A Unitarian Universalist Church | 1800 Bell Ave. Des Moines, IA 50315 | P: 515-244-8603
This Sunday, August 7, 2022
9:30 a.m. in the Auditorium & via Zoom
Atomic Habits
with Denise Rathman
Author of Atomic Habits, James Clear, believes that having a clear identity is the first and most important step to being the person you want to be. At this time of exploration, could using Atomic Habits help us clarify and support our congregation’s identity – helping us to actually BE the faith community that we want to be?

Zoom Passcode: Safford
(Please mute your mic before the service begins!)
No Forum

Forums are over for the 2021-2022 church year. Please join us this autumn when we resume our regularly scheduled programming!
Joys & Concerns
Joys & Concerns for Sunday should be submitted by noon on Friday.
Click on the Caring Community webpage for the following options:

  • Caring Ministry – for temporary assistance, such as meals or rides, or to volunteer 
  • Please note: the Caring Ministry phone number is now
  • 515-244-8603 ext. 108
  • Pastoral Care – for support through a difficult time 
Pastoral Care: August 7 – 13
Ann Mowery is the Pastoral Care Associate available for the week beginning at
10:30 a.m. this Sunday. Email pastoralcareteam@ucdsm.org for assistance or call the Associate's telephone number in the church directory.
Bob Glass

Long-time member and friend Bob Glass died peacefully at home Tuesday with his wife, Barb, at his side after struggling with Trigeminal Neuralgia. A service celebrating his life will be held on Saturday, September 11, at 2 p.m. at the church.

Please contact Pastoral Care for information on where to send cards and condolences.
Celebrating Nicky Keller
A service to celebrate the life of Nicole Keller will take place at church on September 17, 2022 at 10:00 a.m. Nicky was a long-time, beloved member and leader in our congregation who died of COVID in December 2020. Nicky’s family is working with church volunteers to plan the celebration, and more information will be shared closer to the service date.
A Word from Rev. Victoria Safford
Dear Friends,
I am honored to be serving with you this year at First Unitarian Church in Des Moines!
Guided by good companions from the Unitarian Universalist Association, your church leaders have coined a new term, “Transitional Contract Minister,” to describe the unique role I’ll fill from now through June 30, 2023. My work with you will be full-time, and that time will be divided between in-person presence in Des Moines and ministry with you from my home in St. Paul, Mn. I’m grateful for the technology that we’ve all learned can help us work together, and even “be” together even when we’re physically apart (and I’ll look for your patience and good humor as I continue to learn to use that technology gracefully!). On the church website, under “Ministerial Transitions,” you’ll find the calendar showing when I’ll be here in Des Moines and when I’ll be working from St. Paul. Either way, I hope you’ll reach out and schedule a time to connect in person, by phone, or on Zoom, just to say “hello,” or for a more in-depth conversation about pastoral concerns that weigh on your heart right now, or spiritual needs, or congregational life. I’m only here for a year, but I really want to get to know you, and to help as I can.
As the fall opens, we’re planning to continue “multi-platform” Sunday services held in-person in the church building and simultaneously streamed on Zoom. Your Board and church staff will keep watching Covid trends to keep everyone as safe as possible and make changes as needed through the year. For now, I’ll be preaching and leading some services in person, and on other Sundays the sermon will Zoomed in to the live service. You’ll find the fall schedule on my ministry calendar. 
This Transitional Ministry will be different from ministries both you and I have known before. Normally, a new minister is preparing deep soil for long-term relationships and programs that evolve over time and endure. My work this year is different: to help you and your elected leaders prepare for your church’s bright future, sometimes by telling the stories of your recent past – grieving losses, healing hurt, celebrating milestones and achievements – and also by dreaming together of what’s possible, and needed now, as you move forward. Where normally I’d be leading classes and groups, building strong ties with justice partners in the wider community, and working closely with committees, in this interim year I’ll be attending more to thresholds. I’ll work with your leaders to strengthen the best practices of good governance and healthy policy, and constantly be asking you all to imagine what’s next for your beloved church community.  We’re learning as we go, you and I, and I’m excited to begin.
My work with UCDSM begins on August 17. I’ll be working at first from St. Paul, until my next Iowa visits (Sept. 1-5 and Sept. 8-12). Until August 17, please reach out to church president Reba Eagles with questions or concerns. In a future Intercom, we’ll list my email and phone number, both of which “go live” on August 17.
I’ve known for many years that UCDSM is known within the UUA and beyond as a strong, brave, steady beacon, shining the light of hope and the power of love, not only in our current, turbulent times but for more than a century. Amidst so many changes now, this is what will not change: your call as individuals and as a congregation to grow, not bigger necessarily, but deeper, in faith, in love, in hope. Together with your elected leaders and your amazing staff (Hannah, Emily, Alice, Bruce, Barb, Karen – a dream team, for sure), and with each of you, all of you, I’m ready to begin this year.
In gratitude,
Staffing Update
from Rev. Victoria Safford
Together with your Human Resources Committee, I’m delighted to announce that two new half-time positions, posted in July, have been filled: Membership Coordinator and Faith Formation Coordinator. The positions were posted in July and we’re pleased to offer a combined, full-time position to Birch Spick, who applied for both.  A graduate of Iowa State University, Birch has worked most recently as a housing counselor in Des Moines. 

