July 2018

Dear Families,

Well… what a year.  We are truly feeling the effects of the nationwide trend of “Death of Sunday School.”    You can read more about that here, in the article “The Death of Sunday School and the Future of Faith Formation” by Kimberley Sweeney.


While we know that Sunday morning class attendance has declined, we also know that there is still a need for age specific programming for our children and youth on some, but maybe not all (like in the past) Sundays in our churches.   Author Kimberley Sweeney states, “In a perfect world, churches would offer all three: support families, welcome the entire community into worship, and offer religious education opportunities.” (https://medium.com/@kimberlysweeney/an-open-letter-to-congregations-searching-for-their-next-rockstar-religious-professional-2ea57679e072)

This being said – we are in a transition at First Unitarian!  You have seen it with the addition of a Service for All Ages once a month this past year.  This coming year, I am adding a Sunday of All Ages Children’s Chapel led by myself and a Children’s Chapel Ministry Team.  I am doing this to create a deeper relationship with your children and also to provide the opportunity for our children and youth to know one another across the ages.  I also hope to bring elements and rituals of our Unitarian Universalist faith to our children and youth in a developmentally appropriate and engaging way.

So – we will still be holding classes on two Sundays of the month.  Teaching Teams – I would need a 1 or 2 times per month commitment to teach.  I will also have Assistant Teachers Naomi, Sam and Cale returning as consistent faces for our children to see.

Classes will be:

9:15 am
PreK-Grade 3 Spirit Play
Grade 4-5 Amazing Grace (UUA Tapestry of Faith curricula)
Grade 6-8 Middle School Youth Group – Small Group Ministry

11 am
All Ages Spirit Play

Also- new this year!  Let me know if you would like to be on my once a month Children’s Chapel Ministry Team.

Sunday morning classes to begin on September 16.

More to come on Wednesday night programming!

Sincerely, with gratitude,

Tracy Beck, Director of Religious Education

Adult Faith Formation for 2018-19

The Mission of Adult Faith Formation is to support First Unitarian Church of Des Moines’ current Ends Statements by enabling people of all ages and backgrounds to develop and express their unique physical, emotional, intellectual and spiritual lives. Adult Faith Formation does this by providing safe, sanctified spaces to explore paths for crossing divisions between people and ideas, putting ideas into action, and encouraging the pursuit of practices which foster respect, affirmation and justice for all people.

As Unitarian Universalists we believe that revelation is continuous and our continued development as a religious people is fostered by our exploration of, and engagement with: theology and spirituality; Unitarian Universalist identity, history and polity; religious traditions; faith in action (social justice); and family enrichment.

Taught by members and friends of the church, Adult Faith Formation courses are designed to engage learners where they are in multiple forms and formats including workshops, short or long term courses, and drop-in discussions. Courses typically meet at the church (although they can meet offsite), and at varying times to meet busy schedules.

Adult Faith Formation Class Proposals for Fall 2018

Due Friday, July 6

Please submit to Tracy Beck at dre@ucdsm.org


The UUA has announced to Common Read for 2018-19!

Justice on Earth: People of Faith Working at the Intersections of Race, Class, and Environment, edited by Manish Mishra-Marzetti and Jennifer Nordstrom (Skinner House Books, 2018) is the 2018-2019 Common Read selection. The book looks at the ways in which the environmental justice, racial justice, and economic justice are intertwined, calling us to recognize that our Unitarian Universalist faith calls us to long-haul work for justice for our human kin, for the Earth and for all life.