Saltwater Church Newsletter December 1, 2023

We offer worship in two ways: in-person multi-platform service held in our sanctuary and online in our Church Zoom Room at 10:30am. 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 both in-person programming and via our Church Zoom Room.


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

Theme for December: The Gift of Mystery

Mystery is all around us, even in the places where we think we have certainty. Unitarian Universalism affirms that our own experience of mystery is a primary source for our religious understanding. So this month, as we explore the gift of mystery, I want to encourage us to hold what we think we know lightly, and leave space to encounter the mystery all around us.

Worship In December at Saltwater Church

December 3 Holidays of Light – Lay-led

Let us celebrate together. At this time when folks around the world from many traditions are lighting candles in the darkness, we wanted to lift up a few of these traditions: Advent in the Christian tradition, Bodhi Day in the Buddhist tradition, and the weekly lighting of the Shabbat candles in the Jewish tradition. If you can, please bring a small unscented candle or LED light for our alter.

December 10 Luminous Dark – Rev. Alison Duren-Sutherland (online)

As the wheel of the year turns toward the longest night, let us sink in to the luminous dark of the fertile earth, the vastness of space, and the womb of potential that holds all in darkness before it is birthed into being.

December 17 The Very Best Time of Year – Music Director Tom Burt and the Saltwater Choir

Come celebrate the season and explore the meaning of Christmas in our Unitarian Universalist faith. Hear the Saltwater Choir share the music of John Rutter and enjoy a feast of traditional Christmas carols at our December Music Service.

This is a Faith Formation Sunday, so stay after the worship service for another feast…a soup lunch (provided). Following lunch will be adult, youth, and elementary programming exploring what it means to be a Unitarian Universalist through the lens of our principles and values. Programming ends around 1:30pm.

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.

Participate in This Year’s Giving Tree
Saturday November 18 – Thursday December 7
In Person and Online

Every year, Saltwater Church provides holiday gifts for Mark Twain Elementary students & siblings who are most in need.

Thank you to all who have made a monetary donation or signed up for a gift!  This Sunday is the last Sunday to bring your unwrapped gifts to church.  If you haven’t participated yet this year, it’s not too late!  The last day to sign up for gifts is this Sunday, December 3, but gifts must be delivered to Lisa Key’s home by Dec. 7.  Sign up for gifts here: Saltwater Church Giving Tree:

Monetary donations are also being accepted through December 7.  Please send donations to Saltwater Church with Giving Tree in the memo. Donations may be placed in the offering basket, mailed to the church, or you can use our donation link on the church website (click here).Thank you for bringing joy and warmth to a child in need this holiday season! Questions? Contact Lisa Key at

Speaking Our Grief & Singing for Peace: Responding to the Conflict in Israel & Gaza
Friday December 8, 5:30pm – 6:30pm
Minister’s Zoom Room

Join Rev. Alison in creating a sacred space online where where we can lift up our Unitarian Universalist commitment to peaceful resolution of conflict while also acknowledging the many and varied feelings that come up around the ongoing violence in Israel & Gaza. Come to share how this situation has been making you feel, to witness the feelings of others in our Saltwater Church community, and to sing songs of peace. This will not be a space for education, debate, or advocacy; instead it will be a place for heart-felt sharing, body settling practices, and song. Contact Rev. Alison at with any questions.

Online Caregiver Support Circle
Saturday December 9, 2:00pm – 3:00pm
Minister’s Zoom Room

Are you caregiving for a significant other in your life? Having a parent, partner, or adult child experiencing physical and/or mental health challenges requires so much from the caregiver — YOU need care and support too! Join Rev. Alison and other caregivers in our Saltwater UU Community to share the joys and sorrows of caregiving and to give and receive support with others who are also in this essential and tender role of caregiver. Our first meeting will be Saturday, December 9th from 2-3pm. Contact Rev. Alison at with any questions. ****Image credit: Jack Sparrow

Our Next Chapter Holiday Bazaar – It’s a GO!
Sunday December 10 and 17, 11:30am – 1:00pm
In Person – Welcoming Room

Mark your calendars and join us December 10 and 17 in the Welcoming Room for your holiday shopping. All proceeds from your purchases will directly benefit Saltwater Church. We have loads of items, surprises, theme baskets and more for your shopping pleasure! Looking forward to seeing you there! Questions? Contact Anjali Lopez, Debra Valpey, Karin Leisy or Kathy Linnell
A sneak peek and sample include:
• Wine Baskets
• Chocolate Basket
• Mugs and Beverages
• Fine Art
• Books
• Food and food prep items including cookie making items and a children’s apron
• Great gifts for children – toys, dolls, games and more
• A Banjo and Banjolele
• Jewelry
• Winter warmth items
• Soaps, lotions and bath stuffs
• Taste of Congo gift certificate
• Special baskets from our Teams

