How do we take time to celebrate?
Rev. Katie's Animas View

Life is what you celebrate. All of it. Even its end.  -Joanne Harris

Church consulting specialists remind us of the importance of celebrating in our congregations. Just a few months ago, we marked a big event as we celebrated 50 years of liberal religion in the Four Corners. We are still feeling the beautiful effects of that, as our commemorative book has just been published (order yours on our website, or on Sunday - see article in this newsletter) and we still are able to experience our beautiful history timeline on our Bowman Hall gallery wall.  

But we can't wait another 50 years for celebration. We need to find ways to celebrate regularly. Our faith is a hopeful one, one where we believe all souls are sacred and worthy, that there is a Unity that makes us one, and that salvation occurs in this lifetime. Why should we not celebrate daily?
So together as a fellowship, we've planned for these events:
  • New Administrative space Dedication -at the end of our worship, 11am, February 4, moving from the sanctuary to Bowman Hall
  • UUFD Bowling for Love, 1pm, Sunday, Feb 11, at Sky Ute, Rolling Thunder Lanes, every age and family composition (including singles) is welcome
  • UUFD Dancing on the Side of Love, at Glacier Club Valley Clubhouse, 6:30pm on Wednesday, Valentine's Day
There are so many things we have accomplished at UUFD, and we've created task forces to make room for all those souls who are continuing to find their way to us each week. Olympic champion, Mia Hamm, reminds us to "Celebrate what you've accomplished, but raise the bar a little higher each time you succeed." So let us celebrate, and find ways to live our mission of bringing this hopeful, saving faith into our world in even larger ways.  

In the blessings of this Living Tradition, 
Rev. Katie

February Sunday Services
Monthly theme: People of Hope 
(Concepts of identity, respect, love) 

February 4    
The Limits of Tyrants        
-Rev. Katie Kandarian-Morris
Today we'll celebrate two things: 450 years since the Edict of Torda, the first decree of religious tolerance, and we'll dedicate the space revisioned and remodeled for our religious use today (our new offices). Join us for the history and the future of our faith. Stay after for special fellowship.  

February 11   
People of Hope              
-Rev. Katie Kandarian-Morris
Our choir will join us as we praise Love in all its forms. We will celebrate marginalized communities, especially LGBTQ folks, and express our gratitude for all ages of our community.  

February 18 
The Promise and the Practice   
-Rev. Katie Kandarian-Morris
What is the "promise and the practice" of Unitarian Universalism? What are we called to do and be in this time and place, here and in our movement? As a symbol, we will recognize our newest members.  

February 25  
Hope Can Be Hard to Come By  
-Tina DeYoe, pulpit guest
This time of worship will explore where we, the people of hope, turn to when hope seems far away. What gives us strength? If the path towards hope is hard to find, what gives us direction or light needed to move forward? 

President's Message
Tom Miller

Democracy is the worst form of government...except for all the others. - Winston Churchill
If the world was perfect, it wouldn't be. - Yogi Berra

These men were famous for very different reasons, but they had a handle on something important. Working in and through a democratic process is messy and complicated and imperfect. That is part of its beauty, if only we can accept it for what it is, and celebrate the differences and difficulty presented by trying to accommodate to the wishes, values, and even the demands of different constituencies. 

In most complicated issues, there is little chance of meeting all competing interests fully. We search for solutions that do the best job for all concerned. At UUFD, we have a good history of creating opportunities to respectfully hear all the points of view that need to be raised as important congregational issues and plans are discussed.  The robust attendance at our Strategic Planning Summit and the different focus groups that were involved in our Minister selection process are good indications of the value that our members place on making their voice heard. A good part of the success of our growing Fellowship is based on the trust we have placed in those who represent us to take that input and responsibly incorporate it into their decisions. Our past leaders have earned that trust and our current leaders continue to work to preserve and deepen that trust. 

As an important case in point, the Facilities Planning Task Force (FPTF) was created as a result of our new strategic plan, which recognized our space challenges. They have created a set of group discernment sessions (see their article in this newsletter) designed to provide our architect the best information about our needs and desires for how to reconfigure our spaces to accommodate our growing congregation. There will be opportunities for everyone to provide their thoughts, though the initial thrust will be to receive input from specific constituent groups regarding their particular needs. Over the course of the next several months, through a series of iterative dialogs, these groups will provide the architect with enough information to enable him to draft a couple of possibilities for how our current facilities could be expanded. If you identify with one of those constituent groups, I encourage you to become a part of this feedback and discernment process. 

