December 8th

Intergenerational Winter Party (2:30pm)

December 16th

Lessons and Carols Service (9 & 11 am)

December 21st

Winter Solstice Celebration

(Service 6 pm ~ Dinner 7 pm)

December 23rd

Sunday Service (9am)

Christmas Pageant (11am)

Jazz Vespers Christmas Cool (6 & 8 pm) 

December 24th

Christmas Candlelight Service

(5:30 and 7pm)

December 30th

(9am & 11 am Service)

No Religious Education

Giving Tree in Eliot Hall (Nov 25th - Dec 16th)

Holiday Services 2018.pages.pdf

UU Open Minds Book Club: December 7th, 7pm in The Haven, "Bullshit Jobs: A Theory" by David Graeber

Artists Discussing Art: Last Monday of every month Artists gather in the Haven at 7 pm to discuss each others art. This discussion is open to all visual artist, watercolor, acrylic oil, mixed media, fused glass, and clay. Bring work to discuss or just come to listen. Bring a light refreshment to share. Please contact Bill Reed at with questions.

Dinner and Dialogue:  Meet other UUs on a more personal level over a potluck dinner.  Sign up at the Congregational Life table in Eliot Hall to host or Join a group.  Contact with questions

Meditation Walks: Nature Walks along the Jordan River with Shirley/Dan, every Tuesday 10am to Noon. Meet at Arrowhead Park, 550 W 4800 So. Friendly dogs on leash welcome, 1 to 3 miles.

Mindfulness Group: 

  • Weekly meditation is held on Sundays at 10 am upstairs in the Parlor. We discuss mindfulness in daily living, meditate silently for 20 minutes and close with loving kindness. All are welcome, come and meet others who meditate. 
  • An evening of Buddhist teachings investigating the foundations of mindfulness meditation. What is mindfulness and how might it be of benefit in our personal lives, alone and together as a community? We will consider how to cultivate a daily practice of mindfulness as taught by the Buddha and is practiced today. All are welcome. Come to the Parlor on the 3rd Wednesday at 6:30 pm December 19th. For more information

SANCTUARY:  SANCTUARY QUESTIONS?  Want to learn more about our Sanctuary effort?   Stop by the Sanctuary table in Eliot Hall after each service.   

WALK:  Walks along the Jordan River with Mary, every Thursday 10am to Noon. Meet at Arrowhead Park, 550 W 4800 S. Friendly dogs on leash welcome, 1 to 2 miles.

UU WRITING GROUP: Meeting Thursday December 13th & 27th, 10am in the Haven

Chalice Lighting Family

Each month, we invite a family from our Religious Education community to light our chalice. 

Meet the Pinales-Rynearson Family!

Who's in your family? 

Skip, Briana, Alayna, Teagan, Bridger, Asher, Evaline and our cat Pippin

How long have you been attending First Church? 

Skip started going in 2014 and the rest of us started going with him in February 2015. 

Why is First Church and RE important to your family?

We love the lessons of inclusion, open-mindedness and searching for our individual beliefs!

Find the Light! 
Our annual Solstice celebration will be on December 21st! Services will start at 6 pm, with dinner following service. Dinner tickets are $15 for adults, $5 for youth under 12. Tickets will be on sale after service in Eliot Hall starting December 2nd. Solstice Dinner tickets are limited and ALWAYS sell out, so make sure to get your tickets early! All proceeds go to benefit the Religious Education Trip Funds. 

RE Intergenerational Winter Party
Let is snow! Join us for our annual intergenerational winter party on December 8th at 2:30pm This party will be filled with music, activities, and yummy treats. See you there!

Pageant
This years pageant will be on December 23rdduring the 11 am service. We will once again be having a pop-up pageant, so be prepared for anything during this interactive service! If you are willing and able to help wrangle some sheep(and sometimes a unicorn!) email Lissa at


Photo thanks to Ryan Kratzer for these 2017 Pageant Pics

OWL
K-2nd- Have a child in Kindergarten through 2nd grade that you want to participate in OWL? The last OWL class of the year begins January 27th. Please register now so we can make sure your spot is saved. K-2nd OWL Registration

Class Fees- Class fees can be made online herePayments can also be taken in the main church office on Sundays. First Church is committed to all youth participating, regardless of financial capacity. Scholarships and reductions are available by contacting Amanda Esko at or 801-582-8687 ext 206.

Mindfulness Matters
On November 25th, Kindergarten through 5th grade added another tool to their mindfulness toolbox, daily gratitude practices. We created our own gratitude journals, saluted the sun, and practiced meditation. Thank you to everyone who participated! Our next Mindfulness Matters Sunday will be onJanuary 20th!


Photo thanks to Amanda Esko

Stan Lee, the creator of Spider-Man back in 1962, died last week at the age of 95. Obviously, Spider-Man will live on as a super hero with human frailties and existential angst. That’s what made Lee’s characters so remarkable. They resembled us in our weakness as well as representing our potential best. If we had great power, we could be them. (Lee also did Hulk and Black Panther).

Fortunately, great power also extends to women these days. DC Comics tapped writer, Willow Wilson to continue Wonder Woman in a more contemporary and modern form. Already, Ares, the God of War, is imprisoned and rethinking battles as the road to honor. Ares concludes with an epiphany of some sort, that justice, not war, is really the apotheosis of human endeavors.

Wilson wants to create new stories for our times, and begins by challenging the assumption that war could ever be just. Wonder Woman will now be seeking positive change on a grand level. Let’s face it, the whole world needs a new script. Why not in comic book form?

Stan Lee must also have had cultural revisions in mind, when a space alien contemplates our planet and says: “And yet – in their uncontrollable insanity – in their unforgiveable blindness – they seek to destroy this this shining jewel – this soft spinning gem – this tiny blessed sphere – which men call Earth.”

Even Bill McKibben couldn’t write a more eloquent account of our insane and unrelenting drive towards environmental devastation on our tiny blessed sphere. 

The story of super heroes trying to impose new vision for human consumption has a long history, going back much further than even Stan Lee. The obstinate and flawed human being, determined to excavate all earthly treasure for himself, heedless to the needs and suffering of neighbors, indifferent to human justice and earth justice, continues to exploit others for the myopic view of self-gratification. The challenge of redirecting such madness has always produced the hero who might save us. A hero who could somehow sway the heartless and usher in a new way of doing business with one another.

Christmas is a rehashing of how our “insanity and blindness” wreaks havoc upon this tiny blessed sphere. Super heroes can fly, scale buildings, or walk on water to convince us that life could be otherwise. Born in a stable some 2000 years ago, a child called The Prince of Peace, grows to become a man determined to make justice our priority, not war. He led by example, feeding the poor, ministering to the sick, and speaking of a perfect world within our grasp if only we could love others as much as we love ourselves. 

Seventy years ago, Joseph Campbell gifted us with his extraordinary accounting of super heroes with his book, “A Hero With a Thousand Faces.” He summed up the hero’s journey in one archetypal narrative: “A hero ventures forth from the world of the common day into a region of supernatural wonder. Fabulous forces are there encountered and a decisive victory is won. The hero comes back from this mysterious adventure with the power to bestow boons on his fellow man.”

The journey is quite clear: Departing the ordinary world, entering a supernatural world, and returning to the ordinary world ripe with insight and wisdom to share. If only we would listen. And Christmas, we are continually reminded, is really about our ability to listen. Although the story has many forms of expression, and countless heroes from many cultures trying to help us transform the world into something better, much is still gained by allowing Christmas to enter our hearts, offering us hope, and helping us love this shining jewel – this soft spinning gem – this tiny blessed sphere – which men call Earth.” TRG

Family Fun Night
Join us on November 5th at 6:30 pm for Family Fun Night! As we start the busy holiday season, we're focusing on service and community. For the past month, we have been toiletries for the Salt Lake Housing Authority (SLHA) Housing Project. After dinner on Family Fun Night, we will be assembling our donations into bags for the SLHA to distribute to those in need in our community. Additionally, we'll be having a winter kid gear swap! Have your kids outgrown their winter coats? Bring them to Family Fun Night and we'll swap gear! Any leftover winter gear will be given to the Midvale Family Homeless Shelter. Please let us know about any dietary restrictions! Additionally, please note the later start time of 6:30 pm!
Register Here!

Lower School Art Block is Around the Corner
Are you an artist(or crafter!) Can you follow basic directions? Then we have a project for you! Starting from November 4th and going through December 16th we need a few extra hands each Sunday to create art experiences for our youth. Check out the signup to see how you can help!
Art Block Signup

Holiday Party Help Wanted!

Our annual Holiday Party is right around the corner on December 8th! We’re looking for more people to help plan and set-up. If this something you’d like to do, please email Amanda Esko at  

Halloween Party Thank You

Thank you to everyone who attended our Halloween party, it was a huge success! We had over 30 families, witches, ninjas, and a 7-foot dinosaur attend. A big thank you goes out to the people who help this event happen including David Owens, the Smith Family, Finlayson Family, Taylor-Jones Family, Pulsipher Family, and the Lander Family.

