Read the full issue of this week’s newsletter here.
Capital Campaign Steering Committee Co-Chairs Sofi Ali and Dan Berg write:
The Capital Campaign Kick-off Party on Saturday provided outstanding food, great live entertainment by Ann Reed and the Give Get Sistet, the DJ genius of church member Sacha Muller, engaging games and entertainment for youth and children, campaign insights from Revs. Jen and Justin, masterful hosting by board president Eric Cooperstein, and spirited conversation and conviviality all around. If that wasn’t enough, we had a tremendous progress report from the campaign steering committee:
Read the full issue of this week’s newsletter here: The Weekly Liberal March 2.
Rev. Justin Schroeder writes:
On February 19, at a congregational meeting, we voted 221-0 to reaffirm our status as a Sanctuary Church, willing to house members of our larger community at risk of deportation. This vote reflects our public commitment to take a moral and religious stand, as we declare that no human being is illegal, and that as people of faith and moral conscience, we will not stay silent as families and communities are torn apart. This vote is but one part of our larger journey of education and action.
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. Committee members have unique opportunities to collaborate with our passionate ministers and lay leaders to advance the mission of the church.
Board of Trustees: Trustees partner with the congregation and professional staff in shaping the vision and long-term goals of the church. They articulate these aspirations through policy and collaborate with the Senior Minister to see they are fulfilled.
Foundation Board: Board members serve as the stewards of our Foundation endowment. Members screen and select grant requests to non-profit organizations.
Nominating Committee: Committee members screen and recommend candidates to the congregation for vacant positions on the Board of Trustees, Foundation Board, and Nominating Committee.
Requirements: To qualify for any of these positions, you must be a member in good standing of the church. Elections occur at the Annual Meeting on June 4.
Download the 2017 Leadership Application.
The application deadline is April 2, 2017. Applications should be submitted to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Contact any Nominating Committee member to find out more: Doug Smalley (chair), Sharon Ramirez, Greg Hoelzer, Suzann Willhite, Pat Gottschalk, and Karin Wille, Board of Trustees representative. Email: email@example.com
An exhibit of work by photographer Richard Birger will be on view in the gallery space in the social hall at First Universalist Church February 19 through April 2. The exhibit can be viewed on Sundays between 9 a.m. and 1 p.m. To view the exhibit at other times, contact Bette DeMars at firstname.lastname@example.org.
An artist’s reception will be held after services on Sunday, Feb. 26, 2017.
A note from the artist about the exhibit:
As I was assembling this exhibit, it occurred to me that if there is a theme emerging it seems to be about engagement or conflict. Many of the images are from recent political demonstrations here in Minnesota, while other images are from my career in natural resource management. Part seems to be about the complexities of people versus people, the other part is about the intricacies of people and nature.
Legendary philosopher Yogi Berra said, “Its déjà vu all over again.” I remember in 1972 being at the University of Minnesota when students shut down the campus over the Vietnam War. Now, I’m witnessing mass demonstrations again.
Tear gas and pepper spray still smell the same.
During my working career I was part of National Incident Management Teams responsible for suppression of major western wildfires. I spent most summers in remote parts of the country and encountered many instances when humans were in conflict with nature.
Norman McLean, author of A River Runs Through It, aptly summed it up when he said; “On forest fires there are moments almost solely for beauty. Such moments are of short duration.”
About the artist (in his own words):
Many years ago, using 35mm film I learned the meaning of delayed gratification as the images slowly appeared in the fixative bath.
Today I try not to let the new technology get in the way of seeing and capturing an interesting image. I’d rather spend time behind the camera than in front of the computer. Using the tools of digital photography I’m always refining my views of the natural and man-made world.
Some of my images are straight up representational photographic records of what I saw. Some are renditions of what I saw that translated into how the subject created an emotion.
A few of the images are a combination of the three concepts; a sliding scale if you will. What I saw, what I thought I saw – perhaps, what I wanted to see.
Read the full issue of this week’s newsletter here: The Weekly Liberal Feb. 9.