There will also be meetings for those who don't identify with a particular constituent group or who can't make constituent meetings as well as on-line options for input.  Once those broad conceptual drawings are complete, we will have further opportunities to provide input and dialog about how we think the architect's versions, or variations thereof, might serve us in supporting and delivering on our mission. 

Even then, we will not be at the point of making a decision to build. Clearly, any building will require that we have the resources, in hand or pledged, to make the new construction a reality. We will need an additional discernment process to decide, first, if we want new and/or reconfigured spaces. Then we have to ask if we have the financial will to make it happen. 

So, the possibility of changing the nature of our physical facilities comes with the challenge of examining our commitment to our values and to our mission. To what extent do our current facilities limit our growth and ability to serve? Will new/expanded facilities allow us to grow into the community that we want to be? How much, if anything, should we ask of our members to support growth of our facilities? How does this balance with funding our different approaches to fulfilling our mission which are not facility related? 

The answers to these questions are currently open, awaiting the exploration and extensive dialog that will take place in the next few months. I expect some of the dialog will be messy, but I know it will be sincere, respectful and heartfelt. I have faith in the goodwill of this beloved community. 

High school youth group at MLK Parade in Denver.

Faith Formation News You Can Use

What does Faith Community mean to you? I had a rather solid childhood faith upbringing of Midwestern Catholicism encompassing church and school. My strong sense of curiosity and questioning within this framework began around age eight or nine. Though I was unaware of UU at the time, the revelation, "These are my people!" rang loud when I first read the UU Principles and Sources as a young adult years later. Adolescence provided the perfect elements for floating in the spiritual ether. At 22, parenthood popped that bubble and propelled me into deeper consideration of Faith Community and the value of the "village." I needed help providing and guiding the spiritual well being of these children. The connections that happen here at UUFD supply unconditional love for me as an individual, as a parent and most importantly for the kids. You've heard me say it before, we're planting seeds; we're not creating enlightened eight-year-olds this Sunday. I am grateful to have a connected community cultivating the garden with me.   -Lisa McCorry, Dir. Faith Formation
UUFD Bowling for Love
Spare Your Heart, Strike for Love
Sky Ute Rolling Thunder Lanes
Sunday, February 11 at 1PM
All are invited 
Bowling and Snacks sponsored by the UUFD Family Group
Welcome New Team Members and Faith Formers!
UUFD has a growing Faith Formation Team. This team guides Lifespan Faith Formation programs and implements new ideas. Thank you Dennis Aronson, Don Spangler, Bonnie Miller and new Team members Becca Trefry and Julie Jordan.
Mike Trefy, Sarah Goodpastor and Linda Gumper  joined our middle school and high school youth group advising teams, respectively. Thank you for your dedication to youth ministry. 
Kate Niles  is UUFD's new Adult Education Coordinator. Thank you, Kate, for enhancing Lifespan Faith Formation opportunities at UUFD. 
OWL (Our Whole Lives) Comprehensive Sexuality Education is HERE . See separate article in this newsletter for detailed information. This course serves 7-9th graders. Courses will continue serving different age groups children and youth and will hopefully include young adults and adults in the future as well. Contact Lisa McCorry if you are interested in becoming an OWL Facilitator. 
Abundant opportunities for spiritual growth and intellectual deepening exist at UUFD. See our full calendar of offerings here or contact the Faith Formation Director at to get connected.

Children enjoy yoga with Lynn and Shona.

Social Responsibility & Justice: Welcoming Congregation
This month we're featuring the work of our LGBTQ Team on our Welcoming Congregation designation.  Nearly six years ago, our congregation unanimously voted to apply for recognition from the Unitarian Universalist Association as a Welcoming Congregation after completing the suggested learning process.   It is recommended that if you achieved that status five or more years ago, that the congregation engage in a process to renew certification.  We gladly chose to begin the renewal process and embrace the deeper learning it encourages.

