Use the tabs below to see our weekly conversation starters and join in. Want to read our Forum Feedback and FAQs? Click here >
WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT OUR CAMPUS?
Who brought up the idea to move and when? How long was it before the Congregation heard anything? Where did all of this come from without the congregation being informed?
JUC has been wrestling with space issues since the 90's. The first round of searching for options resulted in the renovation of the Mills building and construction of the chapel and RE wing in 2004. The second round resulted in the formation of the Evergreen satellite campus in 2012.
Workshops for congregants to share their dreams for living more fully into our mission were done back in 2011-2012 with the Gathered Here focus groups and the follow up leadership meeting held in 2013 with some 42 Congregational leaders. These visions were augmented by a series of 100 one on one interviews by the Social Responsibility Council in the fall of 2017 seeking input on priorities and dreams for social action from the Congregation. The Board evaluated all of this material and input and chose the BHAG and associated evaluation of options at their fall retreat in 2017. The Board began "socializing" the goal with the Congregation at the Fall Congregational meeting in October and through articles in the monthly newsletter also in October.
Why the arbitrary deadline? Is there time to evaluate?
The May date in BHAG isn't arbitrary but rather a goal the Board to allow time for the initial evaluation of options that are viable to pursue.
Are there other UU churches and fellowships in the metro-area growing? Is JUC unique in growing?
Yes. The 5 largest UU churches in the Denver/Boulder area all saw growth over the past 3 years - with increases between 4 and 25%. Moreover, two churches have undertaken expansion/renovation projects this past year: First Unitarian (downtown) raised $2.6M in their capital campaign and First Universalist (Hampden) is raising $4M for their expansion. Finally, 4 of the top 5 churches in terms of membership have all had expansions or currently under renovation within the last 5-7 years.
Ask Keith before he goes on sabbatical what is needed RE: Music?
All of the ministers have been deeply involved in both describing their aspirations for as well as the current constraints in our current facility. Keith has been extensively consulted on the limitations of our current facility on our music ministry, as well as outlining for us needs that would allow the program to bloom.
What is our current financial situation?
Our current budget and balance sheet are always available to any member by request to Carol Wilsey. In short, the finances of the church are strong. Notably: · Pledge income and operating expenses are tracking with the projected budget · We have finally met the goal of having an operating reserve that is 25% of the operating budget · In 2017 we paid off the outstanding balances of loans from members and the EMGT for the building renovation · JUC achieved the 3 year goal of full fair share payments to the UUA · JUC was honored to receive nearly $300,000 in unrestricted bequests in 2016 and 2017
If JUC grows, what are the staffing limitations? How much growth can be absorbed by the existing staff? How much assumes new staffing? What staffing costs will go hand in hand with growth?
Our staff is on board and excited about Making Room. We believe in JUC, as well as the power it holds to make a difference in people's life within and beyond our church walls. That said, our staff size will need to increase to address anticipated growth. Rev. Wendy will be bringing a plan to the Board in the coming weeks that addresses future staffing needs in the context of various growth scenarios.
What other UU churches across the country are similar in size to JUC and what are their campuses like?
JUC is the 10th largest UU Congregation in the U.S. based on membership. We don't have data on the physical dimensions of the other large churches. All Souls Tulsa church, our largest with membership of 2172, voted to move from their suburban location to downtown Tulsa in 2017 to occupy a city block. The remaining top five UU churches by membership are:
First Unitarian Society, Madison, WI - 1457 All Souls Unitarian, Washington, DC - 1104 First Unitarian Church of Dallas, TX - 1069 First Unitarian Church, Portland, OR - 1043 First Universalist Church of Minneapolis, MN - 1026
You can use Googlemaps or GoogleEarth to view the layout of their campuses.
What are the pros and cons of adding an “annex” site that can be used for large meetings and family promise while services are still held here—though we might need to add a 3rd service? It seems some constraints can be met at this site.
Adding an “annex” site doesn’t address the space constraints we have on our current site including overcrowding in the RE wing, lack of office space, adequate rehearsal space for the choir and musicians, storage space and parking issues.