Many of you know Birch through their service here at UCDSM as a worship celebrant and leader, and Coming of Age Mentor. Birch will work closely with the Congregational Life (Membership) Committee and with UCDSM’s strong corps of RE volunteers. To join the staff team in this new role and serve effectively, Birch will relinquish formal membership in the congregation, carrying forward a deep commitment to the thriving of this vibrant, multi-age community. Birch will begin this work on August 22.
The Saga of Replacing the Church Lift
When you run into Al Powers, give this man a “high five” for extraordinary patience, persistence and diligence on securing a replacement lift for our church. The story so far (we are not done yet) is indeed a saga! Click here for the details!
UU Women’s Lunch August 9
From Barb Royal
All UU (and UU-interested) women are welcome to join the monthly gathering of the UU Women’s Lunch Bunch (2nd Tuesday of every month at 11:30 a.m.)

There’s always good food and lively conversation.     

Please be sure to RSVP by the Saturday morning before the luncheon if you plan to attend: womenslunch@ucdsm.org     

When:  Tuesday, August 9, 2022: 11:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.    

Where: Urban Cellar, 640 S 50th St., WDM
Humanist Update
from the First Unitarian Humanists
The Humanist book group will meet this Sunday, August 7, at 11:00 a.m. at the church. We are continuing to read Sapiens, A Brief History of Humankind by Yuval Noah Harari. We will cover chapter 16 this Sunday, with chapter 17 on August 21. Everyone is invited, either in person or via Zoom.
Submissions to the Intercom Weekly are due on Wednesday at 12 noon. Submissions after the deadline cannot be guaranteed a spot in that week's newsletter.
 For a full list of upcoming meetings and events, please visit our church calendar.
Mark Your Calendar Now For the Next mUUvie Night!
from the mUUvie Crew
Sunday, August 14, at 7:30pm 

First Unitarian Church - Griffin Hall/Gathering Space

RSVP to muuvie@ucdsm.org so we can gauge the number of attendees and send you a reminder message!

August 14 - Hunt for the Wilderpeople - This award-winning New Zealand comedy features Ricky, a defiant young city kid who finds himself on the run with his cantankerous foster uncle in the bush. A national manhunt ensues, and the two are forced to put aside their differences and work together.

These are films that include public performance rights on Kanopy (not all films do), so we can gather and watch them together at Church without infringing on copyright laws.
A Remembrance & Committment
from Linda Lemons
Monday, August 8, 7:00 p.m.