What is a Welcoming Congregation?  "Being welcoming means striving for radical inclusion, and creating spaces that honor every part of our identities, backgrounds, and experiences... Welcoming Congregations work hard to make sure lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer people are full members of our faith communities." (UUA Welcoming Congregations, website)

UUA history:  1987 UUA established the Common Vision Planning Committee out of a sense that there was a great deal of unexamined and hurtful homophobia in local congregations.  Their task was to assess the degree to which LGBTQ people felt welcomed and accepted.  They found troubling concerns and in 1989 delegates at the General Assembly voted to initiate the Welcoming Congregation program that was recommended by the Common Vision Planning Committee.  It was a call to make our congregations truly welcoming places for people of all sexual orientations and a process and manual to assist congregations in moving forward in becoming more inclusive.

UUFD history:  January 2011 a Welcoming Committee was formed.  Members included chair Susan Koonce, Jim Brooke, Don Spangler, Mo Maliszewski, Lawrence Haddow, Connie Jacobs, and Ron Garst, with assistance from John Schwob and Doreen Hunter.  During that year, through church services, workshops, religious education, and community outreach activities the congregation was involved in a learning and reflection period to build our understanding and to consider our values, priorities and actions regarding welcoming LGBTQ people.  A year and a half later a vote was taken at the annual congregational meeting on whether we were ready and desirous of being recognized as a Welcoming Congregation by the UUA.  This vote on May 20, 2012 was a unanimous YES.  On May 30 an application was made to the UUA Office of Bisexual, Gay, Lesbian and Transgender Concerns requesting designation as a Welcoming Congregation with information on our work, and on July 25, 2012, we received a letter from the UUA informing us that we were now recognized as a Welcoming Congregation.

UUFD today:  The LGBTQ social justice team is taking on the process to renew our certification as a Welcoming Congregation.  Three major phases or sections for our work include 1) Assess our successes and gaps; 2) Assess the status of the commitments we made during our initial application and 3) Develop a report and recommendations related to our application for renewal of our certification.  With the approval of Rev. Katie we then submit our application to UUA.  This is anticipated to be a vigorous and enriching process and we would like to invite anyone else who would like to join the team in doing this work to do so.  Just contact Bonnie Miller at  We welcome input from everyone who has a perspective to share and plan to keep the congregation informed of our progress.


February 17:  Diversity Dialogue, FLC Union Ballroom, 8:45-3:00.  Our Healing Racism Team is collaborating with other community groups for this important annual intergenerational conversation.  Join us in an experiential workshop to challenge what we thing we know about ourselves and others. 

February 17:  Forum on Ending Homelessness, La Plata Fairgrounds Exhibit Hall, 8:30-4:30.  The Basic Needs Team is helping with this free admission program where evidence-based solutions to homelessness will be presented.  

February 17:  #METOO March, sponsored by Indivisible Durango, 10:30 am at the train station marching to Buckley Park; followed by a rally.

2018 Women's March
UUFD shows up on Jan. 20 to Side with Love

Are you IN?
2018-19 Stewardship campaign kicks off March 11

As members and friends of this congregation, we are not just consumers.  We are called to invest our time and money into living out our 7 principles.  The dividends are bountiful, as will be highlighted by Fellowship leaders over the next few weeks, and will grow as this faith community steps up to invest in them.  When we invest, we have a stake.  We have a piece of the action that will pay dividends far into the future.

We are IN.  We are INvested.  Won't you join us?

Here are some important details of this year's campaign:
  • The pledge you make now will be for the fiscal year July 1, 2018 through June 30, 2019.
  • On Sundays, look for your "I'm IN" pledge packet at our stewardship table.
  • Mark your calendar for Celebration Sunday, March 11.  You'll receive and turn in your pledge card during worship, and afterwards join us for a Fingerfood Feast potluck!
  • During Sunday services throughout the campaign, enjoy hearing from current members about why they are INvested in UUFD. 
Elizabeth Crawford and Lynn Griffith
Stewardship Co-Chairs

Classroom fun with Liza and Allison.

Board of Trustees seeks two new members
Treasurer and At-Large member being recruited

How exciting to see our congregation growing and new faces every week. Our board is working hard to keep up and anticipate the needs of our growing fellowship.   The Nominating & Leadership Development Committee has been providing leadership development opportunities for all UUFD members and friends.  In October we offered a 4-part Harvest the Power leadership series from UUA.  Recently we've had guests at the Leadership Counsel and BOT meetings.  We are now focusing on recruiting members to serve on the board in these two positions.  Both require a 2-year commitment.
  • Treasurer
  • Board Member at Large
In April we will submit a slate of candidates to the fellowship and in May at the annual members meeting UUFD will vote.   Stay tuned for information about a current and past Board of Trustees Informal Chat to learn what it is like to serve on the board and the responsibilities involved in the various positions.

