ISSUE 4                                                                                                                                                                                  OCTOBER 2016
Our shared reflection this month, as it will be to some extent all year, has been around covenant. We have looked at our Congregationalist history to understand how promises in comunity produced our modern Unitarian Universalism. This intrepid band of soggy stalwarts mired in the theology of the day, wanted to distance themselves from the hierarchy of the Church of England so they could practice their faith differently. From their 65 days at sea and landing on the shores of this land without any familiar comforts, they knew well they needed each other. Their promises to one another were aspirational. They were grounded in a hope for something they could not yet see, in their desire to increase the sum of love and justice in the world.
It behooves us to remember this history, awash as we are in the violent and virulent rhetoric that our country's campaign cycle has become. Tuning out or turning cynical are so seductive. And yet, who can doubt that we need one another? Is it not obvious that some of us need to take the lead in imagining a new way? Can we not agree that our country and our world would benefit from people collaboratively promising and working toward increasing the sum of love and justice?
Indeed, I have asked, what if instead of stammering over our principles and fumbling with our wallet cards, we instead told people, "My faith is about making promises and living into them with others to serve the common good."
Interestingly, we move from enriching our understanding of our Unitarian Universalist tradition to imagining what it might mean for us to be a community of healing. That is the question we are asking this month in worship, small groups, Gathered Here (new Wednesday evening meal and worship), and several committee meetings.
It is a fair and timely question because covenant is aspirational. Promises are made by fallible human beings. It has been rightly observed that we are promise-making, promise-breaking, and promise-renewing creatures. With broken promises, there often comes a need for healing.
Healing is not a comfortable notion though, is it? To say there is a need for healing is to admit that something has been broken or weak or ailing. To explore the notion of healing invites us to get beneath the surface of 'everything is fine', 'time takes care of everything', 'talking about the past doesn't change anything' and 'if I ignore it, it will go away.' Different than curing, as author Rachel Naomi Remen put it: "Healing may not be so much about getting better as about letting go of everything that isn't you - all of the expectations, all of the beliefs - and becoming who you are. Not a better you, but a 'realer' you....People can heal and live, and people can heal and die. Healing is different from curing. Healing is a process we're all involved in all the time. Healing is the leading forth of wholeness in people. I think that healing happens only in the context of our imminent awareness of something larger than ourselves, however we conceive that." 
And so then, for me, healing is not just about individual illness. It is about growing conscious of who we are individually and collectively so that we can grow in wholeness. It is about thriving not surviving. It is about living into an understanding that we are more than our to-do lists. It is about being and witnessing and sharing and living in kindness connected always to a larger truth or purpose.
As William Stafford wrote so beautifully in "The Way It Is":
There's a thread you follow.
 It goes among things that change.
But it doesn't change.
People wonder about what you are pursuing.
You have to explain about the thread.
 But it is hard for others to see.
While you hold it you can't get lost.
Tragedies happen; people get hurt or die;
 and you suffer and get old.
Nothing you do can stop time's unfolding.
You don't ever let go of the thread.
What is your thread? What if our thread was our covenant - our promise - to work toward adding to the sum of love and justice in the world? A community of healing, indeed.
See you in church.

Gathered Here: Wednesdays at JUC
Wednesday nights at Jefferson Unitarian Church will have new energy and activity. 

Beginning with the first week in October, each Wednesday will offer dinner followed by a unique worship experience in the chapel, with the entire evening known as Gathered Here .

Dinner will be available from 5:30 - 6:30 p.m. prepared by Stellar Catering for $5 per person, with food for omnivores and vegetarians. Folks are also welcome to bring their own dinners if they wish. After a shared meal, there will be 6:30 p.m. chapel service that will re-energize, relax, and refresh us as we take a mid-week opportunity to deepen to our true selves and connect with one another.

First Wednesdays: We Are Family
Would you like to worship with your whole family in an interactive, half-hour service? Join us for story, song and an interactive ritual exploring the theme of the month. Our first We Are Family worship, on October 5, will include a bandaid blessing to honor the healing that takes place when we are together. Younger children are especially invited to attend and bring your families.  

Second Wednesdays: Evensong
Need a chance to unwind, settle down, go deeper? Evensong services  are opportunities to employ singing and silence as a Unitarian Universalist spiritual practice. We reconnect with our breath, listen to ourselves and one another with compassion, and become more aware of our connectedness with all things. If you're having a tough week or are in difficult circumstances, Evensong is a way to let go. If you are feeling in good harmony, this hour of intention will magnify your well-being. Gather with other spiritual seekers and be prepared to exhale and energize.

