ISSUE 22                                                                                                                                                                                            APRIL 2018
April Theme: Emergence
For the gardeners among us, the lengthening days and spring snow portend the coming days of digging in the dirt and waiting for new life to emerge. That is the image that comes to mind as I think of this month's theme, emergence. The word comes from the the Latin emergere, to bring to light. Gardens easily remind us that much happens in the darker places found below the surface.

Emergence for us, then, is an invitation to look more deeply than that which is visible to us in this moment. It is an invitation to risk our way into a bigger becoming. As C.S. Lewis wrote: " You cannot go on indefinitely being just an ordinary, decent egg. We must be hatched or go bad."

In this time of hiding more Easter eggs than are found, that may be a risky metaphor. Perhaps we are more safely guided by John O'Donohue's poetry. These words are found in his Blessing for a New Beginning:

In out-of-the-way places of the heart,
Where your thoughts never think to wander,
This beginning has been quietly forming,
Waiting until you were ready to emerge.

I especially love those lines because they remind me that not all new beginnings are what I plan. Sometimes circumstances conspire to prevent me from seeing ways in which I am shifting. Suddenly, I can be (and have been) caught off-guard by some new thing I want to pursue or to which I need to pay attention. I think of my call to minister, as well as my call to this church. I hadn't been planning to change careers or churches. And then, all of a sudden it seemed, I was conscious that there had indeed been something quietly forming in me. I then had decisions to make. Would I ignore this new part of me waiting/wanting to emerge or would I let myself bloom?

Really, a similar sort of thing has happened in our church. Jefferson Unitarian Church was formed in 1959. It has gone about the business of holding Sunday worship services, teaching kids, offering pastoral care and programming, and tending to the administrative and governance needs. We answered the challenge to focus on our mission and to better welcome visitors. In large measure, we are still that young church taking care of business and meeting new challenges. As stewardship consultant, Kay Crider, wrote we "are already more than 800 members strong, and have demonstrated that [we] know how to do large church well and maintain those community bonds."

It is easy to feel like we are indeed a decent egg - to feel we have arrived. And yet, I believe that as we have simply been going about our business, a new beginning has been forming in us. What is emerging or being brought to light is the capacity of this church to make a difference not only in the lives of people who already attend here, but in our county and denomination by Making Room for not only what we want but what we want for the congregation yet to be and for our grandchildren and great grandchildren.

Decisions about what we will do about this potential that has been quietly forming as JUC went about its business, will be made by our congregation. Please participate. Keep visiting Stop by the table in the commons on Sunday. And please, please plan to attend our Special Congregational meeting on Sunday, April 15 at 12:30 p.m.

I am so grateful to serve with and among you in this exciting time.
Pledging and Staff Compensation
There was a small but robust group at JUC after services on March 11 to hear Kay Crider, our Stewardship for Us consultant, talk about the process of fundraising for the possibility of a new location. Video is available if you'd like to see it. She was very complimentary of our church, naming our strengths which are many! She also listed some of our challenges, one of which is that we have some staff positions that are below recommended compensation levels. This is a complex and sensitive topic, but one stalwart member asked directly about it and wanted to know what we can do about it. There is really only one answer to that question: in order to increase pay levels, members and friends need to pledge more. Everything you see, hear and touch at JUC we pay for, including paying the staff.

Compensation and benefits are the biggest chunk of the budget - 73% for fiscal 2017/18. So, in order to increase pay, pledge income has to go up too. I know this all makes perfect sense to you reading this, but when it comes time for you to consider your pledge, please remember it! Over the last twelve months of pledging half of our households left their pledge flat - no increase. Everything goes up in cost every year, so we will not be able to keep up with flat pledging. That's just the reality.

We are currently working on budgeting for 2018/19 during which we will firm up what we will be able to do this year based on pledge projections, but the need is not insignificant. For the 2017/18 budget we were only able to increase expected pledges by 2.2% from the previous year. Inflation was 2.6%. The inflation we experienced this year was 3.7%. So, unless we have projected pledges that are more than 3.7% higher than this year, we will likely not be able to adjust any positions upward more than cost of living - and maybe not even that - without cutting something else.

As I said, this topic is complex. I could give you lots of statistics and calculate a bunch of stuff, but really, all it comes down to is making an increase if you can when you fill out your pledge form.
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.

Saturday, April 7, 3 p.m.
Sunday, April 8, 12:30 p.m.

Congregational Meeting
Sunday, April 15, 12:30 p.m.
Motion: Shall the congregation authorize the board to pursue a larger property for JUC within the designated Jeffco search area?  (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 Community Conversation tab. You'll also find lots of good information there in the FAQs and several blogs.

