ISSUE 40                                                                                                                                                                                       OCTOBER 2019
Welcome Our New Members
Krista Kremer  has two young children, Jakob and Max. She enjoys hiking, art, music, and traveling. 
Fall Congregational Meeting
Sunday, November 3 at 3 p.m.
Lakewood Church of the Nazarene
1755 Dover Street, Lakewood

Tour the campus of our potential new church home. Representatives from our architecture firm will be there with drawings and digital explorations of their interpretation of your vision for a new campus.
Board of Trustees News
This month the board talked about changing our normal greeting by reflecting on something personal. We discussed the upcoming Making Room meeting, changes to the Standing Rules of the Board, and Financials and Budgeting of the Congregation.  
Become a JUCeHELPERS Volunteer
In our Pastoral Care Ministry we create a caring, equipping, and supportive ministry to give and receive care, and to grow our capacity to face life's challenges together.

Join JUCeHELPERS, the email group of JUC volunteers who are sent occasional requests for help with household services, lending medical equipment or providing  an occasional meal or ride. To be added to this email group, contact Rev. Eric Banner

If you or someone you know could use support provided by our Pastoral Care Team,  email 
or phone the on-call minister at 720-CHURCH9.
 
Expectations and Planned Giving
Expectations permeate our lives. 

Estate planning and philanthropy may present problems that arise from expectations. People may expect to do something in their plan that is not permitted by law. A child or other beneficiary may not expect what the plan provides for them and challenge the will or trust. Attorneys and clients may have different ideas about what is supposed to happen in the estate planning process. Non profits may not accept conditions you want to place on your gift. People you wish to designate as personal representatives and powers of attorney may not wish or be able to accept the job.

Most of these potential problems can be avoided by advanced preparation, good communication and accepting what is.

Learning m ore about estate planning before you meet with an attorney will make the process more successful.  
Plan to attend our next estate planning workshop on Sunday, October 13, 9:30 - 10:30 a.m. to explore your expectations for estate planning.   Contact JUC's planned giving coordinators: Bud & B.J. Meadows , Mike Kramer or Carol Wilsey
Where Do I Belong?
October brings our Family Ministry into the theme of belonging- but where do we find a sense of belonging in our lives? According to the General Social Survey (GSS), the number of Americans who say they have no close friends has roughly tripled in recent decades. Why? My husband blames it all on the cellphone. I am not sure if I see our attachment to our mobile devices as a cause of our disconnect or a symptom but if you hold on a minute, I'll Google it on my phone.
 
The impacts we as people are experiencing from this lack of belonging are two-fold:

The Scientific Impact: ( Science highlights )
This is what happens physically to our body when we experience a sense that we do not belong - our cortisol levels rise causing lower cognitive abilities, productivity declines, or we retreat into our private spaces. None of these scenarios are healthy for individuals, families, organizations, or communities.  
 
Personal Impact: Lack of Social Belonging
Have you ever been around a group of people, ones you knew, and still felt like you didn't belong? This has to do with a mind and spirit (emotional) experience that feeds the value of that experience. When you do not find meaning in the connections you are making, it does not increase your sense of belonging, it can actually make it worse. Many elements in our lives can erode our belonging experiences. At home, members of the family can retreat to their own corners of the house. In communities, you may be meeting with people you "know" and there may be superficial relationships but minimal opportunities to create deep connections. Workplaces may not be conducive to belonging as policies, values, and/or politics may keep people shut out or othered.
 
Jefferson Unitarian Church's Family Ministry program is addressing the needs and providing the antidote to the growing sense of displacement in this world. We, in fact, are beginning to reverse this trend by offering genuine, deep, loving, and courageous places of belonging. From our youngest children to our teens, our teachers and advisors share a welcoming loving atmosphere with all of our children and youth and focus their energy on creating a place of belonging for all that enter our classrooms. This manifests as being included, listened to, seen, and creates space for their light to shine and be shared - all wrapped in the tender loving care of our faith; Unitarian Universalism.
 
Our families as a whole are given opportunities to make genuine connections with one another through our Family Ministry Team and our We Are Family dinners and worship. Places where hearts are shared, deep connections are made, lives unfold in front of one another; genuine, loving, living church happens. And we are not finished. Soon we will be discovering ways to support couples in building stronger relationships with one another, looking for opportunities to reach families beyond ourselves, and create strong bonds of belonging to the wider church community.
 
