First Unitarian is a people-powered church. We rely on the passions and the energy of our congregants to move us in the direction you, as a community, wish to go. For that reason, the affinity, activity, and social justice groups at First Unitarian come about because a small group of people got together and decided it was something that was important to them. If you want to start a group at First Unitarian, you are encouraged to do so! The staff is here to support you on that endeavor and to help coordinate among the many different groups of this vibrant, active community.

HOW TO FORM A NEW GROUP

Have an idea for a group? Great! Find a few other people who share your passion and decide what exactly you would like your group to be about. At your first “coordinating” meeting you may want to ask yourselves:

  • Who is this group for? (I.e., what is your target audience?)
  • What is the purpose of your group? A clearly defined purpose is behind the most successful, thriving groups!
    • What are you going to do/discuss when you meet?
    • Is there a clear need for this group in our community?
    • Is anyone else at the church already doing what you want to do? If so, would it make sense to join forces? Or can you distinguish a separate need that your group will fill?
  • How often do you want to meet and when? (Setting a regular schedule is usually best!)
  • If you will be meeting at the church, who will contact the office assistant (515-244-8603 x107 / officeassistant@ucdsm.org) to make a room reservation request? If you are meeting during a time that the church isn’t regularly open, someone will need to be assigned an access key to the church and be trained on how to lock up the building. The office assistant can help you with this step.
  • How are you going to spread the word about your new group? (See below for some ideas.)

The next step would be to contact the appropriate staff person, who can offer further suggestions for getting established and to let you know if they are aware of others who might be interested.

  • If your group is organizing around a social justice issue, contact Rev. Erin Gingrich, Associate Minister of Social Justice: sjminister@ucdsm.org
  • For all other groups, start with Laura Berardi, Membership Coordinator: membership@ucdsm.org

If it’s really a class you want to hold at the church, then check in with Tracy Beck, Directory of Religious Education: dre@ucdsm.org

HOW TO PROMOTE YOUR GROUP

Once a group is established, it’s obviously important that you let others know about it and invite them in!

The Basics:

  • Make sure you have space reserved so that you are guaranteed a room, and so your event shows up on the church calendar. Upcoming events listed in our Intercom Weekly email and Intercom Sunday (Order of Service insert) are pulled from this calendar, so make sure your group is there!
  • If you would like a special announcement included in the Intercom Weekly email and Intercom Sunday (Order of Service insert), please email your short (200 words or less) announcement to communicatioins@ucdsm.org by noon on Wednesday to ensure it appears in that weekend’s publications.
    • Please note that, due to the volume of announcements received, we typically do not run them for more than 2 weeks in a row.
    • We highly recommend an announcement when you are initially recruiting others to join your group or when you have special event you want to publicize.
    • You may include an image with your announcement if you like! (Make sure it doesn’t have a copyright that precludes us from using it, though.) Images are not included in the Intercom Sunday at this time.
  • Signs can be posted on the “Church Events” bulletin board in the south entryway. Please refrain from posting flyers all over the church unless you check with the church office first.
  • Members of the closed First Unitarian Church of Des Moines Facebook group are welcome to create an event for that group, or to otherwise post in the church’s Facebook group to invite people to attend their meetings/events
  • Perhaps best of all – face-to-face invitations! This is a great reason to strike up a conversation with someone new at Sunday morning coffee hour or over dinner on Wednesdays. Let them know what you’re involved with and invite them to join you.