ISSUE 8                                                                                                                                                                                     FEBRUARY 2017
This will be my last column until May as I will be away these next two months on sabbatical. Rest assured the congregation will be well cared for in my absence. Rev. Eric, Emily, and Rev. Robert Latham, Minister Emeritus will handle the preaching. My other responsibilities have been divided among our fantastic staff team.

Our monthly worship theme in February is identity which is a such a core part of our equipping ministry. We ground ourselves in our Universalist theology by proudly proclaiming we are loved and lovable because of who we are not in spite of it. Additionally, we are always urging ourselves to awaken to the call love has upon our lives. We are more than the role(s) we inhabit and more than our biographies. There is within each of us, as Parker Palmer described, a hidden wholeness. We may live fragmented lives showing up in various places as "slices of ourselves" as Courtney Martin framed it; yet our faith urges us to stop hiding and let our true self shine. The one born whole and holy.

In part, my sabbatical, that time of rest, is about reconnecting with my hidden wholeness. I truly am so fortunate to be your Senior Minister and do work that I love in service of the community I love. And yet, like many of you, I have become a bit of a human doing. I wonder sometimes what questions occupy my mind and heart that are just mine, rather than ones I need to be answering for some sermon or project. I wonder what it is to write, as I used to do, just to explore my own mind and heart. I wonder who I am when I am not ministering.

It is important to me and also to our church that I reconnect to the deeper taproot of my being. I need this fallow time, so that the field of my ministry can continue to be strong and productive.

These are things I've said in conversations in and around church. You have received them with generosity and care. And then, of course, given the culture in which we live, I have been asked, "So, what are you going to do?" "Where will you go?" "Will you still come to church?"

And so, I can tell you, I will not be coming to church. When I leave at the end of the day on January 31, I will not reappear until Sunday morning, April 2. On that day, I will preach two services in Golden and the afternoon service in Evergreen.

In between those dates, I will travel some, tend to some home projects, explore this area where I have lived for almost six years and still don't know, and go on a personal spiritual retreat. Much of the time, I will be with Betsy, grateful that after 23 years she still finds me funny, wants to hear what's on my heart, and enjoys spending time with me. We are looking forward to beginning a new spiritual practice, as well as our other adventures.

I will miss you - all of you and each of you. Take good care of yourselves and our beloved JUC. You are a blessing.

I love you.
Transitions
John Grow  died in January.

Welcome Our New Members
Daniel Blake  is a retired chemist whose interests include mountaineering, fishing, hiking, reading, and travel. 

Cindy Miller is a realtor whose interests include travel, softball, and social justice.

Sharon Groten works in healthcare facility finance, and her interests include walking, fitness, nature, theater, and music. 

Mary Ross is a former member who is returning to JUC. Mary is a retired teacher whose interests include travel and hiking.
Prophecy and Planned Giving
Estate planning can be prophetic. Rev. Rebecca Parker spoke of Prophetic witness as our capacity to see what is happening, to say what is happening and to act in accordance with what we know. I n the prophetic liberal church, we work together to address a multitude of fears and injustices and create change and hope.

To separate from things, whether material or living is a hard part of life. When I or those I love die we have moved on. I can leave behind my material things to support prophetic institutions like JUC to continue my UU values and create hope for me and my fellow travelers.

Estate planning can be an opportunity to deepen my understanding of myself and my family, connect with my needs and wants and engage appropriate professional assistance to create an estate plan that serves my family and my church as I move on to a new beginning.

New Legacy Circle Member!
The Legacy Circle is those members and friends who have included JUC in their estate plans or have made current gifts that equal or exceed $10,000. We welcome Kathy Covert as a new Legacy Circle member. Thank you!

Contact JUC's Planned Giving Coordinators:  Bud Meadows, Mike Kramer, or Carol Wilsey .
Rummage Sale Announcement!
We have moved the date of JUC's Annual Rummage Sale. The sale will be the week of July 30 - August 5. Please save the date and your stuff! Please note that  we need more volunteers . In order to continue hosting the rummage sale, we need more people willing to help out with sorting, pricing, and especially with cleanup on the last day. Donations will be accepted July 30 thru August 3.

The biggest change is that we will not be accepting adult clothing and shoes. The reason for this is that we did not sell enough of those items to justify the enormous task of sorting and organizing it all. We will continue to accept all children's items including clothing and shoes, toys, games, puzzles, housewares, sports/outdoor equipment, tools, furniture (with the exception of sofas and loveseats), adult jewelry and accessories such as scarves, hats, belts, and gloves, decorative items, craft and holiday items, art and frames, linens, bags and luggage, books, CDs, DVDs...anything not on the list below that is in good working condition!

Items We Cannot Accept:
  • NEW! Adult clothing & shoes
  • Televisions, VCRs
  • VHS or cassette tapes
  • Obsolete electronics
  • Computers, monitors
  • Humidifiers
  • Mattresses, box springs
  • Water beds
  • Sofas, couches, love seats
  • Paints, solvents, or other chemicals
  • Car seats, cribs
  • Window blinds of any kind
  • Broken, rusted items
  • Carpet remnants
  • Dirty, torn, worn out (children's) clothing
  • Encyclopedias, magazines, textbooks
  • Anything with missing pieces including games and puzzles
Please do not leave broken, dirty, unusable, obsolete items or any items listed above. It costs the church money to dispose of them.

