December 10, 2015  |  Vol. 2 No. 41
Another World is Possible
By Reverend Justin Schroeder, Senior Minister
Rev. Justin Schroeder

In 2003, Indian activist, Arundhati Roy, ended her keynote address to the World Social Forum in Porto Alegre, Brazil, with these words: "Another world is not only possible, she is on her way. On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing."

Through art, music, literature, sheer relentlessness, and the ability to tell our own stories, Roy said, we imagine and help bring another world into being.  

In this season of finding light amidst the darkness - Hanukkah candles glowing in the window - the star in the sky leading the way to a baby born in a manger - the returning of the light that we celebrate at Winter Solstice - what new worlds do you imagine coming into being?

What new world(s) are being born inside of you, as you work your 12 step program, embrace the racial justice journey we're on, engage in a new spiritual practice, create something, hold a child or grandchild, or sit with a dying loved one?

What new world(s) are being born in your family or close relationships, as you seek forgiveness, make amends, sing together, play together, and tell stories to one another?

What new worlds do we hear breathing all around us?

A few weeks ago, when I gathered with nearly 200 people at a Faith Summit to Prevent Gun Violence (put on by Every Town for Gun Safety), I truly felt that another world was possible, as state by state, we can introduce common sense legislation that reduces gun violence.

Bringing a new world into being takes imagination, creativity, relentlessness, and deep, abiding love. In this season that celebrates the returning of the light, that hints at the birth of something new, what new world(s) are you helping to bring into being?

I'll see you in church,
Worship this Sunday
Sunday, Dec. 13, 9:30 & 11:15 a.m.
Special Music Service with Choruses from Handel's Messiah
First Universalist Choir and Orchestra
"Prophetic Imagination"
Rev. Ruth MacKenzie
What if Christmas is not what we think it is? What if the Christmas story was an act of prophetic imagination, calling us all to wake up, make room, and live into a world of coherence and connection? Join First Universalist Choir and Rev. Ruth in this music-filled worship of prophecy and making room through the music of Handel's Messiah.
Read More 

Winter Worship Schedule

A Look Ahead
Sunday, Dec. 20, 9:30 & 11:15 a.m.
"The Gift of Home" Holiday Giving Service
Multigenerational Worship

Sunday, Dec. 20 & Thursday, Dec. 24
Christmas Pageant, 4 p.m. both days

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

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

Sunday, Dec. 27
One Service Only - 10 a.m.

Miss a Recent Sunday?
Dec. 6, 2015
"Hauling Out Stones" by Rev. Justin Schroeder Listen to the podcast

Nov. 29, 2015
"Bringing Out Our Best" by Rev. Jen Crow

Nov. 22, 2015
"What Guides You in the Borders?" by Rev. Justin Schroeder Listen to the podcast
Daytime Connections
Thursday, Dec. 17, 11 a.m. - 1 p.m.
Through Daytime Connections, older adults empower each other to live intentional, joyful, purposeful, and spiritually fulfilled lives. On Thursday, Dec. 17, 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. 
Winter Solstice Service
Monday, Dec. 21, 7 p.m.
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. Sanctuary doors open at 7 p.m., and the service begins at 7:30 p.m. We begin with music, chanting a story for all ages, leading us into darkness, then celebrating the return of the light. The service includes 12 minutes of complete darkness, accompanied by the drumbeat. Celebrate the longest night and discover what gifts await you in the dark. Following the service, join the merriment in the Social Hall, with spiral dancing led by DrumHeart.  
Christmas Pageant
Sunday, Dec. 20 at 4 p.m. 
Thursday, Dec. 24 at 4 p.m.
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 is held twice; on Sunday, Dec. 20 and Thursday, Dec. 24.
Image credit: Warren Antiola; CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
Christmas Eve Candlelight Service 
Thursday, Dec. 24 at 9:30 p.m.
The Candlelight Service at First Universalist is a time of mindfulness, meaning-making and music. This service is a weaving of scripture readings, poems, musical offerings, silence, and lighting our hearts and spirit with the candlelight and hope. 
Next Sunday, Dec. 20: Time to Give the Gift of Home
In recent weeks we have asked you to reimagine the holidays - to think of ways to reduce consumption at this special time of year that sometimes seems is all about consumption. We've asked you to consider giving half of what you'd normally spend on gifts to help us give the gift of home. Our partner in this effort is Beacon Interfaith Housing Collaborative, which is working to help end homelessness in Minnesota.
Please take home the envelope you'll find in this Sunday's order of service and talk with your family about what you'd like to give. Next Sunday, Dec. 20, bring your gift to church. As we collect these envelopes, we'll experience how we can create our own miracle of loaves and fishes. No gift is too small. All of us, together, will make the miracle happen.
Let's celebrate the season! Let's shine a light of hope by raising $70,000 that Beacon can use to help youth, formerly incarcerated men, and struggling families find stable housing that can make all the difference in their lives.
If you won't be in church next Sunday, please make an online gift. Visit our Holiday Giving page, select "you can make your online gift here" and choose the "holiday giving" box in the dropdown menu. With a little re-imagination, we can help put a light in the window for the homeless and give the gift of love that is the true meaning of the holiday season. Join us!
Remembering Loved Ones: Help Us Deliver Poinsettias
Photo by Liz West CC BY 2.0
We need your help delivering poinsettias to 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.

