First Unitarian Church of Des Moines is a religious community of about 460 members and friends. Our community encompasses people from newborns to those in their 90s, coming from across central Iowa. In addition to two Sunday services, First Unitarian offers religious education experiences for youth and children throughout the year, as well as special events that bring our church community together.

Respect, Reverence, Belief

Our basic principles are a reverence for life, a respect for the inherent dignity of each person, and a belief in human potential. We believe in the use of reason in the quest for truth and in understanding and accepting one another. We believe that truth is better sought in community, which helps to develop tolerance and understanding in each of us.

History of Our Church

Our history is the story of a congregation that actively applies its values to the ways we live in a changing world.

From First Unitarian’s founding in 1877 to the present day, we have provided ethical and spiritual leadership in addressing the issues of the time. We have done this by applying love, reason, respect for all people, and social action — individually and as a congregation.

A look back is rich with examples: leadership in women’s rights, work toward LGBT equality, sit-ins for racial progress, crusades for decent public housing, support for the comfort and health of our troops in time of war, feeding and housing the hungry and the homeless, caring for the environment, and many other examples. A glance through our church’s rich history – see link below – offers specific examples of these themes and many more.

And all the while we have a history of deepening our love and respect for each other. Our history reflects a questing community that provides mutual support and which encourages the sharing of personal values and beliefs –a creative interchange that enriches us all.

As our denomination’s historic seven basic principles state, we respect the inherent worth and dignity of every person while joining in a free and responsible search for truth and meaning.

For a more detailed look at our eventful history – and the interesting people who have shaped it, click to view the document History of First Unitarian Church of Des Moines.

Working for Good

It is our hope that we may work for good in our local community, state, nation and world, awakening social conscience to the end of dispelling intolerance and injustice. Our congregation is a member of the Unitarian Universalist Association of Congregations, which represents the interests of more than one thousand Unitarian Universalist congregations, with 200,000 members and children in North America. The UUA grew out of the 1961 consolidation of two religious denominations: the Universalists, organized in 1793, and the Unitarians, organized in 1825.

A Welcoming Congregation

First Unitarian Church is a Welcoming Congregation. This means the congregation has taken deliberate steps, as outlined by the Unitarian Universalist Association, to become more inclusive of gay, lesbian, bi-sexual and transgender (GLBT) people. The congregation works to address the needs of GLBT persons at every level of congregational life, welcoming not only their presence, but also the particular gifts they bring.