Saltwater Church Newsletter February 3, 2023

We offer worship in two ways: in-person multi-platform service held in our sanctuary and online in our Church Zoom Room at 10:30 am. Doors and Zoom open at 10:15. To join the Church Zoom Room go to: You can find more information about how to connect through zoom towards the end of our Saltwater Church Newsletter. Our newsletter also provides ways to connect and live our values through in-person programming and via our Church Zoom Room.


Theme for February: The Path of Love

Throughout the month of February we are exploring the theme of love. In our mission statement, we declare, “At Saltwater Church We Practice Love.” In the streets, we are known as the love people in the yellow shirts. And in the new proposed Article II, love is at the center of our values. What do we mean by love?  Why is it central to Unitarian Universalism? Throughout the month of February we will be exploring different dimensions of love. Join us as we learn together.


Live multi-platform worship in the sanctuary and online through zoom!

February 5: “Leading with Love,” Led by members of the Nominating Team Mayda Taney, Kathy Linell, Laurie Bardill, and Carol Mitchell, featuring reflections from Saltwater Lay leaders

February 12: “Side with Love,” Rev. Kristen Kuriga

February 19: “Wrestling with the Truth of Colonization,” Led by members of the Sound Alliance Team

February 26: “The Path of Love,” Rev. Kristen Kuriga

Notable & Upcoming Events

To view our complete calendar of events, click here.
If you wish to schedule an event, click here to fill out a request form.

Community Potluck – Everyone Welcome
Sunday February 5, following service
In Person : Welcome Room

Church-Wide Potluck on February 5, Yummy! Please mark your calendars for our first (in a long while) church potluck on the first Sunday in February, right after church. Please bring a generous dish to share. Kindly mark ingredients if not clearly visible (like nuts, soy, etc.) We will also need folks to step up and help us set up before church and take down after church. Questions? contact Debra Valpey, 206-953-5704 or  ***image credit: Lewisburg Comm Garden

Chalice Circle – Walk-ins Welcome
Sunday February 5, 12:30pm – 1:30pm
In Person : Saltwater Church Sanctuary

We host a Saltwater Chalice Circle on the first Sunday of every month. This is an opportunity to foster connection and share our experiences with one another. If you are new to the community or haven’t participated in a Chalice Circle in the past, we encourage you to drop by and see what our gatherings are all about. This event adheres to the current COVID-19 guidelines as determined by the Saltwater Board. If you have any questions, please contact Jessica Alexander at
***image credit: UU Medville

Youth Group Fundraiser Bake Sale
Sunday February 12, 11:30am – 12:30pm
In Person : Welcome Room

We will be hosting a monthly Book Sale after Church beginning in February! Come see a selection of wonderful books for sale written by our own Saltwater writers. All profits go to the church. For more information, contact Debra Valpey 206-953-5704 or ***image credit: Jill Wellington

UU 101 with Rev. Kristen Kuriga
Sunday February 12, 12:00pm – 1:30pm
In Person : Welcome Room

Do you have questions about Unitarian Universalism? Have you been attending worship for a while and want to get more connected? Join Rev. Kristen for a UU 101 class. Together we will explore:

  • What does it mean to be Unitarian Universalist?
  • Who historically were Unitarians, Universalists, and Unitarian Universalists?
  • What are the values and beliefs that shape our faith tradition?
  • What is the membership process at Saltwater UU?

Bring your questions and explore whether this might be your spiritual home. Questions or to RSVP, contact Rev. Kristen: This class will also be offered via the Church Zoom Room on Saturday March 18 beginning at 10:00am. ***image credit: UUA Website

Current In-person Activity COVID-19 Guidelines

Please see our website at for the most up to date information. We continue to review current guidelines for King County and the state of Washington to ensure we adhere to their standards.

