Caring MinistryPastoral TeamGrief Support Circle | Joys & Concerns | Memorial Services

Submit a Joy or Concern | Request Caring Assistance

Provide Caring Assistance | Caring Ministry Coordinator Email

Caring Ministry

Caring Ministry is all about community and how we in our church can be of service to each other. This ministry is shared by our professional staff, lay leaders, and potentially, everyone who is a part of First Unitarian Church 

Caring Ministry Structure

Becky Evans, our Caring Ministry Coordinator, is a volunteer and member of First Unitarian. Becky works with a team of volunteer coordinators, such as Carolyn Spencer, who leads our Caring Card efforts, and Barb Glass, who serves as an at-large member of the Caring Ministry Leadership Team.  

Becky also coordinates requests for assistance to a larger group of caring community volunteers.

Becky can be reached at

Note the links at the top of this page for submitting a joy or concern, requesting caring assistance, or providing caring assistance.  

Caring Ministry is not the same as the Pastoral Team; the Pastoral Team is a trained group of volunteers within our congregation who are available to serve those facing more serious caring concerns in this faith community. See below for more information on the Pastoral Team.  

Some of the ways that we can show that we care are through:

  • New Baby Arrival – meals, mommy/daddy relief, baby quilt 
  • Rides – to church (temporary basis only) or to the doctor 
  • Meals – during illness or injury, new baby in the family, or in a time of distress 
  • Household tasks – lawn care, housecleaning, etc. (temporary basis only) 
  • Hospital or Home Visits – for support as needed 
  • Check-in Calls – when knowing that someone will check in might be reassuring 
  • Cards – when you might not be up to or need visitors, but an encouraging word, or something humorous would be appreciated 

Want to help sometime? If you haven’t already signed up to be available for one or more of the above ways of helping, please offer to Provide Caring Assistance.

Pastoral Team

Pastoral care is available from a member of the Pastoral Team who can lend support and a listening ear to those in the congregation who are facing difficult life circumstances. The Pastoral Team was formally commissioned at services on April 8, 2018. These lay pastoral care associates have completed special training, have agreed to meet monthly for additional training, and are committed to serving this congregation as members of the First Unitarian Pastoral Team. You can recognize them by the “Pastoral Team” ribbon on their name badge. They are: Barb Glass, Ann Mowery, Ellen Taylor, Debra Rodgers, and Carol Henderson.

The pastoral care associates covenant with one another and with the members of the First Unitarian Church of Des Moines to work with the Ministers, one another, and other leaders of this congregation to cherish and care for the members of this faith community, to serve as assigned to:

  • Visit those who are ill, at home or in the hospital;
  • Support those going through a life crisis;
  • Maintain contact with those unable to attend church due to illness or disability;
  • Support those who are caregivers;
  • Comfort those who are bereaved;
  • And to preserve the confidences entrusted to them
The Pastoral Team can be reached at

Grief Support Circle

The Grief Support Circle exists to provide a place for those in grief to gather with others and share. It is a place for tears and laughter, fear and hope, light within a time of darkness.

Mondays from 6:30 – 8:00 p.m.

Circle Format

  • Chalice Lighting  
  • Welcome and Introductions  
  • Sharing Around the Circle  
  • Follow up to Sharing  
  • Circle Leadership  

Circle leadership will come from the circle itself. As a new program, Sally Boeckholt and Suzanne Popson will provide leadership: arriving a few minutes early and leading the group through the format. Those who choose can offer to lead if they want to; there is no pressure to lead, only an opportunity. Each week a calendar of upcoming dates will be made available for members to pick a week if they choose.

Grief Resources

Grief resources will be made available, including inviting members of the circle to participate in the 8-week grief sessions led by the Pastoral Care Team/Debra Rogers. 

Joys & Concerns 

We set aside time during each service to share the Joys and Concerns that touch our lives: the news of significant personal challenges, successes, and milestones too important not to be shared. Joys & Concerns submitted on-line before noon on Friday will be shared at the Sunday services. Written joys & concerns are also accepted before Sunday services. Look for the forms on the Caring Ministry table in the foyer.

Memorial Services

Our ministers and the Memorial Support Team support memorial services and receptions for congregants. Services and receptions for other families who seek us out in time of need can be provided by arrangement. Contact Rev. Amy Petrie Shaw at if you need to plan a memorial service for a loved one.

When to Reach Out to a Minister

Rev. Amy Petrie Shaw welcomes pastoral conversations with members and friends of our church. When might you want to schedule a chat?

When you don’t know your minister(s), but would like to…

When you are facing a problem with your job, children, parents or anything or anyone else where a conversation with a careful listener might be helpful…

When you’ve lost your job…

When you’re considering a new career…

When you’re having trouble in your relationship or marriage…

When you’d like to invite a friend to church but you’re not sure how to go about it…

When there is illness or hospitalization. We won’t be able to visit and bring your church family’s thoughts/prayers if you don’t let us know…

When someone close to you has died, is critically ill, is struggling or is facing an operation…

When you are considering a divorce…

When you must make an important decision…

When you are pregnant and glad you are or wish you weren’t.

When you would like to have children but can’t…

When you feel ready to join First Unitarian…

When you are unhappy about First Unitarian…

When you need someone to talk with in confidence…

When you are facing a religious struggle…

When you have religious questions…

When you want to have your child dedicated…

When you are feeling joyful and want to share your joy…

When you are delighted with First Unitarian…

You could also contact them if you win the lottery, want to request a favorite hymn or have a good joke to tell. They will appreciate the opportunity to become better acquainted with you.

Rev. Amy Petrie Shaw: (P) 244-8603 ext. 102 or