Deepening Faith. Living Well. Enacting Justice.

Category Archives: President’s Column

President’s Report by Caitlin Moore

Caitlin MooreWow!  The month of October has been filled with great activities, opportunities to covenant with one another, and moving thoughts about this month’s theme “Letting Go.”  I thought I would write briefly to send out some thank you notes.

Our Opportunity Fair on October 3rd was a great success.  Thank you to all the Council and Committee representatives and those who attended!  I think we all learned about new and exiting ministries around UUCB, all of which are good ways to Live Well, Deepen Faith, and Enact Justice.

If you happened to miss the Opportunity Fair, fear not.   You can get an online view of the tables that were there.  Just click  Insert your name and email under the committees/ministry teams that interest you or contact the person listed to get more information.

We know that when we engage in the church, we grow in all kinds of ways!

Another huge thank you needs to go out to the fifty-plus volunteers and team leads who made the All Church Work Day on October 17th amazing.  As Rev. Kelly recently said, “The teamwork and overall spirit made the place sparkle.”  Enjoy the pictures!

And the month is not yet over!  Please consider attending our Annual Pumpkin Glow on October 28th!  Fun for all ages.  See you there, Caitlin

President’s Column – Caitlin Moore

Caitlin MooreWhat a great Homecoming Service and Water Communion! It sure was great to see Rev. Kelly in the pulpit. I bet most of you would agree that our collective spirits are high.

I write with good news to update everyone on the status of our budget. As you may recall, the Finance Council and Board presented information at our May Congregational Meeting, outlining a potential budget shortfall for the prior year, steps to cut costs, and a revamped budget for this year.

The Finance Council just closed the books on last year, and the deficit was booked for a bit over $22K, much smaller than the anticipated figure of $55K. Many thanks to the Finance Council, the Board’s Executive Committee, and all of you in our community who tightened up Committee spending. We are on better footing to move forward.

As you may also recall, there were many things cut from this year’s budget. Many items have been reinstated to that budget, like childcare and the Hospitality Minister. However, there are many items that are still on hold, per our established schedule for reinstatement. If you have any questions regarding this, please feel free to ask Rev. Kelly or any member of Finance or the Board.

To further reduce costs for this year, we will be kicking off a volunteer drive. There are many things that we currently contract that could be easily done by volunteers. Look for more information on this shortly.

We have a lot of exciting things planned ahead for this year, as we start our journey with Rev. Kelly. The Men’s Group Picnic, Fabulous Feasts, Pumpkin Glow, Family Matters Potlucks, Wine and Spirits, and perhaps even an Installation…I love our feeling of community!

President’s Column – Caitlin Moore

Caitlin MooreWhen was the Last Time you did Something for the First Time?

Saying good-bye back in June to the Rev. Howell Lind after seven years of service with us was more difficult than I anticipated. I know I will see him again. After all, he is the Interim Minister at the Foothills Unitarian Church in Ft. Collins; however, it hit me that Howell would not be our Developmental Minister anymore.

A lot happened at UUCB during his tenure. We became a teaching church almost immediately, working in fellowship with Gretchen Haley, Kelly Dignan, Amy Rowland, and Diana McLean. We have a thriving young adult community. We have been introduced to and most certainly use the Mindful Meeting format at beginning of almost all of our Council/Committee meetings. Our Social Justice Council continues to engage the world: Our immigration ministry went to Nogales, Mexico and holds vigils at the ICE detention center in Aurora; we walk in solidarity Standing on the Side of Love on the Denver Capital steps; we will soon be designated as a Green Sanctuary; our garden grows beautiful as a reminder of the importance of Mother Earth; our Climate Change Ministry continues to remind us of our responsibilities and to make us better stewards of our planet, and we are starting to engage in our community with Black Lives Matter. In all of this, a Spiritual presence resides.

We’ve done some of this in the past, but some of this is new to us. Yes, I have plenty of other memories with Howell: cigars, bulldozers, weddings, fatherly advice. My recent memory of Howell was the Flower Communion at UUCB, where we all exchanged flowers, shed a few tears, and had a celebration in the Sky Room with the giving of presents, signing of cards. When I looked up, he was gone.

Diana McLean will be our Summer Minister. Diana has preached regularly for some time now, but not as an official Minister. I’ll always remember shedding tears about her fish story delivered from the pulpit recently. I have learned that Diana is an excellent blogger. She is doing new things for the first time with us during the end of June, all of July, and two weeks in August. Already she has had to fill Ministerial roles such as writing a letter of condolence to the Emanuel A.M.E. Church in South Carolina.

After Diana leaves us, she will be working ¾ time at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Greeley as part of the regional team with Foothills Unitarian Church in Ft Collins. We have been fortunate to have Diana as our Intern/Minister.

Kelly is doing things for the first time also, such as being called as our Settled Minister. Kelly will take us to the next level with her special energy. She has a way of engaging everyone from the pulpit and outside the pulpit. She will be challenged by the goals set in our Strategic Plan (which can be found in the Members Only section on our churches website). She has new ideas of her own for us, and I can’t wait to work with her and see what is in store for us.

What new thing will you do for the first time to Deepen your Faith, Live Well, and Enact Justice?

Thoughts from the President

jenniferWhat a month April has been!