In music, poetry, and words of recommitment, we will recall and grieve the unfolding of the nuclear age, the horrendous costs to the people of Japan, and the 
continuing costs and threats to people all over the globe. 
We will renew, to our children and future generations, our commitment of "Never Again."

Rain Location:
If you wish to add your meeting or event to our calendar, please contact: calendar@ucdsm.org
Don't Forget!
Sign Up for Adult RE Programming
Registration is still open for the following Adult RE Programs:

  • Parker Palmer Book Groups
  • Tai Chi
  • Soul Matters
  • Song-writing
  • Inuit Art & Culture

Visit the Adult Programming page at ucdsm.org for more information.
UU Ringers Receive Reach Grant
from Karen Kraemer, Choir Director
The handbell choir is grateful to announce it is a recipient of a Reach Grant to refurbish the brass handbells and chimes and properly maintain these beautiful bells for years to come! A Reach grant will also provide funds to purchase a bell tree stand for individual solo bell ringing, new music folders, and bell ringer development for ringers to attend the 2022 Mid-Iowa Handbell Festival in October. The UU Ringers thank the Reach Grant committee for this generous funding!

New Ringers are encouraged to join! 
We actually would like to recruit one or two more ringers! Please contact Karen Kraemer, Director of Choirs, at choir@ucdsm.org with your interest.
If you'd like to set up a regular (weekly or monthly) contribution to our social justice activities, click here and enter the dollar amount for "Donation." 
Urge Congress to Fix
the Electoral Count Act Now!
from Write Here, Write Now
This month we’ll write our Senators to urge them to support legislation amending the Electoral Count Act to prevent actions such as Donald Trump and his minions attempted to prevent the last election from succeeding.

The Electoral Count Act must be amended to do the following, and more:
  • Ensure the Vice President cannot reject Electoral College Electors certified by state
  • increase the number of members of Congress required to raise an objection to a state's submission of electoral votes

At least two draft Senate bills are being discussed. They include Sen. Amy Klobuchar's extensive bill and a bipartisan bill filed by Senators Susan Collins and Joe Manchin. Either bill would be a significant improvement over current law and would effectively prevent the election abuses Trump attempted in 2020-21. Neither Senator Grassley nor Senator Ernst were among the bipartisan group of Senators working on the Collins-Manchin Bill.

Join in writing Senators Grassley and Ernst to urge them to ensure our government is not thrown into chaos by bad actors seeking to overthrow legitimate elections.  
Letters have no specific deadline, but we urge you to write as soon as possible as Senate action on legislation could come soon. You can send your letters by US Mail, by e-mail, or by direct online submission. The details, including a model letter are available Via the link below or on request via e-mail to: writenow@ucdsm.org.
Link to model letter and information, including a link to send your letters online: UUSJ Model Letter.
Green Sanctuary:
Upcoming Events & Meetings
Forums and Classes
We’re planning future Forums and classes to help First Unitarian members think about climate change. We would like your help. What would you like us to offer? Below are some ideas to get you thinking. You may recommend another topic. Email us at green@ucdsm.org
  • How will we use our new kitchen responsibly: Reusables vs. Disposables?
  • What is Regenerative Farming and how can it help our climate?
  • How can we inspire our youth to get involved in environmental work at our church?
  • What are Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation (CAFOS) and why are they bad for our state?
  • What life-style changes can my family make to help the environment?
  • What are some environmental issues in the Des Moines area?
  • What is Earth consciousness?
  • What is our church doing to become more climate-friendly?
  • How can we lower our use of fossil fuels through solar panels and geothermal?
  • Are electric cars sustainable?
  • Do you have suggestions of environmental documentaries?
  • What is materialism and why should we avoid it?
  • How should we care for our church grounds?

