First Universalist Church
November 20, 2014
Issue No. 8, Volume 1
In This Issue
Sunday Worship for November 23, 2014

Senior Minister Rev. Justin Schroeder will be preaching "No Forwarding Address" at both services. To view the Order of Service online, click here.


Service is at 9:30 and 11:15 AM. The church office is open from 8:00 AM--1:00 PM on Sundays.


New Members Ceremony

Please join us in welcoming our new members this Sunday, in our New Member Welcome Ceremony.


Parking information, maps, and directions to First Universalist can be found by clicking here. 


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, "Love and the Body":

"The experience of deep connection with others, with our selves, with the cosmos - this, according to author and researcher, Barbara Fredrickson, is the signature of love, and it's in our DNA."

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

November Worship Theme:

"Fearfully and Wonderfully Made"

In one of the most beautiful biblical passages, the psalmist states: "For it was you who formed my inward parts; you knit me together in my mother's womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; that I know very well. (Ps 139: 13-14)" This month we recognize, accept and cherish that we have our being in a body, fearfully and wonderfully made. We age. We have limitations. We have gifts. We experience one another and ourselves in body and spirit. This month we explore our being in a body.

Resources from Rev. Ruth MacKenzie:

by Jon Kabat-Zinn 

Stress. It is everywhere around us. Even worse, it gets inside us: sapping our energy, undermining our health, and making us more vulnerable to anxiety, depression, and disease. Now, based on Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn's renowned mindfulness-based stress reduction program, this groundbreaking book shows you how to use natural, medically proven methods to soothe and heal your body, mind, and spirit. 

by John Phillip Newell

Few issues have caused the church more difficulty through the ages than those surrounding the human body. Throughout much of Christian history, spiritual seekers have considered the body to be, at best, a hindrance to spiritual enlightenment, and, at worst, an enemy to be suppressed. Many of our contemporary negative preoccupations with physical appearance, image, and sexuality derive from this ancient and habitual denial of the notion that we were created in God's image.
In Echo of the Soul bestselling author J. Philip Newell finds that the human body, like creation, is actually the dwelling place of God. Using the Old Testament Wisdom literature, which informed Celtic spirituality's positive understanding of what it means to be human, Newell looks at each part of the body as a sacred text that reveals something of the Divine. Looking back to a time before Christians began to distrust their physicality, Newell shows that our most ancient texts challenge modern assumptions about love, beauty, sexuality, learning, wisdom, power, and responsibility, and bridges the body/spirit divide.

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

Thursday, 11/20
Board of Trustees Meeting, 
6:30 PM, Cummins Room

Sunday, 11/23
New Member Ceremony, 
9:30 AM and 11:15 AM, Sanctuary

Sunday, 11/23
Senior High Fundraising Pie Sale, 9:00 AM, Social Hall

Sunday, 12/7
Global Gift Fair, 9:00 AM, 
Social Hall

Annual Winter Solstice

Once again, we will honor and celebrate the turning of the year, during the longest nights in December. Our Solstice ritual this year is Friday, Dec 19 (please note the date change). The evening features chants, a story that leads us into darkness, time spent in the dark, and celebrates the return of the light.


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

Augsburg Fairview Academy
A big thank you to the Circle Supper participants who held a food drive for the AFA Hope Food Closet at the Circle Supper kick-off meeting November 8.  We received a bounty of  fruit cups; granola bars and other  snack items; mac and cheese, soups,  and other meals; and toiletries. 

Thanks also to all congregants who have generously donated items each week.  Donations for the Hope Food Closet can be brought to the Hub on Sundays or left in the AFA storage area in the Welcome Center at any time.   If you are interested in volunteering in the Hope Food Closet (giving out snacks and food to students) on week day afternoons,
contact Cindy Marsh at:  
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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The Weekly Liberal from First Universalist Church in your inbox every Thursday!

2014-15 Annual Events

Our 2014-2015 schedule of Annual Events is available online!  

NEW! Winter Schedule
The 2014 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.
Senior Minister
Rev. Justin Schroeder

Minister of Program Life
Rev. Jen Crow

Minister of Worship Arts and Coming of Age
Rev. Ruth MacKenzie

Minister of Membership and Adult Ministries 
Rev. Elaine Aron Tenbrink

Director of Operations
Diane Gavere

Director of Children, Youth, & Family Ministries
Lauren Wyeth

For additional staff contact information, click here.

The Weekly Liberal is compiled and edited by Communications Manager Heidi Johnson. To submit an article or announcement for publication in The Weekly Liberal, please fill out the online submission form here

Please note that edits for content and/or length may occur. Additional information about publication deadlines, submission requirements, and policies can be found in the communications section of our website.  

Any questions, comments, or concerns about The Weekly Liberal or church communications in general can be directed to:  
Next Up For 
The Weekly Liberal
As you might 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.

