January 21, 2016  |  Vol. 3 No. 3
The Egg
Rev. Ruth MacKenzie
By Rev. Ruth MacKenzie
Excerpts from a sermon delivered at Unity Church-Unitarian on Sunday, Jan. 17, 2016 (Dr. King Sunday)
In a reading by the poet Mark Nepo, I learned that the process of hatching is actually a terrifying event for the bird. In the moments before birth, the small hatchling has eaten all its food and its body presses against every curve of the shell. The chick must peck its way out if it is to survive.

Hatching is not graceful: there is wrestling, rolling, and stumbling about, while the shell is still partially attached. It's messy.

I've been thinking a lot about hatching lately, the grit it takes, the discomfort, the soul hunger, the pain and necessity. I've been thinking about hatching as I've stood with others declaring that #blacklivesmatter, or sat in living rooms with white friends discussing the tactics of the Black Lives Matter movement, and my support of these actions.

On one hand, I get that hatching is a messy necessity. I'm an artist. I hatch things all the time. I understand what it's like to find myself at a dead end, and then peck away at a hairline crack until it opens up into a new world, and I fall into a song, or a play, or a sermon.

On the other hand, as I think about my experience of being white, and arguing with friends around a dinner table, I find myself thinking: I don't want to hatch.  

There's something about my whiteness, the framework of being enculturated as white, that says hatching should be more orderly, more like a movie that I can watch from the comfort of my sofa. Hatching shouldn't hurt. Hatching shouldn't feel messy.

At a gut level, I understand this is not true. It is incongruent with my own knowing, and yet it is the story I have in my head. I'm coming to understand that this is a pivotal experience of whiteness in the racial paradigm. This is how my whiteness comes into play in maintaining a system that kills people literally and figuratively. I'm not talking about shutting off my brain, or not asking questions; I am talking about this constant concern with doing things correctly and comfortably.

This egg we're all living in is getting mighty tight, this framework of race and racism on which this country was built. We didn't construct it. We're just in it. But regardless of where we are positioned in the egg, we are all starving, literally and spiritually.

Change or adjustments inside the worldview of the egg is not enough. We are being called as religious peoples to transformation, that change that is beyond our worldview, beyond what we know.

Friends, take heart. Trust the discord, the anger, the broken heart, the tenderness. It is all a part of hatching, a piece of transformation. May we peck and pry until we are born whole and holy in the new world with our wings at last outstretched.
In faith,
Rev. Ruth MacKenzie
January Worship Theme: Impermanence
Worship this Sunday
Sunday, Jan. 24, 9:30 & 11:15 a.m.
"Step by Step"
Rev. Justin Schroeder
Rev. Justin's youngest son, Jesse, is just beginning to crawl. He sits and then lurches forward; he half crawls, he sits, he lurches forward again, chirping and smiling as he goes. Step by step, he's learning the strength, balance, and power of his young body. There are starts and stops, lurches and learnings, set-backs and victories. In many ways, it's no different for any of us. Step by step, we build our lives and try to make sense of the world. And often, it is only in community where we see how our steps have made a path - or a road - and we get some sense of where we've been and where we're going. Join us this Sunday, as we explore the deep power of belonging to a faith community. Read More  

Winter Worship Schedule

A Look Ahead
Sunday, Jan. 31, 9:30 & 11:15 a.m.
"Letting Go" 
Rev. Elaine Aron Tenbrink

Sunday, Jan. 31, 5:30 p.m.
Stone - A Meditation in Sound and Silence
Rev. Ruth MacKenzie, Dr. Jerrod Wendland

