Get Connected

Our congregation focuses on creating vibrant connections between members, with many opportunities to socialize, learn and grow together.

Want to get more involved with our congregation?

Sign Up to Volunteer

From classroom teachers, to hospitality teams, to choir singers and A/V techs, our volunteers make our mission possible.

Our services and programming work because of our wonderful volunteers. Interested in assisting our Sunday services? Click below to let us know where you may be most interested in sharing your strengths.

Small Groups

Groups and Service Opportunities

With a vibrant community of groups and teams, there is sure to be somewhere for you to connect with fellow members here at UUS. We have groups focused on faith, shared interests, community service, music, and more!

Click the tabs below to explore all of our small group opportunities.

Adult Learning Opportunities

Throughout the year you will find opportunities to explore and grow through a variety of classes, discussions, and shared experiences. Join us for Sunday Forums on a rich array of timely topics. We also host classes on UU history, leadership development, world religions, UU spirituality, and racial and social justice. Check the website and newsletter for information on current offerings.

Buddhist Sangha

The UUS Buddhist Sangha gathers weekly for silent meditation and discussion of contemporary Buddhist teachings and their application to our daily lives. The meeting includes sharing time, meditation, and an informal discussion of a Buddhist reading selected by the group. All are welcome. Meetings are every Monday from 7-8:30 pm via Zoom. If you have questions or would like to learn what we are currently reading, please contact us.


UU Secular Humanists

We provide a socially active and involved secular community for UUS, Secular Students at Iowa, and the Eastern Iowa area. We advance humanist values while working toward social justice and striving to reduce the stigma of non-belief. We enrich the lives of members and visitors through programs, speakers, and special events. Meetings are the 3rd Tuesday of the month via Zoom.


Covenant Groups

Covenant groups are small groups of 8 to 12 people who meet monthly for discussions fostering intellectual and spiritual growth. The discussion topics go along with the theme of the month of our Sunday services. This small-group ministry program offers members the opportunity to form stronger relationships and gain a deeper sense of connection to the greater UUS community. Because of the level of sharing in covenant groups, we ask that you first be a participant here at UUS for at least a couple of months in order to join a group, and be ready to make a 6 month commitment when you join a covenant group.


Owl Moon CUUPS (Covenant of UU Pagans)

Owl Moon CUUPs is a community of people who practice, or are interested in, earth-centered traditions and spiritual practices. It is part of the larger UU tradition and brings awareness of the UU priorities and values to the greater Pagan community. We welcome those with years of practice, those just finding their spiritual path, and those who are just curious about who we are and what we do, to participate in our gatherings. We gather to celebrate the cycles of the earth and moon, including monthly lunations on the full moon, as suits the needs of those who attend. We also offer classes and workshops on topics of interest to earth-centered paths and general Paganism.

UU Mystics

The UUMystics is a community group for anyone who has an interest or personal experience with what is commonly referred to as “mystical experiences,” and a desire to share in a community of support for exploring “Spiritual Awakening” or “Enlightenment.”  Our intention is to broaden opportunities for spiritual expression at UUS.  Together we can share our personal stories of mystical (or paranormal) phenomenon, our spiritual journeys, and explore the impact, meaning, and implications that these experiences may have in our lives and beyond. We may also use sources of contemporary or historical mystical spiritual wisdom and participate in some spiritual practices led by members.  Mysticism and its exploration is a significant part of our UU tradition, and we invite you to have a look at the UUA website ( Our new UUMystics group is a self-creating community with shared leadership.  As with most groups who enjoy personal sharing, we follow the covenant we created together to guide our monthly gatherings.  Please check the newsletter and weekly emails for a schedule of UUMystics gatherings.

Contact if you have questions.


Kiirtan is a spiritual practice that combines singing and dancing in a meditative way. The group has occasional meetings, sometimes in person, sometimes online.


