Saltwater Church Newsletter October 20, 2023

We offer worship in two ways: in-person multi-platform service held in our sanctuary and online in our Church Zoom Room at 10:30am. Doors and Zoom open at 10:15. To join the Church Zoom Room go to: You can find more information about how to connect through Zoom towards the end of our Saltwater Church Newsletter. Our newsletter also provides ways to connect and live our values through both in-person programming and via our Church Zoom Room.


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

Theme for October: Heritage

In the month of October, we are engaging with the theme of heritage. Each of us is part of a sacred chain, receiving our heritage from our forebears and contributing to the heritage of those who come after us. In addition, there are the lineages of church, spiritual, community, and other groups that we are each a part of. Join us in considering and honoring the various heritages we are part of.

Worship In October at Saltwater Church 

October 22 The Loneliness Epidemic – Rev. James Kubal-Komoto

People are lonelier than they ever have been before, and this is having devastating effects on their physical and mental health as well as on our communities. What is the role of a Unitarian Universalist congregation in addressing this?

The Rev. Dr. James Kubal-Komoto currently serves as the lead minister of the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Raleigh, but from 2000 until 2016, he served as the minister of Saltwater Church. He is the author of the recently published A Liberal Religious Path: A Short, Personal Introduction to Unitarian Universalism. He currently lives in Cary, NC, with his wife, Hiromi, and his 17-year-old son, Kai.

October 29 Grandmother, I See You – Saltwater CUUPs

In honor of Samhain, we will have a service remembering, honoring, and grieving our familial and spiritual ancestors. We will celebrate their legacies in us and connect with them for inspiration and healing. Feel free to bring your own items of remembrance such as photos, mementos, or favorite treats for the altar we will create on the choir risers before the service. The treats can be a small serving of something once enjoyed by now-departed loved ones, such as a favorite candy, a baked good, or a few sips of a favorite beverage.

Saltwater CUUPS is the Saltwater Church chapter of the Covenant of Unitarian Universalist Pagans. More information about CUUPS can be found at

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.

Meet with Reverend James
Sunday October 22, 11:30am
Church Zoom Room

After the Sunday Worship Service, connect with former Saltwater minister Rev. James in the Church Zoom Room. In-person worship attendees will have an opportunity to visit with Rev. James as well using our Zoom Room while in the Saltwater Church Sanctuary.

Discussion of “Who We Are,” the Film
Wednesday October 25, 7:00pm
Church Zoom Room

Last weekend, our Racial Justice Team showed the award-winning film “Who We Are, a Chronicle of Racism in America” (PG13). Whether you attended in person or viewed the film at home on Netflix, we invite you to join us Wednesday, October 25, 7pm, in Saltwater’s Zoom Room for a longer discussion of “Who We Are.” The film’s co-director Emily Kunstler will join us for the first half hour.

Jeffery Robinson, Former ACLU Deputy Legal Director, opened his film with these words from his New York City town hall event. “If you’ve ever owned a slave, please raise your hand, and there is not one hand going up anywhere in this theater. Slavery is not our fault. We didn’t do it. We didn’t cause it. It is not our responsibility, but it is our shared history.” Film trailer:

Greeting Card/Book Sale – benefiting Saltwater Church
Sunday November 12 and 19, 11:30am – 12:00pm
In Person – Welcoming Room

Please join us after church on November 12 and 19 for our card and book sale. Cards will be exquisite creations by church member Joanne Stonebraker (in time for holiday sending) and the books will be Saltwater Writers Group Anthologies and other books by Saltwater member writers (just in time for holiday mailing in addition to gifting today.) Rev. Alison will also make available for purchase her new poetry chap books. Cash or check sales please. All proceeds benefit Saltwater Church. Questions: Contact Debra Valpey ( or Joanne Stonebraker ( or find us at church. ****Image credit: Joanne Stonebraker

Holiday Bazaar – Our Next Chapter
Sunday December 10 and 17, 11:30am – 1:00pm
In Person – Welcoming Room

We envision baskets and holiday gift quality items for members, friends, and visitors to purchase and enjoy. Please contribute an item, basket or something that would be part of a basket. The item could be something lovely to own, eat, drink, read, wear, or share. ****Image credit: Pavel Danilyuk

We are accepting donations NOW, and the final collection due date is November 12.
Anjali or Debra will be collecting donations. Feel free to contact either of them.

