ISSUE 6                                                                                                                                                                               DECEMBER 2016
As we leave the month of stories. I am struck by just how many stories we tell in December. We gather with families and friends telling stories from our pasts, dreaming of plans for warmer days, singing the familiar carols of our childhoods, and running headlong into myths of babes born in mangers and portly fellows be-suited in red coming down chimneys. 
We are always telling stories. And when we do, as any English teacher will tell you, we are telling them from a perspective. We may hold sacred "the truth," yet the reality is that we are always coming from an "angle of perception" as writer Maureen Murdock put it in her brilliant book "Unreliable Truth: On Memoir and Memory."
As her mother struggled with Alzheimer's, losing memories and identity, Murdock explored the possibility that the faithful recording of the past isn't where the strength of memory lies. Perhaps, Murdock opined, the basic components of memoir writing and the process of self-reflection it requires brings awareness to the underlying patterns of our lives. Our memory is not the truth. Sometimes exploring it gives us insight into our relationships. 
Betty Sue Flowers, former English Professor and director of the Lyndon Baines Johnson Library, endorsed the idea of exploring our memories and our stories. Tell your story first as a victim she says. Victims need to be vindicated, defended, and more often than we would like we covet the notion of revenge. Then, says Flowers, tell your story as a hero with all that entails (needing justification, ego promotion, and validation). Last, Flowers guides us to tell our story as a person who is learning. In that mode, it is likely we will affirm those moments of illumination and the times and ways in which we receive both correction and direction.
I think about that in this time we are in. Our political news is fraught with people telling stories only as heroes or as victims. What might it be if we allowed to explore the stories of these days as if we were learners? What might it be look at own stories through this lens as we anticipate extra time with extended family? I am making a discipline of exploring my stories in just this way.
In the new year, I will have some extra time to explore old and new stories as the Board of Trustees has graciously approved a short sabbatical. I will be away during February and March. Of course, you will be in good hands. The pulpit will be ably filled by Rev. Eric Banner, our ministerial intern Emily, and our beloved Minister Emeritus, Rev. Robert Latham. My other responsibilities have been or are being assigned.
Naturally, I will miss you terribly. Yet, I know that it is time for me to refuel. I need some space to write and replenish. The time will allow me to live into a deeper rhythm and reinvest in spiritual practice. I, too, need to remember what it is to be a human being and not just a human doing.
Our worship theme this month, presence, will highlight the importance of that for all of us. While the theme of presence is a little precious as a pun, the timing is terrific. Not only is December a month overflowing with places to go and things to do, but the political tumult in which we find ourselves makes most distractions far more attractive than resting in the present. It is good that in this month we call ourselves to come back to this moment equipping ourselves to stay present to whatever is happening inside us or outside us.
So join us on Sunday morning, on Wednesday nights for Gathered Here, at First Friday or I Heart Christmas, on any of our five Christmas Eve services, or the Christmas Day worship or Brunch. You will be glad you did. Together we are strengthened to live intentionally into the values we share. Together we explore stories as learners. Together we remember we belong.
Christmas Eve - New for 2016
Twas the night before Christmas, and at JUC,
The music is different from past years', you see!

With the advent of five Christmas Eve services on the Golden campus this year, there will be changes in the musical offerings at each service from previous years. Check this list to see who will be presenting music at which service:

11:00 a.m. - Children's Choirs
4:30 p.m. - Worship Band, now renamed: JUiCe!
6:30 p.m. - JUC Choir
8:30 p.m. - JUC Choir
10:30 p.m. - Contemplative music in the chapel

Those who have been attending Christmas Eve services in past years may remember a 30 minute "Christmastide Music" prior to one of our services. This year, although there will be no pre-service music in the same way, both the 6:30 p.m. & 8:30 p.m. services will begin with 15 minutes of choir singing, accompanied by strings. And also for the first time this year, the JUC Choir will sing at two services, not just one. Thanks to the Choir - and all of our Christmas Eve musicians - for sharing their Christmas Eve with our community.

Celebrate Christmas at JUC!
Christmas Eve:
11:00 a.m.
Join in a joyful retelling of the Christmas story in this family-friendly interactive service featuring child actors ( sign up!). Led by Director of Religious Education Annie Scott and Senior Minister Rev. Wendy Williams.
4:30 p.m.
Our Christmas message in lessons and carols amplified by our Worship Band. Led by Rev. Wendy Williams; Liturgist Rev. Eric Banner.
6:30 p.m. AND 8:30 p.m.
Our Christmas message in lessons and carols featuring our JUC Choir. Service will begin with 15 minutes of Christmastide music. Led by Rev. Wendy Williams; Liturgist Rev. Eric Banner.
10:30 p.m.
This is a quieter service in our chapel for those who welcome the chance to slow down through readings, silence, and music. Led by Rev. Eric Banner.
Christmas Morning
10:00 a.m. ONLY!
Our single service on Sunday morning will be interactive and held in the chapel. Led by Intern Minister Emily Conger.
December Special Plate

The Action Center's mission is to provide an immediate response to basic human needs and promote pathways to self-sufficiency for Jefferson County residents and the homeless.

