Saltwater Church Newsletter August 20, 2021

To join the church zoom room go to:
Each Sunday we offer online worship through zoom at 10:30 am. For any of our worship services or meetings, you can join by computer or by calling in on your telephone. You can find more information about how to connect through zoom towards the end of the newsletter.


Summer Worship Collaborative

This summer, in July and August, we will be worshipping together with Northlake UU and Tahoma UU over zoom. We will be using the Saltwater Church zoom room, and you will have the opportunity to connect with local UUs from other congregations.

August 22: Beloved Companions: Blessing of the Animals, Rev. Kristen Kuriga, Minister of Saltwater Church.
Join us to celebrate our blessing of the animals. This is an opportunity to honor the connection we have with our beloved pets, and to express our gratitude and well wishes for the friendship and care they bring to our lives. There will also be a time to honor and remember pets who have died. We encourage you to bring your pets to worship with you so we can see them and bless them in our live zoom service!

August 29: The Joy of Collaboration, Rev. Joe Rettenmaier, Sabbatical Minister of Tahoma UU and Rev. Kristen Kuriga, Minister of Saltwater Church.
This summer we came together as three congregations in one worshipping community. In our final week of the summer collaborative we will reflect on the joys we experienced by being together. What gifts have we received? What have we learned together that we couldn’t learn on our own? Come celebrate the joy of collaboration!

Upcoming Events

Current In-person Activity COVID-19 Guidelines

For outdoor programming, given the rise in infection rate, everyone will be required to mask and practice social distancing. This includes persons who have been fully vaccinated. We believe that this approach reflects our commitment to welcome and care for those who are more vulnerable, including children, those who are immune-compromised, and those who are unable to be vaccinated.

Stance for Racial Justice
Sunday August 22, 2:00pm-3:00pm
In person – DES MOINES

Rain or shine, show up for racial justice. Due to construction this week’s Stance will be at the Des Moines location and not the regularly scheduled Puyallup location. Please join us in Des Moines from 2pm until 3pm at the intersection of 272nd St. and Pacific Hwy S (near Jack- in- the Box and Arco gas). We gather on the 2nd and 4th Sundays of the month to wave our signs, show support, and increase awareness. Please wear a mask and practice social distancing while participating in this event. Contact Colette DeMonte at for more info.

Gather The Youth: Blackberry Picking
Sunday August 22, 4:00pm – 5:30pm 
In-Person, Saltwater Church

Gather at Saltwater Church for some berry picking fun. This event is scheduled specifically for our High School and Middle School Youth. Please RSVP to Amanda at or 206-683-1330, so that appropriate adult ratios can be maintained. Please wear a mask and practice social distancing while participating in this event. ***image credit: Thierry

UU Common Read
Tuesday August 24, 6:30pm – 8:00pm

Please join the RJOT Racial Justice Organizing Team as we participate in the UU Common Read Breathe by Imani Perry. If you have not registered for a discussion session please email Susan at Contact our Office Administrator to borrow a book, or with any additional questions. Click the image for additional the details about the event.

In-person Opportunities

Campus Clean-Up: The Sequel
Saturday August 28, 10:00am – 2:00pm 
In-Person, Saltwater Church

Please join us to help us get the campus ready for re-opening. We will be weeding and cutting back foliage. The church has a few hand tools but we encourage you to bring your own if you have any. These plants are sticky and prickly so don’t forget your gardening gloves! Face masks will be required even though the event is being held outdoors. If you have any questions, please contact Glenn at ***image credit: Bubba

Help Rebuild A “Sound” Community

Saturday August 21, 10:00am – 2:00pm 
In-Person, Saltwater Church

Preparing for multi-platform services and in-person activities takes a village. We need your Due to delivery delays, our work party to prepare for construction has been postponed. The new date is September 18. We need your help getting our space ready for all our exciting upgrades. Saltwater invites the members of Bet Chaverim, Haitian Christians, and any able bodied friends & family to join us in yet another work party. We need to relocate a lot of furniture and prepare the Welcoming Room for some construction. It’s a big task and we really need all the help we can get. It’s wonderful when our communities can get. It’s wonderful when our communities can all work together and this is the perfect opportunity. ***image credit: Yan Krukov

Our Facilities Team will have tools available but you may want gloves. Due to the surge of the Delta variant, masks are required for this indoor event. Disposable masks will be available to those who need one. If you’ve been sick or have any concerns about COVID-19, we appreciate your desire to help but ask respectfully that you stay home. If you have any questions or concerns, please email our Facilities Team Lead: Glenn Andrews.

From the Board and HCT

Saltwater Church Re-Opening Update

On Wednesday, August 18th the Board considered the potential timeline for reopening the church for in-person worship and programming indoors. Although we had tentatively hoped to launch multiplatform worship and programming in September, the Board no longer feels like this is safe given the current spike of COVID cases in King County due to the delta variant.

