May 12, 2016  |  Vol. 3 No. 19
Dedicating Ourselves to the
Spiritual Well-Being of our Children and Youth
Rev. Justin Schroeder

Seven years ago, our son, Tucker, was dedicated by the Rev. Kate Tucker, during the first few months of my ministry at First Universalist. It was a moving ceremony for both my wife, Juliana, and me. But this past Sunday, when the Rev. Jen Crow dedicated our son, Jesse, I felt my heart open in a whole new way. It was a profound experience to stand with other families and their children, and for our son to receive the words of blessing that I have shared with dozens of other children and families. Having served this faith community for nearly seven years now, I have a richer understanding of what it means to dedicate and bless young children into this faith, and what it means to dedicate ourselves to their well-being. To feel these sacred promises in the context of my own family was deeply emotional.

When our hearts are open to these rituals, we are bound together in profound ways.

This Saturday, May 14, at 3 p.m., I hope you will join me at our Coming of Age Ceremony in the Sanctuary. When I began my ministry, these youth were in 2nd and 3rd grade, and now as 9th and 10th graders, they are preparing to cross the threshold into Young Adulthood. These youth, along with their mentors, have spent the past year wrestling with the biggest questions of life, and they'll share their spiritual statements - their credos - with all of us who gather on Saturday.

Just like our child dedication ceremony, this Coming of Age Ceremony invites your faithful presence and witness, as we dedicate ourselves once again to the spiritual health and well-being of these beloved children/young adults of the church.

I'll see you there.

In faith,
Worship this Sunday
Sunday, May 15, 9:30 & 11:15 a.m.
Coming of Age Recognition
"When Life Chooses You" 
Rev. Ruth MacKenzie
Life is more than the choices you make. Sometimes life chooses you and you have to figure out what to do with it. Will you take a breath and ask, "What is my soul trying to teach me?" "Where is God in all this or is there God?" "What saves my life?" Developing a reliable spiritual compass is important. It matters what you believe and where you place your trust. Join us this Sunday to celebrate our Coming of Age youth, the importance of our beliefs, and immerse yourself in the sounds of Give Get Sistet, a women's a cappella group. Read More  
Enjoy music by Give Get Sistet, a women's a cappella group, this Sunday in worship.
May worship theme: Doorways
Photo: Mike Bitzenhofer CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

A Look Ahead
Sunday, May 22, 9:30 & 11:15 a.m.
New Member Sunday
Rev. Karen Hutt
Music: First Universalist Choir, Dom Wooten

Miss a Recent Sunday?
May 8, 2016
"Revolutionary Women"
Rev. Justin Schroeder
May 1, 2016
"A Black Lives Matter UU Theology"
Kenny Wiley, Lena K. Gardner
April 17, 2016
"Everyday Sacraments"
Rev. Jen Crow
April 3, 2016
Rev. Elaine Aron Tenbrink
Coming of Age Ceremony & Celebration
Saturday, May 14, 3 p.m., Sanctuary
What do you think is the nature of being human? What do you think happens when we die? How has First U 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. The year-long journey will culminate on May 14 at the Coming of Age ceremony, when  each youth will stand on the chancel and share their personal credo. The youth have put a great deal of time and thought into their statements, and our congregation has an opportunity to honor and celebrate the thoughtfulness of an incredible group of young people. All are warmly invited to attend. A potluck reception will follow.
Wellspring Info Session 
Sunday, May 15, 1-2 p.m., Cummins Room
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.
Flower Communion & 
Annual Meeting of the Membership
Sunday, June 5, 10 a.m. worship,
11:30 a.m. annual meeting, Sanctuary
Flower Communion is an annual ritual that celebrates beauty, human uniqueness, diversity, and community. Please bring a flower from your garden or from a bouquet to worship on this Sunday. Please note: on summer Sundays, we offer one service; join us for worship at 10 a.m. on Sunday, June 5.
The Annual Meeting of the Membership will take place on June 5 after worship -- at 11:30 a.m. We will present the Annual Report, elect church leadership and approve the budget for the 2016-17 church year.
Summer Circle Registration Now Open!
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 is open through Sunday, May 22 at For more information, contact Rev. Elaine Aron Tenbrink at or 612-825-1701 x124.
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 one of a few ways:

Listening Sessions
Please join us for a Listening Session on either Tuesday, May 17 at 6:30 p.m. or Saturday, May 21 at 8:30 a.m. The Listening Sessions will be conducted "world cafe" style and take approximately an hour and a half. Registration is not required for Listening Sessions, but RSVPs are appreciated for planning purposes! If you know you'll join us, send us an email at (or simply reply to this email).

