Saltwater Church Newsletter November 19, 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.


November Worship Services

November 21: “Unitarian Universalist Prayer,” Rev. Kristen Kuriga

November 28: “Wisdom in Today’s World,” Rev. Anthony Mtuaswa Johnson, Guest Minister

Interfaith Thanksgiving Eve Gratitude Service
Wednesday, November 24th at 7 pm
Church zoom room

Join Bet Chaverim and Saltwater Church in an evening of reflection, gratitude practice, and music. On the eve of Thanksgiving our communities will come together on zoom. If you have a poem or reading on the theme of gratitude that you would like to share, please sign-up to participate in the service by contacting Galen Guffy, Worship Operations Lead: We would like to have six worship co-creators from each community in addition to Rabbi Jim and Rev. Kristen. We hope you will join us to nourish your spirit! ***image credit: Rodnae Productions

November & December’s Theme: Spirit

In the months of November and 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!

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.

Movie Discussion Night – Pete’s Dragon
Saturday November 20, 6:30pm – 8:00pm
Church Zoom Room

Pete’s Dragon” is the adventure of an orphaned boy named Pete and his best friend Elliot, who just so happens to be a dragon. For years, an old wood carver has delighted local children with his tales of the dragon that resides deep in the woods of the Pacific Northwest. To his daughter, Grace, these stories are little more than tall tales…until she meets Pete–a mysterious 10-year-old with no family and no home who claims to live in the woods with a giant, green dragon named Elliot. Grace sets out to determine where Pete came from, where he belongs, and the truth about this dragon.

We’ll meet on Zoom to watch clips from the movie and discuss our understanding of spirit, and how we engage with the mysteries of life.  You are encouraged to watch the movie in advance, but it is not required for participation in the discussion.  Pete’s Dragon (2016), rated PG, is a remake of the classic Disney film, and available through several streaming services or on video.

Safety Team Meeting
Thursday December 2, 7:00pm – 8:30pm
Church Zoom Room

The Safety Team is working on safety planning and mitigation in case of emergency. We welcome members of the community to join us in our discussion. Those interested in drawing emergency exit maps, creating accessible instructions, or with ideas about training and best safety practices are especially encouraged to share your knowledge. We look forward to seeing you.

Grief Support Group
Thursday December 2, 7:00pm – 8:30pm
Minister’s Zoom Room (

After our November 11 Grief Workshop, we learned that there is enough interest in forming a grief support group here at Saltwater which we will begin on December 2. Loss and the grieving is integral to the human experience. If you are grieving a loss of some kind (think loved one, loss of friend, loss of abilities or ?), or trying to support one who is grieving, plan to join Debra Valpey and Toska Rodriguez, two Saltwater lay ministers, as we explore the nature of grief and loss and the many ways they find expression in our lives.

All are welcome. In the meantime, or if you have further questions about whether this group might be a good fit for you, or if you wish to speak to a lay minister about loss and grief, please contact Debra (206-953-5704 or or Toska (253-839-1921 or We are here for you.

Celebration of Giving & Receiving
Saturday December 4, 7:00pm – 9:00pm
Church Zoom Room

Saltwater’s Writers Group presents a special holiday event. To celebrate the publication of their new book, “The COVID-19 Diaries,” you are invited to join us for an evening of reading, singing, and sharing of holiday cheer.  

We’ll gather over zoom with our cozy blankets and mugs of hot liquid. Special guests will share their voices as we sing some holiday favorites. Joanne will give a brief history about Handmade with Dove and show us some of the cards available in their annual fundraising event. Our writers will read excerpts of what they’ve published. In the spirit of giving, all proceeds from the publication will be donated to Saltwater Church. Additionally, we’ll hear from members of Mark Twain Elementary who are excited to share with us their appreciation of our Giving Tree Project. We’ll close the evening with the auctioning of a personalized publication created by our writers group, specifically for you in the year of 2022. Join us for a relaxing evening of community and connection. ***image credit: Bubba  

