Affinity Groups

PANDEMIC UPDATE

For everyone’s health and safety, groups are not meeting in person. Check individual listings for current meeting status.


There are many ways to plug in – some for a one-time commitment; others that are ongoing. You may find other people who share your passion or you might discover a new passion you didn’t know you had. So jump in and try something!

  • Groups for Fun!

        • Bent Needles
        • Board Game Night
        • Book Club
        • Food Still Matters Vegan Potluck
        • Play UU Parenting Group
        • Women’s Lunch Bunch
        • Young Adult Group

    Groups for Self Exploration!

        • Awakening Heart Sangha
        • Chalice Groups
        • Humanist Society of Iowa
        • Sacred Bridges Covenant of UU Pagans
        • Small Group Ministry

    Groups for Learning!

        • Humanist Book Group
        • Sage Book Group
        • Great Decisions
        • Unity Circle

How to Start a New Group

Have an idea for a new Affinity Group? Great! Find a few other people who share your passion and get started. At your first meeting you may want to ask yourselves:

  • Who is this group for? (i.e., who 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!)
  • How are you going to spread the word about your new group?

If you’ll meet at church, please contact the Director of Finance & Administration, Charlie Lewis, at 515-244-8603, x101 or director@ucdsm.org to make a room reservation. 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. Charlie can help you with this step.

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. Amy Petrie Shaw at revamy@ucdsm.org.
  • For all other groups, start with Lyra Halsten, Membership Coordinator, at membership@ucdsm.org.

If it’s really a class you want to hold at the church with a curriculum and limited number of meetings, then contact Devon McClure, Director of Faith Formation, at dff@ucdsm.org

How to Promote Your Group

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

  • Make sure you have space reserved so that you’re guaranteed a room, and so your group shows up on the church calendar. Upcoming events listed in our Intercom email newsletter and Sunday order of service are pulled from this calendar, so make sure your group is there!
  • If you would like an announcement included in the Intercom and Sunday order of service, please email your short (200 words or less) announcement to communications@ucdsm.org by noon on Wednesday to be included in the upcoming weekend publications.
    • Please note that, due to the volume of announcements received, we typically do not run them for more than two 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.)
  • Signs can be posted at church only on the “Church Events” bulletin board in the south entryway.
  • The best way to promote your event is with a personal invitation! This is a great reason to strike up a conversation with someone new at Sunday morning coffee hour or over dinner on Wednesdays. Find out what they’re interested in and let them know what you’re involved with. Then invite them to join you – and offer to join them!