August 20, 2015  |  Vol. 2 No. 25
A Question and a Blessing

Rev. Jen Crow
What would it mean to loosen your grip?

To let go of what you are sure of, what you've been taught, what they said was true?

What would it mean to loosen your grip? To hold truth lightly, expansively with palms open and fingers reaching and outstretched, knowing only that there is more beyond the boundaries of what you know?

What could it mean to loosen our grip? To hold our very lives lightly, with gratitude and joy, hope and possibility, not knowing what will happen next, but trusting we can hold it all?

What would it mean to hold our very lives lightly - knowing our place in the family of things, one among many, unique and beautiful with our particular role to play - open, loving, curious.

May the questions come this week, loosening our grip and opening our hearts. May the questions come, expanding our stories, stretching our hands, growing our sense of family to include this whole beautiful and broken world. May love be in your hands and in your hearts.

In faith,
Rev. Jen

Sunday Worship at First Universalist
Worship this Sunday
August 23, 10am
Blessing of the Backpacks
Wisdom Story: "We're Gonna Need a Bigger Tree" 
Lauren Wyeth
Homily: "Walking Willingly"
Rev. Ruth MacKenzie
Backpack Blessing:
Rev. Jen Crow
Children & youth are encouraged to wear their backpacks. Are you able to donate a backpack for AFA students too? Learn more here or see article below. 

Looking Ahead:
Sunday, Aug. 30, 10 a.m.
Sunday, Sept. 6, 10 a.m.
"'There is Power in a Union:' A Theology of Labor"
Ashley Horan
Miss a Past Sermon?
August 16, 2015
"Falling into Questions"
Rev. K.P. Hong

August 9, 2015
"The Sacred and the Mundane"
Rev. Elaine Aron Tenbrink

August 2, 2015
"Sources of Transformation"
Arif Mamdani
Upcoming Events
Backpack Blessing Service
Sunday, Aug. 23, 10am
This multigenerational service will offer children, youth, and adults the opportunity to reflect upon how we might carry the love of our church community and tools of our faith with us wherever we go. Children and youth are encouraged to wear their school backpacks to church so that we can include them in the Backpack Blessing ritual.
Lake Harriet 
Worship and Potluck
Sunday, Aug. 30, 10am
Join us for an energizing worship service and potluck picnic at the Lake Harriet Bandshell! We'll enjoy tunes from the Universal Rock Band, an inspiring message from Rev. Jen Crow, and a delicious potluck picnic afterwards. Please note: this will be our only worship service that Sunday.
Art Exhibit of Hiroshima Children's Drawings
On View Sundays, Sept. 6 - Oct. 25, 9am-1pm
Inspired by the powerful documentary, "Pictures from a Hiroshima Schoolyard," the exhibit includes a selection of original 1947 drawings by children from Hiroshima. Learn about the UU connection to this story of peace and reconciliation.

Backpacks for Augsburg Fairview Academy Students
New and gently used backpacks are needed for Augsburg Fairview Academy (AFA) high school students! We're also accepting donations of school supplies, gently used clothing (should be clean and something that teens will wear), and carry-able food for the students. First Universalist Church supports AFA as part of our racial justice and housing ministry. We provide supplies for a food and clothing closet, as well as serving as tutors and classroom assistants. Students prefer black or neutral colors (and want to avoid gang colors like bright red, blue and green). Please consider bringing a backpack or other items to donate on Sunday, Aug. 23 - our second annual Backpack Blessing Sunday.
Next Newcomer Circle Begins Sept. 2 - Sign Up Now!
Community Circles Logo
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 Wednesdays, Sept. 2, 9, 16, and 23 from 7-8:30 p.m. Registration is required; you can sign up at the Information table in the social hall or by emailing
Join the First Universalist Choir! Opening Potluck 8/26
The First Universalist Choir is open to anyone who has a love for singing and wishes to participate during worship services. Prior experience and ability to read music are helpful, but not necessary. The choir rehearses Wednesday evenings from 7-9 p.m., and sings in worship twice a month. Our opening potluck is Wednesday, Aug. 26 at 7 p.m., and you are invited! Email with any questions. 

