November 5, 2015  |  Vol. 2 No. 36
From "Trick or Treat" to Christmas Specials:
Walking Mindfully Toward the Holidays
By Reverend Justin Schroeder, Senior Minister
Rev. Justin Schroeder

This past Sunday, I couldn't believe my eyes. No, it wasn't the huge pile of candy loot our son had collected the night before. It was the ads in the Sunday paper. Ads for "Pre-Black Friday Sales." Ads for Christmas. Ads for trees, wreaths and other decorations. Never mind Thanksgiving; it seemed we had just jumped from Halloween to Christmas.

It's moments like this when I am grateful to serve a faith community that invites us to reconsider our relationship with the winter holidays, and Christmas in particular.

Two years ago, we invited the whole congregation to transform their relationship with the holidays, and to take a step back from the consumption that can be such a big part of the season. We invited individuals and families to become a living embodiment of the holidays - to cut their holiday spending in half - so that together, we could give a great gift to our community, caring for the most vulnerable among us, allowing hope and possibility to blossom in a season of darkness.

Two years ago, we bought less. We got creative with our gift giving. We invited friends and extended family to join us in turning the holidays into an opportunity to serve something so much greater than ourselves. Together, by re-directing half of what we would have spent on the Holidays, we raised $115,000 for the "House that Love Built," becoming a lead sponsor of a Habitat for Humanity home.

This holiday season, we are inviting you to once again re-imagine your relationship with the holidays. This year, our Holiday Giving Recipient is Beacon Interfaith Housing Collaborative, and we hope to raise $70,000 to help youth, families, and formerly incarcerated men know the gift of home.  

The flurry of Christmas ads has begun, which means now is the time to begin to walk mindfully toward the holidays, having life-giving conversations with family, friends, and loved ones, asking, "How might we live into the true meaning of the season and live out our values?" "What gifts of time and presence might we share with one another that would be more valuable than material things?" "How might we reduce our consuming this season?"

These are the questions we can ask together, as we seek to be a blessing in our wider community.

I'll see you in church!
Worship this Sunday
Nov. 8, 9:30 & 11:15 a.m.
Crossing Borders: Sunday Worship Led by the People of Color Community Circle
We are a radically inclusive group of Unitarian Universalists that identify as People of Color. 
The service will address the borders that we face in a white UU space, and our work with Marie Michael, a colleague of Heather Hackman, who has presented and facilitated Learning Sessions for the POC Circle since last year.
Guest Musicians: Mankwe Ndosi and William Heru Harris a.k.a Truth Maze.
November Worship Theme:
Border Crossing
"Border crossing - or moving beyond our personal, social, and cultural experience of the world and experiencing life from another vantage point - is spiritual work." 

Looking Ahead

Nov. 15, 9:30 & 11:15 a.m.
Rev. Elaine Aron Tenbrink
Nov. 22, 9:30 & 11:15 a.m.
Rev. Justin Schroeder
Miss a Recent Sunday?
Nov. 1, 2015
"Living Portraits, Living Profiles"
Rev. Ruth MacKenzie

Oct. 25, 2015
"Nurture Your Spirit, Heal the World"
Rev. Justin Schroeder

Oct. 18, 2015
"Choices, Choices, Choices"
Rev. Justin Schroeder
Guest Musicians this Sunday, Nov. 8
Mankwe Ndosi.
Photo by Andrea Canter.
This Sunday, we welcome guest musicians Mankwe Ndosi and William Heru Harris a.k.a. Truth Maze.

Mankwe Ndosi is celebrated for a sound and practice that spans genres and disciplines: celebrating influences from Jazz and African legacies, Hip Hop and Soul, performance art, theater, public art and improvisation. Of Tanzanian and African American heritage, Ndosi calls herself "a Culture Worker - an artist using creative practice to nurture and be useful to my community, my ancestors, and my planet."

William Heru Harris a.k.a. Truth Maze.
William Heru Harris a.k.a. Truth Maze is a Hip Hop 
Scholar and Pioneer, Universal Zulu Nation member, a Teaching Artist, a Beat boxer, Poet, Musician (Percussionist), and Events Producer/Host who has been a seminal figure in expanding the reach and influence of Black and African culture in the Twin Cities.

