Saltwater Church Newsletter September 9, 2022

We offer worship in two ways: in-person multi-platform service held in our sanctuary and online in our Church Zoom Room at 10:30 am. 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 in-person programming and via our Church Zoom Room.

September Worship

Live multi-platform worship in the sanctuary and online through zoom!

September 11: “Welcome Home!: Our Annual Water Communion and Ingathering Service,” Rev Kristen Kuriga
September 18: “Living on the Edge of Ecological Renewal,” Rev Jennifer D. Alviar, Guest Minister
September 25: “Transforming Conflict,” Rev Kristen Kuriga

Theme for September : Belonging

Throughout the month of September we are exploring the spiritual theme of belonging. According to poet John O’Donohue, “The word ‘belonging’ holds together two fundamental aspects of life: Being and Longing.” When have you experienced belonging? What does your soul most long for? How are we transformed by belonging to one another? And how can we expand the circles of belonging here at Saltwater Church? Join us to reflect, learn, and grow together!

Ways for All Ages to Participate in Sunday Morning Worship Time

Children and youth are welcome to worship with their families in the sanctuary.  People of all ages who prefer hands-on activities or space to move or make some noise are welcome to participate in the Welcome Room, where we will have activities related to the morning’s worship theme. For our younger guests, we provide childcare in the Welcome Room and outside. Youth are encouraged to volunteer as ushers, greeters, worship leaders, or tech support if they are interested. Volunteers are needed to assist with childcare as well. Please contact Katherine (Bubba) Miller, Office Administrator, with questions or to discuss your family’s particular needs for in-person participation.

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.

Water Communion Ritual & Ingathering
Sunday Service September 11, 10:30am – 11:30am
In Person – Saltwater Church &
Church Zoom Room

On Sunday, September 11th, we will celebrate the start of the church year with our Water Communion ritual. Whether you are worshiping on zoom or in person, we invite you to bring a small amount of water from somewhere local or meaningful to you: the sound, a stream or lake, collected rainwater, the ocean, or water from your hose or faucet. We will create a ritual together to mark this new beginning.
***image credit: Bubba

Welcome Home Picnic – An In-gathering Event
Following Service September 11, 11:30am – 1:30pm
In Person – Saltwater Church

Join us as we welcome the new church year, and welcome each other back to in-person worship. We’re having a picnic so bring food for yourself, or something to share. We’ll set up picnic tables and, for those who wish, a grill will be available. As an Act for Climate Justice, you are encouraged to bring your own reusable plates and utensils, but remember you’ll need to take them home dirty as our kitchen is closed at this time. Don’t worry though, if you forget your own dishes, we will have miscellaneous disposable plates and napkins available.

Be ready to party! We’ll provide party favors. You can bring yard games to share. There will be Dances of Universal Peace, craft and writing activities… and just space to enjoy conversation, laughter and our lovely grounds. Bring your family, invite friends, all are welcome. Come and enjoy the festivities! ***image credit:  Анна Галашева 

If you can help set up (9:00 to 10:15) or put things away (1:00 to 1:30) — please email Diane Schairer at

Allstar Picture Library

Choir Singing Circle
Thursday September 15, 7:00pm – 8:30pm
In Person – Saltwater Sanctuary

Saltwater Choir is Back! This group will rehearse each Thursday evening and will sing in worship twice a month. Anyone who wants to share their vocal gifts and help create music for worship is welcome to join. We have found that singing together is a spiritual practice that helps us feel whole and well, as we minister to our congregation through our music. Come join us! We will follow our current COVID-19 Guidelines and have special “singing” masks available. For questions or more information, please contact Tom Burt, Music Director. email: phone: 206-304-3830.
***image credit: Allstar Picture Library

Current In-person Activity COVID-19 Guidelines

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.

From the Board

Welcome to our 2022-2023 Board Members 

We are pleased to announce your Saltwater UU Church Board members for this church year are:

President:  Karin Leisy
Vice President:  Aida Sanchez-Vela
Secretary:  Lauren Crowder
Katie Baker
Nancy Corr
Diane Schairer
Treasurer:  Gaye Greeves

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact any of the Board.  We have begun planning our focus for the year and look forward to sharing this with you later this month. The Board will be meeting monthly on Wednesdays.

SUUC – Community & SUUC – World Listservs
Finding A Way Forward: an update 

On Wednesday evening the Board hosted a forum to discuss recent events on our listservs, how individuals were impacted by them, and suggestions for ways to improve the listserv experience.  We are grateful to everyone who joined us in person and on Zoom.  In July we recruited a group of moderators to assist our community as we live in covenant with one another through our online communications. Despite everyone’s best efforts, our new process had gotten off to a rocky start.  Wednesday’s discussion was very productive. We will be integrating solutions and sharing the results with everyone soon.  Meanwhile, we have reopened the listservs and here are links to Saltwater policies, which are not changing:

Thank you to everyone who joined us, for giving your time and your thoughts.   

