The Staff of First Unitarian Church of Des Moines

Phone: (515) 244-8603

Rev. Mark Stringer
Minister, Ext. 102
Rev. Stringer, called to ministry at First Unitarian in May, 2001, began serving the following August. Under the supervision of the Board of Trustees, Mark serves as the executive for our congregation. He supervises all lead staff, works with the Celebrant Team to lead religious services, and convenes the Council for Congregational Ministries. In addition to his ministry with our church, Mark takes an active leadership role in local and regional organizations devoted to building community and promoting social justice. He is a graduate of Meadville Lombard Theological School in Chicago.

Rev. Erin Gingrich
Associate Minister of Social Justice, Ext. 121
Rev. Gingrich began serving full-time in this ministry position in August of 2014. She organizes, nurtures, and focuses our ministries of justice within and outside of the church, including the Social Justice Council and related church initiatives, and AMOS (interfaith community organizing). She also assists with Soul Matters and religious services. Erin is a graduate of Meadville Lombard Theological School in Chicago.

Linda Barnes
Ministerial Intern
Linda is the half-time ministerial intern serving First Unitarian for 2013 and 2014. She is a seminary student at Meadville Lombard Theological School in Chicago. Prior to seminary, Linda served as a lay leader at the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Ames for 25 years.

Deborah Dessert, CPA
Director of Finance and Administration, Ext. 101
Deb joined the staff of First Unitarian in January 2009 in this 30 hour/week position. The DFA is a member of the Management Team and serves as a primary informant to the Board of Trustees. Deb serves as the Chief Operating Officer with the primary portfolio of accounting, budgeting and finance, building and grounds, human resources, communications, technology, and office operations.

Tracy Beck
Director of Religious Education for Children and Youth, Ext. 104
Tracy Beck has served as the full-time Director of Religious Education for Children and Youth since 2009 and oversees children and family ministries as well as religious education programming for preschool to grade 12 children and youth at First Unitarian Church of Des Moines. This includes a Coming of Age program for middle school youth, Our Whole Lives for upper elementary and middle school youth and a high school youth group.

Lori Emison Clair
Director of Congregational Life, Ext. 103
Lori joined the church staff in 2004 as a part time Membership Coordinator. Currently, the Director of Congregational Life position is 30 hours/week. The responsibilities include coordinating hospitality, the membership process, membership engagement and retention, community building such as Wednesday night programming, affinity groups, intergenerational programming, as well as Adult Religious Education.

Moira Leu
Director of Music, Ext. 105
Moira joined the staff in July of 2008. As a 20 hour/week position, she directs the adult UU Choir and two Children’s Choirs: Chalice Choir (2nd-5th grade) and Sparks (4yrs-1st grade). Moira collaborates on hymn selection for services and coordinates all volunteer and professional musicians who perform during church services.

Abby Chungath
Communication Coordinator, Ext. 117
Abby joined the staff in May of 2011. She is responsible for the Intercom Weekly email, web site updates, posting the service video and audio podcasts, social media posts, creating the Annual Report and bi-annual Programming brochures, as well as various other print communication pieces for the church. The Communication Coordinator position is 15 hours/week.

Terry Lambert
Caring Ministry Coordinator
Terry joined the church staff as Caring Ministry Coordinator in 2013. She oversees and coordinates systems by which the pastoral needs of members who ask for help can be met. Terry’s position is currently 10 hours/week.

Connie Price
Bookkeeper, Ext. 106
Connie joined the staff of First Unitarian in December 2006. Connie’s responsibilities include maintaining records of pledges and contributions, deposits, payroll, and accounts payable as well as many reporting functions related to these areas. Connie’s position is currently 14 hours/week.


Jane White
Office Assistant, Ext. 107
Jane joined the First Unitarian staff in November of 2010 in this 16 hour/week position. Jane is responsible for space/calendar reservations, the Order of Service, entering information in the data base and preparing mailings.

Laura Thomas
R.E. Assistant, Ext. 119
Laura joined our staff in June of 2014. As a 25/hour week Religious Education Assistant, she supports the Director of Religious Education and RE volunteers by maintaining records, scheduling and communicating with volunteers, assembling lessons, and maintaining classrooms and supplies.

Megan Salley
Youth Coordinator
Megan joined the staff in July 2014 as the 10 hr/week Young Religious Unitarian Universalists (YRUU) leader..

Carissa Fields
Congregational Life Assistant, Ext. 120
Carissa joined the staff in May of 2014. In this 13 hour/week position, her responsibilities include helping coordinate Wednesday night activities and Adult RE, planning church community building activities, and tracking visitor and member engagement. Carissa is also active with our GenUU Young Adult Group and will be leading their social justice activities for the 2014-2015 year.

Bruce Martin

A member of the church since 1969, Bruce began as the church pianist, playing for services, in 2000.

Amy Anderson Sorenson

Amy joined the staff of First Unitarian in August of 2012. Amy serves as the accompanist to the adult UU choir.

Don Werner

As seasonal groundskeeper for 8 hours/week from April through November, Don is responsible for maintaining the landscaped areas as well as general upkeep of the church grounds.

Rev. Brian Eslinger
The Rev. Dr. Brian Eslinger is an affiliated Community Minister with First Unitarian Church of Des Moines.  He has served as the minister of the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Ames and currently teaches at Iowa State University, and as adjunct faculty at Meadville Lombard, the UU Theological School associated with the University of Chicago.