ISSUE 21                                                                                                                                                                                            MARCH 2018
March Theme: Balance
As our country reels from another mass shooting, balance may seem both beyond our grasp and our imagination. Even so, we may find, as we explore balance this month in worship and Going Deeper groups, that it is the perfect time to do so.

Mostly when we speak of balance, we feel overwhelmed and stressed. We struggle between inner desires and outer demands. Balance looms as a destination that we hope once achieved, would hold us forever. It looms as a shimmering mirage offering us water and rest where we previously had none. We long for stability and comfort.

Yet, balance is not static. It is not something to achieve or a box to check. It isn't, for the currently able-bodied among us, rooting ourselves in one place with our feet shoulder width apart and our weight evenly distributed. Rather it is multiple systems working together, along with having a sense of who and where we are, so we can move purposefully. Imbalance comes when systems aren't aligned. Maybe there is a gap between the time we want with family and the time we spend at work. Maybe we are feeling a disparity between what we do for a living and what is meaningful to us.

Our longing for balance then, may be less about standing still or equilibrium. than an invitation to reflect on our lives. As we are in the grip of stress, too much to do with too few resources, it may be an invitation to slow down. To ask: Is everything on my plate mine? Did I put it there? Is each thing in service of my values? In answering these questions, we may find ourselves empowered to make changes or we may feel more peaceful knowing that while the plate may be full, everything on it exists because we want it there or because it serves something larger. To be balanced is to have our actions aligned with our values.

March is a timely month for that reflection. It was 53 years ago this month, that a white woman from Detroit responded to a black preacher's call to action in Mississippi. She was married and had children. Likely she had a plate that felt full. Yet, when Martin Luther King, Jr called upon white clergy and faithful lay folks to come to Selma, Mississippi, to march in unity for equal voting rights, Viola Liuzzo went to join the effort to bring balance to a nation whose actions were out of alignment with its "we the people" values. Liuzzo was a Unitarian Universalist living her values and our values.

Sadly, Liuzzo died in Mississippi. She was murdered by people whose lives were an ugly dedication to maintaining institutionalized disparities.

Few of us will make a choice that will put our life in jeopardy. And yet, Liuzzo's story reminds us, albeit rather dramatically, that our choices matter. Our values matter. And lives where choices are aligned with our values make a difference to those around us in small and large ways. 
What Is the Role of the Board of Trustees?

The fundamentalist Christian church of my childhood was governed by a small group of men. Women - though expected to contribute financially - were not permitted to participate in governance of the church. In contrast, Jefferson Unitarian Church is governed by a nine-member (currently four women and five men) Board of Trustees elected by the Congregation. On three Sundays each month you will see one of the nine trustees standing in the pulpit just long enough to welcome members, guests and the livestream audience to the worship service. Our "behind the scenes" role is to: implement -and periodically reexamine - the mission, establish policies, monitor fiscal health, plan for the future, approve delegates to the UU General Assembly and to the Mountain Desert District Annual Meeting, supervise the Senior Minister and call special meetings of the congregation as needed.

Your Board of Trustees, ministers, staff, and key committee members have been working hard over the past six months to develop a viable plan to free JUC from the limits of our campus. I am grateful for the dedication, creativity and commitment of so many fine people. Bravo! Thank you!

We have called a Special Congregational Meeting to be held on Sunday, April 15 at 12:30 p.m. In that meeting, we will ask the question: shall we move forward to find and procure a new location for JUC? You will find more details in a letter from Rev. Wendy Williams, the Board of Trustees, and the Property Evaluation Task Force, as well as a Making Room brochure recently mailed to all members.

I invite you to visit the Making Room website, and attend a Forum or Dreaming Session before April 15. And, on most Sundays this Spring, look for me near the Welcome Table from 10-10:45 a.m. I'm eager to listen to your questions, comments or concerns
Children's Music Service

There is nothing quite like the energy that abounds during Tuesday evening rehearsals for JUC's annual Children's Music Service.  Our dedicated JUC kids - ages 5-14,  are working hard to learn songs and skits that will serve as the special music, readings and sermon on Sunday, March 18.   