We hope you'll join us on Sunday!
Join us on Friday, Nov. 6 for a Conversation with
Debby Irving, Author of "Waking Up White"
All are welcome to join us tomorrow at 7 p.m. in the sanctuary for a discussion with author Debby Irving on racial justice, current events in America, and how we can create a better tomorrow. 

"Waking Up White" is Debby Irving's powerful memoir about her journey in understanding what it means to be "White" and her struggle to understand racism and racial tensions. In her book, Irving explains why and how she has changed the way she talks about racism, how she works in racially mixed groups, and how she understands the racial justice movement as a whole.

What people are saying about "Waking Up White":

"Debby Irving's powerful Waking Up White opens a rare window on how white Americans are socialized. Irving's focus on the mechanics of racism operating in just one life - her own - may lead white readers to reconsider the roots of their own perspectives - and their role in dismantling old myths. Readers of color will no doubt find the view through Irving's window fascinating, and telling."

First Universalist is offering this event out of its commitment to racial justice through intensive education and training on the historical and current impacts of systemic racism and white privilege. We are pleased to be joined by sponsors Edina Community Lutheran Church, First Unitarian Society, the Minnesota Unitarian Universalist Social Justice Alliance (MUUSJA), and Unity Church-Unitarian in making this special evening possible. This event is free and open to the public.
Young Adult Game Night
Thursday, Nov. 12, 7-9 p.m.
Young adults are welcome to join us for games, snacks, and good company in the Arches Room on Thursday, Nov. 12. Feel free to bring a game or food to share, as well as your friends and/or significant other. This is a great chance to get to know other young adults and enjoy some mid-week relaxation and fun. Contact Renate Fiora at
 with questions.
The Pathway to Membership
Saturdays, Nov. 14 & 21, 9 a.m. to noon
Feeling like First Universalist could be your spiritual home? Join us for The Pathway to Membership, a class that invites you into an exploration of Unitarian Universalism, the history of this congregation, our racial justice commitment, and the experience of membership. This class is required in order to join the church and is offered as a two-part experience. To sign up, contact Sandy DiNanni at or 612-825-1701. Learn more on our website.
"Merchants of Doubt" Film Screening
Saturday, Nov. 14 at 7 p.m.
or Sunday, Nov. 22 at 1 p.m.
The Environmental Justice Team will show the documentary movie "Merchants of Doubt" on two upcoming dates this month - Nov. 14 and Nov. 22. "Merchants of Doubt" is a satirically comedic reveal of the pundits-for-hire who present as scientific authorities but spread maximum confusion about public threats from toxic chemicals to pharmaceuticals to climate change. 
Racial Justice Video and Discussion
Sunday, Nov. 15 at 1 p.m. 
or Tuesday, Nov. 17 at 7 p.m.
"Reconstruction, the Second Civil War" is from the acclaimed PBS series "American Experience." It offers insights into topics in American history including the Civil War, slavery, abolition, race relations, and more. Join us for a drop-in viewing of excerpts from this video, followed by discussion. Childcare is available with at least seven days advance notice by filling out this form
Get the Church Directory on Your Phone:
Help Available Sunday in the Social Hall!
Imagine: With a few simple taps on your smartphone, you could:
  • Call, text, or email your friends from church
  • Check the church calendar 
  • Make a financial gift
This is now available for members and friends of First Universalist through the Church Life app. Help setting up the app will be available in the Social Hall after the service on Sunday, Nov. 8! Learn more on our website.
Radio Story Highlights Recent Mde/Bde Maka Ska Community Conversation Hosted by First Universalist 
"On October 7th, Nancy Bordeaux [who is Sicangu Lakota from Rosebud South Dakota] joined about 30 other people - whites and Natives - at the First Universalist Church, just blocks off the shores of Mde Maka Ska. They came together to talk about the lake."

