November 19, 2015  |  Vol. 2 No. 38
"Christmas is not your Birthday!"
By Reverend Justin Schroeder, Senior Minister
Rev. Justin Schroeder

"Christmas is not your birthday!"

That's what a Christian colleague of mine once said, as we talked about Christmas pageants, candlelight services, and how we celebrate Christmas in our respective traditions.

"Christmas is not your birthday." That line has stuck with me. Perhaps a few of us were actually born on December 25, but for the rest of us, Christmas is not our birthday. In the Christian tradition, Christmas represents the divine birth of Jesus (God) in the manger. In Unitarian Universalism, we celebrate not only the birth of a human being named Jesus, but the birth of every child, on every night. We celebrate the birth of light, hope, and possibility in this season of darkness.

Christmas is not our birthday.

For me, this is a powerful reframing of what the holidays might be: a time to take inventory of our lives, the many gifts that already reside there, and to turn our gaze and our giving outside of our circle of friends and family. Through our collective gift to something larger than ourselves, we can live out the true meaning of the holidays, helping to bring hope to places of hopelessness.

This year, we're inviting church members, families, and friends to cut their holiday spending in half, and to give what they've saved to Beacon Interfaith Housing Collaborative (learn more about Beacon in this issue), our 2015 Holiday Giving Recipient. We have a goal of raising $70,000, so that we can help give the gift of home to youth, families, and formerly incarcerated men. On December 20, during both worship services, in a powerful ritual of giving, we will invite everyone present to give what they can. If you're unable to join us on December 20, we hope you will mail in your gift or give online.  

And if you are financially struggling, we want you to know that this church is here for you. Please reach out to me, or to any of our staff, if you are struggling financially during the holidays or throughout the year. Thanks to the generosity of church members and friends, the Ministers' Emergency Fund is there to offer financial support during times of need. It is always a blessing when we are able to be there for one another.  

I'll see you in church,
Worship this Sunday
Nov. 22, 9:30 & 11:15 a.m.
"What Guides You in the Borders?"
Rev. Justin Schroeder
No matter the border you cross (spiritual, physical, emotional), it helps to have a beacon - something to guide you through new and unfamiliar terrain. This year, we are once again inviting the entire congregation to move away from the "religion of consumption" during the Holidays and reduce our Holiday spending by 50% so that we can raise $70,000 to support Beacon Interfaith Housing Collaborative, and the youth, families, and formerly incarcerated people they seek to house. Redirecting our financial and emotional energy in this way is a kind of border-crossing. What beacons guide us in this crossing into a new way of being? Read more
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. 29, 9:30 & 11:15 a.m.
Thanksgiving Weekend
Multigenerational Service
Rev. Jen Crow

Dec. 6, 9:30 & 11:15 a.m.
Sharing Sunday
"Hauling Out Stones"
Rev. Justin Schroeder
Miss a Recent Sunday?
Nov. 15, 2015
"Dropping the Storyline"
Rev. Elaine Aron Tenbrink

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
"Merchants of Doubt" Film Screening
Sunday, Nov. 22 at 1 p.m.
The Environmental Justice Team will show the documentary movie "Merchants of Doubt" at 1 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 22. "Merchants of Doubt," inspired by the book of the same name, 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.  Read more
Racial Justice and Our UU Faith Workshop
Tuesdays, Dec. 1 & 8, 6:30-8:30 p.m.
Join us for an interactive workshop exploring a framework and tools for understanding race, racism, and whiteness and the spiritual imperative that drives our racial justice work. This is a distilled experience of the 24-hour training offered by Dr. Heather Hackman. This session is offered in two parts and both days are required. Childcare is available with at least seven days advance notice by filling out this form. To register, contact Sandy DiNanni at or 612-825-1701.
Re-Imagining the Holidays: The Gift of Home
With the start of the holiday season now upon us, we invite you to join us as we continue our spiritual tradition of re-imagining the holidays. Please consider giving half of what you would normally spend on celebrating the season to help our congregation raise $70,000 for Beacon Interfaith Housing Collaborative.