Girls’ Night Out

All UUS women are invited to join this social “hour” with friends on the 4th Monday of each month at 5:30pm. We have ben meeting on Zoom during the pandemic, but are having conversations about maybe having both a Girls’ Night in on Zoom and a Girls’ Night Out that meets in person at a different restaurant each month. Everyone is welcome, even if you haven’t gathered with us in the past. Let’s catch up over a beverage (or meal) of your choice (or none) and chat. Watch the weekly emails for updates.


Mens’ Sunday Social

We informally socialize for chatting and connection at a local pub on the 1st Sunday of the month. Any member and friend who identifies as a man is welcome.


UU Yarn Crafters

The UU Yarn Crafters is a social group where UU members and friends get together to knit, crochet, laugh, and learn with each other. All are welcome, all ages and skill levels. Masks are required. In the past we have worked on charitable projects: hats for preemies, school kids, migrant camps, and cancer patients; and prayer shawls or lap blankets for those in hospice. We’ll be looking for other projects, as well as sharing yarn and other project ideas. Bring yarn and needles to use and share, and snacks are welcome. Or just bring yourself, you’ll be welcome.


Veg CommUUnity

Veg CommUUnity members feel a deep responsibility to create a compassionate and sustainable world and to leave future human generations with a habitable planet. They meet regularly for fellowship, fun, support, and delicious “plantluck” meals. UUS members and friends interested in exploring this lifestyle are welcome to participate in Veg Comm activities.


UU Mystics

The UU Mystics is a UUS community group for anyone who has an interest or personal experience with what is commonly referred to as “mystical experiences,” and a desire to share in a community of support for exploring “Spiritual Awakening” or “Enlightenment.” We share our personal stories and explore the impact, meaning, and implications that these experiences may have in our lives and beyond. We may also explore contemporary or historical mystical spiritual wisdom. Mysticism and its exploration is a significant part of our UU tradition. We invite you to look at the UUA website ( We are a self-creating community with shared leadership. As with most groups who enjoy personal sharing, we will follow the covenant we created together to guide our monthly gatherings. Check the newsletter and weekly emails for the schedule of UU Mystics gatherings. And we invite you to take a look at this link to the UU Mystical Experiences brochure written by UU ministers: (

Free Lunch Program

UUS volunteers support the Iowa City Free Lunch Program by sending a group of volunteers on the 2nd Friday of each month to prepare, serve, and clean up after a lunch for approximately 150 people. Food preparation is from 10:30-noon and meals are served to our guests from noon-1:00. For people who want to volunteer off-site, donations can be made to cover the cost of the main dish, side dishes, and dessert. It’s helpful to sign up or let a leader know ahead of time if you would like to participate. We are in need of more volunteers!


Social Justice Team

We are a gathering of UUS friends and members who work together to coordinate, promote, and support social justice actions. Our goals are to support those whose work serves to strengthen human rights and to uplift those in need – locally and in our interconnected world. We are eager to expand our active group and have more hands on deck! We meet throughout the year on the 2nd Tuesday of each month at 7pm in the UUS Conference Room and on Zoom.


Circle of Friends Immigration Action Team

Group members assist immigrant families and host social events to develop relationships between UUS and these families.  UUS provides financial, emotional, and logistical support–depending on family needs.  Examples of support include tutoring English, interpreting, occasionally assisting with rent, and helping with transportation. Each December we organize a gift-giving program for the families. 

Circle of Friends does not have regular meetings and use UUS weekly emails and the monthly newsletter for communications and needs of immigrant families we support.

Through individual and congregational support of the Center for Worker Justice (CWJ), we also educate and advocate for immigrant rights and for immigration law and policy reform on the local, state, and national levels.


Green Sanctuary

The mission of the Green Sanctuary is to promote stewardship of the Earth in our congregation and in our local and global communities. The driving force behind this mission is a commitment to the UU Seventh Principle: “Respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part.” Anyone interested in working to promote living a sustainable lifestyle and work in the community for climate action is welcome to join. Our team is involved with planning and helping with Indigenous Peoples’ Day in the fall and Earth Day in April. Our meetings are on the 2nd Thursday of the month at 11am on Zoom.  


