January 7, 2016  |  Vol. 3 No. 1
How Will You Care for Your Soul in the New Year?
Rev. Justin
Rev. Elaine
By Rev. Elaine Aron Tenbrink and Rev. Justin Schroeder

A new year has begun. Here we are: back in the thick of our
lives, back to our familiar routines, and anticipating the long winter ahead. As the new year begins, how will you care for your soul?

Consider the experiences of these leaders of circles, First Universalist's small groups for spiritual reflection:

"It's probably a general truth about the human condition that we all at times are unsure of ourselves, fearful, joyful, excited, but in a society that tells us to have it all figured out, it's easy to lose sight of the fact that most of us don't. The circle brings me back to humility, vulnerability, and the strength that can only be found when we share honestly."Drew Hockman

"I have learned that I am not alone. I have learned to embrace my true self. I have learned what it is like to intently listen to the beauty of others and their stories. I have learned that there is hope for continuous change towards betterment."Kaitlyn Hunt

As the new year begins, how will you care for your soul? The first step is to set some time aside. Set some time aside to connect - with yourself, with others, with that which is greater than all of us. Set some time aside to listen - to your inner wisdom, to a fresh perspective.

Our community's circles and adult programming offer an opportunity for just this.
  • Community Circles reflect on our worship themes and Sunday services. These include Circles for parents, people of color, young adults, and people living with grief.
  • Spiritual Deepening Circles invite us into spiritual practice and learning. These include Talking About Race With Kids, Conscious Aging, Being Mortal, and Singing Meditation.
  • Care Circles offer support during challenging times. This spring, we are offing a Caregiver Support Circle.
  • Newcomer Circles explore Unitarian Universalism and our core values.
You are also invited into a wide variety of programming offerings, such as:

You can register online for Circles from this Sunday, Jan. 10 through Sunday, Jan. 24 at firstucircles.weebly.com
. Registration will also be available in the social hall during the next three Sundays.

We'll see you in church,
Elaine and Justin
January Worship Theme: Passages
Worship this Sunday
Sunday, Jan. 10, 9:30 & 11:15 a.m.
New Member Sunday
"To Live in Hearts that Love..."
Rev. Jen Crow
Perhaps the biggest passage of all is the gift of life and the inevitability of death. This Sunday we'll explore the "both and" of living in the present, while knowing it will not always be so. We'll ask ourselves how we might live in such a way that we leave the world a better place, and how we might leave the world grateful to have lived. Read More 

Winter Worship Schedule

A Look Ahead
Sunday, Jan. 17
Dr. King Sunday
Youth-friendly worship
Rev. Justin Schroeder

Miss a Recent Sunday?
Jan. 3, 2016
Remembrance Sunday, Rev. Justin Schroeder Listen to the podcast

Dec. 27, 2015
"Returning to Wholeness Through Song"
Singing Sunday, Rev. Elaine Aron Tenbrink 

