you, Housing Heros!

March 3, 2015
Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity is offering a twist to their annual advocacy event. Please join us for Habitat OFF the Hill - MN 2015! At this family friendly event, you will learn specifics about what is going on at the Capitol and how Twin Cities Habitat is working in partnership with Homes for All to support $39M for safe, stable, and affordable housing across the state. You will also be able to take action at that moment to contact your legislators.

Tuesday, MARCH 3, 2015
6:00PM - 8:30PM

Register to attend this event! Space is limited, so please register now. Appetizers will be served. Contact if you'd like to carpool to St. Paul for this event.

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. Together, you will address Affordable Housing, Homelessness, and share your experience as a member of First Universalist or with any of 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 Joan at 

Art Exhibit in Social Hall:
Ann Popadiuk Larson

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

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

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

Ann was previously a member of First Universalist, so she looks forward to reconnecting with church friends. She will be available to talk about her work after both services on Sunday, March 8.