Below is the opening paragraph from the BOTs Covenant (click here to see the entire Covenant)

As members of the UUFD Board of Trustees, we covenant to keep the best interests of our congregation at heart, to carry out the trust placed in us as guardians of the Mission and Principles and to act as partners in our shared ministry. We will actively seek the input of and feedback from the Fellowship, listening deeply and broadly and using multiple approaches, in order to gain the best understanding of their wishes and concerns.  We will make decisions with the intent always to lift lives - ours and the congregation's - toward a greater good. While practicing an attitude of abundance, we will be responsible stewards of the resources of our church.  

Do you have e xperience working on a board or experience with finances?  Does this sound like something you'd like to be a part of?   Please contact Nominating & Leadership Development Committee members Allison Andersen, Dennis Aronson or Susie Francis for more information or to answer any questions you may have.  

Long-Range Facility Planning Kick-off
Join us as we begin the exciting process of planning the future of our physical spaces

You are invited:  
Long Range Facility Planning Kickoff Meeting
Tuesday February 20th  
6-7 pm in the Sanctuary

The purpose of the kick-off meeting is to build a roadmap to how we might explore our Long Range Facility Planning, introduce the architect our Board has chosen to work with to provide an opportunity for the architect to explain the process that will be used to develop conceptual designs for our fellowship.  There will be time for discussion of ideas for designs or answering design questions at subsequent gatherings.  This meeting will simply be to layout the roadmap and define the process we will use for decision-making.

The Facilities Planning Task Force (FPTF) was engaged in the autumn of 2017, following a charge by the UUFD Board of Trustees as outlined in the 2017 Strategic Plan.  FPTF  members include:   Mary Ocken (chair), Trenton Wann, Barbara Hawn, Mary Hockett, and Tom Miller (as board representative).  

As we explore our growth options, our job now is to seek more information, further identify our Fellowship needs, and chart how we might meet the changing needs of our seams-bursting campus.  This exploration will focus primarily on where we likely need to   expand to meet growth demands 5-20 years from now; and may be actualized in a "phased-in" manner.  

There is also a second planning task force charged by the board to identify short-term solutions for "Crowding Mediation" for the Fellowship, which will work closely with the Facilities Planning Task Force, coordinating with our long-term goals.  

For this long-range work more specifically, we are trying to better describe two possible options:  ONE concept is a dispersed campus, using existing buildings, or expanding the ones we have with stronger connectedness. The SECOND concept is of a consolidated facility which unites all campus functions.

We researched local area architects, sent out Requests For Qualifications (RFQs), held interviews, and then recommended the Bauen Group Architecture to the UUFD Board of Trustees; they agreed and signed a contract in January. The money for this initial conceptual design phase was generated from Frolic 2016.

The Bauen Group has requested that we form focus groups, each representing the key areas of activities and programs within the Fellowship. A breakdown of the groups may be as follows:
  • Minister - Reverend Katie
  • Board of Trustees
  • Sanctuary 
  • Administration 
  • Fellowship 
  • Building and Grounds
  • Faith Formation 
  • And a Focus Group of GENERAL MEMBERS - for interested volunteers and members of the Fellowship to come and be more involved with this planning process
The Focus Groups will participate in a series of meetings to incorporate input with, and respond to, information (to and) from the Bauen Group. Focus Groups will attend a series of meetings with the architect, creating a dialogue around spacial needs, aesthetic and programmatic considerations. This iterative process of gathering, testing, listening to feedback, and reviewing the data will assure inclusion of discussed needs and ideas into the conceptual design options.   

This process of exploration of our needs will be as important as the visioning Summit held in 2016 and YOUR participation is key.  Please join us at the kickoff meeting Feb 20!

To submit comments and questions, or to express your interest in participating on a focus group, visit our Long-Range Facility Planning website page. That where you'll find updated information as we go through this process.

