ISSUE 12                                                                                                                                                                                             JUNE 2017
June's Theme: Joy
This month our worship theme is joy. As I listen to the news, bracing for the next installment of 'He said - He said', seldom has a theme seemed less relevant. Still, spiritual practice is about staying awake and present to how things are, not just how we wish them to be. Thus, for me, we enter a fertile field in which to pay more attention and allow ourselves to be called to something more demanding than despair.

So, while many of us may not relate to joy except as connected to hope for what is to come, we will together explore joy all month. Maybe we will find we aren't all that open to it. Joko Beck, the late Zen Buddhist teacher, once said, "Our inability to experience joy is directly related to our inability to forgive." Or maybe we will find that it is steeped in and throughout all that we do recalling Rabindranath Tagore's reflection: "I slept and dreamt that life was joy. I awoke and saw that life was service. I acted and behold, service was joy." Or maybe we will find as Molly Fumia asserted: "To be joyful in the universe is a brave and reckless act." Or maybe we will find joy is easier to access in the refulgence of summer.  

Speaking of our summer, our monthly themes begin in September and end in June. Last summer, Rev. Eric and I used that opening to preach a sermon series through July and August on qualities of spiritual maturity. This summer, in order to give Eric some well-earned time off, we will offer two separate sermon series. In July, I will explore democracy. By our fifth principle, Unitarian Universalists agree to affirm and promote the democratic process in our congregations and society at large. As a people, we have long held a belief that all people are equal. And yet, as a country, people on all sides of the aisle fear for democracy's survival.

Our religion which offers a spiritual center and a civic circumference, invites us to help it survive and thrive. So, we will wonder together what it might take to get beyond cynicism and enter the discipline of healing our hearts to strengthen them for a democracy "worthy of the human spirit," as Parker Palmer described. If, as it has been said, we are the ones we have been waiting for, this is our work. What a blessing we can do it together!
Spring Congregational Survey

At our Spring Congregational Meeting on May 21, we heard some important facts.
  1. Instead of the expected 15% of survey respondents, over 40% of our members took the time to participate in the Spirit Map Survey. That many JUCers taking the time to share is wonderful! Responses will be first shared with the Board in July, and at the Fall Congregational Meeting, Responses and Planned Actions will be shared with the congregation.
  2. Our experiment with a second campus in Evergreen is over.  We learned some valuable lessons, gained some great friends, but it was too labor intensive. In September, we will begin our next experiment in growth -- livestreaming.
  3. While membership is rising, donations are flat. As costs continue to increase each year, it is important to take that extra step, when pledging, of checking the increase box.
  4. During this turbulent time in our denomination, JUC is stepping up. We gave our full fair share to the UUA a year before planned, and are budgeted to again next year.
  5. The annual report is available online.
My three years on the board have been a time of change. The most fundamental being a change to Policy Governance. Because of this change, many old-timers feel they don't know how to do things that they used to know how to do at JUC. I know this can be frustrating. In most cases, the best place to start is on the webpage. I use the search option at the top a lot, because I don't always find things where I expect them to be. The next best place to start is with a phone call or email to Carol Wilsey. If she isn't the person to talk to she will know who is. Old committee procedures have been replaced with new staff policies. Carol will be able to help you know how to get things done.

Another major change has been the way that we communicate. The Crier became IGNITE, Order of Service announcements have moved to the Weekly Connection, JUCeAlerts have become Member2Member. These changes have come for a variety of reasons at the very talented hands of Darcy Stanton. If you have questions about any of these means of communication, she is very helpful.  

One of the Board's major roles under Policy Governance is linkage - hearing the voices and needs of the congregation and considering them in our deliberations. Please know that Board members are eager to hear how things are going as we socialize in the south commons or through our personal emails or phone calls. This email address  reaches the whole board.

I want to express my gratitude to fellow board members and staff members for their support during my term on the board. I also want to thank all members of my Beloved Community for giving me the opportunity to serve and learn on the Board.

Small Group Ministry for the 2017/18 Church Year
We're making some changes! Small Group Ministry will now be known as  Going Deeper . We realized that there was some confusion between Small Groups and Affinity Groups, so hopefully this will help clear that up, as well as reflect our desire to have these small group meetings be the essential offering that JUC has to help our members and friends  Deepen  to their truest selves and  Connect  authentically with others.

Our hope is that  Going Deeper allows us to "shrink the church" so that everyone has the opportunity to practice deep, reflective listening, authentic sharing, and to take a deeper dive with our monthly worship themes in groups of 8-12. Each year,  Going Deeper will be an opportunity to develop authentic, intimate friendships with other JUCers, then participants will be invited to spread the love by becoming a facilitator or joining a new group the following year.

