In the Interim: 6/28/2019

arif-mamdaniThe beauty of summer!

Well, I think it is official. With the summer solstice behind us, and the weather forecast predicting temperatures in the 90s with corresponding dewpoints, I think it is fair to say that summer is here.

There’s an old joke that says Unitarian Universalists are the only ones that God trusts to take summers off. It’s offered as an explanation for why UU churches go into “away mode” in the summer. And, in many ways it is true that our congregations tend to be a little less well attended in the summer months. Owing perhaps to our roots being rather tightly intertwined with that of institutions of higher education, and owing too to the fact that our tradition has historically valued a highly educated ministry (PhDs are welcome here!), we are accustomed to the academic calendar and it isn’t uncommon for UU ministers to take some extended time away during the summer.

And so, in keeping with that tradition, I want to let you know that over the next month or so, you can expect a couple of things to be different. First and foremost, this column will be taking a break, and will resume as we start things up again in August. Second, Meg is away through mid-August, and Terri and I (Arif) will be less physically present in the church, but still checking in and available.

This does not mean that we are not present or that you’re on your own! To paraphrase the title of Rev. Kate Braestrup’s wonderful book on her experiences as a chaplain with the Maine warden service, we are here if you need us. So, if you find that you do need us, please don’t hesitate to reach out. And as always, in the event of an emergency, call us.

May the longer days of summer bring a slower and more sustainable pace. May you have at least one moment by a lake where the sound of the water and the play of light helps you remember our interconnection to each other and the wider world around us.

May you have a wonderful summer.

— Arif

Each week (starting again in August), the interim ministry team will share a reflection on the Soul Matters monthly theme, the state of the church, or the state of the world. MegTerri and Arif will alternate writing this “In the Interim” post. We encourage your comments.

From the Board: June 2019

The UUA Soul Matters topic and theme of worship for the month of June relates to beauty; the written material in the curriculum is rich and inspiring. It starts with asking: “What does it mean to be a people of beauty?

UU minister Sean Parker Dennison writes, “The ability to see beauty is the beginning of our moral sensibility. What we believe is beautiful we will not wantonly destroy.”  With this we are reminded that beauty does more than soothe and heal. It demands. It calls. It creates commitment. It doesn’t just say “Love and appreciate me.” It says “Protect me! Fight for me!” It steps out in front of us and points to a precious world that needs our help. It paints a picture of new ways of living and declares, “Follow me there!” It’s not just the thing that nurtures our activist efforts. It is the reason we take to the streets. (p.1)

Last Sunday at church, I sat beside a woman who looked familiar, but I did not know her name. After the service, we sat and talked, and she introduced herself and said she had been coming to UUCM off and on for many years, but that today was the first time she had attended a service in our new building. Continue reading →

Performing Arts Concert Series 2019-2020

The Performing Arts Series at UUCM offers concerts, musical events and church variety shows to the congregation and the entire local community.

Upcoming Events:

Friday, August 31 at 7:30 PM



In the current national nightmare, we need to laugh. And we need to hope. Roy Zimmerman’s signature blend of heart and hilarity has never been more necessary. In a career spanning more than thirty years, Roy’s songs have been heard on HBO and Showtime, and Roy has shard stages with icons like Ellen DeGeneres, Robin Williams, George Carlin and many more.

RiZe Up is Roy’s tenth album release as a solo artist. He co-wrote the songs with his wife, Melanie Harby, a three-time West Coast bluegrass guitar champion. RiZe Up is a funny and forceful expression of resistance in the age of Trump. “Satire empowers people,” says Roy. “To laugh is to fight back. To hope is to fight back.” Tickets $22 each. More info on Roy here.

