A two-year partnership between Columbine Stake and a local elementary school has helped provide thousands of meals to local children. However, with the closing of schools through the rest of the year, local church members wanted to find a way to continue helping. After all, whether or not school is in session, those who need meals still are in need. Fara Sneddon, Director of Communications for the Columbine Stake reports that they usually deliver 200 lunches per weekend. Their new solution involves a partnership with Integrated Family Community Services (IFCS), who were “overjoyed” to receive Columbine Stake’s donations. Once again, the worldwide pivot to find ways to serve continues to show up in happy ways in the community. For further donations, to help with IFCS, or to receive food, visit IFCS website at ifcs.org or call 303-789-0501. “Together, there can be enough.”


Denver Mayor Michael B. Hancock’s faith council is organizing a citywide effort during the month of April called “Pray Act Trust:”  Pray in unity with our neighbors, Act to assist others where we can, and Trust in our Father in Heaven that all will work out. Community involvement will be recognizable through the hashtag #prayacttrust

PRAY

Activities for the month will kick off tomorrow with a phone call for all members of the community. Pastor Del Phillips will introduce the month-long campaign, followed by several members of local clergy offering prayer. The kick-off will run from 12-12:30.  All are welcome to participate on the call.  Call in number is 425-436-6392  Access Code 485444. The audio will also be available on Pastor Del’s Facebook page (see below).

ACT

Each day during the month of April join the community in service. How? Each daily act of service is consistent with Shelter in Place guidelines. These daily options help members of the community connect in spite of social restrictions while also creating positive impacts in their own lives and those of their neighbors.  This will be similar to what we experience during the Christmas season with the 30 days of Light the World.  These ideas will be at https://www.prayacttrust.com/.

Sunday, April 5th will be a citywide day of fasting and prayer.  A list of community charities will be provided where a fast offering can be made.

See the Facebook link for Pastor Del’s facebook live inviting us all to join.

WEEK ONE

We can come together in the midst of coronavirus quarantine. Join us daily for prayer at noon, perform a daily act of service, and trust God. 

Wednesday – April 1

Commit to pray every day for the next 30 days. Join us live for group prayer on Facebook or by calling in. Call in number is 425-436-6392  Access Code 485444. 

Thursday – April 2

Write a thank you note to someone. It could be instant gratitude via email, or a tangible thank you card in the mail. 

Friday – April 3

Offer to do a grocery run for someone else. If you are high risk, let someone else serve you and do a grocery run for you. 

Saturday – April 4

Find a story with good news. Forward it to five friends. 

Sunday – April 5

Join the community in a day of fasting and prayer. 

Monday – April 6

Donate the money you would have spent on your meals yesterday (or more!) and donate it to a local charitable organization. 

Tuesday – April 7

Cheer up the neighborhood walk. Chalk the sidewalks with messages and pictures of hope and joy. Make sure to tag your work #PrayActTrust

TRUST

The theme of the month comes from Psalms. “I will say of the LORD, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust.  – Psalms 91:2

As our beloved prophet President Nelson recently shared, “Our Heavenly Father and His Son Jesus Christ know us, love us, and are watching over us. Of that we can be certain.

“These unique challenges will pass in due time. I remain optimistic for the future. I know the great and marvelous blessings that God has in store for those who love Him and serve Him. I see evidence of His hand in this holy work in so many ways.”

As we all unite in prayer, act in service, and trust in God, we will be lifted in the joy amidst our circumstances. #PrayActTrust


This year marks the 200th anniversary of the first vision of Joseph Smith in which he saw God the Father and His son Jesus Christ the Savior.

Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints hold sacred the events of that morning which ushered in a new dispensation and a restoration of the fullness of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

This being the 200th anniversary of that event; many members of the church may be inspired to visit the sacred grove south of Palmyra New York where the church normally operates a few museums and provides tours.

For those of us in Colorado, even in the best of times a trip to New York may be out of the question; but given the current COVID-19 pandemic even if you drove to Palmyra you would find the site closed to the public until further notice.

