First Universalist Church
November 25, 2014
Issue No. 9, Volume 1
In This Issue
Sunday Worship for November 30, 2014

Minister of Program Life, 
Rev. Jen Crow will be preaching "The More We Give Thanks" 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.


Guest Musician Larry Long


"Larry Long is doing what more singers and songwriters should be doing: using music to help people learn to work together, and bring a world of peace."

-Pete Seeger

Larry Long is an American singer-songwriter who has made his life's work the celebration of everyday heroes. His work has taken him from rural Alabama to the Lakota communities in South Dakota. He has given musical voice to struggling Midwest farmers, embattled workers, and veterans. He was the troubadour for peace on Soviet/American peace cruises, sang for Mrs. Rosa Parks at the 45th anniversary of the Montgomery Bus Boycott and organized the Mississippi River Revival, a decade long campaign to cleanup the Mississippi river. Long performed at Madison Square Garden with Joan Baez and others for Pete Seeger's 90th Birthday Celebration. Long's work in schools and communities sparked the creation of a non-profit organization, Community Celebration of Place, which creates intergenerational and multicultural opportunities for students to learn and grow through a program called Elders' Wisdom, Children's Song. For more
information, visit:


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, you can listen to the podcast from Rev. Justin Schroeder's sermon this past Sunday, "No Forwarding Address".

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

December Worship Theme:

"Slow Church"

In our commodified society, we are told over and over again that what we own is what we're worth, that "buying" some thing will bring happiness. In the ancient world, a form of "buying" meant buying back life, delivering a life from slavery based on the payment of a price by the redeemer. This form of buying was called redemption.  This month we will focus our attention on buying back our lives, of practicing redemption for our own lives and others. The first step in this exchange is slowing down. We will practice mindfulness, listening, and opening to the spirit. 


We will practice slow church.

Note: December worship resources from Rev. Ruth MacKenzie will be published in the December 4th edition of the Weekly Liberal!

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.

Wellspring Program

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!

Upcoming Events

Sunday, 12/7
Global Gift Fair
9:00 AM - 1:00 PM, Social Hall

Thursday, 12/18
Board of Trustees Meeting,
6:30 PM, Cummins Room

Friday, 12/19
Winter Solstice Ritual, 
7:00 PM, Sanctuary

Sunday, 12/21
Christmas Pageant, 
4:00 PM, Sanctuary

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

Augsburg Fairview Academy
Please consider a holiday donation to AFA students. Our goal is to give each student a $20 Target gift card--simple compassion for young people who seldom receive gifts and may not have a holiday celebration. Bring $20 Target gift card(s) to church on Sunday (give to Sandy at the Hub, Cindy Marsh, Pat Gottschalk or Joanne Engelking) or to the church office. Joanne spearheaded this effort last year and the students received them with great joy and thanks.

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. 

Thanks for your generosity! 
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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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.

Next on deck,
for The Weekly Liberal:

~ An update from the Community Investment Team

~ Upcoming volunteer opportunities at First Universalist

~ And much more!

The staff of First Universalist would like to wish everybody a safe and warm Thanksgiving holiday; we'll be back with the next edition of The Weekly Liberal on Thursday, December 4th.

Let The Question Be Called
A Message From Rev. Justin and Rev. Jen


As we rise today, we wake to an all to familiar reality. Be it in Ferguson or New York City, Cleveland or Sanford or right here in Minneapolis, a young black man is dead at the hands of a white person in power. Let us make no mistake--Ferguson is not only about Ferguson. Ferguson is about people of color being targeted and killed on a regular basis. Ferguson is about the soul of our country. It is a question about which way the arc of the universe will bend. It is about whether we will deepen the racial nightmare we've been living in for the past 400 years or find a way to create a world is which all might flourish.

So let this moment be a tipping point in your heart and in your faith. Let Michael Brown's death matter to you. Let every black and brown and white person's life and soul matter to you. Let the stories and the real human lives in to show us the truth that black and brown Americans have lived with for generations. And let the question be called. Will we stand together as a people of faith until justice rolls down like water for people of all colors? Will we stand together as people of faith until our country lives up to its promises and all might flourish? Let the question be called in your heart--and let us respond in love and hope.

In faith,

Revs. Justin Schroeder and Jen Crow


News & Announcements
34th Annual Winter Solstice

By Pam Vincent

Once again, the earth turns in her orbit, shortening the days and lengthening the nights. During this time of darkness, we gather again to reflect on what gifts come to us in times of darkness. What lies waiting for you? Come join us on Friday, Dec 19 as we sing, tell stories, and spend time in the dark. We honor the darkness, and celebrate the return of the light. The doors to the sanctuary open at 7 pm, and the Solstice ritual begins at 7:30. Please note that this service includes 12 minutes of complete darkness accompanied by the beat of a drum. This service may not be suitable for children under 7. Musical guests include Dick Hensold and Oasis, an a capella trio led by Mary Bohman. Following the service, please join in the merriment in the Social Hall, with ginger cookies and dancing.

