Dear Members and Friends of First Unitarian Church:

A beloved hymn usually sung with great gusto has a deeper meaning for us today: “Gather the spirit, harvest the power, our separate fires will kindle one flame. Witness the mystery of this hour, our trials in this light appear all the same.”

Pandemics are not new, but Covid-19 marks the first pandemic in our lifetimes. As we are forced to release so much control of our lives, we try in new and inventive ways to gather the spirit and harvest the power. We have no clear understanding of what lies ahead of us, but our trials are not uniquely our own.

Fortunately we are embraced in a church community where care and concern are foremost. Our church has been there for us in times of crises: gathering the spirit for a memorial service; gathering the spirit after 9/11; gathering the spirit during the Tim DeChristopher trial. Today we are challenged to gather the spirit without physically rallying together. How will that work? How do we kindle one flame?

On March 16th our Board of Trustees met to discuss these questions. A loving and caring spirit permeated the meeting.  The tasks ahead may appear contradictory, but they inspire us to enrich the meaning of community.  Following state health guidelines means closing the church for the next eight weeks. All activities scheduled at the church are cancelled. We will tell you with a joyful heart when the building opens again.  Remember that we are much more than the building. The doors may be closed but hearts remain open and our community very much alive.  

Discussions and small group ministries will continue remotely. (The Board meeting was held with all members and ministers at home.) Beginning on Sunday, March 22nd, Tom, Monica, and David will conduct worship services which you can all access by going on the church website [[[during the time of the service?]]] and clicking “sermon video.” After each service, we will hold a ZOOM virtual coffee hour and talkback session to discuss the sermon and any concerns that have arisen for you personally. Please join us. We will be happy to explain how to ZOOM coffee hour.

Small group facilitators: please monitor the wellbeing of your group. Offer support, gather the spirit, and please let the ministers know of issues that warrant pastoral attention. And let’s be vigilant in tending to the needs of friends in our community. 

Our Celebration Sunday Pledge Kick off was set to rock the house last Sunday, but the church was dark. Special speakers and music stir our generosity towards the church.  We believe that the sterner experience of this immense global crisis will underscore the extraordinary value of and the need to sustain a church community such as ours. Please reflect on the church’s value in your life and in the greater community as a passionate, unparalleled voice for peace and justice. 

We must prepare financially now for the transition to a new senior minister and we are asking for a boost in your pledge. The costs of the selection process beginning a year from now must be addressed today.  As you make your pledge the immediate future of the church is more than usually in your hands. Options are many: mail in your pledge card, press the donate button on our website, or call and leave a message at the church, 801.582.8687 ext. 202.  Someone from either the Board or the Pledge Committee will contact everyone who asks.

We must gather the spirit of heart and mind, demonstrating that so much more than a building defines our community. Reach out to one another. Help one another. In our digital world, love and concern have never travelled faster. 

In praise of our community,

Tom Goldsmith       Monica Dobbins          Peter Esko         Rebecca Heal & Henry Whiteside
Senior minister      Assistant minister      Board president      Pledge co-chairs  

Inhouse Sunday Church Services are Cancelled from March 15th through May 11th 2020.

Please visit the sermon video page here: sermon video page or visit our YouTube sermon videos page here: FirstUUSLC - YouTube sermon video page 

You can view the latest sermon and catch up on past sermons, hear some great words and wonderful music.


December 15th

Sunday Service (9am)
Christmas Pageant (11am)


December 21st

Winter Solstice Celebration
(Service 6 pm ~ Dinner 7 pm)

 Tickets: Adults $15/Youth 12 and Under $5

December 22nd

Lessons and Carols Service (9 & 11 am)

December 24th

Christmas Candlelight Service
(5:30 and 7pm)

December 29th

(9am & 11 am Service)


Giving Tree in Eliot Hall

Notice of Congregational Meeting
May 19, 2019  12:30 pm

First Unitarian Church Annual Meeting Agenda

  • Welcome
  • New Members
  • Elections
  • Pledge Report
  • Budget
  • Capital Campaign
  • Courageous Opportunities
  • Senior Minister’s Report
  • Assistant Minister’s Report
  • Transition Introduction
  • Closing