So I embarked on a journey to discover more of the church’s history here in Colorado. Without violating any social distancing protocols I invite you to consider taking this journey with me; either virtually via the pictures below or on your own on a Sunday evening to come!

Where it All Started In Colorado

On August 7th, 1846 a settlement of 61 recent converts of the church traveling from Mississippi made camp on the Arkansas River just east of present-day Pueblo.

They had come along the main Overland trail to Fort Laramie but discovered the first groups from Nauvoo had stopped for the winter at Council Bluffs. Rather than turn back to join them; a trapper named John Renshaw led them down to a small adobe trading fort called El Pueblo which was thought to be a more suitable place to spend the winter.

They made their camp about a half-mile south of El Pueblo.

While encamped in Pueblo the settlement was also joined by 3 different groups of the Mormon Battalion arriving between September 1846 and January 27th, 1847. With the arrival in January, the population of the colony reached 289 people.

While encamped this temporary colony was the first branch of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Colorado. The settlement is also widely believed to be the first Anglo settlement in what is now the state of Colorado. The settlement also was the home of the first anglo born child in Colorado; Sarah Emma Kartchner.

In April 1847, the first members of the settlement began their trek north to Fort Laramie where they were waiting when Brigham Young arrives on June 1847. By the fall of 1848, all the members of the church had left the Pueblo settlement.

When You Visit:

Click here for Google Maps. Nestled behind a city baseball diamond on an empty corner of the lot is a marker. The nearest public parking is at the Runyon Field Sports Complex.

Courtesy: KennethMays – Deseret News
Courtesy: Google Maps
Courtesy: KennethMays – Deseret News

“Mormons Are In Denver”

A clipping from the Rocky Mountain News Newspaper Monday, February 8th, 1897

The first official opening of the church in Colorado took place on December, 15th 1896 when John W. Taylor arrived in Denver with three other missionaries. At that time the mission was named the “Colorado Mission” and comprised the State of Colorado.

The first mission home and consequently the first building officially occupied by the church in Colorado is shown below. Its address or where it was located in Denver is not known although I found a home extremely similar near the Governor’s mansion on Pennsylvania st, I’m rather confident that the home shown below at which President Taylor lived is either no longer standing or is still hiding from me.

President Taylor remained the mission president until 1901 when Joseph A McRae was called. He served until 1909.

In 1904 the church built its first building in Colorado. The building would serve as the new mission home and the first chapel until 1917. That building is still standing and is located at the corner of Galapago St and 6th Ave.

Now apartments, this building was the first officially built by the church in Colorado in 1904.

On the end of the building, easiest to read from 6th avenue is a plaque erected June 1, 2000, for the 60th anniversary of the Denver Colorado Stake.

On April 1st, 1907 the mission name was changed to the “Western States Mission and encompassed several other neighboring states.

Bonus Places to Visit

Bent’s Old Fort National Historic Site sits east of the original Mormon settlement in Pueblo along the Arkansas river.

Although there is no marker about the Mormons at the Fort, they did have a lot of interactions with the site during their stay at Pueblo. Two of the Mississippi Saints from the colony; William Kartchner and James Harmom worked for the U.S. Army setting wagon tires.

Journal entries from members of the first detachment to separate from the Battalion, called the Higgins, or Family Detachment, mentions that after they separated from the main Battalion in present-day Kansas, they stopped for a couple of days before reaching Pueblo to use a forge to make repairs on their iron wagon tires. The only place along the Santa Fe Trail between Kansas and Pueblo with a forge that would enable them to do that was at Bent’s Fort. Therefore, it is safe to speculate that perhaps some of the women in the group may have visited the Fort, making them among the first Angelo women to be there. Finally, because the Battalion members at Pueblo were active members of the U.S. Army, they were authorized to draw rations from the Army’s food and supplies that were stored at the Fort, which they did on at least two occasions.

The Trappers Trail Marker is a marker that sits on the property of Adams County Historical Society located at 9601 Henderson Rd, Brighton, CO 80601.

Donated by members of the church, this marker tells the story of the “Trappers Trail” which was traveled primarily by trappers between Fort Laramie and Bent’s Fort in the 1800s.

