Rev. Julia McKay, Consulting Minister

We are a kind and loving congregation, we are young and old together, and we are gay and straight together. Our new consulting minister has spent the last 30 + years living  these ideas as she served many populations in a kind and loving way.  She has worked as a public school educator, a psychotherapist, a non-profit director, and a hospital/hospice chaplain.  For the last decade, she has served as a Unitarian Universalist Church minister.

Rev Julia McKay considers Colorado Springs her hometown because she spent several years here as a young child living with her grandparents and all of her young adult work life here.  She is so grateful to be back in town and is excited to now begin work with us as our consulting minister!

She began as a church Music Minister and Peer Counselor in her late teens where she felt an early call to ministry.  Right after graduating from Colorado State University with a degree in Music Education, she toured the world for a year as performer in the international organization, Up With People, in her mid-20’s.  This experience embedded a love for intercultural understanding and exchange.

Then for many years, she was a music educator in District 11, working with diverse populations and developing extra-curricular leadership and personal empowerment programs for teens and young adults.

She earned a Masters of Arts in Agency Counseling degree in 1996, and worked for Pikes Peak Mental Health as a Psychotherapist for 3 years. Julia then took on her role as the first Executive Director for Inside/Out, which is still Colorado Springs’ own advocacy and support organization for LGBTQI youth.  Doing this work is what led her to High Plains Church and to Unitarian Universalism.  Mike Morran did some outreach to Inside/Out and Julia became member of this very church very soon after that!  She knew she had found her religious home and her call to ministry resurfaced.

As a member of High Plains Church, she left in 2003 for Berkeley, CA to earn her Masters of Divinity degree from Star King School for Ministry in 2008. During this time, she also completed a full year as a chaplain resident at Evergreen Healthcare in Seattle, WA and served as the Intern Minister at Shoreline UU Church there.

Reverend Julia’s first consulting ministry was with Glacier Unitarian Fellowship in Kalispell, Montana, where she was a ¾-time Congregational Minister for 3 years, and was ordained there in 2010.  She received her Final Fellowship with the UUA in 2013.  Some of you have gotten to know Rev Julia a bit when she served as the WUULF camp chaplain for a few summers.

Rev Julia has also nurtured various interfaith collaborations throughout her ministry. In Montana, she served as the co-chair of Love Lives Here, a clergy driven arm of the Montana Human Rights Network. She is currently a very active presence in the Multi-Faith Leadership Forum and the UU Religious Leaders Council for Racial Justice in Denver.

For the last 6 years, Rev Julia has been the full-time settled minister at Columbine UU Church in Littleton, CO.  Her intention now is a full-time ministry position shared between Columbine and High Plains, as both churches are working with right-sizing their ministries.

Rev Julia’s ministry highlights include meaningful explorations about positive culture change for congregations, arts-based spiritual exploration, vision and strategic planning, fundamental infrastructure change toward policy governance, non-profit management and social justice training to name a few.

Contact Rev. Julia at minister@hpcuu.org.

 

Jessica Laikeman, Director of Faith Formation

Jessica is a life-long UU who is passionate about faith formation. She has been working with children and youth of all ages for over 15 years. Jessica is also a certified “Our Whole Lives” (OWL) sexuality education facilitator and trainer and has been working with the Our Whole Lives program since 2005.

Jessica also serves our UUA and the Pacific Western Region as a Youth Ministry Consultant and more locally serves our Mountain Desert District as the Chaplain to Youth and Leadership Development Specialist. In addition, Jessica has served on the leadership team for the Mountain Desert Chapter of the Liberal Religious Educators Association (LReDA) since 2013.

Outside of work Jessica is kept busy by her family which includes her husband, twin toddlers and teenage sister-in-law who also lives with them.

Contact Jessica at dff@hpcuu.org.

 

Dianne McRae, Worship Coordinator

Dianne joined High Plains Church, UU in about 2003. Singing in the choir and participation in music have been her strongest passions, but she has also found a love for creating and guiding worship. Reverend Dianne completed training in the Eco-spiritual Seminary with Reverend Ahriana Platten and was ordained in 2006. Her work centers around weddings, funerals, and life-passages ceremonies for members of the local community. She feels privileged to have been given the opportunity to participate in our community in this way. Dianne also began helping with worship services here at HPCUU about that time. “Supporting worship is part of my spiritual path and I’m grateful for the opportunity to serve here.”

Contact Dianne at worship@hpcuu.org.

 

Dionne Myers, Office Administrator

Dionne Myers has been employed at the HPCUU since August 2018. Dionne has a strong work ethic and liberal sprit that allows her to diligently carry out her duties at the HPCUU. Her passions include but are not limited to, family, cooking, art, literature, music and animals. Her work centers around ensuring that the HPCUU activities run efficiently by providing an organized structure for staff and members. Dionne is thankful to have been given the opportunity to work at the HPCUU and she values the experience of coming into work and being apart of a community. In her own word “there is no place better to work.”

Contact Dionne at office@hpcuu.org.

 

Michael Hawkins, Music Director

Michael Hawkins has been leading the HPCUU Music Ministry since August 2018.  As Music Director, he oversees HPCUUs music program and works closely with the Worship Team. Michael studied Electronic Production and Design at Berklee College and Music with and emphasis in sound design and cinematic mixing. He is a Colorado Springs native who teaches piano and recording arts through the Colorado Springs Conservatory and R.P. Lee Youth Center on PAFB. Michael is pleased to be able to share his talents and skills with our congregation.

Contact Michael at music@hpcuu.org.

 

Karen Holton, Bookkeeper

Karen came to High Plains in the Summer of 2015. From the first moment she felt “at home” and became a member within two months of her first visit.  Shortly thereafter she became a member of the finance team when it was learned she had 30 plus years experience in bookkeeping and accounting. After being involved with finance, it became clear that the church was in need of a bookkeeper, so in June of 2017 she began the process of becoming familiar with the books and the system and took over those responsibilities in the fall of 2017. Karen continues in that capacity and hopes to do her best to assist in ensuring our fiscal good health in the coming years.

Contact Karen at books@hpcuu.org.

 

Rebecca Hutchins, Nursery Supervisor

Rebecca Hutchins is a Colorado transplant. She and her partner started attending High Plains last year and have enjoyed growing in their faith together. She has two children, Abrahm, 8, and Avarie, 2. Originally from Oklahoma, she moved here five years ago to work as a Certified Surgical Technologist at a pediatric facility in Denver. She currently works in this role at the United States Air Force Academy where she specializes in orthopedics. Rebecca is CPR certified and has experience working with children of all ages. She is excited to take on the role of nursery supervisor with High Plains. In her free time, she likes to go with her family on hiking adventures.

Carys Jacobs, Nursery Supervisor

Originally from New York, Carys Jacobs is a mother and a student at UCCS studying Inclusive Early Childhood Education. She has spent recent years as a teaching assistant, nanny, and nursery attendant. In addition to her academic studies,  she is completing yoga teacher training at Cambio in Colorado Springs. After graduation, she plans on going on to become a preschool teacher.