March 24, 2016  |  Vol. 3 No. 12
What Are We Doing Here?
Rev. Justin Schroeder
Do you ever wonder, what are we doing together, week after week, as a faith community? Why do we bring our family, friends, and loved ones to First Universalist? What happens when we come together to welcome, affirm, and protect the light in each other's hearts? What happens when we listen deeply to where love is calling us next, reflecting on what it means to be alive, knowing we will one day die?

This poem, The Unbroken, from Rashani Rea, points to the power and promise of what can happen to us when we are embedded in a faith community:

There is a brokenness
out of which comes the unbroken,
a shatteredness
out of which blooms the unshatterable.
There is a sorrow
beyond all grief which leads to joy
and a fragility
out of whose depths emerges strength.
There is a hollow space
too vast for words
through which we pass with each loss,
out of whose darkness
we are sanctioned into being.
There is a cry deeper than all sound
whose serrated edges cut the heart
as we break open to the place inside
which is unbreakable and whole,
while learning to sing.

What are we doing here? We're learning to sing our heart's song, to know ourselves as deeply loved, as broken and unbreakable. What are we doing here? We are holding one another through great joy and overwhelming loss and despair. What are we doing here? We are seeking to align our lives with the Spirit of Life and to follow its promptings.

A religious leader once said, "It's my job to resurrect the dead!" He didn't mean the dead buried in the ground, but the living dead, those who are numbed out and simply making the motions as they move through life.

What are we doing here? Simply put, we're practicing resurrection, coming back to life after loss, despair, and hopelessness, reminding one another of the unbreakable places in the human spirit.

This Easter Sunday, we will practice resurrection once again.

I'll see you in church,
Worship this Sunday
Sunday, March 27, 9:30 & 11:15 a.m.
Easter Sunday 
Multigenerational Worship

Wisdom Story:
"The Road to Emmaus"
In this multi-generational Easter service, the wisdom story will be told in puppetry, music, drumming, and drama. One of three resurrection stories from the gospel of Luke, "The Road to Emmaus" asks each and all to remember the essence of Jesus' teachings of transformation and what it takes to live the reality of good and grace into being. Join us for a message of hope even in the midst of hopelessness.

"The Unbreakable Place"
Rev. Justin Schroeder
As Unitarian Universalists, how do we make sense of the Easter story? How do we understand this archetypal story about new life found after loss and terrible grief? In this midst of brokenness, this is a story of wholeness and hope and something unbreakable. If we allow it, this is a story that can speak deeply to us, and our world, today. Come hear this story in a new light. 
Read More   View Order of Service
The Wisdom Story will be told with drama, puppetry, and music this Easter Sunday.

A Look Ahead
Sunday, April 3, 9:30 & 11:15 a.m.
Sharing Sunday
Rev. Elaine Aron Tenbrink

Miss a Recent Sunday?
March 20, 2016
"The Other You" Rev. Justin Schroeder
March 13, 2016
"The Shape of Things" Rev. Jen Crow
March 6, 2016
"Whole Life Living" Rev. Justin Schroeder
Young Families Easter Party 
Saturday, March 26, 9-11 a.m.
Hop on over to celebrate Easter with the littlest members of our church community. All families with children up through 1st grade are invited to attend. Older siblings are welcome, too. Join us for a light breakfast of bagels and fruit followed by games, crafts, egg dying and egg hunting for all. Don't forget your Easter basket! 
Pathway to Membership
Mondays, March 28 & April 4, 6:30-9 p.m.
Feeling like First Universalist could be your spiritual home? Join us for The Pathway to Membership, an exploration of Unitarian Universalism, the history and mission of this congregation, and the experience of membership. Participants meet with ministers and lay leaders, and are invited to share and reflect on their own spiritual journeys and values. To register, contact Sandy at or 612-825-1701. 
Design for the New Pulpit to be Shared in April
Over the past few months, the Chancel Group has been meeting with builder Richard Helgeson to create and craft a new pulpit for our chancel. You may be asking, why a new pulpit? Or, why now?
Richard Helgeson shared models with Chancel Group members Fawzia Khan, Kristen Mengelkoch, Meredith Sims, Steve Oakley, and Rev. Ruth MacKenzie earlier this year. 

When the Chancel Group convened two years ago, in collaboration with the ministry team, we decided that two goals would make a dramatic difference to the beauty and power of our service. The first was to paint the chancel. This was completed in 2014. The second was to replace the pulpit.