If you are interested in finding a place of belonging within Family Ministry, contact FamilyMinistryTeam@JeffersonUnitarian.org.

Family Ministry News
 
Family Ministry Couples Focus Group 
Saturday, October 5, 4 - 6 p.m.
Come join Rev. Wendy and Jules for a Family Ministry Team couples focus group as we determine our next steps in supporting Family Ministry & couples at Jefferson Unitarian Church. Pizza and tea will be provided. Please sign up to attend here.

Welcome Our New Religious Education Coordinator, Alexandra Ravenscroft
Born in Tulsa, Oklahoma, Alexandra moved to Colorado in 2011 to attend Naropa University for a Masters in Divinity. She graduated in 2015 with an emphasis in eastern and pagan religious history. She is overjoyed to use her religious history knowledge and serve this community as the Religious Education Coordinator. When not at JUC, Alexandra is a member of Ár nDraíocht Féin (ADF)  where she is in training to become a ordained Druid. She also spends her off time working in one of her many hobbies such as gardening, hiking or arts and crafts. 

 
We Are Making Room!!!
The JUC Board of Trustees is happy to announce that we have reached an agreement in principle to buy an existing church property in Lakewood that's more than twice our size!  Under this agreement, which will require the approval of our congregation only after extensive analysis, planning, and fundraising, JUC would actually swap campuses with the Lakewood Church of the Nazarene (LCN), 1755 Dover Street in Lakewood.  Since LCN is so much larger, JUC would also pay LCN approximately two million dollars in this transaction.

The overwhelming vote last year by the JUC congregation to search for a larger property was based on the simple fact that we have outgrown our beloved campus in Golden, particularly Religious Education (RE) and meeting space and the sanctuary. After an extensive search throughout Jefferson County, the Board concluded that the LCN campus would provide us with both the location and the space we yearn for to better serve both our current members and future generations. 

The property includes three buildings: the main structure with a sanctuary that holds 600, an RE wing, a common space, offices, kitchens and a gym; a separate chapel that holds 250; and a small house referred to as the caretaker's home. The lot is 5.7 acres with abundant parking and many mature trees.  

To be candid, the buildings need some work. Early visioning includes renovations to create what we call the "heart" of the church - much like our Commons concept - from which all areas are easily accessible. Earlier this year, Rev. Wendy and a project management group (the "Posse") interviewed several architectural firms in case we found a property we liked. Eidos Architects in Greenwood Village, a firm that's worked on more than 150 church projects, was selected. The Eidos folks are already working on several renovation ideas, based in part on the 121-page Design Criteria Document we created last fall after extensive congregational conversations. Some of their initial ideas were presented at Sunday's special Making Room update, and can be seen on this link of the meeting. 

Of course, as exciting as this announcement is (and we think it's VERY exciting), it is only the first step in actually swapping properties.  We are hiring inspectors to perform due diligence inspections of the property to determine if there are any problems with asbestos, mold, or the mechanical and electrical systems. (Early reports are encouraging).  

Then, of course, there's the BIG question: can JUC raise the money to buy the property and begin renovations? Stewardship consultants will spend ten days here in late October to do a Financial Feasibility Study. Based on conversations with 100 members from all levels of pledging, our consultants will predict the amount of money we could likely raise. Their report will go to the Board, and the Board will decide whether to begin a capital campaign. That campaign would likely go into high gear after the holidays. Then, based on the capital campaign results and our analysis of the amount of renovation work needed at LCN, the congregation would vote late this spring whether to approve buying LCN for a specific amount of money.

This timing would mean being at JUC all of this current church year and moving during the summer.  Organizations that rent space from JUC, including OLLI, will be kept abreast of our plans. 

This new chapter of Making Room will be an exciting year at JUC. There's still much dreaming, analyzing and talking to do, many conversations with inventive ideas to discuss. These are the decisions that will make a difference not only for us, but for generations to come.

If you missed the update meeting on Sunday, you can watch a recording of the meeting here.

Have questions about the project? Ask them here and we will post answers on the Making Room website.
 