Up on deck, for next week:

~ Holiday office hours

~ Five Questions with Staff Member Tracy Van Eps

~ My Church: A Religious Education Snapshot

...and much more!

Praying For One Another
By Rev. Justin Schroeder, Senior Minister


I begin most mornings with writing, prayer, and meditation. I wish peace, comfort, health, and well-being for those I know--family, friend, and church members--and for those I know of--community members, neighbors, those around the state, country, and world. 


Today, I prayed for the people of Ferguson, Missouri. I sent my love and deep cherishing to all those who are exhausted, angry, heartbroken, loving, and committed to creating a better world. I sent my prayers to all those in our community who continue to work for racial justice, linked through time and space to our brothers and sisters in Ferguson. 

As I said on Sunday, you don't have to believe in God to pray. Prayer can simply be your intentional blessings for another; prayer can be your deep cherishing of another; prayer can be your way to witness and love the life of another. Pray can also invoke the Spirit of Life, can call upon a love beyond belief to hold us up when we are weary and without hope. 

Who have you prayed for lately? What family members, children, friends, or neighbors, could use your prayers? What about your spouse, or partner? What about yourself? Might you reach out to another and ask for prayer?

Prayer may not change the world, but it certainly changes us--the one blessed by the prayer and the one who does the praying.  On this day, my prayer for all those is this: "May you be free from suffering. May you awaken to the gifts that this day offers. May your love reach out to those around you. May you know yourself loved."

I'll see you in church,

News & Announcements
Environmental Justice Meeting

By Rev. Jen Crow,
Minister of Program Life

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 on Monday, December 1st from 7-8:30 PM as we continue to map out our work for environmental justice.

Holiday Schedule for The Weekly Liberal
By Heidi Johnson,
Communications Manager

With consideration of the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays, please note the following changes:

For next week (Thanksgiving week), the Weekly Liberal will be published two days earlier than usual, on Tuesday, November 25th.

For the weeks of December 22 and December 29, the Weekly Liberal will not be published.  The means the last issue of 2014 will be published on Thursday, December 18th.

The Weekly Liberal will return in 2015 on January 8th.

The 2014 Global Gift Fair
By Marjie Smith

On Sunday, December 7th, thirteen local groups will be giving you the opportunity to shop for goods. They will be selling crafts/clothing/food from different parts of the world and will be using the proceeds to benefit people of the wider community. This event will take place in the Social Hall from 9:00 AM to 1:00 PM. Join us!

2014-2015 Winter Worship Schedule

We are excited to announce that the 2014-2015 Winter Worship Schedule is now online!

For information about monthly worship themes, weekly sermons, sharing Sundays, multigenerational worship, youth-friendly worship, and upcoming annual events, click here to view.

Paper copies will also be made available at Sunday services and at the church office.

Will 'Rise Up Singing' Rise Up Again?


Dear Friends,

Rise Up Singing has had a long and fruitful history at First Universalist Church. It was started in 1997 by Mark Seaburg as host, and lasted nine years, until Mark moved away to California. 

After a two year hiatus, I restarted the group in 2009. During these times many wonderful musical moments happened, friendships were forged and a good time was had by all. It is with a bit of sadness that I must now bid farewell to Rise Up Singing at First Universalist, as I have other needs to serve. I do hold hope that it will Rise Again in another good souls hands. Thank you to all the singers and musicians for giving your hearts in song for all these years. Thank you to the church for being generous hosts and for giving us a space to make beautiful music.

Allan Steinhauer


Time for Giving and Gratitude
By Marcia Wattson, Pledge Team Member

On Thursday, November 13, many of us made online donations to support "Give to the Max" to support nonprofits, schools and religious organizations doing work we believe is important. Emails, Tweets and Facebook posts touted the value and importance of giving to causes we care about. Last Saturday we dedicated The House That Love Built and celebrated our church auction as a time to enjoy food, fellowship, and fundraising to support the church budget. 

As we enter the holiday season of Thanksgiving, I hope you will enjoy this time with friends and family and also take some time to reflect on how First Universalist Church contributes to your sense of values, purpose and belonging. I know I am grateful for the place this community holds in my life and for all the ministers, leaders, members, staff, and volunteers who have contributed so much to sustaining the flame of First Universalist for 155 years. May we continue our work and our vision with generosity and gratitude.

Did You Know? 

By Heidi Johnson,
Communications Manager

Did you know that the our church website has a "news" section on our main navigational bar?  This feature is updated regularly, and can be accessed simply by visiting our homepage at In this section you will find links to our daily blog, PDF downloads of important documents, upcoming events, and more.

Get To Know Your First U Staff!  
 Five Questions with Rev. Elaine Aron Tenbrink

Every few weeks, we will be featuring a staff member in this section answering a few questions about their job (and a few fun questions, too!)

