November 12, 2015  |  Vol. 2 No. 37
Crossing into the Borderlands of Grief
By Reverend Justin Schroeder, Senior Minister
Rev. Justin Schroeder

As I look over the upcoming church calendar, there are memorial services scheduled nearly every week up until Christmas. These memorial services offer a ritualized, communal way of crossing a border into a space where grief, gratitude, and deep reflection on life's meaning can live together. Whether it's a memorial service or not, we need such spaces to grieve the losses and changes in our lives, and we need the presence of loving witnesses to see and know our grief, not to attempt to fix it. Walking a path of grief takes us into a unique land and there is no one right way to grieve.  

Unfortunately, as a culture, it's as if grief is a stranger, an unwelcome guest, a friend that's overstayed their welcome, and we'd rather not spend time with grief.

And yet, when we cross the border from "Everything's ok; I'm fine," and engage in the spiritual work of befriending our grief, we open the possibility of even deeper and more whole-hearted living.

I find the words of the poet, Denise Levertov, particularly helpful in this regard:

Ah, Grief, I should not treat you
like a homeless dog
who comes to the back door
for a crust, for a meatless bone.
I should trust you.

I should coax you
into the house and give you
your own corner,
a worn mat to lie on,
your own water dish.

You think I don't know you've been living
under my porch.
You long for your real place to be readied
before winter comes. You need
your name,
your collar and tag. You need
the right to warn off intruders,
to consider
my house your own
and me your person
and yourself
my own dog.

In this time of exploring the various borders that we cross in our lives, may those of you who walk with grief - whether it's grief from a relationship that's ending, a loved one who's died, a diagnosis, an impending surgery, or something else - know that this is a faith community that will journey with you across the border into that land of grief. Truly, if you are struggling, please reach out to me or another minister on staff. We are here for you - and for one another.

I'll see you in church,
Worship this Sunday
Nov. 15, 9:30 & 11:15 a.m.
"Dropping the Storyline"
Rev. Elaine Aron Tenbrink
As our lives unfold, the future dissolves. No matter how well we plan, how faithfully we follow the maps before us, we often find ourselves traveling into territory that doesn't look like what we expected. Sometimes, it's a land that we never would have chosen. As we cross the border into life's next chapter - or even into its next moments - we could grow rigid and fearful, or we could become compassionate and kind. How might our journeying hearts and souls grow in the direction of the values we hold most dear?
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. 22, 9:30 & 11:15 a.m.
"What Guides You In the Borders?"
Rev. Justin Schroeder
Nov. 29, 9:30 & 11:15 a.m.
Thanksgiving Weekend
Multigenerational Service
Rev. Jen Crow
Miss a Recent Sunday?
Nov. 8, 2015
Crossing Borders: Worship Led by the People of Color Community Circle 

Nov. 1, 2015
"Living Portraits, Living Profiles"
Rev. Ruth MacKenzie

Oct. 25, 2015
"Nurture Your Spirit, Heal the World"
Rev. Justin Schroeder
Young Adult Game Night
Tonight! 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
Give to the Max Day is Today!
Remember First Universalist as You Make Your Gifts
Today - Thursday, Nov. 12 - Minnesotans have 24 hours to donate online to their favorite nonprofits via as part of Give to the Max Day, one of the biggest days of giving in the country. Last year, nearly 63,000 Minnesotans gave a record-breaking $18.3 million in just 24 hours to causes across the state. So far today, more than $13 million has been given to Minnesota nonprofits - and there's still about 7 hours left!

We urge you to keep First Universalist in mind as you take part in Give to the Max Day and make gifts to organizations you care about. Visit our page at to learn more and make a contribution. 

Plus, each donation that First Universalist receives before midnight tonight gives us a chance at a Golden Ticket prize! Each hour, one Golden Ticket of $1,000 is being awarded through a random drawing of all donations transacted during the previous hour. Could your gift be the one to win a Golden Ticket prize for First Universalist?

