First Unitarian Staff

Church office phone: (515) 244-8603

  • Rev. Jennifer Brooks

    Interim Senior Minister

    Ext. 102  •  >> Rev. Brooks joined the staff in August 2017 as the Interim Senior Minister and will be serving First Unitarian Church of Des Moines for a 2-year transition period before we call our next senior minister. Committed to transition ministry, she is an Accredited Interim Minister (AIM); a member of the interfaith Interim Ministry Network; and she serves on the three-member Steering Committee of the UUA’s Interim Ministry Guild, which is the professional organization for UU ministers committed to intentional, focused, attentive transitional ministry.

  • Rev. Erin Gingrich

    Associate Minister of Social Justice

    Ext. 121  •  >> Rev. Gingrich began serving full-time in this ministry position in August of 2014. She organizes, nurtures, and focuses our ministries of justice within and outside of the church, including the Social Justice Council and related church initiatives, and AMOS (interfaith community organizing). She also assists with Soul Matters and religious services. Erin is a graduate of Meadville Lombard Theological School in Chicago.

  • Tracy Beck

    Director of Religious Education

    Ext. 104  •  >> Tracy Beck has served as the full-time Director of Religious Education since 2009 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, including Wellspring and Soul Matters.

  • Megan Irey

    RE Assistant

    Ext. 119  •  >> As a 20 hours/week Religious Education Assistant, Megan supports the Director of Religious Education and RE volunteers by maintaining records, scheduling and communicating with volunteers, assembling lessons, and maintaining classrooms and supplies.

  • Dana Stuehling

    Youth Coordinator  >> After several years as a volunteer youth adviser and high school OWL facilitator, Dana joined the staff in June 2017 as a 8 hours/week Youth Coordinator for the Young Religious Unitarian Universalist (YRUU) – also known as the high school youth group.

  • Laura Berardi

    Membership Coordinator

    Ext. 103  •  >> As Membership Coordinator for 20 hours/week, Laura oversees the welcoming of visitors and guests, connecting them to areas of church life that match their interests. Laura 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.

  • Amanda DuBose

    Child Care Coordinator >> As a 9 hours/week Child Care Coordinator, Amanda facilitates requests for child care needs at our church and coordinates our child care staff to fill those needs. Amanda joined the staff in June 2017.

  • Terry Lambert

    Caring Ministrty Coordinator

    (515) 657-7672  •  >> Terry joined the church staff as Caring Ministry Coordinator in 2013. She oversees and coordinates systems by which the pastoral needs of members who ask for help can be met. Terry’s position is 10 hours/week.

  • Karen Kraemer

    Choir Director

    Karen has a long history of music leadership in this congregation (including as director of the Bell Ave. Chimes, the Channing Chimes, and the Flames Youth Choir). Karen served as our Interim Choir Director from February – September 2016, when the position was made permanent. Karen leads the UU Adult Choir and Bell Ave. Chimes.

  • Bruce Martin


    A member of the church since 1969, Bruce began as the church pianist, playing for services, in 2000.

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  • Barb Martin

    Special Music Coordinator  >> Barb joined the staff in June 2017 as the Special Music Coordinator to plan and coordinate special music for church services. The Special Music Coordinator position is approximately 2 hours/week.

  • Deborah Dessert, CPA

    Director of FInance & Administration

    Ext. 101  •  >> Deb joined the staff of First Unitarian in January 2009 in this 37 hours/week position. The DFA is a member of the Management Team and serves as a staff support to the Board of Trustees, the Board’s Financial Oversight Committee, the Endowment Fund Committee, the Annual Stewardship Drive Committee, and the Grounds Council. Deb serves as the Chief Operating Officer with the primary portfolio of accounting, budgeting and finance, building and grounds, human resources, communications, technology, and office operations.

  • Jane White

    Office Assistant

    Ext. 107  •  >> Jane joined the First Unitarian staff in November of 2010 in this 16 hours/week position. Jane is responsible for space/calendar reservations, the Order of Service, entering information in the data base and preparing mailings.

  • Abby Chungath

    Communications Coordinator

    Ext. 117  •  >> Abby joined the staff in May of 2011. She is responsible for the Intercom Weekly email, web site updates, posting the service video and audio podcasts, social media posts, creating the Annual Report and bi-annual Programming brochures, as well as various other print communication pieces for the church. The Communication Coordinator position is 14 hours/week.

  • Connie Price


    Ext. 106  •  >> Connie joined the staff of First Unitarian in December 2006. Connie’s responsibilities include maintaining records of pledges and contributions, deposits, payroll, and accounts payable as well as many reporting functions related to these areas. Connie’s position is currently 14 hours/week.

  • Sandy Thompson


    As seasonal groundskeeper for 8 hours/week from April through November, Sandy is responsible for maintaining the landscaped areas as well as general upkeep of the church grounds.