Lifelong Learners

First Unitarian offers adults opportunities to grow in knowledge, wisdom, and spirit. Classes range from small group ministry, discussion, book clubs, and social justice movements.
We strive to bring people together as seekers and teachers in a community of learning and provide small groups that foster individual growth and build our social community.
Adult Classes challenge us to learn and grow throughout our lives! Information can also be found in the weekly intercom.
For more information or to enroll in a class, email Devon McClurken at

Meditation & Mindfulness

Awakening Heart Sangha-
Mondays,  7 – 8:30 pm- Online contact for info
Awakening Heart Sangha is a mindfulness practice group in the Plum Village Tradition of Vietnamese Zen teacher Thích Nhất Hạnh, or ‘Thay’. All are welcome on a drop-in basis to this ongoing group. All levels of practice are welcome, regardless of whether you are a new-comer to meditation or have had a meditation practice for a while. Brief meditation instruction will be offered at each meeting as needed for any newcomers. At each meeting, we will check-in, practice 20 minutes of sitting meditation and 10 minutes of walking meditation followed by a short reading and discussion.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, our Sangha is meeting at the regular time by Zoom.  Please email to request a link to the zoom meeting.

Activity Schedule:

  • 1st Monday: Book Reading (a book by Thích Nhất Hạnh or another Dharma teacher)
  • 2nd Monday: Recitation of the Five Mindfulness Trainings
  • 3rd Monday: Book Reading (a book by Thích Nhất Hạnh or another Dharma teacher)
  • 4th Monday: People of Color and Inclusivity Focus with Book Reading
  • 5th Monday: Fourteen Mindfulness Training or alternate program

Facilitator: Debra Rodgers.
Debra has a Master of Divinity degree in Buddhist Chaplaincy and was ordained in 2013 by Thich Nhat Hanh as a lay-practitioner in the Order of Interbeing as True Chrysanthemum Garden.
No registration needed. Drop-ins welcome.

Faith & Theology



Humanism Book Discussion 
1st & 3rd Sundays, on-going, 11 am Zoom – email for link 

We invite UU’s or non-UU’s who are Humanists or wonder if they might be, to explore life issues, philosophy, psychology, and ethics through guided discussions of current writings by well-known authors.

Materials Needed: Group members nominate books and vote to decide which book to read and discuss. You may purchase the book or check it out from public libraries when possible.  Facilitator: Dian Curran

For more information about Humanism and our local group, see: The Humanist Society of Iowa at:

Register here

Everything You Want to Know About the Quran But Were Afraid to Ask

Fridays from 6pm-7:30pm beginning October 16th!

This casual class requires no advance reading or defined homework. It is designed for both people who know little to nothing about Islam and those who know more but may want a refresher.  Rev. Amy will be using online editions of the Quran and commentaries. Please wait to purchase any hard copies until after the first class if you intend to buy physical copies of the Quran and commentaries.

Register here

Wellspring Deep Questions

The Deep Questions program alternates between sessions on the seven UU principles (and the eighth to be voted on at General Assembly 2019) and sessions on the deep questions of our lives, offering a total of nineteen sessions. The homework for each session includes pre-work – usually at least one reading, plus a chapter from one of the books, How, Then, Shall We Live? by Wayne Muller, and/or The Seven Principles in Word and Worship, edited by Ellen Brandenburg. The curriculum alternates between sessions on:
• The seven principles of Unitarian Universalism
• The deep questions of our lives, including human nature,
forgiveness, accountability and our relationship to the planet

1st and the 3rd Wednesdays 9:30-11:30 AM, Starting September 23rd

Register here

Wellspring Faithful Actions

As people who have made the commitment to explore and deepen our spiritual lives in the company of others, Faithful Actions attempts to create a space in which to examine the “so what” more deeply, to consider how each of us puts our own faith into action, without guilt, without obligation, with love, and with the spiritual grounding that gives meaning to our lives and energy to the work we do in the world.

Participants will:
• Explore the many areas in which we can put our faith into
• Commit to offering intentional service over the course of the
• Address questions of burnout, hopelessness, and maintaining
our own spiritual health while trying to repair the brokenness
of the world

2nd and 4th Sundays of the month from 6-8 p.m., starting September 13th

Register here


Social Justice and Community Building

Truth and Post-Truth Book Group

Mondays 6:30 to 8 PM – weekly from October 5th through November 23rd

Our 4th UU Principle is a “Free and Responsible Search for Truth and Meaning”

We will read and discuss Post-Truth by Lee McIntyre. This concise (about 200 pages) book was published in 2018.