Please consider baking some ginger cookies, or helping to set out and replenish cookies and water, clean up, and greeting.  Contact Pam at or 612-615-6085 if you are interested in volunteering.

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 Office & Building Hours
By Bree Mattson,
Office & Events Manager
The church office and building will be closed all day this Thursday, November 27 and Friday, November 28 for Thanksgiving. Regular hours will resume on Sunday, November 30.

In December, the office will be closed from December 22 - January 3. It will reopen for regular hours Sunday, January 4. The building will be closed on December 25, December 26, half of December 31 and all of January 1.

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.

Get To Know Your First U Staff!  
 Five Questions with Tracy Van Eps

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 the Facility Manager, it is my job to make sure that the day-to-day events are set up and ready to go, and that the building is clean, safe, and comfortable. I work with staff, church members, groups, and city officials to ensure the building is safe and up to code. I also work with a variety of vendors to get projects done, or I do them myself.

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

I enjoy the challenge older buildings present and the ways you have to come up with solutions to problems. I also enjoy working with staff and the congregation to come up with ways to overcome challenges. I like that I work with a church community that acts on their words--i.e., The House That Love Built--and that love does matter. It is also nice to be a part of a staff that works so hard to see the church's work made into reality, and to know that my feelings and opinions matter.

What are your top five favorite foods?  

Tuna casserole, fruit salad, potato salad, canatos (a family dish,) and steamed crab legs.

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

I would like to be able to have a holiday dinner with my mother and father, who have passed. Also, at the same dinner, to meet for the first time my four half brothers and sisters.

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

A classic book to keep my mind active, music to keep my soul alive.

Did You Know? 

By Rev. Jen Crow,
Minister of Program Life

Did you know that in the 2013-14 church year, our congregation gave away over $225,000 to support organizations in our community that put our values into action? 

These gifts came through our Sunday morning plate collections, our holiday giving, and grants made by the First Universalist Foundation. 

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.

Children, Youth, & Family Ministries at First Universalist Church 

My Church: A Religious Education Snapshot

By Lauren Wyeth,
Director of Children, Youth, & Families 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 6th grader.

In 6th grade, our kids transition from elementary school-age Religious Education (RE) to their introductory year of youth programming. Sixth graders are in middle school now, and in the midst of big changes as their relationships with peers and parents evolve. Though they still enjoy some of the Sunday morning rituals they've known since preschool, 6th graders demand that their RE lessons keep up with their expanding awareness of the world, support their developing sense of personal identity, and honor their desire for agency in their own lives. They are excited about being visible and valued as they serve and inspire the congregation.

And so their year kicks off with a curriculum we've created called Taking Our Place, which introduces various aspects of church life, including hospitality, pastoral care, stewardship, worship and social justice. Each unit begins with an overview of the theme, but quickly moves to a project or activity that teaches through the context of experience. Already this year, 6th graders have conducted a hospitality survey, educated the congregation and sold fair-trade chocolate for Halloween, hosted an info table and bake sale in support of environmental justice and animal rights, made crafts to sell at the annual church auction event, and prepared a presentation on Guest at Your Table for the Kindergarten and 1st graders. Soon they'll be making costumes for the Christmas Pageant!

From January through May, sixth graders will participate in Rites of Passage, another program we designed in response to their unique needs. Together, they cement their knowledge of Unitarian Universalism, practice communication and deep listening skills, initiate intimate conversations with their parents, explore a personal spiritual practice, and write "elevator speeches." They covenant with their families to take on a significant new responsibility at home - and to receive a significant new privilege - as a sign of their increasing maturity. 

In the final week of the church year, parents and youth participate in a Rites of Passage ritual, with a slide show of the kids' growing-up years, presentation of their elevator speeches, a promise to take care of one another as they navigate middle school and high school in religious community, and a blessing of the group. After the ritual, the class walks to a local coffee shop unaccompanied, symbolically entering the world as youth - no longer children - and charged with carrying their values and our love with them.

This is the kind of care and attention we seek to provide our young people at critical points in their spiritual development. By acknowledging important milestones, expecting youth to contribute and engage deeply, and trusting them, we discover that something counterintuitive happens: they turn toward us, seeking encouragement, wisdom and guidance, and our connection with them stays strong even as their independence grows. 


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.

Racial Justice Web Source


By Heidi Johnson,

Communications Manager


We are excited to share with you the new online hub for our racial justice work at First Universalist Church, which can be found here:


This section of our website is dedicated to racial justice programs & events, sermons, resources, news, and general information relating to our racial justice commitment and activism.


Be sure to check in regularly, as we will be updating content on a weekly basis.  The 2015 programming for racial justice trainings, events, film & book discussions will be posted in December 2014: stay tuned!





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