Saltwater Church Newsletter December 22, 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 23, 7:00pm – 8:00pm Christmas Eve (Eve) Candlelight Service – Rev. Alison Duren-Sutherland (in-person)

We gather on a dark winter night to tell stories, sing carols, and light candles honoring the promise of peace and love that was born with one little baby over two thousand years ago. To accommodate the regular Sunday evening worship service of the Haitian Christians United community with whom we share our space, our candlelight service will be held on Saturday, December 23rd. This service will be both in-person and in the Church Zoom Room.

December 24 Unto Us a Child is Born – Rev. Alison Duren-Sutherland (in-person)

“Spiritual midwifery recognizes that each and every birth is the birth of the Christ child” –Ina May Gaskin. On Christmas Eve morning, Rev. Alison brings lessons from her midwifery study and practice to explore the miracle and mystery that are present at every birth.

December 31 Change is Coming, What Do We Need to Imagine? – Rev. Alison Duren-Sutherland (remote)

As the calendar turns to a new year, Rev. Alison will encourage us to imagine the future we wish to create in the year ahead.

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 those who are parenting 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 focused our December Faith Formation Sunday on the Article II proposal. Rev. Alison is looking forward to leading our community in this conversation again remotely on Wednesday, January 3 from 6:00pm – 7:00pm. Find more information about the event in the Upcoming Events section of this newsletter.

Minister’s Messages

Rev. Alison is excited to celebrate Christmas and Yule in-person during her December visit to Saltwater Church through this Sunday, December 24.

Rev. Alison posts weekly messages to our community through our church website. In this week’s message, she shares her experience of our Faith Formation Sunday discussion of who we are as a faith, and the vision we hold together in community. You can find Rev. Alison’s message via the home page of the church website or here: Minister’s Messages

Ways to connect with Rev. Alison
Phone (voice only): (206) 627-5119
Online Meeting Scheduling:

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.

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 (ONLY 6 spots left)
Zoom–4th Mondays, 10:00-11:30am – Facilitator Rosie Olds (FULL)
In-Person–3rd Wednesdays, 7:00-8:30pm – Facilitators Debra and Ray Valpey in Normandy Park (FULL)

Email to sign up or if you have questions. Don’t see a spot that works for you? Email Susan to join a waiting list or to start a new chalice circle. *Registration deadline is December 27.

New York New Years Eve (Eve)
Saturday December 30, 6:30pm – 9:30pm
In Person – Saltwater Church

Join the fun and celebrate the New Year a day early, on New Year’s Eve Eve! Our celebration will be on East Coast time so that all can join us and be back home at a reasonable hour. Karaoke, Music, Dancing, and Hors d’oeuvres will be offered. A family friendly event (alcohol free)! This offering is from Anjali Lopez and Saphronia Young as a fundraiser that is part of Our Next Chapter fundraiser. Tickets – $20 per adult, youth under 12 are free. FREE also for 2023 Saltwater Church visitors and newcomers!! Please buy your tickets now so that we have an accurate headcount to purchase food. To purchase tickets, click this donate button and write NYEE in the memo/comment section. Or you may email Anjali at or Saphronia at for tickets.

Online Adult Faith Formation Event – Our Past and Our Future
Wednesday January 3, 6:00pm – 7:00pm
Minister’s Zoom Room

Last Sunday, Saltwater Church focused our in-person December Faith Formation Sunday on the past and future of our Unitarian Universalist faith. Rev. Alison is looking forward to leading our community in this conversation again remotely on Wednesday, January 3 from 6:00pm – 7:00pm. In a space of community, we will delve into the newest proposed revisions to Article II, our own core values, and how they have been reflected in the UUA bylaws throughout our history. We will be considering what has pulled us toward this Unitarian Universalist community and what we hold most valued in our principles. This will be a time to look inward as well as outward toward our future together. If you weren’t able to join us last Sunday, we hope to see you there.

Stop the Bleed Training
Saturday January 27, 10:00am – 12:00pm
In Person – Saltwater Sanctuary

This free 2-hour class, originally intended as a follow up to the basic First Aid training, is now open to anyone in our congregation! Learn what you can do to stabilize a situation after traumatic injury, until the experts arrive. Please join us. In times of fear and trauma, your actions can save a life. If you plan to attend, please fill out this form just so we have an estimate of how to set up. There is no charge.

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 January 11. For more information or to attend, please contact Diane Schairer at

Facilities Team
There will NOT be a meeting in December

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 January 17. ***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 January 2. ****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, 10:00am – 11:30am
Church Zoom Room

Sound Alliance will take a hiatus for the month of December. We will resume our monthly meetings on the 2nd Saturday of the month on January 13. 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. 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. Since the 4th Sunday of December is Christmas Eve, we are canceling the Puyallup Stance this month. Our next gathering will be on January 14 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 January 28 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.

Saltwater Climate Action Now! (SCAN!)
3rd Thursdays, 6:30pm
Church Zoom Room

The January SCAN! meeting will be Wednesday, January 18 at 6:30pm. Join us then! Contact Sheri Jacobson at for additional information. It’s never too late to Act for Climate Justice.

Climate Message of the Week

Maybe art can bridge the political divide when it comes to climate data. A new study has shown that when participants reflected on a climate-related painting before looking at a climate data graph, there was less variation between the views of liberals and conservatives on the relevance of climate change than if they viewed the graph alone. Researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where the study was done, encouraged exploration of hopeful visuals and community art projects involving scientists, artists, and community members to find ways that art can be combined with climate data in overcoming political polarization on climate change. ****image credit: Gustavo Fring

To see examples of climate art, visit the Blanton Museum at to view their exhibit If the Sky Were Orange: Art in the Time of Climate Change.

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 January 6.
  • 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! January 10 is our next movie night. Bring a snack to share. All are welcome, no need to RSVP. 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 January 10. If you would like to join us or have any questions, please contact
Faith Formation Sunday
In Person – Saltwater Church
3rd Sundays, 10:30am-2:00pm
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 January 21. 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 January 16. 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:
Jean Spohn:

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:

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 ‘n’ 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: Pixabay

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 January 6. 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 – 2:00pm
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, January 21, after the service and lunch. The children will explore our monthly theme of liberating love through making activity bags that will provide a fun, inclusive way to be in community. Join us as we provide some love for our families and future guests. ****Image credit: Jessica Nash

Middle and High School Youth Faith Formation
3rd Sundays, 10:30am – 2:00pm
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 around our monthly theme of liberating love. Our next Youth Group is Sunday, January 21. Lunch will be provided.

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

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)