Building, Rentals & Use

Accessibility

Parking & Entering

Our building has ADA-compliant automatic doors on the south and west sides with accessible parking near each entrance. The east entrance requires a long walk and stairs.

Inside Our Building

Accessible bathrooms can be found on two floors.
A wheelchair lift will soon be available again off of the foyer to provide access to the four levels within our church. For information about the project to replace the lift, please see the presentation by Al Powers that followed the forum on October 17, 2021.

During Sunday Service

Ask an usher for any of the following to assist you during our Sunday services:

  • Assistive Listening Devices
  • Full-page magnifiers
  • Large-print hymnals
  • Braille hymnals

If you have questions or concerns about accessibility options in our church, please learn more about our Accessibility Team or contact the team at accessibility@ucdsm.org.


Our Spaces

The Kitchen will be closed for renovations starting May 1, 2022.

Griffin Hall will be closed for renovations starting May 23, 2022.

One way we serve the greater Des Moines community is to make many of our church spaces available for rent to outside groups. From the auditorium to downstairs classrooms, we have space for a variety of meetings and events. Members may reserve church space without charge for personal or family use.

If you’re looking for a location for your wedding, we’re happy to host your big event!

If you’re interested in renting space for other purposes, please review our Building Use Request Form, which includes equipment availability, and our Alcohol Policy Agreement (if applicable). Then contact Hannah Notch, at hnotch@ucdsm.org to check availability.

Please note:

First Unitarian Church does not automatically provide setup or cleanup for your event. If you are unable to assemble volunteers for these tasks, please email hnotch@ucdsm.org at least 10 business days in advance. A setup/cleanup charge will be applied to your rental bill.

Click here for a map and detailed instructions for returning each room to its “Blank Slate” state so it is ready for the next group to use.


Griffin Hall Gallery

In Griffin Hall we display monthly shows by local artists with art that can be hung on the wall. You can view the art gallery any time the church office is open (Tuesday – Friday, 1:00 – 5:00 p.m. CT) and on Sunday mornings. One Sunday each month, the current artist joins us during coffee hour to talk about their work.

Our art wall is 10-feet high by 36-feet long. If you would like to show your artwork at First Unitarian, please review and complete our Application Form, and learn about our art-gallery-committee.

Grounds

Our Memorial Garden is a special place where members may honor loved ones or find a peaceful place for the interment of cremated remains. Located on the east side of the church building, the garden features a selection of native plants and lush greenery. A stone and granite walkway leads visitors to a circular center, a lovely site for weddings, memorial services or quiet meditation.

A plaque displayed near the garden lists the names of those interred. We also invite you to purchase an engraved memorial brick or granite paver to place in the garden to honor a loved one, celebrate a milestone or commemorate a contribution to the garden. Please review our Memorial Garden Use Policy for more details.

For guidance planning a memorial service, funeral or celebration of life, please see When a Loved One Dies.

To reserve the Memorial Garden for an event, to purchase a memorial brick or granite paver, or to inquire about interment, please contact Hannah Notch, at buildingcoordination@ucdsm.org.


Our grounds feature a labyrinth walk in the southeast part of our property designed for meditation and rituals. It may be reached via a path near our east parking lot. To reserve the labyrinth for an event, please contact Hannah Notch, at buildingcoordination@ucdsm.org.

Rites of Passage

Our building offers a variety of spaces and amenities, both indoors and outdoors, to accommodate your event.

Weddings: To help make your day special, we offer a variety of resources.

Child Dedications & Naming Ceremonies: Child dedications are an important moment in the life of a congregation. Members of the congregation pledge to provide a community of support, caring, learning, and love for the child and their family. This ritual is available only for members of the congregation, and it’s provided at no charge. Child dedications may be scheduled during a Sunday service, or on alternate days at the request of the family. No alternate officiant may conduct a child dedication at First Unitarian, but alternate officiants may join them in conducting the dedication at the request of the family.

Memorial Services, Funerals, Celebrations of Life: We offer a variety of resources during your difficult time, including help with planning a memorial service, funeral or celebration of life, if you choose.

Ceremonies of Union (Couples, Poly, or others): Ceremonies of Union are formal ceremonies of commitment without legal standing. Our minister performs these ceremonies as scheduling permits. There is no ceremony cost for members and pledging friends. All persons requesting a ceremony of union must be of legal age to marry in the jurisdiction and may not be directly related through blood or preexisting marriage or adoption. Hannah Notch can be reached at buildingcoordination@ucdsm.org with questions about availability and non-member costs.

Other Services: Please contact Church Staff about any of the following:

  • Baptism
  • Bar/Bat Mitzvah
  • Bris (with Rabbinical assistance)