We have been adding services at various times during the week as well as up to 4 additional services at Christmas. Adding a third service on Sundays was tried prior to the last expansion of the church and proved very difficult logistically for the staff and choir to fully support. While we can (and do) occasionally add an extra Sunday service successfully, the demand on staff and volunteers is too large. Something suffers whether it is the welcome we offer to others or consistent and robust music and/or religious education.
Why create one large church? If UUism is growing, why not start another separate church so that there are more locations? What are the pros and cons of splitting congregation into multiple congregations at multiple sites? Maybe the other in a more urban setting?
The growth in Unitarian Universalism is in large churches. The resources, professional staff, and consistent quality offerings seem to be what attracts people. Further, JUC has long had a bold sensibility about the impact it wanted to make.
Our mission statement calls for us to transform the world beyond our walls. Recent leadership gatherings and interviews of over 100 members revealed our desire to be the convener of social justice in Jefferson County. We can't have that sort of impact by dividing our number.
Finally, Jefferson Unitarian Church has grown into an integrated whole. We are one church. As far as additional sites or campuses; our five year effort at a second campus in Evergreen taught us many things. First, if we truly want that to succeed, we would have to fully staff it with less than optimal utilization of those staff. Second, we found that essential elements of church programming were very difficult to create at the second campus including adult programming, youth religious education, and vibrant music programs.
How much square footage would we need to add to get a combo bigger sanctuary/big meeting space? Plus more RE rooms?
We currently have approximately 20,000 square feet. We feel that nearly double that square footage would give us room to grow for the future.
What is the extent of the decision we will make at the April 15 congregational meeting? Will we give the Board permission to decide to purchase land or a building and proceed with plans, architects, etc. or will there be additional forums, cong. Meetings, etc. to get input and permission from the congregation.
The vote at the April meeting will be to support the Board in continuing the effort to find and ultimately procure a suitable property/facility. It will NOT be to vote on purchasing a specific tract of land or property. We anticipate and hope that a recommendation to do that will be put in front of the Congregation at a subsequent meeting.
What does “BHAG” stand for?
A BHAG is an acronym for Big Hairy Audacious Goal, an idea conceptualized in the book, “Built to Last: Successful Habits of Visionary Companies” by James Collins and Jerry Porras.
What is JUC’s BHAG?
By May 1, 2018, we will have a viable plan to free JUC from the limits of our campus in order to live more fully into our mission.
Has it already been decided that JUC will move?
No. The decision to move rests entirely with the Congregation. More specifically, the Board of Trustees only has the power to purchase, assign, sell, transfer, convey, lease, or mortgage real property when authorized by a 2/3rds vote of a meeting of the congregation.
I thought there was talk about moving because of the parking issues. 1) Aren’t there ways to deal with parking that would be easier and cheaper? 2) Won’t streaming of the Sunday services remedy the parking crunch overtime?
1) Parking is really just one of a number of pressing issues that are preventing us from truly living into our mission. 2) Streaming of Sunday services was launched for a number of reasons but not to alleviate parking. Streaming services enables us to
to reach Congregants that are unable to attend Sunday services in person for a variety of reasons including travel or limited mobility
as a mechanism to connect with UU's that live outside the Denver metro area and don't have access to a UU church or Fellowship in their area and
live into our mission of growing Unitarian Universalism "outside our walls" and reach a growing segment of our population that are outside of the Denver metro area and are seeking to connect with our progressive faith movement
If space and/or parking are issues, can’t we add onto the building and come up with more creative parking strategies?
Unfortunately we do not have any options for adding on to our existing building. There are several constraints the most critical of which is that we must maintain a certain ratio of parking spaces to the seating capacity of the sanctuary. Moreover, the landowner to the east of JUC has not been open to a possible purchase of his property in the past but we are in the process of contacting him again to gauge his interest. The land across the street including the golf course was recently purchased for 13.5 million dollars by the Prospect Recreation and Park District to be preserved as open space. Creative parking strategies could perhaps be employed but really do not address the core issues that are impacting our ability to live fully into our mission.
The goal indicates that one of the reasons JUC needs to move is to “better serve our mission.” 1) What ARE the elements of “our” mission? 2) What exactly do the elements of our mission mean? 3) What are we not doing already? 4) What would we be doing better or differently in a different facility and location?
