Saltwater Church Newsletter December 17, 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.


Closed Captioning Now Available For Worship Services

We are excited to announce that closed captioning is now available in the church zoom room. In order to see the transcription, go to the bottom of your screen to the CC Live Transcription tab. When you click on it, automatically generated captions will appear at the bottom of the screen.

December Worship Services

December 19: “Celebrating the Return of the Sun,” CUUPS leaders and Rev. Kristen Kuriga

December 26: “The Spiritual Side of Money”, Saphronia Young, lay leader

December’s Theme: Spirit

In December we’ll explore our relationship to something larger than ourselves which has many names and expressions: spirit, God, Goddess, great mystery, creation, nature, and all that might be, to name just a few. Through this exploration we will reflect on our own personal spiritual journeys, engage in spiritual practice, and ask questions that will bring us deeper into relationship with ourselves, one another, and the spirit of life and love. Join us as we journey together!

Holiday Worship Experiences


Unfortunately, due to forecasted weather of rain and strong winds, the Yule Fire Circle has been canceled for Saturday, December 18.

We invite you to celebrate this sacred time of year with us in worship on Sunday morning, December 19 over zoom: “Celebrating the Return of the Sun” at 10:30 am in the church zoom room: You can also learn more here about creating a Yule Ritual at home:
*** image credit: Bubba

Caroling & Illuminated Labyrinth Walk
Wednesday December 22, 6:30pm – 7:30pm
In Person – Saltwater Church Labyrinth
Led by Rev. Kristen Kuriga and Tom Burt, Music Director
This is an outdoor event for all ages. Social distancing and masks are required.

Gather around the labyrinth by candlelight to sing Christmas carols. Then, journey through the labyrinth, which will be illuminated by LED tea lights. This is an all-ages event and will be held in light rain or star shine, so dress warm! If there is heavy rain this event will be canceled. *** image credit: Bubba

Christmas Eve Candlelight Service
Friday December 24, 6:30pm – 7:30pm
Church Zoom Room
Led by Rev. Kristen Kruiga

Join us to sing carols, engage with the story of Christmas, and sit in candlelight from our homes, connecting with the hope, love, and the joy of being together in spirit at this sacred time of the year. *** image credit:

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.

SoulCollage on New Year’s Day
Saturday January 1, 3:00pm – 6:00pm
In Person – Saltwater Church Welcome Room
This is an indoor event for persons 18 years and older. Social distancing and masks are required.

Join Mayda Taney to engage in the spiritual practice of SoulCollage. SoulCollage is an easy, enjoyable, intuitive collage process for self-discovery and community. People make their own decks of collaged cards for their personal use from found images. The SoulCollage method helps people discover their unique inner/outer guides and challengers, and access their own wisdom to answer their life questions.

Since this event is indoors, please RSVP to There is a total of 14 spots and you must be 18 or older in order to attend. This event is masked, socially distanced, and will adhere to the current COVID-19 guidelines. ***image credit: Karolina Grabowska

Click image to read Washington State’s “Best Practices for the Holidays”

Current In-person Activity COVID-19 Guidelines

For outdoor programming, given the rise in infection rates, everyone will be required to mask and practice social distancing. This includes persons who have been fully vaccinated.  Indoor programming is limited to groups of fewer than 15 people over the age of 18. 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.

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.

From The Board & HCT

Learn About Our Governance

Saltwater Unitarian Universalist Church is governed by a Board of Directors. To learn about our Board and their activities, please visit our website at:

The Board has commissioned 3 tasksforces; The Pandemic Taskforce, The Safety Taskforce, and The Re-Opening Taskforce. These groups meet on a regular basis. Watch our Church Calendar and Upcoming Events (listed in our weekly newsletter) to learn when the next meeting is planned to take place. ***image credit: Thirdman

Growth & Learning

“My Grandmother’s Hands” – Book Discussion
January 16, February 20, and March 20 (3rd Sundays) 12:00pm – 1:30pm
Church Zoom Room

“The body is where our instincts reside and where we fight, flee, or freeze.  My Grandmother’s Hands is a call to action for Americans to recognize that racism is not only about the head, but also the body. Menakem takes readers through a step-by-step healing process based on the latest neuroscience and somatic healing methods”.