Tell us a about your job.  What do you do here at First Universalist Church?

As Minister of Adult Ministries, my job is to create opportunities for deeper spiritual engagement and to support our lay leaders in making these ministries happen.   I coordinate our Circles, which are small groups of 8-10 people who gather to reflect on a topic of spiritual import, whether it's the Sunday worship service (Community Circles), a spiritual practice or a topic (Spiritual Deepening Circles) or support through a hard time (Caring Circles).  I also work with our Senior Advisory Team, young adults,  Welcome Teams, and Wellspring groups.  As Minister of Membership, I'm honored to welcome newcomers, help them to get connected, and support them in discerning whether First Universalist could be their church home.  

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

I get to work with the most open-hearted and committed lay leaders.   I love the opportunity to hear people's stories and wisdom through our circles.  I'm inspired by the question "Where is Love calling you next?" and by the honesty and depth that I encounter in our leadership, our worship services, and all facets of church.  I love the strong culture of collaboration, commitment, and humor among the staff. 

What are your top five favorite foods?  

Spicy pickles, cream cheese frosting, the chocolate frosting from Wuollet,  a "christmas" (red and green chile) breakfast burrito, hash browns with onions that are almost burned. 

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

I have two passports: One from the U.S. and one from Israel.

And lastly, where is your favorite place to be in the world?

Walking on a warm, starry night with someone I love.

Interfaith Thanksgiving Service


Temple Israel is hosting this year's Interfaith Service on Thursday, November 27, at 10 AM. Temple Israel is located at 2324 Emerson Avenue South.

The Reverend Dr. Jim Gertmenian will preach; his sermon is titled "The Nature of the Feast." An a cappella group, Joyful Noize, will provide special music. Several of the Downtown Clergy will be in attendance and will participate in the service.

Parking is available on the west side of Temple, with entrance from Fremont Avenue.

All are welcome.

Operations at First 
Universalist Church: 

Get To Know Front Desk Volunteer Earl Stanhope

By Bree Mattson, 
Office & Events Manager

More often than not, when you come into the church office, you'll find Earl Stanhope. Earl came to First Universalist looking for change in his life and a home, and he found both those things. 


Two years ago, he became a member just a few months after visiting for the first time. He began volunteering at the front desk around the same time. Earl likes being the first person visitors see and loves working with all the people here--members, staff and visitors. Earl spends a lot of time at church: he also volunteers to teach a kindergarten RE class on Sundays, is currently going through the Racial Justice training program, and is in a Community Circle. He is also involved in a variety of activities and organizations in the community, including most recently serving as an election judge. 


In the little free time he has, Earl is a self described "movie junkie" and prefers historically based stories. His three favorite movies are The Shawshank Redemption, Malcolm X, and Tombstone, which he loves to talk to anyone about. We are grateful for Earl and the energy, humor and friendly spirit he brings to the office!


Connect with UU Wellspring


By Kristi Fuller


UU Wellspring™ is a 10-month program of Unitarian Universalist spiritual development developed in 2005 by Rev. Jen Crow in her prior position at First Unitarian Church of Rochester (NY). The nationwide program, now administered out of First Universalist, has grown to include four separate years of curriculum. To date, Wellspring groups have been offered in 26 UU churches from coast to coast. This year, 14 different UU churches are running Wellspring groups, including First Universalist. 

Are you thinking about signing up for UU Wellspring next fall, when registration opens again? Are you a current or past Wellspring participant who is looking for a continued source of inspiration, Wellspring-style? Check out the UU Wellspring website,, which features a frequently updated blog. Also, like Wellspring on Facebook. Look for UU Wellspring: Spiritual Deepening for Unitarian Universalists-- you might just see a few familiar faces!


An Into to Unitarian Universalism's Wellspring Program
An Into to Unitarian Universalism's Wellspring Program


Upcoming Habitat for Humanity Volunteer Opportunities

It would be hard to top The House that Love Built. It is inevitable that our relationship with Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity will down-size in 2015. However the history of our partnership is long and First Universalists' commitment to Habitat is strong. Here are some upcoming volunteer opportunities for participation from our congregation:

Day of Service
Saturday, March 14, 2015

First Universalist will provide work crews for three Habitat building sites on this day. This is a commitment of 45 volunteers (15 per site). We will also need volunteers to provide lunch for the workers at each site. Please contact Peter Styx via email at or by phone at 952-210-8049 if you are interested.

August Work Week
(dates TBD)

During August work week First Universalist provides all the volunteers for a Habitat site for one week. This is a commitment of 75 volunteers (15 per day) as well as volunteers to provide lunch for each day. Please contact Geoff Lenox via email at or by phone at 952-210-9869 if you are interested.

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