Every year it is a challenge to find material that simultaneously fits our monthly church theme, is accessible to kids while still being meaningful to adults, and that keeps 45 children engaged and motivated for 9 weeks of rehearsals. This month's theme of "balance" provided an excellent opportunity for Wendy, Annie, Julie Excell and I to sit down and brainstorm issues around that theme that affect both kids and adults. After a fruitful discussion we decided to focus on the ideas of balancing our tendency toward perfectionism, exceptionalism, work and anxiety with being able to relax, not worry so much, accept imperfection, and understand that we are enough just as we are.  

Through the course of the service on March 18, our congregation will experience the stories of children living in the land of "Perfectville" who discover that being perfect is not as important as they once believed and who learn to balance their desires for achievement with their need to have fun, and play, and be accepted for who they are. The Children's Music Service provides an opportunity for our children to embody not only the messages that serve the theme but also the hope, love and joy that comes from simply being a kid. I hope you will attend. I am sure the themes of the skits and songs will resonate with many, regardless of age!  
Welcome Our New Members
Christine Burry lives in Wheat Ridge and her hobbies include crafts, music, and travel.

Dianne Bottinelli  is a school nurse whose hobbies include travel, genealogy, and quilts.

Maureen McNeil  is a school nurse whose hobbies include travel and genealogy.

Stella and Will Whalen live in Lakewood and their interests include literature, home repair, gardening, hiking, and technology.

Aeron Mac lives in Golden, and his hobbies include hiking, biking, and reading. 

Ian and Sarah Pingel have a very young daughter named Abby, and their hobbies include reading, and skiing. 

Lynn Gasper lives in Denver, and her hobbies include hiking, reading, and teaching.

Sara Robbins likes to explore the outdoors through camping and fly fishing.

Michael Bassett is a retired public school educator.

Eliza Valdez enjoys running, hiking, and camping.

Stacie Allison enjoys sewing, painting, writing, and arts and crafts. 
Be Part of the Making Room Conversation
Ask your questions, raise your concerns, dream out loud! Several forums and meetings are scheduled over the next few weeks as we consider Making Room - finding a new location that better helps us fulfill JUC's mission. Sign up online or the Making Room table on Sunday mornings.

Sunday, March 4, 12:30 p.m.
Thursday, March 15, 7:30 p.m.
Saturday, April 6, 3 p.m.
Sunday, April 8, 12:30 p.m.

Online Dreaming Session
Wednesday, March 7, 7 p.m.
Congregational Briefing
Sunday, March 4, 10 a.m. 
Hear the latest from Rev. Wendy and the Board of Trustees.

Congregational Meeting
Sunday, April 15, 12:30 p.m.
The congregation will vote on whether to move forward to find a new location for JUC. (This is NOT a vote on a specific property or sum of money.)

You can also ask questions, make comments, and answer the weekly Conversation Starter question on the Making Room website under the Conversation tab. You'll also find lots of good information there in the FAQs and several blogs.
We Are Family
1st Wednesdays
3rd Fridays
5:30 p.m. Dinner
6:30 p.m. Worship

Join us twice per month for a fellowship dinner ($5 per person) followed by a lively and brief family-centered worship. We use ritual, song and story for a multi-age worship that fills the heart and grows the spirit. All ages are encouraged to attend. 

March Menu:
Wednesday, March 7:
Egg Roll in a Bowl
Friday, March 16:
Reuben Sliders
Perseverance and Planned Giving
Perseverance is a life quality that has served us well to achieve our dreams and overcome our disappointments. Rev. Wendy said: "How fortunate we are to have JUC to companion us and equip us to become people who can indeed persevere."

Estate planning requires perseverance to achieve abundance for ourselves and our loved ones and passing it on to future generations. Perseverance is required to do an estate plan. Who wants to plan for an end to something we know will come but we do not want? It is even more difficult to balance our legacy among our loved ones and the institutions we love and value.

The planned giving team perseveres with our message to you to remember JUC in your estate plan so that it may equip future generations to develop life qualities that sustain us all.

Contact JUC's planned giving coordinators:  Bud Meadows , Mike Kramer or Carol Wilsey .
Gather the Spirit Retreat
October 19 - 21, 2018
Come join your fellow congregants for a weekend of spiritual renewal, resting in community, and building relationships in the naturally beautiful setting of  Snow Mountain Ranch near Winter Park. Look for early bird registration coming at the end of March. This multi-generational retreat is organized by the congregation, so if you would like to help plan or volunteer, please contact Clare Dibble.