From Our Leadership

Rev. Kristen’s Sabbatical

When Rev. Kristen came to be our minister, her contract included taking a sabbatical after 5 years. It’s one of the standard benefits for ministers, and there’s a good reason for this. For five years, we’ve had the opportunity to be nourished — with insight, meditation, and community. But as the leader of worship, coordinator of multi-platform technology and writer of the sermons, Rev. Kristen is drawing from the well. And in a time of cultural and global turmoil; her guidance throughout each week helps us remain true to our values.

So how do we care for Rev. Kristen, who cares for us? We planned for a sabbatical. The word “sabbatical” is related to “sabbath”. A sabbatical is a bunch of Sabbaths, linked together. This is Rev. Kristen’s opportunity for nourishment, so her well is filled and she can continue to draw from it. This is not burn-out; it is, in fact, the opposite of it. Rather than pushing someone to compassion fatigue, this is a healthier way to care for the people we care about. Rev. Kristen will be on sabbatical from July 1, 2023, through November 20, 2023.

We’ve got this. Every year we saved, so we have a fund for a temporary replacement in her absence. We are pulling together a team to identify who will cover the critical work in Rev. Kristen’s absence. We’ll keep you informed each step of the way, and we look forward to your participation too– as together, we give Rev. Kristen the Sabbath experience that she has given us.
-Saltwater Church Board

General Assembly Delegate Applications Due April 1, 2023

There will be some momentous items on the business agenda for the annual General Assembly of the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA), including a vote on the proposed changes to Article II and the election of the next UUA President. While anybody can attend GA (including the business meetings), only the certified delegates of member congregations can vote or speak at the business meetings. The event is June 21 – 25, and the business meetings will be conducted virtually so travel is not necessary; in addition, this year there is a registration option for business-only virtual attendance that is by suggested donation only, so certified delegates do not need to pay to attend.

If you are interested in being a certified delegate, please submit an application by April 1, 2023 using this form ( To find the form online, from our home page click on the drop-down for “Members”, and click on the online application on the list. The Board hopes to choose a slate of delegates who represent the diverse viewpoints of the members of Saltwater Church. Preference will be given to those who have attended, or commit to attending, at least one of the planned Article II listening sessions to be scheduled in early 2023, so that they can vote according to their understanding of the preferences of the congregation.

Join us in welcoming our Director of Multigenerational Faith Formation

We are excited to announce that we have a new member of our staff, Stefanie Kelly. Stefanie will be serving half-time as our Director of Multigenerational Faith Formation starting February 2. Join us this Sunday, February 5 to meet and welcome Stefanie to the Saltwater Community. You can also welcome her by sending an email to See a brief bio below:

Stefanie is thrilled to join the team at Saltwater Church and looks forward to getting to know our members, friends, and families. A parent of two boys ages 10 and 15, she has a diverse background including work in churches, business, and music. Her first work experience with UU was as a research assistant at Meadville Lombard Theological School, and she later served as Director of Religious Exploration and Office Manager of a UU congregation in Florida. Over the years, she also worked as Music Director of several progressive Protestant churches and as a professional singer and conductor.

Growth & Learning

Transforming Conflict: A Congregational Opportunity for Learning and Skill Building

What’s your relationship with conflict? Is it difficult for you? As a congregation, we want to learn how to engage with conflict in loving and covenantal ways. Join the Healthy Congregation Team and the Board as we conclude our study of the book Transforming Conflict: The Blessings of Congregational Turmoil by Terasa Cooley. Our final session is offered on Zoom and in person.

The same session will be offered in two different modalities:
1st Wednesdays, 7:00pm – 8:30pm, Church Zoom Room &
3rd Sundays, 12:00pm – 1:30 pm, In Person – Church Welcome Room

February 19: Tools for Change
& The Courage of Creative Imagination

Questions? Contact a member of the Healthy Congregation Team: Bev Ross, Quinn Rose, Debra Valpey, or the Board Liaison to the Healthy Congregation Team, Aida Sanchez-Vela.