Dec. 20, 2015
"Gifts that Make a Difference" by Rev. Justin Schroeder and Rev. Jen Crow
Community Solar Garden Kickoff Event
Sunday, Jan. 10 at 1 p.m. in the Sanctuary
As Justin mentioned during last Sunday's service, Community Solar Gardens are a way to make renewable energy available to you.  Our team of four Twin Cities UU churches has researched this emerging energy program and is proud to bring you an option they've deemed the best fit with our valuesWe will present information about climate change, renewable energy, our UU Solar Garden project, and how to sign up. Presenters include J. Drake Hamilton, Science Policy Director of Fresh Energy, and Cliff Kaehler, CEO of Novel Energy/Minnesota Community Solar. The event is sponsored by the Environmental Justice Team. After the kick off we will be hosting Info Sessions so you can learn more about specifics. Info Session dates are posted online hereLearn more
Winter Hiking with First U Seniors
Tuesday, Jan. 12 at 10 a.m.
MN Valley Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center
Join other First U seniors for 2-hour outdoor hikes in the 7-county Metro area this winter. There will be post-hike gatherings at nearby restaurants for warm beverages, sustenance, and conviviality. For the first hike on Jan. 12, meet at 10 a.m. at MN Valley National Wildlife Refuge, Bloomington HQ Education Visitor Ctr. RSVP to Tom Saterstrom at saterstromtom@yahoo.com or 952-239-3629.
Racial Justice and our UU Faith Workshop
Saturday, Jan. 16, 9 a.m.-1 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.
To register, contact Sandy DiNanni at Sandy@firstuniv.org or 612-825-1701.
"Waking Up White" Book Discussion
Sunday, Jan. 17 at 1 p.m.
OR Tuesday, Jan. 19 at 7 p.m.
Through our Video and Book Discussion series, we invite you to join us for engaging conversations on race, racism, and whiteness. This month, we'll discuss the book "Waking Up White" by Debby Irving. Through sharing her own struggle to understand racism and racial tensions, Irving offers a fresh perspective on bias, stereotypes, and tolerance. These are drop-in 90-minute conversations.
Daytime Connections: Creativity: Bringing Joy to the Spiritual Journey of Aging
Thursday, Jan. 21, 11 a.m.
Many older adults have found joy, inspiration, and creativity in activities they had never thought to try. Join us for a mid-day adventure of stepping outside of your comfort zones through a variety of creative activities, including singing, drawing, photography, woodworking, and writing.
Through Daytime Connections, older adults empower each other to live intentional, joyful, purposeful, and spiritually fulfilled lives. Programs include a presentation and small meal (a $5 donation is requested for the meal). To RSVP, contact Sandy DiNanni at sandy@firstuniv.org or 612-825-1701.
Winter Warm Up Dance Party FUN-raiser
Saturday, Jan. 23, doors at 7:30 p.m.
Join us on January 23 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.
Motion to Approve Congregational Covenant Withdrawn
At the annual meeting in June, the Board presented a congregational covenant for consideration and adoption. By documenting a "code of right relational practices," the covenant was intended to guide how we treat each other within our church community. The Board drafted the covenant after learning of instances of highly disrespectful behavior between congregants, and after staff reported several instances of being treated disrespectfully by congregants. At the annual meeting, the congregation decided not to approve the covenant but instead to table the motion. There was a desire that a more inclusive process be used to draft a covenant during this church year.

This fall, the Board began planning sessions to develop the covenant with wider congregational input. During this process, we kept running into questions about who would determine a "violation," what "enforcement" would look like (and who would conduct it) if the covenant were broken, and why such a document were required, given that it likely would largely restate our Unitarian Universalist principles, as well as common principle of respectful behavior.

In light of these questions, and in recognition of the fact that the Board and staff are rightfully devoting substantial effort on other business, tasks, and issues of significance this year, the Board has decided to not pursue the development of a congregational covenant at this time. At our October meeting, we voted to withdraw the motion to approve a congregational covenant.

We appreciate the interest that has been expressed in such a document and process. We go forward in faith in the commitment of all members of the First Universalist community - congregants, friends, and staff - to act in accordance with our shared principles, which call us to treat all people with respect and dignity. We welcome your feedback at boardchair@firstuniv.org
Faithful Action Leadership Council (FALC) Announces New Partnership Process
First Universalist works through external organizations like Habitat for Humanity to act on our racial justice and faithful action values in the community. The newly formed Faithful Action Leadership Council (FALC) is excited to announce the new partnership application process for First Universalist members wanting to lead a partnership with a community organization. 

FALC has asked all current and potential community partners to apply by February 1, and accepted partners will be announced in March. The First Universalist Team Leader is asked to complete the application seeking information from the community partner organization. Through FALC, our First Universalist volunteers can receive training, evaluation, and spiritual reflection tools. Our community partners may receive limited funding (Sunday offering, Foundation grants, and application for Holiday giving) as well as volunteers, publicity, and use of the building for events and meetings from the church. 

For more information about the partnership application process and to access the application, please visit our Partnership Page.
"Creation and the Beginning of Knowing" Exhibit Opens
First Universalist is hosting an exhibit of work by the Jewish Women Artists' Circle Jan. 10 though Feb. 14, 2016. The exhibit includes artworks from two interrelated themes: "Creation" and "The Beginning of Knowing."