I was so happy to be in the service on April 5th to hear the Search Committee reveal the name of our Ministerial Candidate. I admit, I spent most of the year trying to keep myself from thinking about that day, because just thinking about it made me both nervous and excited- and thinking about it wouldn’t make the day arrive any sooner. I was on the edge of my seat waiting for the announcement that morning. Was it just me, or did the Search Committee drag out the announcement for as long as they could? I think they anticipated the response…

And what a response it was! For those who were part of the congregation four years ago, Kelly Dignan is familiar– and, based on the standing ovation she received, not only remembered, but well-loved.  I happened to be sitting next to some people who were not around four years ago, and they were surprised by our response. They asked me if a lot of people knew Kelly, so I was able to explain that Kelly had done her ministerial internship with us, so many people got to know her during that time. Lucky for them, they’ll be able to meet Kelly in the end of April, during Candidating Week.

As I write this, the start of Candidating Week is still a few days away. I hope everyone has an opportunity to join in the festivities to greet Kelly and get to know her, so you can be ready for the big ministerial vote on Sunday, May 3. I just realized that, even though I’ve been a UU for 14 years, this is the first time I’ll have the opportunity to vote on whether or not to call a minister. I have a feeling that’s the case for a lot of us– so I hope to see many of you at the meeting casting your votes along with me!

Of course, the Ministerial Candidate wasn’t the only announcement made at the service on April 5th, though I’m sure it’s the one that most people remember. We also kicked off this year’s pledge canvass that day. As you know, most of the funding that we need to provide Sunday services and other programs comes from pledges made by members and friends of the congregation. I know (based on the number of flames in the chalice) that a number of people have already returned their pledge cards– and to you I say thanks or making an early commitment!

For everyone who is still thinking about a pledge for next year, thank you for taking time to consider your plan. If you haven’t received a pledge card, aren’t not sure how much to pledge, or want to understand where your pledge dollars go, please contact a member of the Board of Trustees or of the Finance Council. The sooner we receive pledge cards, the sooner we can start to develop our budget for next year. With a new minister (hopefully) joining us next year and lots of aspirations for our music, Faith Development, buildings and gardens, and other programs, we have lots of inspiration to take our canvass to new heights!

Thoughts from the President

jenniferDid you know that in Japan, the fiscal year begins on April 1st? My colleagues in Japan explained to us that they choose to begin the fiscal year with the blooming of the cherry trees– the season of new life and hope for good things to come. There’s something lovely about matching the cycles of government and business with the rhythms of the natural world. I admit, it’s something I never thought of before.


At the same time, I do often think about Spring as a new beginning, even though it isn’t at the beginning of the calendar year. And this year at UUCB, Spring is certainly going to present us with some new possibilities! As you may have read in the Search Committee’s article, the name of the ministerial candidate will be announced on April 5th. How’s that for a new beginning and hope for good things to come?


I don’t know about you, but just knowing that the announcement will come that day makes both excited and nervous. Excited, because I keep hearing that all of the candidates are so qualified and such good people. Nervous, because that highly qualified, truly good person is going to bring change– and change is never easy. So, I will probably battle those emotions for the next couple of weeks… And then will continue to do so until Candidating Week.


During Candidating Week, I hope that every one of us will have a chance to meet the minister candidate and develop a sense about who ze or she or he is. Then, I hope every member will attend the special congregational meeting, where we will vote on whether we should call that candidate to be our next minister.


I cannot express strongly enough how essential your participation in that meeting is. This meeting represents a significant milestone for us. We will be voting for a ministerial candidate for the first time in nearly 15 years. It is our opportunity to choose our future. Everyone’s vote is essential– and there is no absentee ballot! The first step in shaping our church’s future is to be present at the meeting and to cast your vote yourself. Let’s show our candidate how excited we are for this new chapter by turning out in droves for them!



President’s Message by Jennifer Skiendzielewski

jenniferI can’t believe it’s November and I’m writing my first president’s message. So much has happened in the first four months of the year that I’ve barely had time to think, much less write those thoughts down! But today I’m taking a breath– and along with it, a look back and a look ahead.

Of course, the biggest thing that’s occupying us this year is the Search process. Many, many thanks to everyone who participated in the Searchlight Gatherings and in the Search Committee’s survey. All of that information, combined with our goals will help them immensely in the months ahead as they evaluate candidates for our new settled minister.

We have also welcomed our new Ministerial Intern, Diana McLean, and revived the tradition of the All-Church Retreat (where a great time was had by all!). We’ve already welcomed new members, had an excellent training on emotional systems (hosted by the Leadership Development Committee), and held a lovely benefit with John Fielder. I know I’m missing other things… What was your favorite?

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the honor that we received from the UUA in being named a Breakthrough Congregation. That designation is a testament to the work this congregation has done, not just during the 6+ years of Howell Lind’s Developmental Ministry, but also during the three years before his arrival. In 2005, the congregation accepted the challenge of the Building Beloved Community workshops. That work lead us into the Rev. Becky Gunn’s Interim Ministry with our heads up, looking to the future. Under Becky’s guidance, we developed the Dream Team Report and truly established the foundation that we needed to embark on something as radical as a Developmental Ministry.  

Of course, the Breakthrough Congregation honor was accompanied by an article in the UU World magazine. I know that some people were not happy with the article, both because it included some incorrect numbers and because it did not accurately reflect the timeline of our upward trajectory as a congregation, as I laid out above.

Any incorrect numbers that were reported… Well, they came from us. A group of members were interviewed for the article back in May. It was a fairly informal conversation, held over the course of three hours. People came and went throughout that time. Most of the time was spent in lively conversation, with the writer taking notes as quickly as she could.

As we spoke, we didn’t have church records in front of us– we were speaking from our hearts. When we gave numbers, we were relying on our (all-too-fallible) memories to provide values that corresponded with our experiences as we remembered them. It is easy to look back and say, “We should have…” It is much more difficult to know what we “should” do when we’re in the moment. I’m certain that I speak for all of the participants when I say that no malice was intended in the interview– and any incorrect information provided was unintentional.