Look for more information and opportunities to sign up to volunteer starting in June!
Gathered Here Menu
Every Wednesday a fellowship dinner is served from 5:30 - 6:30 p.m. 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.

This month's menu:
February 1: Burrito Bar
February 8: Chili Dinner
February 15: Spaghetti Dinner
February 22: Enchilada Dinner
March 1: Cheese and Pepperoni Pizza




14350 W 32nd Avenue
Golden, CO 80401
303-279-5282
www.jeffersonunitarian.org
"Awakening to Blessing" Heading to Princeton!
In May 2016 the JUC Choir, Radiance and Children's Choirs, Adam Revell, and a special guest orchestra that included marimbas from Boulder's Kutandara Marimba Ensemble presented a musical work with lyrics by Rev. Wendy Williams and music composed by me. It was the month of Blessing here at Jefferson Unitarian Church, and an opportunity for our community to explore what it meant to be "Awakening to Blessing." 

In six musical movements, the poetry and music led those who heard it on a journey from creation to blessing the world with your hands to an awareness of the unity of all people:
I. In the beginning, the infinite silence danced with the dark. We are heirs to the unseen, being called into this world, chosen for these days.
II. Your life is unfolding on the altar of now.
III. Awakened to Love, being is becoming.
IV. These are the hands that have touched life; blessed be the work of your hands.
V. If there are words to be spoken, let your voice speak them.
VI. We were born in love to a circle that's one, each in  each, all in all.
Following the services in Golden, many congregants mentioned to me that they hoped the musical service would be presented again, and perhaps taken up by other churches. On Sunday,  February 19, the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Princeton, NJ will be presenting the service during their  Sunday morning worship

I will travel to Princeton on that day to bring the greetings of Jefferson Unitarian Church, and to witness and to participate in this uniquely Unitarian Universalist experience which arose out of JUC and was first presented here. At various times during the past few years, leadership groups at JUC have indicated the desire to become a resource church, to share ministries, programs, and practices developed here in Golden with the wider Unitarian Universalist community. The fact that "Awakening to Blessing" will be sung at a sister congregation means that the words and music born in our Colorado UU congregation have a message and life beyond ourselves.

The Princeton UU Choir has been preparing the music for months, and will be conducted by Princeton Music Director, Dr. Marjorie Herman. I'll be present with the choir at their dress rehearsal and  on Sunday morning, giving an introduction to the music and reading Wendy's poetry in the third movement. JUC will be present through the work of our congregation to help bring "Awakening to Blessing" to life last year and through supporting its adoption in other congregations.

Marjorie and I spoke on the phone regarding the inception and meaning of the work, and she shared how impactful its text and music is on her, particularly the words that Wendy wrote in the second movement:
"Your life is unfolding on the altar of now."  For me myself, I appreciate these words as they help me remember that it is this ultimately non-predictable moment where I am living my life, an experience that calls me to be aware of what is truly happening and to regard this moment as if on an "altar," with reverence for this rare, unlikely, precious life.

Whether or not you experienced the service in person last May, you can find a video of the complete service online.

Turn up the speakers!  We were born in love to a circle that's one!

Parking Politely
You could almost say it's a good problem to have, but we don't have enough parking on Sundays! Here is what you can do to help:
  1. If you can park off-site, either at Maple Grove Park in the east lot, or at Applewood Golf Course (get in a few extra steps before church) please do! This leaves more space for visitors and those facing a more difficult time getting themselves and/or their families in the door.
  2. If you come for the 9:15 a.m. service and are parked in the church lot, please leave by 10:50 a.m. That will open up a few spots in time for someone to use them for the 11 a.m. service. It's tempting to hang around and socialize, but that makes it much more difficult for those coming later.
  3. Please don't park in front of the fire lane, in non-designated parking, in a handicapped spot (unless eligible) or in one of the reserved auction winner spots (unless you purchased it).
I always want to choose a restaurant that's hard to get into, and you see the parking jammed with cars. People want to get in here too! It's good to be popular, but please do what you can to make us as welcoming as possible.
Keeping the Promise
 
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, and so you will be seeing some messages like mine over the course of the year.

I grew up UU here at JUC, and I raised my two children the same way, so our family is well versed in the confused looks of classmates and acquaintances when discussions of religion arise and we try to explain our creedless faith based on covenant. But in social justice circles, there are far fewer such looks. In the mainstream media our small denomination doesn't seem to make much impact, but when you get in where the real work for justice is done--political movements, poverty relief, violence prevention--UUs are so common that when you say, "I'm a UU," people nod, like "Of course you are." I met with an NPR reporter from another state who was working on a gun violence piece, and she saw my chalice necklace. "Oh," she said, "You're UU. So am I." At a social justice rally, someone saw the same necklace and said, "You Unitarians always show up."