Book description (from Amazon) – “Are we living in a post-truth world, where “alternative facts” replace actual facts and feelings have more weight than evidence? How did we get here? In this volume in the MIT Press Essential Knowledge series, Lee McIntyre traces the development of the post-truth phenomenon from science denial through the rise of “fake news,” from our psychological blind spots to the public’s retreat into “information silos”……..

What, exactly, is post-truth? McIntyre argues that we can fight post-truth, and that the first step in fighting post-truth is to understand it.”

How do we live out our 4th principle in a world characterized by “alternate truths”?

Contact: Gene McCraken

Register here


Sage Programs

Sage Bookgroup 
2nd & 4th Tuesdays, 10:30 am Zoom- — email for link

The Saging Book group is starting a new book (see below) on Tuesday, October 13th.  We meet on Zoom from 10:30 to 12:00 the 2nd and 4th Tuesdays of each month.  We will probably take 6-7 sessions to discuss this book.  The group consists of retired people who are looking to share experiences and learn more about ways to enhance the ‘growing older’ experience.  We welcome new participants.  Eventually we will get back to meeting at the church.  Please contact Bob Henderson (515-254-1004 or for more information.

 Mindful Aging: Embracing Your Life After 50 to Find Fulfillment, Purpose, and Joy

by Andrea Brandt    Paperback – September 21, 2017

Don’t let the ominous perception of “aging” – a lack of purpose, feeling irrelevant and under-used, having nothing to do – take control of you and your life.

You have the power to change how you grow older. This book will show you how.

Renowned psychotherapist and aging expert Andrea Brandt, PhD, MFT, helps you throw out the old stereotypes about getting older and move toward the welcoming new evidence that your future is alive with possibility, providing steps to thrive today and into your golden years.

The acclaimed Mindful Aging is full of exercises and tools to help you embrace a new mindset and blaze a new trail in your life fueled by passion, purpose, and creativity. Through research, inspiring stories of real people, and Dr. Brandt’s psychological insight, you’ll be able to claim the immense joy and love that are yours to have, the deep wisdom that is yours to share, and the exciting self-discoveries and contributions that are uniquely yours to make.

Register here

Saging Seminars
On one Thursday a month starting October 10 @ 1:15 pm

Topic vary widely.

Register here

End of LIfe Preferences

Thursdays 2-3:30 PM on 10/8, 10/22, 11/12 and 12/3 

The Conversation Project is a public engagement initiative with a goal to have every person’s wishes for end-of-life care expressed and respected. It is dedicated to helping people talk about their wishes for end-of-life care.  Participants will discuss and then individually complete an outline that will help them share their preferences with their loved ones.

Website –    Contact Gene McCraken

Register here

Writing Your Spiritual Will

Thursdays 2 to 3:30 PM on 10/1, 10/15, 11/5 and 11/19

This four-part series will be based on the appendix of the book In Later Years by Bruce T Marshall. This book was used last year in the Saging and Aging book group.

Most of us have I will not many have a spiritual will. A spiritual is similar to a regular will in the that it passes assets on to the next generation but while a typical will is concerned with material assets, a spiritual will offers an account of our values what we have lived for, what has mattered to us – the wisdom we have accumulated through years of living we are offering ring a class to help participants create their spiritual will.

Contact: Gene McCraken

Register here

Covenant of UU Pagans (CUUPS)

Pagan Book Club: The Book of Hedge Druidry by Joanna van der Hoeven  

Monday starting in November

From Amazon: “The Book of Hedge Druidry is for those who feel called to explore a powerful earth-based spirituality rooted in Celtic lore. With hands-on practices as well as fascinating perspectives on what it means to be a Druid, this book walks you through the magic of the liminal realm and helps you fill your own cauldron of inspiration.”

We will discuss chapters of this book in each session of the class. If you would like to participate, please acquire this book and read the first three chapters by the date of the first class (Chapter 1 is “The Druids” Chapter 2 is “The Awen” Chapter 3 is “The Gods”). This is available on Kindle as well as paperback and audiobook.

This event will continue every Monday in November, for a total of 5 sessions. The last session will be on Nov. 30th.

Register here

Pagan Social Chat 

Monday night August 3rd and continuing until October 26th 7PM on Zoom