Our current pulpit has served this congregation well. It was built for the chancel at our church on 50th & Girard, and traveled with us to 3400 Dupont in 1993. Although it is graceful and open, it is showing signs of wear and tear. Also, with an expanding vision of shared ministry, the worship team has longed for a pulpit from 
Richard Helgeson built a cardboard replica of the new pulpit to help hone the design in collaboration with the Chancel Group.
which two people could comfortably speak, as well as a pulpit that resonates more strongly with the scale and architectural gestures of our chancel.  

Richard has done some beautiful work creating a trio of pieces (pulpit, bell stand, and chalice stand) that reflect our dreams. He built a cardboard replica of the pulpit and is honing his design under the direction of the Chancel Group and ministers. At this date, the design is approved, the majority of the building materials have been chosen, and the build should start in a couple of months.

Members of the Chancel Group will be in the social hall on two Sundays in April (TBD) so that you can ask questions, see small replicas of the pieces, and learn more. Watch for those dates next week.

See more of Richard's work on his website
Great Gathering Event Program Ads Due April 1
Advertise your business while supporting the church at the same time! Ad space is available in the Event Program for The Great Gathering, which takes place on Saturday, April 23. The event program is a full-color catalogue of items available for participants to bid on, as well as a schedule of the evening's events and dinner menu details. It is a must-have for all event attendees. Please see the Ad Placement Form available here for ad specs, pricing, and other details. All proceeds support youth and social justice ministries of First Universalist Church and will help raise funds for the new pulpit. 
Hosts Needed for Fun & Creative Great Gatherings! 
Great Gatherings are parties, events, or activities that are hosted by a member of our community - someone like you! 
You choose the kind of party or gathering it will be - from a formal dinner to a game night, educational event to a romp in the woods - and we'll sell spots on the night of The Great Gathering Auction & Fundraiser, April 23.
All proceeds from the event and sale of Great Gathering spots support youth and social justice ministries of First Universalist Church and will help raise funds for the new pulpit.
Interested in hosting a Great Gathering? Please submit your Great Gathering no later than Tuesday, April 12 (the earlier the better!). Complete the form (available here) and email it to or drop it off in the church office.
Get Your Tickets for The Great Gathering! 
Come experience The Great Gathering on Saturday, April 23 at First Universalist! Join us for dinner, drinks and a chance to sign up for Great Gathering experiences and bid on live auction items. All proceeds from this event will support First Universalist's social justice and youth ministry work and the new pulpit.

Tickets ($40 each) are available in the Social Hall between services and can also be purchased online at
Leadership Position Applications Due April 1
The Nominating Committee is actively recruiting candidates for leadership positions on the Board of Trustees, the Foundation Board, and the Nominating Committee itself for the next church year. We believe the congregation is full of untapped talent and we encourage people to step forward and share their skills.
Now is an exciting and important time to serve as we continue to build on the positive energy and growth of our congregation. Serving on one of these bodies provides unique opportunities to deepen and enrich your personal connection to the church while broadening your circle of relationships within our spiritual community. People in church leadership positions have unique opportunities to collaborate with our passionate ministers and lay leaders to advance the mission of the church.
To qualify for any of these positions, you must be a member in good standing of the church. Elections occur at the Annual Meeting in June. Go to our website to view more detailed position descriptions and apply.
Contact any Nominating Committee member to find out more: Pamela Vincent (chair), Deborah Talen, Doug Smalley, Sharon Ramirez, David Lauth, Greg Hoelzer, and Christina Nicholson, Board of Trustees representative. Email
Pledge Drive Update 
A huge Thank You to all who have submitted a pledge for the 2016-2107 church year. Many of you made very generous increases in your pledge - in fact, the average pledge increase at the end of Pledge Day was 10%! Thank You! 

We're getting closer to reaching our Pledge Drive goal, which will fund the majority of the church's 2016-2017 budget. With pledges totaling $942,858 so far, we're 76% of the way there. 

If you haven't yet submitted a pledge, you may do so by calling the church office at 612-825-1701 or by emailing Andrea Love at
RE Classes Create Art Inspired by "Families All Matter" Unit
Please enjoy the artwork of our Kindergarten, 1st and 4th grade Religious Education classes, now hanging in the church atrium. The messages and images were inspired by their Families All Matter book project unit. 

Each class read age-appropriate picture books to develop understanding and empathy for all kinds of families, including families of different races and ethnicities, families formed through adoption, families who immigrate from other countries, and families with members with varying abilities and of diverse sexual orientations. 