Anjali Lopez:, 206-650-6359
Debra Valpey:, 206-953-5704

New York New Years Eve (Eve)
Saturday December 30, 6:00pm – 9:00pm
In Person – Welcoming Room

SAVE THE DATE! Saturday, December 30th is a New Year’s Eve (eve) party at the church. We will offer spots for sign up during the December holiday fundraising bazaar, and we NEED you and your kids and grandkids to come party with us!! Family friendly, and our “toast” will be at 9:00pm. Time to party together again, folks!

From Our Leadership

Rev. Alison’s office at Saltwater

My First Week in Person at Saltwater

Greetings, Saltwater Community. Thank you for the warm welcome I’ve received this week during my first in-person visit. It was so fun to sing, dance, laugh and share cake with you last Sunday. Most of my in-person one-on-one meetings are booked for this week, but I want to let you know some other ways you can connect with me while I’m here.

I’m excited for an evening of community fun at Game Night this Saturday, 6-9pm. I hope we get a chance to play together and share some lighthearted conversation and connection. Then, on Sunday, I’ll be on-site supporting Rev. James Kubal-Komoto as he preaches remotely. We’re working to create opportunities for in-person folks to connect with Rev. James via Zoom after the service — stay tuned for more details. I will be in-person before and after the service, so I hope you will say hello and introduce yourself if we haven’t yet had a chance to meet, or even if we have. At 2pm on Sunday, I look forward to joining the Stance for Racial Justice in Puyallup. Part of being Unitarian Universalists is living our values in the wider world — to “Act for Justice” as our mission statement says. The Stance for Racial Justice is an important part of living our faith, and I’m excited to join you in this public expression of our UU values.

When we’re done in Puyallup, I’ll begin my journey home to Southern Oregon, but I’ll be back in town to lead my first Sunday service with you on November 12th. Mark your calendars for some community fun after the service that day, to celebrate our deepening relationship and shared ministry — details to come. I’ll be in town through November 19th, and during that visit I look forward to participating in the book sale, ivy pull and the other in-person activities in this busy community.

You can always sign up for remote or in-person appointments by visiting, by calling 206-627-5119 (which will ring through to me whether I’m on site or remote), or by emailing I look forward to deepening the relationships we’ve begun to build this month.

In Faith,
Rev. Alison

What is Transitional Ministry?

Long time members of our congregation might remember that, in the past, we followed a lengthy and expensive process to find a minister: one year with an interim minister who is intended to be short-term, and then after (hopefully) the second year (or maybe the 3rd year), finding a minister to call. At the end of that process, the average tenure of a minister is 5 to 7 years.

Some smaller congregations in the UUA are now instead following the process we took this time. The Board contracted with Rev. Alison Duren-Sutherland. She is our minister for at least 9 months– but if we mutually decide this is working out well, the Board can extend the contract. It’s kind of like dating; you give it a try and decide whether to deepen the relationship as you go.

If we continue with the relationship, after a couple of years the congregation could decide to call her for a longer-term commitment. But we don’t have to make that decision now. We can instead dedicate our energy and resources to our mission: to practice love, foster connection, nurture spiritual growth and act for justice — with the leadership of a talented, passionate and energetic minister.

During our 9-month contract with Rev. Alison, she will lead the service 3 Sundays/month, but for one of those, she’ll be remote. She asked not to disrupt the lives of her children; they will not be uprooted to move here with her, in the middle of the school year. Instead, she’ll be here 8 days/month– two Sundays and the week in between. The rest of the time, she’ll be available by email or phone; she’ll be doing her work from Ashland, just as Rev. Kristen did hers from her office or home.

So here we are, trying new ways of doing things in support of our community. We are full of optimism, having talked to people who worked with Rev. Alison remotely, during the pandemic. Thank you all for joining us on the journey and helping us welcome Rev. Alison! ****Image credit: Pixabay

Diane Schairer
From the Board

Ways to Offer your Gifts

Your Community Needs YOU!
Volunteer Now

We invite you to take part in creating the kind of community that you want to be part of! We need volunteers of all skills and ages. Opportunities include:

Sunday Morning Opportunities: Contact Bubba ( if you’re interested & need to get training/ orientation. For job details click here.

