ISSUE 44                                                                                                                                                                                     FEBRUARY 2020
Integrity  and Planned Giving
Making an estate plan is practicing integrity. If you don't have a plan, the State of Colorado has one for you. Y ou may have an incomplete "accidental plan" when you title property, list beneficiaries of retirement plans or life insurance policies but this is not the whole picture. 

The state will generally pay your debts and distribute your property along genetic lines.  This leaves nothing for friends, causes and organizations you may want to support. If you leave minor children, their care may be entrusted to persons you would not choose or not have the financial support they need. E mpower the future of JUC by including it in your estate plan.  Contact JUC's planned giving coordinators: Bud & B.J. Meadows , Mike Kramer or Carol Wilsey
Living Unitarian Universalism Resilience: For the Strong of Heart
A few weeks ago, I was having lunch with a dear friend. Deep into our conversation, she said, "You have it so easy being Unitarian Universalist. You can just believe whatever you want to!" This is not the first time someone has told me being UU is easy as there seems to be an assumption that our 4th Principle, the free and responsible search for truth and meaning , gives UUs permission to believe whatever we want to believe. First, no -- UUs do not get to believe whatever they want to believe and having a free and responsible search for truth and meaning takes serious head and heart work. 

Being UU takes resilience. It requires reexamining and reassessing beliefs continuously for as James Luther Adams described in the first of the Five Smooth Stones; Religious liberalism depends on the principle that 'revelation' is continuous. Meaning has not been finally captured. It takes a conscious choice to question and not only claim our beliefs but to attempt to live them in this ever-changing and sometimes unrelenting world we live in. No one thing or person tells us what and how to believe. It is our responsibility to discover and rediscover these every moment we are graced with breathing. Unitarian Universalism is not for the faint of heart.
Rev. Lilia Cuervo, a native of Colombia, South America, was the first Latin American woman ordained in the Unitarian Universalist denomination. She pioneered full-time ministry in Spanish in San Jose, CA, where she served for six and a half years. In her 2011 sermon Unitarian Universalism - Not for the Faint of Heart, that kicked off her four-year ministry of multiculturalism at First Parish in Cambridge- she asks the following questions:
A religion that does not give you a creed, or has an authority figure to show you the way to heaven, is a religion for whom? 
A religion that encourages you to trust your own intuition, that direct experience of the sacred, and to listen to the divine within you, is a religion for whom? 
A religion that does not give you any assurances of an afterlife, but encourages you to live every moment to the fullest according to the highest ideals of humanity, is a religion for whom? 
A religion that encourages you to evolve according to newfound truths, is a religion for whom? 
A religion that encourages its members to live in the difficult questions, rather than to accept easy and personally untested answers, is definitely a religion for whom? 

For the strong of heart.

Jefferson Unitarian Church's Religious Education program is where our young people begin in their responsible search for truth and meaning. They are introduced to this journey by inspirational stories, learn about world religions and meaningful activities based on our monthly themes. And each lesson is also built on developing UU resiliency. We not only provide resources in our UU values and principles, but we also include an invitation to be something different than the world they are typically exposed to. A place where value has more relevance than the images they might be exposed to in the media or on social media. Learnings that offers an antidote to things like bullying, harassment, and racism. We teach our children this resiliency because sometimes it is far easier to succumb to negative peer pressure, be silent instead of using courageous voices, and to go with the flow instead of responding with justice and compassion. 

Unitarian Universalism develops our resiliency as we face our own limitations and learn to lean into them. It challenges us to interrupt injustices, asks us to decenter ourselves to make room for our siblings of color, and continue to question ourselves and the world around us in the name of justice, equity, and compassion. If that does not take a strong and resilient heart, I do not know what does.
On January 20, tens of thousands of marchers gathered at the Martin Luther King, Jr. statue in Denver's City Park, part of the 35th annual marade which began with speeches by Mayor Michael Hancock, Governor Jared Polis, and former Governor John Hickenlooper. This year's marade drew a counter protest from Black Lives Matter 5280 and the Colorado Poor People's Campaign, protesting Denver's camping ban policy. As the people moved by foot or wheel down Colfax Blvd, music and singing was alive and present, as can been seen in this example from the 2015 marade. 

The power of music to unite, to uplift, and to provide resilience offers a gift to those who are suffering and those who need hope. For some, music can be a creative outlet when the world seems to have veered off of its course, as in this song by Melanie DeMore, written the day after the 2016 election.

There are times when a person's situation closes in, when life's circumstances become more and more unbearable. The Buddhist teacher Pema Chodron gives a key to resilience: "If you ask why we meditate, I would say it's so we can become more flexible and tolerant to the present moment." UU musician Sarah Dan Jones offers a musical breathing practice here.

These songs and others like them can lead to the practice of transformation, of taking outer circumstances and changing our relationship to them, of allowing ourselves to shift in ways that ensure our thriving in the present and future. They can give strength and resilience, as does this poem by J. Patrick Lewis, set to music by transgender composer Mari Esabel Valverde. "Know a million bells can drown out fear."