Do you identify as a Unitarian Universalist person of color?
If so, the Unitarian Universalist Commission on Institutional Change is looking for your voice to help us live more fully into our vision of a multiracial  faith community. One piece of the work is to gather the stories of where we've fallen short. If you have answers to either of these two questions-

In what ways have you or your group or community been hurt by current racist and culturally biased attitudes and practices within Unitarian Universalism?

In what ways have we, as a faith community, been living outside of our values and commitments?

Share your story today
Call for General Assembly Delegates
General Assembly is the annual meeting of our Unitarian Universalist Association. Attendees worship, witness, learn, connect, and make policy for the Association through democratic process. Anyone may attend; congregations must certify annually to send voting delegates.

The 2018 General Assembly will be June 20-24 in Kansas City, Missouri. Most General Assembly events will be held in the Kansas City Convention Center.

If you would like to serve as a delegate for JUC, apply via this form.
Do You Shop on
JUCers who Shop with Scrip at earn 2.5% on all their purchases for JUC. 

It is so easy to enroll in the program! Visit Shop With Scrip and click on Join an Existing Program. Contact Pat Emery for an enrollment code and proceed from there.
Thank You from the 9th Grade Trip
The bake sale raised $1,000 and another $80 was raised by the streamers in Evergreen

Donations are always welcome.
Contact: Melinda McGann
Packs of Hope for Foster Children
Joyce McLaren

Each year, JUC offers the opportunity to fill a very special backpack for a child in need. Packs of Hope , a local non-profit, provides backpacks containing clothes and other basic items to children who are transitioning into foster care. Many of these children are quickly removed from their homes by police or social workers and are unable to take any personal items. The backpacks we give them contain the only possessions these children may have for a period of time.  

Packs of Hope serves seven  local counties (Arapahoe, Boulder, Denver, Douglas, El Paso, Jefferson, and Weld) . Since 2008 the organization has served more than 7,000 foster children. Last year they delivered more than 1,400 packs.

There are two ways you can help:  

Fill a Pack
  • Pick up an empty backpack and shopping list in the south commons on Sunday,  March 4.
  • You choose the gender/age you want to shop for.
  • Fill the pack with as many of the items as you can from the shopping list.  Any missing items will be provided for you.
  • Return the backpack to the south commons on Sundays, March 11 & 18 (or to the JUC office anytime during office hours).
Purchase Toiletries
There is always a need for extra toiletries. A box will be provided at the table in the commons.
Most needed items:
  • baby wipes
  • baby wash
  • 2-in-1 shampoo
  • deodorant
  • soap
Stories from Packs of Hope caseworkers
" When the children come into the office they get so excited to have a new backpack full of clean clothes. One 11 year old girl that came into the office opened her backpack and said 'Oh pajamas, I have always wanted a pair of pajamas!' The children always want to change into their new clothes immediately."
"In early Spring 2014 we received a call for a little girl five days old who was turned over to a local Fire Department. She had no clothes, no shoes and did not even have a name. We picked out a special Pack of Hope for her with a small stuffed animal. Although she has long since grown out of her clothes she still has the stuffed animal and sleeps with it daily. She has a name, she has a home and she has something that is just hers from the time she came to us. Thank you for all you do."
Habitat for Humanity Update

2017 Home Dedication
On January 30, as part of the West Metro Habitat Interfaith Coalition, we dedicated the house we built last year to Ali and Sonia Ahmadi and their young sons Aryan and Ahmed. The Ahmadis are immigrants from war-torn Afghanistan, and finding a safe, stable place to live has been their great challenge. They were spending 40% of Ali's income as a plumber to rent a two bedroom apartment in a dangerous neighborhood. By partnering with Habitat for Humanity, they will be able to pay an affordable mortgage for a three-bedroom home at the Habitat for Humanity site in Sheridan Square. The dedication ceremony was attended by representatives from the various coalition churches, including JUC. Congratulations were also delivered by dignitaries from Habitat, other sponsors, and the mayor of Sheridan, Tara Beiter-Fluhr. Ali remarked upon receiving the key to his family's new home, "We made many new friends as we built this house with all of the volunteers. It feels good to be home." Welcome home, Ali and Sonia!