Blue Christmas Service
Friday December 15, 7:00pm – 8:00pm
Minister’s Zoom Room

This Time of Year Can be Challenging-Is it for You or for Someone You Love? All are invited to join Rev. Alison, Debra Valpey, Toska Rodriguez, and Jean Spohn (your lay ministers) for our annual “Blue Christmas” Service on December 15, from 7 to 8 PM. Join with us in a safe and quiet place to reflect on our personal challenges at his time of year and seek hope for light and comfort. Your friends and family members are also welcome. Please contact any of us listed above for additional information. You are encouraged to bring a candle and brew a mug of tea.****image credit: Ioana Motoc

Saltwater Chalice Circles in 2024 – Registration
In Person and Zoom

Chalice Circles are small group discussions that deepen and broaden personal spiritual growth. Their goals are to listen and be listened to in a safe place, learn about the mysteries of our world and our spiritual paths, and build new and deeper personal connections. Your Faith Formation Team is offering three Chalice Circles starting in January 2024:

Zoom–2nd Thursdays, 10:00-11:30am – Facilitator Miriam Woito
Zoom–4th Mondays, 10:00-11:30am – Facilitator Rosie Olds
In-Person–3rd Wednesdays, 7:00-8:30pm – Facilitators Debra and Ray Valpey in Normandy Park

Which one will work for you? Email with your choice or if you have questions. Registration deadline is December 27.

From Our Leadership

December Congregational Meeting
Sunday December 31, 11:45am – 12:45pm
Saltwater Sanctuary and Church Zoom Room

Join us for our December Congregational Meeting after the worship service on December 31. This will be multiplatform, so you may attend in person or on Zoom. The Board is going to present a brief recap and reflections of the year so far. We are also going to kick off an exciting second part of the church year. Snacks will be provided. Childcare has been arranged so parents may attend the meeting.

Final Proposed Article II Revision Text Released

The Article II Study Commission has released a revised draft of the proposed changes to Article II of the Unitarian Universalist Association bylaws, incorporating the amendments passed at this year’s General Assembly. Find their final proposal here: Article II Revision

As UUs, we actively participate in the decision making of our denomination by informing ourselves on key issues, engaging with opportunities to provide feedback to the denomination (surveys, listening sessions, etc), and voting at General Assembly. As part of this active participation, Saltwater Church will focus our December Faith Formation Sunday (12/17, always on the 3rd Sunday of each month) on the Article II proposal. Rev. Alison is looking forward to leading our community in this conversation when she’s here in person for her December visit from the 17th through the 24th.

Minister’s Messages

Rev. Alison posts weekly messages to our community through our church website. In this week’s message, she shares her thoughts on this month’s Soul Matter’s theme of The Gift of Mystery. You can find Rev. Alison’s message via the home page of the church website or here: Minister’s Messages. Rev. Alison will be in person again from Sunday, December 17 – Sunday, December 24. ****Image credit: NASA, the Hubble Ultra Deep Field

Save the Date

Christmas Eve (Eve) Candlelight Service
Saturday December 23, 7:00pm – 8:00pm
In Person – Saltwater Sanctuary

To be good neighbors to the Haitian Christians United community who rent space to worship in our sanctuary on Sunday evenings, we will hold our Christmas Eve Candlelight Service on Christmas Eve Eve, Saturday, December 23rd, from 7-8pm. We will sing favorite carols, tell the story of the nativity, and light candles on this dark night. On Sunday morning, December 24th, we will have a Sunday morning service as usual.

Winter Eliot Camp
Thursday December 28 – Monday January 1
In Person – Seabeck Conference Center

Join Liz James and Rev. Anne Barker for “Changing Our Stories,” a humor-centered approach to the power of story and the possibilities of change. Camp takes place in the beautiful PNW Seabeck Conference Center, where our Annual Spring Church Retreat takes place. It features many different activities for all-ages. Registration deadline is December 20. For more information, visit or email ****Image credit: Rachael Saylors

New York New Years Eve (Eve)
Saturday December 30, 6:00pm – 9:00pm
In Person – Welcoming Room

SAVE THE DATE! Saturday, December 30th is a New Year’s Eve (eve) party at the church. We will offer spots for sign up during the December holiday fundraising bazaar, and we NEED you and your kids and grandkids to come party with us!! Family friendly, and our “toast” will be at 9:00pm. Time to party together again, folks!

Ways to Offer your Gifts

Your Community Needs YOU!
Volunteer Now

We invite you to take part in creating the kind of community that you want to be part of! We need volunteers of all skills and ages. Opportunities include:

Sunday Morning Opportunities: Contact Bubba ( if you’re interested & need to get training/ orientation. For job details click here.