Saturday, October 19 at 7:30 PM


prudence_pr_2006Prudence Johnson’s long and happy career as a singer, writer, and teacher has landed her on the musical theatre stage, in two feature films, (A River Runs Through It, A Prairie Home Companion) on national radio, (several long stints on A Prairie Home Companion) and on concert stages across North America and occasionally Europe (Carnegie Hall, the Hollywood Bowl, Gorky Park and an old mosque in Israel being the most memorable.) She has released more than a dozen recordings, including albums dedicated to the music of the Gershwins, Hoagy Carmichael, Greg Brown, and a collection of international lullabies.

Prudence finds pleasure in working with young people, serving as a music director at SteppingStone Theatre for Youth Development since ’96 and teaching private lessons. Since taking up the tenor ukulele, she has found great riches in the folk music of her roots, and in the work of some of the more profound songwriters of her generation. In recent years, her greatest focus has been on creating multi-media works for concert and theater stages that blend performance with her interests in history and literature. Continue reading →

Interfaith Outreach: 7/14/19


The Home Event Sale

Resale Select will be having a four-day sale on July 17-20. The Home Event will feature smaller furniture and home decor items. Accent chairs, end tables, coffee tables, decorative mirrors, pillows, rugs and lamps will be available for sale. Those interested in volunteering to help with the sale can sign up at Proceeds benefit Interfaith Outreach families. Sale hours are Wednesday 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Thursday, Friday, and Saturday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

NEW! Join Interfaith Outreach’s Women with a Purpose

Are you a young woman looking to get even more involved in your community? Join Women with Purpose and together we can:

  • Create a network of women passionate about the work of Interfaith Outreach.
  • Make a powerful difference in our community while supporting local families and kids who use Interfaith Outreach services to stabilize, strengthen and thrive.
  • Experience hands-on learning and giving back through service projects each quarter.

We are building a community of women united in understanding, service and generosity to support the work of Interfaith Outreach. All are welcome. Quarterly gatherings will be a combination of social, learning and service time. Please attend the next Women with Purpose gathering on July 30, 5:45-7:30 p.m. at Interfaith Outreach. To learn more about this gathering or Women with Purpose, visit or contact Jill Kohler (763-489-7512, to learn more.

It’s Back to School Time! Donate Supplies to Help Local Kids

With your help, we can give local kids the tools they need to succeed. Interfaith Outreach’s Back to School supply drive has a special role for everyone.

  • DONATE SUPPLIES – See a complete list of supplies local kids need and a link to our Target gift registry at Drop off new/unused supplies July 29-Aug. 17, Monday-Saturday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m., at 1605 County Road 101 N in Plymouth.
  • VOLUNTEER – Shifts available Aug. 1-Sept. 6 at Help sort incoming school supplies and pack bags, assist with registration or distribution, or be on the cleanup crew – shifts available Aug. 1-Sept. 6.
  • DONATE DOLLARS – Don’t have time to shop? Donate online at and we can purchase our most-needed items (choose “Back to School” in the drop-down menu).

Thank you for making a difference in the lives of local kids! Please contact Najmo Yusuf at or call 763-489-7500 for additional information. Continue reading →

Social Justice Action Update: 7/14/19

UUCM’s Social Justice Ministry keeps members and friends informed about upcoming social justice events and activities of interest. We encourage you to participate and help build the congregation’s capacity to educate, serve, witness, and advocate for social justice. If you have a social justice event you would like to publicize, contact John Ziegenhagen.


Family focus: Support for immigrants and refugees. Our July social justice offering goes to the Minnesota Immigrant Rights Action Committee (MIRAC).  MIRAC is an all-volunteer grassroots organization that organizes the immigrant community and their allies to struggle for legalization for all and equality in all aspects of life. In conjunction with this offering, and in recognition that immigration is likely to remain a politically charged topic as we move towards the 2020 election, consider talking to your children about immigration issues. There are many good online resources out there. Here are a few to start with: (1) Fitz Between the Shelves’ “Resources for Talking to Your Child About Immigration and Refugees“; (2) Little Feminist’s “How To Talk to Kids About Immigration and Family Separation“; (3) Common Sense Media’s “How To Talk About the News of Family Separations at the Border” and (4) Barefoot Mommy’s blog on “What families can do to support immigrant children in crisis.”

