December 3, 2015  |  Vol. 2 No. 40
A Christmas Miracle: Loaves & Fishes and "The Gift of Home"
By Reverend Justin Schroeder, Senior Minister
Rev. Justin Schroeder

In the parable about the loaves and fishes, Jesus performs a so-called "miracle" when he turns a few loaves of bread and fish into enough food to feed the thousands of people who have gathered to hear him.

I like to imagine that the real miracle in this story is not creating food out of thin air, but rather that each who gathered shared what they had, rather than keep it for themselves, and it was enough to feed everyone. Together, there was a feast. The miracle was a miracle of collective generosity.  

This winter season, our Holiday Giving recipient is Beacon Interfaith Housing Collaborative. Two years ago, we invited our congregation to re-imagine their relationship to the Holidays and the consumption that often comes with the Holidays. We invited congregants to cut their holiday spending in half, and together, we gave what we saved to Habitat for Humanity, and built a home for a family.

This year, we're inviting you to "Give the Gift of Home" to more than just one family. Your holiday gifts to Beacon will: 
This holiday season, my wife and I are inviting our friends and family not to give us gifts, but to support Beacon Interfaith Housing Collaborative, through an online gift in our name, made through the church's website. I hope you'll encourage your friends and family to consider this, as well. Check out our website under Generosity/Holiday Giving for ways to communicate your intentions to friends and relatives and discuss with family members.

Miracles aren't just a thing of the past. Our Holiday Giving Project is a current day "loaves and fishes" miracle. Our individual gifts might not seem like much, but as a 900-member congregation, gifts from $5 to $5,000 add up. We witnessed that as our collective giving power raised $116,000 toward the House that Love Built. Now, we can "Give the Gift of Home" to dozens of our neighbors. And in this giving, we make the true meaning of the Holidays come alive!

Join us for worship on December 20 (at 9:30 and 11:15 a.m.) as we collect our gifts to share with Beacon.

I'll see you in church,
Worship this Sunday
Dec. 6, 9:30 & 11:15 a.m.
Sharing Sunday
This Sunday, all children and youth will attend the first part of the service.

"Hauling Out Stones"
Rev. Justin Schroeder
What's in the way? In this season of making room - making room for the growing darkness, making room for the returning of the light, making room for hope, peace, forgiveness, and possibility to be born again in our lives - what's in the way? What spiritual debris, physical debris, old wounds, or unnamed and unquestioned stories, prevent us from making the room we need to grow? Together, we will seek to haul away the debris, and make room for our spirits to breathe. Read more
Worship Theme: Making Room

Looking Ahead
Dec. 13, 9:30 & 11:15 a.m.
Choir-led Worship
Rev. Ruth MacKenzie

Dec. 20, 9:30 & 11:15 a.m.
Rev. Justin Schroeder

Dec. 20 & 24, 4 p.m.
Christmas Pageant

Monday, Dec. 21, 7 p.m.
Winter Solstice Service

Thursday, Dec. 24, 9:30 p.m.
Christmas Eve
Candlelight Service

Dec. 27, 10 a.m. only
Rev. Elaine Aron Tenbrink
Miss a Recent Sunday?
Nov. 29, 2015
"Bringing Out Our Best"
Rev. Jen Crow

Nov. 22, 2015
"What Guides You in the Borders?
Rev. Justin Schroeder

Nov. 15, 2015
"Dropping the Storyline"
Rev. Elaine Aron Tenbrink

Nov. 8, 2015
Crossing Borders: Worship Led by the People of Color Community Circle 
Global Gift Fair
Sunday, Dec. 6, 9 a.m. - 1 p.m.
Our annual Global Gift Fair takes place this Sunday, Dec. 6 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the Social Hall. This year, participating organizations include: Mano a Mano, Under One Roof, Open Arms of MN, Books for Bassodawish, Tibet Arts & Gifts, FryBread Love, Divas Fair Trade/Global Mamas, and Honor the Earth. Come and purchase handmade items from organizations that help people in need. Gift responsibly!
Video Discussion: Slavery by Another Name
Sunday, Dec. 6 at 1 p.m.
or Tuesday, Dec. 8 at 7 p.m.
Join us for a discussion and viewing of excerpts from this documentary which challenges one of Americans' most cherished assumptions: the belief that slavery in this country ended with the Emancipation Proclamation. "Slavery by Another Name" is part of the acclaimed PBS series "American Experience." This is a drop-in group; no registration is required. The Dec. 6 viewing is in the Cummins Room; Dec. 8 viewing is in the Chalice Room.
Daytime Connections: Solstice, Transitions & the Journey of Aging
Thursday, Dec. 17, 11 a.m. - 1 p.m.