Radical Welcome Team

We are beginning to organize a Radical Welcome Team at UUS. This team will work on preemptive radical welcoming at UUS for people with marginalized identities. One of our first pieces of work will be reinvigorating our Welcoming Congregations and trans inclusion work in the midst of a very difficult climate in Iowa. We will also be working on how we live into our 8th Principle work.


Guatemala Service Trips

Every few years we offer a youth and adult service-learning trip to the Highlands of Guatemala. Past trip projects have included planting trees with the Chico Mendez Reforestation Project, distributing shoes, and volunteering in a school. Participants stay in the homes of local families and are enrolled in classes to learn Spanish.

Contact: and

Habitat for Humanity

Iowa Valley Habitat for Humanity helps provide affordable housing solutions in our area. We cooperate with other religious organizations in the area on the Interfaith Build house. Our group coordinates volunteer opportunities for UUS members and friends to help build homes together, volunteer at Habitat for Humanity’s ReStore and warehouse, and explore fundraising opportunities to support our work with Iowa Valley Habitat for Humanity. (Also check out


Johnson County Interfaith Coalition

UUS is a member of Johnson County Interfaith Coalition (JCIC), along with a number of other churches and religious communities in the area. JCIC is working to build a multi-cultural faith-based community organization to advocate for social justice, especially for persons of color. We are working to create a team of UUS people to have one-on-one conversations within our congregation, and with other congregations, people interested in working on voter engagement locally, and people wanting to engage on task forces for particular social justice issues in our local area. Our minister, Rev. Diana Smith, is co-president of the JCIC board.


Partner Church Support

UUS has a partner Unitarian Church in Janosfalva, Romania. We celebrate that relationship at least once a year in a Sunday service and with a special offering. We have previously had an active program that included educational programs and events, and opportunities to travel to Romania. At the moment we do not have leaders of this program, but we hope to renew the relationship and develop related programs in the future.

Prison Ministry Team

The mission of the Prison Ministry Team is to build relationships with those confined in the Iowa justice system in order to decrease their isolation and encourage positive growth. At the same time, team members strive to educate themselves and the congregation on justice system issues, and to work with other community organizations with similar aims. Reactivated in 2023, the group will provide pen pals and visitation, as well as support legislation aimed at improving the conditions of Iowa’s incarcerated. We meet at 7:00PM on the first Tuesday of every month in the UUS Conference Room, and also on Zoom (Meeting ID: 848 0842 4430  Passcode: 193553). Email to get involved.

Guidelines to Writing to Incarcerated Individuals | Penpals List & Iowa Prisons List

UUS Singers

Music and singing are a major part of how we gather on Sunday mornings at UUS, and being part of a choir is a great way to be part of music-making in the congregation. After a long hiatus during Covid, we are back! During Thursday evening rehearsals, we prepare anthems and hymns to enhance the Sunday morning services. We also build our individual and collective musicianship in our singing together. No experience required! Rehearsals are at 7pm in the Sanctuary.


Other UUS Music-Making

If you play an instrument, sing, or have another way you want to contribute music at UUS, there are opportunities to do so both individually and as part of a group. Look for info in monthly newsletters and weekly updates about “instant choir” and “instant orchestra” for certain services in the fall. Let us know of your talents!


Land Ministry

The Land Ministry develops plans to protect and enhance the property and its flora and fauna. The plans will help advance the vision and mission of UUS. Team members help manage and care for the grounds at UUS – the trails, shrubs, trees, and other plantings on the grounds. Spring and fall outdoor “work days” for care of the grounds are welcome for anyone to participate. Meetings are on the 2nd Tuesday of the month at 10am onsite.


Religious Education Volunteers

UUS offers RE programming for all ages throughout the school year. Volunteers are needed to support our children’s program during the Sunday services. In addition, volunteers are needed for adult RE is offered every 3rd Sunday of the month with led discussions and for our All Ages programming on WonderfUUL Wednesdays and Friday FUUn Nights.

