Rev. Jennifer Brooks

Beginning Again

  Click Here for Video (You Tube) In Rev. Jennifer's final Sunday as Interim Senior Minister, the ending is in fact a beginning—yet another beginning, as is the way of life. Rev. Jennifer reflects on the life lessons she'll be taking with her from her time among us. After the service, we'll celebrate our journey together with a special farewell (which will include cake).

The Beauty of Resilience

Click Here for Video. (You Tube) Resilience is the ability to adapt in the face of adversity. Beginning with the studies of "adverse childhood experiences" in the mid-1990s, Center for Disease Control has been able to link the number of childhood traumas a person experiences to serious health problems during adulthood. Although one response has been preventative interventions with children at risk, there's also been a marvelous and heartening discovery: even as adults, people can become resilient and heal from childhood trauma, especially if they have the encouragement of a supportive faith community. The we explore today is how to become a "Resilience-Engaged, Aware & Loving" (REAL) community. As the researchers put it, "The relationship is the healing intervention."

The Beauty of Community

  Click Here for Video (You Tube) In this service that precedes our annual congregational meeting, we celebrate the beauty of community. Members here aspire to make our First Unitarian community warm and welcoming and to make a positive difference in the world. To paraphrase the draft mission statement, we're here to inspire spiritual and ethical growth; to prepare ourselves for service within and outside our walls; and (beginning with ourselves) to heal the world. This mission encapsulates the beautiful community we aspire to be. Today we celebrate the ways that as a community we are living into our aspirations—despite, and sometimes because of, the bumps and glitches we experience along the way.

Beginner Mind

  Click here for video (You Tube) This month’s theme of Curiosity invites us to explore life with the mind of a beginner. In this service, we consider how we might greet life with the freshness of beginners—how do we open the doors to our minds and souls? How do we lean out into the new? How do we listen to others with the expectation that we're about to discover something fascinating? Each moment centered in the spirit of "beginner mind" keeps us curious and alert to what we might learn and the ways we might grow.

Awaken to Life


  Click Here for Video (You Tube) Every flower is beautiful and whole unto itself. Today is Easter in the Christian tradition The Easter story features a tomb with the stone rolled away. Less well-known is that the earliest versions of the gospel according to Mark ended the story with the discovery of the empty tomb. Christian or not, what meaning might people of the 21st century take from a story with that ending? Today's service features poetry by Geoffrey Chaucer, T.S. Elliot, Alice Berry, and Langston Hughes; music by the Bell Ave. Ringers; and the UU Flower Communion. Bring in a flower to share—leave with a different one. Children will be in the service at the beginning and for the Flower Communion at the end.

Not a Lightbulb

  Video (You Tube) On this Sunday as we begin the month's theme, Wholeness, let's think about light bulbs. We know how they work: if one burns out, we remove it and insert a new one. Maybe one that's brighter, or dimmer, or more climate-friendly. But it's a simple act of replacement. People are not replaced so readily. To adjust to a new person in a familiar role—whether it's the new manager at work or a prospective new settled Senior Minister—it's important to get to know the whole of that previously unknown human being. What are the bumps in the road ahead? How do we cope?

The Perfect Heart

Service at 9:15 and 11:00 am Celebrant, Birch Spick On this Sunday, the last day in our exploration of the theme Journey, David Witke shares his "Religious Journey" during Our Life Together; the Search Committee reveals the conclusion of their journey in the search for a candidate to be our next settled Senior Minister; and children who participated in the Kids Celebrate! class help tell the Paulo Coelho story, "The Perfect Heart"—about a village that learns what special trait the "perfect" leader really needs. Through story and song, we explore the ways our journey together is one of love and trust. This is a service for all ages. Service for All Ages/ Child Dedication; Note: this is the service from the Sunday we were closed due to snow. Special Music: Small choral group to sing When Jelly Beans are Criminal

Justice Journey

Service at 9:15 and 11:00 am Celebrant, Katie Allen Who are our prophets today? Can we learn to hear marginalized voices as prophetic voices and follow their lead? Yolo Akili says that "for us as a world to end economic inequality, we have to do both the inner work in our hearts, and the outer work in our societies." This service invites us to embark on a justice journey, internal and external, that isn't merely "in support of the margins" but is "because of the margins." Special Music: Bell Ave. Ringers

It’s All About the Journey

Service at 9:15 and 11:00 am The youth of First Unitarian share their perspectives on the journey through high school and into the rest of their lives. In this service, they anticipate all that life has to offer and the myriad of ways their futures might unfold. "Welcoming" written and performed by Madeline Echternacht

Passport to Our Future

Service at 9:15 and 11:00 am Stewardship Celebration Sunday Today we celebrate 142 years of the First Unitarian Church of Des Moines and the bright future ahead. At this moment, First Unitarian is poised between our proud history and the heritage we are now creating for future generations. In this month when our theme is Journey, we hold the passport in our hands. UU Singers - Bridge Builder by E. Daly and In Meeting We Are Blessed , Music by Troy Robertson, Words by R. Gatsnahos and Donne