Changes to Our COVID-19 Safety Guidelines 

On August 30, the Board met and reviewed our COVID-19 Safety Guidelines for worship and small groups. They approved changes that will allow more people to gather in-person while still caring for the health and well-being of our community. Below are highlights of the changes. You can access the full revised guidelines here:

  • There is no longer a capacity limit on indoor worship and programming
  • Social distancing is optional indoors. Please respect those who continue to practice social distancing.
  • We continue to require masking for indoor programming. Small groups of adults, twelve people or less, can remove their masks during an indoor program if all members of the group consent.
  • If you are sick, please stay home. If you have come into contact with someone positive for Covid, follow the precautions recommended by the CDC:

If you have any questions about the COVID-19 Safety Guidelines, feel free to reach out to members of the Board or a staff member. Thank you for continuing to care for one another and our larger community. We look forward to seeing you at worship in-person or on zoom!

Staff Updates

Director of Multigenerational Faith Formation Hiring Process – Update 

image credit: cottonbro

Earlier this summer, the hiring team posted a job description for a half-time Director of Multigenerational Faith Formation. Like many UU congregations throughout the country who are searching for religious education professionals, we received few applications. We are currently reviewing applications, as well as exploring other arrangements, including the possibility of hiring an Interim Consultant. The hiring team, Christina Frueh, Lisa Key, and Rev. Kristen will continue to think creatively about our next steps and keep you informed through the newsletter. Below is the link to the job description. Please share it with your networks or with individuals if you believe there is someone who may be a good fit for this position.

Update on the Hiring Process of Our Church Pianist 

image credit: Mikhail Nilov

Saltwater Church is now accepting applications for a Church Pianist. Below is the link to the job announcement and full job description. Please share this opportunity with your networks or anyone you think may be a good fit for the position. We hope to have interviews and auditions in the next few weeks.

Church Pianist for Saltwater UU Church 
Saltwater Unitarian Universalist Church in Des Moines, WA is seeking a skilled pianist to join our worship team. Together we seek to create transformative worship experiences that nourish the soul.

Main Duties

  • Accompany hymns in worship
  • Play prelude, offertory, and special music selections
  • Accompany choir in worship (September through June)
  • Rehearse with choir (September through June)

You can access the full position description and information about the application process here: 

Growth & Learning

Transforming Conflict: A Congregational Opportunity for Learning and Skill Building

What’s your relationship with conflict? Is it difficult for you? As a congregation, we want to learn how to engage with conflict in loving and covenantal ways. Join the Healthy Congregation Team and the Board for a congregational study of the book Transforming Conflict: The Blessings of Congregational Turmoil by Terasa Cooley.

Over five months we will read, reflect, and learn new skills. Sessions will be offered on zoom and in-person, and we encourage learning to continue between sessions through learning pairs. You can purchase a copy of the book here: There will also be copies available to borrow from the church office starting on Wednesday, September 14. See below for the schedule and join us!

The same session will be offered each month in two different modalities:
1st Wednesdays, 7:00pm – 8:30pm, Church Zoom Room &
3rd Sundays, 12:00pm – 1:30 pm, In Person – Church Welcome Room

October 5 & 16: Introduction, A New Way of Looking at Conflict: Why Transformation?, and The Physiology of Conflict
November 2 & 20: Revelations of the Self, From Me to We: Covenantal Dialogue
December 7 & 18: Congregational Systems: The Repercussions of Misconduct
January 4 & 15: Conflicts about Race: Creating a New Culture of Learning
February 1 & 19: Tools for Change: The Courage of Creative Imagination

Questions? Contact a member of the Healthy Congregation Team: Bev Ross, Quinn Rose, Debra Valpey, or the Board Liaison to the Healthy Congregation Team, Aida Sanchez-Vela.

Ways To Live Our Values

Share the Plate for September:
Federal Way Day Center 

Half of all undesignated donations received in the month of September 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. Remember, our funds are matched so your contribution is doubled!

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.   

Totem Pole Journey to the Clean Energy Justice Convergence
Monday September 12, 4:00pm – 7:00pm
East Shore Unitarian Universalist Church

Join together with East Shore UU Church and Lummi members of the House of Tears Carvers. These carvers will bring an honor pole to bless and they will talk joining with other Indigenous Nations and their allies at the Clean Energy Justice Convergence in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. You are welcome to attend at any time during this family-friendly event and especially for the official blessing ceremony that will start at 6:00 PM.