As for the incorrect timeline… I truly believe that Elaine (the writer) interpreted her notes the best she could. She did not record the conversation, she took notes by hand. And then she compiled those notes into the most dynamic article that she could. That’s her job. Maybe she took some journalistic license. Maybe she was confused by her notes or maybe we weren’t as clear as we thought we were. We weren’t asked to review a draft of the article (much to my surprise) and I, at least, was never contacted with follow up questions (except to provide a phonetic pronunciation of my name for the individuals who were creating the audio version of the magazine).

In the end, I have to have faith that Elaine meant only the best. That she believed she was telling our story in a way that honored and served us. I can attest to the fact that people outside of our congregation have felt that way. I’ve heard from friends in two other states, who were very excited about the article. The church office has received several emails asking for information about our programs, and Howell has spoken with friends around the country who congratulated us for the things we’ve achieved.

And we have achieved a great deal. We have done the work. We have built a community that speaks to people and that reaches out into the world around us. And we are propelling ourselves into the future, carried by the wave that was started by the Dream Team report. In October, we kicked off our Strategic Planning process– and we’ll be continuing it in November. The goal is to have a draft of a strategic plan ready in January, just in time for the Search Committee to show to our prospective candidates when they come for their interviews in February. Please join in the process if you are at all able!



President’s Column by Whitney Wheeless

Sisters 2This Sunday, June 1, we will be recognizing all the volunteer efforts given in service to our church in support of its mission. I have compiled over 800 names of volunteers and their roles across our church in committees, task forces, for special events, Sunday morning activities, in faith development, and social activities. Some are small efforts on a Sunday morning like greeting at the door or bringing dessert for the cake auction, and some are large roles like chairing a committee or teaching our children in religion education. But each and every one of the things we do is important for making UUCB the church community that we want it to be. Imagine what would Sunday mornings be without ushers, worship leaders, the welcome table, music, and of course coffee!  Each of us has a role we can play to contribute to UUCB, our mission, and our goals. And each of you and your gifts are appreciated.


Though our staff is truly fantastic, they are only the equivalent of 3.5 full-time employees. Most of those leading our church are volunteers. UUCB has over 45 committees, subcommittees and groups that do the work of the church. Opportunities abound—from the Membership Council to PRISM meals to the Worship Council to the Immigration Ministry to being a sound technician to the garden group. As we look to a new church year, it’s important to take stock in what we enjoy and what gifts we can give to our church. Do more of what you love and that will contribute to the greater community at UUCB. Step into a new role to learn about other parts of our church. Try out a new committee to meet new people and expand your horizons. Sign up for coffee hour. Organize a fun multi-generational event.

I want to give a special thanks to our outgoing board member Jenny Fitt-Peaster, who is Past President this year. I learned a tremendous amount from Jenny about church leadership, and I am grateful for her guidance, steadfast approach, and perspective in our two years working together on the executive committee with Howell. I have always felt that leadership is better as a team – and it’s certainly more fun!

Thank you to each and every one of you who volunteer at our church. It is truly amazing seeing how you give of yourself. It is much appreciated by me and the Board of Trustees. We are all recipients of each other’s gifts. We are blessed by the community that we create together, as we work toward fulfilling our church’s mission: living well, deepening faith, enacting justice. Blessings to each of you.


President’s Column by Whitney Wheeless

Sisters 2

Did you know?
–Our shared goals are on the members’ area of the website.
–We are a mid-sized church and operate as a policy board. That means that the board sets policy and the committees of our church implement those policies.
–What’s What and Who’s Who at Boulder UU lists all the ongoing committees, a brief description, and the current members. It’s in the members’ area of the website.
–You can request access to the members’ area, if you are a member (

This week I was in a work meeting and a consulting firm was presenting their theory of change. Their premise is that the most basic unit of work is conversation and that an organization is a network of conversations. They talked about the quality and timing of conversations. They talked about deep listening. Their message resonated with me, not just for work but in every aspect of our lives. There are two areas that came to mind with regards to church.

The first was around deep listening. We launched our mindful meetings approach a few years ago to add a sharing component to our committee meetings and to deepen our relationships with one another. The idea is to listen deeply to each other’s stories and reflect on how those stories inform our own life and spiritual journey. Now our mindful meetings approach is being spread to other churches in MDD and beyond to help all of us deepen connections.

At our board meeting last week, I really needed a mindful meeting – a chance to step outside my own life and my own disappointments to think about someone else’s spiritual journey. To appreciate someone else’s story. It worked! Of all places, church is a place that we should feel safe to share our stories and be who we are.

The other appreciation I had was that the core is conversations. In conflict or sadness, the conversations can break down. A true conversation is not one-sided, but rather involves listening—deep listening—from all parties. It means listening to what someone is saying and trying to understand why they are saying it. Then being given the opportunity to say what you are feeling or your reaction to what’s being said and bring in your own perspective.

A large majority of people are thrilled with our church and where we are going. They are content,  satisfied, and involved to the degree they wish to be. For those who are displeased with something, let’s have a true conversation. Being in covenant with each other, we each have a responsibility to think about our concerns and work with the appropriate people to resolve the issue in right relations. It’s about finding solutions so that we can be better and grow. So that we live up to our promise.

We in leadership work hard and are open to conversations. The Board spends a lot of time working on our goals and where our church is going, but we also value the process and want engagement of the congregation. We have a clear set of goals, a wonderful community, and many committed to being all that we can be.