Focus Groups
Two smaller Focus Group sessions will be conducted with about 10 people each. There are limited slots available (just a few left for each session) and we will attempt to create groups that represent a cross-section of the different constituencies within the Church. These sessions will take about 90 minutes and will also be conducted on Tuesday, May 17 at 6:30 p.m. and Saturday, May 21 at 8:30 a.m. If you are interested in participating in a focus group, email with the subject line "Sign me up!"

Online Questionnaire
If you cannot participate in person, 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 survey, which is intended to measure year-to-year changes in the congregation's interaction with the visionary goals. The Rainbow questionnaire, on the other hand, 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 the Rainbow questionnaire. 

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
Families Moving Forward May 22 - June 5
Yes! You've done it. You have found time in your calendars during this very busy time of year to create a warm and hospitable environment for families in transition who are currently homeless. 

As this issue of the Liberal goes out, 65 congregants have filled all but just a handful of the 120 volunteer spots! This speaks volumes about our willingness to act on our faith. 

If you missed an opportunity to sign up, you can still go Sign-Up Genius and register for the few remaining spots open - whether it be an overnight stay, helping prep a meal, or breaking down once the families have departed for the next hosting congregation on June 5. You can also drop an email to or  They will be glad to let you know what's still available.

To the more than 65 who have already said yes - make sure your calendar is marked for Monday, May 16 at 7 p.m., when all volunteers will meet for an orientation to our two-week hosting, including the most up to date information we have on our incoming guests.
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!
Please Share Your Photos!
Have you taken any photos at church activities/services over the past year 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. Photos taken with your phone camera are welcome.

Please email high resolution (largest size) 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!
Worship Associate Applications Due Sunday, May 15
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.
Support EMERGE's "Get to Work"
Crowdfunding Campaign 
First Universalist is building a partnership with EMERGE to act on our values for Racial Justice. For the past six months, several of our congregants have been volunteering at EMERGE on a variety of initiatives to help Northside and Cedar Riverside residents find and sustain livable wage employment. 
Too often, people struggle just as much with keeping a job as they do with getting a job in the first place. Lack of reliable transportation is a primary reason for job loss. EMERGE's van transportation program helps North Minneapolis residents get to work in the suburbs, where more and more entry-level jobs are located. Last year, EMERGE provided more than 9,000 rides to work.
Funding for EMERGE's van transportation initiative has changed at the federal level, and EMERGE is hoping for your support to fill this gap. For example, the following contribution level of:
  • $12.14 could pay for a roundtrip to Mahtomedi
  • $21.42 could get three people to work in Bloomington and back
  • $250 could pay for a week of roundtrips for up to 12 people
Please consider supporting EMERGE's Get to Work campaign with a financial gift.
EMERGE is an official Faithful Action Partner of First Universalist Church for the 2016-2017 church year. We do our faithful action work through partnerships and with a racial justice lens.
Cycle of Life and Pastoral Care

Our thoughts are with Marion Dane Bauer and her 21-year-old grandson, Connor, as Connor continues to struggle with Lewey Body Disease, the same disease that Marion's son, Peter, died of nine years ago. Marion asks for your prayers for Connor.

A memorial service for Robert Leonard will be held on Saturday, May 14 at 11 a.m. at Glen Haven Chapel in Crystal, Minn.

A memorial service for Earl Stanhope's mother, Judy Berg, will be held at First Universalist Church on Sunday, May 15 at 3 p.m.

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
Meal Support
New baby? Illness? Accident? Let us know if you or somebody in our community would like us to create a meal train for you. Meal trains typically run two to six weeks depending on need and give congregants a way to help. Contact Kathy Urberg,
Planned Giving
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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Monday-Thursday 8:30 a.m.-8 p.m.
Closed Fridays and Saturdays
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The Weekly Liberal is compiled and edited by Communications Manager Jenn Stromberg. Past issues, publication deadlines, 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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