We do show up. We don't just talk about being the change we want to see in the world. We roll up our sleeves and do the work.

This is what I thought about last July when the time came to renew our pledge to JUC. To be honest, things have been pretty rough financially. My husband, Tory, had to close his business in December of 2015. It wasn't supposed to be a big deal. We were supposed to sell the building that business was housed in to help fund his newer, smaller business, but thanks to a very long story about new EPA laws and a very old chemical spill pre-dating his ownership of the building, that hasn't happened. We have struggled through 2016 without a paycheck for him while putting our daughter through her final year of college. We had cut cable and other luxuries long before our July pledge month came along.

If there is one thing we've been acutely aware of, it is the rising cost of everything, so it only stands to figure that JUC's bills have gone up with ours--heat, electricity, all the unseen costs associated with the programming that keeps our church vibrant. Our hard-working staff deserves salaries that keep up with the cost of living. Given that, I cut one of my remaining luxuries--my online subscription to the Washington Post --and we raised our pledge. It wasn't a lot, but it was what we could do, because I want JUC to keep on being part of a faith that always shows up.

My family gives generously. I hope you will too.
Membership and Identity
 
As your Membership Coordinator, I've given this month's theme of Identity considerable thought through the years. Since most people who join our church haven't grown up in this faith,  I've often wondered what draws people here, why they choose this faith, with what do they identify? Of course, people join for a variety of reasons from a longing for belonging and contributing to something larger to the desire for a community that will educate and support their children with strong inclusive and progressive values. But at the time we join, many of us actually don't know a lot about this faith.

As diverse as we are, can our identity ever be defined? Recently, we've begun giving new members a gift book called Sources of Our Faith . Each chapter explains one of the six Sources upon which Unitarian Universalism draws for inspiration followed by poems and passages from each Source. I love this book! In my first few years as a member, I became familiar with our seven Principles and knew I identified deeply with them. But I was unaware of our Sources. This book has given me a deep appreciation of the expansive thought of our faith and our members. Unitarian Universalism draws upon truth found through direct experience, prophetic writers and world religions; humanist writings which value reason and science; Native American, pagan and countless other writers who find and communicate the unfathomable sacredness of nature. Our clergy draw from all these wells to quench our collective thirst! No wonder we find this religion endlessly challenging and enriching!

As UUs, we are open to the wisdom inherent in all of these Sources. Since our faith is neither creedal nor static, our ministers and members are free to explore and share truth wherever they find it. Thus, there is a quality of open-mindedness and non-judgment in our worship and our relationships with each other as we are invited to see the world and ourselves in new ways from diverse perspectives. Diversity and inclusivity are a large part of our identity but the editor of our gift book reminds us that the One Source that binds us all together in this great faith is love.
UUSC Environmental Justice & Climate Action 

The UU Service Committee works with grassroots partners to protect and support the rights of marginalized people around the world in times of crisis or natural disaster, and when their economic or environmental rights are threatened. For more than a decade the UUSC's Environmental Justice Focus area has worked with partners in the U.S. and many other parts of the world to protect the human right to safe and affordable water.
 
According to the UU Service Committee's website, "the UUSC recognizes the grave danger that climate change impacts pose on the world' s most vulnerable populations. Increasing temperatures, low precipitation, and frequent and intensified natural disasters are causing sea level rise, droughts, widespread flooding, and other impacts that are destroying biodiversity and increasing food and water scarcity. These impacts disproportionately affect the most marginalized populations by multiplying their risks, widening inequalities, and threatening their basic human rights and dignities. This reality demands that we expand our focus from advancing and defending the human right to water to advancing and protecting the rights of marginalized populations affected by climate change."

The UN-Water's 2013 fact sheet on climate change says that, "Adaptation to climate change is mainly about better water management."  When the island that you live on is disappearing beneath the rising sea levels, or the ice sheet that you live on is melting away before your eyes, better water management may seem to be too little, too late.
 
Climate forced displacement is a reality. More drought. More intense and catastrophic storms. More unpredictable growing seasons, and rising sea levels.  One person per day is displaced by climate change, yet locally and internationally few human rights protections are in place for those people or for those displaced by natural disasters. The UU Service Committee ' s Environmental Justice & Climate Action program focuses on advancing and protecting the rights of marginalized populations displaced by climate change with a special emphasis on working with the indigenous populations of the South Pacific and Alaska; two regions on the front lines of rising sea levels with limited capacity to adapt due to location and reliance on coastal resources.
 
The UUSC has worked successfully with local partners for more than a decade to advance the right to safe and affordable water. They will continue to stand in solidarity with those frontline communities who are working to make that right a reality. Many of those projects address impacts of climate change such as their work protecting glaciers that has safeguarded the water sources of 8.7 million people in Argentina and Chile.
 
Find out more about Climate Forced Displacement and the work of the UU Service Committee:
  • Visit the UUSC Task Force table Sundays, February 12 and 19
  • Visit the UUSC website
  • Support the February 19 Special Plate dedicated to the UUSC's Environmental Justice & Climate Action program
  • Join the UUSC. Information at the UUSC table Sundays, February 12 and 19