I am proud of our church and all that we have accomplished. I look forward to many great things as we seek to live well, deepen faith, and enact justice together.


President’s Column by Whitney Wheeless

Sisters 2Change—ever present, yet sometimes uncomfortable. In 2008, we embarked on a journey into our developmental ministry—new to us and new to the UUA. After a UUA-assisted search by a seven-person search committee, Howell became our Developmental Minister (at the time called a Consulting Minister) in August 2008. The dreams we had for UUCB became Howells’s contractual goals for his first 5 years: financial stability, growth, church community/relationships, social justice & responsibility, and lifespan religious education.

One year ago, the Board asked for the authority to enter into another contract with Howell renewable each year for up to five years. One of the reasons the Board felt that we needed to extend Howell’s contract was that we were not ready to make a transition. With the abrupt ending of the contract on June 30 last year, there was no room for a transition. And, historically we have not handled ministerial and other staff transitions very well. Additionally, we know it takes at least 7 years to make lasting change in the culture of an organization. We needed those extra years to ensure that the great strides we’ve made will stick as we move to a new phase in our professional ministry.

We as a congregation spent the spring of 2013 updating our shared goals to reflect the changes in our congregation over the last 5 years and to provide clarity on what we want to be as a church in the future. Those 5-year goals are organized into five categories – church community, worship, lifespan faith development, social justice and strategic planning. One of our goals is succession planning with the intent of calling a settled minister for our church.  It’s a big goal and an important step in our continued transformation to a strong and healthy congregation.

Given that the search process takes over a year, Howell and the Board felt that the time was right to begin our search for a settled minister. Howell is committed to our goals and especially to our healthy transition to a settled minister. The desire for health in our congregation is why we started this Developmental Ministry to begin with. We are fortunate that Howell is committed to remaining with our congregation until we make that transition to a settled minister. Hopefully that will be next summer, but our developmental ministry gives us the flexibility for Howell to remain until we find a settled minister who is right for our church.

I know that the timing of the search may come as a surprise to many of you. We just extended his contract, we had five more years, you want Howell to stay, etc. But Howell remaining as our settled minister is not an option, nor what we need. Our goal is to call our next minister. To transition thoughtfully and successfully to a settled minister is our next step as a congregation. Howell has helped us and will continue to fully support us in our shared goals. We still have a lot to do, and I am pleased Howell is committed to working with us to see us through to this transition.

So, as in 2008, we are embarking on a UUA-assisted search—this time for our settled minister. Using the assisted search process will permit the UUA to pre-screen candidates and only present those who are willing to continue to work with us on the goals that we already have in place. Without this process, the minister that we call could choose to disregard our goals and move the church in an entirely new direction. Given the work that we all put into crafting our goals, we believe that the assisted search would serve us best.

As the first Developmental Ministry within the UUA, we are helping to define the transition from a Developmental Minister to a Settled Minister. We are clear about who we are as a church and what we want to become. Our goals are the driving force for our church and how we hope to meet our mission. We want and need our next minister to join us in that journey.

I ask you to support this important step in our growth as a church. If you have questions or concerns, attend a forum or reach out to the Board or Howell. Though it may feel uncertain, sad, or even a little scary, it is right for UUCB. We will be ready for this transition. Blessings and love to you all.



President’s Column by Whitney Wheeless

Sisters 2On Saturday, 1/18, I attended and participated in a unique and inspiring event—the ordination of Kierstin Homblette. It was unique because all seven Boulder-Denver Cluster UU churches jointly ordained Kierstin as our Community Minister. This is a first for seven congregations to ordain one person! Our collective congregations represent 2000 Unitarian Universalists in the metro area. Wow!

The ordination was inspiring because of the enthusiasm, genuineness, and passion Kierstin, her colleagues and friends, and the congregation members have toward making a difference in our community. I heard a lot of audience “amens” during the celebration! Kierstin’s work is about enacting justice and building community with interfaith organizations and community partners. She is especially focused on immigration and GLBTQI issues.

As I write my message on this day that we celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King Junior’s life, it gives me a chance to reflect on this weekend’s event. Rev. Alicia Forde provided the sermon at the ordination entitled “Still So Far From the Kin-dom”. It especially resonated with me. We have come a long way toward justice and equality, but we still have a ways to go. Until all people are free from racism, discrimination, hatred, and war, we are not done. That we must achieve peace and justice through love. Another important message for me was that we cannot do it alone—we are a wide circle (draw it wider still). Together we can make a difference.

A reading at the ordination came from the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. from his address titled “The Role of the Church in Facing the Nation’s Chief Moral Dilemma” (1957):

Our motto must be, “Freedom and justice through love.” Not through violence; not through hate; no not even through boycotts; but through love. As we struggle for freedom in America it may be necessary to boycott at times. But we must remember as we boycott that a boycott is not an end within itself; it is merely a means to awaken a sense of shame within the oppressor and challenge his false sense of superiority. But the end is reconciliation; the end is redemption; the end is the creation of the beloved community. It is this type of spirit and this type of love that can transform opposers into friends. The type of love that I stress here is not eros, a sort of aesthetic or romantic love; not philiu, a sort of reciprocal love between personal friends; but it is ugupe which is understanding goodwill for all men. It is an overflowing love which seeks nothing in return. It is the love of God working in the lives of men. This is the love that may well be the salvation of our civilization.

