June 16, 2016  |  Vol. 3 No. 24
The Holy Gift of Love
Rev. Justin Schroeder
What is the bedrock of your life? When grief surrounds you, or the world seems to teeter on the brink of madness, what is the foundation that holds the house of your life?

A few years ago, a beloved colleague gave me a refrigerator magnet that said, "The answer is still, and again, love." Sometimes I look at it, and think, "That's corny." But then I think about my own life, and my brushes with despair, hopelessness, anger, and grief. And I think about what it is that has saved me, what it is that has brought me back to life. It's the love of my family, of dear friends, and of colleagues who know and care about me.

So in those moments when a beloved church member dies, or when our gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender friends and family feel threatened and under attack, and I wonder how to respond, or I feel a paralyzing fear entering my body, I return to the bedrock of my faith as a Unitarian Universalist.

And that bedrock is still, and again, love. It's a patient love that calls me to engage in the world as wholeheartedly as I can, with humility and courage. It's a love that calls me to work for justice, to stand with our Muslim neighbors, as they face religious bigotry and hatred; it's a love that calls me to proclaim that Black Lives Matter, in the face of white supremacy; and it's a rainbow colored love that calls me to be in solidarity with our gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender friends and neighbors.

In short, it's a love that asks me to put aside what I think I know, and calls me to listen deeply to those I encounter. It's a love that calls me to practice welcoming, affirming, and protecting the light in each human heart, because my faith teaches me that my own wholeness and salvation is wrapped up in the wholeness and salvation of all of those around me.

Love is a holy gift, and our work, while we are alive, is to love and be loved as deeply as possible, and to create a world where love can flourish. As Cornel West says, "Justice is what love looks like in public."

May we all work toward the day when we can be so bold and public with our love, declaring that hate, racism, and homophobia go against the very grain of the God we know as love.

I'll see you in church,
Justin

P.S. Join us this Sunday, June 19; our worship service will provide a container to hold our grief, our pain, and our resolve to build a more loving and just world. 
SUNDAY WORSHIP AT FIRST UNIVERSALIST CHURCH
Worship this Sunday
Sunday, June 19, 10 a.m.
"An Angry, Gentle People" 
Rev. Justin Schroeder
This Sunday, June 19, join Rev. Justin Schroeder, along with church members Lena Gardner and Frederic MacDonald-Dennis, for a worship service designed to hold our grief, our pain, and our resolve to build a more loving and just world. All are welcome.  Read More  

Summer Choir Sings this Sunday
Do you like to sing but not have the time to make a commitment to choir during the year? Summer choir may be just right for you! All you need to do is show up for the single rehearsal at 9 a.m. on the day of the service; the music is easy enough to learn in that time. All are welcome! No need to sign up in advance. If you have any questions, you can email Randy at randy@firstuniv.org. Summer Choir sings this Sunday, June 19, as well as July 24 and August 21.
A Look Ahead
Sunday, June 26, 10 a.m. 
"A New Story of Race"
Karin Wille 

Summer Sundays at First Universalist!
Worship at 10 a.m.
Please Bring Your Own Mug to social hour after worship. This helps save on water and labor, and keeps the kitchen cooler during the summer. 