More Useful Links:
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, April 4:
Chicken Noodles
Friday, April 20:
Mac and Cheese
Balance and Planned Giving
Life involves balancing many factors that change over time. Good balancing results in fulfillment of one's purpose, security and happiness.

Estate planning and planned giving involves finding balance among several needs and wants. Balance is often achieved by struggle not comfort. These decisions require some struggle, so we often procrastinate. If we do the hard work and make these choices (they always can be changed), we will be comforted and can feel more balanced in our life plans.

Giving is a balance among I, we and future generations. Please support the future generations at JUC by including JUC in your estate plans. The future of JUC is emerging in the estate plans of our members today.

Contact JUC's planned giving coordinators:  Bud Meadows , Mike Kramer or Carol Wilsey .
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 using this form.
Shop With Scrip at
Do you shop on

Want to help JUC earn  5 times more  than with Amazon Smile?

You can do that when you pay for your Amazon purchases using  electronic scrip purchased through JUC's scrip program at:

Choose one of these ways to begin!

If you'd like help:

Stay after either service one of these "Getting Started Sundays."

April 8, 22 and  May 6, 20
Stations in the commons will be staffed with people to make it easy. Make an appointment or show up for the first available spot.
If you want to try it on your own: 
Swing by the table on the above dates and pick up an instruction sheet.

Contact: Pat Emery
Focus on Mental Health
The Mental Wellness Advocates group of Pastoral Care is conducting a survey to plan programs and offer information in response to mental health needs of the congregation. Please fill out a survey on Sundays in April and May to help us with goal setting and planning.

NAMI Walk is Saturday, May 19 in Centennial Park. Sign up to walk with the JUC Team and/or donate to the National Alliance on Mental Illness which strives to combat the stigma of mental illness by providing free programs and resources.
New Cards and Letters Justice Team
A new Justice Team is forming at JUC. It's purpose is two-fold:
  1. Socialize and get to know each other better.
  2. Take some action on an issue that concerns the group.

The action will most likely be writing cards and letters to effect some change. We will meet for 90 minutes at a time, with the first 45 minutes dedicated to conversation and learning about some issue. The second 45 minutes will be dedicated to taking action, such as writing cards and letters.


This new team will partner with other JUC Justice Teams on topics as well as outside teams. We may also invite speakers from time to time. Contact: Linda Sorauf

Making Room Update

Welcome to the messy middle of the JUC Making Room deliberations! It's a place of questions and ponderings, angst and hopes. And it's exactly where we should be as we approach our Special Congregational Meeting, Sunday, April 15 to consider pursuing a larger church home in the area. Such a home would be a base from which we can truly live into our mission, nourish our spirits, welcome new members, visitors, and partners, and serve as both a convener of social justice and beacon of Unitarian Universalism.

We as the congregation hold the power here. If we vote yes on April 15 it would mean that we authorize the Board to find a stellar and financially viable location within our Jefferson County search area to recommend to us. After reflection and discussion, we would then convene at a future congregational meeting to vote on its purchase. In simple terms, this April 15 vote asks, "Shall we explore options?" The future second vote will ask, "Do we want to move to this specific place within this specific financial framework?"

We currently have a delightful and profound challenge: our sheer numbers and programmatic vibrance far surpass the functionality of our beloved, beautiful campus. The Board set an ambitious goal last fall to develop a plan to navigate this dilemma by May 1, and the past half year has been a flurry of exploration and communication. In February, our 'Project Management Posse' of Chris Sealy, Dea Brayden, and I came on board to help coordinate the ongoing Making Room efforts. Check out the Making Room website for more details, context, and perspectives on the process.

We are now in this vital time of discernment about who we want to be in the world. How do we as JUC move forward in a way that preserves our nourishing community while growing our impact? How do we ensure that our current programs thrive? How do we make way for the blessings of future members and partners? What might we achieve if we could put all our energy into providing services, enhancing programs, and working actively with partners on key priorities instead of constantly having to juggle schedules and logistics to fit 10 pounds of JUC-ness into a 5-pound bag?

It is a vibrant time in our church life. Please take part in this crucial conversation, check the Making Room website regularly for the latest information and to share your insights, and attend the Special Congregational Meeting to vote on Sunday, April 15 at 12:30 p.m. We need 130 people to make quorum so please plan to attend. For those unable to take part in person, absentee ballots are available for download online or pick-up at the church and are due back to the JUC office by mail or drop-off on Thursday, April 12 by 4 p.m.