The JUC mission is: To nurture our spiritual community, grow Unitarian Universalism and transform the world outside our walls. Over the years we have had several forums including the “Gathered Here” initiative in 2012, a leadership forum in 2013 and over 100 one-on-one conversations with members to add clarity and substance to the elements of the mission. These are represented in the aspirations in the overarching explanation for why we feel the need to seek a large facility.
Is this initiative tied to: Becoming a more diverse church community? Serving a more diverse population. If yes, what are the elements in consideration for a “move-to location” that play into decision-making? If no, why not?
Becoming more diverse in many different aspects has been a longstanding goal at JUC. Members of JUC are aware of and appreciate the many aspects of diversity and embrace it. Our worship, education and other programs affirm the diverse identities of all our members and our awareness of the diversity present in Jefferson County and the Denver metro area. In other words, work to ensure that we each connect authentically with others. However, we are far from areas of the county with greater levels of racial, ethnic, class and other forms of diversity. It’s unlikely that in our current location we can effectively “get proximate” a la Bryan Stevenson (Author “Just Mercy” & 2017 Ware Lecture) to neighbors that will help us grow spiritually as people. Getting "proximal" is just one of many factors that will go into consideration of a future site.
What is the process for making a decision?
A real estate agent has been retained to help us evaluate potential properties/facilities that could meet our needs.
A congregational fundraising consultant, has been hired to help us assess our potential for raising funds. This is NOT a formal capital campaign but rather an assessment done before a decision to initiate a capital campaign is made.
The Shared Mission Team (SMT) formerly the Committee on Ministry (COM) is taking the lead, in partnership with the Board and JUC staff, in holding a series of different forums and events to stay in dialog with the Congregation during this process
A plan for moving forward will be presented to the Congregation at the April 15 meeting.
Who will ultimately make the decision on this?
The Congregation If we do decide to move, will we move near our current location?
</strong><span class="accordion-heading-btn">▲</span></label> <div class="accordion-body">The parameters for the property search have been set at Hwy 93 to the West, Jewell Ave to the South, Sheridan Ave to the East, and approximately 88th Ave to the North.
If we do decide to move, will we move near our current location?
The parameters for the property search have been set at Hwy 93 to the West, Jewell Ave to the South, Sheridan Ave to the East, and approximately 88th Ave to the North.
What are the options we’re looking at, e.g: Buy another, larger church? Buy and remodel something such as an empty commercial building and remodel? Buy land and build?
We are looking at all available options.
Didn't JUC go through this same exercise several years ago? What did we learn from that?
UC evaluated possible options for growing at several points in the past. An assessment was done in the mid 90's which compared the options for moving against staying in our current location and expanding the building. Ultimately, the latter option was chosen with construction of the new Chapel, RE wing and renovation of the Mills Building completed in 2005. JUC also considered a number of options for growth again in 2011 and the Congregation approved creation of a second campus in Evergreen in the fall of 2011. The campus model was tested for five years before deciding in 2017 that it was it was not the most effective way of leveraging the resources of the church.
If the decision is made to move, what will the cost be? How will that be paid for? What will be expected of JUC member in paying for this? What will happen to our current building and property?
It is too early in the process to reflect on the potential cost of a new facility as the options are still varied at this time. However, it is likely that a capital campaign will be needed at some point.
If we move, there are many milestones, memories, and mementos tied to our current location, what will be done to honor and relocate what we can?
A plan is still being formulated with regard to this question – we’d love to have your input!
Is this goal related to the recent changes in leadership at UUA nationally?
It is true that attendance in mainline churches is declining albeit our association saw only a very slight decline nationally. However, the Denver/Boulder region is expected to add 1.39 million people in the coming decades and Jeffco alone has grown by 37,000 people just since the last official census in 2010. Attendance at JUC and the number of members has grown steadily the past 10 years. If we don't add space we're essentially saying "in a growing county, we choose to stay the same." The people who are coming to this place, or growing up in it, and find themselves looking for a spiritual home, will not have a UU congregation to attend, especially if they live in the Arvada/Lakewood/Golden triangle.
Information and Input: How will we be kept informed:
of opportunities for input?
Look to the JUC newsletter for updates and the makingroom.jeffersonunitarian.org website.
Whom may I contact if:
I have questions or concerns
I want to be part of this project
There are a number of ways for you to address questions, concerns or indicating your interest in helping with a number of groups working to support this initiative: