Our Elected Leaders
High Plains Board of Trustees (2020-2021)
Gretchen Hein, President, President@hpcuu.org
Jill Forney, Past President, PastPresident@hpcuu.org
I have been a member of High Plains Church since moving to Colorado Springs in 2009 with my husband and two kids. I am a bit of a nomad who came to Colorado via Tennessee, Arizona, California, and seven other states and numerous cities before that. I have a Masters degree in education and alternate between being self-employed and a stay-at-home mom. I attend High Plains Church for the community and friendships I have made there and to have a welcoming place where I am free to develop my own spirituality and sense of meaning. I serve the church because I believe that liberal religion and Unitarian Universalism is a force for good in our community and the world.
Rick Carpenter, President-Elect, PresidentElect@hpcuu.org
Danielle Jernigan, Secretary, Secretary@hpcuu.org
I began attending HPCUU in 2015 after moving from Pennsylvania to Colorado. The seven UU Principles attracted me to High Plains, and my desire to promote them inspired me to serve on the Board. In March 2021 I will be completing my MS in health informatics and hope to become a nurse informaticist, using information technology to improve the lives of patients. When not busy, I love birdwatching, reading nonfiction, and walking with friends in the beautiful Colorado outdoors.
Sam Waller, Church Financial Officer, CFO@hpcuu.org
I am Sam Waller, a father, dog-minder, volunteer, and semi-retired defense professional who has lived in Colorado Springs for the last seven years. My wife is Marianne Sheldon, my children are Abel (23), Rowan (19) and Anthoni (13), and my dogs are River, Barley and Cody.
I was born an Air Force brat in Los Angeles and lived in Washington DC and Wyoming before my father retired in middle Georgia. I was very involved in the Boy Scouts where I worked as a camp counselor and found great joy in helping others and being outdoors. After graduating from Mercer University, I served in the US Army for just over 22 years where I held leadership and staff positions in Korea, Haiti, the US, Europe, and the Middle East prior to retiring in 2011. I have served as a defense professional in England and Afghanistan but enjoy being a stay-at-home father and dog-minder in the Springs while financially feasible.
My family has been a part of High Plains Church since we moved here and immediately decided that we wanted to be a part of this honorable group of caring, smart, flawed and loving human beings. As each member of my family has built connections and ties within High Plains, I am compelled to help strengthen and grow this community that is so important today. The message and work of High Plains, our sister church, All Souls, and Interfaith Community Churches, such as Unity, are so important today as we confront zealotry, xenophobia, racism, and hatred with a powerful positive message of tolerance, acceptance, forgiveness and love. Although I have found serving as the board secretary rewarding, I feel my interests and skills more align with the duties of the Church Financial Officer (CFO). As I have been forced to work within budgets, allocate resources and restrict spending based on dynamic constraints, I know I have sufficient experience to perform this important job. I also know that beyond our talented Financial Team, there are numerous vested members who are eager to ensure our precious church resources are protected and have been willing to help our past CFOs within this wonderful church.