Miss a Recent Sunday?
June 12, 2016
"From Prison to Protest"
Pastor Danny Givens, Jr.
June 5, 2016
"The Stonecutters"
Rev. Justin Schroeder
May 29, 2016
"A Veteran's Memory, 
A Civilian's Forgetfulness" 
Patrick Dougherty
Summer Worship Theme: Telling a New Story
At the intersection of what is holy, and what is human, is a willingness to change, to shed old habits, old ways of thinking, old frameworks, old skin, to cast off what no longer functions and dare to do a new thing, to tell a new story. This ability to change is at the heart of creation and creator. In the book of Isaiah, God says: "Forget about what's happened; don't keep going over old history. Be alert, be present. I'm about to do something brand-new. It's bursting out! Don't you see it?" In these summer months we will endeavor to be alert and present, to see and tell the new story emerging from within, among, and beyond.
UPCOMING EVENTS & PROGRAMS
Wellspring Info Sessions
Sunday, July 10, 11:30 a.m. or
Thursday, July 14, 7 p.m.
This past year, more than 50 members of our church participated 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 experience. There 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 either July 10 or 14 to learn more!
Worship at the Lake Harriet Bandshell
Sunday, August 14, 10 a.m.
Join us for an energizing worship service and potluck picnic at the Lake Harriet Bandshell on Sunday, Aug. 14 at 10 a.m.!
We'll enjoy tunes from the band A Ghost Revival, an inspiring message from one of our ministers, and a potluck picnic afterwards. This will be our only worship service on Sunday, Aug. 14. This is part of an annual outdoor worship series at the bandshell with about 15 congregations participating. Watch for more information later this summer.
NEWS & ANNOUNCEMENTS
Get Outside and Spread the Word!
The Twin Cities Pride Festival is a great opportunity to engage a diverse, receptive audience about Unitarian Universalism. If you have a couple of hours to talk theology, social justice, and more, please join members of UU congregations from across the metro area at our booth in Loring Park on June 25-26. Contact Rev. Jim Foti, Assistant Minister of First Unitarian Society (and a First Universalist member), at jim@firstunitarian.org to sign up.
Update to New Lend-A-Hand Volunteer Opportunity
Lend-A-Hand is an opportunity to help care for our building and grounds as part of a volunteer team. In coordination with our facilities staff, this team undertakes various projects to continue keeping our church clean, orderly and attractive. It's a chance to help our church, complete satisfying projects, and get to know others in our community.

Beginning on Thursday, July 14 Lend-A-Hand will meet on the second Thursday of the month through the end of 2016. (This is a change from the original announcement, which stated that this group would meet on third Thursdays.) Volunteers will gather at 8:30 a.m. for bagels, juice and coffee and will end their activities by noon.  

Each Lend-A-Hand activity has slots for 12 volunteers. If you would like to be a part of the first Lend-A-Hand volunteer group on Thursday, July 14 (8:30 a.m.-noon), please email Sandy at sandy@firstuniv.org to sign up. Thank you!
Habitat Summer Work Week August 15-19
This year, First Universalist will again sponsor a Habitat for Humanity Summer Work Week. The dates are Monday, Aug. 15 through Friday, Aug. 19. The work day is from 8:15 a.m.-4 p.m. We need to provide 15-18 volunteers per day. Volunteers must be 16 years or older and 16 and 17 year olds must be with an adult (18 or over). All you need to bring is yourself and your willingness to work. All tools will be provided and lunch will be provided by other First U volunteers (any takers?). Ask anyone who has worked at a Habitat site - the benefits are many.

* Instruction for each job will be provided.
* You will be paired with more experienced volunteers.
* You are never asked to do anything you are uncomfortable doing.
* Learn a skill useful to home ownership.
* Have a great bonding experience with other First U volunteers.
* Satisfaction of a job well done.
* Most important - help to provide the path to home ownership for a deserving family and all the benefits they accrue from that.

Our work site is new construction at 2441 16th Avenue South in Minneapolis. We'll be working in the early stages of the build. Hope to see you there. Sign up here.
NEWS IN BRIEF
Cycle of Life and Pastoral Care

We hold in our thoughts and prayers: 

Cathy Stone and Brooke Peterson, who welcomed their son, Esker Forest Peterson-Stone in the early hours of May 26th. Esker arrived much earlier than expected, and will be in the hospital for some time as he grows. Please send your thoughts and prayers to Brooke as she recovers from delivery, to Esker as he grows, and to Cathy as she holds them all. 

Beloved church member Pam Vincentwho passed away Thursday night, June 2. Pam was a long time member of this church, and was involved in so many areas over the years - on the Board of Trustees, Nominating Committee, Visual Arts Committee, Worship Associates, Association of Unitarian Women (AUW), choir, Solstice Coordinator, and more. A memorial service for Pam will be held on Saturday, June 25 at 2 p.m. here at church. The service will be preceded by a drumming circle at 1 p.m. and followed by a reception in the social hall.