It's a Very Beth Christmas!

I love Christmas, and here are some reasons why. I also love my job and the fact that I am invited to show up as my authentic self. So on that note, Beth the Annoyingly Cheery Christmas Elf would cordially like to invite you to A Holly Jolly JUC Christmas! 

We'll have a potluck brunch after a 10 a.m. service led by Intern Minister Emily Conger, show a Christmas movie in the chapel (feel free to wear your PJs and bring a blanket and/or pillow), and play reindeer board games in the commons. Popcorn and hot cocoa provided. Feel free to bring board games and snacks in addition to a potluck dish if you plan to hang around. And don't forget - the best way to spread Christmas cheer is singing loud for all to hear!  Please SIGN UP!  

Story and Planned Giving
This month we have learned much about the importance and richness of stories in our lives, communities, country, and the world. We have even concluded a major chapter in the story of our country with the election of a new president. Oh what stories are yet to come?!

On Sunday, November 20, we were treated to the wonderful musical and theatrical story:  "Flaming Chalice: The History of Unitarian Universalism". What a creative, touching, and multi-generational celebration!

We are all a part of the story of JUC. This inspirational place and church was built by those who have so generously supported it now and in the past. It is our job to grow its future. Your legacy gift can help spread our UU values and honor your personal story. Please remember JUC as a beneficiary of your retirement plan, life insurance policy, will or other estate planning tool. If each current pledging unit included $1,000 in their estate plan for JUC, our endowment could grow by more than $350,000. 

If you have questions or need more information, contact JUC's Planned Giving Coordinators:  Bud Meadows, Mike Kramer, or Carol Wilsey.

JUC Craft Faire Enjoys 20 Years of Success
The JUC Holiday Craft Faire has a long and proud history dating back to 1995. Over the past 20 years the Holiday Craft Faire has provided sales opportunities for dozens of JUC crafters and other local vendors, established a great place for holiday gift shopping, and produced tens of thousands of dollars for JUC's operating fund. It has now become a Golden Holiday institution.

This year will be bigger and better than ever with a wide variety of quality merchandise ranging from  jewelry of all types to beautiful ceramics and pottery for all occasions and from beautiful crystals and rocks to innovative holiday wreaths and table decorations. You will find, hand knit hats and scarves, knickknacks, candles, graphic art works, stuffed animals, gift baskets, honey, baking mixes, skin creams, delicious home-made baked goods and lots more.

Join us Friday, December 2 from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.  and  Saturday, December 3 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.  Contact:  Nancy Bolt

Church Parking Etiquette
You may have noticed that our parking lot is busy and full on Sundays.  Many of you are kind enough to park down the street at Maple Grove Park to allow more room in our lot for visitors and those who might have difficulty with the walk from there. If you do that, first of all, thank you. But secondly, please use only the east lot. The west lot is needed for reserved events at the Arbor House. It is very inconvenient for people who have rented that space to have all of the parking spots used up by church-goers. If there is no room in the east lot, there is a very large lot available at the Applewood Golf Course. It's a bit more of a trek from there, but if the weather is nice it is a pleasant stroll. Please also remember to be considerate of our neighbors if you park on a street.

Small Group Ministry Update & Invitation
There will be a few opportunities to join a short-term Small Group in the new year! Our groups that run the entire church year began in October and participants and facilitators alike are working on deepening to their truest selves and connecting authentically with one another, through deep listening and reflection on our monthly themes.
If you are interested in getting a taste of what it's all about, please consider signing up to attend a Small Group twice per month from February thru May. More details about facilitators and meeting dates will be available this month on the Sign Up Site (both online and in the commons).
I am excited to facilitate a group for all those who identify as a person of color. As an "hispanglo" as my father jokingly likes to say, I have struggled throughout my life to feel that I fit in. I often feel too brown in white spaces and too white in brown ones, and I've faced conflict and confusion over what is mine to claim.
My paternal grandparents' mother tongue was Spanish, but they made a conscious decision to speak only English to their three sons. I certainly can't blame them, as the cultural climate of their time necessitated that they assimilate as much as possible for their own safety and wellbeing. I am proud that they leveraged their lighter-skinned privilege for their family and friends of darker hues. My Grandma Juanita would line up for free meat that The Denver Post would sometimes hand out during the Depression, for whites only, which she would then share with her neighbors.
My Grandpa Felix fought bravely in the Navy during WWII, and the most telling thing he ever told me about that experience was, "Before the war we were all dirty Mexicans and beaners, during the war we were all brave Americans fighting for our country, and after the war we went back to being dirty Mexicans and beaners again."
Shortly before joining the Navy he applied for a job at Gates Rubber Company in Denver and after writing "Spanish-American" in response to the question of race, the receptionist informed him it was company policy not to hire people like him.
While I have not been subject to the blatant racism that my grandparents and other ancestors were, I have often endured micro-aggressions or been subject to racist jokes and speech when the people around me make assumptions about who I am.
While I do use the labels Hispanic and Latina to convey how I identify in a way people will understand, the label I most identify with is mestiza, as it reflects my mixed ancestry which includes indigenous bloodlines. I am blessed to have parents who love genealogy, as learning where I come from and who my people are helps me to feel grounded and to clear up some of that confusion I've always felt. I am learning to love and embrace the fact that I am a walking talking example of the melting pot that is America.
If you identify as non-white or not just white, as I do, I hope you will join me in creating a safe space to talk about our experiences, support one another, and talk about what we can do to both increase the diversity and inclusion within our congregation and work toward racial justice in the greater community. Please send me an email or give me a call if you are interested in joining so that I can pick a day and time that will work for the group.