This journey is dedicated to communities in Appalachia and around the world who are on the front lines of fossil fuel-based energy extraction and environmental devastation, and to the growing movement of Earth, Sky and Water Protectors working to advance truly clean energy solutions and hasten a just transition away from fossil fuels and false
solutions. For additional information click here to read East Shore’s official announcement or contact Lynn at ***image credit: East Shore UU Church

Hospitality House Fundraiser
Saturday September 17, 9:30am
Merrill Gardens on SW 151st & 5th Ave SW

JOIN US! The annual Hospitality House WALK FOR WOMEN will be on September 17. Saltwater UU has participated over the years in rain and shine. It is an easy walk plus fun filled!! Enjoy this opportunity to foster connections as we proudly represent SUUC! There are two ways to participate. Meet us for the Live Walk in Merrill Gardens in Burien or join the Virtual Event. This year’s fundraiser goal this year is $24,000. If you have any questions, contact Susan Aigner ( or Kathy Linnell ( Let’s support Hospitality House… register here

LIVE WALK: Meet at Merrill Gardens on SW 151st & 5th Ave SW:

  1. Registration begins at 9:30 a.m. Saturday, September 17th
  2. Stretch and warm up!
  3. 10:00 a.m. Ready, Set, Walk!


  1. Walk any time between Sept. 17-18.
  2. Share your walk photos on the Hospitality House Facebook page!
next SCAN! Action meeting

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

Please join us for our 1st Sunday of the month Saltwater Climate Action Now! (SCAN!) meeting this Sunday, October 2. We’re coming off our summer break so there will be lots to talk about including how we might make the church campus a greener one and how the entire church community can help to plug a gap in the recently enacted Inflation Recovery Act. Bring a friend too! Contact Bill Adams at for additional information. We encourage you to in our monthly Zoom meetings and Act for Climate Justice.
*** image credit: Margo Rolf

next alliance meeting

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 September 10. 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 every other Sunday.  Join us as we stand together in solidarity with our signs for justice. Please wear a mask and practice social distancing. Our next gathering will be on September 11 in Des Moines at the intersection of 272nd St. and Pacific Hwy S (near Jack in the Box and Arco gas) On September 25 we will meet 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.

Racial Justice Organizing Team (RJOT)
Monthly on the 3rd Wednesday, 7:00pm – 8:30pm
Church Zoom Room

The next meeting will be on Wednesday September 21Our 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.

Climate Message of the Week

image credit: Anastasia Shuraeva

Climate Quiz: What percentage of Americans support climate change policies? 

The answer may surprise you. Most Americans think it’s 37-43% but the real answer is that 66-80% of all Americans support actions that support a healthy climate. And yes, that support is bipartisan. Realizing the true level of support for climate actions increases the momentum for green policies, makes people more likely to take action, and puts pressure on politicians to make meaningful laws and policies. Let people know that you’re one of the majority of Americans who support climate action. 

Inspire others: Bring up climate action in at least one of your conversations this week.

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

Ways to Volunteer

Multi-Platform Worship Services
Various opportunities to help support our multi-platform services

As we move forward with reopening for more in person events our multi-platform services need your support. We have many opportunities for people of all ages and skillsets. Volunteer positions are available for both in person support and virtual support from the comforts of your home. If you are interested in joining a volunteer team, please contact our office administrator via email at

next facilities meeting

Facilities Team
Monthly on the 1st Thursdays, 7:00pm – 8:30pm
Church Zoom Room

We wish to thank all the volunteers that joined us for our Groundskeep Work Party in the beginning of August and hope to see you again soon. 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 Thursday October 6. ***Image credit:  Karolina Grabowska 

next safety meeting

Saltwater Church Safety Taskforce
Monthly on the 3rd Thursday, 7:00pm – 8:30pm
Church 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. Our next meeting is Thursday September 15.

Ways to Connect

Weekly Meetings

Al-anon Support Group
Private zoom, contact for link
Mondays, 6:30pm – 7:30pm
Support Circle – New Fall Schedule 
Church Zoom Room :
First & Third Thursdays, 12:30pm – 1:30pm, led by Rev Kristen
Fourth Thursdays, 7:00pm – 8:00pm, led by lay ministers Debra Valpey and Toska Rodriguez
Support circle is open to all members and friends and is a space for deep check-in and reflection on a question related to our monthly theme. In support circle we come to be nourished by authentic relationship, to mutually support one another through the joys and sorrows of our lives, and to create space for spiritual insight. All are welcome.
Meditation Group 
Church Zoom Room
Tuesdays, 7:00pm – 8:15pm
Our meditation group has returned to zoom only for the fall & winter seasons. 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.
wonder what they are writing next
Writers Group 
Church Zoom Room
Wednesdays, 9:30 am – 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
Choir Singing Circle
In Person – Welcome Room
Thursdays, 7:00pm – 8:30pm
Saltwater Choir is Back! This group will rehearse each Thursday evening and will sing in worship twice a month. Anyone who wants to share their vocal gifts and help create music for worship is welcome to join. We have found that singing together is a spiritual practice that helps us feel whole and well, as we minister to our congregation through our music. Come join us! We will follow our current COVID-19 Guidelines and have special “singing” masks available. For questions or more information, please contact Tom Burt, Music Director. email: phone: 206-304-3830.