Although this image doesn’t show it clearly, the right 3rd of the marker tells the story of the Mormon settlement in Pueblo that traveled this trail

It was along this trail that the members of the church from Mississippi traveled down to the settlement in Pueblo and likely along this same trail that they traveled back north in 1847 to join Brigham Young’s party.

That concludes my church history tour of Colorado!


On Thursday, March 5, 2020 the Longmont Stake of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints held their 14th annual Teacher Appreciation  Night.

Thirty-five students expressed their gratitude and awarded certificates of appreciation to 35 different teachers and mentors from around the St. Vrain Valley School District and elsewhere.

The evening began with our keynote speaker Carrie Adams who is the program director for the Silver Creek High School Leadership Academy. She started off the evening with an uplifting speech and by awarding the first certificate to her mentors and teachers.

Bitsy and her husband Ron Carlson had a positive impact in Carrie’s life at a critical time in her life at Boulder high school 40 years ago. This led to her life as an educator and coach.

Our MC’s for the evening were Seniors Austin Robison and Kerrigan Thornock. The crowd shed some tears and laughs as the Seniors each highlighted their special mentors. The evening concluded with a musical number by the Graduating Seniors called “Each Life That Touches ours for Good.”


Twenty-one local High School Seniors from eight area high schools were able to honor the teachers who had the greatest impact on their lives at a Teacher Appreciation Ceremony held Tuesday, March 3 at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints building on Lowell Boulevard in Broomfield.

Westminster Stake Senior Wyatt Eames and his parents along with his basketball coach Bryce Babcock and Mrs. Babcock

The Seniors, who all belong to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, were able to share tributes to the teachers they nominated and presented them with special certificates. The teachers taught a wide variety of subjects: calculus, physics, chemistry, literature, statistics, English, orchestra, music theory and more.

There were also various coaches and music teachers. Many principals also attended to support and honor the nominated teachers and their students. The tributes the students read were touching and left no doubt in anyone’s mind how hard these educators work to teach and mentor.

Sophie Hendrix said that Mr. James Hinkle, her middle school Spanish teacher, taught her that no one is too small to change the world for the better. Izabella Luna said, “She makes the whole world feel like home,” when speaking of her teacher, Ms. Kathy Zook.

Chase Esplin felt like his baseball team was a family thanks to his coach Mr. Ty Giordano. Amelia Curtis learned many life lessons in addition to how to play the piano from her piano teacher Ms. Yvette Mitchell.

One teacher helped a student through the tragic death of a friend. Another teacher continued to be an excellent teacher and mentor despite being diagnosed with cancer.

Several teachers inspired their students to pursue teaching as an occupation in the future. All of the teachers and coaches touched their students’ lives by listening to them and caring for them. The teachers were great at passing down academic knowledge but even better at letting kids know their worth.

The night ended with light refreshments and a chance for students and teachers to visit with each other. Those who attended the event were uplifted and given hope for the future. Our community is full of great teachers and great students.


Starting March 1, join thousands of individuals and take the #ShareHappiness Challenge!

With daily emails on how you can share happiness with loved ones, friends, co-workers, or even the people you bump into on the street, we’re excited to challenge you to put a smile on their face (and yours too!)

I invite you to participate in the #ShareHappiness Challenge during the month of March.  As we participate, happiness will come into our own lives as well as put a smile on the face of those we serve. 

Elder Thomas Priday

Download the JustServe app or sign up on our website to get started! Complete at least 10 challenges in March and you could win prizes. How?

Follow and tag @JustServe on instagram, and share your experiences by using #ShareHappiness to be entered for a chance to win, but more importantly, give back to those around you!

Visit JustServe.org/sharehappiness to take the #ShareHappiness Challenge and get 25 daily acts of kindness emailed straight to you!


Mayor Hancock, Shawn DeBerry Johnson, Elder Thomas T. Priday, and project lead Craig McIlroy present charity recipients from 2019 Giving Machines with checks.