Third Wednesdays: Uplift
Need to recharge and raise your spirits?  Uplift is a music-driven, energetic service that combines inspiring songs with a powerful message. This is a service designed to encourage and motivate, with a worship band providing the musical soundtrack and one of our ministers offering words to engage hearts and spirits.

Fourth Wednesdays: Resting in Words
Looking for a way to open up a deeper space within? Each month we'll select a short text related to our theme, read it aloud, and settling into the words, finding what is calling us this day. We'll provide the text, something to write on and something to write with. You come ready for some extended silence, and optional sharing at the end.

Fifth Wednesdays: Playful Spirits
Have fun with spirituality! Come engage in spiritual practices that can help you to connect to yourself, others, the mystery beyond. We'll take risks by trying out new practices and we'll do beloved practices in community. Come try zen doodling, laughter yoga, mindful eating, and more! This is a great fit for people 5th grade and up!

Some JUCers may be familiar with the once-a-month ToGather Tuesdays from past years.  Gathered Here not only replaces ToGather Tuesdays, but it also steps up the experience to be available weekly. You are encouraged to attend   Gathered Here  each Wednesday or on Wednesdays that you choose, to kindle your soul, to connect with others, and to equip you to move in our world with authenticity and inspiration.

October Special Plate
JUC members helped found the West Metro Habitat Interfaith Coalition (formerly Jeffco Partners), a group of faith and service organizations dedicated to working together on projects to address poverty and housing needs in Jefferson County.

Since 1998, the Coalition has completed fundraising and construction of fourteen Habitat for Humanity homes in the west Metro Denver area.

The West Metro Habitat Interfaith Coalition will wholly fund and build a house this fall in the College View area, near Federal and Yale. The Alsharqi Hamad family (Ahmed, wife Rasul, a 5-year-old daughter and a 3-year-old son), will be the homeowners.
The JUC special plate collection on October 16 will be donated to the West Metro Habitat Interfaith Coalition to help support building this Habitat for Humanity house.

Open Volunteer Opportunities
NEW! Gathered Here - JUC's new mid-week worship services on Wednesday evenings needs hosts. Hosts will be responsible for arriving about 5:15 p.m. and setting out plates, napkins, utensils, cups and pitchers of water, putting a basket out for donations and taking the money over to the office assistant. Hopefully with enough volunteers this could be a monthly or every-other-month opportunity.
Year-Round Pledge Campaign - This team is looking for a few more volunteers who can help at the table in the commons on a monthly basis, putting together thank you packages, and more.
Lunch After Church - Currently hosted by Don Bishop and Diana Bright, this is just what it says - lunch after church on first Sundays at a nearby restaurant. An individual or couple who would be interested in hosting every other month would be appreciated.
Scrip Card Sales - Jean Decker and Pat Emery do an amazing job of keeping this program going and making money for the church, but they would like one or two more people on board to help out.
Golden Circle Lunch - Would like to have a good sized team of people who can rotate duties for our quarterly luncheons for our beloved members who are 70 and better. These are held during the day on a weekday, with various jobs needing to be done between 9 a.m. and 2 p.m. The next one is coming up on Friday, October 21.
Interested? Please call or email Beth Leyba, Congregational Connection Coordinator.   

Planned Giving and Covenant
In introducing our annual theme of "covenant", Rev. Wendy has observed that so many of us cite community as the reason we love this church. UU religious community is a precious gift. Within it, we find values and questions that are rarely encountered elsewhere in our lives. Values and questions that push us, ground us and remind us who we most deeply are.  Covenant is about naming the values we share as a framework for who we want to be in the world and how we will be together. It recognizes that we need one another. We are more together than we are apart. It is by and through relationship that we are changed.

We are fortunate that we have JUC to nourish and carry this tradition forward through the ages. We need your support now and in the future to keep this tradition alive and serving the common good. You can make your own covenant to make a life gift to JUC through your will, trust, retirement accounts or life insurance. 

Contact JUC's Planned Giving Coordinators:  Bud Meadows, Mike Kramer, or Carol Wilsey.

UU Front Range Choir Retreat
Can you imagine singing for an entire weekend retreat without laying eyes on a single piece of written music?

That's what 170 members of UU Front Range Choirs did August 26-28 at Sunrise Ranch west of Loveland. Twenty-eight JUC singers were fortunate to attend. Some singers attended for the whole weekend, staying in various lodges at the peaceful ranch. Others camped out on the grounds, while some drove up just for the day. 