New Music Initiatives for Fall 2019
Pastoral Visit Choir

Starting this fall, JUC is forming a Pastoral Visit Choir, called "By Your Side Singers." 
By Your Side Singers offers the gift of song, to bring people ease and comfort through music during times of illness. A calm and focused presence at the bedside, with gentle voices, simple songs, and sincere kindness, can be soothing and reassuring for folks who are isolated, as well as families and caregivers. Our singers will go in small groups to visit people where they are - in their homes, or in hospice, hospital, rehabilitation, memory care, and other settings. Songs will be simple and brief, chosen to offer soothing comfort. By Your Side Singers will be modeled after Threshold Choirs, an organization of a cappella groups "singing gently at the thresholds of life in over 150 communities around the world."

By Your Side Singers welcomes all who wish to use the power of music to comfort and uplift. The first organizational meeting and repertoire read-through will be Tuesday, November 12, from 7 - 8:30 p.m. in the sanctuary. We aim to make our first visit to a JUC member in early 2020.  Sign up to attend the November 12 meeting here .

Finding Your Voice
For those JUCers who wish to explore their voice, who have experienced changes in their voice, or who simply wish to enjoy singing more, I am offering a two-part series called "Finding Your Voice." Congregational singing is a weekly practice in Sunday services at Jefferson Unitarian Church. These sessions aim to build skills, awareness, and comfort in using one's voice for personal enjoyment and for group singing.
Tuesday, October 22, 7 - 8:30 p.m.
Tuesday, October 29, 7 - 8:30 p.m.

Sign up to participate in Finding Your Voice here.
 
Make a Regular Special Plate Donation by Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT)
Since 2013 we have taken a Special Plate offering once per month for our community partners. The Congregation has given more than $275,000 during that time to organizations that amplify our mission outside of our walls. We want to make it easier for you to participate in the Special Plate offerings by setting up Electronic Funds Transfer as an option. If you would like to make a regular donation each month, please fill out  this form . Donations will be processed on the 15th of each month, so you know your contribution will be there to support our partners. The schedule of 2019/20 recipients is as follows:
 
July:                Women's Wilderness
August:          JUUST Living
September:    Habitat for Humaity
October:         MSU Dreamers
November:     Jefferson Center for Mental Health
December:    The Action Center
January:         Freedom Fund
February:       Earthlinks & Jovial Concepts
March:            UUSC
April:               Family Tree
May:                NAMI
June:              Jeffco Human Service Foundation
 
More information on the Special Plate and each of these organizations can be found here.
 
Trees and Expectations

I was born and raised in the suburbs of Kansas City. My mother was baptized Lutheran and my father Methodist. My birth my family was looking for a congregation they could both join and grow. A friend introduced our family to the Shawnee Mission Unitarian Society in the fall of 1975. At the same time, the church gained its first minister.

Services were held in an old farm converted over to a church when the edge of the city reached the borders. The sanctuary was called the Barn Chapel, a renovated dairy barn with a dark wood-paneled ceiling and a small atmosphere with just enough room to host 60 or so folks. The other building was called the Sager House. It was an old farmhouse turned meeting area and gathering space for coffee hour after services. The location was incredible for the church of 60 or so people.  And when we originally joined that was the size of the society. We had a park nearby with a moderate-sized pond and playground equipment, everything a young child could want. 

Next, to the Sager House, we had two short squat climbing trees fully grown as long as I can remember. I spent hours of my life at the church climbing up and down those trees waiting for the coffee hour to be over or my parents to be done with some volunteer activity at the church. Those trees came to be my constant companions. They were ever-present friends and an expectation of what it meant to be at church.

Fast forward a few years. I became a member of the church after attending Coming of Age and later moved away to attend college. When I would come back I would still attend services with my family and noticed that the congregation grew larger and had changed. They outgrew the old Barn Chapel and instead built an entirely new sanctuary with a grand view of the nearby park, but I always knew I could come back and see those trees and see the place where so much of my faith was formed. Each time I would return I knew fewer and fewer people. My mom would keep me up to date about the changes, telling me which families had moved and when members would pass away.

Once the church grew too about 300 members they reached a plateau in membership. They looked to expand again and discovered the same challenge we face today, parking. The city would not allow them to add additional spots. They had to make a decision to stay in the same location forever bound by the current size or find someplace new to grow into. The congregation chose to take on the hard task of moving and gain the opportunity to grow into a new location.

In the fall of 2012, I made it back to Kansas City with my own two daughters to attend the last service of Shawnee Mission Unitarian Universalist Church at the old location. It was such a bittersweet moment. Even knowing I had not been an active part of this congregation for easily twenty years I felt the emotional tug of losing something special, and yet I couldn't help but feel the expectation of what was being gained by this vital church community.
  
