Welcome to the First Unitarian Church of Des Moines! We’re glad you’ve found us and hope you find a church home with us.

At First Unitarian, we’re brave, curious, and compassionate thinkers and doers. We’re people of many beliefs and backgrounds – people with a religious background and people with none; people who believe in a God and people who don’t, and people who simply let the mystery be. And while we represent a diversity of faith, ethnicity, history and spirituality, we agree that we want to do good work in the world.

So we welcome you – your whole self, with all your truths and your doubts, your worries and your hopes. Let us support you on your faith journey.

Learn More

You are welcome to join many regular events via Zoom:

Sunday Service: Sundays @ 9:30 a.m. CT
Sunday Forum:  Sundays @ 11:00 a.m. CT
Board of Trustees Meetings (FIRST Thursday of the Month): First Thursday of the Month @ 6:00 p.m. CT
Board of Trustees Meetings (THIRD Thursday of the Month): Third Thursday of the Month @ 6:00 p.m. CT
Awakening Heart Sangha: Mondays @ 7:00 p.m. CT
Monday Night Pagan Social: Every Monday @ 7:00 p.m. CT

Upcoming Service

Skin Deep and Soul Empty: Finding Depth in a Shallow Culture

with Rev. Amy Petrie Shaw

Join us in-person or on Zoom at 9:30 a.m. CT.

American culture tells us that appearance is important. How do we move beyond the surface of life and focus on the things that matter most? Join Rev. Amy Shaw for this service about the life-long search for personal and religious depth and meaning in a culture where race, handicapped status, weight, and adherence to conventional beauty standards all impact us.

Forum: Central Iowa Trauma Recovery Center

with Brenda Bash-Cooper, Director of Programs & Services

11:00 a.m. in Griffin Hall

Click here to join via Zoom

Forum ideas and presentations are welcome! Click here to coordinate a forum.

Green Rolling Hills: A Flower Communion

with Rev. Amy Petrie Shaw

Join us in-person or on Zoom at 9:30 a.m. CT.

We are one church and together we grow, through joy and sadness. We bring ourselves freely to this community, and we take away those things which help us on our life journey. Flower Communion is a symbol of that relationship and covenant, and we invite all to join us in celebrating our free church. We encourage each person to bring a small live potted plant (herbs, vegetables, flowers, or anything else growing which represents what you bring to our community) to add to the communion- at the end of the service everyone can choose a plant to take home with them. If you can’t bring a plant, please come, and join in anyway- there will be enough for everyone to participate!

Pentecost and an Ethic of Risk

with Rev. Amy Petrie Shaw

Join us in-person or on Zoom at 9:30 a.m. CT.

As Unitarian Universalists we are not often crowned with holy fire and sent out into the world. Or maybe we are. Join Rev. Amy Shaw in a service which examines the fire that sends us into the world, and the ethic which fuels it.

Forum: Churchwide Annual Meeting

11:00 a.m. in Griffin Hall

Click here to join via Zoom

Forum ideas and presentations are welcome! Click here to coordinate a forum.11:00 a.m. in Griffin Hall

Church Calendar

  • Tech Time

    May 18, 2022  5:30 pm - 7:30 pm

    Stonewall Conference Room

    Join Cody for free technical consultation

    Cody will be available to answer your questions about your computers, tablets, cell phones, bluetooth devices, password management, and many things in-between! Please bring your devices and all applicable cords, documentation, and manuals with you to First Unitarian Church. 


    Cody is also available on a volunteer basis at the following locations and times:

    Wednesdays from 2-3 p.m. at the Des Moines Public Library Central Location | Find him in the Tech Central Room!

    Saturdays from 1:30-3:30 p.m. in the Dining Room at Plymouth Place

    See more details

  • Bell Choir Rehearsal

    May 18, 2022  5:45 pm - 6:45 pm

    Contact: Karen Kraemer choir@ucdsm.org

    See more details

  • Toolbox of Faith

    May 18, 2022  6:00 pm - 7:00 pm

    Registration OPEN; new children may join at any time.

    Who: Grades K – 6

    When: 6:00 – 7:15 p.m.CT, March 23 – May 25

    Where: Room 111- Outside as weather permits

    Leader(s): Terry Meeks

    Reflects on the qualities of our Unitarian Universalist faith, such as integrity, courage, and love, as tools we can use in living our lives and building our own faith.

    See more details

  • Our Whole Lives (OWL) Human Sexuality Curriculum

    May 18, 2022  6:00 pm - 7:30 pm

    Registration OPEN (Closes on September 15)

    Who: Grade 7 – 8

    When: 6:00-7:30 p.m. CT, September 15 – May 25

    Where: Outside, Room 107

    Leader(s): Kim Gunnes, Chelsea Hayes, Ben Spadt, Holly Hanson

    Specially trained volunteer facilitators help participants make informed and responsible decisions about their sexual health and behavior. The curriculum equips participants with accurate, age-appropriate information in six subject areas: human development, relationships, personal skills, sexual behavior, sexual health, and society and culture. Grounded in a holistic view of sexuality, Our Whole Lives not only provides facts about anatomy and human development, but also helps participants clarify their values, build interpersonal skills, and understand the spiritual, emotional, and social aspects of sexuality.

    OWL for 7/8 Grade will be capped at 12 participants, with priority given to First Unitarian member families. If a substantially higher number of participants is expected, other options will be explored with the Director of Faith Formation.

    See more details

  • Coming of Age

    May 18, 2022  6:00 pm - 7:30 pm

    Registration OPEN (Closes on September 8)

    Who: Grade 8 – 9

    When: 6:00-7:30 p.m. CT, September 8 – May 18

    Where: Room 108

    Leader(s): Katherine Sutton, Sally Boeckholt, Mark Metz

    When we provide the time and opportunities for authentic relationships to develop, youth can gradually experience powerful transformation – they “come of age.” With the help of their families and their church community, they learn who they are, and can decide what they stand for. This is how each youth creates their own empowering story leading to the development of a faith statement. To help with this process, the “Big Questions” are tackled each week, including:

    • What do you believe about God?
    • What happens after we die?
    • How do you live a moral life?
    • Why do bad things happen?

    Each youth is paired up with a carefully chosen adult mentor from the congregation. Youth and mentors meet about twice a month and also complete a service project together. The year begins with a parent/youth meeting to share information about the Coming of Age year, and concludes with a celebration dinner and Coming of Age Sunday morning service planned and lead by the youth to include presenting their own faith statements.

    See more details

View Calendar

I’m New Here

Ready to explore Unitarian Universalism and our church? We’re ready for you, even during the pandemic!

  1. Start by joining us for our Sunday service at 9:30 a.m. CT in-person or via Zoom. You can also click here for directions to our building!
  2. In the front lobby of our church, you’ll be welcomed by a Membership Committee member, who will direct you to visitor information and UU information.
  3. The “Join Us on Sundays” tab at the top of this page has information about other activities we’re doing on Sundays. The Welcome page includes a video from our minister, Rev. Amy Petrie Shaw (they/them/theirs), and some basic information about our congregation.
  4. Check out our Affinity Groups for adults. All groups that are meeting virtually are open to new participants. New programs will be announced for children, youth and adults in the spring.
  5. And finally, explore our website! There’s a lot to see and we encourage you to reach out to the contact people listed throughout the site if you have questions or want to get involved.