Can't make an extended commitment? Or perhaps you'd like to try it out first? Sing with the Summer Choir on August 23! Rehearsal is at 9 a.m. on the day of the service, and music is easy enough to learn in the one rehearsal. More info:
Knitting Our Lives Together: Crocheting & Knitting in Community - First Session is Sept. 1
"In the rhythm of the needles, there is music for the soul."
Join members and friends of First Universalist for knitting and crocheting on the first and third Tuesdays of the month in room 208 from 7 to 8:45 p.m. This is a drop-in group and our first session will be on Tuesday, Sept. 1.
Knitters often feel a special bond with each other. We hope that doing our craft in a group setting will give us an opportunity to share from our lives and learn from each other. Novice knitters are welcome. The group should be able to answer any questions.
Some of us will be doing knitting for charities, including the Mother Bear Project, the Hats for the Homeless Project, and the church's comfort shawl knitting. We will have patterns, and will sometimes have yarn and needles available to share. Contact Valerie Garber at with any questions.
"Pictures from a Hiroshima Schoolyard"
Reception, Film Screening, and Exhibition
First Universalist Church is proud to host an exhibit and film screenings of the inspiring documentary "Pictures from a Hiroshima Schoolyard" next month.
Mark your calendar and join us for a special reception and screening with the film's director and producer present on Sunday, Sept. 20 at 12:15 p.m. The film will be shown at 12:45 p.m. A second screening will also be offered at 4 p.m. The reception is sponsored by the Association of Universalist Women.

On this 70th anniversary of the atomic bombing that ended World War II, we ask ourselves, "How could the children of Honakawa School create such joyful, colorful drawings while living among the ruins of Hiroshima in 1947? The powerful documentary "Pictures from a Hiroshima Schoolyard," is an inspiring story of how one Unitarian Universalist minister's critique of the atomic bomb led to post-war gifts to Hiroshima school children and the cycle of peace and reconciliation that followed. The film introduces the children artists, now in their late 70s, who reflect on their early lives amidst the atomic rubble of their destroyed city and the hope they shared through their art. 

In a postwar response for help in 1946, All Souls Church, Unitarian in Washington, D.C., collected and sent a half ton of school materials to Hiroshima schools. Pictures by the schoolchildren, drawn with these gifts of paints, crayons, pencils and paper, were sent back to All Souls as a thank you for the materials. The children's pictures were received gratefully and then placed in a drawer. In 1995, the drawings were re-discovered and professionally restored. In 2010, as a message of peace and reconciliation, members of All Souls Church took the pictures back to Hiroshima where they were reunited with the artists in an exhibit in the very building where they were created.

Drawings in the exhibition are from All Souls Church, Unitarian, Washington D.C. Sponsored by the U.S.-Japan Foundation. Support comes from the Saint Paul-Nagasaki Sister City Committee and First Universalist member Lynn Elling.
Volunteers Rejuvenate Seasonal Storage Room
Front to back: Bill McTeer, Lisa Sinclair, Karen Parson, Geoff Lenox, and Chuck Coskran.
A team of volunteers recently completed a renovation of the seasonal storage room, located on the third floor behind the sanctuary. There aren't any before pictures (that we know of), but the team says that the room was a mess and that there was a lot of damage to the floors and walls!

One of the main jobs was to remove the old tile flooring and repair the damaged floor. In the photo, a group of five of the volunteers can be seen laying down the new flooring. Overall, about 250 hours of volunteer labor and about $700 of expenses went into fixing up the room. Bill McTeer estimates that if we had contracted the work out, it would have cost $10,000. 