THE POOR and dispossessed take up the drums
For civil rights-freedoms to think and speak,
Petition, pray, and vote. When thunder comes,
The civil righteous are finished being meek.
Why Sylvia Méndez bet against long odds,
How Harvey Milk turned hatred on its head,
Why Helen Zia railed against tin gods,
How Freedom Summer's soldiers faced the dread
Are tales of thunder that I hope to tell
From my thin bag of verse for you to hear
In miniature, like ringing a small bell,
And know a million bells can drown out fear.
For history was mute witness when such crimes
Discolored and discredited our times.
Making Room Progress Report
There are so many elements in considering JUC's possible move to the much larger Lakewood Church of the Nazarene campus (LCN)! Here are the latest developments.

Budget projections: Church administrator Carol Wilsey and other key staff/lay members are working on a projected operating budget for the new campus. There's a lot to analyze. For example, the LCN campus has a large solar array, which offsets the utility costs we might expect for a facility that size. Other costs will certainly go up, such as cleaning and snow removal, but some will be relatively constant for a time, like our supplies budgets and, for now, staff costs. This budget analysis definitely qualifies as a work in progress. Carol and company are working hard to get us the information we need to make sure we can afford this move.

The LCN property: Good news! Initial environmental inspections by outside contractors show no active exposure to lead or asbestos within the church buildings. After reviewing the 300-page draft reports, JUC Board member and environmental consultant Andrea Aikin is requesting a little additional material, but says "the data look good." Anyone who knows Andrea's high standards knows this is high praise indeed.

Capital campaign: Based on an encouraging Financial Feasibility Study conducted last fall, the Board has set a capital campaign goal of $4-million. This money would be used for the swap/$2-million purchase of LCN and for moving into the facility and making it JUC-ready. That would include things such as moving costs, furnishings, sanctuary sound system, security, a bit of paint and flooring to spiff up the place, and some remodeling work. To raise this money over the next three years, the congregation's Wider Horizons campaign will kick off with a daytime LEAP multi-generational celebration at LCN on Leap Day, February 29. Wider Horizons steward visits and pledging will extend through April. The Foundation Level phase for members planning to pledge $10,000 or more is underway through February.

Your thoughts: Moving to LCN IS a congregational decision! The Shared Ministry Team is now planning forums for this month and beyond so everyone has a chance to ask questions and get more detailed updates. In the meantime, remember to check the Making Room website for updates, and be sure to check out the FAQs - you may find answers to some of your questions there.
If you're reading this, you're already connected to JUC happenings through our email list. Through that list, JUC inspires our members through the monthly IGNITE newsletter, shares announcements about events through the Weekly Connection email, and sends out other important information about church business, including the Making Room initiative. But did you know there are even more ways to connect digitally with our congregation on a deeper level?

The Member2Member Google Group allows members to send out direct messages about JUC and JUC-sponsored events. All messages are moderated (reviewed for accuracy and appropriateness before posting). If you aren't on the list, click here to register.
JUC also has three primary social media platforms (Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram) where theme related content is posted daily.  We also have a closed Facebook Group for our families that you are invited to join by  clicking here
The very best thing about social media is that it's interactive and brings people together. Please engage by commenting on how our posts are impacting your life. Post your own photos and reflections on JUC events you've attended. If you're shy, (cyber or otherwise) send me stuff and I'll post it for you. Let's get connected!
Habitat for Humanity Update
Swansea Homes Open House

On the evening of January 7, Habitat Metro Denver held an open house at its latest construction site, Swansea Homes, located at 43 rd Avenue and Elizabeth Street. All of the hundreds of volunteers who worked on the seven houses completed so far -- including the house JUCers helped build last year in coalition with Jeffco Interfaith Partners -- were invited to a walk-through and had an opportuni ty to meet the new residents. Thank you to Linda Hartman and Steve Stevens for attending.

Unfortunately, the family which had been selected for our 2019 h ome failed to complete their "sweat equity" hours and has been de-selected. Habitat is in the
process of  screening applicants for a new family, so the home dedication is on hold. To qualify for a Habitat home, candidates must be working; must be spending 40% or more of their income on rent; must have good credit; must assume a $90,000 mortgage; must put in 200 hours of work on the construction of their own house or another H4H house. And, homeowners are prohibited from selling their house at a profit. Habitat offers a hand up, not a hand-out.

Our 20th House in 2020

This year, Jeffco Interfaith Partners will sponsor its 20th Habitat new build. As a founding member of the coalition, JUC has helped with every house so far, and 2020 will be no different except that this year we're getting an early start. JUC will provide volunteers on Saturday March 14 and again on Friday June 12. Stay tuned for details, but if you already know you want to work with us, please save those dates. The house will again be at Swansea Homes, same site as last year. Everyone deserves a decent place to live, and Habitat for Humanity's mission is to make that possible.