Church members Karen West and Dick Reuter will share stories about their journeys through the three stages of life transitions. Using stories, songs, and written reflections, we will explore the question: What lessons might the winter solstice offer us about navigating from the darkness of uncertainty into the light of new beginnings? Program includes a presentation, discussion and small meal ($5). To RSVP, contact Sandy DiNanni at or 612-825-1701.

Volunteers Lend Support to BLM Occupation Last week, a dozen volunteers from First Universalist made almost 200 sandwiches to bring to the Black Lives Matter occupation at the Fourth Precinct. Pictured here are: Jill Boogren, Lisa Sinclair, and Joanne Engelking.
House That Love Built Update
Two years ago, we raised $115,000 for The House That Love Built as part of our Holiday Giving Project. A year ago, we helped Maikee and family move into their new home. Today, they're grateful for their home and thriving! 
The Gift of Home: Video Highlights the Work of Beacon
Our spiritual tradition of redefining our relationship with the holidays by directing half of our holiday spending to values-based giving will provide a dramatic, collective impact on our community. This year we are partnering with Beacon Interfaith Housing Collaborative to expand the ways we can give the gift of home. Our goal is to raise $70,000 as a congregation to support Beacon's work of addressing homelessness. Please take time to watch this short video featuring how Beacon's work has changed the lives of several individuals.
Remembering Loved Ones: Help Us Deliver Poinsettias
Photo by Liz West CC BY 2.0
We need your help delivering poinsettias to our members and friends who have lost loved ones in the past year, who are struggling with ongoing, serious illness, or who are living in nursing homes. Caring for each other, offering support and comfort in times of illness and loss, and remembering those times as the year moves on are essential to what we do as a religious community.

On Sunday, Dec. 13, poinsettias ready for delivery will be in the foyer outside the sanctuary doors with the cards and addresses of recipients. Please help us by picking up a poinsettia and card to deliver to a member of our church community.

Some of you will find your name on the list. Please take your poinsettia as a remembrance of your loss and of the love and caring that surround you. This is how we give, receive, and grow together with love and compassion.

- Kathy Coskran and Kathy Urberg for the Congregational Care committee

Christmas Pageant Sign Up this Sunday
Calling all children ages 5 years and up! We need your help to tell our Universalist Christmas story of love and hope in our annual Christmas Pageant on December 20 and 24. Sign up in the Atrium on Sunday, Dec. 6.
Our annual Christmas Pageant is a beautiful telling of an ancient story. It is a tale of hope and hospitality, a reminder that every child is born a redeemer, a story that speaks to us all of what it means to be a seeker, a star, a wise one, a wanderer. The Pageant lasts approximately one hour and will be held on Sunday, Dec. 20 and Thursday, Dec. 24 at 4 p.m. Children and youth with speaking roles must perform in both Pageants. All others performers may choose to participate in one or both Pageants. 
The Pageant rehearsal will be held Saturday, Dec. 19 from 10 a.m.-noon. All Pageant participants are required to attend - no exceptions, please! One parent or guardian from each family must be present at the rehearsal and must serve as a Pageant volunteer.
Donations Needed for Augsburg Fairview Academy
Augsburg Fairview Academy's Hope Club is dedicated to students helping students in need with access to food and clothing.
First Universalist is the primary supplier of food and clothing for the Hope Food and Clothing Closets at Augsburg Fairview Academy (AFA). Young adults from diverse communities who face educational barriers to achievement in traditional schools are welcomed into AFA, a charter school that prepares them for college, career and life. The 140+ students come from diverse backgrounds including African American, Somali, and Native American. Many are homeless or marginally housed during the school year. 
Hope Food Closet: single serving microwavable soups, mac and cheese, stews, and snacks like fruit cups, granola bars, nuts or cracker and cheese packages. Toiletries needed include toothpaste and toothbrushes, men's and women's deodorant, shampoo and conditioner, lotions, and tampons.
Hope Clothing Closet: warm jackets, hoodies; t-shirts; skinny jeans for men and women; men's and women's underwear and socks. Clothing should be clean and in good repair; dark colors preferred.
Bring items to the Hub on Sundays or leave on the shelves marked AFA at the 34th street entrance. Thank you for your generosity!
Habitat for Humanity Sign Up Open for 2016
First Universalist and Habitat for Humanity (H4H) continue their partnership supporting affordable housing in 2016. First Universalist will provide volunteers at worksites on second Thursdays in January, February, April, May, October, November and December. We will also provide volunteers for three worksites on Habitat Workday - Saturday, March 12, 2016. This will be part of Habitat Month in March, supporting not only build projects, but Habitat advocacy efforts at the State Capitol. This summer we will provide volunteers for a summer work week. Those dates will be announced in April. 