To care for the well-being of our church and local community, and to live into our mission and values, the Board has paused the reopening timeline and determined that there will be no indoor in-person activities at this time. The Board will continue to monitor the local conditions and will coordinate with the Pandemic and Reopening Taskforces as conditions change. You can stay up to date on local transmission rates here:

We know this news is hard and disappointing. There are still many ways to foster connection, nurture spiritual growth, and act for justice. Outdoor, in-person, small group activities will continue as weather and air quality allows. For outdoor programming, given the rise in infection rate, everyone will be required to mask and practice social distancing. We will also continue to offer worship, small groups, and ways to act for justice over zoom. You can find more details about upcoming worship and programming in the church newsletter.

If you have any questions about the Church Reopening timeline, please contact Mayda Taney, Board President. Save the date for a special, in-person, outdoor afternoon of Celebration and Ritual on Saturday, September 11! More details coming in next week’s newsletter.

Upgrades to the Church Campus

There are a number of upgrades happening at the Saltwater Church campus! As you may know, we are installing new audio-visual equipment in the sanctuary which will allow us to offer multi-platform worship and programming. While we hoped to have the new equipment installed by the end of August, the timeline has shifted due to manufacturer backorders. The new tentative timeline is the end of September. We will be sure to keep you updated!

In the meantime, Katherine “Bubba” Miller, our office administrator, has been hard at work streamlining our systems and vendor relationships. We now have a new copier in the office which will meet our needs but also provide significant cost-savings. We will also have improved internet after the installation of underground wiring connecting our three buildings. We have started the process of working with a new membership software database, Realm, which has a lot of potential to foster connection. Thank you Katherine for all of your hard work to get us well equipped and organized with an eye towards financial sustainability.

Finally, the office has a new furnace and heat pump! Thank you to Mary Paynter who managed the bid and installation process, and to Tom McDavid and Katherine Miller who provided support. The new heat pump will not only save us money but also be more energy efficient.

Board Focus for this Church Year

The Board and Rev. Kristen met for a retreat over zoom on July 24 to worship together, build relationship, and get oriented to the work of the Board. We also decided on the focus of the Board’s work for this church year. From August-December, the Board will be reading and learning together through the UUA report Widening the Circle of Concern. You can learn more about the report here: From January through June we will be facilitating a visioning process for the congregation informed by our learnings in the fall. The Board will also continue to support the committees of the Board, the Healthy Congregation Team and the Nominating Team, and the Taskforces convened by the Board, the Reopening Taskforce, the Pandemic Taskforce, and the Safety Taskforce. If you have any questions about the work of the Board feel free to reach out to any of our Board members. 

Growth and Learning

Saltwater Pen Pal Project

Do you suffer from Zoom fatigue? Consider joining the Saltwater Pen Pal Project to exchange snail mail (or email) correspondence! Each month you would be paired up with someone from the group to exchange your thoughts about the monthly Soul Matters theme. Contact Joanne at if you are interested in participating.

Ways to Live Our Values

Share the Plate for August: BLUU Housing Initiative

Half of all undesignated donations received in the month of August will be shared with Black Lives of Unitarian Universalism’s (BLUU) affordable housing initiative: 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.

Engage in Racial Justice

The Kinsey African American Art & History Collection will be on exhibited at the Tacoma Art Museum from July 31-November 28, 2021. The Kinsey African American Art & History Collection celebrates the achievements and contributions of Black Americans from 1595 to present times. Considered one of the most comprehensive surveys of African American history and culture outside the Smithsonian Institution, please do not miss this remarkable opportunity. Please visit for more information. (Click the image for a video about The Kinseys.) ***Image Credit: Tacoma Art Museum

Sound Alliance

Monthly on the 4th Saturday, 10am – 11:30am
Church Zoom Room
The Sound Alliance team works on multiple issues in alignment with our commitment to Social Justice. The issues we focus on change from year to year, depending upon the concerns voiced by members of the congregation. Currently we are working to address and prevent homelessness, protect immigrant rights, and ease social isolation during the pandemic through the Social Connection Project. 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.

Saltwater Climate Action Now! (SCAN!)

Monthly on a Sunday, 12:00pm – 1:30pm
Church Zoom Room
SCAN! Our members have been very busy lately. Writing letters to your local paper is one way to advocate for climate action. Read a recent Letter to the Editor by one of our SCAN! members that was published in the Seattle Times by following this link: Join in our commitment to Climate Justice and consider writing a letter to share with your local paper, or publish on social media. Share your passion, inspire others, and Act for Climate Justice! The next meeting of SCAN! will be on September 5. You participation is more than welcome and strongly encouraged. Thanks!

