Auction 2016 A Success!

The Rousin’ RoUndUp was quite a fun-filled event!  Our own Jennifer Powell served as emcee, entertaining the 120 folks who attended the event with her clever pantomimes.  Lenny Scovel demonstrated his bead-selling expertise, and Crispy Watkins and the Crack Willows provided great foot-tapping tunes during checkout time.
During the live auction, Carlos, the four-foot tin rooster, found a new home for this next year.  Bidding was lively, with a wonderful cabin weekend netting the largest bid!  Some auction participants will soon become belly dancers!  Others will dine on exotic food from the Philippines and Morocco.
But while the live and silent auction successfully raised $17,500, the highlight of the evening was the special appeal, which was DOUBLE last year’s amount!  Generosity was overflowing, and over $17,000 was raised!  This special appeal will be split, with half going to Faith Family Hospitality to help finance a safer playground for children.
This event could not have taken place without the help of 60 volunteers who assisted before, during, and after the RoUndUp!  Special thanks to Karen Johnese for coordinating the entire event with tireless support from Donna Mahler, Margaret Cottam, Peg MacMorris and Kay Williams plus 55 other volunteers.  And finally, the auction team would like to thank the over 50 other church members who made donations as well as those who purchased items to support our fundraising efforts.  Hats off to all!


Returning to a well-loved story by Scott Denning

“Returning to a well-loved story that gives me strength”

Chalice Lighting, Nov 20, 2016

Scott Denning

For the past 10 years, I have told the story of the Three S’s of Climate Change: Simple. Serious. Solvable.

The Three S’s is a story about how the world really works that connects directly to people’s lives. There’s no way to sugar-coat the threat of climate change: We do have to talk about that middle S. Instead of “Serious,” you might call it “Scary.”

It’s very important to never stop at the second S! The story of the two S’s is an unmitigated tragedy, like ending The Lord of the Rings with the capture of Frodo in Mordor at the end of The Two Towers. The two S’s is a story of despair and hopelessness. It sucks the joy out of life and drains us of any motivation to do anything about climate change.

By contrast, the three S’s is a story of hope and a call to action.

Climate Change is Simple: We know that adding CO2 to the air warms the climate for precisely the same reason that day is warmer than night, summer is warmer than winter, and Phoenix is warmer than Fargo. Heat in minus heat out equals change of heat. All the Earth’s heat comes from the Sun, but if “heat in” was the whole story the Earth would just get hotter and hotter until it melted and vaporized! Heat out is IR radiation that passes through the atmosphere. We’ve known since Abraham Lincoln was president that CO2 absorbs IR radiation, so it slows down the heat out. When the Sun adds more heat to the Earth than it can emit through the CO2-rich air, it warms up.

Climate Change is Serious: CO2 is not like the Denver brown cloud of smog. Smog hurts our lungs because it’s chemically reactive. CO2 is chemically inert in the air. It’s thermodynamically spent, the ashes of the Earth’s living carbon cycle. Some of it will remain in the atmosphere for many thousands of years after we stop burning coal, oil, and gas. Without very strong international policy to rapidly convert the entire world economy system to carbon-free energy, we will add as much heat to the World in the next two human generations as was added over 10,000 years to end the last Ice Age. The world would be transformed as much as deglaciation, but 100 times as fast. That’s way too fast for ecosystems to adapt. We’d leave our descendants with a ruined world of mass extinctions, droughts, and floods. All the coastal cities in the world would be lost to rising seas, displacing half of humanity. And the misery would last for millennia. Not just the 7 billion people currently on Earth would suffer, but also hundreds of generations yet to be born.

Thank God Climate Change is Solvable! We know exactly what to do to avoid catastrophe. We have to stop setting fossils on fire! From an engineering point of view, this is a solved problem. We have a wide range of non-carbon alternatives ready to deploy that can provide abundant energy to both the developed and developing world, enabling a bright future. It will be expensive, but no more so than the incredible accomplishments of our ancestors: indoor plumbing, rural electrification, interstate highways, the Internet.