Rev. Justin writes:
I recently came across this reading from Wendell Berry, a poet and author: “Much protest is naive; it expects quick, visible improvement and despairs and gives up when such improvement does not come. Protesters who hold out longer have perhaps understood that success is not the proper goal….Protest that endures, I think, is moved by a hope far more modest than that of public success: namely, the hope of preserving qualities in one’s own heart and spirit that would be destroyed by acquiescence.”
This quote is sustaining me today; it filled up my inner “gas tank,” if you will. It’s a reminder that we’re in a long game and that by protesting, raising our voices, taking a moral stand, advocating, and working in solidarity with others, we preserve a piece of our own spirit, building a shield around our non-negotiable core convictions.
What “pit-stops” are you visiting? What is filling your tank up these days?
In addition to joining us for Sunday worship, here are additional opportunities to nourish your spirit and “top up your tank:”
- Join us this Saturday from 8 to 10 a.m. for our Family Friendly Pancake Breakfast. I’ll be helping to serve up pancakes. Food and fellowship is never a bad idea!
- Following the breakfast, you can join thousands of neighbors and members of First Universalist at A Walk of Love for Immigrants and Refugees . The walk begins at noon and starts at City Hall. If you’d like to meet up with others from First Universalist, you can text or call Jeanne Guignon Peppel at 952-270-1931.
- We are a congregation committed to racial justice and we invite you to deepen your understanding of race, racism, and whiteness. A Conversation for White People Newly Seeking to be Anti-Racist (led by my friend, Shari Seifert) is a great place to start, as is our own Racial Justice Workshop coming up in two weeks. (And if you identify as a Person of Color, you’re invited to join our Circle for People of Color; learn more about all of our racial justice efforts here .)
Each of these gatherings provides an opportunity to expand your circle of connection, to sustain your spirit, and to act on your values. This is the recipe for the long haul struggle we’re in.
I’ll see you in church,
Read the full Jan. 26 Weekly Liberal.
In this week’s newsletter, Rev. Justin writes:
Last Sunday, Rev. Elaine Aron Tenbrink shared in her post-inauguration sermon, that the “map” she had been using to orient herself in the world was no longer adequate. It was not up to the task of serving an “effective resistance or a movement for collective liberation.” In fact, after visually walking us through the well-worn paths on her map, Elaine confessed, “I’m ready to ditch this map.”
Read the full issue of this week’s Weekly Liberal here.
Rev. Justin writes:
Every Sunday, in the Universalist Spirit of Love and Hope, we remind ourselves that we are a faith community dedicated to “welcoming, affirming, and protecting the light in each human heart, listening deeply to where love is calling us next, and, with humility, bravery, and compassion, acting for justice in the world. We do all of these things with a deep commitment to racial justice.”
In the next few weeks, we have a number of opportunities to put our faith into action. These events will have a strong presence of First Universalist members and friends:
- On Saturday, Jan. 21, join us at the St. Paul College Parking Lot E at 10:30 a.m. for the Women’s March at the Capitol. All are welcome, as we march in spirit with many loved ones who are marching in Washington, D.C. Look for our “We Believe that Black Lives Matter” banner.
- On Sunday, Jan. 22, from 1-4 p.m., our 1st-5th grade Religious Education volunteers and parents/guardians are invited to a training on delivering diversity and racial justice lessons to kids, presented by AMAZE. Learn more and register here.
- On Sunday, Jan. 22, from 12:30 to 4:30 p.m., local faith leaders are hosting a workshop called, “Disrupting Hate: Tools of Resistance and Liberation,” at Calvary Lutheran Church, 3901 Chicago Ave. S. A worship service follows at 5 p.m. I’ll be participating in this service.
- On Saturday, Jan. 28, ISAIAH is hosting a “Prophetic Resistance” workshop from 1-4 p.m. at Shiloh Temple, 1201 West Broadway Ave. At this event, “We will call on our Governor, legislative and national representatives to resist with us and to declare Sanctuary, safety and healthy communities for all people in Minnesota.” I will be at this event, and hope you will join me.
Whatever it is you do, I hope you will do something to raise your voice, to become more spiritually grounded, to meet this moment! Together, we can discover our power, build new relationships, and help create a community that works for all.
I’ll see you in Church,
7 p.m. - 8:30 p.m.
11 a.m. - 1 p.m.
9 a.m. - 11:30 a.m.
11 a.m. - 1 p.m.