Sunday Morning Opportunities

  • Usher
  • Digital Usher
  • Greeter
  • Welcome Kiosk
  • Worship Assistant
  • A/V Desk Assistant
  • Multigenerational Activities Assistant

Other Opportunities

next safety meeting

Saltwater Church Safety Taskforce
2nd Thursdays, 7:00pm – 8:00pm
Private 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. The next meeting is December 14. For more information or to attend, please contact Diane Schairer at

Facilities Team
3rd Wednesdays, 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 December 20. ***Image credit: Bubba 

Ways To Live Our Values

Share The Plate for December
Duwamish Tribe

Half of all undesignated donations received in the month of December will be shared (and matched) with the Duwamish Tribe:
The Duwamish serve as the host tribe of Seattle.

Each Sunday we acknowledge the land of the indigenous peoples of the Duwamish Tribe. In 1983, after more than 100 years of broken United States treaty promises, the Duwamish Tribal Services established a non-profit 501[C]3 organization to provide social and cultural services to the Duwamish Tribal community.

The Duwamish Tribe currently has around 600 enrolled members. Many more people have Duwamish (dxʷdəwʔabš) ancestry but have chosen to enroll with federally recognized tribes, in order to obtain health and other human services.

In the absence of federal recognition, funding, and human services, Duwamish Tribal Services has struggled to provide numerous social, educational, health, and cultural programs during the past 35 years. We are pleased to support their efforts.

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.
****Image credit: Kindel Media

Pajama Making Party
1st Tuesdays, 12:30pm – 2:30pm
In Person – Welcoming Room

Please join Sally Caldwell and others to Sew for Social Justice. We make pajama bottoms and receiving blankets for local charities including Hospitality House and the Pediatric Interim Care Center. If you have a sewing machine, please bring it. Everything else will be provided. Don’t have a sewing machine or know how to sew? Please feel free to join us to cut out patterns and help with other tasks. Our next meet up will be December 5. ****Image credit: Evg Kowalievska

Racial Justice Organizing Team (RJOT)
Now on 1st Fridays, 5:00pm – 6:30pm
Church Zoom Room

There will be no meeting in December. The next meeting will be on January 5. Our 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.

next alliance meeting

Sound Alliance
Now on 2nd Saturdays, 10:00 – 11:30am
Church Zoom Room

The Sound Alliance team works on multiple issues in alignment with our commitment to Social Justice. There will be no meeting in December. Our next meeting will be on January 13. 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 two Sundays a month.  Join us as we stand together in solidarity with our signs for justice. Our next gathering will be on December 10 in Des Moines at the intersection of 272nd St. and Pacific Hwy S (near Jack in the Box and Arco gas).

Since the 4th Sunday of December is Christmas Eve, we are canceling the Puyallup Stance this month. We will meet again in Des Moines on January 14. Puyallup Stances will resume in January on the 4th Sunday 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.

Saltwater Climate Action Now! (SCAN!)
Wednesday December 20, 6:30pm, then on 3rd Thursdays, 6:30pm
Church Zoom Room

Mark your calendar–The December SCAN! meeting will be Wednesday, December 20 at 6:30pm. Join us then! Starting in January, SCAN! will meet monthly on the third Thursday of the month. Contact Sheri Jacobson at for additional information. It’s never too late to Act for Climate Justice.

Climate Message of the Week

COP28, the UN-sponsored annual climate summit, is being held November 30-December 12. COP (Conference of the Parties) is significant because it’s the only time that world leaders come together specifically to talk about limiting global warming. Important climate actions like the Paris agreement came out of earlier COP conferences. Unfortunately, at COP 28, fossil fuel companies and the meat industry will be spending vast amounts of money to lobby against climate policies. Even worse, leaked documents show that host country, the United Arab Emirates, planned to use its position as host in Dubai to make new oil and gas deals with other governments. Be climate-savvy by following COP28 news but don’t be misled by lobbyists protecting their own interests, not the climate. ****Image credit: Monstera Production

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

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
For the fall and winter months we will be meeting over Zoom. 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.
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 (SWUUSC)
In Person – Welcoming 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. Our next meet up will be December 2.
  • 1st Saturdays are all-ages. Bring a game your whole family will enjoy! 
  • 3rd Saturdays, childcare will be available upon request. Please rsvp for childcare at least 1-week in advance to Jessica Nash at