Groups meet twice per month for an hour and a half, and there will be opportunities for year-long groups which will meet mid-September - May, as well as short-term opportunities September - December and February - May.

We are looking for facilitators! If interested, please know that facilitators will be asked to commit to attending five online meetings throughout the church year with Wendy Williams, Annie Scott, and Beth Leyba for both support and growth, as well as attend a Facilitator Training on Tuesday, September 5, 6:30-8:30 p.m.

If you have questions please contact  Beth Leyba, Congregational Connection Coordinator. Look for opportunities to sign up starting in August!
The Ultimate Gift Redux
In last year's July issue of IGNITE  (click on Flint & Steel) I wrote an article "The Ultimate Gift" about large bequests the church has received from Jim & Til Taguchi and David Willard. The total of those unrestricted bequests was around $290,000. The generosity and pre-planning by these members is a great gift to JUC.

Here are some of the Board-approved-uses of those funds so far:
  • Loan repayments of $102,000 saving annual loan expenses of $12,000
  • Unrestricted operating reserve to maintain the recommended 25% of our budget (we needed to add approximately $50,000 to reserves)
  • $24,000 in funding for a full-time intern for 2017-2018 and sabbatical coverage for the Minister of Music
  • $18,000 reserve for Technology and Aesthetics related to live-streaming worship services
  • $8,500 for Multiculturalism and Racial Justice work such as Beloved Conversations and a front range congregations workshop planned for next fall
  • $9,700 for a professional facility reserve study
  • $3,600 to fulfill 100% of the Unitarian Universalist Association Fair Share to the Annual Program Fund for 2016-2017 (90% was in our budget)
  • $6,200 for new classroom chairs and monies for installations and ordinations
These are all things that, while not all glamorous, contribute to the stability and expansion of our ministry. 

Jim and Til Taguchi and Dave Willard all had an abiding commitment to the congregation which transcended their deaths. This was true also for Frank Mills, whose bequest in 1995 took the balance of the Endowment and Memorial Gift Trust Fund from $10,000 to $380,000. Grants from that fund have totaled over $500,000 since its inception in 1992 and the balance of that fund is currently around $625,000.

There are over 60 members and friends who have included JUC in their estate plans or have made current gifts that equal or exceed $10,000, making them Legacy Circle members. If you would like to join that group, complete the registration form  or contact a Planned Giving  Team member, Mike Kramer, Bud and BJ Meadows, or Carol Wilsey.
Welcome Our New Members!
Cindy Lacy and Nicole Piasecki  are   both educators who enjoy golf, reading, hiking, and spending time with their young son, Joseph.

Terri Inskeep-Denning is a gaming supervisor who enjoys hiking, camping, and paddle boating.

Jama Rice works as a business manager at a charter school, and her interests include skiing, travel, reading, and gardening.

Vicki and Dan Olson are both retired, and their interests include reading, walking, and travel.

Kathleen Bassett is a retired school administrator who enjoys reading, personal growth and organization. 

Roger and Tanya Williams  are an attorney and an environmental engineer whose interests include fitness and music.

Jane Schold works for the Colorado Department of Education, and she enjoys gardening and spending time with her grandchildren.

Andy Melick and Inge Sengelmann live in Golden and are interested in yoga, painting, landscaping, and outdoor recreation. 

Barbara Munson is enjoying her retirement.

Judy Denison is a retired and enjoys researching family history and singing.

Cheryl Barr is retired and enjoys knitting, quilting, reading, and hiking.

Elizabeth Kaleugher works as a nurse practitioner and enjoys travel, camping, jogging, and cooking. 

Erik Greensfelder and Emily Isaacs enjoy outdoor recreation and spending time with their young daughter Taylor

Brian "Bear" Fawns and Elle Fawns are both nurses who enjoy cooking and hiking. They have two kids, Courtney and Luke.
Planned Giving and Embodiment
JUC is the embodiment of each of its members and friends, we individually and collectively reach out with our minds, voice, hearts, hands and feet to deepen us to our truest selves, connect authentically with others and engage with needs beyond our own.

We use our body's collective time, talents and wealth to carry out our mission and give JUC a physical presence in our community and world. 

Estate planning can embody our truest selves and our wealth with the causes that we hold most dear so that they may flourish and grow after our bodies have ceased to be.  We have recently embodied the generosity of Dave Willard and the Taguchi family in our church's financial resources. We also just received a final gift from the Schaffer family (Jeanne died in 2012 and John in January of 2016).