The team of volunteers who worked on the room includes: Bill McTeer, Bob Friedman, Chuck Coskran, Karen Parson, Dennis Sherwood, Lisa Sinclair, Tom Saterstrom, Bill Lewis, Peter and Ann Styx, Geoff Lenox, Eric Berglund, and Hal Schroer. Thank you so much for all of your hard work!
Front Desk Office Volunteer Needed
Earl Stanhope is part of our wonderful
team of front desk volunteers.
The first impression many visitors get of our church is from the smiling faces they see when they walk into our office. We're looking for a friendly and reliable volunteer to join our reception team on Tuesday afternoons, starting Sept. 1. The shift time is noon to 4 p.m.

Represent First Universalist by greeting visitors, answering phones, monitoring doors and helping out with projects, all while spending time in a vibrant and welcoming office environment. If you are interested in volunteering or learning more, please contact Chelsea Bertsch, Administrative Assistant, at 612-825-1701 or

News in Brief
Shifts in Staff Responsibilities
Many of our church staff have taken on new responsibilities this summer, and we have had the joy of welcoming several new members to our staff team. Please take a moment to view our staff bios and staff organizational chart, and be sure to welcome our new staff members to this wonderful community. 
The Daytime Connections advisory team has prepared a brief survey to assist in program planning. Please watch for an emailed or mailed survey, and tell us your program preferences and ideas. Thanks so much for your time and interest!
Amazon Smile
Do you ever shop on Amazon? Did you know you can support First Universalist when you do? 

Amazon donates 0.5% of the price of eligible purchases to First Universalist when you shop on AmazonSmile. It's the same Amazon - products and prices - except that First Universalist benefits when you shop!

Learn more
"My First U" Online Member Directory
Have you registered yet?
Did you know? Using our online database, you can access First Universalist's membership directory, create and update your profile, view our space use calendar & make reservations, and manage your pledge payments. 
Welcoming Temple Israel
This month, we welcome Temple Israel's Early Childhood Center to First Universalist. They'll be using downstairs classrooms and the Chalice Room on weekdays for the coming year while their spaces are being renovated. Expect it to feel a little busier than normal around the church on weekday mornings and afternoons! 
Community Bulletin Board
Laura Smidzik Ordination
Saturday, Sept. 19, 2 p.m.
Laura served as our ministerial intern during the 2012-13 church year, and Rev. Jen Crow will be delivering the Charge to the Minister at Laura's ordination. For childcare, contact by Sept. 12.
Ashley Horan Ordination
Saturday, Oct. 3, 2 p.m.
Ashley Horan is the Executive Director of MUUSJA, the Minnesota Unitarian Universalist Social Justice Alliance. 
Pastoral Care
Let Us Keep You In Our Thoughts & Prayers
If you are experiencing a crisis or transition, or celebrating a joy, please let us know. 
To be included in our Cycle of Life each Sunday in worship, contact Sandy DiNanni at or 612-825-1701. If you would like support, contact Rev. Jen Crow at or 612-825-1701 or any member of our Pastoral Care Team.
Contact Us
First Universalist Church of Minneapolis
3400 Dupont Ave. S.
Minneapolis, MN 55408
For staff contact information, please visit our Ministers and Staff page.
Weekly Liberal Submissions
We encourage you to submit news!
Do you have an announcement or photo that you would like published in The Weekly Liberal? Please fill out our online submission form. Edits for length and/or content may occur.
The Weekly Liberal is compiled and edited by Communications Manager Jenn Stromberg. Past issues, information about publication deadlines, submission requirements, and policies can be found on our website
Church Office Hours
8 a.m.-1 p.m.
8:30 a.m.-8 p.m.
Closed Fridays and Saturdays

Join Our Mailing List
Subscribe to The Weekly Liberal by clicking here.
Receive our weekly Children Youth & Family Ministries news by signing up here.
First Universalist Church of Minneapolis
3400 Dupont Avenue S.
Minneapolis, MN 55408


Copyright 2015. All Rights Reserved.