Chalice Lighting Family

Each month, we invite a family from our Religious Education community to light our chalice. Meet the Anderson-Daybell Family

Who is in your family?  Megan Daybell, Jaxon Anderson & Asher Anderson

How long have you been attending First Church?  We have been attending for about 4 years!

Why is First Church and Religious Education important to your family?  We attend because of the feeling of community we feel at First Church. Additionally, I love the beautiful lessons and values taught in the RE classes, and the opportunity for my boys to apply those values at home and at church.

As I write these words, Election Day is only eight days away; many of us expectantly await a Blue Wave to wash over the country, hoping it will restore some sense of balance to our national politics and some thread of hope for the marginalized of our society who have been in increasing danger these past few years. 

I also write these words with a heavy heart, thinking of the three hate crimes that were committed this past week: pipe bombs delivered to Democratic leaders, two African-Americans shot dead while grocery shopping; and then, eleven more people killed at a synagogue in Pittsburgh while attending the blessing of a newborn baby. I wish I could say that the Blue Wave will drown out these acts of violence and division in our society – but I know better. White supremacy is knotted deep in our American roots, and one election, no matter the party, won’t undo those knots. 

So, while I hold onto the hopes I have for the midterms (and, of course, I did vote!), I’m also looking to other institutions I care about to shake off the misery and despair, and reimagine themselves. I want those institutions to dream bigger than ever, to marshal the most creative resources, and to take the boldest steps they’ve ever taken towards our emerging new vision of a just world. I want to really think outside the box – which, sometimes, means imagining the worst, but also means being unafraid to imagine the best. 

What can we do that doesn’t depend on the outcome of the midterms? What are we called to do that government cannot? What does the church of the future look like? 

Soon, our congregation will begin to engage these questions in new ways. Actually, we need not wait for a formal church program – we can do it now. What do you envision?

One place to start is with the people you love. Who in your life is struggling under a weight of injustice? Who do you know who can’t seem to catch a break? Who needs help or resources that seem impossible to find? Those are the questions that can lead us to new understandings of our calling, whether as individuals or as institutions – because all good justice work begins with authentic relationships. 

I’m thinking of members of our community who are trans, who might need help acquiring documents with their correct names. I’m thinking of young women, who might need help getting access to family planning. I’m thinking of people in Southern Utah, whose ancestral lands are in danger. And, of course, right here in our building, I’m always thinking of Vicky and her precious girls, who need help staying here in our community. 

I invite you to join with me in imagining what’s next for us: what happens after these elections, no matter who claims the reins of power? Who are we when we aren’t knocking on doors to get out the vote? The answer to that question will determine the future of our church. I can’t wait to see what we come up with.

At the 188th Semiannual General Conference of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, it was announced throughout the world that Sunday worship would be reduced by an hour starting the first Sunday of next year. Everyone rejoiced, apparently the bishops more than anyone else. They were feeling the “burden” of planning and executing a service each week for the three-hour block of time, which has been the tradition since 1980.

I am delighted for bishops and parishioners alike, but feel a need to understand just what the perfect length for a service really is, in any house of worship. Never in my experience has anyone told me they wished the sermon or service were longer. If anything, the yearning was always for a quicker version, to expedite spiritual matters so as to still salvage the day. I remember when the Roman Catholic Church introduced Saturday afternoon services for the express purpose of allowing churchgoers the luxury of a full Sunday without ecclesiastical commitments. 

I have been pretty time conscious throughout my ministry, mostly due to learning the ropes in a small New England church where duty eclipsed polite etiquette. I received my comeuppance while preaching in my mid-twenties. A good number of parishioners just left the sanctuary while I was still in mid-sentence. I didn’t think I had offended anyone. I learned later that a good number of families had their Sunday roast in the oven, and even Jesus himself could not have kept them in church rather than attend to their dinner before it got too dry. The roast was timed for a one-hour worship service, and if the sermon went long the congregation would disappear before your eyes. 

But how long should a service be? Everyone is terribly busy and has a laundry list of things to do once the closing hymn is finally sung. Should worship last maybe half an hour? Or 40 minutes? No one has ever expressed the need to get their money’s worth, where an extended service would be welcome. Worship services are a mixed bag; people attend for a variety of reasons. Seldom is it to hear a sermon, much to the chagrin of the minister. 

