August 18, 2016  |  Vol. 3 No. 33
Join us Sunday for our Annual Backpack Blessing!
A Note from Lauren Wyeth,
Director of Children, Youth & Family Ministries

Dear Church, 

This Sunday, we celebrate a Backpack Blessing service, gathering to witness and honor a fresh start for our children, youth, teachers, families and all who feel the shifting rhythms of life.

Church is the right place to gather across generations, to be reminded of where we've been and where we're headed, remembering that each age and stage of life has its challenges and gifts. 

Church is the right place to surround our young people in a circle of love, teaching them to approach transitions with courage and to navigate them with grace. 

Church is the right place to pause, to notice and let go of what was, and to open our hearts to what might be. 

Every person we meet -- at school, at work, in our neighborhood, everywhere we go -- each person was once a child full of possibility and potential, relying on the time, resources and care of adults to help them manifest their blessings in the world. 

As the saying goes, "Be the person you needed when you were younger." 

Children and youth are invited to wear their backpacks to church, and will receive a little special something to carry with them to school. If you are able, please consider bringing a new backpack to donate to a student in need. These, too, will be blessed, and then delivered to our partner organization, Augsburg Fairview Academy.

The Summer Choir, Ron Parker and Tony Meysenburg will sing. We will raise our voices, move our bodies, and notice the invisible strings of love that connect us to one another. There will be confetti. 

Come, let us worship together!

Worship this Sunday
Sunday, August 21, 10 a.m.
Backpack Blessing Sunday
Lauren Wyeth

Special Music: First Universalist Choir
A Look Ahead
Sunday, August 28, 10 a.m. 
"What I'm Learning from Donald Trump"
Rev. Justin Schroeder

Summer Sundays at First Universalist!
Worship at 10 a.m.

Recent Sermon Podcasts
August 7, 2016
"What You Can, Where You Are, With What You Have"
Rev. Ashley Horan
July 31, 2016
"Broken Open"
Rev. Elaine Aron Tenbrink
July 24, 2016
"Telling a New Story After Prison"
Arif Mamdani and Thomas Wright
More About Our Backpack Blessing Service this Sunday, Aug. 21
Backpack Blessing Sunday is a multigenerational worship service that will offer children, youth, and adults of all ages the opportunity to reflect upon how we might carry the love of our church community and the tools of our faith with us wherever we go. Children and youth are encouraged to wear their school backpacks to church so that we can include them in the Backpack Blessing ritual.

Backpacks for Augsburg Fairview Academy Students
New and gently used backpacks are needed for Augsburg Fairview Academy (AFA) high school students. First Universalist Church supports AFA as part of our racial justice and housing ministry. We provide supplies for a food and clothing closet, as well as serving as tutors and classroom assistants. Students prefer black or neutral colors. Bring your donations to the Social Hall on Sundays.
The Pathway to Membership
Thursdays, Aug. 25 & Sept. 1, 6:30-8:30 p.m.
Feeling like First Universalist could be your spiritual home? Join us for a class exploring Unitarian Universalism, the history and mission of this congregation, and the experience of membership. Participants meet with ministers, lay leaders, and are invited to share and reflect on their own spiritual journeys and values. We ask that all those who wish to become members of First Universalist take this class, which is offered as a two-part series. To register, contact Sandy at or 612-825-1701. Childcare is available free of charge with at least seven days advance notice.
Thursday, Sept. 8, 8:30 a.m.-noon
Lend-A-Hand is an opportunity to help care for our building and grounds as part of a volunteer team. Cleaning activities might include dusting, sweeping, mopping, or vacuuming. Volunteers might help tidy the sanctuary, social hall, library, or other spaces, or help fix things: replace light bulbs, patch/paint walls, etc. Volunteers gather at 8:30 a.m. for bagels, juice and coffee and end their activities by noon. Lend-A-Hand will meet again on Thursday, Sept. 8. If you can help, please email Sandy at to sign up. Thank you!
Summer Choir Sings Sunday; Choir Year Begins Soon
The Summer Choir will be singing in worship again this Sunday, Aug. 21 at 10 a.m. If you like to sing but can't make an extended commitment to choir, this is a perfect opportunity for you! There is just one 45-minute rehearsal at 9 a.m. on the day of the service. All are welcome! If you have any questions, contact Dr. Randal Buikema at

The First Universalist Choir is now gearing up for the start of the church year this late summer/fall, and is open to anyone who has a love for singing and wishes to participate in this ensemble during worship services. Prior experience and ability to read music are helpful but not necessary. The choir rehearses Wednesday evenings from 7-9 p.m. and sings in worship two times a month. Our opening potluck is Wednesday, August 24. You are invited! Email for more information.
Work on the Parking Lot Has Begun
The greening and beautifying of our parking lot has begun!