Saltwater’s Racial Justice Organizing Team invites you to a 3 session book discussion based on “My Grandmother’s Hands” by Resmaa Menakem, MSW, LICSW. Please pre-register:

Saltwater RJOT has purchased some copies of the book to make available to participants. Please contact our Office Administrator, Katherine Miller at to arrange to get a copy. If you wish to purchase your own copy, please consider a BIPOC owned store like Estelita’s,          

COMPASS, Navigating the Paths to Liberation Together – 2 Day Event
Saturday December 11, 10:00am – 6:00pm & Sunday December 12, 9:00am – 1:30pm
Online Leadership Development Opportunity through the UUA

With so much uncertainty in the wider world, sometimes it can be hard to find one’s bearings. Join us to find our collective “compass” as we explore interdependence as a path to wholeness. Our very own Article II Commission will ask for your input on our ever-evolving Purposes and Principles.

This event is for: lay leaders, religious professionals, adults, youth, members of congregations, and anyone else who is interested in diving into an exploration of interdependence in UU theology and practice. The cost to register is based on a sliding scale of $25-60. To find out more and to register, go to: For questions, contact

Save the Date—Reflect, Rejoice, Renew! Pacific Western Regional Assembly

February 4-6, 2021, San Diego, CA and online
You can learn more here: Reflect, Rejoice, Renew: PWR Regional Assembly 2022 | Pacific Western Region |

WhaleCoast Alaska 2022

The UU Fellowship in Fairbanks Alaska would like to invite you to participate in Alaska’s UU Fundraising Tour. This program involves dozens of volunteers from 4 Unitarian Universalist congregations in Alaska who come together to offer a unique and wonderful opportunity to visit Alaska.

Have you ever wanted to visit Alaska? If so, WhaleCoast Alaska 2022 is for you! We invite you to experience our unique environmental and spiritual tour program next summer.  See Alaska through the eyes of local UUs, with friendly homestays and awe-inspiring tour activities. See wildlife, including moose, bears, caribou, whales, bald eagles, sea lions, etc. Visit Denali National Park. Experience Native Alaskan culture. WhaleCoast Alaska is an inspirational way to visit our beautiful state. Complete info at: Proof of Covid-19 vaccinations required. This is a once-in-a-lifetime experience you won’t want to miss!

Saltwater Pen Pal Project

Do you suffer from Zoom fatigue? Consider joining the Saltwater Pen Pal Project to exchange snail mail (or email) correspondence!

Every 2 months you would be paired up with someone from the group to exchange your thoughts about the current Sparks of Wonder theme. Contact Joanne at if you are interested in participating.

Ways To Live Our Values

Share the Plate for December: Federal Way Day Center

Half of all undesignated donations received in the month of December will be shared with Federal Way Day Center the active involvement of SUUC, the Federal Way Day Center opened in December 2016. It provides a welcoming space to adults who are homeless and vulnerably housed. The Day Center offers showers, laundry, computers, phones, mail reception services, space for meal preparation, and access to health care and social services.  

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.

Fundraising Event : Handmade with Dove
All of November and December

Handmade With Dove’s revenue during the months of November and December, less shipping and fees, will be donated to Saltwater Church!

Shop for unique handmade UU cards at
***image credit: Joanne Stonebraker

Engage In Racial Justice

This month we started the Haitian Christians United Food Pantry Support Group. Thank you to all who supported the Haitian immigrants and refugees with your generous donations of money and supplies earlier this year.

Haitian Christians United now holds an occasional food pantry to help with ongoing needs. Food is delivered on Friday afternoons. The food is then sorted and packaged for distribution on Sunday. Your Racial Justice Organizing Team would like to recruit volunteers to help with the Friday afternoon work. It will require people willing to be part of a pool of volunteers, on call. You would not have to be available every time volunteers are needed. If you are interested, I will send you more details when I receive them. Please email   ***image credit: Kindel Media

Stance For Racial Justice
Monthly on the 2nd and 4th Sundays, 2:00pm – 3:00pm
In person

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. We will gather on December 26 in Puyallup from 2pm until 3pm at the intersection of 136th and S. Meridian (near post office and Sonic restaurant) On January 9 we will meet in Des Moines at the intersection of 272nd St. and Pacific Hwy S (near Jack in the Box and Arco gas).  Contact Colette DeMonte at for more information.

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

Join us on Sunday December 5 for our next SCAN! meeting. Our primary focus will be on the Tacoma City Council’s recent decision affecting expansion (or not) of fossil fuel infrastructure on their Tideflat’s industrial area. It’s both good news and not-so-good news so please come and learn all about it. If you’re a PSE customer it will be of special interest to you. Bring a friend too!
If you are interested in participating in future SCAN! efforts, please join in our monthly Zoom meetings and Act for Climate Justice. *** image credit: Margo Rolf

Sound Alliance
Monthly on the 2nd 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 January 8. 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.