JUC in 2018 is bolstered by staggering blessings - nourishing worship and meaningful programs for members of all ages, skilled and loving ministers and staff, superb financial management, service to transform the world beyond our walls, a growing membership, and a strong sense of community. Let's Make Room together for a vibrant future!
Unexpected Answers
Jef Fugita, Trustee

As we have embarked on the journey for Making Room, we have all had a full range of emotions to what this means to us personally, and to our congregation. The following Chalice Lighting by the Reverend Julianne Lepp of the UU Congregation of Eau Claire may provide some insight.

Open to Unexpected Answers
We seek our place in the world
and the answers to our hearts' deep questions.
As we seek, may our hearts be open to unexpected answers.
May the light of our chalice remind us that this is a community of warmth,
of wisdom, and welcoming of multiple truths.

The phrase "open to unexpected answers" reminds me of the UU principle "A free and responsible search for truth and meaning." This principle helps guide all of us to support each other in our journey through life. It also reminds us that our own journey through the Making Room discussion is different from others and each is okay. We are here to support and accept each other and to be open to unexpected answers.

The phrase "community of warmth, of wisdom, and multiple truths" reminds us of several of our UU principles:

The inherent worth and dignity of every person;
Justice, equity and compassion in human relations;
Acceptance of one another and encouragement to spiritual growth in our congregations;
Respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part.
This is what being a member of Jefferson Unitarian Church has always meant for me. The acceptance of each other and our different opinions. As we continue on this journey, we are a strong congregation working to live our values. These beliefs and values are reminders to listen and seek to understand. We are a congregation of warmth, wisdom, and multiple truths.

The Congregational Meeting on Sunday, April 15 is another step in the journey. It reminds us of the following UU principle " The right of conscience and the use of the democratic process within our congregations and in society at large."  We will vote as a congregation on the following motion: "Shall the congregation authorize the board to pursue a larger property for JUC within the designated Jeffco search area?"

There are several resources available to support each of us through this journey. There is a website with several links to videos, frequently asked questions, major milestones, stewardship presentations and contact information for the many members and staff available to support each of us.   
Dance It Out
I have just returned from Finding Our Way Home, an annual retreat for UU religious professionals of color, which was held in Albuquerque, New Mexico (la tierra de mi gente, which made it even more special) and I want to extend my thanks to both the UUA and JUC for making it possible. It was my first time attending and it was intense and wonderful and challenging and nourishing all at once, and I am integrating the experience into my personal and professional reality with deep gratitude. I met some people I've only known virtually for the last year or two, and made some wonderful new friendships that I already deeply cherish. I am jumping back into my work here at JUC feeling refreshed and renewed.

I have long held that one of my life mottos is: Dance it out . Feeling sad? Dance it out. Joy you can't contain? Dance it out. Need some exercise? Dance it out. Pushing your rage down? Dance it out! Often in life when I realize that I am spiraling into sadness, it carries with it the realization that I haven't been dancing, or singing, or even listening to music. When I come to that realization, I will start with turning some music on while I get ready in the morning, and eventually I start singing along, and inevitably my body starts moving.

I feel very connected to my ancestral lineages of dance. All cultures danced as a means of connection to both being human and the divine, at various times and for various reasons. No matter who you are, you come from people who danced. Reconnecting and reclaiming what is an ancestral birthright for all of us is incredibly freeing and healing. Not to mention, dancing is FUN.

I love to dance and I want to share it with you all, so in all the (rightfully) serious discussions around our impending possible move and Making Room, I want to invite you to dance with me in the chapel between services on Sunday, April 15, which is also the date of our congregational meeting. I'm calling it Making Room for Fun, and you're not going to want to miss it because the playlist is LIT. All ages, all abilities, all cultures - let's dance it out together and create some beautiful memories that we will carry with us no matter where we go from here. 
We All Share the Music Ministry

Even if you're very new, you have likely realized that Jefferson Unitarian Church has a robust and rich music ministry. Every Sunday worship service, and at many of our small group ministry services, we share music together, singing hymns that reflect the principles we live by. We hear works from our two adults choirs, pieces deep in meaning and musicality that wash over us and draw us into the message of the day. We rock to the sounds of JUiCe, the worship band, enjoying the uplifting moment. We are soothed by the JUC Ringers.

We have beloved relationships with affiliate musical groups like Sophia's Journey and the Everhopefuls. Guest musicians grace us periodically, and we welcome new guests too. Our teen choir, Resonance, amazes us with beautiful harmonies and youthful devotion. Our children's choirs, whether singing just one song or preparing an entire musical, delight us all.

As Music Ministry Intern, I have observed and learned that JUC is fortunate to place a high priority on music as part of our lives together. In part, we can thank the long dedication of our beloved Rev. Keith Arnold, Music Minister, and his visionary leadership as JUC's music ministry grew and evolved over the years. It is a testament to his work, and our church's commitment to shared ministry, that our music programs thrive even as Rev. Keith is on sabbatical until August 2018.