We are grateful for your support!
Re-Imagining the Holidays
Our Hope: The Gift of Home for Everyone
Home is the light in the window that signals welcome and safety.
Home is where you rejuvenate after a day's work.
It's where your children do their homework or invite friends to play.
It's where you can be yourself.
This is the way Beacon Interfaith Housing Collaborative, our recipient for this year's "Re-imagining the Holidays" giving program, describes how important home is in our lives.
But what about the people who don't have a home? Beacon develops housing and programs to provide affordable homes for families who are struggling, black men who have been incarcerated, and homeless youth.
We invite you to join us as we re-imagine the holidays and suggest that you consider giving half of what you would normally spend on celebrating the season to help our congregation raise $70,000 for Beacon. Stay tuned for more details in the weeks to come. 
According to organizations that gather and report data about homelessness in Minnesota, there is a great need for our gift because:
  • Homelessness among families increased 4% in Minnesota from 2009 through 2012, with an increase of 17% among two-parent families.
  • One in 10 children in Minneapolis experiences housing insecurity.
With a little re-imagination, we can put a light in the window that could make all the difference for people who need a home. Join us!

We will continue to share information in the coming weeks about Beacon Interfaith Housing Collaborative and the many ways our congregation can collectively make a difference in the work to end homelessness. 
Mark your calendars for November 22, when Beacon will be with us after both services to share the many projects on our collaborative horizon.  
Learn more on our website and explore Beacon's programs at
Hats for the Homeless: Give the Gift of Warmth
Calling all knitters and crocheters! "Give the Gift of Warmth" to a needy person in our community this winter. The Hats for the Homeless project was begun in our church library seven years ago and donations have increased every year. Hats and scarves are delivered to neighborhood shelters and schools. 

There is a basket sitting near the elevator to collect your donations. Let's fill that basket several times this season! If you are not a knitter or crocheter, consider buying some gloves or mittens to add to the basket.... or gently used winter scarves. With winter just around the corner, the sooner the better for dropping off your donations. For more information about the project, check out the blog
Pre-Order Your Holiday Wreaths This Sunday
This Sunday, Nov. 15, stop by the Social Hall between services to pre-order holiday wreaths, swags, and centerpieces. This year, the proceeds will go to Beacon Interfaith Housing Collaboration. Delivery to the church will be Sunday Dec. 6. This Sunday is the last week to pre-order your wreaths! Questions? Contact Kris Hoffwomyn at
Million Artist Movement Holds Power Gathering
This Saturday, Nov. 14, the Million Artist Movement will be holding Power Gathering: A Black Manifesto at First Universalist from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. This event is open to everyone.

About the Power Gathering:
The Black Left Unity Network is working to forge unity for the Black Liberation Movement. The Draft Manifesto is a document to start a national conversation to get the dispersed movement focused on a common orientation. A national debate can lead to a consensus that can be the basis for a united Black Liberation Movement.

Come be in conversation with the incomparable Dr. Rose Brewer and Dr. Zenzele Isoke as they help to frame the assault on Black people and give you the opportunity to work in small discussion groups exploring the Draft Manifesto. Youth Power Building (childcare) and food provided.

The Million Artist Movement is a collective of Black-Brown-and-Radical-Artist Revolutionaries and Activists. Please join us in this important conversation. Questions about this event? Contact church member Suzy Messerole at
Unitarian Universalist Community Solar Gardens
Every year, the typical Minnesota household uses 9,600 kilowatt hours of electricity and emits 0.7 metric tons of carbon dioxide, contributing to the damages of climate change.    

First Universalist members and friends can become part of the climate solution by joining the Unitarian Universalist Community Solar Gardens (CSG). A section of the UU congregations' gardens will be designated as having been created by Unitarian Universalist Coalition of Congregations, with a nameplate.

Anyone with an Xcel electricity bill can participate. Save on electricity costs for the next twenty-five years, with no up-front investment required!

If you've been asked to participate in any other solar garden, please wait before signing. The UU solar gardens team has negotiated some special terms that benefit our faith community. If you already participate in Xcel's "Windsource" program, you can double your environmental impact by also joining the Community Solar Gardens.  

Watch for tabling events and informational meetings to be announced in the next several weeks. The CSG sign-up drive will formally launch in a kickoff event on January 10, focusing initially on church members and attendees in addition to our church itself. The timeline for this project, including the signup period, will be identified at this event.