All that’s lacking is political will. And there’s the rub.

I was personally devastated by the results of the election, and have watched in horror as new Cabinet posts are filled with zealots who propose to tear up everything we’ve accomplished through 20 years of hard work and delicate diplomacy.

I realize that my story has left me deeply vulnerable. Will we now lose that critical third S?

To move forward into the future, I need faith. The story of the Three S’s is ultimately a story of moral courage.

It’s wrong to wreck the world.

We must pull together with our children and grandchildren and with everyone around the world, to build a sustainable future. A song from my youth said, “to sing the blues, you’ve got to live the blues and carry on.” Remember the refrain? “Rejoice! Rejoice! We have no choice, but to carry on.”

I light the chalice this morning to honor that sacred flame in the darkness that is our deep and abiding faith in the goodness and courage of people everywhere.


Our Church Directory Experience

Dear friends,

We have heard from many of you that the experience with the photographers for our recent church directory was less than ideal, and that’s putting it mildly.  Others of you who we haven’t heard from, I’m assuming things went generally fine, or just not bad enough to warrant letting us know.

I am so sorry for these negative experiences – it was hard to hear them from you, and hard to figure out how best to address them after-the-fact.  One small thing I’ve done is written a letter to the directory company letting them know about our experiences and asking them to better train and prepare their photographers and more pro-actively anticipate the backlog/wait time that many of you experienced.

You can find the full text of that letter here.

I know that coming out for photos can be inconvenient and stressful even in the best of circumstances.  I am sorry that for some of you this was made more stressful, and I so appreciate your willingness to deal with these moments with your usual grace and sense of humor.

With that said, as you’ll see in my letter, based on the response from the company, we will be considering if we will use them for our next directory.  I will let you know as we see how things develop.

In the meantime, our directory has gone to press and you should be able to pick one up after the holidays.  Let me know if you have any questions or further feedback, and thank you for your patience and presence in this and in all things.

In partnership,



The space for courageous love

Check out the video above for the video version of this blog – or if you prefer, read the text below…or both! 

You may have noticed that we are often at our capacity on Sunday – these past few weeks, even more so.


Look at how full that sanctuary is! 

Recently, we reviewed our worship attendance data for the last 8 years, and we realized, that we’ve been at capacity pretty much that whole time.  We’ve flirted consistently with 80% of capacity, to be specific – sometimes above, sometimes below – but never really staying above for too long.  This is important, because studies show that once you hit 80% of capacity, your attendance flatlines because people get a subconscious message that there isn’t enough room for them.  And that’s exactly what our data shows.

Even before the election, we were pondering what to do about this.  But with the results of the election and the many big questions before us, it is even more urgent that we ensure that we are making space for all who may be needing a religious community grounded in the practices of courageous love.  The data shows, capacity is the driver – and so our question is: how do we increase capacity?

With all this in mind, the Board has asked the staff team to explore a “3rd Service Experiment” beginning around February and continuing through April – during which we could figure out what it would take to maintain 3 services over the longer run, if it’s possible, and what will work best.

We know that this will require some discomfort on all of our parts – but as I said in a prior blog post – unleashing courageous love does not mean being comfortable, but only the safe place in which we can manage discomfort, together. So our hope is that we can learn together, grow together, stumble together, offer each other grace – all of which will allow us to truly unleash the big huge love that exists within us and among us.  We need this, the world needs it – now more than ever.

I’ll keep you updated as our staff and lay teams for worship and religious exploration start to figure out the details.  For now, I am so grateful for your partnership at this time, grateful to be learning with you, wrestling with these big questions together, and unleashing courageous love, together.


This photo is from our gathering at the Islamic center last year….A year later, there are even more souls who are hungry to gather in light and love – how will we make space for all who seek to join together on this journey – the space for the greatest impact for courageous love to be unleashed?

