May 5, 2016  |  Vol. 3 No. 18
What Is Faithful Action...?
Rev. Justin Schroeder
Faithful Action is a way to describe any action we take that is deeply grounded in the values of our faith. It might be protesting in the streets, serving a meal, building a house, writing a letter to the editor, visiting your elected official, or helping to launch a Unitarian Universalist Solar Garden. There are countless ways to engage in "Faithful Action."

Here are two I hope you will consider:
  1. From May 22-June 5, we'll be hosting up to four homeless families through Families Moving Forward, a program of Beacon Interfaith Housing Collaborative. As we did last September, we will open up our church by converting our RE classrooms into bedrooms, creating sacred spaces of refuge and rest, in support of families transitioning to stable housing. We'll serve breakfasts and dinners. Together, with our guests, we'll practice the fragile art of hospitality. Over 100 volunteers are needed to extend this hospitality. We need your help! We still have a need for more than 40 volunteers -- meal preparers, overnight hosts, and families from our congregation to spend time with our guests. Please go to our FMF SignUp  to pick your spot or stop in the Social Hall following Sunday services to talk with the coordinators and sign up.  
  2. First Universalist is partnering with 15 Now Minneapolis, an organization working in coalition with Neighborhoods Organizing for Change, the Minneapolis NAACP, Black Lives Matter, and many others, to raise the minimum wage to $15/hr in Minneapolis. As a faith community, we are committed to paying all of our adult staff members a living wage of at least $15/hr, and we will be doing so in the new fiscal year. Raising the minimum wage city-wide is a step to begin to address some of the racial disparities in our city, and it will make a huge impact on people's lives. In May and June, after each worship service, we are collecting signatures to get this initiative on the ballot in November. If you are a Minneapolis resident, we need your help! Please stop by the "Racial Justice/15 Now" table and add your signature to the petition!
This is what Faithful Action can look like. This is the work of our church!

In faith,

P.S. We are wrapping up our annual fundraising efforts, as we finalize the budget for 2016-2017. If you have not yet had the chance to make your annual financial pledge, you can pledge over the phone, online, or fill out a yellow pledge card in the pew holders and return it to the church office. Thanks for your support! 
Worship this Sunday
Sunday, May 8, 9:30 & 11:15 a.m.
Child Dedication
"Revolutionary Women" 
Rev. Justin Schroeder
The roots of Mother's Day (the day was originally conceived as a "Mother's Day for Peace") are revolutionary, not the Hallmark Holiday we know today. During this service, we'll celebrate revolutionary women, their faith, and the impact they've had - and are having - on creating a more just world. Music: First Universalist Choir Read More  
Child Dedication ceremonies will take place at both services this Sunday.
A Look Ahead
Sunday, May 15, 9:30 & 11:15 a.m.
Youth-friendly worship, 
Coming of Age Recognition
"When Life Chooses You"
Rev. Ruth MacKenzie

Miss a Recent Sunday?
April 17, 2016
"Everyday Sacraments"
Rev. Jen Crow
April 3, 2016
Rev. Elaine Aron Tenbrink
March 27, 2016
"The Unbreakable Place"
Rev. Justin Schroeder
May worship theme: Doorways
Photo: Mike Bitzenhofer CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
May worship theme: Doorways
Alexander Graham Bell once said, "When one door closes, another opens." Although it may sound a bit pollyannaish, there is a deep truth in this saying. Things come to an end. Experiments fail. Initiatives run their course. The truth of the matter is that life does not stop its unfolding. A door is always closing. A door is always opening. In this season of new life, graduations, and coming of age, we mark and celebrate doorways.
Film: "Mirrors of Privilege" (Part 2)
Monday, May 9, 7 p.m., Cummins Rm.
We invite you to join us for an engaging conversation on race, racism, and whiteness. This groundbreaking film features stories from white men and women on overcoming unconscious racism and entitlement. On May 9, view the second half of the film followed by a discussion led by Susan Hoffman. No registration necessary.
Second Congregational Budget Meeting
Monday, May 9, 7 p.m., Sanctuary
The Board of Trustees will share a draft budget with the Congregation on Monday, May 9 at 7 p.m. in the Sanctuary. After a presentation of the budget and its rationale, there will be an opportunity for questions. Handouts from the first meeting are available here. The board will prepare a final version of the budget for presentation to the Congregation at our Annual Meeting, which is scheduled for Sunday, June 5 at 11:30 a.m. (following the one 10 a.m. service).
Wellspring Info Session
Sunday, May 15, 1-2 p.m., Cummins Rm.
This year, more than 50 members of our church are participating in Wellspring, which offers spiritual deepening within our UU tradition and an opportunity to learn more about ourselves and our faith through a year-long small group experienceThere are five components: commitment to a daily spiritual practice, monthly spiritual direction, small group meetings, reading about the theological and historical foundations of our faith, and putting our faith into action. After a day-long opening retreat on Sept. 17, Wellspring will meet every other week through May 2017. Attendance at an info session is required if you wish to participate in Wellspring next year. Join us on May 15!
Daytime Connections:
Housing Options as We Age
Thursday, May 19, 11 a.m., Social Hall
Diane Sprague, an expert on innovative housing, will provide a framework for considering your housing needs based on your values, health, family and financial situation. Four church members will talk about their housing choices: Rev. John Cummins (continuum of care), Cathy Apostle (intergenerational arrangements), Judy Young (cooperative condo), and Stuart Hanson (rental vs ownership). Lunch ($5) at 1 p.m. following the program. RSVP to Sandy at or 612-825-1701.
Volunteers Clean and Repair Sanctuary Chandeliers
Tom and John, almost finished with a chandelier, ready to replace the glass bottom piece and raise it back up to the ceiling.
Until recently, the last time the chandeliers in the Sanctuary had been cleaned was about nine or ten years ago. It was then that Compact Fluorescent Lights (CFLs) were installed as we began to "green" our building.