Before he left, Rev. Keith and I exchanged a heartfelt covenant of trust and gratitude. We promised to have faith in the strength of JUC's music ministry to hold and even grow during these months. Rev. Keith empowered me with not just the logistics, but also the spirit of service our congregation expects from its ministries. I take this charge seriously and with sincere gratitude.

Have you ever wondered how it all comes together? I have! Perhaps that's why I was eager to accept Rev. Keith's invitation to serve as Music Ministry Intern. I have long admired how integrated the worship services are at JUC. The message supports the music, and the music supports the message.

That takes effort. Now that I have been an intern for eight months, I see that our worship team is full of love, care and heart. Every service is thoroughly explored with resources from the Soul Matters themes. Ministers and musicians collaborate. Emails fly. Together, we research and consider songs. What pieces best reflect the message? What moods will hold the emotions we all might be feeling? What hymns will bring us together?
Being so much closer to the process, I have begun to listen to music differently, and I charge you to do the same. Next time you're cruising through your playlists, listen with a new ear. Might this song have a place in Sunday worship? Do the words of one of your favorite songs strike you deeply? Suggest them to me any time. I keep a list!

Whether you're singing loudly in the front row or clapping along from the back, you are part of this beloved community every time you connect in heart, mind and spirit. Together, we are the music ministry at JUC.
Habitat for Humanity Update

2018 Home Assignment
Habitat has assigned a home to the West Metro Habitat Interfaith Coalition, of which JUC is a member. Our home this year is identified as Unit 19 at Sheridan Square. Construction is scheduled in two phases: May 24 through June 26, and July 19 through August 18. Exact volunteer dates for JUC are not yet assigned, but they will be among the Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays during each of those phases. Stay tuned for more details! Selection of a family for the home is still underway, and the qualified candidates are many. Safe, affordable housing in greater Denver is a tremendous challenge, and Habitat for Humanity is doing great work to make it possible. Your participation in this cause is invaluable. Thank you! Additional info is available online.
Breakfast for Humanity - Habitat Metro Denver is hosting its 15 th annual Breakfast for Humanity on Wednesday, April 25 at 7:30 a.m. at the Infinity Park Event Center. The West Metro Interfaith Coalition has reserved a table of ten. Contact Tom Brunn  for more info.

Girls' Night Out - The Arvada United Methodist Church is hosting its 10th Annual Girls' Night Out on Saturday May 12 (the night before Mother's Day). Dinner at 6 p.m., movie at 7 p.m. This year's movie is Wonder, starring Julia Roberts, Owen Wilson, and Jacob Tremblay. Tickets are $20, childcare is $5. Contact Carolyn Williams.

Keeping the Promise
Rev. Eric Banner, Associate Minister

Those of you who are regulars here will know that once a month one of our members stands before you and tells you something about why they give financially to support this church. We call it Keeping the Promise. I stand before you this morning to tell you that I, too, am a member of this fine church. And I also do what I can to keep the promise.

I give to this church because this church gives to me and to the world beyond. I give to support Unitarian Universalism both in its more general way, but also in the specific local church, because that is indeed where we find one another. It is the local church where we walked through the doors for the first time or where we were carried in in our parents arms.

I give to support Unitarian Universalism because there was a congregation waiting for my family when they needed it. It was the mid-1970s and there was a congregation in Manhattan, Kansas that had been founded by people who did not know my family, and could not have known they would come nor bring my sister and I with them.

I give because of people like Larry who reminded me of the meaning of service when he represented our values serving on the school board of the local community. I give because of people like Sylvia and Martha. Martha my childhood religious education teacher who helped us explore in our classroom and Sylvia who helped us go dig in the soil in the hills behind our congregation to find the clay that we would then craft so carefully into Christmas gifts we were sure our parents would love.

I give because Unitarian Universalism has saved my life again and again and again and so we give generously. I don't know that I've said this here before but I give 5% of everything I earn to this church. It's not the classic Christian tithe of 10%. There other organizations we give to the do good works as well but it is substantial.

Indeed behind the payment for a home and the costs of food and clothing it is probably the single largest expense we have each year. Perhaps like me this month you have been going through those receipts of how you have spent and where it is gone how much you might have given the government that they might be giving back to you.

As I was going through them I saw my statement from JUC and I was proud to know that we support this church and all that it does. I hope that you also, as your turn to renew your pledge comes due, find a way give in ways that represent all this church means not just to you but to those who have yet to cross our doors looking for a spiritual home for them and their families.