You can learn more about this effort, as well as make your gift, on our website.
The work of Beacon aligns with the work and values of our church. As a congregation, we can have a dramatic, collective impact on our community. Our gifts will support Beacon's work, including:
  • The Families Moving Forward program - offering families experiencing homelessness hospitality, emergency shelter, and a path to home with support for stability.
  • Housing - Nearly 800 people live in almost 500 apartment homes built by or preserved by Beacon, more than half with supportive services that help tenants achieve housing stability.
  • Advocacy - roughly 14,000 people are homeless on any given night in Minnesota. Beacon Citizens, as volunteer advocates for public policies and funding for housing and services to end homelessness, are building the political will to end homelessness.
Beacon serves very low-income families and individuals and many who have experienced homelessness, including youth and young adults on their own. Their newest project, Great River Landing, will provide housing to men, disproportionately African American, who have been unable to get stable housing due to homelessness, incarceration, or unemployment.
We encourage you to attend the after-services presentations by Beacon scheduled for this Sunday, Nov. 22, to find out more about their projects and the ways in which we can make a collective impact through collective giving.  
Give the Gift of home this holiday season! 
Embracing the Choice Point Decision-Making Model
As Rev. Justin shared in his October 18 sermon, the Choice Point model for decision-making is a way to examine existing systems that may be perpetuating inequality, and choose more just, equitable options.

Justin and the Board have pioneered the way and the Racial Justice Leadership Team (RJLT) is in the beginning stages of engaging with Choice Points. We are in the process of integrating the method into our team's decision-making processes. We also plan to support other groups in the church who want to bring Choice Points into their work. For more information about the Choice Points model, see this Introduction to Racial Equity Assessment Tools by Race Forward.

Sincerely, The RJLT
Senior High Pie Fundraiser, Sunday, Nov. 22
Photo by Let Ideas Compete CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
It's the week before Thanksgiving, which means it's time to eat yummy pies baked with love by the First Universalist Church Senior High youth group!

Please come to the social hall after both services this Sunday, Nov. 22 to buy whole pies or pie slices. All of the money raised will go towards helping our youth participate in regional and national Unitarian Universalist leadership programs and towards funding next year's Senior High social justice trip.
Thank You to All Who Gave on Give to the Max Day!
On Thursday, Nov. 12, Minnesotans had 24 hours to donate to their favorite nonprofits via as part of Give to the Max Day, one of the biggest days of giving in the country. This year, just over $18 million was given to Minnesota nonprofits. Thank you so much to all of those who remembered First Universalist on Give to the Max Day by making a contribution. We are grateful for your support!
Save the Date: Global Gift Fair is Sunday, Dec. 6
On Sunday, Dec. 6 from 9 a.m. - 1 p.m. in the Social Hall will be the annual Global Gift Fair. It will be smaller this year and will include new organizations. Come and purchase handmade items from organizations that help people in need. Gift responsibly! There will be a list of the organizations on Cyber Coffee Hour and Facebook. 
- Marjie Smith
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
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). Anyone with an Xcel electricity bill can participate. Save on electricity costs for the next twenty-five years, with no up-front investment required! Additionally, the UU solar gardens team has negotiated some special terms that benefit our faith community.

The CSG sign-up drive will formally launch in a kickoff event at church on January 10. The timeline for this project, including the sign-up period, will be identified at this event.

If you'd like to learn more right away, send an email to Bill Elwood at or Stan Sattinger at  
Cycle of Life and Pastoral Care
  • A memorial service for Colleen McCann will be held at church on Saturday, Nov. 21, at 1 p.m. Colleen passed away peacefully on Oct. 10 with loved ones by her side.
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:
Comfort Shawls
Do you like to knit? Contact Pat Foulkes,, for directions for the comfort shawls that we distribute to congregants in times of need. Or perhaps you know somebody who is in need of a Comfort Shawl? If so, contact Congregational Care co-chairs Kathy Urberg, or Kathy Coskran, 612 202-9322,
Planned Giving at First Universalist
You are putting your values and resources into action while you're living. But where do you want your funds to go when you're gone? If you want to consider including First Universalist in your will or estate plan, talk to a minister or the church's financial administrator for guidance. If you've already made the church a beneficiary, please let the office know. When you fill out an easy planned giving form, it will ensure your wishes are honored.
- Peg Meier of the Planned Giving Committee
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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First Universalist Church of Minneapolis
3400 Dupont Avenue S.
Minneapolis, MN 55408


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