We still don’t do shame, and there’s still no them

This past Sunday, we had 180% more of you than usual, and it was what writer Glennon Doyle Melton calls “brutiful,” a combination of beautiful, and brutal. Beautiful to gather, beautiful to sing, to breathe, to laugh and cry and simply come together after a week where, as I said on Sunday, we experienced a “global plot twist.”  I could feel the force of love among us.  But also brutal, because what inspired so many to show up on Sunday was pain, grief, anger, fear, even despair.  It was one of the most powerful Sundays I’ve ever experienced, and I’d give nearly anything for it not to have been necessary.

As we move forward, I want to clarify and underscore two commitments of our faith and our congregation that I hope you’ll help me uphold.

First, we still don’t do shame in our church.  We don’t shame each other for who we voted for – no matter who that is, or for coming to different conclusions than we have about big and complex topics, or about how we will move through these complicated times (aka, life).

The emerging future is going to require a lot of learning.  And learning requires imperfection, humility, laughter, and grace.  We’re going to screw up a lot, and we’re going to state strong opinions that later we realize we were wrong about.  A few months ago I preached on what it feels like to be wrong, exploring some of the ideas in the TED Talk by Kathryn Schulz  What she says is that being wrong feels exactly the same as being right – only once we realize we are wrong does it feel differently.

We have to give each other and ourselves the space to be wrong, without shame.  In place of shame, let us ask more generous questions (the topic of our Wednesday night Civil Conversations gathering by the way!).  Instead of shame, try to listen for what’s hurting, what’s being wrestled with, what value is being expressed.

Growth and change require a level of safety – which is not the same as comfort.  We need to create safe spaces where we can be uncomfortable together.  This is the sweet spot of deep learning – real transformation, and courageous love.

Which brings me to the second commitment: there’s still no “them;”only us. Our world seeks to divide us, to harden the categories of who is worthy, who is good, who suffers the most, who is to blame, who is the enemy, and who is our kin.  Our religious lens asks us to not let the categories, or our hearts be hardened to any other, but to keep up the practices that grow more supple hearts, hearts of compassion that can hold ever more complexity and willingness to see ourselves in the other.  (This is the work of our upcoming Healing the Heart of Democracy series.)

This second commitment does not mean that we don’t have strong convictions. We are called to a practice of compassion with boundaries, covenant by way of self-differentiation.   As my message on Sunday proclaimed, our faith compels us in this moment to a greater justice, a braver and bolder living out of our principles, our living Unitarian Universalist tradition, and our mission.  Wherever hatred has been unleashed, we are called to unleash courageous love.  The great discipline before us is to discern what that love looks like, and what it asks of us.  And for that, we need each other and our religious community, more than ever.

Thank you for being present in the struggle, learning together, and unleashing courageous love for one another, and for our greater world.  I have never been more grateful for this community, and our promise and commitment that we are all in this together.




Foothills Rousin’ Roundup Auction

Rousin’ Roundupcowboy-boots-and-hat-athena-mckinzie
Foothills Fundraising Auction
Saturday, November 12, 5:30 to 9pm

Our annual auction is almost here! Buy your tickets on Sunday or anytime in the church office.

Did you know?

  • Your $15 ticket covers part of the event expenses, including heavy hors d’oeuvres and drinks.
  • 60 of your fellow UUs have volunteered part of their evening to make this event a success. They buy tickets too.
  • You can wear western garb if you like.
  • You should bring your checkbook and save the church credit card fees.
  • Carlos, the tin rooster is back and looking for a new home for the coming year. Bid on Carlos. He will be a fun and gracious addition to your household.
  • Silent and live auction with a professional auctioneer. You can bid on a guided fishing trip, hike with a naturalist, themed dinners, a Denver condo for two nights, and so much more.
  • Buying tickets in advance allows us to enter your contact info into the computer early, which is necessary for the bidding process.
  • Auction Catalog 2016 Have a look. Dream big! Join the fun.

Don’t miss this great UU community party!