MNNativeNews produced a wonderful radio story inspired by the community conversation about Bde/Mde Maka Ska (currently called Lake Calhoun) that took place at First Universalist on October 7. The story is available to listen to on our website

A second community conversation, the theme of which is "Water Wisdom: Carrying Us Into a Bold Future of Deep Restoration," is scheduled for December 3, 6-9 p.m. All are welcome! Learn more on our website.
Ministry for People of Color: People of Color Community Circle & Racial Justice Training for POC
The People of Color Circle is a group of people who meet regularly to reflect on the spiritual content and messages from the Sunday morning sermon. This Circle follows the same format as the other Circles in the church and is comprised of church congregants. Interested in joining the People of Color Circle? Contact Michael Dotson at

First Universalist also offers learning sessions on self care and coping strategies for racial oppression. These learning sessions are facilitated by Marie Michael (a colleague of Heather Hackman's). This group meets 2 to 4 times a year and the group is comprised of both church members and folks from outside the church who are wanting racial justice learning specific to People of Color. Interested in joining these sessions? Contact Michael Dotson at
Next 24-Hour Racial Justice Training Scheduled
You're invited to apply to participate in the next 24-hour racial justice training led by Dr. Heather Hackman this spring! This is the last 24-hour training we'll be offering with Heather Hackman for the foreseeable future.

Through this training, you will gain the tools and insights to see and be in the world differently as it relates to racial justice. The training helps give us a shared language to use in our racial justice ministry at First Universalist. 

The trainings are scheduled for Saturdays, Feb. 6, Feb. 20, and April 9, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. For more information and to apply for this training, please visit our website.
Save the Date: 35th Annual Winter Solstice
For 35 years, First Universalist has honored the longest night of the year, and joyously celebrated the return of the sun! Join us on Monday, Dec. 21, as we observe another turning of the year. The evening includes a 12-minute period of darkness, so consider if your children will be comfortable during that time. As always, we will move through the evening with beautiful music, a story for all ages, and spreading of the light.

Want to get involved? Contact Pamela Vincent,
Cycle of Life and Pastoral Care
Our Thoughts and Prayers are with:
  • Megan Vaught, who is hospitalized with a brain infection. (name is pronounced MEE-gan)
  • Betsy Horton, who has been diagnosed with a mass on her liver and is in the hospital.
  • The family and friends of long-time church member Fran Addington. Fran died peacefully last Sunday, and a memorial service will be held at church on Sunday, Nov. 15 at 2pm.
  • The family and friends of long-time church member Caroline Mills, as they mourn Caroline's death. A memorial service will be held at church on Sunday, Dec. 13. (first name is pronounced Caro-LINE - with a long "i")
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. 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.
Accepting Applications for Pastoral Care Team
Do you have an open heart, a compassionate presence, a listening ear and a few hours each month to offer? If so, we invite you to consider joining our Pastoral Care Team. Team members provide confidential pastoral care to friends and members of our congregation in need of support. They visit at homes, hospitals, and hospice or at the corner coffeeshop. For more information, please visit the Pastoral Care page on our website. Applications are due by November 30, 2015.
Congregational Care:
Chore Team
Do you need help with household tasks, especially seasonal ones, such as draining garden hoses, changing furnace filters or lightbulbs, or window washing? These are chores that most of us do easily - until we can't. With a little help from our friends, we can stay in our own home longer. 
Chore Team helpers are also needed. Contact Bob Friedman at or 612-722-4705 if you need help with a simple chore, or if you would like to join a team that serves the many needs.
Planned Giving at First Universalist
Peg Meier of the Planned Giving Committee says:  "A development officer for a major Minnesota non-profit organization recently told me the Number One reason why members hadn't put the organization in their wills: 'Nobody ever asked me.'" 
We're asking you.
Armistice Bells: A Prayer Service for Peace on Veteran's Day
Wednesday, Nov. 11 at 11 a.m.
St. Joan of Arc Catholic Community
Come hear the SJA church bells ring for peace! With prayer, readings, music by Dan Chouinard and Maria Jette and reflections by veterans, we will recommit ourselves to being a people of peace. St. Joan of Arc Catholic Community in South Minneapolis welcomes all for this memorable morning! Read more on their website.
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
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
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.
Join Our Mailing List
Subscribe to The Weekly Liberal here

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Church Office Hours
8 a.m.-1 p.m.
8:30 a.m.-8 p.m.
Closed Fridays and Saturdays
First Universalist Church of Minneapolis
3400 Dupont Avenue S.
Minneapolis, MN 55408


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