An overflowing love which seeks nothing in return. To me this is the crux of Unitarian Universalism—standing on the side of love to enact justice for all. We cannot do it alone, and we desperately need each other. We have a unique opportunity within UUCB and with our fellow ordaining congregations to work together and with Kierstin to change our corner of the world. May it be so. Blessings to you all.


President’s Column–January 2014

Sisters 2

UUCB President Whitney Wheeless

Over Thanksgiving, we headed to the San Francisco Bay Area to spend the week with family. Jim and I had the opportunity to visit our aspiring congregation in the Leap of Faith program—Mission Peaks Unitarian Universalist Congregation in Fremont, California. [Background information on the Leap of Faith program is found at the end of this message.] The Sunday we visited happened to be the kick-off for Leap of Faith program. Rev. Howell Lind was visiting them for a long weekend and they held workshops all day Saturday.

Sunday was the formal kick-off for the congregation. Howell gave the sermon and helped lead the worship service. Having not been to many other UU churches since discovering our faith, I enjoyed seeing other traditions and a different kind of worship. During the service, the congregation presented our congregation (via Howell) a lovely banner matching the one hung in their church. The banner highlights our two congregations and the Leap of Faith program. After the service, Jim, Howell and I went to lunch with their minister (Rev. Jeremy Nickel) and some members of their Leap of Faith team. We provided feedback on their hospitality and service, especially coming in as strangers, and talked about their upcoming congregational meeting.

From our visit, it is clear that Mission Peaks has an enthusiastic and dedicated congregation. They have lots of ideas and are looking forward to learning from us as the mentoring congregation. We are specifically helping them in areas of leadership, membership and hospitality, climate change ministry, committee on ministry, governance structure, and mindful meetings. They are currently trying to gain congregational approval for a Special Fund to enable the congregation to engage in a congregation-wide environmental outreach project.

As part of the Leap of Faith program, the Mission Peaks team will be traveling to UUCB from January 10-12 to meet with members of our congregation and our Leap of Faith team (Howell Lind, Caitlin Moore, Barb Richards, and Amy Rowland). We will hold meetings on Saturday afternoon, host a potluck Saturday night, and have more conversations on Sunday. The goal is to continue to address questions they have and to help them move forward with their goals. If you are at church that Sunday, please welcome them!

Here’s some basic information on the Pacific West Regional Leap of Faith program (from a program handout). There are 16 aspiring and mentoring congregations participating in this year’s program.

What is Leap of Faith?

Leap of Faith is a one‐year experience that pairs a healthy congregation aspiring to grow with a healthy congregation that is growing. Together they focus on breaking through the barriers hampering the aspiring congregation’s growth. The program begins officially in August 2013 and ends in June 2014.

What are Aspiring and Mentoring Congregations?

Both have demonstrated health in shared ministry, and robust congregational life. An aspiring congregation chosen for Leap of Faith is poised for growth, but is experiencing a growth plateau or challenge. This congregation will be paired with a mentoring congregation that has been successful in growing through similar plateaus, has sustained stable or growing membership, and is ready to help the aspiring congregation explore the adaptive challenges that might be holding them back.

President’s Column–November 2013

Sisters 2

Whitney Wheeless

This past spring, the Board worked with our congregation to evaluate and expand upon our developmental ministry goals. Together, we created five-year goals for our church. Although these goals are included as part of Howell’s recently renewed contract, they are our shared goals. These goals are our church goals that we, as a congregation, are responsible for working toward with our ministry team.

Our church goals are divided into five major areas: church community, worship, lifespan faith development, social justice, and strategic planning. These goals build upon the dream report from 2007, the visioning work of the board over the past few years, and input from committees and members. If you haven’t seen the goals, I would encourage you take a look at them in the member’s only section. These are some of the ways we are fulfilling our church’s mission.

From a Board standpoint, this is a year of planning. An important piece of work for the Board of Trustees is to work on our strategic plan. Our intent is to define the work we need to do now and in the next few years, so that we can achieve these 5-year goals. In this plan, we will identify which committees or task forces are responsible for that effort. We’re looking at some important areas for our church including rental/lease and building use, audio/visual needs for the Earth and Sky Rooms, and marketing communications.

I think the most important aspect of our planning this year and moving into the future is that every one of us plays a part in helping our church become all it can be. Each of us is responsible for achieving these goals. This could be through committee work, our ministries, leading a special event, or efforts as an individual member.

This month, I want to highlight our Church Community goals. We want to be a welcoming place for all—our members, visitors, and our staff. We want everyone who comes through our doors to feel cared for. One way we achieve this is by living our covenant (the affirmation) spoken on Sundays and following our Covenant of Respectful Relationships. Our other shared goals around community are much of the reason that UUCB means so much to us: to have a caring and supportive community around us and the opportunity to develop and deepen connections.

Each of us can help us achieve our church community goals every time we come into church. We can make a point to welcome a new visitor (we have many each Sunday) and learn about her spiritual journey. We can listen carefully to others and think before we speak to ensure that we are constructively presenting our views. We can be generous with our praise and well wishes for others. We can participate in or lead efforts to get to know members in a deeper way, especially reaching out to other generations and people outside our normal circles.


We have so many blessings in our church and amongst our members. I thank each one of you for all that you do to make UUCB the special place that it is.

President’s Column–September 2013

Sisters 2Right before school let out in May, a friend suggested that we read the book Wonder by R.J. Palacio. My friend said it was a great read-aloud book for the family, especially for my age sons (11 and 9). While on our annual extended-family retreat in Southern Colorado, I read the book to Jim and the boys nightly before bed and first thing in the morning. It was an amazing read and thoroughly enjoyable for everyone. If you haven’t read it, do. If you have read it, you know what I am talking about.