Sunday Morning Opportunities

  • Usher
  • Digital Usher
  • Greeter
  • Welcome Kiosk
  • Worship Assistant
  • A/V Desk Assistant
  • Multigenerational Activities Assistant

Other Opportunities

Facilities Team
NOW ON 3rd Wednesdays, 7:00pm – 8:30pm
Church Zoom Room

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 November 15. ***Image credit: Bubba 

next safety meeting

Saltwater Church Safety Taskforce
November 21, 7:00pm – 8:00pm
Private Zoom Room

Our Safety Taskforce encourages members of our community to join in discussions about our facilities and community. Common topics include building safety, necessary upgrades to our facilities, and emergency planning. We are beginning multiple new projects and welcome your knowledge and skills. Join our monthly meeting to learn how you can lend a hand. The next meeting is November 21. For more information or to attend, please contact Diane Schairer at

Ways To Live Our Values

Share The Plate for October
Hospitality House

Half of all undesignated donations received in the month of October will be shared with Hospitality House.

In September 2000, Hospitality House was founded by twelve sponsoring churches as an ecumenical outreach to the homeless community in South King County. Saltwater UU was one of the founding churches. Several of our members continue to volunteer, make a meal and provide supplies.

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.

Now Accepting Share the Plate Nominations

As we approach 2024, it is time for a call for new nominations! We are asking that all past recipients resubmit a request for funding if you want your group included in 2024. All requests will be reviewed by our Leadership team. Deadline for submission is Nov 15th. The form is located on the toolbar under JUSTICE on the SUUC website.
Our congregation has been so generous in past years. In times of crisis, YOU have stepped up and we so appreciate it. Thank YOU! To see a list of organizations we have supported in the past, go to: Share the Plate – Saltwater Unitarian Universalist Church (
Any member may nominate an organization to be considered by the Leadership Team. Our criteria for selection will continue to prioritize local organizations that serve South King County but we will also accept nominations that allow us to respond with support for emergencies, natural disasters, or pressing social issues, that serve a larger area: such as offerings for the UU Service Committee or UUA disaster relief fund. Minimal requirements are:

  • Organization must be a 501 (c) 3 non-profit
  • The organization’s mission must align with UU values and principles
  • We prioritize organizations that serve South King County

Click here to complete an online form
Click here to download a printable form

Due to our ongoing relationship to a few local organizations, we will continue to have an annual share the plate for Hospitality House and Federal Way Day Center. We will also have an annual share the plate for Duwamish Tribal Services, an expression of our commitment to live into right relationship with local indigenous communities. You do not need to submit a request for these organizations. ****Image credit: Kindel Media

Saltwater Climate Action Now! (SCAN!)

SCAN! will have a new meeting time and date starting in November. Watch the newsletter in the coming weeks for more details. Contact Sheri Jacobson at for additional information. It’s never too late to Act for Climate 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. Our next gathering will be on October 22 in Puyallup from 2pm until 3pm at the intersection of 136th and S. Meridian (near post office and Sonic restaurant). We will meet again on November 12 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.

next alliance meeting

Sound Alliance
3rd Saturdays, 10:00 – 11:00am
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 October 21. 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.

Racial Justice Organizing Team (RJOT)
4th Tuesdays, 7:00pm – 8:30pm
Faith Formation Zoom Room

The next meeting will be on Tuesday, October 24. Our Racial Justice Organizing Team meets monthly to discuss more ways to support our community in our anti-racism efforts. We share ideas, provide support, learn about additional opportunities, plan events for our members, and work together to advance our commitment to Act for Racial Justice.

Climate Message of the Week

It’s never too early—or too late—to talk to the children in your life about climate change. They are the ones who will bear the biggest consequences from our changing environment. But where do you start? The National Defense Resources Council (NDRC) has a guide (click here) with suggestions for talking to the youngest (0-6) through teenagers. Try to show a solution for every problem, especially if you can find examples in your own community. Brainstorm ideas you can do together to help address climate change. And don’t forget to get outside and enjoy nature with your children. ****Image credit: PNW Production

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

Ways to Connect

If you are planning to host an event in the Church Zoom Room please contact our Office Administrator ( the day before your scheduled event. They will need to verify your device has been registered to use the Church Zoom Room.