2018 Home Building
Plans for this year's home are coming together rapidly. This will be the 19th home sponsored by the West Metro Habitat Interfaith Coalition, dating back to 1999. We know the house will again be at Sheridan Square, and as soon as Habitat announces the exact location and construction start date, volunteer build days will be scheduled. So stay tuned! In the meantime, check out our website. You can find other volunteer opportunities with Habitat for Humanity there as well.
UU Service Committee Task Force
Hands on Justice work beyond our local community is never easy. Through the UU Service Committee we can support Justice work on the front lines around the world and we can be sure that it is grounded in the belief that all people have inherent power, dignity, and rights. 

As a human rights organization collaborating at the grassroots level, the UU Service Committee promotes economic justice in the domestic U.S. poultry industry through workers organizations and they support small farmer coops through Equal Exchange. They strengthen environmental justice in areas severely impacted by climate displacement in coastal Alaska, several Pacific island nations and the Louisiana delta region. They work to ensure due process for Central American children and families seeking humanitarian protection in the United States. In their work to reduce ethnic and religious violence UUSC staff have provided the resources to train Burmese activists to establish Peaceful Truth, a publicly viewable misinformation reporting site.The UUSC is supporting legislation in Congress that will put pressure on the Burmese government to end the violence against the Rohingya. 

How can you be a part of this important justice work? Join the UUSC in working for justice! Make a donation or become a member, sign the Declaration of Conscience, sign up for action alerts, Join #LoveResists! or join a College of Social Justice program. For more information visit the UUSC website and look for the UUSC Task force table in the Commons Sunday, March 25.
Keeping the Promise
Clare Dibble

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 see messages like mine over the course of the year.

My grandfather always said that you belong to a church to have a place to bless the new babies, marry lovers who want to create a life together, and gather to mourn those who have passed on. While that is true, I've come to realize that this place is also more than that.  It is a community to gather regularly with a group of people while we go through the ups and downs of life. It is these small acts that create the intimacy necessary to give the large events meaning.

My parents felt confined by the churches that they grew up in and had access to and so I grew up unchurched in a very Christian area. I tried really hard to find Jesus. I attended a variety of services, Sunday schools, and religious retreats and couldn't quite find the God they could all see so clearly, a God that was constant and consistent and fell neatly into the confines of whatever creed they shared.

I'm glad to have found a church home where whatever you believe, you've wrestled with it some, worked to come to the understanding that you have today, and are open to learning more or having new experiences that change you, or at least are open to the possibility that not everyone's beliefs fit neatly into your package.

Because of my journey to get here, I understand that a place like this is not a given. It doesn't have to exist or be accessible to those who need it. This is as far as I had gotten when we joined the church. It is through our commitment of time, talent, and treasure that my understanding has grown beyond what I came in with.

There are the practical bits of what we get out of our commitment: I'm glad my husband has an outlet for his drumming outside of our basement. I'm glad that I've previously gotten to work with middle-school-aged kids in religious education through Neighboring Faiths and Coming of Age. Both programs gave me a deeper understanding of what it means to be UU. I hope the kids get even a fraction of what I got out of those classes. My RE involvement also showed me that I have a lot to look forward to as a parent, as I am just not a baby person but I love working with pre-teens and teenagers.

I'm thankful to have been on two Gather the Spirit retreats, even if we had to leave the first one with an infant and toddler with high fevers. It does get better. I express my appreciation for the people who came before and made these events possible by working on planning the next retreat. If you want to help out, please reach out and I'll get you connected.  

I've learned that a church is unique as a non-profit in that the members are both the donors and the recipients of at least some of the church's efforts. That means that it is impossible to give without also receiving. Conversely, if you are wondering how to get more out of your faith community, consider putting more in, either with your time, or money, or both. Even small increases by individuals pay big dividends when used collectively and invested in our future together. Let's make a dent in the world together.

I hope that when it is your turn to pledge that you will think about what JUC means in your life, and consider increasing your spiritual and financial commitment.