December 17, 2015  |  Vol. 2 No. 42
This Sunday: Time to Give the Gift of Home
For the past two months, our congregation has been working to re-imagine the holidays by making a spiritual choice to redirect half of our holiday spending to values-based giving.
We have had discussions as a congregation, in our Religious Education program, and with our own families about how we can live into the true meaning of the season and live out our values. We have also encouraged our friends and loved ones to consider redirecting their gifts to us towards this goal.
Our recipient this year is Beacon Interfaith Housing Collaborative, which is working to end homelessness in Minnesota. Through information, speakers and stories across the last several Sundays, you have had the opportunity to learn more about their services to help youth, formerly incarcerated men, and struggling families find stable housing that can make all the difference in their lives. Listen to this powerful testimony from a former resident at Nicollet Square (part of Beacon Housing) from last week's service.
This Sunday, Dec. 20, we ask all who are able to bring their gift to the service (make checks payable to First Universalist with "Beacon" in the memo line). Our goal is to raise $70,000 as a congregation. If you prefer, you can make your gift online or through the Square Cash App (To: $firstuniv  For: Beacon).
As we collect these gifts, we'll experience how we can create our own miracle of loaves and fishes through collective impact. No gift is too small. All of us, together, will make the miracle happen.
This Holiday Season, Give the Gift of Home.
December Worship Theme: Making Room
Worship this Sunday
Sunday, Dec. 20, 9:30 & 11:15 a.m.
"The Gift of Home" Holiday Giving Service
Multigenerational Worship

"Gifts that Make a Difference"
Rev. Justin Schroeder 
Experiences, attention, being a part of something larger than oneself, unrushed time together. These are some of the gifts that we truly remember. What might we take from this holiday season and apply to the rest of our living, throughout the year? 
Read More 

Winter Worship Schedule

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

Monday, Dec. 21
Winter Solstice Service,
7 p.m. doors; 7:30 p.m. ritual begins

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

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

Sunday, Jan. 3
Remembrance Sunday

Miss a Recent Sunday?
Dec. 13, 2015
"Prophetic Imagination" by Rev. Ruth MacKenzie Listen to podcasts

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
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 at 4 p.m. each day.
Winter Solstice Service
Monday, Dec. 21 
7 p.m. doors; 7:30 p.m. ritual begins

For 35 years, First Universalist has honored the longest night of the year, and joyously celebrated the return of the Sun! Join us on Dec. 21 as we observe another turning of the year. 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. Afterwards, join the merriment in the Social Hall, with spiral dancing led by DrumHeart. Prior to the service, there will be an open labyrinth walk from 5:30 to 6:45 p.m.  
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. 
Image: Flickr user Toucanradio, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
Remembrance Sunday 
Sunday, Jan. 3, 9:30 & 11:15 a.m.
The first of the calendar year is a natural time for looking back and looking forward. Sunday, Jan. 3, we will gather in worship and remembrance of those that have died and now stand on the other side of the veil, while contemplating what hopes sustain us on this side. Please join us in this meaningful service for all ages.  
Newcomer Circle
Begins Tuesday, Jan. 5
Are you new to First Universalist? Whether you are a recent visitor or a new member, you're invited to join a Newcomer Circle. These four-session gatherings of 6-10 newcomers offer a chance to explore core Unitarian Universalist values, reflect on our spiritual journeys, and connect with other folks who are new to church. As with all of our Circles, this group is grounded in attentive listening and open-hearted reflection. Newcomer Circles are led by the Rev. Elaine Aron Tenbrink, Minister of Membership and Adult Ministries.
The next Newcomer Circle meets Tuesdays, Jan. 5, 12, 19, and 26 from 7-8:30 p.m. Registration is required; you can sign up at the Information table in the social hall or by emailing
Winter Warm Up Dance Party FUN-raiser
Saturday, Jan. 23, doors at 7:30 p.m.
Join us January 23, 2016 for music, food, and fun at the Winter Warm-up Dance Party. Enjoy live music from the Universal Rock Band and special guest performers, and dance to classic rock and roll. Food by One Dish at A Time is included with the cost of admission. Beverages (alcoholic and non-alcoholic) will be available for purchase. Purchase tickets online via Brown Paper Tickets or in the Social Hall on Sundays between services.
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.
Office Closed & Weekly Liberal on Holiday Break
Please note that the church office will be closed from Wednesday, Dec. 23 until Sunday, Jan. 3. It will reopen on Monday, Jan. 4.

The Weekly Liberal will be on holiday break until the first week in January. Watch for email reminders with information about upcoming services for the next two weeks; regular publication of The Weekly Liberal will resume January 7.
First U Community Solar Garden Campaign Begins Jan. 10
A Community Solar Garden campaign kickoff event is scheduled for Sunday, Jan. 10 in the sanctuary after the second service, to present information about climate change, renewable energy, our UU Solar Garden project, and how to become a subscriber. J. Drake Hamilton, an environmental expert from Fresh Energy, and Cliff Kaehler, CEO of Novel Energy Solutions, our recommended Solar Garden developer, will be on the program, sponsored by the Environmental Justice Team. Everyone is invited, and because 2016 garden capacity will be limited and subscription demand high, plan on attending to be sure to be able to participate.
Why choose the First Universalist CSG plan?
  • Best subscriber terms, including electricity cost savings, early termination, and transfer flexibility with lowest risk. No up-front subscription investment required.
  • Vetted by an expert UU solar coalition team representing five churches. The team interviewed the most active and prominent CSG developers; compared program benefits; reviewed and negotiated legal terms favorable to UU congregation members; and have assured garden capacity. 
  • Significant opportunity for First Universalist's justice ministries. Financial rebates will be awarded to the Church at the time the garden goes into operation based on the number of signups for our garden. These rebates can support our justice ministry efforts. 
Confused or tempted by other solar garden offerings? Avoid locking into the wrong terms too quickly. Attend a First Universalist CSG informational meeting and see our web page for additional information and key questions to ask other developers.
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!

If you have questions, contact Andrea at 612-825-1701 x100 or
Date Correction: 24-Hour Racial Justice Training
Our next 24-hour racial justice training led by Dr. Heather Hackman will be offered as a series of three Saturdays in winter/spring 2016. This is the last 24-hour training we'll be offering for the foreseeable future.

One of the training dates previously published in the Liberal and online was incorrect. The correct dates are: Saturdays, Feb. 6, Feb. 27, and April 9, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Find complete details about this training on our website. We hope you'll be able to take part!
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. 
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:
Sunday Flower Distribution
Would you like to help distribute flowers after the Sunday service to a congregant who could use support? Or suggest somebody to receive flowers? Contact Pamela Vincent (612-615-6085 or (If you want to donate flowers for a Sunday service, you can pick up a form in the church office that explains the procedure.)
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
Cycle of Life and Pastoral Care
Our thoughts are with Matt Peterson, who has just returned home from the hospital after major surgery. He will have a six week recovery period at home before returning to work. With two small children and a business owner mom, they would appreciate some short-term help with meals. 

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.
Caroling Canvass in Linden HIlls
Monday, Dec. 21, 4-8 p.m., Linden Hills Congregational Church of Christ
Join MN Neighborhoods Organizing for Change and its southside organizing crew for carols and racial justice conversations in Linden Hills! To win, we need a citywide movement. Join us for neighbor-to-neighbor conversations and racial justice carols. Find details 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
The Office will be closed Dec. 23 - Jan. 3.
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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.
First Universalist Church of Minneapolis
3400 Dupont Avenue S.
Minneapolis, MN 55408


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