Thanks for all you do and will do! Together we make the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Durango a wonderful home for spiritual community, rooted in justice.

Sincerely, Mary Ocken and the Facilities Planning Task Force members

Deepening connections with "Rosa Belongs Here"
Nancy Fisher shares her experience

As a member of the Social Justice Immigration Team, I have been getting more involved with others working for immigrant  justice.  I want to share how I have been reaching out and connecting with the Rosa Belongs Here ( community which provides physical sanctuary at the First Methodist Church in Mancos for Rosa Sabido.

Nan Uhl (member of local Quakers) and I have been going to events (since June 2017) and attending planning meetings in Mancos (beginning in January 2018). We have asked, "How can we better support you in providing sanctuary for Rosa?" We were advised to attend their meetings to learn from them and develop connections. We were encouraged to pursue the issue of physical sanctuary at UUFD. 

At the January 8th meeting the issue of the Womens' March came up. There was to be one in Cortez. They wanted a presence there. Rosa said, "I want to be there." Of course this wouldn't be safe for her. The idea was hatched. Make Rosa masks and wear them in the march.  Take other signs and such pertinent to immigrant justice.

Here are Nan and I "with" Rosa.

The sign says "Rosa Belongs Here."

The puppet represents Mother Earth. The arms are articulating. Very clever and creative.

There were 300+ marchers in Cortez. We met at City Park and walked the sidewalks circling the park twice. Upon our return to Mancos, Rosa told us that her masks marched in Montrose, Pagosa and maybe Durango. She was well satisfied. She said, "It is not is all about me. I put a face on the immigration issue." 

Rosa is a loving and generous woman who has lived here 30 years. Her parents are here and are citizens. She is a hard working contributor to our community. And she is a good cook. Nan and I were able to come home with Rosa tamales.

Nancy Fisher

50th Anniversary book now available!
View an e-book or order hard copies

For 50 years the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Durango has been the spiritual home for seekers with liberal religious beliefs and a commitment to social justice. We celebrate the history of our congregation as we continue working together to build the Beloved Community for the future.

In the Fall of 2017, the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Durango (UUFD) celebrated its 50th anniversary with an exhibit, a history tour, and a special Sunday worship service. A book was created that memorializes the events of that weekend and includes reproductions of the exhibition murals, photos, stories, prayers and toasts from the celebration. See a sample at the SRJ table.

Book Availability
This publication is available in three formats through an online book store called blub:

Hardcopy ($74) / Softcopy ($29) / E-book (free)

You can also enjoy this slideshow assembled by Robert Winslow and the UUFD50 team!

Our Whole Lives (OWL) Sexuality Education Course to be offered
Course for 7th through 9th graders

Our Whole Lives (OWL) provides values-based comprehensive sexuality education. OWL helps participants lead sexually healthy and responsible lives. It is LGBTQ inclusive. " Honest, accurate information about sexuality changes lives. It dismantles stereotypes and assumptions, builds self-acceptance and self-esteem, fosters healthy relationships, improves decision making, and has the potential to save lives." Read all about it at

The course will take place select Mondays from 6:30 to 8 pm, February 12 through May 14, plus one overnight May 18 (see specific dates below).

There will be a Parent Orientation on Sunday, Feb. 4th at 12 noon for all parents interested or with registered youth.

Mondays 6:30-8 pm
All courses held in Columbine House.
February 12, 19, 26
March 5, 12
April 16, 23, 30
May 7, 14
Supervised Overnight May 18-19 in Bowman Hall

Contact for more info or to register. A $5 supply fee will be charged.
Meet the Facilitators:
Teresa Jordan, MA, a retired social studies and science middle school and high school teacher, began her professional career as a reproductive health educator with Planned Parenthood of San Antonio, Texas and the Pueblo of Zuni Teen Health Center. Teresa completed Our Whole Lives (OWL) certification in August 2015. A member of the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Durango for a decade, Teresa is the immediate past President of the Board of Trustees.
Jim Brooke, MD,  is a retired Family Practice Physician whose last 3 years of practice were at Durango Urgent Care.  While practicing in Colorado Springs, he treated HIV and transgender individuals, and did HIV education in the public schools.  He has been associated with Durango UU Fellowship since 2008 and was certified for OWL facilitation in January, 2018. Jim is a trained Four Corners Rainbow Youth Center volunteer.