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 on the third Thursday of every month at 6:00 p.m. 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 any time.
We welcome your participation or input about our Board’s work! You may contact the current Board president at BoardofTrustees@ucdsm.org.
Next Board Meeting
2021–2022 Board Members
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.
Liaison assignments: Communications Team, Stewardship.
Term ends 2024
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.
Committee Assignments: Governance, Lens of the Future (studying options for reopening church safely in the wake of COVID-19).
Term 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.”
Committee Assignments: Nominating
Term ends 2022
Patty (she/her/hers) is a lifelong resident of Des Moines. She graduated from Lincoln High School, Drake University, and Drake University Law School. Patty has been a practicing attorney since 1992. Patty has six children, and married her wife, Meg, in 2010. Together they have nine children. Patty, Meg and Jayla, the youngest, age 12, recently moved from the south side of Des Moines to an apartment downtown. Patty has been active at First Unitarian since joining in 2011. She has taught RE, volunteered with Family Promise, and served on many committees, including the Ministerial Search Committee. Patty has extensive experience in navigating the children’s mental health system in the state of Iowa, having served as a family peer support specialist for several years. She is always happy to help others navigate the system. In her spare time, Patty likes to read, travel, and look for treasures at thrift shops and consignment stores.
Committee Assignments: Ministerial Review.
Scott Emison Clair
Term ends 2022
Scott (he/him/his) joined the church in 2003. He has served on the Religious Services Committee, and the Council of Congregational Ministries, facilitated multiple adult and youth RE Classes including OWL, Small Group Ministries, Soul Matters, Wellspring, and Coming of Age. As a Board Member he serves on the Governance and Ministerial Review Committees. Scott has also been active in a variety of health-related nonprofit work including founding a statewide HIV and Hepatitis Advocacy Group and serving on the board of a local Federally Qualified Health Center (Primary Health Care). He is married to Lori and they have two kids. Scott’s ‘day job’ is working as a data scientist determining the effectiveness of marketing campaigns.
Committee Assignments: Governance, Ministerial Review.
Term ends 2022
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.
Committee Assignments: Financial Oversight, LENS of the Future (studying options for reopening church safely in the wake of COVID-19).
Term ends 2022
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).
Committee Assignments: TBD
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.
Term ends 2024
Chelsea is a life-long UU and spent 8 years serving in various capacities at the First Unitarian Church of Greensboro prior to moving home to Des Moines. In Greensboro, she served on the Committee of Ministry, the fine arts committee, led small group ministry, and taught religious education classes to youth.
Chelsea is an elementary art teacher. She lives with her spouse, Eric Hayes, and two children Greta and Quinton.
Chelsea has been a member of this church since 2013. She volunteers with Faith Formation as a teacher for Our Whole Lives and Art Craft and serves on the Faith Formation Committee. She previously served on the ministerial search committee and facilitated Play UU.
Committee Assignments: Ministerial Review, Nominating.