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.
Augsburg Fairview Academy: School is Out! Donations Suspended for the Summer
The last day of school at Augsburg Fairview Academy was June 3. We will not collect food and clothing during the summer months, and will start up again in early September. Thank you for your amazing generosity throughout the school year!
Religious Education Enrollment 
for 2016-2017 is Now Open
Children, youth and families are at the heart of the ministry of First Universalist, and our Religious Education program for children and youth is one of the largest among UU churches worldwide. Enrollment is now open for the 2016-2017 church year, which begins in September. Class descriptions and registration form are available online.
Chore Team
Do you need help with simple household tasks, such as removing or installing an air conditioner; changing lightbulbs; or window washing? These are chores that most of us do easily until we can't. With a little help from our friends, we can stay in our own home longer. Chore Team helpers are also needed! Be part of this church community service team. Many skills from many hands will help many who need occasional assistance. Contact Bob Friedman at rmarcf@usfamily.net or 612-722-4705.
Planned Giving
You are putting 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 want to consider including First Universalist Church in your will or estate plan, please talk to a minister or the church's financial administrator for guidance. If you've already made the church a beneficiary, please let the office know. When you fill out an easy planned-giving form, it will ensure your wishes are honored.
- Peg Meier of the Planned Giving Committee
COMMUNITY BULLETIN BOARD
Help MUUSJA Raise Funds in Support of YoUUth SOALS Program
The Minnesota Unitarian Universalist Social Justice Alliance's (MUUSJA) signature Youth Program, YoUUth SOALS (The Spiritual Organizer/Activist Leadership Seminar for UU Youth), brings together Unitarian Universalist high schoolers to explore the intersections of faith, activism, and justice. Through youth-led worship, small group conversations, experiential activities, and inspiring panels of local and national justice activists and religious leaders, youth dig deeply into the ways our faith calls us to work for justice, and to develop the skills to do this work effectively and accountably. For the 2016-2017 year, YoUUth SOALS will have a specific focus on racial justice, and will be accessible to all Minnesota UU Youth through online technology.

In order to make this program free and accessible to all UU high schoolers across the state, MUUSJA has launched a Faithify campaign to raise $5,000 in support of YoUUth SOALS. Faithify uses an "all or nothing" approach to fundraising, so the $5,000 goal must be met in order to fund this program. Read more about YoUUth SOALS and make your contribution here.
Taking Heart: Meet Your Muslim Neighbors!
The Taking Heart Program is a series of open houses at area mosques organized by the Minnesota Council of Churches in partnership with the Muslim American Society (MAS). Taking Heart is a program designed to bring Muslims, Christians, and members of other faith communities together for food and conversation during the Iftar meal which breaks Muslims' daily fast during Ramadan. Prior to the meal there will be an opportunity to learn about Islam and observe Muslims at prayer.
The program is free and open to the public. Learn more here and find dates and register here.
First Universalist's Rev. Ruth MacKenzie Performs in Musical Concert 
"Nature Creature" June 10 - 19 at Open Eye Theatre
"Nature Creature" is a song cycle that is the perfect marriage of pop, jazz, and art song. Composer Elizabeth Alexander has set to music the writings of Louise Erdrich, A. R. Ammons and other fabulous poets with passion and skill. 

The vocalist in the trio of performers, Ruth MacKenzie sings songs about the necessity of play, the worth of a meadow, the solace of an apple tree when life comes crashing down.

The beauty and complexity of being alive are woven into the sensuous fabric of "Nature Creature." This compelling new vocal work embraces our brief, glorious time on earth, with all its discovery, contradiction, heartbreak and joy.

"Nature Creature" will be performed by pianist (and composer) Elizabeth Alexander, vocalist Ruth MacKenzie, and cellist Jacqueline Ultan at Open Eye Theatre in Minneapolis in June. There are four performances left: 7:30 p.m. on June 16, 17, 18 and 19. Details and ticket information can be found here.
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Contact Us
First Universalist Church of Minneapolis
3400 Dupont Ave. S.
Minneapolis, MN 55408
612-825-1701
For staff contact information, please visit our Ministers and Staff page.
First Universalist Church of Minneapolis
3400 Dupont Avenue S.
Minneapolis, MN 55408

612-825-1701

Copyright 2016. All Rights Reserved.