Miss a Recent Sunday?
Jan. 17, 2016
"The Other America"
Rev. Justin Schroeder

Jan. 10, 2016
"To Live in Hearts that Love"
Rev. Jen Crow

Jan. 3, 2016
Remembrance Sunday,
 Rev. Justin Schroeder
Winter Warm Up Dance Party FUN-raiser
Saturday, Jan. 23, 7:30 p.m. doors
Join us this Saturday in the social hall 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. Guest performers include: Averil Bach, David Bach, Erin Thompson, Rick Riddle, Donovan Hart, George Dow, John Jensen, Joey Babay, and Allen Steinhauer. Food by One Dish at A Time is included with the cost of admission. Beverages (alcoholic and non-alcoholic) will be available for purchase.  TICKETS: purchase online via Brown Paper Tickets.
Jewish Women Artists' Circle Reception: "Creation and The Beginning of Knowing"
Sunday, Jan. 24, 12:15 p.m.
Join us in the Social Hall after the second service for a reception honoring the artists featured in our current exhibit, "Creation and the Beginning of Knowing," by the Jewish Women Artists' Circle. Most artists will be present, and you're encouraged to come meet them!
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.
Contemplative Evening Worship
Stone - A Meditation in Sound and Silence
Sunday, Jan. 31, 5:30 p.m.
When the temperature falls and the roads ice over, we don't venture out thoughtlessly; we stay put and look inwards. We become stone-like: still, silent, strong. What secrets live in the heart of a stone? What hidden fires burn in our own hearts, warming us through the winter? Join us on Sunday, Jan. 31 at 5:30 p.m. for an evening contemplative service that explores these questions through music, poetry, and silent meditation. Rev. Ruth MacKenzie and Dr. Jerrod Wendland will be assisted by the artistry of percussionist Dr. Jeremy Johnston. The service includes musical selections by John Luther Adams, Evelyn Glennie, Peteris Vasks, and others. RSVP on Facebook
Daytime Connections: Genealogy Workshop
Wednesday, Feb. 3, 1-3 p.m.
Internet search engines, online public records, and low-cost DNA testing have created a golden age for amateur genealogists who want to extend knowledge of their family history for several generations. You may even find cousins who have already done most of the work for you. Presenter Michael Day will share personal family research using ancestry.com to illustrate how to get started with your own genealogy.
Through Daytime Connections, older adults empower each other to live intentional, joyful, purposeful, and spiritually fulfilled lives. 
Registration: Contact Sandy DiNanni at sandy@firstuniv.org or 612-825-1701.
Annual State of the Church Meeting Feb. 7
Please join us for our annual State of the Church meeting after the second service on Sunday, Feb. 7 (12:30 p.m.). At this meeting, the Board of Trustees and Staff of the Church will share updates on their respective goals for the year. This meeting will be a time to celebrate shared accomplishments, and to outline emerging opportunities and next steps in various ministry areas. We'll include a high level mid-year budget update, outline programming for the rest of the church year, and provide a preview of things to come.
We have so much to be proud of as a faith community, and big goals still in front of us. Mark your calendar and plan to join us on February 7!
Last Chance to Register for Winter Circles! 
Circle Registration closes this Sunday - sign up at firstucircles.weebly.com or in the Social Hall on the 24th!

Circles provide a sacred space where the soul can show up and find room to grow. In small groups of 8 to 10 participants, Circles invite us into deep listening and deep connection: with ourselves, with others, and with that which is greater than all of us.

Sign up now through Sunday, Jan. 24 online at firstucircles.weebly.com or in the Social Hall this Sunday. Most (but not all) Community & Spiritual Deepening circles begin the week of January 31. 

Community Circles offer an opportunity to reflect on Sunday services. Some Community Circles are open to everyone, while some are for people with a shared identity or experience, such as: People Living with Grief and Loss; Parents of Children Who Are Struggling During the Middle and High School Years; People of Color; Queer Young Adults; and Parents of Preschool and Elementary School Kids.

Spiritual Deepening Circles gather for in-depth study of a particular topic or spiritual practice. This winter, Denise Konen leads "Talking About Race With Kids," Kayci Rush leads "Examining Whiteness," and Andrea Johnson and Arif Mamdani lead "Genesis: Let's Start at the Beginning." In total, there are nine different Spiritual Deepening Circles taking place this winter/spring - be sure to read about all of the offerings here

Newcomer Circles offer an opportunity to learn more about our liberal faith tradition and connect with others who are also getting to know First Universalist.

Care Circles are small groups that gather with a trained leader for companionship and comfort during life's more difficult chapters. 