Fundraising Event : Handmade with Dove

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

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

Other events to watch for in December

December 8, 7:00pm – 8:00pm Blue Christmas Service

December 12, 10:30am – 11:30am Christmas Music Service

December 12, 12:00pm – 1:30pm Congregational Meeting

December 24, 7:00pm – 8:00pm Christmas Eve Candlelight Service
*** image credit: Karolina Grabowska

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 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

Board Focus for this Church Year

The focus of the Board’s work for this church year has been split into two parts. In Fall/Winter, the Board will be reading and learning together through the UUA report Widening the Circle of Concern.  We are learning how we as a faith can move forward to be truly welcoming to all people.  In Winter/Spring we will be facilitating a visioning process for the congregation informed by our learnings in the Fall. 

The Board will also continue to support the committees of the Board, the Healthy Congregation Team and the Nominating Team, and the Taskforces convened by the Board, the Reopening Taskforce, the Pandemic Taskforce, and the Safety Taskforce. If you have any questions about the work of the Board feel free to reach out to any of our Board members. 

Board meetings are held in the church zoom room and are open to members of the congregation. In November and December the Board meeting is on the third Wednesday of the month from 7-9 pm due to the holidays. Starting again in January and through the rest of the church year, Board meetings are on the fourth Wednesday of the month. 

Would you like to volunteer with our Technology Team?

Our new audio-visual system has been installed! We are excited about the capacity this will allow us to create multi-platform worship and programming when we are able to return to in-person, indoor programming. Although we had an initial training with our installation company, Neurilink, our focus now is on learning to use the equipment well and training all of the communities that share our campus.

If you are someone who would like to join our technology team email our office administrator at We have received a few messages of interest but have room for more and would love to hear from you. Opportunities for training will be coming soon!
***image credit: B Lehman

Safety Upgrades On Campus

Thank you to those who were able to join us for a conversation after service on Sunday, October 10 about safety. The Board has approved funding to implement safety upgrades on campus, including installing a monitored security system with panic buttons in all three buildings, improving lighting, replacing the front doors of the Lighthouse, putting in window coverings in the welcome room, and putting in door handles in the interior of the sanctuary. These upgrades are being coordinated by a joint team of lay leaders and staff: Glenn Andrews, Facilities Lead, Karin Leisy, Board member and Safety Taskforce Lead, Katherine “Bubba” Miller, our administrator, and Rev. Kristen Kuriga, our Minister. If you have questions about these upgrades, feel free to contact one of these people. If you would like to help with these projects, contact

Watch For Your 2021-2022 Statement  

Statements went in the mail today, 11/19/21, to all members and pledging friends.  They show donations through October 31st.  If the payments shown don’t match your records, please contact our treasurer, Gaye Greeves.  You can send an email to or call/text 253-508-3961.  Thank you for all of your support for our Saltwater community.           

If you would like to make a contribution to Saltwater Church you may do so 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. ***image credit: Nataliya Vaitkevich

Saltwater Church Re-Opening Update

On Wednesday, October 27, the Saltwater Church Board voted to open our main building to small groups meetings in the Sanctuary and Welcoming Room. Groups of 15 adults or less are able to meet indoors masked and distanced. You can access the guidelines for meeting here.

If you are part of a small group that would like to meet in-person, or you would like to create an event to foster connection, you can schedule that event with our office administrator: If you need support in planning for a small group gathering, please contact a member of the Operation Leads Team: Rev. Kristen Kuriga, Melinda Einander, Susan Aigner, or Galen Guffy.

The Board is continuing to monitor the local covid transmission rates through Covid Act Now: Due to continued high transmission rates, we will continue to worship through zoom and hold most of our programming virtually. As weather allows, we will also plan in-person outdoor events open to all ages. The Board each month assesses our local conditions to see when we are able to start multi-platform worship. We are keeping in mind guidance from both public health and the UUA:*** image credit: Anna Shavets

If you have any questions about the Church Reopening timeline, please contact Mayda Taney, Board President.

Growth & Learning

Saltwater Pen Pal Project

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

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.

