Adult Programs

Around the World in 11 Faiths: A Comparative Religion Overview

Who: All

Leader: Amy Petrie Shaw

Meets: Fridays beginning September 10, 2021; 6:00 p.m. CT

Where: Zoom

This class will review a group of religious beliefs and practices possibly less familiar to Unitarian Universalists: Mormonism, Baha’i, Sikhism, Jainism, Rastafari, Santeria/Vu du, Modern Church of Satan, Christian Science, Zoroastrianism, Shinto, and the Unification Church.

Come and join Rev. Amy Petrie Shaw and have fun learning about some areas of religion you may never have explored. A book list will be provided for those who want to do more reading on any given faith.

End of Life Planning Workshop

Who: All. The workshop is designed to support individuals, and their loved ones and caregivers, in preparing for a conscious end-of-life experience.

Leader: Hilary Hippen-Leek

When: September 30; 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. CT

Meets: Church or Zoom (if absolutely necessary)

What Are Your End-of-Life Wishes? This two-hour facilitated workshop will support the process of starting end-of-life discussions and preparations. Participants will learn about end-of-life options and resources, reflect on the meaning of the dying process, share stories, and consider their own end-of-life wishes. The workshop will focus on emotional, spiritual, and informational support; legal and medical topics will not be addressed. The workshop will be facilitated by First Unitarian Church member, Hilary Hippen-Leek. Hilary is a life-long student of death, end-of-life care practices, and funeral and memorial customs. Hilary spent her pandemic quarantine earning her End-of-Life Doula Professional Certificate through the University of Vermont’s Larner College of Medicine. She is currently pursuing further training as an end-of-life coach. Hilary is passionate about helping others feel empowered and well-supported during their times of need, especially at the end of life.

The softer issues at the end of life are often overlooked in traditional estate and death plans and documents. Preparing for a conscious end-of-life experience and clearly communicating wishes will bring you peace of mind and be a generous gift to your loved ones.

Soul Matters

Who: All

Meets: Once a month via Zoom, days and times vary – Registration is required (below)

Contact: Devon McClurken, Director of Faith Formation,

Soul Matters is a way of engaging our monthly themes through deep listening and open-hearted sharing. Groups of 8-10 committed participants come together once a month with a trained leader to nurture spiritual growth in the community. We do this by listening in three distinct ways:

  • First, we listen to each other. Listening is a gift not often offered in our culture. Most of the time, we are “talked at” rather than listened to. Being listened to by trusted companions helps us hear our own voice again. And more than that, it gives our story back.
  • Second, we listen to our lives. This is not easy to do. Directly or indirectly, we are taught to see life as a challenge not a companion. The goal is to conquer it, not listen to it. Soul Matters invites us to take another look and dance with life in a new way. Through spiritual practices and questions focused on our daily living, we engage the world, not as an obstacle course to get through, but as a host of voices calling us to greater loving and living.
  • Finally, we listen to our deepest selves. Introspective questions guide us in this work, but ironically, it’s the people and space around us that helps us go inward. We hear that “still, small voice inside” best when voices of friends speak in a disciplined way.

Together, these sacred practices of listening — to each other, the world, and our deepest selves — adds up to a more intentional and authentic life. It’s a journey back to connection, and ultimately a journey back home.

How it works

At the beginning of each month, participants will receive a packet of materials based upon the month’s theme. From these materials, each participant chooses one spiritual exercise and a deep question to sit with for the course of the month. At the end of the month, participants will gather with their group to share their experiences of the spiritual exercise, of contemplating their question, and to reflect on the theme.