Monthly Meetings

Movie Night
In Person – Saltwater Sanctuary

2nd Wednesdays, 6:00pm – 9:00pm
Join us at the movies! December 13 is our next movie night. Bring a snack to share. All are welcome, no need to RSVP. In December, come watch “Peaceful Warrior.” Deepak Chopra calls it an “energetic and entertaining film.” Sting said, “Peaceful Warrior is an important film, an inspiring film, and a film that could change lives.” Based on a true story of a man training for an Olympic gold medal. He finds a truth of more importance. Send questions to Robert at If you would like childcare, send a request at least 1-week in advance to Jessica Nash 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 December 13. If you would like to join us or have any questions, please contact
*New Monthly Event* – Faith Formation Sunday
In Person – Saltwater Church
3rd Sundays, 10:30am-1:30pm
Join us for fun, growth, and belonging as we delve deeper into the monthly Soul Matters themes our worship is built on. Faith Formation Sunday includes worship, lunch (sometimes potluck), then age-specific programming (adults, youth, and children). Our next gathering is December 17. A soup lunch will be provided. Questions? Contact Director of Faith Formation, Jessica Nash, at ***Image credit: Jessica Nash
Creative Hands
In Person – Welcoming Room

3rd Tuesdays, 12:30pm – 2:30pm
Join us for an afternoon of visiting and working on our creative projects. Bring your knitting, crocheting, jewelry making, or whatever with you. We gather to foster connection through sharing our creative processes. We also support the Saltwater community with small craft projects throughout the year. Our next meet up will be December 19. If you would like to join us or have any questions, please contact Joanne Loeliger (206) 870-1939.
Paint n’ Sip
In Person – Welcoming Room
***Change of Date this Month, 4th Mondays, 6:00pm – 9:00pm
Since the 4th Monday of December is Christmas Day, we will instead be meeting on Wednesday, December 27. All ages welcome! Bring any size canvas. No experience required. All paints and supplies provided. RSVP to Jessica Alexander at If you would like childcare, send a request at least 1-week in advance to Jessica Nash at
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. If you would like to attend, please contact Janeane Weprin at

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 our Office Administrator for additional information

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

Questions about Children’s and Youth Programming? Contact our Director of Faith Formation, Jessica Nash: To join the Faith Formation Zoom Room go to:

Middle and High School Youth Group Game Night
1st Saturdays, 6:00pm – 9:00pm
In Person – Welcoming Room

Join us at the Tabletop Family Game Night on December 2. Youth are encouraged to come hang out and play some games! Bring a favorite game to share. If you wish to try out a new game, we have a wide selection that will leave your brain and belly tired. Laughter and popcorn provided.

Elementary Faith Formation
3rd Sundays, 10:30am – 1:30pm
In Person – Lighthouse Large Room

Join us on Faith Formation Sunday during and after the worship service for fun, growth, and belonging with our Director of Faith Formation, Jessica Nash. Our next meet up is Sunday, December 17, where children will explore the month’s Soul Matters theme of mystery. A soup lunch will be provided. ****Image credit: Jessica Nash

Middle and High School Youth Faith Formation
3rd Sundays, 10:30am – 1:30pm
In Person – Lighthouse Youth Room

Our Youth Group meets on Faith Formation Sunday during and after the worship service. Youth Group discussions and activities are tied to the monthly Soul Matters themes. Come find some community and conversation. Our next Youth Group is Sunday, December 17. A soup lunch will be provided. ****Image credit: Josh Sorenson

Parenting Youth Support Group
Date and Time TBD
In Person – Saltwater Meeting Room

Those parenting Youth (grades 6-12) are invited to join Director, Jessica Nash, in conversation. We will connect with each other through the Soulful Home curriculum, supporting one another on our shared journey of parenting. Our next meet up is TBD. ****Image credit: Andrea Piacquadio

Youth Holiday Party
December 27, 6:00pm – 9:00pm
In Person – Party Zone (Office)

At this dark time of year, let us gather and bring some light from our holidays. We invite our youth to our Holiday Party.
Childcare will be provided for any younger siblings. Games and food will be available as well for youngers. Adults may go to Paint and Sip (happening in a separate space at the church) or have a night out!

Bring a traditional holiday dish from your family and come share any game or special traditions your family does during this holiday season. A night full of games, sharing, and laughter to bring light to our dark nights.
****Image credit: Photo by Pixabay

Support for Children, Youth, & Families

Parents Facebook Group 

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

Childcare for Church Events 

Childcare may be requested for any church activity at least one week in advance by contacting our Director of Faith Formation, Jessica Nash, at We will do our best to make accommodations whenever possible.

General Information

How to Access the Church Zoom Room 

To access Zoom, go to and 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 Bubba:

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 our Office Administrator:

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 2pm. If you need on-site assistance outside of their regularly scheduled hours, email to schedule an appointment.

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 the website form (click here)