I ran into a few old friends, yet the part that gave me the greatest hope and satisfaction was seeing so many folks I did not know. I was comforted with the knowledge that they share the same values and the same ideals of empathy, tolerance, and compassion that I hold.

As we grow to understand what it means to be a people of expectation, we must learn to yearn not for what is in the here and now, but what is possible, what is beyond the next hill, what is the next tree to climb.
 
Our Light
"This little light o' mine, I'm gonna let it shine,
  This little light o' mine, I'm gonna let it shine,
  This little light o' mine, I'm gonna let it shine,
  Let it shine, let it shine, let it shine."

When Christian songwriter Harry Dixon Loes wrote the children's song "This Little Light of Mine" around 1920, he may have taken its theme from Matthew 5:16, 

"Let your light shine before men, that they may see your fine works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.

Or, it may be based on Matthew 5:14-15, 

"Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house."

Letting our lights shine involves showing up and being seen with the hope of belonging. It means not only do we put ourselves out there to reveal our gifts but also we risk revealing our flaws or shortcomings. 

If you're a newcomer here at JUC, I feel you. It's not always comfortable to put one's light out there and be seen, especially at first. But, taking the initial risk is what allows us to enter a space of belonging. As social creatures, most of us, even the introverts, benefit from a feeling of belonging. 

I'm learning that one of the jobs of a minister is to create an environment of hospitality. It's a delicate balance to be both welcoming and also respectful of people's different preferences for how they like to be seen. Some folks like to be greeted with applause as visitors, while some don't prefer it. Some like holding hands, or hugs, and some do not. It's a dance Unitarian Universalists do as we keep experimenting with what works best. Ideally, we make space for each person's light to shine and find belonging in their individual way. 

Showing up involves coming back again and again. This is the message of another beloved spiritual song with words written by the Sufi mystic, Jalaluddin Rumi: 

"Come, come, whoever you are; wanderer, worshipper, lover of leaving,
 Ours is no caravan of despair. Come, come, yet again come". 

Assuming a new role as a visitor or new member of a church (or as the new ministerial intern) requires that we show up again and again. While we may be excited about all the possibilities and opportunities a new community brings us, we often have to overcome the inertia that begs us to stick to the "tried and true" rather than the unexpected. 

For me, having been a member of First Universalist for nearly sixteen years, it would definitely be easier to head to southeast Denver on Sunday mornings and see my old friends who already know the twinkles and flaws of my little flame. But I have faith that pushing myself out of my comfort zone and into the unknown community of JUC will be well worth the added effort. 

As newcomers, we wonder what our light will reveal about ourselves and if it's safe to let it shine. In our church community, we are invited to come with our whole selves, take a risk, be vulnerable, and add our flame to the candelabra. 
 
Choosing Generosity
Linda Horn

I grew up in a family that regularly attended the Methodist Church where we lived. One of the things I remember is that my parents were always involved with the church in some capacity. Mom was a Sunday School teacher and Dad served on committees and was treasurer for some time. Although I wasn't aware of it at the time, I later learned that they were also generous pledgers to the church. As I recall there wasn't any question about doing this, it was just what one did. 

At some time after I had left home, they discovered UUs and became active in the First Unitarian Church in Dallas. Their commitment continued. Again, they were on various committees and Dad was treasurer for many years. Mom was very active with the LGBT community and was a caregiver to several of them as they dealt with the AIDS crisis.

One of the things I learned from my parents at an early age, was that if you want to truly belong to an organization or church, is that you have to be willing to commit to helping support them. So, when I started coming to JUC and decided to become a member, pledging was what I did. If I was going to be part of this organization, I was going to be a supporter. Therefore, I do what I can both financially and with my time. And when my pledge month comes around, I try to increase my pledge as much as I can.

When I retired from a full time job, I then wanted to start helping in other ways. I have served on several committees and have volunteered in the office for many years. I have watched JUC double in size over the last decade and have always been glad to belong to something so worthwhile.

As many of you know, I do not have any children, however I believe that one of the most important things that JUC does, is to provide Religious Education. I believe (as the song says) - our children are the future.
 
I choose to be generous to, and within, this community because it's a way to honor my parents and what they taught me. And to help keep RE program continue to be strong into the future. May you recognize, create, and celebrate, generosity in yourself and in others here. Choosing generosity is our legacy and our hope.