Earlier this year, a team of church volunteers consisting of Paul Kloth, Bill McTeer, John DeMars, Tom Saterstrom, and Bob Friedman, cleaned the chandeliers inside and out, made glass and electrical repairs, replaced the CFLs with LEDs, and also made some ceiling tile repairs. The work took these volunteers a total of five sessions to complete.

Bob used five-minute epoxy to repair cracked glass pieces that were previously scotch taped for repairs.
It was possible to lower 12 of the 16 units for cleaning and repairs, while the four balcony chandeliers could only be refurbished while carefully balancing on a ladder. 

Bob Friedman writes: "Brave souls we were, and happy to know that this will not be done again for ten years. All of this team will only be supervising by then!"

Thank you so much to these dedicated, talented volunteers for undertaking this ambitious project. Your time and hard work is much appreciated!
Your Input Requested: Racial Justice & Our Visionary Goals
During the past several years, we have accomplished so much together, particularly in our learning, sharing, and engagement on racial justice issues. The Board of Trustees has decided that before the church year ends we would like to receive feedback from the congregation on how our racial justice work has impacted our four visionary goals. We have contracted with Rainbow Research, a local research and evaluation firm, to assist us in this process. We are asking members and friends to participate in this review process in one of several ways:
  • by participating in a Listening Session on either Tuesday, May 17, at 6:30 p.m. or Saturday, May 21, 2016, at 8:30 a.m. The Listening Sessions will be conducted "world cafe" style and take approximately an hour and a half.
  • by participating in one of a few smaller Focus Groups of about 10 people each. There are limited focus-group slots available and we will attempt to create groups that represent a cross-section of the different constituencies within the Church. These sessions also will take about an hour and a half and will also be conducted on Tuesday, May 17, at 6:30 p.m. and Saturday, May 21, 2016, at 8:30 a.m. 
If you are interested in participating in a focus group, please send an e-mail to with the subject line "Sign me up!" If there is not room in a focus group, congregants may attend the listening session being conducted at that time. 

Listening Sessions are drop-in and require no registration. However, if you know you'll join us, send us an email at (or simply reply to this email) to help us plan for the appropriate number of people. 

If you cannot participate in a listening session or focus group, Rainbow Research has created an online questionnaire, to capture the reflections of any church members who want to participate (the questionnaire can be found here). This questionnaire is separate from the annual congregational survey, which is stewarded by church member David Leppik. The annual survey is intended to measure year-to-year changes in the congregation's interaction with the visionary goals, whereas the Rainbow questionnaire looks at the visionary goals in the context of our social justice work. It would be best to take the annual congregational survey first, and then take the Rainbow Research survey. 

Your input will be valuable to the Board as it assesses how we allocate Church resources and initiatives over the next several years. Thank you for all you do for our church!
-Eric Cooperstein, on behalf of the Board of Trustees
Coming of Age Ceremony & Celebration is May 14
What do you think is the nature of being human?
What do you think happens when we die?
How has First Universalist Church shaped you as a person of faith?
What do you think God is or is not?

These are some of the questions that 9th and 10th graders have grappled with throughout the year in Coming of Age class. Coming of Age is a beloved tradition in Unitarian Universalism. Instead of asking our youth to sign on to a particular creed or dogma, we charge them with discerning for themselves what they hold dear, using the 7 principles as a guide. To round out the Coming of Age experience, each student is asked to distill their core beliefs about life, God, and humanity into a personal statement of belief.