The story is about and written from the perspective of a 10-year-old boy name August (Auggie) Pullman. I’m not spoiling anything here (yet). The book jacket reads “Auggie was born with a facial deformity that prevented him from going to a mainstream school—until now. He’s about to enter fifth grade at Beecher Prep, and if you’ve ever been the new kid, then you know how hard that can be. The thing is Auggie’s just an ordinary kid, with an extraordinary face. But can be convince his new classmates that he’s just like them, despite appearances?”


I couldn’t stop thinking about the book and especially Auggie Pullman for at least 2 weeks after finishing the book. Even over the 5 days we read the book, we went to sleep with Auggie, and we woke up with him, reading an hour each morning before we even got out of bed. With my eldest son starting middle school this year and being a small fish in a big sea, there were many parts of the book that struck home for me (social clicks, mean kids, parental worry). Those parts I sobbed through.


But it was the message of the book that I can’t let go. Here’s where the spoiling comes in (still read the book, it’s so worth it). The moral of the story is about kindness. At the end of the book, the headmaster gives his middle school address and offers a quote of advice from J.M. Barrie’s The Little White Bird: “… always try to be a little kinder than is necessary.” He goes on to tell the students “Kinder than is necessary. Because it is not enough to be kind. One should be kinder than needed. Why I love that line, that concept, is that it reminds me that we carry with us, as human beings, not just the capacity to be kind, but the very choice of kindness. … If every single person in this room made it a rule that wherever you are, whenever you can, you will try to act a little kinder than is necessary—the world really would be a better place.”


Ah, this is where our faith comes into the picture. Several of our principles are wrapped up into this concept of being kinder than is necessary—to ourselves, to our family, to each other, to strangers, to the earth. That is much of what our covenant asks of us. We promise to walk together, to hear one another, to support one another, to be in relationship with one another.


Being kinder than is necessary asks more of us. It is not passive. It requires intention and action. Sometimes, it requires courage. Auggie Pullman brought out the best in people, asking them to be more. May we each find ways to honor that strength and character in Auggie. May we strive to be kinder than is necessary in all that we do. May it be so.

President’s Column by Whitney Wheeless

Sisters 2If you attended the May Congregational Meeting, you heard that we are trying to diversify our revenue streams for this coming church year. Our revenue is mostly comprised of member pledges and rental income from our long-term renter –Active Boulder Kids Preschool. Additionally, the monies raised through our annual silent auction event and grocery card program are significant contributors.

The annual silent auction is a wonderful event that nets our church around $14,000. This past year’s event was named “Gathering our Harvest.” Tessa Davis and Susie Riederer did a great job organizing the event with scores of people supporting the auction—from food preparation to managing bid sheets to donating items to cleaning up! Beyond raising money, the silent auction provides great opportunities for community building within our congregation. And we so love the slide shows, nice dinners, and pieces of art! We are looking for a few kind souls to head up the auction for this coming fall. Let me or Howell know if you are interested. It’s usually held in early November. Tessa and Susie are happy to show you the ropes!

I wanted to highlight the grocery card program as well. Eileen Sammells and Don Lilley coordinate this program with lots of Sunday morning volunteers. You may have noticed the table on Sundays with the “Grocery Coupon” sign. I know I had no idea what that was about when I first came to UUCB. Here’s the deal—when you buy grocery cards (Safeway, King Soopers, Alfalfa’s, Vitamin Cottage, Ozo’s Coffee, and LiquorMart) through UUCB, a portion (5 to 10%) of the card goes to our church. It’s a win-win: you get groceries and UUCB gets a little extra money ($6500 a year). If a family were to buy $400 per month of groceries, UUCB would realize $240 per year. Please stop by the table to buy your cards!

Now we come to what I wanted to highlight in my message. With the exception of rentals, these sources of income come from within our own congregation. For the silent auction, we double dip by asking members to donate items and then ask again the same people to bid on those items. The congregation-approved budget for this church year includes $6900 for income from new initiatives. The intent behind these initiatives is that we raise money from people outside of our congregation. Our hope is that we are able to try several smaller events rather than one single event that would raise these funds.

We need your help and ideas! The board is hosting a brainstorming forum on August 18 at 9:30 am to collect and generate ideas for potential community fundraising ideas. I know our church has successfully run other events in the past, and we’d like to consider reviving those and also identifying new ideas. These events could also provide connection and awareness in our surrounding community. Examples include an art sale or hosting a flea market. I heard there was a fantastic John Denver evening one year to remember him on the anniversary of his death—I’m a fan! What about a playground fun day for the neighborhood? Or maybe a farmer’s market selling our beautiful summer produce? We look forward to hearing you great ideas! Feel free to email your ideas too to me.

Enjoy this last month of summer before we come together at Ingathering on August 18!

Don’t Forget the Fundraising Forum – Sunday 8/18 at 9:30 am in the Emerson Room. Morning treats provided!


President’s Column July 2013

WhitneyWe’ve had a very exciting year at UUCB. Our church has had some significant accomplishments in our social justice work. Immigration Ministry continued its work and led the all church social change events for a second year. We started the climate change small group ministry. We also expanded the Share our Plate program. I’d like to thank George Brandon for encouraging the Board to embrace this program, and to Hilton Fitt-Peaster for leading the charge. Now for 8 months a year, our church gives our entire collection plate—between $1800 and $2200 each month—to a local non-profit organization, making a real difference in our community. More importantly, many of our members have found meaningful volunteer opportunities with these organizations.

