Northeast United Methodist Church is an environmentally sustainable, spiritually fulfulling, socially just community of faith in the United Methodist tradition in Northeast Minneapolis.
Northeast United Methodist Church
Friday, December 15, 2017
Open Hearts, Open Minds, Open Doors
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December 2017 NE NEWS!

From the Pastor 

One of my favorite songs we sing, an Advent song (though it works for any day of the year!) is entitled, “The Canticle of the Turning."

The refrain goes like this:

My heart shall sing of the day you bring.

Let the fires of your justice burn.

Wipe away all tears,

For the dawn draws near,

And the world is about to turn. 

Normally, I am quite excited by God’s promise of constant change.  There are, clearly, many things that I would like to change, including myself! But honestly, these days I feel overwhelmed by change; I am reconciling with the unsettling feeling that everything—the climate, politics, the Church, me! and my family—is changing.  And on top of that, I know Advent is coming, and so we will hear again, the foretelling of the arrival of Jesus and with Jesus we know everything will change. again. and again.


So, our worship team is making the loving effort this year, at Advent, to settle—to be at peace. We will try to make our church a “Home for the Holidays.”  Now, I’m not saying that our church is everyone’s home (though we can strive to be (and sometimes I feel like I do live in the building:)), nor am I saying that all homes are perfect, or that everyone should long to be in their homes, or that all homes are a safe place to be because we know that is not true for everyone. We are trying to say that for this season, this year, in the midst of what can feel like massive change and effort, our church can be a place of peace. More often I think you might find me urging us all to consider the church and specifically our church as the generator or fulcrum of change (I think there is a word or two about this in the Bible), and even so, I know that a fulcrum has a locus, a point of minimal movement—even a hurricane (with which we are all to painfully familiar this year) has an “eye,” a point of sheer calm.  

May calm descend upon our church, like falling snow. May joyful, noisy, loving, pungent peace erupt in our lives this Advent season. May our church be a home for us and for us all, a gentle space for the who may not have a home, an open family space for those who may not have a loving presence of family. We invite you—bring a favorite ornament (one that you won’t get mad if something accidentally happens to it) to hang on our tree in the sanctuary, make some cool stuff at our Advent workshop on the first Sunday in December, sing some Christmas carols, visit the sick or the shut-in, hang out and drink some cider, and don’t forget our Sunday School Christmas Pageant on the 17th! Welcome the coming of the Christ, God who is with us! Celebrate the one who is with us in a thousand million ways—even in ourselves. And so in a way, we can always be at home in this world.


Pastor Sarah



Sunday, December 17th during worship (10:15)

Our Sunday School kids have been 

working hard, so Don’t miss it!!!




The Northeast Community Band will present its annual holiday concert at Northeast UMC on Dec. 21 at 7 pm. The band will play some new pieces and old favorites such as "Sleigh Ride". Get ready for an audience sing-along! The band will provide treats at the end of the concert.


Would like to thank the folks that showed up to help with hauling stone and laying drain tile on the south side of the church for the French drain. Thank you Mike Ellis and Keith Reich for sharing your time and muscles. Arlin thanks for working on the creeping Charlie and mosaics.  The drain part was done to help redirect heavy rains from seeping into the Southside of the church basement area, something that has been happening for a million years. We are hoping this does the trick. The French drain is the cheapest fix to this problem so we are trying this first.  The cobble stone type brick path that was placed on top to the French drain is made from recycled materials from Mary Everley’s neighbor, a lot of trips were made up and down the alley.  This cobble stone walk way will not be completed until late spring since the ground is too frozen. The caution tape will remain in place as a reminder it is not really ready for walking. We will add some additional mosaic pavers to walk ways and areas of the gardens as you continue to create them. Thank you to the Sharon and Sue Carley for digging our beets and carrots for the Thanksgiving meal. They harvested about a 3 gallon bucket of beets and 7+ gallons of carrots from our gardens. We still have items on our garden clean up list to do as weather permits and you are able. Reminder, anytime you think of it, turn the compost barrels and compost in the bins as well. 