The excitement of the holiday Giving Machines continued Thursday as five local charities gathered in Denver Mayor Hancock’s office. Those in attendance were all smiles – with good reason. In Denver’s inaugural year the Giving Machines surpassed all expectations. Denver area helped raise more than $750K for charitable organizations – and Thursday was the payday. If there was one theme word of the day, it was huge. The checks were huge, the payments were huge, and, best of all – the impact for those in need is huge.

Two volunteers from Catholic Charities pose with NBA Super Mascot Rocky

Catholic Charities’ Director of Communications and Marketing, Cheryl Talley, reported how excited they were to be part of the Giving Machines. Citing the 3,000 meals that were donated to the women they serve, “this is more than a meal. This provides more than nourishment. It provides hope, and a pathway. This is a huge, huge improvement for the lives of women here in Denver.” Other gift options available through the machines means hundred of families Catholic Charities serve will receive 10 days’ worth of groceries, a years worth of diapers, and thousands more blankets will be provided. They can even provide many with a mattresses and bedding. Their total donation received was $89,126.

A sample social media teaser for BCDI shows how easy it is to give a huge gift.

Black Child Development Institute- Denver, received more than 2,000 donations, making their total gift $68,398. That translates into thousands of books for children, hundreds of STEAM kits, fresh produce for thousands of children, and many, many children who can now attend early literacy boot camps. Cassandra Johnson, Denver Affiliate President, shared appreciation for their most popular gift- a 20-book at home “starter library,” which means “children will have increased literacy skills” and put on the path to better educational opportunities.

Linda Loflin-Pettit, Chair of the Board of Directors for The Rose Andom Center illustrated the huge impact their gift makes. Both research and anecdotal experience show that women facing domestic violence have large transportation obstacles to overcome, both in fleeing abuse and in traveling to centers of support. Thanks to the 2,500 bus passes given at the machines, Loflin-Pettit is convinced that lives will be saved. The Rose Andom Center, Denver’s first one-stop center for survivors of domestic violence received $56,479. Other gifts given included hundreds of personal care items and toys for children’s waiting rooms, well-woman exams, and counseling and legal advocacy for abuse victims.

A child smiles in front of the Giving Machines. Donations options for Mile High Ministries and the Rose Andom Center show behind him.

Mile High Ministries received $60,448. Their services can now provide thousands more meals, hundreds of hours of tutoring and adult education classes, and months of nights of safe shelter for families who need support. What did they have to say about this support? “We are enormously grateful,” reports Jeff Johnsen, Executive Director.

Though six charities were recipients of the Giving Machines, there may have been one or two whose items for sale were most talked about. After all, how often do you get to buy a piglet from a vending machine? Church World Services, one of the two global charities, was definitely a draw with its unique options like chicken and sheep. Over 3,500 visitors chose to buy chickens. Yet, all benefitted from the machines’ universal appeal. In their 6 weeks at Writer Square, the Denver Giving Machines saw more than 9,000 transactions from its visitors, donating more than 25,000 items.

The Jaussi family stops to Light the World through a gift at the Giving Machines.

Denver-based Water for People, the other global charity, had unique attractions of their own. Their top seller, the tiger-worm toilet, was donated 1,169 times. Chad Arthur, Chief Development Officer of Water for People, explained that tiger worms help prevent the spread of disease through the latrine system. “This will make a huge impact.” Other gift options means 500 wells and 900+ hand pumps will be given from this year’s donations, not to mention the very thing we take for granted – hand soap. Water for People received more than $200,146 from Denver’s giving.

Operating costs and credit card fees for the Giving Machines were covered by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The Church also covers a portion of administrative fees. Thursdays’ checks included the total donation from Denver Metro residents, and funds from The Church of Jesus Christ.

A donor buys a tiger-worm toilet for Water for People through the Giving Machines.

Though forecast to have modest success, Denver Area made its own way with the theme of “huge” and raised $753,069. Such success is sure to grow. Denver is set to host the Giving Machines in 2020, and we’ll see just how much bigger the impact can get. Look for their return to Writer Square from November 23, 2020 – January 4, 2021.

The Light the World campaign is an annual Christmas campaign designed to share love and service to everyone around.