Do you like guiding discussions? Do you have skills in a craft or hobby or spiritual practice that you’d like to share? Would you like helping to coordinate classes and programs for adults? We have curricula available, or you can propose your own forum, class, or workshop. 


Stewardship Committee

Our committee organizes the annual pledge campaign for our operating budget. Skills that are needed on the committee are writing, public speaking, preparing mailings, computer and print material layout. Our pledge campaign is always in the fall so the busiest times for our committee are July through December. It is best to commit to the group for awhile. Meetings are on the 2nd Tuesday of the month at 7pm via Zoom.


Historical Records

UUS has a rich history and good records have been kept. Our primary focus has been organizing the records we have. We provide information and documents for requests about our history. Infrequent Zoom meetings at this time, but we hope to return to monthly meetings in the future.


UUS A/V Team

The UUS Audio Visual Team supprots the congregation by running the audio, video, and live streaming equipment for Sunday services, and works to improve the quliaty and accessibility of our A/V for other congregational and rental events. Members sign up for 2-3 Sundays per month as their, and a larger team means fewer shifts. If you can use PowerPoint and an iPad, you’ve got the skills to start training as an A/V volunteer.


Publicity Team

The Publicity Team communicates UUS values and programs to the wider community via the UUS website, social media, digital and print advertising, press releases, etc. The committee primarily focuses on strategy and project oversight in support of the Communications Coordinator. Beyond the team that meets, we also have ongoing needs for writing, photography/video, graphic design, and social media administration that can be tailored to individual interests.


UUS Rentals

We can use both volunteers and a few part-time paid staff to help host rental events, and to occasionally do things like wash dishes or tablecloths at the end of an event. 


Treats and Talents Auction

This annual auction and social event connects UUS all year long through auction items of social events, donations of art work and household items, and services such as gardening, painting, and carpentry. Many volunteers are needed for planning and organizing the event, soliciting, recording, organizing, and displaying the auction items, and donating auction items, services, and events. Our auction will be held in the early fall. Most of the bidding takes place online, with a dinner, entertainment, and a few items for live auction happening in person.

Contact: treats&

Membership Associates 

Membership Associates help UUS provide welcome and connection to UUS by staffing the Welcome Table on Sundays, welcoming and connecting with visitors, helping prepare, involve, and celebrate new members, and encouraging engagement by all members in UUS programs and activities. Meetings are the 4th Monday evening of the month via Zoom.


Worship Associates

Worship Associates work with the minister to plan and lead Sunday services throughout the year. Meeting times vary, each Worship Associate helps lead and/or coordinate several services a year.


Hospitality Teams

Each Sunday, one of our hospitality teams provides volunteers who act as ushers and greeters, set up for the social hour, and clean up afterwards. Each team works several Sundays a year.


Pastoral Care Team and UniCare

The goal of the Pastoral Care Team is to provide a ministry of caring, connection, and hope, so that no one who is part of our congregation feels isolated or alone.


Want to see what programming is coming up this week?

Every week has opportunities to connect beyond Sunday and get to know other members.

We have a vibrantly active congregation, with many activities throughout the week and month. Check out our full calendar to see what is coming up that fits into your schedule.

Justice and Sustainability

We invite you to join with us in living out our Unitarian Universalist principles to treat others with respect and dignity, work for justice, and respect the interdependent web of life of which we are a part.

our service in action

bring about change

Racial & Social Justice

UUS prioritizes using our voices and resources to bring about change. Several groups are dedicated to fighting for systemic change for marginalized groups and working in service for others. Below are just a few examples of the work done by our dedicated Social Justice and Racial Justice teams.

LGBTQ+ Support

UUS has long supported civil rights for members of the LGBTQ community. In 1997 the congregation voted unanimously to become a Welcoming Congregation and an LGBTQ support group, Interweave, was formed. More recently, dozens of same-sex ceremonies have been performed in our sanctuary since marriage equality was established in Iowa.