Weekly Meetings

Al-Anon Support Group
Private zoom, contact for link
Mondays, 6:30pm – 7:30pm
Meditation Group 
Now Meeting in Church Zoom Room

Tuesdays, 7:00pm – 8:15pm
For the fall and winter months we will be meeting over Zoom. We follow a UU modified Zen practice that includes lighting a candle, chiming a singing bowl, sitting & walking in silence, listening to words of wisdom, sharing tea and conversation. Would you like to join our group? Contact Jean Spohn or (206) 200-7524.
Writers Group 
Church Zoom Room
Wednesdays, 9:30am – 12:00pm
Do you like to write? Would you like to share and receive feedback on your writing? We welcome all writers at all levels! For more information, contact Janeane Weprin (630) 824-8343 or

Twice a Month Meetings

Creative Hands
In Person – Welcoming Room

NOW ON 1st and 3rd Tuesdays, 12:30pm – 2:30pm
Join us for an afternoon of visiting and working on our creative projects. Bring your knitting, crocheting, sewing, jewelry making, or whatever with you. First Tuesdays are geared more toward sewing and third Tuesdays toward knitting. We gather to foster connection through sharing our creative processes. We also support the Saltwater community with small craft projects throughout the year. Our next meet up will be November 7. If you would like to join us or have any questions, please contact Joanne Loeliger (206) 870-1939.
Game Night Sponsored by Saltwater UU Social Club (SWUUSC)
In Person – Welcoming Room

1st and 3rd Saturdays, 6:00pm – 9:00pm
Join our Saltwater community for an evening of fun. Friends and visitors are welcome. We play all types of board games (ranging from lighter games like Clue to more complex games like Pandemic.) Our group also plays thematic games, card games, and party & social games. Almost anything is possible! Bring your favorite game and let us know about it. Our next meet up will be on October 21.
  • 1st Saturdays are all-ages. Bring a game your whole family will enjoy! 
  • 3rd Saturdays, childcare will be available. Please rsvp for childcare at least 1-week in advance to Lisa Key

Monthly Meetings

In Person – Saltwater Sanctuary

New Date for October! (then 2nd Wednesdays, 6:00pm – 9:00pm)
Due to a technical issue, we are rescheduling this month’s Movie Night! Wednesday, October 25 from 6:00 – 9:00pm, in the Saltwater Sanctuary. We’ll be seeing “Jujutsu Kaisen 0.” This is a PG13 movie. RSVP to Robert at If you would like childcare, send a request to Lisa Key at least one week in advance at ****Image Credit: Pixabay
Saltwater Genealogy Club
Church Zoom Room
2nd Wednesdays, 7:00pm – 8:30pm
Do you love to talk about your family history and research? Saltwater Church has a Genealogy Club! We are not experts; we just share stories and research ideas. Our next meeting will be November 8. If you would like to join us or have any questions, please contact
After Service Potluck
In Person – Welcoming Room
3rd Sundays, 11:30am-12:30pm
Church-Wide Potluck, Yummy! Please bring a generous dish to share. Kindly mark ingredients if not clearly visible (like nuts, soy, etc.) We will also need folks to step up and help us set up before church and take down after church. Our next potluck will be November 19. Questions? contact Debra Valpey, 206-953-5704 or
Paint n’ Sip
In Person – Welcoming Room
4th Mondays, 6:00pm – 9:00pm
All ages welcome! Bring any size canvas. No experience required. All paints and supplies provided. Our next meet up will be October 23. Childcare is being provided. RSVP to Jessica Alexander at
Pair Sharing by Zoom
Janeane’s Zoom Room
One Sunday a month, 1:00pm – 2:15pm
Discover the healing power in telling truth and bearing witness. Pair Sharing is the spiritual practice of deep sharing and listening. If you would like to attend, please contact Janeane Weprin at

Support Is Available

Do you need support? Please let us know, we want to help. Are you feeling lonely or isolated? We can connect you with a lay minister or another member of the congregation. If you have been affected by the pandemic financially, the Minister’s Discretionary Fund is available for one-time emergency support for members and friends of the church. Contact our Office Administrator for additional information

If you are in need of emotional or spiritual support, you can reach out directly to a Lay Minister:
Debra Valpey:
Toska Rodriguez:

Multigenerational Faith Formation

Questions about Children’s and Youth Programming? Contact our Director of Faith Formation, Jessica Nash: To join the Faith Formation Zoom Room go to:

Middle and High School Youth Group
Sunday October 22, 10:30am
In Person – Lighthouse

We are gathering at 10:30 with our Youth Group. Our youth will be checking in and will have a discussion and activity to enjoy before heading off to the Corn Maze at 11:30. Come find some community and conversation over a little snack that bites back!

