Rev. Julia McKay, Minister

 

We are a kind and loving congregation, we are young and old together, and we are gay and straight together. Rev. Julia McKay 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 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.

 

Heather Southard, Faith Formation Coordinator

Contact: faithformation@hpcuu.org

 

Dawn Bergacker, Office Administrator

I have been attending High Plains since the first Sunday after 9/11/2001. I’m excited about the opportunity to help our church out in a more substantial manner. I have a bachelor’s degree in Management Information Systems and a master’s degree in Library & Information Studies. During my early career I worked as a manager in public and corporate libraries, and then I took several years off to be a stay at home parent. For the last 12 years I worked at the local community college libraries, where I was known my outreach and engagement work, and my skill in organizing diversity related library events. I semi-retired in December, and started doing college & career consulting with a friend. I have two children in college, so a part-time admin job is a welcome addition to the family income. I enjoy hiking, camping, traveling, music, social justice work, and of course reading.

Contact: 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.

 

Michele McCann, Communications Coordinator

Michele has a B.A. in Advertising Art from Seton Hall University, over 25 years experience as a graphic artist, and then as an art director, working mostly for magazine and marketing companies. For the past decade, she has operated as a freelance graphic designer for a variety of small businesses. Besides creating graphics, ads, doing layout, creating marketing/promotional pieces such as business cards, brochures, flyers, posters, postcards, banners, signs and billboards, she also handles social media marketing, including email, online media, Facebook and Instagram campaigns, and Website design. Michele has been handling the High Plains weekly e-news blasts for the past couple of months, so it was a natural progression for her to transform and transition the look and design of the HPCUU monthly newsletter as well.

Contact: communcations@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.