Our next church year begins on July 1 and should be another exciting year. With the addition of our ministerial resident, Amy Rowland we’ll have additional support in our social justice work, making connections in our community, and enhancing small group ministries. We hope that our small group ministries engage more of our members into our social justice work, continue to deepen our faith, and help transform ourselves so that we can transform the world.  I am thrilled that the young adults will be leading our all church social change next year focusing on GLBTQ issues for the whole church.

I’m also excited for a few special projects this year as we look at our vision for building use and accommodating our growth. We are so grateful for the Endowment grants allowing us to make sound improvements in the Sky Room and making other building and grounds investments. We also plan to look into our longer term needs for audio/visual and lighting in the Earth Room.

It’s an important time for our faith development program. Thank you to Justin Butterworth for stepping into the Interim Lifespan Faith Development Director role. He helped begin the rebuilding of our children’s RE program, which will continue when Janen Wright joins our staff in September as the Lifespan Faith Development Director. Janen brings great enthusiasm and energy to this position. One on our critical goals for this coming church year is to build a vibrant family and under-18 community so that our children beg to come to church!

We’ll continue to have meaningful Sunday worship that nurtures the spiritual development of our full church and works to deepen our understanding and appreciation of our UU faith. I am pleased to announce that Mary Clough has agreed to chair the committee to bring back the All Church Retreat planned for September 2014.

The community we’ve created at UUCB is much of the reason we come to church each Sunday and do the work of the church through our ministries, committees, and volunteering. This coming year, we’ll build our families group and start new groups for other life stages to ensure that all members feel connected and a part of this community. In addition, we will continue to focus on deepening connections among our members and friends. We want UUCB to be welcoming and provide care for all of those in our congregation, from first-time visitors to our dear wise elders who helped to build our church.

As our church continues to grow in membership and staff, we will feel some growing pains. One area of focus for this church year will be looking at our personnel policies so that we provide support and guidance to all of our staff, especially as we add new staff members this church year. As a congregation, we established five-year goals in the broad areas of church community, worship, lifespan faith development, social justice, and strategic planning. As your elected leaders, your Board of Trustees and I are striving to do what’s best for our church and help us achieve those important goals.


As a covenanted religious community in shared ministry with the congregation and our ministry team, we all contribute to achieving our mission and goals. All of us have a responsibility in this shared leadership to help make the change we want to see.

Together we are creating the church that we desire.

I’d like to add a special thank you to our outgoing Board Members—George Brandon and Karen Morgan—who have provided important perspectives in our decisions, discussions, and visioning. Thank you to Caitlin Moore, who has served as Secretary to the Board for 8 years. We look forward to her continued contributions as a Board Member this year.

Finally, I want to thank Jenny Fitt-Peaster as outgoing President. Her leadership this year around the minister decision, revised goals, and staff changes brought many more voices into the discussion, and we are a better church because of it. I feel better prepared to serve as President of our congregation because of the leadership that Jenny, Howell, and I shared this year.

I thank each and every one of you for the all the things you do for our church. We are a blessed community because of you.  I look forward to a fun year!

Yours in faith,

Whitney Wheeless

President’s Column

Jenny FPThis year has been a time of growth and change. Our church is stronger and more vibrant because all of us have practiced our simple church focus: deepening faith, living well, and enacting justice.

The year began with Mindful Meetings in our various church committees, councils and task forces. Your Board of Trustees made a commitment to Mindful Meetings at the beginning of every Board Meeting. Because of this commitment, by your Board and others throughout our church community, our church is a better place because we listen deeply to each other and care for one another.

A second commitment made by your Board of Trustees was to spend almost half of each Board meeting on Visioning. To accomplish this we committed to do administrative business via email whenever possible. We visioned on worship, lifespan faith development, goals and objectives, ministry, and communication. We often invited members of key committees or councils to join our visioning. Thanks to all who helped your Board vision our future.

This visioning helped us shape our church year. We have shared many major accomplishments. Let’s highlight a few…

The Church Playground we all dreamed about for many years became a reality last spring under Mary Clough’s leadership. This is a story of commitment and community building. Watch for announcements of phase two in the upcoming months.

This has been a year of change and growth. From our hymn “Enter, Rejoice and Come In” the words “Don’t be afraid of some change…” often play in my mind as I recall this past year. An important Task Force looking toward our future was GROW, chaired by Janet Kern. Their observations and recommendations are posted on our UUCB website.

In February you voted to extend Rev. Howell Lind’s Developmental Ministry Contract for up to an additional five years. Prior to our Congregational vote we held informational forums and all members had the opportunity to participate in visioning our future. We also designed a ministerial succession plan. The UUCB goals are an important part of our contract with Howell and other key staff members. We will all participate in accomplishing these goals in our Shared Ministry. The complete set of goals are posted on our church website.

We had a Bylaw Task Force last Fall. All members were invited to forums to explain recommended changes and gather input. Our Congregational Meeting in January adopted updated Bylaws. Thank you to the members of this important Task Force chaired by Hilton Fitt-Peaster.

Our Communications Committee chaired by David Hughes is working to improve communication in this digital age with members, friends and those seeking what our faith has to offer. This year we added the Midweek Messenger edited by Karen Morgan Highlighting events in our upcoming week. Our website and Facebook pages are constantly updated by Michael Dryburgh to inform our members and help new visitors find us. And, just this month a new electronic Clearlight Messenger newsletter was introduced. Our heartfelt thanks to the Communications Committee, who often hear criticism of changes, but seldom praise.

We are a growing congregation. The Young Adults are a vibrant community within our church. We welcomed abundant new members into our church and are open to the changes they bring. They came to us with fresh ideas and enthusiasm for UUCB and our faith.