Learn more about Circle offerings and register online at firstucircles.weebly.com
Faithful Action Partner Applications Due Feb. 1
First Universalist works through external organizations like Habitat for Humanity to act on our justice values in the community. Earlier this month, the Faithful Action Leadership Council (FALC) announced a 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 of the Partnership 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.
Joan Naymark, pictured here with her granddaughter Ellie, says that her volunteer work with Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity is a very important part of her life.
First Universalist Community Partnerships provide meaningful volunteer opportunities for members and friends of our church - concrete ways for us to put our faith in action. Joan Naymark, co-chair of the Faithful Action Leadership Council, has volunteered with one of our current community partners, Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity, for more than twenty years.
Joan says that her involvement "grounded [her] in the real need for affordable housing in the Twin Cities and provided stories to help with advocacy work years later."
We asked Joan to tell us about what kind of volunteer work she has done with Habitat and what it's meant to her. "As a member of the Family Selection Committee for 15 years, I reviewed applications, interviewed families, and evaluated their need and ability to be good homeowners," she says. "Recently, I've helped build with Habitat volunteers at our church. It is so meaningful to be involved with others from our caring community, living our values through our actions. Twin Cities Habitat is a great organization, well run, and full of interesting, fun, and creative people. It's an important part of my life. There is so much need for engaged Faithful Action volunteers. It's easy and rewarding in ways you cannot imagine!" Read more about what Joan has to say about her Faithful Action work on our blog
UU Community Solar Garden Info Sessions
The UU Community Solar Garden campaign is in full swing and we've got dozens of households started down the path to becoming subscribers! 

If you've been hearing about our Community Solar Garden campaign and want to learn more, join us for one of our upcoming Info Sessions. This week we offer two: Sunday at 1 p.m. in the Chalice Room and Monday at 7 p.m. in the Social Hall. 

Do I need to attend an info session to join the garden?, you might ask. The answer is no, you can go directly to our landing page to sign up. However, there are some important advantages to attending. You will walk away from our info sessions prepared to make a fully-informed choice about where you want to get your energy.  

The UU Solar Coalition has done an extraordinary amount of due diligence in selecting a developer and negotiating contract terms, and they want you to know how our program was chosen. During the info session we provide comparisons to other offerings and financial analysis of how our subscription terms might impact your electricity costs relative to future Xcel rates. This comparison with Xcel rates is presented in a way that you will not see elsewhere.  

These are the last two "Session I" info sessions scheduled for now. Session II covers understanding the subscription agreement. Visit our Community Solar Garden webpage for more details and Session II dates. 
Marital First Responders Workshop & Heart to Heart Retreat
This winter, we're offering two trainings/workshops focused on healthy relationships. 

If friends confide in you about their relationship challenges and you want to feel more confident in how to be supportive and helpful, consider joining us for Marital First Responders training on Saturday, Feb. 20 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Marital First Responders are people who others open up to about relationship problems. But they are sometimes unsure about how to be helpful, how to avoid taking sides, and how to steer friends and family members to the right resources. To sign up, email Rev. Jen Crow at jen@firstuniv.org. Find complete details on our website

In March, we are excited to offer our first Heart to Heart Couples Enrichment Weekend for members of First Universalist. Heart to Heart is a face-to-face opportunity for couples in a committed relationship to enrich the relationship through listening, writing, and personal reflection. During the workshop, you will have opportunities to explore and reflect on couple strengths and challenges, hurts, desires, joys, and dreams in a private, safe, and guided encounter. All couples - regardless of marital status or gender identity - are welcome. This Heart to Heart Couples Enrichment Weekend workshop takes place Saturday, March 19 and Sunday, March 20. Complete details, including registration information, are available on our website
First U Endorses 2016 "Homes for All" Legislative Agenda
First Universalist Church has endorsed the 2016 "Homes for All" legislative agenda put forth by Minnesota Coalition for the Homeless. In 2016, Homes for All supports $130 million in bonds for housing. This investment will build or preserve affordable housing for families, individuals, and seniors who are low-income and experiencing homelessness throughout Minnesota.

Those endorsing the 2016 legislative agenda of Homes for All join a statewide coalition that's working to ensure housing stability for all Minnesotans. You can read more about the 2016 Homes for All legislative agenda here