Racial Justice Organizing Team (RJOT)
Monthly on the 4th Monday, 6:30pm – 8:30pm
Rev. Kristen’s Zoom Room

The next meeting will be on Monday January 24. Happy New Year! 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’s another reason to love dogs—not only are they great companions, they’re helping scientists work against climate change and environmental damage. Some environmental groups train dogs–many of them from shelters–to protect the environment and gather climate information. UW researchers use Conservation Canines to identify Orca scat in the Puget Sound. The scat gives the scientists an important tool in understanding how pollution and lack of food affects the whales. In other places, dogs sniff out invasive species that threaten biodiversity. Dogs are also trained to determine whether toxic chemicals are present in urban areas.

Learn more about how dogs are helping the environment at sites like Working Dogs for Conservation ( and Rogue Detection Teams ( Donate to support their work and let others know about these hardworking dogs and what they do. (Based on the book Conservation Canines, How Dogs Work for the Environment by Isabelle Groc.) ***image credit:

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

Ways to Connect

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
The COVID-19 Diaries book, by The Saltwater Writers, has been published and is available at Amazon! Proceeds from the book will be donated to Saltwater Church. Here is the link:

This book is a testament to the resilience and sense of community we saw and experienced during the past 1.5 years of the pandemic as we traveled together through uncharted waters. The book includes almost 40 personal essays and poems along with photographs and news clips that provide the historic (pandemic) context. On amazon, you can “look inside” and see the artwork of Chrys Bjornson on the title page. The Saltwater Writers want to thank you all for your support of this project!

Do you like to write? Would you like to share and receive feedback on your writing? We welcome all writers at all levels! Please join us. Our mission is to support one another in our writing. For more information, contact Janeane Weprin 630-824-8343 or

Support Circle 
(Church Zoom Room)
Thursdays, 12:30pm – 1:30pm
The next support circle will be on Thursday, December 23 

Ongoing Grief Support Group
(Church Zoom Room)
2nd Thursdays, 7:00pm – 8:30pm
Grief is a recognition of endings, but it’s also a birth and a beginning (Judy Lief). Saltwater’s Grief Support Group (facilitated by Debra Valpey and Toska Rodriguez, lay ministers) is a safe place to explore loss and open ourselves to opportunity. We meet on 2nd Thursdays in the church Zoom room (exception is January, when we meet on 3rd Thursday in Rev. Kristen’s Zoom room). All are welcome. Contact Debra Valpey (206-953-5704 or Toska Rodriquez (, 253 839-1921 if you would like more information or support in the interim.

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

Paint Group 
(In Person – Church Welcome Room)
2nd Tuesdays, 7:00pm – 9:00pm
Paint Night returns! (Minus the “sip” for now) Come join us for a night of painting and socializing! No experience required. Bring a canvas of your choosing, all other supplies provided. Our next gathering will be January 11 and is limited to 15 people. Masks are required to participate. Please RSVP to Jessica at by the 10th of the month.

Creative Hands
(Church Zoom Room) OR In Person
2nd and 4th Wednesdays, 1:00pm – 3:00pm
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. Questions? Contact Lynn Crow at (206) 429-2005.

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 January 12. If you would like to join us or have any questions, please contact

Weekend Writers Group
(Church Zoom Room)
2nd and 4th 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  It would be so great to hear from you and to welcome you to the Saltwater Weekend Writers’ Group.

Pair Sharing
(Rev. Kristen’s Zoom Room
4th Sunday, 11:45am – 1:00pm
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

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, & Families

Family Ministries Zoom Room

Religious Education Class for Children ages 5-11
Sunday mornings at 9:45am
email our Director of Family Ministries at to get the class zoom link

Middle School Virtual Youth Group for grades 6-8
Sunday afternoons at 1 p.m.
email our Director of Family Ministries at to get the class zoom link

High School Virtual Youth Group for grades 9-12
Sunday afternoons at 1:00 p.m.
email our Director of Family Ministries at to get the class zoom link

Family-based Religious Education
This is “church in a box” for families. Families who sign up will receive story books, manipulatives, craft supplies, and discussion questions to help you and your children explore what it means to be a Unitarian Universalist family. New supplies will be distributed every 1-2 months, and will include seasonal and holiday activities as well. (Kits may be picked up at the church or delivered to your home).  Email our Director of Family Ministries  at if you would like to participate.

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 Tuesdays and Fridays from 9:00am until 1:00pm. If you need on-site assistance outside of regularly scheduled hours, email to schedule an appointment. Planting Flowers has resumed providing essential childcare support to families. Haitian Christians have resumed in-person gatherings with a limited capacity on Sunday evenings. Bet Chaverim has also resumed hosting some events in the Welcome Room & Sanctuary. 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.

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)

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