Family focus – Summer kindness bucket list. Looking for fun things to keep the kids busy over the summer? Check out Doing Good Together’s Summer Kindness Bucket List.

Sunday, July 21

Water Is Life Festival, Bayfront Festival Park, Duluth.  12:00-6:00 p.m. Winona LaDuke and Honor the Earth are excited to invite you to gather at the shores of Lake Superior with many of our allies across the state and region including national organizations, local partners in Minnesota, and Water Protectors  across the state for our annual Water Is Life Festival. Children under 10 are free. PURCHASE TICKETS HERE.

Thursday, August 8

Family focus: Join local sports teams for Action Day 2019. Greater Twin Cities United Way is teaming up with the Minnesota Wild at Xcel Energy Center to host Action Day 2019, an all-ages, family-friendly volunteer event to help Twin Cities kids go back to class set up for success! Register now to help us meet our goal of bringing together 4,000 volunteers to help fill 40,000 backpacks with school supplies . In addition to volunteering, Action Day will be action-packed, featuring a Prize Playbook, games, prizes, and photo booths. You can register for one of three timeframes – 12-3 pm, 3-5 pm, or 5-7 pm.  All backpack assembly volunteers must be ages 8 and up. Children under the age of 8 can still complete a special volunteer project. Continue reading →

North Wall Art: Beverly Tipton Hammond


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The North Wall Art Space at UUCM currently features the work of Maple Grove artist, dancer, singer/songwriter and entrepreneur Beverly Tipton Hammond.  Her “Hattitudes” series first appeared as part of the “Grace” exhibit at the MN African American Heritage Museum and Gallery. These acrylic portraits of women in exuberant, colorful hats are a paean to the long history of women and “church hats”, and is inspired by Ms. Hammond’s passion for millinery. Beverly is the Worship Leader at Gethsemane Lutheran Church in Minneapolis.  Look for Beverly to be singing at UUCM some time in the future!

The next open exhibit times are Thursday, July 18 from 5:30 PM – 7:00 PM and Sunday, July 21 from 11:15 AM – 1:00 PM. The show is also open by appointment. Please contact Christy Dachelet at to arrange a visit or if you are interested in purchasing the art. This show is too fun to miss!

Path to Membership Class: Exploring UU History & Beliefs

Sunday, August 11 from 11:15 AM to 12:15 PM in the Oak Room
This class is part 1 of a 2-part class on the path to membership at UUCM, allowing participants to share their own spiritual journeys and to interactively explore a broad overview of Unitarian and Universalist history and what it means to be a UU. Current members and friends are very welcome to join in the class also. Facilitated by Melissa Martinson, Membership Ministry.

2019 Twin Cities Pride Parade

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Stephanie Siewert, a member at UUCM (and our treasurer!) shared some beautiful photos from her participation in the 2019 Twin Cities Pride parade with MUUSJA – the Minnesota Unitarian Universalist Social Justice Alliance. Below, Stephanie talks about the experience in her own words.

“I was proud to represent UUCM and loved meeting other metro area UU’s. It was a powerful experience of solidarity. I can’t recall a time I’ve felt more love and affirmation in the air among crowds of strangers and it was awesome!”

Here is an article with more coverage of the event, including a photo and statement from Danny Givens Jr., who spoke at UUCM this past March:

“We’re here representing MUUSJA, an organization designed to help faith-based organizations and churches to become more aligned with their mission of values around social justice, and lending our voice, our body, our institution, our social capital to any area of injustice that exists in the land. We have to stay in direct relationship with the marginalization and the oppression that exists within the Pride community. More specifically, MUUSJA has been very instrumental in the marriage equality work, and we’ve been doing some great things, and many of our ministers and lay leaders identify as LGBTQ, so we’re a very inclusive denomination as well.”