Ways To Live Our Values

Share the Plate for February
United Indians of All Tribes Foundation

Half of all undesignated donations received in the month of February will be shared with United Indians of All Tribes Foundation.

Founded in 1970, United Indians of All Tribes Foundation provides an extensive array of culturally responsive services and programming to Seattle and King County’s urban Native community. Providing cultural connection, school readiness, economic self-sufficiency, housing stability, and health and well-being are just some of the services provided. Their headquarters, the Daybreak Star Indian Cultural Center, was completed in 1977, and has become a hub of activity for Native peoples and their supporters locally, nationally, and internationally. 

SUUC’s members participating in the Wrestling with the Truth of Colonization Program have endorsed United Indians of All Tribes Foundation.

You can make a donation to share the plate through the donate button on our website  or mail a check to the church office with “basket” in the memo line: Saltwater UU Church, 25701 14 Pl S., Des Moines, WA 98198.

Saltwater Climate Action Now! (SCAN!)
Monthly on the 1st Sunday, 12:30pm – 2:00pm
Church Zoom Room

Please join us on Sunday, February 5  to see how you can help make an impact on our current climate crisis. This month’s meeting will be starting 30 minutes later than our usual time, beginning at 12:30pm. Contact Sheri Jacobson at for additional information. It’s never too late to Act for Climate Justice.  *** image credit: Margo Rolf

next alliance meeting

Sound Alliance
Monthly on the 3rd Saturday, 10:00am – 11:30am 
Church Zoom Room

The Sound Alliance team works on multiple issues in alignment with our commitment to Social Justice. Our next meeting will be on Saturday February 18 The issues we focus on change from year to year, depending upon the concerns voiced by members of the congregation. All members and friends of Saltwater UU Church and Bet Chaverim are most welcome to join us in our conversations and Act for Social Justice.

Stance for Racial Justice
2nd & 4th Sundays, 2:00pm – 3:00pm
In Person – Des Moines & Puyallup

Rain or shine, we stand for racial justice every other Sunday.  Join us as we stand together in solidarity with our signs for justice. Please wear a mask and practice social distancing. Our next gathering will be on February 12 in Des Moines at the intersection of 272nd St. and Pacific Hwy S (near Jack in the Box and Arco gas). We will meet again on February 26 in Puyallup from 2pm until 3pm at the intersection of 136th and S. Meridian (near post office and Sonic restaurant).  Contact Colette DeMonte at for more information.

Racial Justice Organizing Team (RJOT)
3rd Wednesdays, 7:00pm – 8:30pm
Church Zoom Room

The next meeting will be on Wednesday February 15Our Racial Justice Organizing Team meets monthly to discuss more ways to support our community in our anti-racism efforts. We share ideas, provide support, learn about additional opportunities, plan events for our members, and work together to advance our commitment to Act for Racial Justice.

Climate Message of the Week

How do you cope in the face of a crisis as far-reaching as climate change?

Science tells us the facts but sometimes it’s stories of survivors that help us most. At Home on an Unruly Planet: Finding Refuge on a Changed Earth by Seattle author Madeline Ostrander recounts climate crises in four communities. Her book “pairs deeply reported stories of hard-won optimism with lyrical essays on the strengths we need in an era of crisis.” Poet Franny Choi writes about apocalypses past and present in The World Keeps Ending, and The World Goes On, which connects the lessons of history with the present need for tenacity. Finally, you can watch survivors of one of the most serious climate crises in modern history recount stories of their refusal to give up through resilience and inventiveness in the Ken Burns documentary on PBS, The Dust Bowl.

Join us at the SCAN! meeting Sunday, February 5 from 12:30-2:00pm online in the Church Zoom Room.

