ISSUE 46                                                                                                                                                                                            APRIL 2020
For information on JUC programming during social distancing, visit 
Board of Trustees Report
The board spent the majority of the March meeting in discernment of how to move forward with the Making Room Project. We unanimously decided to prioritize the spiritual health of the church through the current health and economic crises and pause the capital campaign until further notice.
Throughout the year, the board has been working on repealing the Standing Rules. Many of the rules were obsolete or no longer applicable to JUC practices. The repeal project is nearly complete, and a Board of Trustees Operations Manual will be published to replace the Standing Rules.
Wisdom  and Planned Giving
Wisdom is the practice of remembering. Estate planning is putting our wisdom into action following our head, heart and intuition to make a plan for our final threshold. We may think we are not rich or old enough to do that. Besides who wants to think about death and it's just too overwhelming!

The pandemic we are in is a stark reminder of how fast our lives can change and how little control we may have. Perhaps our "social distancing time" is a good time to review our estate plan if one exists and make one if it does not.  

Our church home depends on our generosity to sustain it now and for future generations. Please make a bequest to Jefferson Unitarian Church in your estate plan.

Contact JUC's planned giving coordinators: Bud & B.J. Meadows , Mike Kramer or Carol Wilsey
Celebrating Wendy Carlson and Anne Dierschow
For 17 years, Wendy and Anne have been the food coordinators for Family Promise, missing only one hosting week during that time.  Please join us in thanking them for all they have dedicated to Family Promise as they retire this month!  

As a team, they coordinate with meal providers and keep the kitchen well stocked.  Because of them, our guests never go hungry and when we get feedback from guests, our food provisions have always received high ratings.  

Surely there are 2-3 three people at JUC who can step in to take over their jobs! The process is carefully documented and Family Promise provides support when coordinators are ill or out of town. Please contact Judy Douglass if you are interested. 
Liberation Amid COVID-19
If you have come here to help me, you are wasting your time, but if you have come because your liberation is bound up with mine, then let us work together.
~ Lilla Watson
Liberation is an interesting theme for April, especially since the "stay-at-home" order was announced. Physical distances and staying put are essential to contain COVID-19, and it also may feel like our world is closing in on us. I, for one, am grateful for this response, as I live with three beloved family members with either compromised immune systems or  who are over 75 years old. Our family has been staying at home other than for essential needs for some time now. And like others, we are dependent on our neighbors adhering to the "stay-at-home" orders. These safety practices are essentially liberating each other from COVID-19 or minimally, creating less chance of it spreading.
This interconnectedness reminds me of how liberation is not merely an act to benefit ourselves, but it includes others, the collective. Lilla Watson famously said, " If you have come here to help me you are wasting your time, but if you have come because your liberation is bound up with mine, then let us work together."  Collective liberation understands that all of our struggles are intimately connected and that we must work together to create the kind of world we know is possible. As Unitarian Universalists, our First Principle affirms and promotes " the inherent worth and dignity of every person ," but we also must recognize that within existing systems of oppression  we all suffer. Collective Liberation is not just a value but an action. When we work together across the barriers kept in place to divide us, we strengthen ourselves, our families, and our community. We need one another to be liberated.
There is a gospel/spiritual song called I Need You to Survive. W hen I first heard it, I questioned the possible underlying theme of co-dependency -- yes, my social worker filter kicking in. After listening to it numerous times and having the lyrics spontaneously come into my being, I have discovered how it speaks to the heart of our 7th Principle -- our interconnectedness, as well as our collective liberation based on the inherent worth and dignity of all people. We need each other to survive, whether we believe in God, Buddha, Spirit of Life and Love, or in the power of humanity. We need each other to survive; especially now, when we feel so much space and time separating us. 
While we cannot be together in person, we can hold and be present with one another in other ways. Please keep current with JUC's Weekly Connections for opportunities to fill your minds, bodies, and spirits. We have so many ways to connect for all ages, which is desperately needed during this time of physical separation. Know you are loved, missed, and not forgotten. Oh, how we need each other to survive -- especially now.
By the time you read these words, you'll know much more than I do now (as I write them) about the situation of the world; the emotions and the statistics, the responses and the recent unexpected developments. You'll have a deeper understanding of what our nation has or hasn't done, you'll have witnessed the unfolding news. I daresay you will have had friends and relatives whose health - or even your own - has been impacted. From where I sit, you know more of the story. 