Twice a Month Meetings

Game Night — Sponsored by Saltwater UU Social Club (SUUSC)
In Person – Welcome 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. This event will follow our current COVID-19 Guidelines. Our next meet up will be on September 17.
Creative Hands
Debra Valpey’s House
Resumes September 14, 1:00pm – 3:00pm
Are There Creative Hands Out There? On Wednesday, September 14, interested folks are invited to meet at Debra Valpey’s house (18225 Terrace Court SW in Normandy Park, 206-953-5704, to decide if there is sufficient interest to continue our Creative Hands group. We can have a “show and tell” regarding what we have been up to, discuss goals for the church year (Hospitality House gifts, church projects, maybe a bazaar, share some yummy treats, etc.) We will meet outside on Debra’s deck. When folks enter the house to collect food, or use facilities, we will mask. Debra asks that you be vaccinated against Covid if you decide to come since we are meeting in one’s home occupied by seniors. We will limit the size to 10 participants total, and five minimum. Please let Debra know if you plan to come. P.S. If the weather is too scary (monsoons or tornadoes), we will meet at church.
Weekend Writers Group
Church Zoom Room
Alternating 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

Monthly Meetings

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 September 14. If you would like to join us or have any questions, please contact
Pair Sharing
Rev. Kristen’s Zoom Room (
one Sunday a month, 11:45am – 1:00pm
Discover the healing power in telling truth and bearing witness. Pair Sharing is the spiritual practice of deep sharing and listening. September 11 will be our next meeting. We will also meet on October 23 and November 27. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact Janeane Weprin at
next grief support
Grief Support Group
Church Zoom Room
4th Thursdays, 7:00pm – 8:30pm
Grief Support Group Changes: Our Grief Support Group is changing into a monthly drop-in support group meeting. Our next meeting will be on September 22. on the fourth Thursdays at 7 PM in the church Zoom room. Grief is an ongoing part of life and sometimes even released us from its grip for awhile. So, if you would like support for whatever challenges life is sending your way, or would like to share some joys in your life that balance those challenges, please join us on fourth Thursday beginning in September. Debra Valpey and Toska Rodriguez will be hosting. All are welcome.
Paint Night
In Person – Welcome Room
4th Mondays, 6:00pm – 9:00pm
Bring any size canvas. No experience required. All paints and supplies provided. RSVP to Jessica Alexander at Our next evening of artistic expression is September 26.

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:
Toska Rodriguez:

Support for Children, Youth, & Families

Family Ministries Zoom Room

Children and Youth Registration for Family Ministries Program

Families are encouraged to fill out a registration form for any children and youth participating in classes and activities at Saltwater Church.  This helps our staff and volunteers with planning programs, and helps us know your family better.  Register online at:

Middle and High School Youth Group (grades 6-12)

Youth will meet for social events several times a month. The Youth Group works with adult advisors to plan programs which include personal sharing, discussion of religious and ethical issues, guest speakers from other religions and from the community, service projects, participation in district youth conferences, and worship. This year youth will explore the monthly church-wide themes. Contact Amanda Radak or see the church newsletter for more information.

Family Support Circles

First & Third Mondays, 7:30pm – 8:30pm
Family ministries zoom room

Parent Support Group meets every 1st and 3rd Monday at 7:30pm on zoom. We look forward to seeing you on September 19. Hope you can make it!

In the mean time, if you have some free time the weekend give this NPR podcast a listen. September’s theme is “Belonging”. How we have our own sense of belonging. As well as how we want to raise our kids with a sense of belonging, but also the strength to stand apart from the crowd sometimes. The podcast is titled, “Separating Yourself From The Pack”.

Any questions, please contact Jessica Alexander at

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 is available upon request for any church activity if requested at least one week in advance. To request childcare, contact our office administrator via email at Childcare is currently being offered for the paint group 4th Mondays from 6-9 p.m. (This event is also open to youth participants.)

Our Whole Lives (OWL) 

Comprehensive sexuality education classes will be held jointly with Westside UU Church for youth in grades 7-9. The class schedule will be available soon. Contact Steve Radak for more information.

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 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 1pm. If you need on-site assistance outside of their regularly scheduled hours, email to schedule an appointment.

Planting Flowers has resumed providing essential childcare support to families. Haitian Christians has resumed in-person gatherings with a limited capacity on Sunday evenings. Bet Chaverim has resumed events in the Welcome Room & Sanctuary while also continuing to have virtual options. 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. 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 or use the website form (click here)