In January and February, First Unitarian Church is partnering with Iowa Justice For Our Neighbors (IJFON). JFON is a faith driven ministry, established by the United Methodist Committee on Relief in 1999 to service new immigrants with free legal counsel. Iowa JFON has been serving clients in our communities for the past 17 years at five locations across Iowa – Cedar Rapids, Des Moines, Ottumwa, Columbus Junction, and Storm Lake. They provide free immigration legal counsel, education and advocacy to low-income refugees and immigrants. In 2015, three attorneys with Iowa Justice for Our Neighbors provided immigration services to people from 51 different countries, handling a total of 1,320 cases; in 2016, that number increased to 1,640. In 2015 and 2016, additional attention has been given to cases of unaccompanied minors. JFON estimated that there were approximately 400 children that might be in need of services in 2014, and that number has increased.  Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, is an important legal service and early intervention is required to prevent inappropriate returns to their home countries.

In Des Moines, legal clinics are held on the 4th Monday evening, 10 months of the year, at Grace Methodist Church. UUs have been volunteering at the clinic for over 3 years, and currently, 4 UUs are providing a light sandwich meal at 5pm for the other volunteers who assist clients with filling out intake forms starting at 5:30, which the attorneys will use to provide advice and counsel to clients. Learn more at:

Sign Up to Help!

Living out our principles – the inherent worth and dignity or every person; justice, equity and compassion; and a goal of world community with peace, liberty and justice for all —  consider joining this small volunteer opportunity January 23 or February 27.  Three of you will work with Ellen Taylor to bring food and prepare the lite meal, while 3-4 others will come at 5pm to eat and then work with other volunteers who would be completing client forms with the families members who have appointments that evening.

Monday, January 23, 5 pm @ Grace Methodist Church

Monday , February 27, 5 pm @ Grace Methodist Church

* First Unitarian Outreach Partners receive 50% of the collections in the service offertory basket for 2 months. A minimum of two opportunities to be involved in the organization’s work are offered during the same 2 month time period. To learn more about the Outreach Partner program, including how to apply, go to