Statement of Conscience and Reusables
The Green Sanctuary Team of First Unitarian of Des Moines recognizes the UUA Statement of Conscience and proposes that the church follow sustainable practices by using washable, reusable tableware for serving and consuming food on site and at events sponsored by the church. We understand there may be rare instances when washable, reusable tableware cannot be used. In those cases, we recommend the use of compostable products that congregants will compost in local bins. 

Statement of Conscience
In 2006, the Unitarian Universalist Association developed a Statement of Conscience addressing the threat of global warming/climate change. Portions of this document are quoted below.
“Earth is our home. We are part of this world and its destiny is our own. Life on this planet will be gravely affected unless we embrace new practices, ethics, and values to guide our lives on a warming planet. As Unitarian Universalists, how can our faith inform our actions to remedy and mitigate global warming/climate change? We declare by this Statement of Conscience that we will not acquiesce to the ongoing degradation and destruction of life that human actions are leaving to our children and grandchildren. We as Unitarian Universalists are called to join with others to halt practices that fuel global warming/climate change, to instigate sustainable alternatives, and to mitigate the impending effects of global warming/climate change with just and ethical responses. As a people of faith, we commit to a renewed reverence for life and respect for the interdependent web of all existence."

Congregational Actions:
  • Treat environmentally responsible practices as a spiritual discipline;
  • Educate ourselves, our children, and future generations on sustainable ways to live interdependently;
  • Practice environmentally responsible consumption and encourage voluntary simplicity among members.

Upcoming Event
Pachamama Alliance-Iowa will host a Regeneration: Food “Share, Community, Action” event on Wednesday, August 10, at 7:00 p.m. This is a hybrid event, and you can register for a Zoom link here. Email PachamamaAllianceIowa@gmail.com for more information.
Food Pantry Donations Needed
Let's drag the red barrel out of the coat closet and do some good! Non-perishable food items go a long way in our community, especially with kids out of school for the summer. Bring canned and dry goods to church with you on Sunday and deposit them in the red barrel in the main entry hallway.

Donations will be distributed to food pantries in the Des Moines metro area. Contact feds@ucdsm.org for more information and for volunteer opportunities.
Faith in Action Partners
Knock and Drop | Just Voices
Our current partnerships run from September 2021 through August 2022. They were selected by our members at our June 2021 annual meeting. The organizations are:
Our Champion is Gene McCracken
Our Champion is Harvey Harrison
Staff Office Hours & Contact Info
Rev. Victoria Safford, Transitional Contract Minister

Alice J. Stewart, Director of Finance and Administration
515-244-8603 ext. 101
Mondays: by appointment
Tuesdays – Thursdays: 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Fridays: by appointment
Zoom meetings available on request

Emily Petty, Communications Coordinator
515-244-8603 ext. 103
Off Mondays
Tuesday-Friday, Sunday: by appointment
To submit an item for the Intercom, email communications@ucdsm.org

Hannah Notch, Social Media and Executive Support Specialist
Tuesday - Friday: 1:00 - 5:00 pm
To have an event or meeting added to the church calendar, email Hannah at calendar@ucdsm.org
Intercom Weekly Submissions
Deadline: Wednesday @ 12 noon

  • In the body of an email, please include a title, relevant dates and times, contact information, and a brief description of your event or announcement.

  • Please proofread your article before submitting (or ask a trusted friend to proofread if you need help!) We try to check every article, but we still miss things.

  • An image can help make your article stand out! Please feel free to attach an image to your email. (JPG or PNG files are preferred.) Note: images that violate copyright laws will be rejected.

  • The Intercom Weekly is sent out to our mailing list on Friday at 12:00 p.m.

  • We run announcements for no more than three consecutive weeks, so please plan accordingly.

  • Per church policy, we do not share private email addresses or phone numbers in our communications. We will set up an @ucdsm.org email address for you as the contact person for your group which will automatically forward to your private email, so you won't have to do anything special to view it. (Please allow a few extra days for us to set up the email when you submit your announcement.)

Please email communications@ucdsm.org to submit your information.
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