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.

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Upcoming Service

From Ancient Greece to First Unitarian Church of Des Moines: Daring to Follow the Truth

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

For decades, Humanism has been a prominent ethical tradition in our congregation, and for many UU congregations across the Midwest. But what is Humanism all about? This Sunday, join members of the First Unitarian Humanist Group to explore Humanism through history and a little entertainment.


No Forum

Forums are over for the 2021-2022 church year. Please join us this autumn when we resume our regularly scheduled programming!

A Story About Jane

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

With the overturning of Roe v. Wade, our nation is poised to enter an era of legal repression not seen in decades. To survive, we must rediscover our histories and strategies of resistance. How do we keep each other safe in these dangerous times? We look to the example of those who came before, who understood what their moment required, and who put themselves into the work.


No Forum

Forums are over for the 2021-2022 church year. Please join us this autumn when we resume our regularly scheduled programming!

My Pandemic Pastimes

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

Some life events are etched in our memories, and sometimes shared by the community as a whole. What will you remember of the Pandemic?


No Forum

Forums are over for the 2021-2022 church year. Please join us this autumn when we resume our regularly scheduled programming!

Church Calendar

  • Tai Chi

    July 4, 2022  10:00 am - 11:00 am

     Monday and Thursday at 10:00 at First Unitarian as weather cools and we move inside. Outside sessions are currently being held at the American Legion Park in West Des Moines on 4th and Vine.
    Tai chi is an ancient form of gentle exercise sometimes called ‘moving’ meditation. This class will focus on a short form (Sun style) designed specifically to improve joint movement (which may decrease pain) and improve balance and prevent falls. In addition to these benefits, research has also shown tai chi may reduce stress.  Basic aspects of tai chi will be discussed and practiced, including breathing, weight shift, posture, slow circular movements, elongation and focus to enhance the flow of chi. The classes are taught by repetitively practicing small portions and gradually adding until the entire form has been covered.  Regular attendance is encouraged for the full benefit. There is a small fee ($20) for participants for the day session while the evening session is free. Register here: https://forms.gle/poBmQ4hsdPfQpSir7

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  • Endowment Committee

    July 4, 2022  6:00 pm - 7:00 pm

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  • Awakening Heart Sangha

    July 4, 2022  7:00 pm - 8:30 pm

    Awakening Heart Sangha is a mindfulness practice group in the Plum Village Tradition of Vietnamese Zen teacher Thích Nhất Hạnh, or ‘Thay’. All are welcome on a drop-in basis to this ongoing group. All levels of practice are welcome, regardless of whether you are a newcomer to meditation or have had a meditation practice for a while. Brief meditation instruction will be offered at each meeting as needed for any newcomers. Chairs will be provided. If you prefer a meditation cushion, you are free to bring your own. Please plan to arrive 10-15 minutes early to help set up chairs.At each meeting, we will check-in, practice 20 minutes of sitting meditation and 10 minutes of walking meditation followed by a short reading and discussion.


    Email sangha@ucdsm.org for more information.

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  • Communication's Committee Meeting

    July 6, 2022  10:00 am - 11:00 am

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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.