The year-long Coming of Age journey will culminate on Saturday, May 14 at the Coming of Age ceremony. At this ceremony, each youth will stand on the chancel and share their personal credo with family, friends, and community members. Coming of Age youth have put a great deal of time and thought into their statements. On May 14, our congregation has an opportunity to honor and celebrate the thoughtfulness of an incredible group of young people. All are welcome and warmly invited to attend.

The Coming of Age ceremony and worship service will take place on Saturday, May 14 at 3 p.m. in the sanctuary. A celebratory potluck reception in the Social Hall will follow.  

Volunteers Still Needed: Help Us Host
Families Moving Forward May 22 - June 5
Volunteers converted RE classrooms into bedrooms last time we hosted families.
Last September, 109 volunteers from our congregation transformed our building into five bedrooms, a playroom, and a dining room, to welcome 5 families who were in one of the most stressful experiences of their lives -- they were homeless. We prepared dinners, visited with our guests, engaged in games and art and reading with the children, and had a picnic. 

Jacqueline Scott-Hopkins, program director at Families Moving Forward, sent this follow-up: "Thank you so much for creating a wonderful host experience for our families. They went on and on about your congregation, saying, "we don't want to leave." The families may be homeless but they know genuineness. They said that you all were sincere and really care about them. Imagine coming to a place of worship and feeling that way!!!"

Four new families will arrive on May 22. In order to reduce the stress of moving every week, we have committed to hosting for two consecutive weeks. We have the process in place for once again making this a genuine, caring environment. We know this is a busy time of the year for many people. However, volunteering for a meal or an evening activity can take as little as two hours. An overnight only requires that you be at the church 8:45 p.m-6:45 a.m. The airbeds really ARE comfortable! Please consider stopping in the Social Hall following Sunday's services to sign up, or go to SignUp Genius to sign up. (Register here first.)

Families Moving Forward won't end homelessness. That will only result from dismantling the systems that create the problem. But your participation in our hosting week will provide needed respite for four families whose lives can be lifted up experiencing what we heard Kenny Wiley repeat so often from our chancel last Sunday: "Each night a child is born is a holy night - A time for singing, A time for wondering, A time for worshipping." 

Sing, wonder and worship with us between May 22 and June 5!
Participate in the Annual Congregational Survey 
Can spiritual growth be quantified? Can you put a number on love? Of course not, and yet the Board of Trustees is called upon to measure how well our church is living up to its mission. And so every year we ask you to fill out a survey describing how First Universalist touches your life. This is your chance to let the church leadership know how well - or poorly - the church is serving your needs. But even if you don't have anything to say, we still need your opinion so we have accurate statistics about how the church is changing.

This year we've streamlined the survey slightly, and we will have computers in the social hall during coffee hour. Or you can fill it out online at

The survey usually takes less than 10 minutes to complete. But if you have a lot to say, you can take as long as you want. You have until the end of May. Thank you!
Call for Recent Photos from Church Activities
Have you taken any photos at church activities over the past church year (July 1 to present) that you particularly like and that you'd be willing to share with us? We're hoping to expand our library of photos available for use in church publications such as the annual report, website, Weekly Liberal, flyers/brochures, and more. High resolution photos taken with your phone camera are welcome.

If you have photos you're willing to share, please email high resolution files along with your name, credit preference (do you prefer to be credited, would you rather not be credited, or does it not matter?), and information about the photo(s) (who/what/where/when) to Communications Manager Jenn Stromberg at Thank you!
Summer Circle Registration Opens May 8
Set some time aside to engage with life's deeper themes: Join a circle this summer! These gatherings of 8-10 people are a great way to get connected at First Universalist and to stay spiritually grounded throughout the summer. 

Offerings this summer include: four Community Circles, a Chi-Gung CircleNewcomer Circles, and a Contemplative Writing Circle. View descriptions and schedules here. Registration for summer circles opens this Sunday, May 8 at For more information, contact Rev. Elaine Aron Tenbrink at or 612-825-1701 x124.
How We Care for One Another
Submitted by Kathy Coskran

An informal survey done by the pastor of Vine Street Christian Church in Nashville asked how people wanted to be cared for: 
when they were sick for more than a couple of days, 
when somebody close to them has died, 
when a baby is born, 
when they've lost their job
when their youngest has gone to college. 
...and divided the results by age, younger than 45 and older than 45.

The survey was striking in that the most universally appreciated response was "Send me a note." Sending a card is a tangible gesture that says I am thinking about you, I love you, I care about you in your difficulty. It's a good reminder that sending a note is comforting even though it can't alter a difficult situation - and a reminder that our Congregational Care team provides cards and the Cycle of Life list with addresses in the church library. If you write and address the note, we will mail it for you.