This Sunday, Dec. 13, poinsettias ready for delivery will be in the foyer outside the sanctuary doors with 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.
Plan Ahead for Year End Contributions
With the end of 2015 quickly approaching, the financial team at First Universalist wants to remind you about the deadline for giving for the calendar year. If you want your financial gifts counted toward 2015, your checks need to be postmarked or dropped off at the church office no later than December 31, 2015. Please be aware that the office will be closed between December 23 and January 4, so plan accordingly. The church will be open for holiday services, and contributions can be dropped off at the hub during services. 

If you'd like to make a year-end gift online, you may do so here. Make sure to select the "Year End Gift" fund in the drop-down menu. Thank you for your generosity!

Additionally, church members are strongly encouraged to check annual pledge payments and make sure the payments you have made match what you intended to give this year. We have encountered some issues with cards coming back with processing errors and other issues with financial information. Please check your bank statements for errors and your voicemail and email inboxes for communication from us. Be sure to get payments in before the end of the year if you want donations counted toward 2015. If you have any questions, please contact Andrea at 612-825-1701 x100 or
Rejuvenating the Chancel: A New Pulpit is Planned
By Rev. Ruth MacKenzie

Over the course of the last two and half years, a group of congregants has met to explore how we might rejuvenate the look and feel of the chancel. The Chancel Team consists of representatives from SPIFF, AUW, Visual Arts, staff, and artists/designers from our membership.

With the financial support of Association of Universalist Women (AUW) our first goal was to paint the chancel, which was completed in 2014. The new paint has made a stunning difference in the appearance and beauty of our chancel. The Visual Arts Committee has a gracious backdrop for its flower arrangements, and this year's stunning ode to joy.

Our next goal is to commission a pulpit. The existing pulpit has served us well. It is a visible bridge between our church home on Bryant Avenue and our church home on Dupont. But the chancel team and ministers agreed that the next significant way we could refresh the sanctuary was to build a pulpit.

Our group interviewed several builders over the summer, and decided to work with Richard Helgeson. Richard is a beautiful craftsman and has a strong portfolio of pulpits, lecterns, tables, and founts. View his work on his website