We invite you to join us and over 50 other members by including JUC in your estate plans. Your gift can be large or small and can be given in a variety of ways. Visit the planned giving display in the north commons for related information.

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

Stephanie Briggs just walked past my office with a gigantic wheelbarrow of weeds she pulled from the JUC campus. Yes! The weeds are growing and they got a good boost from the rain (and snow and hail - that just makes them stronger). 

Would you like to be part of the solution like Stephanie? Adopt a small plot here to maintain from now until September or so. Choose the space you can handle based on your availability. Stephanie will have a sign up table in the commons on  Sunday, June 4. If you can't wait to sign up for your own little JUC spot, give me a call or stop by for a walk-around. 
PrideFest 2017

Come  March PrideFest With Us!

Sunday, June 18
Parade starts at 9:30 at Cheesman Park and arrives at Civic Center Park around noon.
Arrive on foot, ready to march or ride in the UU Float (for those unable to walk).

Whether you're a member of the LGBTQA community or a straight ally, PrideFest is a great time to share the open, welcoming nature of Unitarian Universalism and celebrate with Denver's 365,000+ participants!  Sign up or in the commons.  We march with over 100 UUs of all ages from the 7 Denver-Boulder congregations. It is a beautiful, fun demonstration of love, welcome, and acceptance of all.

Be sure to wear ORANGE as a JUC marcher in our UU rainbow, bring your family, friends, and celebrate love and being fully who we are!
Chronic Illness Support Group

Are you dealing with chronic pain or on-going chronic illness? Are you not letting anyone know because you think no one really cares or is interested? Have you given up on most pain meds because they really don't help or don't last very long? Is your spouse/partner/good friend seemingly not concerned about what you are going through every day?
If any or all of these questions are on your mind on a daily basis, YOU ARE NOT ALONE. There is an ongoing small group at JUC sharing experiences about living with pain and chronic illness. Although we don't have suggestions or answers all the time, we do provide caring ears and suggestions. We can help.
We meet the 1st and 3rd Thursdays from 12:30 to 2 p.m. in the Mills Building. Let us know if childcare is an issue.
Summertime Scrip Sales
Hey JUCers, what are you up to this summer? Building a deck or remodeling the kitchen? Going on vacation? With just a moment's forethought, you can benefit JUC with these summertime activities by using scrip (gift certificates) obtained through JUC's scrip program. Building supplies or appliances at Lowe's, Home Depot, or Sears, earn us 4%. Doesn't sound like much, but last year a single kitchen remodeling project earned $1,000 for JUC!

We also have scrip for airlines, hotels, rental cars, cruise lines, and several popular destination resorts. So while you are off on your summer vacation, you know JUC will benefit from your travels. Come to the scrip table on Sundays after either service to talk with Pat Emery about these and other opportunities to earn free money for JUC.
QUUest & Spirit QUUest Camps
QUUest  camp is for rising 9th - 12th graders.  Spirit QUUest  camp is for rising 6th - 8th graders.

These are truly great opportunities to connect with other UU youth, deepen spiritually, engage in  social change, and have a huge amount of fun. 

Both camps run  July 2-8 at La Foret Conference and Retreat Center (6145 Shoup Rd, CO Springs, CO, 80908). Cost for  QUUest camp is $585, cost for Spirit  QUUest is $565. Please don't hesitate to utilize scholarship funds. We are committed that cost will not limit the ability of youth to attend.

More information and registration is available online for both QUUest and Spirit QUUest camps.
Plant Sale Update

The plant sale was a great success! We earned $1,205.91 for Earthlinks. Thanks to everybody who helped make it happen!  The money will support programs at Earthlinks to help people experiencing homelessness and poverty. 

During the growing season, the Food & Nourishing Task Force invites everybody to visit the Abundant Harvest Table in the south commons, where members and friends have the opportunity to donate anything they would like to share with the community: veggies, flowers, seeds, seedlings, cake, cookies... free for the congregation to take home. 

However, we appreciate good will donations which we will send to Earthlinks and Sloans Lake Community church to support their programs for the less fortunate. So far we have collected a little over $700!   

Together we can make a difference!

14350 W 32nd Avenue
Golden, CO 80401
Habitat for Humanity and JUC
Jeff and Paula Menten
Habitat for Humanity of Metro Denver is launching Sheridan Square this year, the largest development in its 36-year history. Located on a 4.35-acre former elementary school site, Habitat for Humanity's plans include the construction of 63 energy-efficient homes built over the course of three to four years.