Are there topics or questions you’d like to see covered in future Climate Messages? Email suggestions to Sheri Jacobson at

Ways to Volunteer

Growing Sunday Morning Worship

On Sundays, we continue to grow our multi-platform service skills. We’ve had (40-60) people, average, in the sanctuary, and another (20-30) on Zoom. We’re preparing to hire a part-time AV person so we have the resources and skills to support our services. We hope this will also free up volunteers to help in other essential areas, including welcoming visitors.

We invite you to take part in creating the kind of community that you want to be part of! Consider this list of roles, and please get in touch with Leanne LaFramboise, our volunteer coordinator, at if one of these roles calls to you.

If you attend church on Zoom, you can be a “Digital Usher” once/month
Digital Usher: virtual support for multiplatform worship services, which includes being part of tech rehearsals on Sunday morning for sound check, admitting people, posting lyrics and links in the chat box, and opening break out rooms after service. Comfort with zoom is important.
Time commitment: 9:30 am-12 pm, once per month, from home

If you attend church in person, there are several roles including:
Greeter & Usher: work together as a team to open up the space, set up sign in tables, welcome people, talk with visitors, make people aware of COVID-19 protocols, count offering, and close up the space.
Time commitment: 9:45 am-12 pm, once a month, or sign up for Sundays that work for your schedule

Coffee Hour: In the coming months, we hope to restart coffee hour. There is a group of leaders working on this as a follow-up from the leadership convening in late October. Please let us know if you would like to be part of the team! Time commitment to be determined by organizing team.

Worship Associate: Help co-create worship on Sunday mornings, including leading chalice lighting, welcome, announcements, reading, and chalice extinguishing. Also assists with rituals like Joys and Sorrows, sets up the chalice table, and puts away the chalice table. Worship associate training provided.
Time commitment: 9:30 am-11:45 pm, in-person ***image credit: Bubba

next facilities meeting

Facilities Team
Monthly on the 1st Thursdays, 7:00pm – 8:30pm
Church Zoom Room

Our Facilities Team helps organize the maintenance of our buildings and the upkeep of our grounds. We are looking for volunteers to help contact contractors, manage coordinating repairs, and assist with volunteer events. Our meetings are monthly and your time commitment is quite flexible. Discover how you can help support our community by attending our next meeting on Thursday March 2. ***Image credit:  Karolina Grabowska 

next safety meeting

Saltwater Church Safety Taskforce
Monthly on the 2nd Thursday, 7:00pm – 8:30pm
Church Zoom Room

Our Safety Taskforce encourages members of our community to join in discussions about our facilities and community. Common topics include building safety, necessary upgrades to our facilities, and emergency planning. We are beginning multiple new projects and welcome your knowledge and skills. Join our monthly meeting to learn how you can lend a hand. Our next meeting is Thursday February 9.

Ways to Connect

If you are planning to host an event in the Church Zoom Room please contact our Office Administrator ( the day before your scheduled event. They will need to verify your device has been registered to use the Church Zoom Room.

Weekly Meetings

Al-Anon Support Group
Private zoom, contact for link
Mondays, 6:30pm – 7:30pm
Meditation Group 
Church Zoom Room
Tuesdays, 7:00pm – 8:15pm
Our meditation group has returned to zoom only for the fall & winter seasons. We follow a UU modified Zen practice that includes lighting a candle, chiming a singing bowl, sitting & walking in silence, listening to words of wisdom, sharing tea and conversation. Would you like to join our group? Contact Jean Spohn or (206) 200-7524.
wonder what they are writing next
Writers Group 
Church Zoom Room
Wednesdays, 9:30am – 12:00pm
Do you like to write? Would you like to share and receive feedback on your writing? We welcome all writers at all levels! For more information, contact Janeane Weprin 630-824-8343 or

