Since our beginning in 1877, members of First Unitarian Church have been bending the long arc of the moral universe toward justice. We have a proud, 140-year legacy of advocacy and action – one that swings our church doors wide open to welcome others who want to join us. As a congregation, we gather together to be moved by the kind of spiritual growth that results from answering the call to reach out. And when we reach out, great things happen.

Our church thrives today thanks to the financial generosity of those who arrived before you, whether in the last two centuries or the last two years. Your predecessors at First Unitarian left the door open for you without knowing who you are or when you would arrive. They simply believed that you would.

You’re now invited to continue our congregational legacy with your personal one through your annual stewardship commitment. Your generosity today will fuel our vibrant and vital programs while allowing others to follow after you and begin their own personal or family legacy. By stretching your giving, we can continue to create more uplifting experiences as a church for you, your children, and for the greater Des Moines community.

Who knows who will walk through the door after you? Will they march for freedom? Will they sit for civil rights? Will they stand up for justice? With your generous and growing support we’ll keep bending the arc toward a proud future at First Unitarian Church.


Join Us!

Come to services on Sunday, February 5 to hear Rev. Mark Stringer speak about what we have inherited as stewards of First Unitarian and why it matters to us and to our community that we continue to grow our identity as generous stewards.

During services on Sunday, February 12, several members will reflect on the significance of First Unitarian in their lives and why they generously support it. These “testimony” Sundays have historically offered some of the most touching and meaning-filled stories of our congregational life.

Connection Parties will be taking place throughout February and early March to bring us together to talk about the importance of the church in our lives and how we can express that in our annual financial commitment. If you haven't received an invitation to an event from one of our hosts, please contact Hilary Hippen-Leek, hippenleek@gmail.com. She'll find a date that works for you.

We'll wrap up on Sunday, March 12, with a celebration of our church and your generosity!


Decisions, decisions, decisions … how much should I pledge?

It can be hard to put a value on membership. Is it a percentage of your annual income or of your overall annual giving? Or maybe it’s simply an amount that makes you feel good about your commitment to our church.

Here are questions to ask yourself as you think about the role of the church in your life and your family’s life and prepare to make your 2017-18 annual pledge:

  1. What role does our church play in helping you live out your values and beliefs?
  2. How important is our Religious Education program for you and your children?
  3. How important is it for you that Des Moines has a Unitarian Universalist congregation to welcome religious liberals into a like-minded community?

First Unitarian Church offers you support for what you believe, value and love. Now is the time to support our church today as generously as you can and pay it forward to ensure our legacy thrives for many years to come.


Why I Give

Heidi and Todd Lackmann

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Our reason for supporting First Unitarian is that this church provides a space where it is okay to question established dogma and where questions are respected. Our principle of inherent worth and dignity is one that must be nurtured; we are privileged to belong to this community which draws upon different faith traditions to create an exchange of ideas. We value this community where people can explore and appreciate what makes each person unique.

We’ve thought of pledging as compared to a coffee a day $5 x 30 = $150 a month, or like a gym membership, but $30, $60, $90 or even $120 a month doesn't come close to the impact we want to support at church. So instead, we think of our pledge as a car payment – a more significant amount we choose to give because we want to enable the programming that drives ourselves and our community forward.[/read]

Linda Krypel

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When I was a child, my dad had a saying that he would use when I would complain about why something wasn’t being done about my latest community concern: “Put your money where your mouth is.” At the time I learned that my dad meant I had to participate actively in matters that concerned me. Later as a wage earner, I learned that my money was not only helpful but also very necessary even when I did participate. It has taken me almost 50 years to find a church community that is dedicated to improving others lives and not just my own. I feel it is critical that I generously support our church financially in order to keep it viable so together we can do the most good for those less fortunate than us.[/read]

David Proudfit

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Since I first visited First Unitarian Church during the summer of 2004, I have seen dramatic changes in many areas. There have been numerous improvements to the building and grounds. There has been a significant increase in the level of staffing. Wednesday evening programming has been added. The Religious Education offerings have been expanded. A second minister was added with a specific emphasis on social justice. The music program has been expanded with the addition of a bell choir. The hospitality process has been improved upon significantly. The communications and social media programs have been upgraded. The membership process has been improved. These are just a few of the changes that come to mind. These improvements would not have been possible without the generous financial support of our members and friends.

As a result of recent state and federal elections, I fear that the principles and values that we Unitarian Universalists hold so dearly may come under assault during the next several years. I am concerned about marriage equality and other LGBTQ issues. I am concerned about environmental issues. I am concerned about women’s reproductive rights. I am concerned about voter suppression. I am concerned about immigrant and minority rights. I am concerned about all aspects of the social safety net. Now, more than ever, Des Moines needs a strong and vibrant First Unitarian Church standing on the side of love and justice. These are a few of the reasons I will be increasing my financial pledge in the upcoming pledge drive. It is the least I can do.[/read]

Elaine Imlau

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When I think of the many hours per week that First Unitarian staff, programming and opportunities feed my soul and enrich my life and that of others, I have no hesitation in contributing financially to keep it going.[/read]

Steve and Becky Evans

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We believe that our constant and growing financial commitment to the annual church pledge drive is a solid investment that has very visible, positive outcomes inside and outside our church community. While we also are dedicated to offering our time and skills whenever possible, but it is our sustained financial support that allows the church to provide its greatest impact.

Our revised Ends Statements encourage our members to generously share our time, talent and treasure. While all of these things are important, we believe that providing a reliable source of income allows the church to focus on providing excellent programming and support to our members and to our social justice partners.[/read]

Kathy Jorgensen

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Chris and I are committed to ensuring First Unitarian is a thriving, safe, comfortable, nonjudgmental, nurturing, and welcoming place for all who seek a home like ours. It is so very important to us that our friends, neighbors, co-workers – anyone – in search of a church home like First Unitarian will find it this way when they arrive here. For this to happen, we have grown to understand, and have experienced over time, that it takes more than just volunteer hours to do this, it takes strong financial support, which we are proud and grateful to provide so this community can remain active and healthy.

Chris and I will continue to gladly support this church financially and generously. Even during times when we are financially strapped, we continue to give as much as we can because this is our home and because we want this to be a home to others who seek a place like this.[/read]


How we use your financial support