Dr. Ysaye Barnwell served as our director.  After singing with "Sweet Honey and the Rock," for 32 years, Dr. Barnwell has moved on to providing choral workshops around the country. In addition to teaching music orally as in the African tradition, the entertaining director provided fascinating historical information about the origins of American Spiritual music. She wowed the crowd in the huge auditorium with her sense of humor and her ability to sing an astonishing range from bass to soprano.

Saturday night featured a talent show, with performances ranging from lovely to hilarious.  The JUC Treblemakers trio sang, Martha Johns read two poems, and Keith Arnold accompanied a hilarious version of a Rossini opera aria featuring "meow" as the only repeated lyric. 

In addition to fabulous singing, a fun talent show, and an inspiring Sunday morning service, attendees enjoyed outstanding food. The gardeners at Sunrise Ranch grow delicious fresh produce, so every meal was a special treat. 

Meeting other singers and their directors provided yet another pleasure. Choir members from various churches mixed and mingled the whole weekend.  We shared information and enjoyed the feeling of being a part of a greater Front Range group of singers.

Special thanks to Bev Curtiss, who worked long and hard to turn this weekend from a dream into a reality.

Laptop Computers Open the World to Our Guatemalan Scholarship
Thank you to everyone who donated to support the purchase of laptops that will be available for our students to take home to do homework and gain basic computer skills. These computers will make it possible for students who often  walk for several miles on mountain trails to and from school to get home before dark when the route becomes dangerous.

Through your generosity the August Special Plate raised $4,315 and our companion fundraiser through the UUA crowdfunding site, Faithify, has met our goal of $4,000. With an earlier kickoff donation of $2,000 this will be enough to purchase at least 25 laptops for the computer center in Rabinal.

Thank you for enriching our scholarship students' education! 

14350 W 32nd Avenue
Golden, CO 80401
The Work of Covenant
Covenant takes work. That's the nitty gritty of it, but it includes an understanding that when we are doing the work, we are laying a foundation from which good things can flow. This applies to any relationship that we are in, whether with a spouse or partner, our children, our parents, our friends, and even our church.
As you hopefully know, JUC members are asked to contribute at least once per quarter to our Sunday Shared Ministry, which consists of the weekly positions of Greeters, Ushers, Coffee Attendants, Commons Coordinators, and Laundry Helpers. JUC visitors are welcome to volunteer for these positions as well, but for members it is part of the covenant that they have entered into.
What I Want You to Know About Sunday Shared Ministry:
  • These tasks are essential. In my conversations with people over the time I've been at JUC, many refer to Sunday Shared Ministry as Foundations of Fellowship, which is what it used to be called. I like that name (not changing it, don't worry!) because it really points to the fact that these somewhat tedious tasks create the stage for church to happen each week. (Laying a foundation from which good things can flow!)
  • These tasks may be somewhat tedious, but I want you to have fun while doing them. I'm all about fun. (Don't tell Wendy.) We can have fun and do the work simultaneously, and when we bring a joyful, playful spirit to our work, it benefits all.
  • These tasks are a great way to fulfill the "connect" portion of our common purpose. Your partner that day might be a stranger to you but hopefully by the end of service you'll know each other a little bit. 
  • If one or all of the tasks feels daunting or you are wondering if you will be able to accomplish it because you have small children, or perhaps a disability, talk to me and we'll figure it out together! As someone with a chronic illness/invisible disability, and as someone who once had small kids, I get it. We can make it work, whether it means sitting down while greeting, having the office assistant help with counting the offering, or even having your child work with you, we can make it doable.
  • Speaking of having your children work with you, I absolutely love that idea! It lets everyone know that all are welcome, and gives the kids a sense of ownership and belonging within their church community. Certainly some age restrictions might apply, but even young kiddos love to be included and to help out.
  • Finally, I want to encourage you to SIGN UP when you are able unless you really enjoy my emails and calls asking you to do so. Once per quarter is the expectation, but if you love doing a particular job, please feel free to do it more often.
Many thanks to all those who have been faithful to fulfilling this portion of the covenant between JUC and its members! 