Other notable results were that people with a new baby welcomed food, help with other kids, and house cleaning; people who had lost a loved one, a job, or whose last child left for college appreciated somebody to come and sit with them - and very few people wanted to be called and asked what they needed. So send a card, show up with food, give the gift of your presence.
Apply to Be a Worship Associate! 
Do you love worship? Do you have a flair for writing stories or prose? Please consider applying to be a Worship Associate this year. 

"More than anything else I've done at First Universalist, being part of the Worship Associates team made me feel a part of this church." - Marion Dane Bauer

"I have been speaking in public since I was 12 years old. I do it professionally. But it was always about someone or something else. Being a Worship Associate has given me a chance to speak my truth, to be vulnerable, and to share my heart." - Ginger Murphrey

Worship Associates speak two or three times during the church year in our worship services, September through May. Associates and Rev. Ruth MacKenzie gather for two half-day retreats to discuss themes for upcoming months, talk about writing for oration, review how to lay out a manuscript and practice public speaking.

If this interests you, please write a 500 word piece about forgiveness and submit your manuscript to Rev. Ruth MacKenzie at: ruth@firstuniv.orgThe deadline for submissions is May 15, 2016. The Worship Team will be choosing applicants representative of the multi-generational, multi-cultural congregation we are becoming.
Sign Up for Remaining Great Gatherings May 8
Members of the Great Gathering planning team will be in the Social Hall between services on Sunday, May 8 to sell remaining great gathering spots! Find complete details in the catalog, available here (please note: many of the gatherings in the catalog have filled; join us in the social hall to learn which are still open).
Cycle of Life and Pastoral Care
We will celebrate the marriage of church members Melody Werner and Charlie Luepke on Saturday, May 7 at 2 p.m. Our choir, as well as the Calliope Women's Chorus, will be participating. Everyone is invited to join the couple for their wedding ceremony.

A memorial service for Betsy Horton will be held at church on Sunday, May 8 at 2 p.m.

Our thoughts are with Michael Dotson and his family. Michael's mother, Loraine Dotson, died peacefully at home on May 1 at the age of 97. A memorial service will be held on Thursday, May 12 at 11 a.m. at Living Spirit United Methodist Church in Bloomington. 

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!
Seeking Tenant for Classroom Space
In September, we'll have 4,000 square feet of classroom space available for lease in a wing approved for education, childcare, and adult daycare. There are six classrooms plus an office, a community room, a playground, plus access to a commercial kitchen. The space is available for lease Monday through Friday. If you know any organizations looking for space that would be a good fit, we encourage you to share this information. A pdf with details is available here
Congregational Care: Comfort Shawls 
Do you like to knit? Contact Pat Foulkes,, for directions for the comfort shawls that we distribute to congregants in times of need. Do you know somebody who is in need of a Comfort Shawl? Contact Kathy Urberg, or Kathy Coskran,
Planned Giving
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
15 Now MN event at First Unitarian Society in Minneapolis
Sunday, May 15, 12:45 p.m. 
Want to do something specific to help further racial and economic justice? It's time for Minneapolis to pass a $15/hr minimum wage! Join other progressive people of faith at First Unitarian Society, Sunday, May 15, at 12:45 p.m. for lunch and training. We will learn from 15 Now MN about the campaign and how to gather signatures to get this on the November ballot. First Unitarian Society is located at 900 Mt. Curve Ave. in Minneapolis. Contact for more information.
Exposed Brick Theatre Presents "Venus Nefanda" and "In Between"
May 20-22, Dreamland Arts (677 Hamline Ave. N., St. Paul)
Submitted by Suzy Messerole: 
"As a member of this church, I know first hand the explorations we are doing as a congregation about the inheritance of privilege. These two plays, which perform on the same night, are an amazing opportunity to engage with the legacies of colonization. I am truly excited to share these amazing stories." 

"Venus Nefanda"
Performed by Suzy Messerole & Aamera Siddiqui; Directed by Anton Jones
In Edinburgh in 1810, two governesses are accused of committing the crime of "venus nefanda" (sex with another woman). Their accuser is a half-Indian, half-Scottish girl with a powerful grandmother. When scientists try to find proof in court records, the intersections of racism, colonialism and homophobia complicate the search for guilty or not guilty.

"In Between"
Written & performed by Eliza Rasheed; Directed by Leah Nelson
What does it mean to be a multiracial/multicultural/multilingual global nomad in the 21st century? Eliza searches through her memories from growing up in a working class neighborhood in Taipei to moving to the Maldives. Surrounded by a new language and new objects, she re-defines borders that allow her to live "in-between."

Details: get more information here. Performances: Friday, May 20 & Saturday, May 21 at 7:30 p.m., Sunday, May 22 at 2 p.m. 
Tickets ($18 adults; $16 students, seniors & groups of 10 or more): or 651-645-5506.
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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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