Saltwater Church Newsletter November 26, 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 28: “Wisdom in Today’s World,” Rev. Anthony Mtuaswa Johnson, Guest Minister

December 5: “The Spiritual Origins of Covenant” Rev. Kristen Kuriga, Minister

December 12: “The Spirit of Christmas: Music Service,” Tom Burt, Music Director

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

December 26: “TBA”, 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

Blue Christmas Service
Wednesday December 8, 7:00pm – 8:00pm
Church Zoom Room
Led by Rev. Kristen Kruiga & Debra Valpey, Lay Minister

Join us for a reflective service that allows space for all of our experiences this holiday season. As we continue to navigate the pandemic, the holidays may bring sadness, grief, or feelings of isolation. Come together to hear readings and poems, sit in the darkness, and connect with community. *** image credit: amelie

Yule Fire Circle
Saturday December 18 at 4:00 pm
In Person – Saltwater Church Labyrinth
This is an outdoor event for all ages. Social distancing and masks are required.

Come celebrate Winter Solstice, the longest night of the year. As winter is settling in, we also rejoice that the days are getting longer and the sun is returning. If you are able, bring a piece of firewood and a comfortable camping chair. This is an all-ages event coordinated by CUUPS and will be held rain or star shine, so dress warm! *** 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 rain or star shine, so dress warm! *** image credit: Bubba

Christmas Eve Candlelight Service
Friday December 24, 6:30pm – 7:30pm
Church Zoom Room
Led by Rev. Kristen Kruiga
This is an outdoor event for all ages. Social distancing and masks are required.

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.

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 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 about some of the families of Mark Twain Elementary and the school’s heartfelt appreciation of our long-standing 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  

Congregational Town Hall
Sunday December 12, 11:45am
Church Zoom Room

Join us for a Town Hall meeting with Saltwater’s Board Members following Sunday’s service. After brief reports from the Board, Reopening Team, and Operation Leads, attendees will have the opportunity to ask questions as to what has been happening at Saltwater and the plan for re-opening for in person worship.

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

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

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. 

Watch For Your 2021-2022 Statement  

Statements went in the mail on 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

Growth & Learning

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 |

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 Shelter

Half of all undesignated donations received in the month of December will be shared with Federal Way Day Shelter With 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.  Case Management services and Family-Only hours are also offered.

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.

Request for Nominations for our 2022 Share The Plate Recipients

We need your help!  What organization do you feel we should be supporting?  For additional information about Share the Plate and how to nominate a non-profit organization, please visit the church website at: You will also find a list of organizations the we have supported in previous years, a link to our online submission form, and a form you may download to complete and submit to Kathy Linnell, You can also contact Kathy by phone and her number is in the church directory. The deadline is December 6th.  Let’s make 2022 another stellar year of giving!

Participate In This Year’s Giving Tree

Every year, Saltwater Church provides holiday gifts for Mark Twain Elementary students & siblings who are most in needHere’s how you can participate:

Visit our virtual tree at Saltwater Church: Giving Tree (

Through the SignUpGenius website, you will see the children’s wishes and be able to choose which gift(s) you’d like to give. Monetary donations are being accepted now through December 9th.  Please send them 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) Gifts and donations must arrive by December 9th!  Thank you for your generosity. 

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

The last meeting before our schedule change will be on Wednesday December 1. 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. ..

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 (except December)
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 4. 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.

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 12 in Des Moines at the intersection of 272nd St. and Pacific Hwy S (near Jack in the Box and Arco gas)On December 26 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.

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   

Climate Message of the Week

You’ve probably seen photos of The Great Pacific Garbage Patch, an area of floating plastic garbage in the Pacific Ocean. It’s estimated to be twice the size of Texas and contains about 79,000 tons of plastic. Groups like OceanCleanup ( and The 5 Gyres Institute ( are working to remove plastic debris out of our oceans or to prevent it from getting in the oceans at all.

Recently Ocean Cleanup used an improved version of their U-shaped net system to capture 20,000 pounds of debris. The 5 Gyres Institute has been instrumental in doing research on microplastics in the ocean. Learn about other groups working for healthy oceans at Visit their websites to read more about what they do and about how you can support them ***image credit: Condor Ferries

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 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) 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. 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
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)