Twice a Month Meetings

Game Night Sponsored by Saltwater UU Social Club (SUUSC)
In Person – Welcome Room
1st and 3rd Saturdays, 6:00pm – 9:00pm
Join our Saltwater community for an evening of fun. Friends and visitors are welcome. We play all types of board games (ranging from lighter games like Clue to more complex games like Pandemic.) Our group also plays thematic games, card games, and party & social games. Almost anything is possible, bring your favorite game and let us know about it. This event will follow our current COVID-19 Guidelines. Our next meet up will be on February 4.
Weekend Writers Group
Church Zoom Room
Alternating Sundays, 6:00pm – 8:00pm
There’s no time like the present to start writing that novel you have been dreaming about for years!  Or maybe it’s time to share the poetry you have stashed away in your file drawer or to start immortalizing by writing down those unique memories that have been your precious life!  And it’s a lot more fun if you have an audience of other writers to share them with. We welcome new members, WE WELCOME YOU! Any questions?  Please phone me at 206-898-5452 or email me at

Monthly Meetings

Paint n’ Sip
In Person – Welcome Room
4th Mondays, 6:00pm – 9:00pm
Bring any size canvas. No experience required. All paints and supplies provided. RSVP to Jessica Alexander at Our next evening of artistic expression will be February 27.
Pair Sharing by Zoom
Janeane’s Zoom Room
One Sunday a month, 1:00pm – 2:15pm
Discover the healing power in telling truth and bearing witness. Pair Sharing is the spiritual practice of deep sharing and listening. Our next meeting will be Sunday February 5. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact Janeane Weprin at
Saltwater Genealogy Club
Church Zoom Room
2nd Wednesday, 7:00pm – 8:30pm
Do you love to talk about your family history and research? Saltwater Church has a Genealogy Club! We are not experts; we just share stories and research ideas. Our next meeting will be Febuary 8. If you would like to join us or have any questions, please contact
Support Circle – Schedule Change
Now meeting once per month
Church Zoom Room :
3rd Thursdays, 12:30-1:30 pm, led by Rev. Kristen 
Support circle is open to all members and friends and is a space for deep check-in and reflection on a question related to our monthly theme. In support circle we come to be nourished by authentic relationship, to mutually support one another through the joys and sorrows of our lives, and to create space for spiritual insight. Our next meeting will be Februrary 16. All are welcome.
Creative Hands
In Person : Welcome Room
3rd Tuesday, 12:30pm – 2:30pm
Join us for an afternoon of visiting and working on our creative projects. Bring your knitting, crocheting, hand sewing, jewelry making, or whatever with you. We gather monthly to foster connection through sharing our creative processes. We also support the Saltwater community with small craft projects throughout the year. Our next meeting will be February 21. If you would like to join us or have any questions, please contact Joanne Loeliger (206) 870-1939.

Support Is Available

Do you need support? Please let us know, we want to help. Are you feeling lonely or isolated? We can connect you with a lay minister or another member of the congregation. If you have been affected by the pandemic financially, the Minister’s Discretionary Fund is available for one-time emergency support for members and friends of the church. Contact Rev. Kristen:

If you are in need of emotional or spiritual support, you can reach out directly to a Lay Minister:
Debra Valpey:
Toska Rodriguez:

Multigenerational Faith Formation

Multigenerational Faith Formation’s Zoom Room

Join us in welcoming our new Director of Multigenerational Faith Formation

We are excited to announce that we have a new member of our staff, Stefanie Kelly. Stefanie will be serving half-time as our Director of Multigenerational Faith Formation starting February 2. Join us this Sunday, February 5 to meet and welcome Stefanie to the Saltwater Community. You can also welcome her by sending an email to See a brief bio below:

Stefanie is thrilled to join the team at Saltwater Church and looks forward to getting to know our members, friends, and families. A parent of two boys ages 10 and 15, she has a diverse background including work in churches, business, and music. Her first work experience with UU was as a research assistant at Meadville Lombard Theological School, and she later served as Director of Religious Exploration and Office Manager of a UU congregation in Florida. Over the years, she also worked as Music Director of several progressive Protestant churches and as a professional singer and conductor.