Pledge and Covenant
The word pledge in and of itself means to promise. It's an agreement. As we agree on how to be together in a covenantal religious community, we also agree to pay for it. It's even in the JUC  bylaws (see Article IV, Section 1). Without pledges made and paid by members and friends, we simply would not be able to open the doors. Pledge payments make up 85% of the operating income. So your pledge - your covenant to financially support the mission of the church - matters.
This is so much more than a consumer transaction in which one pays and receives something in exchange. By pledging (and paying - these are two separate actions) you are investing in a religious institution that carries your values well beyond what you can do alone.
One of the steps the Board of Trustees took last year was to consider the values that are foundational to everything we do here. They did this by holding sessions in which people spoke about deeply meaningful experiences and what those held in common. The list that rose to the top was:
  • Connection to something larger
  • Love
  • Service
  • Reason
  • Transcendent Mystery
These are the underpinnings of our purpose as an institution. Our  Mission  rests on these values which then leads to our  Strategic Outcomes, or in other words, what we actually are aiming to do together: Deepen to our truest selves, Connect authentically with others, and Engage with needs greater than our own.
JUC's Minister Emeritus, Rev. Robert Latham says, "there is only one reason to invest in any institution and that is because that institution is designed to preserve and perpetuate the values I cherish. When I find such an institution it is worthy of my devotion." Devotion to a religious institution comes in many forms: attending worship services and activities, supporting and connecting with one another, volunteering, and providing generous financial support.
I hope that you do get more than you give by pledging to this religious community. And also, that you believe you are investing in more than that transaction alone. You are supporting an institution that can leverage the power of your values through a covenant with others to carry them together now and into the future.
If you have any questions about pledging, please call or email me, 303-279-5282 x11.

Membership and Covenant
Annie Hedberg, Membership Coordinator

Among my favorite duties as Membership Coordinator is co-leading our New Member Welcome Ceremonies held twice yearly, in January and May. These ceremonies are a joy for ministers and staff, new members, and the congregation because they remind us all that our beloved community is continuously evolving, rich with new relationships and alive with possibility. The ceremony is covenantal: the congregation promises to "lean past shyness" and open hearts to lovingly include our new members and their children; in turn, our new members promise to share with their new community the various "joys and responsibilities" that membership entails.
With each ceremony, our church body is "reconstituted" and so we reaffirm our covenant with one another. UUs hear often that our faith is not creedal but covenantal. As our new members light their candles from the flame of our chalice, we are reminded of the hope and healing our faith embodies when we stand together on the side of love.  
Over the years, I have been privileged to share tears of joy and wonder as individuals and families covenant with JUC; and I have shared with our seasoned members their delight in and gratitude for the steady stream of new folks who appreciate our faith and  love our church enough to covenant with us as members and co-create its future. 

County Commissioner Forum at JUC

Board of County Commissioners Candidate Forum
Tuesday, October 11
 7 - 8:30 p.m.
Jefferson Unitarian Church
14350 W. 32nd Avenue, Golden 80401
Hosted by: Just Neighboring/Together Colorado organizing committee

Have you ever wondered what County Commissioners do and why they are important to Jefferson County? Through our church-wide one-on-one surveys, JUC members overwhelmingly stated that homelessness, affordable housing, and mental health services were vital concerns to them. The Jefferson County Board of Commissioners, with its $515.9 million 2016 budget, has the authority to impact these issues.
Jefferson County is governed by a three-member Board of Commissioners, which is responsible for overseeing the organization and budgets of a wide variety of county programs. Two of the three commissioners are running for re-election in 2016.

Commissioner Libby Szabo (R) and Marti J. Smith (D) are running for the District One position and Commissioner Casey Tighe (D) and Frank Teunissenn (R) are running for the District Two position. All three current Commissioners are on the board of the Jefferson Center for Mental Health (JCMH.) The Board oversees funding for JCMH and for the Seniors' Resource Center. They are also responsible for applying for Home Investment Partnership (HOME) grants from Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to help fund new affordable housing.
A survey of homelessness in Jefferson County (conducted January 26, 2015) found 564 people as homeless, with 77% of them being families with children. Jefferson County Public Schools reported 2500 students as being homeless at some point during the 2014-2015 school year. The number one reason for homelessness in Jeffco is the high cost of housing.
New affordable housing is usually financed by a combination of HOME grants from HUD, Community Development Block Grants (CDBG) and other sources. The smaller cities in Jeffco rely on these HOME grants to augment other funding sources. The Board of County Commissioners needs to apply for these HOME grants for there to be new affordable housing in Jeffco.
We have invited the Jefferson County Board of Commissioners candidates to a forum on Tuesday, October 11 to outline their positions on affordable housing and mental health issues. By attending this forum, you can make your concerns known, and decide which candidates align with your concerns and values. By showing up, you are telling the candidates that you care about these issues.

Habitat for Humanity and JUC
  Jeff and Paula Menten

JUC, along with other local churches and service organizations, will be funding and building a Habitat for Humanity house this fall in Jefferson County. This group, West Metro Habitat Interfaith Coalition, has raised funds and built 14 Habitat for Humanity homes in the West Metro Denver area since 1998. The 2016 house will be in the College View neighborhood, near Federal and Yale. The homeowners will be the Alsharqi Hamad family (Ahmed, wife Rasul, a 5-year-old daughter and 3-year-old son). 

