First Unitarian members and friends enjoy a variety of social and service groups. The exchange of new ideas, interests and opinions stimulates minds and builds friendships. These groups welcome newcomers. Please see the Calendar of Events for meeting schedules.

Contact information can be found in the church directory, or call the church office at 515-244-8603.

Board Game Night (UU Social Club)

Please join fellow UU Friends for a fun night of board games in Channing Hall. Bring your favorite game as well as any beverages or snacks you might want to share. Meets the second Friday of the month, 6-10 pm, in Channing Hall. Contact: Micah Winegar.

Boys’ Night Out

Need a night out? This group of gentlemen gather for a variety of activities. All men are invited to participate. Watch the Weekly Intercom for the current outings. Contact: Steve Evans.

Great Decisions

Great Decisions, a group that has met for many years at our church, is a discussion program produced by the Foreign Policy Association, New York City, and featuring a briefing book titled Great Decisions. The latest version of the book is available for purchase. Contact: Fred La Croix. Meets monthly on the fourth Sunday at 11:00 a.m. in the Minister’s Office (no meetings June-August).

Humanist Society of Iowa

The Humanist Society of Iowa, a chapter of the American Humanist Association, is an affiliate of First Unitarian Church of Des Moines.  We emphasize a non-theistic approach to living and promote a scientific, rational and naturalistic perspective of the world.  Join us the second Monday of each month, 7 – 8:30 p.m., in Channing Hall.

Play UU Parenting Group

Play UU is a parenting group at First Unitarian for parents with children under age 5. Activities are varied and include family outings and parent-nights out (childcare provided). See the Calendar of Events or the Intercom Weekly email for the latest scheduled events.

Sacred Bridges CUUPs

Sacred Bridges chapter of the Covenant of Unitarian Univeralist Pagans hosts Earth-based rituals and social gatherings to create a safe, positive, and uplifting space where pagans and people who are curious about paganism can meet and learn. In addition, we gather monthly for event planning and discussion about involvement and group growth. We encourage participation in Unitarian Universalism, but membership is not required to participate in events. The chapter supports both pagan and UU paths and works to help one another and grow as a community, linking pagans together and giving others the chance to explore Earth-based spirituality.  Contact:

Small Group Ministry

A continuation of the Small Group Ministry format of the last 10 years. Members will meet the first and third Mondays of the month, 10am – Noon. The first hour is an opportunity for members to share recent events in their lives. The second hour is a discussion around a chosen topic from the Small Group Ministry collection. Contacts: Carol Henderson or Jill Moser.

Soul Matters

These small, relational groups made up of six to ten people led by trained facilitators meet once a month to establish and nurture themselves in this community, to explore and engage monthly religious service themes in more depth, and to reconnect with their deepest selves, life’s gifts, and needs greater than their own. Click here to learn more.

UU Book Club

Do you love to read and look for an opportunity to discuss what you’re reading with others? The UU Book Club meets the first Tuesday of each month. See the Calendar of Events or Intercom Weekly email for the latest information.

Unity Circle – Alliance

Unity Circle-Alliance (often referred to as “Unity Circle”) began as a women’s service group at First Unitarian in 1879. The group has a very proud heritage of contributions over the years to our church, our city, our state, and our national American Culture. From the Women’s suffrage movement, to social issues in early Des Moines, through post-World War II support for war refugees via the national Unitarian Service Committee and into the current group’s speakers of the month, the organization has worked to improve church life and the lives of others.
Today the group is a merger of two women’s groups, Unity Circle and Evening Alliance, and now admits men into its membership. Unity Circle meets the third Thursday of most months, with a potluck at noon and a program at 1:00 p.m. Our speakers are always related to something of current interest. The yearly dues are $10 per person, however, anyone is welcome to come and enjoy the lunch and the speaker. (Our informal motto is: we eat well, talk much, sit long, and laugh lots!) Contact: Bob Glass.


New to the church? Not so new? Looking for a way to make new friends or have a night out with the guys? Our monthly men’s potluck group always welcomes newcomers interested in good food and good company. This group meets at church the first Sunday of each month. Contact: Bill Paxson.

Women’s Potluck

This group of women love to visit over a shared meal. All women are welcome, and invited to bring a dish to share.