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 |

Ways To Live Our Values

Share the Plate for November: Hospitality House

Half of all undesignated donations received in the month of November will be shared with Hospitality House: Hospitality House is a transitional shelter and 90-day program in Burien for homeless women.  It can accommodate a maximum of nine women at one time.  Each client’s objective is to find permanent housing and financial stability but how this is achieved is based upon the needs of the individual client.  Case managers support clients throughout the program.  You can also provide support by volunteering, making a meal, shopping via Amazon, Fred Meyer and Bartell’s and donating.

You can make a donation to share the plate through the donate button on our website or mail a check to the church office with “basket” in the memo line: Saltwater UU Church, 25701 14 Pl S., Des Moines, WA 98198.

Engage In Racial Justice

The month of November is Native American Heritage Month. The month is a time to celebrate rich and diverse cultures, traditions, and histories and to acknowledge the important contributions of Native peoples. Last month our Share The Plate contributions were shared with Duwamish Tribal Services: In addition to learning more about the Duwamish and our impact on their community, you can support other tribes in our region as well.

For example, the Snoqualmie Tribe is currently petitioning to have the new ferry in Seattle named after the Tribe. Their Tribal Council invites supportive members of the public to sign an informal petition of support that can be located at: Also, were you aware of the negative impacts that fly-overs are having on Snoqualmie Falls? To learn more about how to support the Snoqualmie Tribe in stopping this harmful activity visit

Participate In This Year’s Giving Tree

Every year, Saltwater Church provides holiday gifts for Mark Twain Elementary students & siblingsHere’s how you can participate:

Monetary donations are being accepted now through December 9th.  Please send to Saltwater Church with Giving Tree in the memo. Donations may be mailed to the church or you can use our donation link on the church website (click here)

Or, starting November 21st, you will be able to visit our virtual tree through SignUpGenius.  This is where you will see the children’s wishes and choose which gift(s) you’d like to give.  Thank you for your generosity!

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 November 28 in Puyallup from 2pm until 3pm at the intersection of 136th and S. Meridian (near post office and Sonic restaurant) On December 12 in Des Moines at the intersection of 272nd St. and Pacific Hwy S (near Jack in the Box and Arco gas)On 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 and discover how you can help make an impact as far as our current climate crisis is concerned. Bring a friend too! We are a group who takes actions to help protect our environment and combat climate change. 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 December 11. 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 3rd Tuesday, 6:30pm – 8:30pm
Rev. Kristen’s Zoom Room

Our Racial Justice Organizing Team meets monthly to discuss more ways to support our community in our anti-racism efforts. Our next meeting will be on Tuesday December 21. 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

There were some positive outcomes from the COP26 climate summit like the pledges about methane and deforestation. Other actions were decidedly mixed.

Several countries and major automakers set a goal to go all electric by 2040 but others–including the US, Germany, Toyota and Volkswagen–did not sign the agreement. And there was no decisive, urgent action about fossil fuels. Instead, the final climate agreement delayed action on reducing fossil fuel emissions and changed the text regarding coal from “phasing out” to “phasing down”.

So, what happens now? Activist and 350 founder, Bill McKibben said it’s a fairy tale that world governments will fix our climate crisis–“It’s up to us.” Over 100,000 protesters from all over the world demonstrated outside COP26 for a healthy, just climate ( We couldn’t all march in Glasgow, but we must each find ways to demand immediate government and corporate action that truly makes a difference in our climate crisis. It’s up to us. Join, SCAN!, our community group that Acts for Climate Justice to learn more ways you can participate in making change happen.

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
There will be no support circle on Thursday November 25 due to the Thanksgiving Holiday. The next support circle will be on Thursday, December 2. 

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 December 14 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)
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. The next meeting will be Wednesday November 24. Creative Hands will being having their first in-person gathering in the church Welcome Room on December 15. 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 December 8. 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(SPECIAL NOVEMBER DATE)
Due to Thanksgiving, November’s Pair Sharing experience will be on November 21. 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
Wednesday evenings at 7 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)