Our Elected Leaders
High Plains Board of Trustees (2021-2022)
Robin Laborde, President, President@hpcuu.org
When I visited a Unitarian Universalist church for the first time, I was absolutely thunderstruck (and extremely grateful!) to learn that I could both belong to this welcoming community AND pursue my own search for truth and meaning. I had been worried that I would have to choose between the wisdom I found in Buddhist teachings and being a member of a “regular” church. I had never encountered a church that respected the idea that its members could find truth in a variety of different faith traditions. (I still think this is pretty darned awesome.)
I moved to Colorado Springs from California in August of 2013, and one of the first things I did was to look for a UU Church. The welcoming atmosphere of High Plains has contributed so much to my happiness and success here in Colorado. I’ve been a member since 2014 and I’m so grateful for this chance to serve our church in this time of change and opportunity.
Gretchen Hein, Past-President, PastPresident@hpcuu.org
My husband and I began our journey with Unitarian Universalism at All Soul’s Church in Colorado Springs in 1992 after Amendment 2 was passed. This was a ballot initiative passed by Colorado voters in 1992 that prohibited the state from enacting anti-discrimination protections for gays, lesbians, and bisexuals. I volunteered as the co-chair for the RE team for two years at All Soul’s, and we attended the first High Plains service in 1994.
We came back to High Plains in late 1998 and signed the book in 2001. I have volunteered for Membership Team, chaired the Hospitality Team, and chaired the Auction Team for seven years. In 2018, the year we moved to the Unity campus, I volunteered to be an At-Large Member of the Board. As a Board member, I headed up the Minister Search Team, I was our DRE’s supervisor until Reverend Julia was hired, and I was the Board Liaison for the Safety review done by some of our members. I became President-Elect in July of 2019 and President in July 2020. I’ve had the dubious honor of serving the congregation only online because of the Pandemic. This year I will be Past President as I serve a 4th and final year on the Board of Trustees.
My career in education spanned 42 years as an educator and administrator at the Middle School level until my retirement in June of 2018.
Vacant, 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.