Sundays at 10:00 am
June 23 – August 18
June 23 –  Rocky Anderson – “Challenging Human and Civil Rights Abuses in Utah”
Rocky Anderson is a prominent Utah trial attorney who served two terms as Mayor of Salt Lake City (2000-2008). He was a candidate for Congress (1996), candidate for President (Justice Party, 2012), past Board Chair of the Utah Chapter of the ACLU, and is Executive Director of High Road for Human Rights. Music by Nick Anderson & David Owens
June 30 –  Mary Dickson – “Hosting International Students: The Joy of Opening Heart and Home to Strangers”

Mary Dickson is a writer and producer for public television. Recently retired as KUED’s director of Community Relations for over 20 years, Mary Dickson is known for her weekly program “Contact.” She is writing a book about her experience of hosting college-age international students in her home for many years. Music by Nick Anderson & David Owens

July 7 –  Satin Tashnizi and Nora Abu-Dan – “Islam and Islamophobia”

Satin Tashnizi graduated from the University of Utah in Political Science, and is bilingual in Farsi and English.  Nora is a native of Utah and her parents are from Palestine. Nora is a University of Utah graduate in Economics and Spanish. Both currently work for Goldman Sachs. Persian music by the group Jannan.   

July 14 – Cami Collett – “Prepare for Your Care: Starting the Conversation About Being Mortal”

Dr. Cami Collett, M.D., M.P.H., family physician and faculty at St. Mark’s Family Medicine; longtime member of this church’s congregation.  Cami presents workshops on this topic in the community.

July 21 – Thomas Huckin and Elise Lazar – “Move to Amend: Getting Money Out of Politics”

Retired University of Utah English Professor Thomas Huckin and Elise Lazar are activists representing Utah’s Move to Amend Coalition. 

July 28 – Utah Congressman Ben McAdams – “Update: Being a Democrat in the 116th Congress”

Former Mayor of Salt Lake County, Ben McAdams was elected in 2018 as a Democrat to represent the 4th District of Utah. Music by Ric Nobis

August 4 –  Howard Berkes – “28 Years and 31 Days: An NPR Correspondent’s Career”

Recently retired NPR reporter was based in Salt Lake City for 40 years.

August 11 – Thomas R. Smith – “Encounters with Mary Oliver: One Poet’s Reflections”

Thomas Smith is a poet, educator and writer visiting from River Falls, Wisconsin- As someone who knew Mary Oliver, Thomas will reflect on lesser-known aspects of Mary’s work that reveal her struggle for personal healing and a reckoning with the geopolitical forces that threaten peace and the fabric of life on our planet.

August 18 – The Final Two General Election Candidates for Salt Lake City Mayor

Winners of August 13 primary election for Salt Lake City Mayor prior to November 5th will speak and answer questions.

The camping trip is attended by approximately 80 to 120 people depending on campsite. It is a community building activity were attendees of both services and their families can take time to get to know each other away from the church. For many attendees it is a family church tradition. Childrens activities are planned so there will be something to do for all ages!

The event covers 3 nights and 4 days on average. Family friendly activities take place every day and there is a huge pot luck that is often also attended by people who drive up just for the day (another 10 people or so). This summer we will be camping at Pine Valley North Group Site A located up Mirror Lake Highway. The site holds 120 people (number of vehicles 25).  Cost is $36 per car.

Arrival Date: Thu Jul 25 2019 Check-in Time: 2:00 PM  Departure Date: Sun Jul 28 2019 Check-out Time: 1:00 PM

Overview: Pine Valley North Wasatch Cache Group Campground is located on the beautiful Mirror Lake Scenic Byway in the Uinta Mountains of northeastern Utah. The Uintas are known for their abundant recreational opportunities and scenic beauty.

Natural Features: The campground is situated among shady pines and aspens at an elevation of 7,400 feet. The dense stands of trees provide nice shade.

Recreation: The Lower Provo River is nearby, offering good trout fishing. Numerous hiking, biking and horseback riding trails crisscross this beautiful mountain area, including North Fork and Shingle Creek Trails. Off-road vehicle trails are in the vicinity.