Sign-up for these H4H volunteer opportunities is now available online. Exact dates and volunteers needed are detailed there. No experience is necessary. Habitat provides all training and tools required. Lunch will be provided by other First Universalist volunteers. Come help! Put some sweat equity into a deserving family's home and feel the satisfaction of a job well done.

Questions? Contact Geoff Lenox at or 952-210-9869.
HOLIDAY DECORATIONS: Colorful explosion of
beauty and joy
Holiday decorations were created by the Visual Arts Committee as a gift to our congregation. This year, Meredith Sims and Bill McTeer led more than 15 decorators. Thanks go to Phil Sims for rigging a way to cover PVC pipe in fabric and for lending his workshop. The "explosion of beauty and joy" sanctuary arrangement was inspired by California artist Myra Burg. 
Congregational Care:
New Baby Welcome
Having a baby? Want to help welcome a new baby? Contact New Baby Welcome Team co-chairs Ann Terlizzi at 612 728-7232 or or Jody Beresford at 952 828-9977 or The committee aims to connect families who have a new child with a friendly visitor who can offer a meal and an hour or two of time to visit or help.
Planned Giving at First Universalist
First Universalist Church is one of six UU congregations in the nation running successful planned giving programs. Many of our members and friends include the church in wills and estate plans. The other congregations are the UU Church in Eugene, OR; First UU Church of San Diego, CA; UU Fellowship of Easton, MD; UU Congregation of Asheville, NC, and Mount Vernon Unitarian Church, VA. Thanks for your support!
Cycle of Life and Pastoral Care
A memorial service for Shirley Olson will be held on Saturday, Dec. 5 at 11 a.m.
A memorial service for Caroline Mills will be held on Sunday, Dec. 13 at 2 p.m.

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.
Camp UniStar Accepting Applications for Summer 2016
What is Camp UniStar? Think rustic beauty and simplicity.
Camp UniStar is a camp for Unitarian Universalist individuals and families and other like-minded people, nestled in Chippewa National Forest on Star Island, surrounded by the clear waters of Cass Lake in northern Minnesota. Each summer the camp welcomes campers of all ages and offers a week filled with new and old friends, thought-provoking programs, and memorable experiences. Each week has a theme centered around a two hour daily program on topics such as spirituality, science, sailing, social justice, self-reflection or the arts.

Camp UniStar has a seasonal staff of 14 people and recruits for a number of positions such as director, food service director, waterfront director, children's program, youth program, and generalist. More details including an application are available at Contact Lynda Borjesson for details on staffing at 612-483-3169.
Volunteer Opportunity with EMERGE
Six Volunteers Needed; No Prior Tax Preparation Assistance Experience Required!
Tax season is a time of stress for everyone, but it can be especially hard on low income individuals. They urgently need every dollar they are entitled to, but can't afford a professional tax preparer. Last year, volunteer assistance through EMERGE returned $94,930 to the North Minneapolis community in federal refunds.

Four individuals from First Universalist have already volunteered to provide tax preparation assistance this season, but six more volunteers are still needed. No prior experience is required, and EMERGE will schedule 8 hours of certification training on January 16, along with an additional  2 hours of EMERGE-specific training later. Once trained, volunteers will provide 4 hours of tax preparation assistance on Saturday mornings beginning in February. This engagement will last for 12 weeks, but it will accommodate volunteers who need to miss a few dates due to other commitments.

If you're interested in learning more, contact Hal Schroer from First Universalist at, or Claudia Holt from EMERGE at
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
Sign up to receive our weekly Children Youth & Family Ministries news here
Church Office Hours
8 a.m.-1 p.m.
8:30 a.m.-8 p.m.
Closed Fridays and Saturdays
The Office will be closed the week of Dec. 28.
First Universalist Church of Minneapolis
3400 Dupont Avenue S.
Minneapolis, MN 55408


Copyright 2015. All Rights Reserved.