Soul Matters Themes

September: Possibility
October: Relationship
November: History
December: Joy
January: Intention
February: Widening the Circle
March: Faith
April: Awakening
May: Beauty
June: Blessings

Soul Matters Registration

* indicated required field

Please choose your first and second choice for meeting time:

Tai Chi

Who: All

Meets: Mondays and Thursdays beginning October 14 – November 22; 10:00 – 11:00 a.m. CT

Where: Griffin Hall

Cost: $20 (paid to instructor)

Tai chi is an ancient form of exercise developed by families in China and passed through the generations. Tai chi is referred to as ‘moving meditation’. Research shows it may reduce stress, improve the immune response, balance, and overall health. Tai chi promotes the principles of meditative breathing, posture, controlled weight shift, and gentle resistance through slow circular movements.

This course will focus Tai Chi for Arthritis and Fall Prevention developed by Dr. Paul Lam. The form is shortened to ease learning and utilizes smaller movements for safety of the joints and improving balance control. The form will be introduced in small sections with numerous repetitions to allow the learner time to integrate the movements and principles.

Lead by: Kathy Mercuris PT, DHS, Associate Professor Emeritus, taught in the Program of Physical Therapy at Des Moines University for over 30 years. She was also employed at Younker Memorial Rehabilitation Center for 10 years providing patient care to those with neurologic deficits. She was certified in tai chi and teaching community classes since 2013.

Talking Across the Line

Who: All

Leader: Rev. Amy Petrie Shaw

Meets: October 13; 12:00 p.m. CT

Where: Zoom

How to have discussions with family/close friends with whom you disagree on topics of politics, diversity, justice. The current political climate has placed many family members at odds, divided families, and created broken relationships. This seminar will give you the tools to reach across the divide.

UU and You

This class is for those who want to learn more about us or are considering becoming a member. See further details at UU and You Class.

“Widening the Circle of Concern” Study Guide Class

Who: All

Leader: Rev. Amy Petrie Shaw

Meets: 1st and 3rd Tuesdays beginning October 5, 2021; 7:00 – 8:30 p.m. CT

Where: Zoom (Link will be sent to registrants.)

To Register: Please email Rev. Shaw, to sign up by September 26.

Last year we did a whole church read of “Widening the Circle of Concern.” This year, Rev. Amy Petrie Shaw will lead an 11-12 session class based on the UUA’s “Widening the Circle of Concern” Study Guide. The study guide is available for download here: Widening the Circle of Concern Study Guide pdf or online here: . This thought-provoking class explores welcome and inclusion and the systemic barriers to that welcome and inclusion. Come and explore the ideas presented and offer your own ideas about what our congregation is doing well, and where we have opportunities to grow! Please sign up by emailing Rev. Amy at

This is an 11-12 session class that will continue through January 2022. There will be no class in February, but class will meet either once or twice in April to wrap up the course.

We need to have eight to ten people participating for this class to be offered so please sign up by September 26. Class will be on Zoom until we are fully back in the building.

Widening the Circle: Inclusion and Welcome Praxis or “How we do things”

Who: All (New students may join at any time!)

Leader: Rev. Amy Petrie Shaw

Meets: 2nd and 4th Tuesdays beginning October 12, 2021; 7:00 – 8:30 p.m. CT

Where: Zoom (Link will be sent to registrants.)

To Register: Please email Rev. Shaw, to sign up by September 26.

What is “praxis” and why would we want to do it? Great question! Praxis is “our practice in the world,” or “the way we really do things.” Each week, we will be talking about our own church and how we do things in 11 different areas of church life, looking for barriers to inclusion and welcome and proposing real changes if needed. “Welcome” for who? Well, anyone. Everyone. People with disabilities. Young people. Elderly people. Hispanic people. Black people. Queer people. Straight people. Whoever. Help to find and fix the places where we fall short of our values.

This is an 11-12 session group. You do not need to come to “Widening the Circle” Study Guide class to attend this! This group will continue through January 2022. There will be no group in February, but the group will meet either once or twice in April to wrap up discussion.

We need to have eight to ten people participating for this discussion group to be offered so please sign up by September 26. Class will be primarily on Zoom until we are fully back in the building but will have some multi-platform meetings.

Affinity Groups

Please see our Affinity Groups for more adult programming.