ISSUE 45                                                                                                                                                                                            MARCH 2020
LEAPing into the Wider Horizons Capital Campaign!!
Woohoo! This Saturday, February 29, get yourself to the church campus we might buy (1755 Dover, Lakewood) for an out-of-the-ordinary morning of fun.
There'll be something for everyone - and all ages!
Laser tag, knockout basketball competitions, (indoor) yard games, board games, Haiku writing, an information booth and more. PLUS food trucks for lunch! 
Be sure to be there by 10 a.m. for a BIG announcement about LEAPing into the Wider Horizons phase of the capital campaign. Our spirited, 15-minute program - packed with surprises - will include the big reveal of how much has been raised in the first phase of the capital campaign. WOOHOO!
You don't want to miss this all-church celebration - really, you don't! 
Resilience  and Planned Giving
An estate plan is preparing for resilience in the latter stages of life. You can seek help from attorneys, accountants and financial planners to do this planning or you can do some study and use estate planning software to do it on our own. A combination of the two might be the wisest path. Your plan will provide resilience to your health care providers and loved ones when you can no longer meet your own needs without help. It also adds resilience to personal representative and heirs when your hard-earned assets are distributed according to your wishes. Having a plan adds to your own resilience since you have a thoughtful plan that provides for you, your loved ones and the causes you care about.

We invite you to make a bequest to JUC that will keep your faith community resilient in the future and honor your legacy to those who follow in your footsteps.  Contact JUC's planned giving coordinators: Bud & B.J. Meadows , Mike Kramer or Carol Wilsey
Creating Families and Children of Wisdom
This month, Family Ministry is asking families to reflect on the theme, wisdom.  How does wisdom manifest in your lives? Does it show up unexpectedly or must you dig deep within for it? How does wisdom guide you in difficult decisions or where does it show up unexpectedly? Do you look for wisdom outside of yourselves or trust your inner voice to guide you?
The interesting thing about developing wisdom is it is not something you can simply do -- it is something that is cultivated and a form of being. It is something that we gain from listening and paying attention to all of our senses. It is based on having a strong connection to what is needed around us and knowing when and how to respond to those things. It is not based solely on intellectual development but depends on nurturing our deepest connection to our hearts and the lesson of those who came before us.   

Soulful Home, our family Soul Matters resource reminds us, "Seeking the wisdom of experts in books, magazines, and trusted websites are good. But there are other, sometimes less explored ways to find wisdom: asking among known and respected people in our communities; checking in with one's body; listening for that small, still voice within; looking to the natural world; seeking spirit-nourishing resources -- images, readings, poems, lyrics." All meaningful ways to develop wisdom. 

This month, in our children's religious education classes, we will be asking our natural world to share its wisdom. We are taking time to create stillness in our minds and bodies to listen for our inner wisdom. Our children will be learning about ways to use wisdom in creating kindness in friendships. And sometimes the hardest lesson: how may we find new wisdom in failure. We hope you take the time to bring these lessons of wisdom home with your family in our weekly Full Week Faith connections. Developing practices of wisdom as a family can teach each of us to approach challenges in ways that honor one another's worth and dignity and develop a deeper understanding of compassion.

Dear Hearts, I invite you to pause in spaces where wisdom may grow, may you listen not only with your ears but also your hearts, may you be challenged to explore issues and ideas with renewed vision . May your homes find renewal in the wisdom of generations.
Here at Jefferson Unitarian Church, I have recently been made aware of different ways that congregation members have been engaging with recent topics and music. One person shared with me that in their role leading a community newsletter, they often refer to the JUC monthly worship themes to guide newsletter articles. Another began a lively Facebook discussion on the February theme of Resilience. And a third person shared the lyrics of one of our hymns on social media:

Just as long as I have breath, I must answer, "Yes," to life; 
though with pain I made my way, still with hope I meet each day. 
If they ask what I did well, tell them I said, "Yes," to life. 

The sharing of what happens in the community of Jefferson Unitarian Church out to wider circles is a way to share messages of resistance and resilience, themes of commitment and action, helping to counter the persistent newsfeed of suspicion and despair.

On March 8, the Treble Choir and Choir will be singing songs of women's wisdom, including this song by Bernice Reagon of Sweet Honey in the Rock: 

I don't know how the rivers overflow their banks
I don't know how the snow falls and covers the ground
I don't know how the hurricane sweeps through the land
every now and then
Standing in a rainstorm, I believe

My God calls to me in the morning dew
The power of the universe knows my name
Gave me a song to sing and sent me on my way
I raise my voice for justice I believe.

When there is a song that moves you, a theme that inspires you, a message that communicates to you in a new way; when are inspired by a piece of wisdom,  share it with those you know,  share it in your communities, and keep  sharing it with yourself.

What is your dream for improving our church community? 

When families fall apart, so do the communities they belong to.  A thriving spiritual community is built on the strength of its families. JUC is showing how important strong families are to the fabric of our church by developing a program designed to help couples with children strengthen their marriages. 

This first-of-its-kind program in the UUA is possible because of a grant from JUC's Endowment Memorial Gift Trust (EMGT). The program grants funding for projects sponsored by standing committees at JUC to improve our faith community. EMGT will consider grant applications for JUC programs and projects under its grant guidelines received by April 3, 2020.
While on a JUC mom's retreat, Meggin Rutherford and the Family Ministry Team were struck by the depth of the pain and need expressed by many of the participants. They checked in with a JUC dad's group and found similar frustrations. Common threads arose. "How can I say what I want and be heard?" "We're like two ships passing in the night and not connecting." "I ask and ask and feel like I'm nagging." It's easy for couples of young kids to let go of each other in the process of doing for their kids. 

