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/revamypshawand 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

Resuming in August.

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: 9:00 am – 2:00 pm
Thursday: 1:00 – 5:00 pm
Friday: 8:30 am – 1:00 pm


Lyra Halsten, Membership Coordinator

Lyra (she/her/hers) oversees the welcoming of visitors and guests, and connecting them to areas of church life that match their interests. Lyra is also responsible for new member classes and membership ceremonies, as well as gathering feedback from new members and others. She is also the staff liaison for affinity groups.

515-244-8603 Ext. 103  •  membership@ucdsm.org

Office Hours

Tuesday – Thursday: 11:00 am – 4:00 pm

Administrative Staff

Charles Lewis, Director of Finance and Administration

Charlie (he/him/his) joined the staff in February of 2018. He previously served Eliot Unitarian Chapel in Kirkwood, Missouri for more than nine years. He is a member and board member of the Association of Unitarian Universalist Administrators. As the DFA, he is responsible for all aspects of the church’s administration, and supervises the administrative staff.

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

Office Hours

Monday – Friday 11:00 am – 7:00 pm CT (available by phone or email)
Wednesday: 6:00 – 7:00 pm CT via Zoom

Kerrie Lee, Communications Coordinator

Kerrie (she/her/hers) joined the staff in July of 2019. She is responsible for the Intercom Weekly email, web site updates, social media posts, updating the UCDSM app, maintaining our YouTube channel, and creating various print communication pieces for the church.

515-244-8603 Ext. 108  •  communications@ucdsm.org

Office Hours

By appointment only

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.