  • Designated Welcoming Congregation
  • Radical Welcome Team formed to carry out our mission
  • Intentionally inclusive building facilities and programs
  • Annual sponsor and parade participant of Iowa City Pride
  • Educational opportunities in small groups such as book clubs and workshops
  • O.W.L. (Our Whole Lives) Sexual Education program facilitates inclusive curriculum and is an important part of supporting our LGBTQ+ children, youth, and families
our service in action

be a supportive, safe place

our service in action

protect the environment

Our goal in constructing our new home was to make it the “greenest church in Iowa” as an expression of our commitment to the earth and as a model for others to follow.

In following green building principles during the design and construction of our new church, we weighed a number of considerations. The following piece, written by one of our partners from Neumann Monson Architects, describes our goals and some of the choices we made along the way.

By Matt Krieger, AIA, LEED AP BDC
Neumann Monson Architects

Unitarian Universalists believe in justice, equity, and a respect for the connections of all existence of which we are all a part. When they said they were looking to build a new facility, they were looking for a way to secure their future and to do so in a way that respected the Earth.

And throughout the planning process they have always emphasized that it shouldn’t just look green, it should actually be green. It’s about true performance.

This new facility has been designed using biophilic principles – connecting the building and its occupants with nature. Natural daylight and views from the spaces within set the congregation directly in the wooded site. Through a life-cycle analysis, materials have been selected for their low environmental and human health impacts, fostering the idea that buildings are made for people and they should be healthy for them. Three bio retention cells around the building and parking lot will control and filter stormwater runoff to prevent flash flooding and erosion onto neighboring properties and the creek beyond.

On top of all this, the congregation had a vision to provide their own power produced from renewable sources right here on this beautiful site. The goal is to be net zero – to produce as much power as they use on an annual basis. The church plans to install a solar PV array to reach this goal, and to make sure they do so, they will be seeking a Net Zero Energy Building Certification under the Living Building Challenge program.


Biophilia is a design concept that connects buildings and occupants with nature – original book by E.O. Wilson. There are lots of ways to do this but at its essence, biophilia has shown through research to have positive physiological impacts to the human body. Less stress, more energy and improved performance by occupants, and increased comfort. Terrapin Bright Green has a really good summary of the strategies and links to resources.

There are about 14 overall biophilic strategies that can be incorporated into the design, and for this project we utilized visual connection with nature (direct views to woodland and sky), dynamic and diffuse light (glass allows lighting from multiple directions, exterior sunshade and light through trees creates dappled patterns), connection with natural systems (direct access to woodland), biomorphic forms and patterns (carpet pattern, use of natural colors), material connection with nature (use of natural materials), complexity and order (rhythm of the structural bays and the curve).


A life-cycle analysis evaluates the complete life cycle of a material (raw material and harvest, production, transportation, construction, use and maintenance, and end of life) against many environmental impacts including global warming potential, ozone depletion, acidification, smog development, human health impacts, eutrophication, resource depletion, and ecotoxicity.

  • We evaluated many of the cladding and interior materials with the LCA and against the budget to determine the best options
  • Cedar exterior cladding and interior ceiling is made of wood harvested in the U.S. and has stored carbon dioxide within the material – much better than masonry, metals, etc. The natural finishing and weathering will reduce maintenance costs and environmental impact and be durable for long period of time.
  • Glass selected for energy efficiency and reduced quantities across the entire building envelope to increase thermal performance.
  • Roof insulation better than code required minimums for better thermal performance
  • ‘Healthy’ materials selected for interiors – low VOC’s (volatile organic compounds) for carpet, adhesives, sealants, and paint and coatings.
  • Recycled glass countertops (two different kinds) were selected for durability over time and for their low impact raw material.
  • Polished concrete floor – this is more about reducing the need for multiple layers of materials thus reducing the overall impact. It’s also durable and helps with solar passive and energy efficiency strategies

Energy Use

  • Energy efficient design strategies include passive strategies like passive solar in large spaces, high performance glass and framing systems, and increased insulation.
  • Geothermal ground-source heat pump system is more energy efficient (uses radiant concepts)
  • Use of radiant heating in floor slab is low energy system
  • Energy recovery units for ventilation system.
  • LED lighting throughout
  • Energy Star appliances and energy recovery steam dishwasher unit
  • On-site renewable energy production through solar array

