Our Staff

The people who support our congregation’s work and worship carry out our Seven UU Principles every day as they serve our members and support the programs we value. Get to know them!


Rev. Amy Petrie Shaw, Senior Minister

Rev. Amy Petrie Shaw (they/them/their) was called to First Unitarian Church of Des Moines as Senior Minister in August 2019. Rev. Shaw has previously served congregations in Cincinnati, Ohio, and Hartland, Wisconsin, and is currently also a Dedicated Continental Good Officer (conflict mediation specialist) serving trans UU religious professionals. Rev. Shaw assists the many ministries of the congregation to find ways to live into their mission and vision, and is responsible for staff structure and oversight.

Rev.  Shaw welcomes pastoral conversations with members and friends of our church. The minister may counsel with someone on a short-term basis (three sessions), and, depending on the nature of your concern, may refer you to our Caring Ministry Team, someone on our Pastoral Care Team, or to an outside professional.

When else might you want to schedule a chat?

  • When you don’t know your minister, but would like to…
  • When you’d like to invite a friend to church, but you’re not sure how to go about it…
  • When you are unhappy about or delighted with First Unitarian…
  • When you are experiencing a religious struggle or have religious questions…
  • When you want to have your child dedicated…

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.

NEW! If you need to make an appointment with Rev. Amy, now you can go to https://calendly.com/revamypshaw and select an open time and date that works for you. You can schedule from 15 to 90 minutes using this link. If you need more than 90 minutes, please email Rev. Amy directly. You can still always call or email directly to schedule any appointment.

515-244-8603 Ext. 102  •  revamy@ucdsm.org

Office Hours

Sunday: Service 9:30-10:30, 11am-2pm by appointment
Monday: Sabbath
Tuesday: 11am-5pm
Wednesday: 11am-1pm and 3pm to 5pm (1-3pm slot is available for drop-in visits)
Thursday: 11am-5pm
Friday: Writing Day
Saturday: By appointment

Faith Formation

Devon McClurken, Director of Faith Formation

Devon (she/her/hers)  joined the staff in April 2018 as both the RE Assistant and High School Youth Coordinator. Devon became Director of Faith Formation in September of 2019 and oversees children and family ministries, as well as religious education programming for preschool to adults at First Unitarian Church of Des Moines. This includes a Coming of Age program for middle school youth, Our Whole Lives for upper elementary and middle school youth, high school youth group, and adult religious education programming.

515-244-8603 Ext. 104 • dff@ucdsm.org

Office Hours

Tuesday: 1:00 – 5:00 pm
Wednesday: 11:00 am – 5:30 pm
Thursday: 1:00 – 5:00 pm
Friday: 9:00 am – 1:30 pm

Administrative Staff

Alice J. Stewart, Director of Finance and Administration

First Unitarian Church of Des Moines is proud to welcome Alice Stewart, our new Director of Finance and Administration. Alice has a master’s degree in anthropology (focus in religion, expertise in linguistics and biology). She served in the Peace Corps in Cape Verde, West Africa before returning to the US where she got her MBA. She’s served the Church in many roles for over 20 years, most often leading the business office. She’s a Certified Project Manager, consultant, and creative writer. Her fiction focuses on creative communities and collaborative leadership. Her academic work involves semiotics, sacred sites, and offering practices.

515-244-8603 Ext. 101  •  director@ucdsm.org

Office Hours:

Mondays: by appointment
Tuesdays – Thursdays: 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Fridays: by appointment

Emily Petty, Communications Coordinator

Emily (she/her/hers) joined the staff on November 9, 2021. Emily is a Southwestern Iowa native who has a love for communication with people and animals alike. She moved to W. Des Moines in May 2017 after graduating from Iowa State University with a degree in Communications Studies. Emily’s  previous work focused on teaching and website design in addition to data analytics and interdepartmental communication/collaboration.

She is responsible for:

  • Coordinating our internal and external communications and marketing strategy
  • Working with the Communications Team and Senior Minister to develop external marketing strategies
  • Creating the weekly Intercom newsletter
  • Maintaining our website
  • Providing internal communication for church members
  • Updating our UCDSM app
  • Working with the Social Media & Executive Support Specialist (SMESS) position to ensure that all marketing and communication accurately reflects our church

(515) 244-8603 ext. 103 •  communications@ucdsm.org

32 hours/week
Office Hours :

Off Mondays

Tuesday-Friday, Sunday: by appointment

Hannah Notch, Social Media & Executive Support Specialist (SMESS)

Hannah Notch (she/her/hers) officially joined us on November 2, 2021 after filling in at the front desk for a month. Growing up through the Unitarian Church has been a significant part in her journey towards enjoying spirituality and leading her life with love and kindness. She has a huge passion for kids and finds purpose in teaching them and helping them feel understood. Hannah is currently pursing a degree in Sociology. In her free time, Hannah enjoys spending time with family most of all, and is glad to have that opportunity more frequently following the COVID-19 vaccination. Her favorite thing about her job is getting to be the first face of the church and meet all of the new people.

Hannah is responsible for:

  • Handling the front desk office duties and maintaining the main office
  • Receiving packages from vendors
  • Scheduling events on the church calendar and room reservations
  • Making sure mail gets to the appropriate staff member or volunteer
  • Scheduling and Coordinating the Childcare staff
  • Providing the church with a weekly scheduled social media presence
  • Handling Sunday Tech needs
  • Creating YouTube videos and podcasts as directed
  • Working with the Communications Coordinator and Communications Team to make sure everyone knows what is going on!

515-244-8603 Ext. 107  •  hnotch@ucdsm.org

Office Hours:  32 hours/week

Tuesday – Friday:    1:00 pm – 5:00 pm
Sunday:    tech assistance during service

Karen Kraemer, Choir Director

Karen (she/her/hers) is the director of our UU Singers and the founding director of the Bell Ave Ringers. Having spent her youth and adult life singing in church and community choirs, Karen returned to college as a “life-long learner” and received a BA degree in music. In addition, Karen is a part-time audiologist, tennis enthusiast, and avid music composer.

Contact Karen at choir@ucdsm.org

Bruce Martin, Pianist

Bruce (he/him/his) serves as our accompanist for services and our adult choir. His musical versatility surprises and delights all, whether he is accompanying congregational singing, joining in concert with frequent guest musical performers on stage, or in his virtuoso solo performances.

Barb Martin, Special Music Coordinator

Barb (she/her/hers) plans and coordinates special music for church services. If you would like to offer your musical talents, please contact her at specialmusic@ucdsm.org.