JUC, along with other local churches and service organizations in the West Metro Habitat Interfaith Coalition, will be funding and building a Habitat for Humanity house this year in Sheridan Square. The Coalition has raised funds and built 15 Habitat for Humanity homes in the West Metro Denver area since 1998. The 2017 house will be in Sheridan, CO near Lowell and Hampden Ave., south of Bear Creek Village. The homeowners will be Ali, his wife Sonia, and their two young sons. 

FAQs about Habitat for Humanity and the West Metro Habitat Interfaith Coalition 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 has donated funds with an annual special plate worship Sunday collection for the Coalition. With the most recent special plate collection, October 16, 2016, JUC members donated $2,627 to Habitat.
We need your help now to build this Habitat house!!

Construction at the Sheridan Square site will be divided into two phases.  JUC Build Days in the first phase are: 
  • Saturday, June 10
  • Friday, July 7 (With the Kiwanis Club)
Signup online  or in the commons on Sunday.  Thanks for helping us to make this dream come true - a safe, affordable house for a deserving family!
Affordable Housing Subgroup of 
Just Neighboring with Together Colorado

Last year, JUCers with a special passion for Social Justice partnered with Together Colorado and went through an interview process to find the issues that really matter in our congregation. Homelessness, Affordable Housing, and Mental Health issues rose to the top of the list. Our subgroup was formed to find the paths for making a difference. Together Colorado provided an effective and inspirational structure for members of our groups to research what needed to be done and determine what actions we wanted to take.

We set out on a long series of interviews with the Housing Directors in Lakewood, Golden, Wheat Ridge, Arvada, and the County. We also met with several nonprofit groups and did a lot of online research. We certainly aren't experts but no longer flinch when people start talking to us in acronyms like CDGB, CHAPS, and HOME.

We learned that affordable housing is multi-layered.
  • Housing for the chronically homeless: Folks who need housing first then supportive services to get mental health treatment, substance abuse programs, and mentoring.
  • Housing for the working poor: Workers in food service, care-giving, or anyone on minimum wage doesn't have enough money to pay for an apartment in todays high-priced rental market. Also in this group are often the families we see in Family Promise who have had job loss, severe illness, separation, abuse, or just bad luck.
  • Work force housing: For beginning teachers, fire fighters, bank tellers, etc. Starter homes are in short supply as contractors are opting to build high-end housing with high profits. Beginning salaries are low and young people are usually strapped with tuition loans.
We are doing our work on behalf of everyone at JUC. We want you to know what the issues are and what you can do to make our neighborhoods inclusive.  

Have you had an encounter with a family living in a car or know of someone who moves from couch to couch?There are resources out there and the fastest way to become knowledgeable is to read a few websites:
  • The Action Center -  provides an immediate response to basic human needs and promotes pathways to self-sufficiency for Jefferson County residents and the homeless.
  • Family Tree - provides referral services and help for abused women and children.
  • Family Promise -   provides shelter, meals, and hospitality to families experiencing homelessness.
  • Mile Hi United Way Help Center Hotline - a nyone can call at anytime for help.
  • Mean Street Ministries - houses families when temperatures dip below freezing and work with the chronically homeless.
Keeping the Promise
Jef and Jennifer Fugita

JUC uses a year round pledge system in which each household is asked annually during their pledging month to renew. Pledging is a part of our regular work all year rather than just one big push, so you will be seeing some messages like ours over the course of the year.

When we reflect on giving it's interesting to note how it seems so simple yet somehow gets complicated. Simple is putting a couple of spare dollars in the basket even though you already do your monthly pledge. Simple is donating ten dollars when you go to the free shred-a-thon. Simple is doing a diabetes walk-a-thon, giving a hug, lending an ear or lending a hand. But then somehow, giving starts to get complex. How much? Is it the right organization? What are other people giving? If I do give, will that just give them permission to start bugging me for more? We really don't have to think that hard.  Give in alignment with your values, give what you can, and then on an annual basis, see if you can give just a bit more.

For our family, giving to nature and animal organizations fits perfectly with our passion for the environment and all creatures. Because we listen to NPR all the time, and talk about what we hear all the time, we pledge to them on a monthly basis. Well, JUC is an amazing, amazing place. We come on Sunday and we get filled up with thought provoking words, music that stirs our souls, and don't forget love. Our children have been so positively shaped by all of the various age-related programs and the awesome people who run them. It is a vibrant community. We remember before finding JUC thinking there really wasn't a place like it that even existed. Yet here we are and we are so grateful.

We hope that when it is your turn to pledge, that you will think about what JUC means in your life and family. Our family gives generously, we hope you will too.