Children and Youth Registration for our Multigenerational Faith Formation Program

Families are encouraged to fill out a registration form for any children and youth participating in classes and activities at Saltwater Church.  This helps our staff and volunteers with planning programs, and helps us know your family better.  Register online at:

Middle and High School Youth Group (grades 6-12)

Youth will meet for social events several times a month. The Youth Group works with adult advisors to plan programs which include personal sharing, discussion of religious and ethical issues, guest speakers from other religions and from the community, service projects, participation in district youth conferences, and worship. This year youth will explore the monthly church-wide themes. Contact Amanda Radak or see the church newsletter for more information.

Tabletop Gaming Night
Saturday February 4, 6:00pm – 9:00pm
In Person – Saltwater Welcome Room

Members and friends of all ages will attend the churchwide Game Night sponsored by SUUSC. Participants will play old classics or introduce new board or card games to the community. 

Our Whole Lives (OWL) 

Comprehensive sexuality education classes will be held jointly with Westside UU Church for youth in grades 7-9. The class schedule will be available soon. Contact Steve Radak for more information.

Support for Children, Youth, & Families

Family Support Circles

First & Third Mondays, 7:30pm – 8:30pm
Multigenerational Faith Formation Zoom Room

Are you are looking for like-minded parents to support you through the challenges of family life? Look no further than the Parent Support Group! Join us 1st and 3rd Mondays at 7:30pm in the Multigenerationl Faith Formation Zoom Room. For questions, contact Jessica Alexander at

Parents Facebook Group 

Connect with other Saltwater Church families with children and youth for support through the Parents Facebook group:

Childcare for Church Events & Services 

Childcare is available upon request for any church activity if requested at least one week in advance. To request childcare, contact Jessica Alexander via email at Childcare is currently being offered for the paint group 4th Mondays from 6-9 p.m. (This event is also open to youth participants.)

General Information

How to Access the Church Zoom Room 

To access Zoom, go to click on “To join a meeting-click here.” Or from the main church webpage, select Zoom Room from the drop down menu under “news and events” on the top menu bar. If this is your first time using Zoom, follow the prompts to download the application to your computer.

If you would prefer to join by phone, dial 1-669-900-6833 and enter Meeting ID: 736 142 4210 when prompted. You may need a password. If you do not have the password, please contact Melinda:

If you have a smartphone, you can download the Zoom app and join with Meeting ID: 736 142 4210 for video and audio connection. You will need a password. If you do not have the password, please contact Melinda:

A quick guide for our Zoom room can be found here. Feel free to download the file to keep a copy readily available at your fingertips.

Saltwater Church Building

The church building has opened for in person gatherings. If you wish to plan an event please use our online request form:  All gatherings are asked to follow the current COVID-19 guidelines. If you have questions about the guidelines or need assistance our Office Assistant is on-site Tuesdays and Fridays, 9am to 1pm. If you need on-site assistance outside of their regularly scheduled hours, email to schedule an appointment.

Planting Flowers has resumed providing essential childcare support to families. Haitian Christians has resumed in-person gatherings with a limited capacity on Sunday evenings. Bet Chaverim has resumed events in the Welcome Room & Sanctuary while also continuing to have virtual options. Currently our facilities are closed for all rentals involving indoor activities.

Donations to Saltwater Church

When making a donation on the church website (click here), please indicate where you want your donation to go. After entering the amount of your donation, if you select “Donate with a Debit or Credit Card” you will see a line which starts with a pencil and has “add special instructions to the seller.” Please click on those words to specify “pledge” or your desired purpose. It will help our treasurer get money into the right places if that line is filled in. If you have questions, email or call our Treasurer, Gaye Greeves at or 253-508-3961.   

Please Note: Announcements, updates, and additions to the newsletter must be received by noon Wednesday to be included in that week’s newsletter. Send your submissions to or use the website form (click here)