With seed money from AUW, Richard has worked on various ideas for our pulpit. He will be presenting his ideas and models to the Chancel group next week, so stay tuned. Our next gesture of beauty is about to unfold.
Holiday Decor: Colorful Explosion of Beauty & Joy
This year's holiday decorations were created by the Visual Arts Committee as a gift to our congregation. This year Meredith Sims and Bill McTeer led a team of 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. 
Save the Date: Winter Warm Up Dance Party
Join us January 23, 2016 for the Winter Warm-up Dance Party. Doors open at 7:30 p.m. Party goers will enjoy food and music included with the cost of admission. Beverages (alcoholic and non-alcoholic) will be available for purchase. Purchase tickets online in advance and stay tuned for more information.
First U Community Solar Garden Sign Up Coming Soon!
The First Universalist Community Solar Garden (CSG) Team is anticipating a large demand for subscriptions. On January 10, after the second service, we'll have a large congregational meeting in the sanctuary with J. Drake Hamilton of Fresh Energy, a nationally recognized expert on renewable energy, as our guest speaker.
Community solar garden subscriptions are currently being heavily promoted in the Twin Cities metro by a number of different developer firms. You may have had people knock on your door or have received direct mail offerings about them. Please be aware that the First Universalist CSG model has been developed by volunteers who have dedicated two years to interviewing and vetting developers before coming to a decision. Please come and hear the presentation about our offer before signing on to another plan.
The First Universalist team is very excited about offering this program and is hoping for a large number of participants. Please send an inquiry to if you have questions, and thank you for your support of this renewable energy project to fight climate change. More information can be found on our website
Habitat for Humanity Sign Up Open for 2016
First Universalist and Habitat for Humanity 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

Sign-up for these 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.
Donations Needed for Augsburg Fairview Academy
First Universalist is the primary supplier of food and clothing for the Hope Food and Clothing Closets at Augsburg Fairview Academy, a school that serves young adults from diverse communities facing educational barriers to achievement in traditional schools. A list of items needed can be found on our websiteBring items to the Hub on Sundays or leave on the shelves marked AFA at the 34th street entrance. Thank you for your generosity!
Congregational Care:
Transportation Assistance
Need transportation to church or to a doctor's appointment? We can help with at least two weeks' notice. Contact Anne McBean (952 938-2897, if you need help with a ride or would like to offer a ride to a congregant.
Planned Giving at First Universalist
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.
- Peg Meier of the Planned Giving Committee
Cycle of Life and Pastoral Care
A memorial service for Caroline Mills will be held on Sunday, Dec. 13 at 2 p.m.
Our thoughts are with Joan Naymark, whose mother passed away peacefully at the age of 96 this week.

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.
Roberta Kaplan at Shir Tikvah
Sunday, Dec. 13, 4 p.m., Shir Tikvah in Minneapolis
On Sunday, Dec. 13, Shir Tikvah welcomes esteemed attorney Roberta (Robbie) Kaplan in a discussion and unveiling of her just-released book Then Comes Marriage: United States v. Windsor and the Defeat of DOMA, about the landmark ruling, in which she was the case's chief architect. Introduction by Senator Al Franken. Tickets are $20 each and available here.
Advocacy Opportunity: 2015 Homeless Memorial March and Service
Thursday, Dec. 17, 5 p.m., Hennepin County Government Center
For the past thirty years, Simpson Housing Services and Minnesota Coalition for the Homeless have held a memorial march, silent vigil, and service of remembrance for those who have passed away while experiencing homelessness. The vigil and service are intended to respectfully honor and remember the lives of our community members who have passed away while homeless. 

This year's march begins at 5 p.m. on December 17 at the Hennepin County Government Center and ends at the Simpson United Methodist Church for a service of remembrance, followed by a community meal. More details and times can be found on Simpson Housing's website.

Every day, more than 14,000 members of our Minnesota community experience homelessness. Almost half are children or young adults, and seniors represent the fastest growing population of people experiencing homelessness.
Feast of the Little Spirit Moon
Friday, Dec. 18, 6 p.m., SpringHouse Ministry Center in Minneapolis
Honor the Earth and Minnesota Interfaith Power & Light invite you to SpringHouse Ministry Center in Minneapolis for the 2nd annual Manidoo Giizisoons Feast (Feast of the Little Spirit Moon). The evening includes a 4-course indigenous feast by The Sioux Chef, featuring Native foods in "pre-contact" recipes, prepared using the traditional ways of indigenous ancestors. 

Join us to celebrate the winter solstice, the abundance of the north country, and to honor the sacred waters of our region. The feast will be themed to the current moon of the Anishinaabe calendar, the Manidoo Giizisoons (Little Spirit Moon). Tickets are $65 per person, or $440 for a table of 8. Please register online here.
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 Dec. 23 - Jan. 3.
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.
First Universalist Church of Minneapolis
3400 Dupont Avenue S.
Minneapolis, MN 55408


Copyright 2015. All Rights Reserved.