Auction Thanks
The 2016 annual auction, JUC in Wonderland, was a great success. On the evening of Saturday, November twelfth, 275 of our members, friends, children, and youth gathered for an evening of fun and fundraising. Together, we raised nearly $50,000 in support of the community we love.

Things were a bit different this year. We introduced Handbid, a mobile bidding platform. Guests were able to bid from their phones and ipads while visiting the photo booth (View your photos online! Password 2016), playing a life-sized game of chess, and of course, eating and drinking their fill. We even had several travelling members bidding from across the globe!

So, to everyone who donated, attended, and drove up the bids at JUC in Wonderland, we thank you...To the pre-purchasers and out-of-town bidders, thank you... To the committee members, volunteer crew, and heavy lifters...thank you....For embracing change and supporting the JUC community, we sincerely thank YOU!

UUSC Guatemala Partners Family Trip in July 2017

Would you like to meet our scholarship students, visit their schools and spend the day with the women seamstresses and weavers of Pacux? We are looking for parents and teens to make connections with the Mayan community we support. 
Our partnership with the Guatemala Scholarship students and their community extends beyond financial support to include intercultural exchange trips that have been life-changing for past participants. This time we are organizing a family trip to Rabinal that will be designed for teens 13 & older (rising 8th graders) and their parents. The trip will be eight days long in July 2017. Highlights of the trip will include home and school visits with the scholarship students, shadowing one of the Mayan Women Art members during her day and sharing her family's meal, taking a boat ride to visit the displaced community of Rio Negro and sharing cultural traditions, music, art, dance and more during the intercultural exchange gathering. Through these personal contacts and visiting the Museum of Community Memory, participants will learn about the history of the Maya Achi people.
Come to one of our information sessions in January to find out more:
Sunday, January 8 at 12:30 p.m. 
Sunday, January 22 at 12:30 p.m.
Light lunch will be provided.

Dream Group

JUC has a Dream Group that meets at 9:15 a.m. on 2nd and 4th Mondays. All are welcome. Call Marie at  303-278-8035 if you are interested in attending.

The Dream Group was started at JUC by former JUC member Jean  Switzer over 20 years ago (1995). We were introduced to the basic ground  rules that came from Jeremy Taylor's book "Where People Fly and Water  Runs Uphill," subtitled "Using Dreams to tap the Wisdom of the  Unconscious." Jeremy Taylor is well-known as a former Unitarian  minister, dream researcher, and author of several books on dream  
interpretation. Jean was the initial facilitator of the Group. As Jean  became more elderly, she gradually turned the role of facilitator over  to me. 

The Group works on the principles of strict confidentiality and honesty, and allows no discussion of someone's dreams outside of our regular meetings. We use the phrase "if it were my dream" to speak from a nonjudgmental place and to avoid advice-giving. When someone has a safe place to be listened to without interruption, that person can work on their dreams to gain an "aha" - an insight into what the dream is trying to tell them. Through symbols such as mythology, fairy tales and stories, the dream language becomes more consciously integrated into the whole personality. The imagery of the dream is not couched in the rational left-brain everyday world, but in the world of symbol. The dream has a wisdom all its own that has to be teased out with intuition and non-judgment. Over the years, we have come to an agreement that allows each person 15 to 20 minutes to tell their dream and other members to help in unlocking the message for the dreamer. This allows our meetings to proceed in an orderly, peaceful fashion. I think the draw for the group is the chance to be heard and understood without judgment. Dream interpretation presents a way to understand yourself and to grow into the person you were meant to be in a gentle, non-aggressive way. Everyone needs to tell their story and be heard - this is the place to do it. 


14350 W 32nd Avenue
Golden, CO 80401