These are a few of the major accomplishments of the past year. Each chair of a council or committee has prepared a written report highlighting their accomplishments.  These reports are available in the member section of our UUCB website. I encourage you to read about all we have done together this past church year. And, I personally want to thank each of you for everything you do for our church.

Finally, I want to express gratitude for the work and support of my fellow Board Members: George Brandon, Past President; Whitney Wheeless, president elect; Karen Morgan; Jennifer Skiendzielewski; Jason English; and Ralph Hanson. Special thanks to Will Kropp, Treasurer and  Caitlin Moore who has served as Board Secretary since forever.

And a special “Thank You” to Howell, not only for your service as our minister, but also for embracing our shared leadership. Working together with you and Whitney made it easier to be President.

Thanks to all of you for giving me the opportunity to serve as your President during the 2012-13 church year. I invite you to “Enter, Rejoice and Come In”  and “Don’t be afraid of some change” as we continue our commitment to our simple church focus: deepening faith, living well, and enacting justice.


President’s Column

Jenny FP

This has been an eventful year for our church and your UUCB Board of Trustees. As we shared at the welcoming of new members on April 21, “Our community of memory and hope embraces past, present and future. We will always need tradition and innovation. We will always need roots and wings and the best effort of each and every one of us in this our religious community.”


Because of this important commitment your Board of Trustees established a Task Force,  GROW

Give our faith room to grow,

Retain our ministries through integration,                                                  

           Outreach to more people who need us

                      Widen our vision to embrace change.


Members of the Task Force were: Janet Kern, Chair, Fred Cole, Jim Rowe, Jennifer Skiendzielewski, Ted Burnham and Justin Butterworth.


With an awareness that our church membership is growing, and with a focus on being a welcoming community, GROW made recommendations for short term, medium term, and long term changes. Input came from the Sunday Service attendance count as registered in the Office Attendance Log; the membership count from the Membership Committee; input from Appreciative Inquiry and Building and Grounds; research into the experiences of other UU churches; and observations made by the GROW task force.



The attendance numbers do not yet support major Sunday Service changes or facility changes. However, the numbers are high enough that, without an efficient flow of people, a sense of disorganization and crowdedness can easily be experienced. With this in mind, GROW made recommendations in the following areas: Hospitality, Building & Grounds, Worship Leaders, Administration, Lifespan Faith Development and Board of Trustees.


For the medium term GROW made recommendations in the following areas: Building & Grounds and Hospitality.


When the Board has determined that Sunday Service attendance in the Earth Room has reached the critical 80% capacity, GROW Task Force 1.0 expects that major changes to the present building, or holding two services a week, will be required. It is expected that GROW Task Force 2.0 will hold many congregational informational meetings so that all members feel they have been a part of whatever decision is made.


This is just the beginning. Our Congregational Meeting on May 19, noon; will be another opportunity for you to participate in the democratic process of our church. I invite every member to participate, hear about the accomplishments of the past year and together dream and plan our future. Our congregation will continue to grow and prosper as we live our mission—Deepening Faith, Living Well and Enacting Justice.


To review the complete report prepared by GROW and presented to your UUCB Board of Trustees, click here.

President’s Column

We did it! We lived our faith as a Beloved Community at UUCB by participating in the Special Congregational Meeting on Feb 3rd. Your voice was heard. Thanks to all the members who participated in the Forums and the Meeting. Because of your involvement we held a Congregational Meeting of which you can be proud. We participated in our democratic process and the vote of the overwhelming majority was to pass the Resolution of the Congregation Of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Boulder, Colorado To Extend our Developmental Ministry Contract with the Reverend Howell Lind. There are several people I would like to especially thank. First, your Presidentelect, Whitney Wheeless, who worked tirelessly on the FAQ’s and the many revisions. All the Members of the UUCB Board who presented at the meeting with thoughtful, well prepared words; Ralph Hanson, Jennifer Skiendezielewski, George Brandon and Jason English. Also, Diane Gollnick, Moderator; Ginny Black, Clerk; Ted Burnham, Parliamentarian and Will Kropp, Treasurer who contributed to the structure of our meeting.

In addition, I thank several members who not only attended the Forums with thought provoking comments, but also spent their time helping to improve the Resolution of the Congregation. Special thanks to Bill Belew, Tessa Davis, Paul Reiderer and Steve Todd. Because of their effort we had a Resolution which represented the will of our congregation.

I would like to share with you a few messages I received regarding our meeting. “I want to express my heartfelt appreciation to you and the board for a very memorable church meeting. The care and reverence you brought to the entire process—the initial meetings where everyone’s voices were heard and respected, revising the resolution, providing the historical context, explaining the Robert’s Rules of Order, etc.—made for a very powerful and positive experience. I am glad I was there for this important moment in our church’s history. It is indeed part of the healing and bodes well as we move forward.” And “Addressing important issues like this is so important in helping the congregation develop new expectations on how they all work together, what democracy means in a religious community, etc.”

Our “work” has just begun. Now is the time to refine our goals for the next 5 years as your Board prepares to write a contract with Rev Howell Lind, hire a Faith Development Director and an Assistant Minister. The Board has appointed a Task Force to begin this process. Once again, it is time for our entire Congregation to become involved. Two Forums are scheduled to discuss our Goals: Sunday, March 17th, 9–10:15 a.m. and Monday, April 1st, 7:30–9 p.m. This is another opportunity for us to live our faith.

This is our Mission—Deepening Faith, Living Well and Enacting Justice.

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