FAQs about Habitat for Humanity and the Jeffco Partners involvement:

Q:  I've heard of Habitat for Humanity, but what exactly do they do, and how does the process work?

A:  Habitat for Humanity's mission is to build homes, communities, and hope. Habitat's vision is a world where everyone has a decent place to live. Habitat builds houses using groups of concerned volunteers and then sells the houses to homeowner partners through 0% interest mortgages. Homes are built using volunteer labor and donated goods, allowing them to be sold at affordable rates based on income. These homes are sold to families living within 30-60% of the Area Median Income who are willing and able to become homeowners, partner with Habitat, and provide 400-500 hours of "sweat equity" working on their homes, or other Habitat projects. Habitat is designed to provide housing options to those who do not qualify for conventional mortgages, while providing support systems to help families help themselves.


Q:  How much money is required to build a Habitat house, and how are the funds raised?

A:  Each Habitat house requires $85,000 in funding, in addition to volunteer labor and donated goods. The West Metro Habitat Interfaith Coalition raises this money by donations from each member organization and individual donations, and by annual Pumpkin Patch sales. Last year, the two Jeffco pumpkin patches netted $45,000!!


Q:  Does JUC contribute funds to the West Metro Habitat Interfaith Coalition for Habitat directly?

A:  Yes, JUC donates funds made possible through an annual special plate worship Sunday collection for the Coalition, which will be October 16 this year. Last year's special plate collection provided $2,900 to Habitat.


We need your help now to build this Habitat house!!  Here are the ways you can help:

Work at the pumpkin patch

Signup to help unload pumpkins, or work a 4 hour shift selling pumpkins at either the Arvada or Lakewood Patch. 
  • Signup on  online
  • Visit the table in the commons any Sunday in October 

Buy pumpkins at either of the two Pumpkin Patches

  • Arvada: Northwest corner of Wadsworth and 68th; Opens October 15
  • Lakewood: Corner of Alameda and Garrison; Opens October 8
  • Patches will be open every day, 10 a.m. to dusk, until October 31

Work at a Habitat build day

JUC Build Days are: 
  • Saturday, October 8
  • Friday November 11
  • Saturday December 3
The pumpkin patch is a great volunteer opportunity for families - all ages can help. Pumpkin unloading for is for all able-bodied folks who enjoy exercise. Habitat house builds are for ages 16 and above.
Signup online or in the commons any Sunday in October. Contact:  Jeff Menten


Contribute to the October 16 special plate collection during the JUC worship service


Thanks for helping us to make this dream come true - a safe, affordable house for the Alsharqi Hamad family!

Ruth R. Rinehart, MA, M.Div.

Dear ones, my beloved Jefferson Unitarian Church congregation, my heart is full as I write this, planning my ordination into the Unitarian Universalist ministry. Sunday, October 9 at 4 p.m. in the afternoon, at JUC! Your board, and the Board of Boulder Valley UU Fellowship, have voted to co-ordain me.
Ordination is a "setting apart" for ministry. In our tradition, congregations do the ordaining. Yes, I have made it through the UUA Ministerial Fellowship Committee process, and have been admitted into Preliminary Fellowship. But, I'm not a Reverend yet. Not until October 9th. Not until you and BVUUF confer the ordination upon me, believing I am prepared, I am ready, I am worthy of being a minister. It is a holy honor, and I feel deeply blessed. Tears of gratitude and love are welling up behind my eyes as I write this.
You have watched me come back to the faith of my childhood. You have watched me on the Worship Team, learning about the elements of service - aesthetics, music, covenant, celebration, ritual, sharing joy and sorrows. You have watched me wrestle theologically and intellectually with theism and mysticism - a journey through seminary does not leave one unchanged. You have watched me on the Pastoral Care team - with intention that small acts will make a difference in a life.
Jefferson Unitarian Church congregation - you called ministry out of me. It was from the ocean of your love and care that I recognized my lifelong spiritual journey led directly to Unitarian Universalist ministry. You didn't know you were doing this. You simply opened your arms and welcomed me in. You called me into covenant with beloved community. You lived with me into religious community.
Thank you. I have missed you. One's relationship with the congregation changes in the ministerial formational process, but I am grateful, oh so grateful, to be ordained in my own home congregation. 
Lisa Bickford is the JUC lead on the ordination team. Let her know if you want to help!