Racial Justice Organizing Team (RJOT)

Monthly on the 3rd Tuesday, 6:30pm – 8:30pm
Rev. Kristen’s Zoom Room
Our Racial Justice Organizing Team meets monthly to discuss more ways to support our community in our anti-racism efforts. During the meetings they 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

Here are some high-effect, no-cost climate actions that really make a difference. Since beef has the largest global water footprint of any food—1,847 gallons of water to produce one pound of beef—reducing your beef consumption has more impact than reducing the amount of other kinds of meat you consume. Or switch to a climate-friendly plant-based diet. ***image credit: Mersea Wildlife

Cut your waste and recycling by finding other ways to meet your needs: repurpose, “shop your closet”, borrow, buy used, or decide you don’t need an item after all. Contacting your legislators on climate policies is crucial but how you make that contact matters. An individually written email has 20 times more positive influence on your representative than a form email that addresses the same topic. For more ideas on taking individual action and supporting policy changes, go to 5 Critical Climate Actions You Can Take Right Now (

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

Ways to Connect

Grief Support Group
(Church Zoom Room)
1st and 3rd Thursdays, 7:30pm – 9:00pm
Are you grieving the loss of a loved one, of a relationship, of your health or vitality? Perhaps you are grieving the loss of a job, or maybe you are grieving over how the pandemic has been affecting you. Debra Valpey and Toska Rodriguez, two Saltwater lay ministers, will be facilitating a grief support group this fall. Our hope is that, together, we can support one another through difficult times. It is not a therapy group, bit it might prove therapeutic for you, and we will be emphasizing support and resources around loss. If you think a group like this might be a good fit for you, please contact Debra (206-953-5704 or or Toska (253-839-1921 or We hope to be able to start this group in September and (tentatively) plan to meet on the first and third Thursdays from 7:30 to 9 PM (or on some other mutually agreeable time) on Zoom until we can begin meeting again in person. You don’t need to grieve alone. We can be here for each other.

Pair Sharing
(Rev. Kristen’s Zoom Room
Sundays, twice a month 11:45am – 1:00pm
The next Pair Sharing meeting will be on and August 29 and will be temporarily suspended during the month of September.
There is healing power in telling truth and bearing witness. Pair Sharing is the spiritual practice of deep sharing and listening. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact Janeane Weprin at

Saltwater Genealogy Club
(Church Zoom Room)
2nd Wednesdays, 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 September 8. If you would like to join us or have any questions, please contact

Creative Hands
(Church Zoom Room)
1st and 3rd Wednesdays, 5:00pm – 6:30pm
Please join us to learn or practice hand work (knitting and crocheting, sewing, drawing, jewelry making or?) along with fun conversation and a supportive atmosphere. Pour yourself a favorite beverage, grab a snack, and join in the fun. The next meeting will be on Wednesday, September 1. Questions? Contact Lynn Crow at (206) 429-2005.

Al-Anon Support Group
(private zoom, contact for link)
Mondays, 6:30pm – 7:30pm

Meditation Group 
(Church Zoom Room)
Tuesdays, 7:00pm – 8:15pm
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. Our meetings have returned to Zoom meetings only until further notice. Would you like to join our group? Contact Jean Spohn or (206) 200-7524.

Writers Group 
(Church Zoom Room)
Wednesdays, 9:30 am – 12:00pm

Support Circle 
(Church Zoom Room)
Thursdays, 12:30pm – 1:30pm

Over Eaters Anonymous
(Church Zoom Room)
Fridays, 5:00pm – 6:00pm

Weekend Writers Group
(Church Zoom Room)
Sundays twice a month, 6:00pm – 8:00pm

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:
Mike Yanega:
Toska Rodriguez:

Support for Children, Youth, and Families

Family Ministries Zoom Room

Religious Education Class for Kids and their Grown-Ups 
(Note the class address.)
Sunday mornings at 9:30am

Junior and Senior High Youth Group 
(Note the class address.)
Sundays at 12:00pm,

Jr./Sr. High Youth Group Game Night (Joint with Northlake UU)
3rd Friday of each month, 7:00pm – 9:00pm 
We will be using an online game platform as one of the options for games ( – free account is plenty), so if possible, please let Margaret know if you plan to attend so we can get set up ahead of time. We hope to see you there!
Meeting ID: 309 145 529
 Password: NUUC

If you are interested in having your youth (and/or yourself) receive reminder texts directly for game night and Sunday youth group, you can sign up for them by clicking this link and entering the information: Contact Margaret Rogers for more information:

Family Support Circles
First & Third Mondays, 7:30pm – 8:30pm
Family ministries zoom room

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

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 is closed to most in-person programming, groups, and meetings. Saltwater staff are primarily working from home while our Office Administrator is on-site at least twice a week to collect the mail and address any additional needs. Planting Flowers has resumed providing essential childcare support to families. Haitian Christians have resumed in-person gatherings with a limited capacity on Sunday evenings. As of August 1st Bet Chaverim has also resumed hosting some events in the Welcome Room & Sanctuary.

Volunteer Opportunities Serving the Saltwater Community
As we return to more in-person activities, the need for volunteers has increased. Saltwater relies on small volunteer teams to coordinate activities and projects. These team members are invaluable to our community and they need our support. Historically volunteers are able to discover opportunities by attending services and reading the bulletin boards in the Welcome Room. The pandemic has made it difficult to discover new opportunities to contribute to our community.

If you are interested in learning how you can volunteer with or without officially joining a team, please contact Katherine Bubba Miller at They would love to help you discover where your time and talents may contribute to Saltwater’s success. Sometimes, it takes a village to thrive. Can you help our village prosper?

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 would like a statement of your donations for calendar year 2020 for tax purposes to 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)