As Unitarian Universalists, regardless of our age, our faith inspires us to honor the dignity and value of each person, affirm all families formed in love, and work to ensure all are welcomed in our church and in the larger world.
Guest at Your Table:
Help the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee (UUSC)
Each year, our congregation celebrates Guest At Your Table, a nationwide UU fundraiser for the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee. UUSC focuses on grassroots-driven initiatives to advance the cause of human rights, in the U.S. and around the world. Whether helping refugees from the Middle East, supporting the human right to water in Flint, or advocating for the rights of workers in the informal economy in Africa, UUSC is grounded in our UU values. 

Starting April 3, Guest At Your Table boxes will be available for you to take home. Add your donations and good wishes, and bring them back to church by May 1. This is the work of our church!
Regional Assembly Early Bird Deadline is March 31
The annual Assembly of the Unitarian Universalist Association's MidAmerica Region will be held April 29 - May 1 in downtown Saint Paul. The theme this year is "The WHO in the New Era of Unitarian Universalism." Who do we want to be as faith communities in the coming years? Who will we need to be, to be relevant? How will we get there? Who will be joining us on this journey?

Keynote Speakers:

Meet in Saint Paul for a weekend of inspiring keynote speeches (from Kenny Wiley, Rev. Elizabeth Nguyen, and Rev. Jeremy Nickel), soul-stirring worship, and a variety of workshops (including ones led by Rev. Jen Crow and Lena K. Gardner). This is a rare opportunity to meet, close to home, with UUs from nearly 200 congregations in 13 midwestern states. 

You can learn more about Regional Assembly and register (with an "early bird" discount available through March 31) onlineJoin fellow UUs for a memorable weekend!
AUW (Association of Universalist Women) Spring Retreat Features Rev. Kate Tucker as Keynote Speaker
Simple Gifts
'Tis the gift to be simple
'Tis the gift to be free
'Tis the gift to come down where we ought to be...

AUW's spring retreat features Rev. Kate Tucker as keynote speaker
Featuring the Rev. Kate Tucker as keynote speaker, with a special appearance by singer-songwriter Ann Reed, AUW's Simple Gifts Spring Retreat will be held 
Friday, April 15 through Sunday, April 17 at the Koinonia Retreat Center near Annandale, MN. The retreat offers opportunities for yoga, Tai Chi Chih, meditation, walking the outdoor Labyrinth, paper-bead making, nature hikes and more. For complete details, visit AUW's website.

Registration includes all programming. Full weekend registration provides two nights lodging and dinner on Friday, breakfast/lunch/dinner on Saturday and breakfast on Sunday. The Saturday only option includes breakfast/lunch/dinner. 

For details and registration, visit the AUW table before or after service or Brown Paper Tickets here.

Let us all share our Simple Gifts!
Cycle of Life and Pastoral Care
Our thoughts are with Kathy Jelinek who will be having surgery on her ankle this coming week.
Our thoughts are with the friends and family of Betsy Horton. A memorial service for Betsy will be held on Sunday, May 8 at 2 p.m. at church.

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.
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!
Book, DVD, CD & Video Game Donations for Youth Cultural Exchange Sale
Donations are needed for YCE's (Youth Cultural Exchange) CD, DVD, Video Game & Book Sale on April 17 and 24. Drop off your gently-used CDs, DVDs, Video Games and Books on the stage in the social hall March 27April 3, or April 10. Last summer 12 First U 8th and 9th graders traveled to León, Nicaragua, where they lived with 12 local families, gaining cultural understanding and forging cross-cultural friendships. Your donations will help us bring the Nicaraguan host siblings to Minnesota for two weeks in July. Thank you!
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.

Why Do Some Have Silver Name Tags?
Have you ever wondered why some church members have silver name tags? Silver indicates that the wearers are members of the Heritage Circle, meaning they have included First Universalist in their wills or estate plans. If you have already done so or wish to do so, please ask the office for a Letter of Intent. It's very helpful for the church to know your intention. And we'd love to give you a lovely silver name tag!
Good Friday Planned Parenthood Solidarity Rally
Friday, March 25, 9 a.m. - Meet in the First Universalist parking lot

Meet in the First Universalist parking lot on Friday, March 25 at 9 a.m. The bus will bring everyone to Planned Parenthood in Saint Paul and will leave the rally around noon and return to the church parking lot around 12:30 p.m. There is very little parking near Planned Parenthood, so it is better to take the bus instead of trying to park near the event. Contact Valerie at for sign up and information. 
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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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