The "Creation" exhibit explores the first chapter of Genesis - the creation of heaven and earth, of light and darkness, of stars and water, and of living creatures. "The Beginning of Knowing" is a follow-up - studying the next chapters of Genesis, with the creation of man and woman and the tree of knowledge.

The Jewish Women Artists' Circle was launched in the summer of 2005, originally funded in part by a grant from Rimon, the Minnesota Jewish Arts Council, an initiative of the Minneapolis Jewish Federation. An important component of the Artists' Circle is study - for each topic, the artists invite scholars to teach and inspire them in creating their art.

Learn more about the Jewish Women Artists' CircleThe exhibit is on view in the Social Hall on Sundays between 9 a.m. and 1 p.m.
Seeking Artists to Exhibit in 2016-2017
Do you know or are you an artist who might be interested in exhibiting in our church gallery space? The Visual Arts Committee is actively looking for talented artists - painters, photographers, textile artists, sculptors - to exhibit artwork next exhibit cycle which starts in September 2016. We are also looking for cross-cultural or social action works. If you're interested or know someone who might be, contact Visual Arts Exhibit Chair Bette DeMars at jbdemars2@gmail.com, 952-929-2536 (H), or 612-991-3657 (C).
Sunday Flower Donations
It's time to look at your 2016 calendar and reserve a date for donating Sunday flowers...an opportunity to honor and celebrate an individual or event. A Visual Arts Committee member will create a unique arrangement for you and others in the congregation to enjoy. Once services are over you can take the flowers home or share them with others from the congregation who are unable to attend the service. If you're interested, contact Visual Arts Flower Chair Marjie Smith at 612-825-1125 or  marjiesmith1@aol.com.
Association of Universalist Women (AUW) Winter Tea
The Association of Universalist Women (AUW) hosts a Winter Tea on Saturday, Feb. 6, from 2 to 4 p.m. in the Social Hall. The event is free but contributions to the Kate Tucker Scholarship Fund will be cheerfully accepted. Wear your fancy hat!

RSVP to attend and/or sign up to help by Jan. 31 at the AUW table in the Social Hall after Sunday services. For more info, contact Valerie Garber at valeriejgarber@yahoo.com or 651-224-2334.
Cycle of Life and Pastoral Care
Our thoughts are with Kate Guin and her family. Kate's grandfather, Dr. Robert Cooper, passed away on January 1. 
Our thoughts are with Pam Berry, whose father, Vern Fitch, passed away peacefully in his home in Harvard, Illinois, on Dec. 20. Vern was father-in-law to Umesh, grandfather to Jason and Katelyn, and will be deeply missed. 
Our thoughts are with Joy Throm on the death of her mother, Jean Throm. Jean lived in Great Falls, Montana, and will be missed dearly.

Hal Schroer, a dedicated volunteer at Emerge Community Development, received the Workforce Catalyst Award at their recent annual meeting. Emerge is a Northside Community Development that helps people redefine themselves, get job training, and build new lives.

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 sandy@firstuniv.org or 612-825-1701. If you would like support, contact Rev. Jen Crow at jen@firstuniv.org or 612-825-1701 or any member of our Pastoral Care Team.
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!
Pastoral Care Team 
The Pastoral Care Team is a group of congregants, led by the Rev. Jen Crow, who provide confidential pastoral care to friends and members of our congregation in need of support. We visit people at homes, hospitals, and hospice or at the corner coffee shop. Our goal is to offer compassionate presence to our fellow congregants in the knowledge that this too is a spiritual practice. If you are in need of a Pastoral Care team visit, please contact Rev. Jen Crow at jen@firstuniv.org.
Planned Giving
You put 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're considering including First Universalist in your will or estate plan, talk to a minister for guidance. If you've already made the church a beneficiary, please let the office know. Filling out an easy planned giving form will ensure your wishes are honored.
- Peg Meier of the Planned Giving Committee
Volunteers of America Seeking Foster Parents
Volunteers of America-MN is looking for skilled, dedicated parents to provide care for at-risk youth, ages ranging from infants to teenagers. They provide foster parents with lots of friendly training, 24-hour support, and a monthly stipend. Details are available hereFor more information, contact Brittani Walker at 952-945-4064. 
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The Office will be closed Monday, Jan. 18.
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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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