First Unitarian Church is a vibrant community that benefits from dedicated volunteers who help things run smoothly, as well as reach out to those who are in need. The following groups meet regularly throughout the year.

Serving the Whole Church

Hospitality Ministry

Every Sunday morning, members and friends arrive at First Unitarian Church of Des Moines to a warm welcome. They are greeted at the door, guided to their seats, and following the service enjoy coffee, treats and fellowship. Hospitality teams make all this possible. These teams of 10-15 volunteers support the smooth running and personal touches before and after the services. Two teams are in action each Sunday, with each team scheduled at either the 9:15 or 11:00 service once every two months. Go to our Hospitality Ministry page to learn more. To volunteer, or for more information, contact Lyra Halsten

Caring Ministry

Our church believes in community and that is what Caring Ministry is all about. We want to make it easier for you to ask for support when you need it, and offer support when others are in need. If you have questions, contact our Caring Ministry Coordinator, Becky Evans or call 515-421-8424., or visit the Caring Community page for more information.

Religious Services Celebrants

Members of the church who work with the ministers and with each other to help create excellent Sunday religious services that spark the mind, lighten the spirit, and touch the heart. Celebrants are the congregation’s “living lectionary,” staying in close touch with the needs of our members and friends and striving to help respond to those needs in our services. A celebrant is assigned to each Sunday and then works closely with the preaching minister or guest speaker to prepare and then to conduct the service, possibly including the selection of readings, music, and other liturgical elements, such as opening words, meditations, and a celebrant reflection. Celebrants might also chose to craft their own sermons and preach at times. A celebrant attends monthly planning sessions with the Celebrant Team.

Celebrants serve and continue to serve upon invitation of the Senior Minister.

Council for Congregational Ministries (CCM)

The CCM is convened by the Senior Minister and consists of 6 Ministerial areas, plus a Councilor at Large: 1) Congregational Life, 2) Facilities & Grounds, 3) Religious Growth & Learning, 4) Social Justice, 5) Worship & Arts, and 6) Stewardship. It is the purpose of the CCM to nurture and promote the health and vitality of our church by thoughtfully engaging with the church staff and volunteers in the pursuit of the Ends Statements articulated by the Board of Trustees. Council members covenant to challenge assumptions, reach for creative ideas and solutions, foster leadership, and empower volunteers whenever possible. Click here for the Organization-Chart-2019, which includes the current CCM members.

Religious Education

Faith Formation Council

The Faith Formation Council (FFC) collaborates with the Director of Religious Education (DRE) in creating a faith development program plan which strengthens and clarifies the ethical, moral and spiritual lives of children and youth. The FFC does so by making and following policies; creating, reviewing and evaluating programs; and securing resources (volunteers, space, budget) to meet the program plan and the Ends Statements of First Unitarian Church of Des Moines.

The FFC time commitment is a 2 year term, if possible, with 10-11 meetings per year. If you are interested in participating on the FFC, please contact Devon McClurken, Director of Faith Formation, at 244-8603 x 104, or

Social Justice / Outreach

Faith in Action Coordinating Team

The goal of the Faith in Action (FIA) program at First Unitarian is to provide members and friends with opportunities for community service and volunteer work. Members of the FIA Coordinating Team solicit and select applications from community organizations to partner with as our Community Outreach Partner, each for a two-month period of time, to give not only of our financial resources, but our time and talents as well. The FIA team also coordinates with the nominator/champion of the community outreach partner. If you would like to know more about the Faith in Action Coordinating Team, please contact member Kate Allen.

We have many Social Justice programs and Issue Teams with opportunities to be involved; check them out in the Social Justice section of our web site.

Special Areas of Interest

Art Gallery Committee

The Art Gallery wall in Channing Hall exhibits a variety of 2-dimensional art throughout the year, with a new artist featured every month. The Art Gallery Committee accepts applications of artists who wish to exhibit their artwork at our church. Members of this committee may assist with the hanging and/or taking down of artwork, if needed. Questions? Contact member Linda Mathews.

Audio/Visual Team

The Audio / Visual Team operates the sound board for Sunday services and special occasions / events. Some training is required to understand how to operate the sound board and learn the procedures for video recording the services. If you have an interest in joining this team, please contact member Bill Allen.

Concerts Committee

The Concerts Committee coordinates the Progressive Voices Concert Series at First Unitarian, a series of 4-6 concerts featuring nationally known singer/songwriters and groups. Learn more here, or contact committee member Louise Alcorn or Doug Aupperle.

Grounds Council

During the Covid-19 pandemic, we are not holding regular meetings. We will communicate and coordinate work days through email. Work days are outside, masks required and social distancing is practiced.

The Grounds Council meets periodically to discuss the priorities of managing our church grounds, to plan work days, and to communicate these needs with the church community. Goals include maintaining established flower beds using volunteer “adopters;” general weeding and sprucing up of the grounds, parking lots, entryways, sidewalks, and patio area; maintaining play equipment; maintaining the trails and labyrinth in the woods; controlling storm water runoff and erosion; and improving the bio-diversity of the plants. If you’re interested in learning more or joining the Grounds Council, attend a meeting or contact member Diane Ford.

Memorial Reception Committee

When there is a death in our church community, the Memorial Reception Committee is called upon to provide set-up and refreshments for a reception following a memorial service.