Site Design

  • Reduce parking capacity – total parking lot size reduce due to use of shared parking nearby
  • Building located to preserve as much existing vegetation as possible
  • Three bio retention cells manage stormwater runoff and toxicity
  • Native grasses to be planted
  • Bicycle trail extended to connect to building, bike racks installed, and shower provided inside Equity
  • Accessible design incorporated with increased quantity of handicap parking
  • Accessible entries
  • Parking drop-off near entry and no curbs throughout
  • Floor slab designed to eliminate flooring transitions from carpet and tile to concrete
  • No permanent seating at interior spaces for flexibility
  • Gender neutral restroom
  • Green Building Certification: Multiple certifications evaluated, going with Net Zero Energy Building Certification offered through the Living Building Challenge that will measure a year’s worth of energy performance.

Green Sanctuary

The congregation was officially recognized as a Green Sanctuary by the Unitarian Universalist Association in 2017. The certification process involved several years of preparatory work, followed by a thorough evaluation by an accreditation committee.

As a Green Sanctuary congregation, we are committed to continually educating ourselves on ways to live in greater harmony with the Earth, while creating projects in the following four focus areas:

Sustainable living

Sustainable living requires us to treat the world more gently by using fewer resources and being mindful of the choices we make. Our commitment to this ideal led us in 2017 to build the “greenest church in Iowa.” Our facility incorporates many sustainable building techniques, is powered largely by solar and geothermal energy, and is surrounded by woodlands that we actively conserve for natural habitat.

Environmental justice

Recognizing that marginalized communities are often hit first and hardest by environmental crises, we commit to working in solidarity with communities most affected by climate change. One of our ongoing projects is to send teams to directly assist with the Chico Mendes reforestation project in Guatemala.

Eco-centered worship & celebration

As we work together towards a cleaner, more just and sustainable world, worship enables us to stay connected to each other and to celebrate the work we have accomplished. We annually celebrate Earth Day, and environmental themes are frequently featured and woven into our services. We also support an active chapter of Covenant of Unitarian Universalist Pagans (CUUPs), an earth-centered spirituality group that conducts frequent rituals, celebrations, and workshops.

Nature-based religious education

Religious education shapes the attitudes and practices of children, families and the entire adult congregation while inspiring us to keep working toward our goal of sustainable practices. Our religious education classes often use our ten-acre woodland property as an outdoor learning environment, and lessons, activities, and field trips frequently center around nature-based themes.


Become a Member

UUS is a community where you are loved and respected for who you are. Membership affords you the opportunity to stretch your horizons, grow spiritually, serve others, and connect with people of like and unlike minds.

Our congregation depends on having people who consider this enough their own community that they support it with their time, talents, and financial resources.

Click the link above to get in touch with our Director of Congregational and Community Engagement and learn more about the process to membership.

Membership Commitments

Members agree to:

  • Support the eight principles of the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA).
  • Support the mission and vision of the society.
  • Participate in the life of the congregation as able, including Sunday services.
  • Vote on issues important to the life and work of the church.
  • Act on our values through service.
  • Support the congregation with their time, talents and financial resources.

Membership Process

To become a member you must:

  • Be 14 years of age or older.
  • Attend a Starting Point Class series or daylong workshop. Four times a year there is a chance to meet others, meet congregation and group leaders, learn about Unitarian Universalism and our congregation, and learn ways to get involved. The class is usually offering as a five part evening series, but occasionally we offer it as a Saturday workshop.
  • Make a financial commitment to UUS at whatever level you are able.
  • Attend the New Member Covenant Ceremony at a Sunday service.
  • Sign the Membership Book and Covenant of Right Relations.

Service on Sundays at 10; Office Open Mon-Thurs 9-4 By Appointment

2355 Oakdale Rd, Coralville, IA 52241