In my time working from home, sheltering in place, I have been connecting with different communities from within our church: the choir leadership team and the choir itself, the Music Ministry staff team (Sarah Billerbeck, Laura Lizut, Adam Revell, and me), various configurations of ministry and worship planning teams, the By Your Side Singers. It has been important to have the opportunity - through video sharing - to see one another's faces, to hear one another's voices, and even to sing with one another (if not exactly at the same time, then close!)  In all cases, all groups, we are reinventing how we gather and how we support one another. In the past, the Choir knew who we were: we met in the sanctuary on every Wednesday night, we sang in services twice a month, we supported worship themes and helped to foster connection. We have had to let go of that story and invent a new one, one still intertwined with the purposes of promoting Unitarian Universalist values yet in a previously untried and untested form, at least by those of us in this community.

The American spiritual teacher and author of "Be here now," Ram Dass, in a lecture given in 1993, was describing the layers of meaning that humans ascribe to life situations, especially where clashes in culture exist, or mismatches between expectation and lived experience. Like when a person is making plans for their month or year or marriage or career or retirement or how they might spend their final days, and when those plans are gently or massively uprooted by life circumstances. When the story one has invented for their life barrels into another story.

In those days of turmoil, Ram Dass says, "The best thing I can still do is quiet my mind so I can hear. I can open my heart so I can be part of the liquidity of the universe, like a tree is and a river is."

In conversations that I have been having these weeks, there is anxiety and fear, and there is also hope, that this time - with all of its disruptions and costs, all of its separations and pain - can be a catalyst for something new. As if there has been something about the previous story that - although we have been going along with it - is ultimately unsatisfying and could be reinvented.

Which brings me to liberation. 

To manage my own uncertainties in this time of up and down, I have fallen back into practices that have been by the wayside in my life. The other day, while practicing morning stretches and yoga, I was overcome with this sense of change that was needed in our culture, society, government, and institutions. How pursuing distraction, entertainment, and profit come with terrible costs. In my mind, during a sun salutation, arms outstretched to the sky, I shouted "Let the systems fall!"

Immortal Love
Poem by John Greenleaf Whittier
Music by Elizabeth Alexander 

Immortal love, forever full, forever flowing free.
Forever shared, forever whole, a never-ending sea.

Our outward lips confess the name all other names above,
but love alone knows whence it came and comprehendeth love.

Blow winds of love, awake and blow the mists of hate away,
Sing out, O Truth divine, and tell how wide and far we stray.

The letter fails, the systems fall, and every symbol wanes;
The Spirit overseeing all, Eternal Love, remains.

I'm sitting here in my home office, the old story gone and the new one uncertain. And even though you know more than I do about how things are moving, I'd wager that you, too, feel in-between, not knowing what the future brings. If you find yourself anxious and afraid, may the words of Ram Dass encourage you be like a river - part of the *liquidity* of the universe. And if you despair at the systems falling, may you move closer to liberation of all of the ways that the previous story's systems failed you, failed me, and failed the least among us. May we all stay open to the ways that our world needs us now and move into the story that we can help write. 

Build Days at Swansea Homes

The coronavirus outbreak has affected H4H just like every other aspect of life these days. Operations have been suspended until April 6  at least. But before social distancing became the watchword, JUC held its first build day at Swansea Homes on March 14 . Most of our volunteers (Linda Hartman, Steve Stevens, Jon Kitner, Andy Pickering, Deb Bolling, and Rachel Joffe) were unable to attend due to COVID-19 concerns or other health issues, but a few intrepid souls did show up: Cathy and Bruce Martin and Noreen Collins. Kudos and many thanks! A chilly morning gave 
way  to sunshine, and together we built, from scratch, temporary frameworks to cover the   stairwells in two different homes, including the one JUC is sponsoring in collaboration with Jeffco Interfaith Partners. We also joined a group of bio engineering students  from UC Denver cutting and hanging plywood sheathing on the same duplex.

Assuming the pandemic stabilizes and things get somewhat back to normal, our next build day is Friday, June 12 .  Sign up to volunteer here. In the meantime, H4H is taking donations to support their partner families whose livelihoods are severely affected by the current crisis.  Safe, stable, affordable housing has never been more important. Please consider contributing here. Stay safe! Stay healthy!