Saltwater Church Newsletter December 24, 2021 & December 31, 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.

*** New Security System ***

Thanks to the hard work of our Facilities Team and our Safety Team, Saltwater Church has a new security system that was installed last week. As of today, you’ll need a unique access code when entering a building. This code will allow you to disarm the system upon your arrival. If you do not disarm the system, the police will be dispatched to the church. To request access please contact our church administrator at
Please DO NOT ENTER the buildings if you do not have a personalized security access code.


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 & January Worship Services

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

January 2:Trickster’s Gift,” Quinn Rose, Lay Leader

January 9: The Spiritual Opportunities in Chaos,” Rev. Kristen Kuriga

January 16: “Injustice Anywhere is a Threat to Justice Everywhere,” Rev. Kristen Kuriga

January 23: Navigating the Age of Overwhelm,” Rev. Kristen Kuriga

January 30: TBA, Rev. Tom Bozeman, Guest MinisterDecember

January & February Theme: Chaos

In the months of January and February we will explore the theme of chaos. Chaos is a reminder that we’re not in control, even though many of us would prefer that our world and our lives unfold in an orderly fashion and in alignment with our expectations. How can we practice living in chaos or uncertainty? What are the spiritual opportunities in chaos? Chaos is a given: how can we learn not only to survive it, but also to thrive in it? Join us as we learn and deepen our faith together!

Holiday Worship Experiences

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.

Stance For Racial Justice
Sunday December 26, 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.

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 12 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 12 years 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 12. 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.

Gifts of Gratitude

To the members of our Safety Team & our Facilities Team

This last year our teams have taken on multiple large tasks. Thanks to hard work and dedication we have replaced and upgraded our audio/visual equipment. This improvement will help us continue paving our path of connection through the pandemic. Our volunteers have upgraded and installed new lighting around the campus to increase our safety and security. They’ve also installed safer fixtures in our Music & Meditation closet. The team leaders helped collect competitive bids for multiple projects and have coordinated the installation of our new office furnace, our security system, new window coverings for our Welcome Room, carpet cleaning, and many other labor intensive projects. The members of the Saltwater community wish to extend our gratitude and appreciation of all your hard work.
***image credit: Bubba

To the members of our Special Taskforces

Our taskforces have been a tremendous asset in helping guide us safely through the dangers of COVID-19. Their awareness of the most up to date reports about the pandemic in our region has provided valuable information as our Board continues to make difficult decisions about our future. The members of the Saltwater community are grateful for your commitment to our safety.

To our Board

Our Board has provided tremendous leadership throughout the challenges of this year.  Their dedication to our membership and willingness to hear and understand our concerns, fears, and needs has provided a greater sense of community.  The Saltwater staff would like to thank you for your commitment to making the best decisions possible to support us and keep us safe

For all our volunteers and those who frequently go unseen

Volunteers are the backbone of our community. Without you, so many of our successes would never come into existence. Your efforts are frequently invisible and rarely acknowledged. As we come to the end of the year, on behalf of the Saltwater community, our office administrator Bubba, would like to thank you for all your support, your encouragement, your suggestions, and your assistance. The love and care you give to the church and our membership is invaluable. Our gratitude is endless.

Project Giving Tree Update

Every year, our congregation shops for, donates, sorts, and delivers holiday gifts to families in need from Mark Twain Elementary School. With Mark Twain Elementary being highly diverse and having around 85% low-income families, the Giving Tree has been a blessing, and we’ve been doing it for over 23 years! This year we served 18 families with gifts, and there are always more that need help. Your support allowed us to support 7 extra families, for a total of 25 families. The counselors were blown away by your generosity, wanting to express how meaningful your support is. They tell me over and over what a blessing you are. Follow this link, Project Giving Tree Thanks YOU and join me in acknowledging all who contributed.

Just last week, there was an unexpected need when three families were significantly impacted by a fire in their apartment building. I told the school counselors that our church might be able to collect a few more donations to help them. Well, a few more donations turned into $1,200, which brought the counselor to tears. She was overwhelmed with gratitude and awe that Saltwater Church cares so much.
And as your Giving Tree Coordinator, I am also in awe. Your love and care in all the ways you’ve supported Giving Tree are humbling. From the bottom of my heart, Thank You. — Lisa Key

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

Reopening Update

On Wednesday, December 15, the Saltwater Board met and considered the next steps in the process of reopening. We took into consideration the feedback from our town hall meeting on Sunday, December 11, as well as the advice of the Pandemic Taskforce. We have lowered the age for in-person, indoor, small group gatherings to 12.  We also clarified our policy around vaccination with guidance from the UUA. The Board asked the Reopening Team to think through a policy and logistics for starting worship watch parties early in the New Year (keeping an eye on the trajectory of the newest variant). More information on worship watch parties coming in January. You can access the full updated guidelines for in-person, indoor small groups here: ***image credit: Bubba

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: Each session will include discussion and healing practice.

January 16, Part One—”Unarmed and Dismembered”
February 20, Part Two—”Remembering Ourselves”
March 20, Part Three—“Mending our Collective Body

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

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

Join us on Sunday January 2 for our next SCAN! meeting. 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 Double Feature!!!

Plan now to make 2022 a Green Year. If you’re already taking measures to counteract climate change, set your intention on finding new ways to add to what you’re currently doing. Consider adding both individual actions like reducing your carbon footprint and on working with others to increase your ability to shape climate-friendly corporate or government policies. Resolve to raise awareness by initiating friendly conversations about the changing climate. Get off to a good start by joining the SCAN! meeting on January 2 at noon in the church Zoom Room. We’ll be discussing 2022 state legislative climate bills to decide which ones we can support to help get them signed into law.

Working to make a real difference in climate change in 2022 can be as easy as making a phone call or writing an email. Several important climate bills will be coming up before the Washington State Legislature in the next session: Renew Recycling Act, Lorraine Loomis Act for Salmon Recovery, Transportation for All Act, Buy Clean and Buy Fair, and Energy for All. Learn about the bills, then contact your legislators to let them know you support these bills. Sign up to be a Legislative Session Activist at The Washington Environmental Council/Washington Conservation Voters site ( Speak up for the climate in 2022. (Reminder: these bills will be discussed at the SCAN! meeting in the Church Zoom Room at noon on January 2.)

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

Ways to Connect

Pair Sharing
(Rev. Kristen’s Zoom Room
Sundays, 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. Our Pair Sharing Sessions for December and January will be as follows:

  • Sunday December 26
  • Sunday January 9
  • Sunday January 23

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact Janeane Weprin at

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
There will be no support circle on Thursday, December 30 due to the holidays. Our next support circle will be on Thursday, January 6

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. 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.

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.

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

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

All Religious Education Classes
Classes have been suspended for the holidays. They will resume on Sunday January 9th. May you have a wonderful season and welcome a new year of promise and adventure.

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)