Earlier this year, First Universalist Church was awarded a grant from the Mississippi Watershed Management Organization to make environmentally sustainable improvements to our parking lot in addition to an already-planned resurfacing project. Plans include trees, rain gardens and other stormwater management techniques.

Work began this week and is projected to last several weeks. The parking lot is not available to park in while this work is taking place, so allow extra time to find street parking, especially on Sundays. A drop zone for people with limited mobility is available on Dupont Avenue.

You can see the plans and learn more on our website and of course watch for updates here! 
Year of Sharing Space with Temple Israel Concludes
Our time sharing our building with Temple Israel Early Childhood Center is about to come to an end. Their students' last day is Friday, August 19 and they will be all moved out on Tuesday, August 23. Temple Israel staff have expressed their gratitude to our staff and congregation for being such gracious and welcoming hosts. We wish them the best as they move into their newly renovated classrooms at Temple Israel!
A Beautiful Morning for Our Lake Harriet Service
What a beautiful morning it was for our Lake Harriet Bandshell worship service and potluck picnic this past Sunday. Thank you to all who joined us and helped make it a successful day!

We've published a few photos from the morning over on our Facebook page - check them out hereDid you take some great photos on Sunday? We'd love to see them! Send photos to Communications Manager Jenn Stromberg at  
Annual Habitat Work Week is Underway
Each day this week, volunteers from First Universalist have been gathering at a site in south Minneapolis to help build a home for a deserving family through Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity, as part of our annual Habitat Work Week. The home our volunteers have been working on this week is in the beginning stages of construction.

Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity is one of our seven official Faithful Action Partners for 2016-2017. 

Thank you to Cindy Marsh for sharing this photo from Monday!
Peace Poster Exhibit on View Through Sept. 4
The posters currently on display in the social hall are from countries all over the world. They speak of peace through a language which we all understand - the language of art.

Wit Ylitalo was a peace activist from Madison, Wisconsin who, with her friends, Mary Cunningham and Donna Fuelleman, had a life-long concern for world peace. These three women for peace collected peace posters over a number of years. Their grass roots effort was a heartfelt and meaningful attempt to further impress upon others that the rest of the world is also concerned for the need of peace on this earth and good will toward all.

The poster exhibit was initially sponsored by the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom. The exhibit will be on display at First Universalist through September 4.

Questions? Contact Visual Arts Exhibit Chair Bette DeMars
Spots Available in the Curling Great Gathering
Learn how to curl at a beautiful state-of-the art indoor curling arena - the Four Seasons Curling Club in Blaine! You will get instruction on how to deliver the stone, how to sweep, and basic strategy. Sean Brown and other experienced Curlers, including Rick Schuster from First Universalist, will be your coaches! 

Have fun with other UUs while getting in touch with your inner Olympian! Invite friends and extended family, too. Adults and children twelve and older are welcome to participate. There is lots of room left in this Great Gathering and all the money goes to the church. There is an adjoining restaurant with a view of the ice, Sticks and Stones, for those who just want to watch, eat, or socialize during or afterward. Denise will hang out and watch with the younger kids and others who aren't curling. Last year many folks from First U tried it for the first time and loved it! 

Call Denise Konen at 952-836-4917 or email at for more info. Register by sending the names of those who will be curling to Chelsea - and send her a check or bring cash to the office. First Universalist Church, 3400 Dupont Ave. S. Minneapolis, MN 55408. Cost: $15 per person or $40 per family (children over 12).
Simpson Housing Seeks Mentors and Tutors
Simpson Housing Services, a local nonprofit which provides housing and support to people experiencing homelessness (and one of our official Faithful Action Partners), is looking for caring adults committed to making a difference in the lives of children and youth. There are volunteer opportunities available for those interested in being a tutor or mentor. Simpson seeks to build on the inherent potential of our youth through caring relationships as well as academic support. 

Informational sessions will be held on: 
* Tuesday, Aug. 23, 5:30-7 p.m.
* Thursday, Sept. 15, 5:30-7 p.m.

To register to attend, go to Simpson's Volunteer Calendar and follow the calendar link for the date you wish to attend. You may also contact Christina Giese at: or 612-455-0859.
School Supplies Needed for AFA Students
School supplies are needed for Augsburg Fairview Academy (AFA) high school students. First Universalist Church supports AFA as part of our faithful action ministry. We're collecting donations of the following supplies: spiral bound notebooks (not 3 ring binders), pencils, pens, backpacks, and pocket folders. Walgreens and office supply stores are already featuring these items on sale at greatly reduced prices! 

AFA would also appreciate, for those parents cleaning out teens' closets as they have grown or are going away to college, some gently used teen appropriate clothes that might be shared with the AFA clothing closet. Bring your donations to the social hall on Sundays. Thank you!
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, call the office at 612-825-1701 or contact any member of our Pastoral Care Team.
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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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