They researched to see if there was an existing UUA curriculum for reconnecting couples, and there was nothing current. Meggin had no idea how to get the resources to help couples at JUC when Senior Minister Wendy Williams told her about the EMGT grant program. Applications were due the next day, so she got right on it, applied and the project was approved for funding. "I had no idea it was even available, so we were so excited to learn we could actually do something about this problem in our community," said Meggin. 

Armed with a background in counseling, Religious Education Director Jules Jaramillo is creating the curriculum at JUC and hopes to share it with UUs all over the country. The goal is to help UUs live into their values as parents and partners and intentionally help strengthen families.  The grant will cover all costs to provide the three-part workshop at no cost to members, with childcare provided. 

Meggin is a divorce attorney. "My goal is that you never have to come to see me, and the best way to avoid divorce is preventative medicine" she said. "We want to build a stronger congregation by having stronger individual parts. If families do better, we can make a stronger impact on the community together." 

Do you have an idea for improving our JUC community? EMGT has more than $40,000 available to award in grants this year. Applications are due Friday, April 3 and should come through a standing JUC committee. You can find a full list of committee contacts in the application, which is available here.
UU Service Committee Task Force Update

The Unitarian Universalist Service Committee (UUSC) has been fighting for 80 years to protect the rights of the most marginalized victims of human rights abuse, the weakest members of society, the people overlooked by everyone else. Often women and children are the most threatened in times of humanitarian, environmental or economic crisis. Eighty years ago, the Service Committee was formed to find a way to rescue children from Nazi occupied Europe. Since that time, they have worked with local grassroots partners in many troubled regions around the world providing the resources that make it possible for those partners to expand their reach and increase their effectiveness in their communities.

JUC's Guatemalan Scholarship partner, the local human rights organization ADIVIMA, received just such support from the UUSC in the early years after the Peace Accords were signed when they struggled to find the resources to do their work in defense of the indigenous Mayan population. Many were survivors of the massacres in the area and sought reparations for the loss of land and family members. With the early support from the UUSC, ADIVIMA has been able to provide support and leadership in that fight for justice for both victims and survivors.
Although the UUSC is an independent organization, they are guided by UU principles and receive strong support from UU congregations such as JUC. They designate the third Sunday in March as Justice Sunday with a different focus each year. Recent Justice Sunday themes have been Justice Across Borders and Support Climate Justice. Jenny McCready will be delivering the Justice Sunday sermon on March 22 illuminating 80 Years of Justice Work. 

Sunday, April 5 you will have another opportunity to learn about the ways that the UU Service Committee engages in justice work when UUSC President, Mary Katherine Morn, will be visiting JUC and delivering the sermon. She will also be available to answer questions during a reception at 12:30 p.m.

In the world of nonprofits and aid organizations, the UU Service Committee plays a very special role both in their respectful relationships with their partners and their emphasis on transformative change that strengthens access to justice in the long term. The UUSC puts into practice the principle of justice, equity and compassion human relations. In supporting their work we join with them in affirming the inherent worth and dignity of every person.
Abundant Harvest Table to Congregation: "Good Job!  Keep it Up!" 

You've detected yummy smells wafting from JUC's kitchen on Sunday mornings, haven't you? The savory odors come from made-from-scratch soups, but when you approach the table you see baked goods and options for vegetarians, gluten or nut free diets, etc. Part of our mission is to educate the congregation about food choices and offer nutritious examples, but we'll admit we are using those savory smells to entice you to be as generous as you can be in your free will offerings!

Your donations pay for ingredients for the congregation's meal AND the ingredients for a hearty hot lunch every Thursday for the homeless folks who gather in Olde Town Arvada. We typically feed about 50 meals a week - over 2,500 meals a year!   We use food bank donations, but don't serve highly processed food, cooking meals in JUC's kitchen with quality ingredients. We've got a great reputation at The Rising Church! The quality of the meals honors the inherent worth and dignity of the homeless.   

The Rising Church also provides legal advice, a dental clinic, showers, clean clothes, support in managing paperwork and applications, counseling and phone use. You can drop off donated clothes and personal items at our table as well. We've also made significant contributions to the shelter's energy efficiency, with the purchase of a dish sanitizer that saves $250 a month in "disposable" dishes and flatware, cutting their waste in half. We also support another community partner, Earthlinks, serving the homeless near Bronco stadium. More to come about Earthlinks as the recipient of a coming special plate, and as we approach the Mother's Day plant and goodie sale.

There are now about 20 JUCers offering their volunteer hours in various aspects of the effort, with room for more!  Cook teams are still forming, and individuals make cookies, quiche, or other goodies at home - even fudge! We could use help serving food at on Thursdays or Fridays (11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.).  If you'd like to know more about how you might help, please put your contact information on the sheet at the Sign-Up Site bulletin board or come to the Abundant Harvest Table on Sunday mornings. We are looking to the future, dreaming about what we can do in our new kitchen when we move, and how we might serve our new neighbors.

You know the old saying, "Give a man a fish, and you'll feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, and you've fed him for a lifetime."  What Confucius didn't realize is that, in modern times, we'd also need to make sure there are fish in the water! JUC's ministry covers all three areas. In addition to the meals we serve, Family Tree and Family Promise "teach how to fish" and JUC CAN networks with groups across the state and at the state and city legislatures to affect policy. 

Good job, JUC! Keep it up!