There is limited parking, so please sign up  early: UPDATE SPACES ARE FULL    

Any questions contact Jim Thornburg or Amanda Finlayson at


The Environmental Ministry program "Life, the Universe, and Everything" scheduled for Friday March 29th at 7pm has been CANCELLED due to the power outages. Sorry for the inconvenience and stay safe!

Rise to the Challenge: The 2019 Pledge Drive
by the Pledge Committee

In the recent “Courageous Opportunities” series of conversations about the relevance of First Unitarian Church and its future, participants named shared values as one of their top reasons for coming to church week after week, year after year. Our shared values are the basis for our community. We come together with compassion for one another, with a commitment to truth, and with respect for the natural world. Our mission is to build a progressive and just world, even as—or perhaps because—the future looks so bleak right now. This we agree on.

We also agree that participation in First Unitarian Church adds meaning to our lives. Because it is important to us, we volunteer time and talent towards the mission of our church. But is it enough? To accommodate the steadily growing number of members—which in itself is a wonderful development—we hired a second minister and are expanding programs. These changes are invigorating. But they are also expensive, and income from pledges has not kept up with the increase in activity and membership. This imbalance presents us with a real challenge. Compared to climate change it seems immaterial, but if we want to slow global warming as part of this community, we have to invest into our church not only with time and talent, but also with treasure. We may not want to pay to maintain our church building, but if we are creating a progressive world from within its walls and we provide sanctuary, we need to have a safe and welcoming facility. As advocates for living wages and affordable health care, we need to start at home and make sure our growing church staff is paid fairly. We need to give money as generously as we can to balance the budget. Hopefully this, too, is something we agree on.

We bring our families here and trust that this beloved community takes care of them. The 2019 pledge drive challenges us to take care of our church and our congregation. Pledging is the intentional, purposeful act of giving generously to empower First Unitarian Church to fulfill its mission and continue as Salt Lake Valley’s beacon light for liberal religion. By combining our financial gifts, we will Rise to the Challenge. Please read on for FAQs.

How does pledging work?
Decide how much money you will contribute to First Unitarian Church during the next church year (July 2019-June 2020). You will pledge the total amount today and pay in one payment or in installments between now and the end of the church year. Many pledgers find monthly payments convenient. For instance, they may pledge $1,200 today and make twelve monthly payments of $100 starting in July. Make your pledge via a pledge card (available on Sundays after both services at the Pledge Table in Eliot Hall) or contact Church Administrator Carol Foster (801.582.8687 ext. 201).

I’m not a member; does this apply to me?
You don’t have to be a member to pledge. If you’re a friend of First Unitarian Church, if the mission speaks to you, if you attend service, if you feel like you belong here—please pledge. You are just as much part of the community. (And if you consider becoming a member, don’t be shy and reach out to Rev. Goldsmith or Rev. Dobbins.)

I’m a member; do I need to pledge?
Did raising that question just make you nod your head involuntarily? There, you have your answer. (No one will erase your name from the book if you don’t pledge. But the expectation of members is to contribute to the financial well-being of the church. Some members are able to pledge more, others less.)

How much should I pledge?
First Unitarian Church values socioeconomic diversity, and we support our church at individual financial levels. Plan to contribute a percentage of your annual income. The UUA Fair Share Contribution Guide suggests that you pledge between 2% and 10% of your adjusted annual income depending on your level of commitment and participation. Giving levels rise with income and capacity. Here is a simplified guide to proportional giving; the complete guide is online at:

contribution guildeline

What about the collection plate?

Collection plate dollars vary from week to week and do not provide a consistent stream of income. We rely on your pledge to draw a realistic budget for the next year and plan all activities accordingly.

What if my financial situation changes over the next year?
Life happens, and First Unitarian Church doesn’t want your pledged contribution to become a hardship. Or perhaps you’ve come into a windfall! Please contact Carol Foster if you need to adjust your pledge.

Who do I contact with questions?
Both ministers are happy to discuss the pledge drive with you, as are the members of the Pledge Committee: Rebecca Heal (Chair), Carol Blackwell, Melanie Steiner-Sherwood, and Henry Whiteside. If you have logistical question, please contact Carol Foster.