Organizations and individuals can endorse the 2016 Homes for All legislative agenda by filling out this simple endorsement form
First Universalist Featured on Ch. 23's "Our Issues Twin Cities" 
Rev. Justin was interviewed by Our Issues Twin Cities host Rana Kamal.
In December, First Universalist was recognized on a Twin Cities television program for the racial justice work being done by our community. 
Rev. Justin Schroeder, Senior Minister at First Universalist, and Ben Miles, member of the Racial Justice Leadership Team, appeared on a segment of "Our Issues Twin Cities" that aired on The CW-23 in December. The segment covers police brutality, the recent emergence of the Black Lives Matter movement - "one of the most powerful civil rights movements since the 1960s" - and highlights First Universalist as one of several predominantly white communities in the Twin Cities that is putting racial justice at the center of its mission and responding to the call from Black Lives Matter to stand in solidarity.
The CW-23 program is available to watch online via YouTube. Look for Rev. Justin Schroeder and Ben Miles starting around the 15:30 mark.
Daytime Connections: New Daytime Knitting Group
Join friends from Daytime Connections for a new Daytime Knitting Group, which will be held first Wednesdays this winter/spring - Feb. 3, March 2, April 6, and May 4 - from 10 a.m. to noon in Room 202. Come have fun with others who like to knit together! Bring your own projects or knit Hats 4 the Homeless (patterns available). For more information, contact Gail Price at resortmom@earthlink.net.
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 the family and friends of church member Sheryl Lockwood, who died on Sunday, Jan. 10. Cards can be sent to Sheryl's husband, Gary Ash, at 561 206th Avenue NW, Cedar, MN 55011. 

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.
Congregational Care: Caring Corner
Write a note to a congregant who could use support! There are cards available in the library, which is located off of the Social Hall. You are welcome to stop by and write a card at any time. Just leave it in the basket and the church will mail it for you.
Planned Giving
First Universalist is one of six UU congregations in the nation recognized for running successful planned giving programs. Many of our members and friends include the church in wills and estate plans. Thanks for your support! 
Sunday Flower Donations
Donating Sunday flowers is 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.
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!
Art Exhibits Address Black Lives Matter
from Faith & Female Perspectives
How are faith communities establishing their convictions and response to the Black Lives Matter movement? And what about the women who are caught up in violent policing tactics? The Center for Arts, Faith & Culture at United Theological Seminary of the Twin Cities is partnering with Intermedia Arts and Obsidian Arts to present two complementary, juried exhibitions. Art forms include paintings, photography, digital and paper collage, video, poetry, music, digital printing on fabric, embellished artwear, sculpture and more.

Faith [In]Action?
January 28 - April 16
Exhibited at United Theological SeminaryFaith [In]Action? questions or shows evidence of the presence and role of people of faith in response to the overwhelming number of black people who have died at the hands of police and policing systems. The exhibition features works engaging in a visual dialog that interrogate the response of people of faith (black and white). How does the faith community counter the blatant and recurring acts of injustice reigned upon black lives and the ensuing effect on black communities in our present time? Where does it hold up and where does it lack impact?

Hands Up Don't Shoot-HER
January 28 - April 16
Exhibited at Intermedia Arts, asking the question, where are the protests and riots when the lives of black women are ended at the hands of police? Hands Up Don't Shoot-HER showcases works that evoke long-standing and uncomfortable questions about the value of the lives of black women in a time and place where whole communities seem to be at war with their local police systems. The visual art exhibit lifts these questions up for community interrogation while creating awareness of the black women and transgender people who have died at the hands of policing systems. Sliding fee scale; $3-10 per person suggested.

Opening Reception
Thursday, January 28, 6 - 8 p.m., program at 7 p.m.
Bigelow Chapel at United Theological Seminary (free); Registration Requested

For more details, visit United's website. 
Westminster Town Hall Forum with Jim Wallis:
"America's Original Sin: Racism and White Privilege"
Thursday, Feb. 4 at noon
Westminster Presbyterian Church, Nicollet Mall & 12th St. in Downtown Minneapolis
Jim Wallis is a public theologian, political activist, author and international commentator on ethics and public life. He is president and CEO of Sojourners, a network of people committed to spiritual renewal and social justice, and editor-in-chief of Sojourners magazine. He is the bestselling author of twelve books, including The (Un)Common Good and Rediscovering Values: A Guide for Economic and Moral Recovery. His latest book, America's Original Sin, is a personal and prophetic challenge to overcome the racism that pervades American society. Free and open to all. Each forum is preceded by a half-hour concert and followed by a public reception. 
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3400 Dupont Ave. S.
Minneapolis, MN 55408
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First Universalist Church of Minneapolis
3400 Dupont Avenue S.
Minneapolis, MN 55408


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