Board of Trustees

Applications are open!

Board Application

Are you ready to be part of the future of our church? Are you ready to meet and work with some truly amazing people? Now is the time to express your interest and fill out the Board of Trustees application! Please take a minute to reflect on just how important our church is in your life and what talents you can offer on the Board of Trustees. The Nomination Committee will be available after Sunday service to answer any questions you may have.

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beyond First Unitarian Church
Please include type of church involvement and ages of any children. If you do not have anyone to list here, please type "NA."
What qualities do you feel you will contribute to leadership at First Unitarian Church?

The Board uses an organizational model called Policy Governance, which is a system that helps ensure that our Board and our staff are clear about who does what and why. Using this model maximizes the Board’s responsibility to our congregation members, and improves the ability of staff to support our congregation’s mission. Policy Governance promotes ideas such as accountability, transparency, effectiveness and efficiency.

Guided by established Roles and Expectations, the nine members of our Board serve staggered, three-year terms and meet monthly to review staff reports and discuss initiatives that help us carry out the goals of our congregation’s Mission.

Board work is also carried out by several Committees of the Board. Most teams are a collaboration of Board members and other congregations members.

Board meetings are open to all monthly at 6 p.m. on the following dates for the rest of this fiscal year:

  • Mar. 23
  • April 20
  • May 18
  • June 22

The agenda and relevant documents are published here ahead of each meeting. If you can’t attend, archived minutes and other reports are available for you to review at any time.

We welcome your participation or input about our Board’s work! You may contact the current Board president at

Next Board Meeting

The Board meets regularly on the third Thursday of the month at 6:00 p.m. CT.

Join via Zoom!

2022–2023 Board Members


Reba Eagles
Term ends 2024


Reba (she/her/hers). I  am a temporarily retired acupuncturist living with my adult daughter, Lydia Peterson, who has Down syndrome. We have been in Des Moines for a little over a year now, relocated from Albuquerque. This is a long overdue homecoming for me as I was born in Iowa and am 5th generation Iowan on both sides of my family. Though I lived in the southern part of the state and my family all lived mostly in Benton and Van Buren counties, we felt Des Moines would have more opportunities for both of us. We haven’t been able to explore as much as if we were not having a pandemic but what we have experienced we both really like. I enjoy gardening, reading and walking my two standard poodles. My reason for wanting to be on the board is my desire to give back to my spiritual community. I want to help our congregation flourish and grow.

Board Committee Assignments:  Human Resources

Sally Merritt
Term ends 2025

Vice President

I have been a committed Unitarian Universalist for approximately 20 years. Now that I am retired, I enjoy giving back to the community. I am an excellent communicator, tolerant of opposing viewpoints, and good at listening and bringing people with divergent viewpoints together. My experience at the two Unitarian churches in Chicago should prove to be very valuable.

Board Committee Assignments:  Leadership, Human Resources

Fern Stewart
erm ends 2023 


Fern (she/her/hers) has been a member approximately 10 years. Her interests have included Compassion and Choice, Marriage Equality, and Hospitality. She has also volunteered with Family Promise, sewing quilts to celebrate births and adoptions, and been a mentor in the Coming of Age program. Outside of church, she serves on the board of the Des Moines Quilters Guild and morphed into becoming a proficient mask making fool when COVID struck, first for family and neighbors, then Broadlawns Hospital, and eventually part of the team creating 12,000 masks for Des Moines Public Schools. She also serves as secretary on the Friends of the WDM Parks and Recreation Board which supports her love of nature and the outdoors. She says, “This church means the world to me and my intention is to serve it well.”

Board Committee Assignments:  Nominating

LeeAnn Back
Term ends 2024

LeeAnn is married to Sherwin (Dash) Back and they have two adult children. They moved from Sioux City in 2016 and live in Indianola, joining the UU church in 2018. LeeAnn is a retired Teacher of the Blind and Visually Impaired.

LeeAnn is excited about serving on the Board of Trustees to learning more about how the church operates, meeting people, and contributing to the church community.

Board Committee Assignments: Human Resources

Kevin Boeckholt
Term ends 2025

Kevin (he/him/his)

I grew up in First Unitarian, although I have just recently become a member. I currently co-lead our high school youth program, YRUU. I attended Iowa State University and studied economics and accounting. While in college I served on the board and finance committee at United Way of Story County. After graduation I moved back to Des Moines and earned my CPA license.

Board Committee Assignments: Financial Oversight

Andrea LeMeuse
Term ends 2023

Andrea (she/her/hers) joined the church in 2012. She has five grown children and two grandchildren, plus an assortment of grand dogs and grand cats. She has worked as a Distribution Specialist in West Des Moines for six years. She was a founding member of the Sacred Bridges Covenant of Unitarian Universalist Pagans (CUUPS) in May 2013. She teaches Pagan- and Wiccan-related classes through the Adult Faith Formation program, plus hosts public rituals for the Pagan Sacred Holy Days. She also makes an excellent green bean casserole.

Board Committee Assignments: Governance

Jeremy Guenther
Term ends 2024

Jeremy (he/him) joined the church in 2019 after relocating from Dubuque with his wife Sarah and their two daughters Elle and Penny. He is part of the Religious Education Committee and a hospitality team.

Jeremy and Sarah were raised Catholic in Wisconsin but found a good fit at the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Dubuque where Jeremy served as board secretary and president. He credits UUFD for sending him to the MidAmerica Region’s Midwest Leadership School as a student in 2017 and he returned in 2019 as treasurer.

Jeremy works at Principal, often commuting by bus and through that activity, found an opportunity to volunteer on the DART’s Transit Riders’ Advisory Committee.

Crystal Loving
Term ends 2023

Crystal Loving (she/her/hers) officially joined the church in early 2020 after several years of off/on again attendance. She was raised in Des Moines and has always lived in DSM, with the exception of a few years in the DC Area during post-graduate training. She is married to Kurt and they have two children, Naoma (12) and Benton (9).

Crystal served on the Church LENS Committee and is an active leader in AMOS, particularly around Mental Health Services for Children and Youth. Outside of church she volunteers as a parent with DMPS Community Legislative Action Team (CLAT) to bring legislators, familie , and public school advocates together to enact legislation benefiting DMPS students. She enjoys reading, watching her kids play soccer or skateboard, and seeing the world. She’s working on learning to disconnect (or is that chill out).

Board Committee Assignments:  Governance

Greg Nichols
Term ends 2023


Greg (he/him/his) and his spouse, Dawn Connet, joined the church in 2002. Their children, now grown, participated in various youth activities and RE when younger. Greg has held numerous roles in the church in past years, including a prior term on the board and a year as Board President, a member of the Council of Congregational Ministries, on the Vision Quest and Endowment committees, the recent Ministerial Search committee, and as an annual meeting moderator. He is employed as the Senior Vice President for Public Affairs and Community Relations at Iowa Student Loan, a West Des Moines-based nonprofit corporation. His other community activities include serving as a board member for the Des Moines Pastoral Counseling Center, the By Degrees Foundation, the Greater Des Moines Partnership Talent Development board, and on the Polk County Democratic Central Committee.

Board Committee Assignments:: Financial Oversight, Stewardship