For now, be sure to save the January 10 date. If you'd like to learn more right away, send an email to Bill Elwood at or Stan Sattinger 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 was paralyzed due to a brain infection, is now working hard in physical therapy to regain movement and strength. We hold Megan, her spouse, Melani, and son, William, in our prayers. 
  • Mary Djerf, who moved to The Pines of Richfield on Monday. 
  • Shirley Olson, who died Saturday, Nov. 7. Her memorial service is scheduled for Saturday, Dec. 5 at 11 a.m., with Revs. Ruth MacKenzie and Jen Crow officiating.
  • Fran Addington, whose memorial service will take place on Sunday, Nov. 15 at 2 p.m. at church.
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 join our Pastoral Care Team. Team members provide confidential pastoral care to friends and members in need of support. They visit at homes, hospitals, and hospice or at the corner coffeeshop. For more info, visit our Pastoral Care page. Applications due Nov. 30, 2015.
Congregational Care:
Caring Corner
Write a note to a congregant who could use support! There are cards available in the library, which is located off of the Social Hall. You are welcome to stop by and write a card at any time. Just leave it in the basket and the church will mail it for you.
Planned Giving at First Universalist
If First Universalist means much to you and you want to help the church stay strong, please consider naming it in your will or estate plan. Interested? See a minister or the church's financial administrator. And thanks!
- Peg Meier of the Planned Giving Committee
Police-Public Relations Discussion Panel
Friday, Nov. 13 at 7 p.m. at St. Paul College
This Friday, the discussion panel "Police Perception: A Candid Conversation About Diversity, Community, and Policing" features Unity-Unitarian's Rev. Danny Givens, a core member of Minneapolis' Black Lives Matter movement. Other panelists include former Saint Paul Police Chief William Finney and the legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Minnesota. The event is free, open to the public, and will be followed by a reception catered by Afro Deli, during which audience members will get a chance to talk to panelists. Free tickets and more information.
Make Homes Happen Minneapolis: Turnout Event
Wednesday, Nov. 18 at 6 p.m. at Minneapolis City Hall
Join faith communities across Minneapolis urging City Council to Make Homes Happen!
Where: Minneapolis City Hall, Room 315 (350 South 5th Street, Minneapolis, 55415)
What: Minneapolis City Council public hearing on the proposed 2016 city budget

The community of organizations and individuals working to end homelessness and develop affordable housing have unified behind a campaign called "Make Homes Happen Minneapolis." Our ask: $20 million to fund a range of housing supports to reach Minneapolis' lowest-income households, including $15 million for the Affordable Housing Trust Fund. If you can attend, please email Beacon Advocacy Coordinator Michael Dahl. Note in the email "I'll be there on Nov. 18."

This public hearing comes on the heels of an outpouring of support from the Minneapolis faith community for the Make Homes Happen campaign - 48 clergy / faith leaders from 27 congregations signed on to a letter asking the city council to support the campaign, in addition to hundreds of residents who have already contacted council members in support of the effort.
Black Friday at Unity Church: The Cost of Justice
Feeding the Spirit on the Feast Day of Consumption
Friday, Nov. 27 at 10 a.m. at Unity Church 
With Rev. Danny Givens, Jr.; Special Guests Nekima Levy-Pounds and Lena K. Gardner; and Musical Guest Kevin Jackson
Unity Church's eighth annual "Black Friday at Church" celebration offers you an opportunity to launch the holiday season with spiritual renewal, fellowship, and good cheer, an alternative to the habitual consumerism on display in the broader culture.

Ministerial Resident, Reverend Danny Givens, Jr., will share a message of hope and a call to action, challenging us to confront how capitalism's greed has silenced the voice of justice. As laborers all over the country fight for better wages, fair scheduling, and improved benefits; as violence and racism continue to prove that black lives don't matter; as immigration detention centers, border patrols, and the prison industrial complex render liberty for all a moot point, we are called to proclaim that black, brown, yellow, and red bodies are not commodities to be used in our pursuit of more. Activities for children and families, as well as child care, will be provided. Details.
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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.
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Church Office Hours
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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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