Youth Group Corn Maze and Youth Adult’s Support Meeting with Rev. Alison
Sunday October 22, 11:30am – 1:30pm
In Person – Corn Maze and Welcoming Room

Our Youth (grades 6-12) are going on their first outing! Sunday the 22nd, after they are done with their check in and discussion led by Amanda Radak, they will promptly head out to a corn maze!  We invite Youth to bring a sack lunch to eat on the way to the corn maze. Amanda will purchase all tickets at once ($10 contribution per youth welcome). They will have a good time and stay busy till the adults come down to pick them up between 1:30 and 1:45.

Carpinito Bros Corn Maze 6720 S 277th St, Kent, WA 98032

While the Youth are getting lost in the maze, their adults will enjoy coffee hour and are welcome to bring their own lunch to enjoy afterwards. At 12 we will sit down with Rev. Alison as we join in community and support. We will light a chalice, check-in, and get to know each other as we support one another on our shared journey of parenting. We will end around 1:15 and head down to the corn maze to retrieve the youth.   ****Image credit: Vlada Karpovich

Samhain Celebration for the Children
Sunday October 29, 10:30am
In Person – Lighthouse

While our adults are celebrating Samhain in the Sanctuary, our children will head back to the Lighthouse where they will have their own celebration! Wear your costume and bring a treat for our Samhain altar in the Sanctuary. We will have some games, treats, and a whole lot of fun! We have a surprise activity inspired by one of our children, we can’t wait to test your imagination…and bravery! ****Image credit: Mikhail Nilov

Middle and High School Youth Group (grades 6-12)
Saturday November 4, 6:00pm – 9:00pm
In Person – Welcoming Room

Join us at the Tabletop Family Game Night. Youth are encouraged to come hang out and play some games! Bring a favorite game to share. Join us as we connect with each other through board games and fun times. Check back next week for more ways to engage with our group. Join Bert and Fernando as we roll the dice and enjoy a good old game night!

Support for Children, Youth, & Families

Parents Facebook Group 

Connect with other Saltwater Church families with children and youth for support through the Parents Facebook group:

Childcare for Church Events 

Childcare may be requested for any church activity at least one week in advance by contacting our Volunteer Childcare Coordinator, Lisa Key via email at We will do our best to make accommodations whenever possible.

General Information

How to Access the Church Zoom Room 

To access Zoom, go to and click on “To join a meeting-click here.” Or from the main church webpage, select Zoom Room from the drop-down menu under “news and events” on the top menu bar. If this is your first time using Zoom, follow the prompts to download the application to your computer.

If you would prefer to join by phone, dial 1-669-900-6833 and enter Meeting ID: 736 142 4210 when prompted. You may need a password. If you do not have the password, please contact Bubba:

If you have a smartphone, you can download the Zoom app and join with Meeting ID: 736 142 4210 for video and audio connection. You will need a password. If you do not have the password, please contact our Office Administrator:

A quick guide for our Zoom room can be found here. Feel free to download the file to keep a copy readily available at your fingertips.

Saltwater Church Building

The church building has opened for in person gatherings. If you wish to plan an event, please use our online request form:  All gatherings are asked to follow the current COVID-19 guidelines. If you have questions about the guidelines or need assistance, our Office Assistant is on-site Tuesdays and Fridays, 10am to 2pm. If you need on-site assistance outside of their regularly scheduled hours, email to schedule an appointment.

Donations to Saltwater Church

When making a donation on the church website (click here), please indicate where you want your donation to go. After entering the amount of your donation, if you select “Donate with a Debit or Credit Card” you will see a line which starts with a pencil and has “add special instructions to the seller.” Please click on those words to specify “pledge” or your desired purpose. It will help our treasurer get money into the right places if that line is filled in. If you have questions, email or call our Treasurer, Gaye Greeves at or 253-508-3961.   

Please Note: Announcements, updates, and additions to the newsletter must be received by noon Wednesday to be included in that week’s newsletter. Send your submissions to the website form (click here)