My homiletics professor offered the sage advice that a congregation might give you five minutes to connect to your sermon before they mentally “pick up and go visit elsewhere.” So I began my sermons early on in my career with thunder and lightening, not quite sure of where to take the sermon next. If you start with the climax, there’s really nowhere else to go. I had to modulate the tempo somewhat, always fearful that my five minutes allowing for engagement would rapidly disappear. 

Asking how long should an ideal worship service last, seems like asking how long should a walk in the woods be. We all have different agendas for our walks, take different strides, and have different appreciations for the vegetation and geography. Some prefer a brisk twenty-minute hike; others like to saunter for an hour or two…or three. It all depends on the spirit and what exactly is being sought.

Last week I asked Mary if she wanted to join for me a hike. It was a beautiful autumn day and I was sure she would love the idea. Her response, however, didn’t really surprise me. “A short one,” she said.” I have a roast in the oven.” TRG

Family Fun Night:  Join us on November 5th at 6 p.m. for Family Fun Night

UU Young Adults: A community of people in their 20's, 30's, or young at heart. Upcoming events: Discussion with Monica in The Haven, Thursday 11/8 7:30-9:30 pm. These take place on the second Thursday of each month. Join us for thought provoking conversation and a drink! Our next social event is Friendsgiving Dinner on 11/19, where we'll be cooking dinner together in Eliot Hall starting at 6:30. See details for all of our upcoming events on Facebook: First Unitarian SLC Young Adults, or email us to receive notifications via email: , or you can reach out to Heather Heaton 612-356-4384

UU Open Minds Book Club: November 15th, 7pm in The Haven, “I’ll Be Gone in the Dark: One Woman’s Obsessive Search for the Golden State Killer” by Michelle McNamara

Artists Discussing Art: Last Monday of every month Artists gather in the Haven at 7 pm to discuss each others art. This discussion is open to all visual artist, watercolor, acrylic oil, mixed media, fused glass, and clay. Bring work to discuss or just come to listen. Bring a light refreshment to share. Please contact Bill Reed at with questions.

Dinner and Dialogue:  Meet other UUs on a more personal level over a potluck dinner.  Sign up at the Congregational Life table in Eliot Hall to host or Join a group.  Contact with questions

Environmental Ministry: Hosting THE GOOD GRIEF NETWORK, beginning its weekly 10-step Program to combat despair, deepen self-awareness, and embrace interconnectedness. We invite everyone grapple with the enormous challenges of systemic sociopolitical, environmental, and spiritual change needed to reign in climate collapse and other large-scale ills to join us in building psychosocial resilience starting 10/30/18 from 6:30-8:30pm in Room 218 (continuing Tuesdays through 1/22/19 except for Thanksgiving and Christmas weeks). Drop-ins are welcome but you can contact to RSVP or for more information.

Harvest for Hunger:  Thank you to everyone in the congregation that has helped by donating produce to feed the homeless, including the RE class that grew a garden right here at church. All together we've had over 1400 pounds of fresh produce donated from members of our congregation! As the season is winding down, the donation cooler will be in Eliot Hall through November 11, and you can still make donations past that date by contacting Heather Heaton: 612-356-4384 or

UU Hiking/Walking: 

  • Nature Walks along the Jordan River with Shirley/Dan, every Tuesday 10am to Noon. Meet at Arrowhead Park, 550 W 4800 So. Friendly dogs on leash welcome, 1 to 3 miles.

Mindfulness Group: 

  • Weekly meditation is held on Sundays at 10 am upstairs in the Parlor. We discuss mindfulness in daily living, meditate silently for 20 minutes and close with loving kindness. All are welcome, come and meet others who meditate. 
  • An evening of Buddhist teachings investigating the foundations of mindfulness meditation. What is mindfulness and how might it be of benefit in our personal lives, alone and together as a community? We will consider how to cultivate a daily practice of mindfulness as taught by the Buddha and is practiced today. All are welcome. Come to the Parlor on the 3rd Wednesday at 6:30 pm. November 21st and December 19th. For more information

SANCTUARY: SANCTUARY QUESTIONS?  Want to learn more about our Sanctuary effort?   Stop by the Sanctuary table in Eliot Hall after each service.   

  • DONATE:  Online donations to the Sanctuary Family Fund may be made at: https://slcuu.org/sanctuary-fund. To donate by check, make check payable to:  First Unitarian Church of SLC, and write: Sanctuary Family Fund in the note.

UU WRITING GROUP: Meeting Thursday November 15th & 29th, 10am in the Haven

Lunch Bunch: