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. For the last 6 years, Rev Julia has been the full-time settled minister at Columbine UU Church in Littleton, CO. She was a very active presence in the Multi-Faith Leadership Forum and the UU Religious Leaders Council for Racial Justice in Denver.
Rev Julia’s ministry highlights include meaningful explorations about a 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 Julia: email@example.com
Sonya Bergeron, Ministerial Candidate
Sonya Bergeron is a Ministerial Candidate in the Unitarian Universalist tradition, which means she has just started on the path to becoming a Fellowshipped (credentialed) UU minister. She is working towards becoming a healthcare chaplain and has completed internships in both hospital and hospice settings. She received a Master of Divinity degree from Naropa University in 2019 – a Buddhist influenced seminary. This is a second career for Sonya: she worked for nearly 30 years in the high-tech industry – many of those years in project and program management. Her bachelor’s degree is in Organizational Development and she also has a Master of Business Administration. She is currently serving as the training and supervisor for the HiP Lay Pastoral Care Associates at High Plains Church Unitarian Universalist.
Contact Sonya: firstname.lastname@example.org
Heather Southard, Faith Formation Coordinator
Heather started coming to church when her son was about 5 years old. She comes from a mixed religious household and her husband and Heather share the same principles of spirituality. They needed a way to teach their son about the bigger picture and in a way that gives him options. High Plains was exactly what she was looking for. She got involved right away in a Parents Small Group, and then years later, finally on the Faith Formation Team. Having then been mentored on that Team, the path eventually led into helping lead the Summer program. The next natural step was to “help” on the Faith Formation Team to organize the new Fall program. Heather has always been great at organization and diving into details. She loved going to Sunday School as a kid. So now, her natural talents are being put to use in a way where she can have fun and attend Sunday School again.
Contact Heather: email@example.com
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 from library work in December 2018, and started doing college & career consulting with a friend. I have two children in college, so a part-time admin job is a wonderful addition. I enjoy hiking, camping, traveling, music, social justice work, and of course reading.
Contact Dawn: firstname.lastname@example.org
Michael Hawkins, Music Director
Michael Hawkins has been leading the HPCUU Music Ministry since August 2018. As Music Director, he oversees HPCUU‘s 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: email@example.com
Mary Shaw, Communications Contractor
Mary has a passion for social media, digital marketing, and creative design. Her career began in traditional marketing, printing, and direct mail and grew to include: social media and digital marketing, website management and development, event marketing, and creative design. She has successfully built and managed client’s social media presence across multiple social media networks, developing brand awareness, communicating client’s vision and voice in a positive and authentic way to drive engagement with key audiences. In her spare time, you will find her biking, spending time with family and friends, hiking, and traveling.
Contact Mary: firstname.lastname@example.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: email@example.com