If you have bags of leaves you want to donate place them in the fenced berry bed area. 

Alison Hennen has installed what mosaics she has been able to for the season. Alison will see how the space fairs after the winter to see what final adjustments will be needed. She is pleased with the bling our creative triangles add to the peace area and our peace pavers look wonderful! Thank you to the Philpot’s and Hennen’s for their great works! 

I will put this blurb in again, to see if you read and respond. Rerun:  Walapini, Sophia has some broccoli, brussel sprouts, mustard greens, celery, cherry tomatoes, strawberries, and lemon verbena still growing this season. These plants usually require some watering every one to two weeks as needed too. That’s a hint for help


NE Transitions Town and NortheastUnitedMethodistChurch hosted an event of garden harvest conversation, informal seed exchange and a light supper of soup and bread on Wednesday, November 15th, 2017 from 5:00-7:00 PM.  Nine of us were in attendance for supper and nice conversation. We exchanged some flower seeds as well.

The canning Bee Friday, November 3rd in the church kitchen was productive thanks to Sharon & Sue Carley, Arlin Carlson Marlys Norvell and Sara Jane. We were able to can elderberry syrup, jelly, tomatoes, and apple butter. Please purchase items for the holidays from the Narthex area, also the coffee shop area has crafted items for your culinary use and gifts. Thank you Carley’s, Kris Gater, and Shirley Lockhart  for labeling of canned goods. 

Remember to continue to bring items for the Little Kitchen Food shelf to the grocery cart in our Narthex. If you are thinking about donating fresh produce, we should talk to the folks at LKF first to figure out the need and logistics, so please talk to Sara Jane before you donate. We will also need to figure out a way to delivery the produce, also, if you do bring produce, be sure to label it and put in the refrigerator.


Sara Jane


On Tuesday, November 21st, representatives from our super church council met with representatives of Faith and Community United Methodist Churches and Dan Johnson, our District Superintendent (D.S.). We three churches are a “BuddyChurch” grouping because of our geographic proximity and our history of shared ministries. We gathered together under a map of our "Nordeast Area Churches” recognizing that we are the United Methodist presence in this part of Metro area (no pressure!).  We gathered to ponder the questions: Why God? Why Jesus? Why Church? Why this Church?  (can you answer these questions?) Dan invited us to remember shared ministries that have worked or not worked in our collective past and he charged us to imagine how we may continue to collaborate into the future. Some of the ideas are:  what if our three churches had one full-time Office and assistant?  What if our three churches had one full-time Youth and Family Minister? What if our three churches had one full-time Property Manager? What if our three churches combined our efforts to buy and maintain (with our property manager) affordable housing or half-way housing in NE?

What if?

Do these ideas sound interesting to you?  Come to our

Super Church Council Meeting in January!


Coffee & Social Hour Update:

No major changes in our need for help serving coffee and treats during our social hour on Sunday’s after church although add a few cleaning request as you are able. We are still planning that the ones that served treats this past year will be on our volunteer list this year. If you want to be removed or added to the list email or write a note to Sara Jane Van Allen. In December you will have a chance to start signing up for your preferred dates to host coffee social hours in 2018.  The signup genius volunteer sheet has been sent to you via an email from Sara Jane. We will try this with volunteers putting themselves in signup genius, Sara Jane and Marlys will help to plug people in once we get to January. Using the signup genius will allow you to check your calendar before signing up for a date. Let me know if this is working for you or if it is too confusing, I am more than willing to sit in front of a computer to help you to feel more comfortable using signup genius.  Sara Jane Van Allen


Kitchen Update:

How you will be able to help keep our kitchen clean. Since this is our church kitchen it means we are all in this together to keep up with its cleanliness. I am not saying we are doing a bad job but I think we can do a bit better. So it has been suggested that a schedule of what needs to be done could be helpful. During our last kitchen cleaning day a basic list was developed and we ask that you review it and do your part to help care for our space. The list will be taped to the refrigerator for reference please date and initial as you complete a task. There will also be an ongoing list requesting volunteers to clean areas of the kitchen periodically, in particular Spring cleaning. This will be self-monitoring and intended to help you know what should be done.  I am not your keeper unless you leave the space trashed or handle things in such a way that it could make someone sick, then I will try to help you understand what needs to be done.  Also, there is a video that is good for all of us to review annually on sanitation and food safety.  I believe this is also on the U of M website.  If you are not sure where items are in the kitchen or you are not sure how to clean something, etc. you will find and 3-ring notebook on microwave with this information provided it is returned to this location. Constructive positive feedback  about notebook is welcomed.  Thank you to Sharon and Susan Carley,  Arlin Carlson, Marlys Norvell, Nancy Przymus for help in kitchen cleaning as able on November 13th .  A couple of other miscellaneous request about the kitchen: Please label items with your name and date if you don’t want others to use or if they have been brought to the kitchen for a specific use.  If there are items that do not have purpose type label ie., ice cream toppings or maple syrup or salad dressings please do use these oldest items up instead of buying more.  I really don’t like to see us having to throw away item that should have been used (wasting food and money) plus we don’t always have enough space when we have our larger events and meals. Thanks for working together! Sara Jane


I've always appreciated good singing. So it comes as no surprise that I still remember Danielle Sweeney, a short, red-headed girl with a dynamic soprano voice who sang the honor solo at my high school Christmas concert every year.

From the alto section, I listened in awe of her, first in the girls' chorus, and later in the mixed chorus. When she sang, "O Holy Night," my whole being was transported beyond our cramped high school gym.

I remember we always closed our concert with the "Hallelujah Chorus." I loved that alto part and still do today. 

My sister remembers we girls in the chorus were asked to wear all white and that it was hard to find outfits. I eventually ended up with a nondescript white blouse and white accordion pleated skirt. 

Funny how we can transport ourselves back into those special musical memories from so long ago. Thanks to my sister Pam for jarring some of those memories loose.

Virginia B.


Please check out what our gardeners have canned  located in the narthex at church. We have some new items this year. These make nice gifts.

Thanks for your support. 



Special Giving for December is:

The Pastor Discretionary Fund

February:  Heifer Project

March: One Great Hour of Sharing
April:  EWB (Engineers Without Borders

May: Love offering

July:  NE Senior Services
August:   Emma Norton
September: Dignity Center
October: Sexual Violence Center
November: Second Harvest

December: Pastor Discretionary Fund


I remember the first Christmas after my mom and dad were divorced. After my dad left, it was just us girls—even our dog was a girl!—and we had to put up the Christmas tree by ourselves. Somehow that was the phrase that stuck in my mind—a fate worse than anything, having to do something by ourselves. I imagine it was a daunting prospect for my mom to have a gigantic pine tree and two little pip-squeak kids and a barking dog to wrangle, but we did it! Not without some drama, and some yelling, though. I look back on that first time of putting up the tree without dad as the beginning of years of dramatic Christmas tree arranging. It is supposed to be a golden time, those halcyon days of yore, but we never seem to get away from a Christmas tree hanging without some yelling. Even now as I have had a few years of really having to put up the Christmas tree, by myself, I still find myself yelling—one year I had to tie the tree to the piano to keep it upright! (another year I waited too long and bought the last tree in the parking lot only to get it home and find that it had a 90 degree bend in the middle of the trunk!) But, you know, I love it. I love that my Christmas memories are funny, and are nothing like the Norman Rockwell version. I love that my family can yell at each other and still love each other. I love that we have lived through some tough times. I love that my life is not all lovey-dovey, but LOVE, with some doves—because you know those doves poop all over the place and it is not always pretty but from this chair it seems pretty wonderful.  Sarah L.