Social Justice

"...Church social action is not a small band of marginal activists in the church, rather, it is a congregational process of coming to terms with the mission of our religious community in a society that sometimes confuses the separation of church and state with the divorce of religion and public policy..."  -- Rev. Richard S. Gilbert, The Prophetic Imperative

Social Justice at First Unitarian

At First Unitarian of Des Moines, we are committed to the Unitarian Universalist theology of engagement to help heal the brokenness in our larger community and world. Our commitment to social justice is evident in the seven core principles UUs covenant to affirm and promote.

From its early beginnings in 1877 to today, First Unitarian Church’s members and friends have taken on many social justice causes -- from women’s suffrage, to civil rights, to same-sex marriage.  Click here to learn more about our Roots in Social Justice.

Outreach Partners

Beginning in July 2015, we shifted the focus of our weekly offering to the social justice outreach of the church. Instead of a "Second Basket", there is one offertory basket in which all proceeds collected are split between the social justice outreach of the church and a specific organization. Congregant(s) may nominate an organization to receive half of the offering plate donations from First Unitarian for the 2 months the organization is designated. In addition, the nominator is asked to develop at least two volunteer opportunities for 10 or more people (or the equivalent, such as four opportunities for five people) with the organization. More details can be found on the application (Word DOC or Adobe PDF).

The deadline for applications for the Fall 2015-Summer 2016 year is October 1, 2015.

The Faith in Action coordinating team, which includes the Associate Minister, will determine which organizations to support. Completed nominations should be given to Rev. Erin Gingrich, Associate Minister for Social Justice, in the church office or via email:

Welcoming Congregation

First Unitarian Church is a Welcoming Congregation. This means the congregation has taken deliberate steps, as outlined by the Unitarian Universalist Association, to become more inclusive of gay, lesbian, bi-sexual and transgender (GLBT) people. The congregation works to address the needs of GLBT persons at every level of congregational life, welcoming not only their presence, but also the particular gifts they bring.


First Unitarian Church of Des Moines has joined with 27 other faith-based institutions and NAMI Greater Des Moines, to develop AMOS, a local IAF (Industrial Area Foundation) affiliate. Together, we have hired a social organizer who helps AMOS members develop more effective leadership for social change. First Unitarian's AMOS members are active in the organization's efforts, including Project Iowa - the Workforce Development Program and the Mental Health Issues team. Contact: Sally Boeckholt salgal23(at)yahoo(dot)com.

More about AMOS at

Affirmed Justice Groups

First Unitarian Church currently has the following Affirmed Justice Groups meeting regularly and working towards justice in the community: Energy and Justice for All; Death with Dignity Action Group; and FEDS (Feed Every Deserving Soul).

Click here for more information on Affirmed Justice Groups and for further details on how to form an action group and request funding.

For more information and/or to join with others in these efforts contact: Rev. Erin Gingrich, Associate Minister of Social Justice ( or 244-8603 ext. 121).

Unitarian Universalist Service Committee (UUSC)

The Unitarian Universalist Service Committee (UUSC) is a nonsectarian organization that advances human rights and social justice in the United States and around the world. They offer campaigns in which our church may participate. Learn more at

Peace Pole

An eight-foot pole, bearing message of peace in eight languages, stands on First Unitarian grounds. Erected by several of our members, the Peace Pole stands for an international commitment to peace, and is on display in locations around the world.