The world has turned a bit upside down. Despite attempts at normalcy, COVID-19 is front and center. Busy, popular hang outs are strangely quiet, families on walks make wide berth for passersby, and general traffic is much lighter than usual. 

The good news, though, is that there is always good news. Charity in action is a constant. Signs of the goodness of others, and the ways humanity shows loving kindness appear daily. 

One simple method of continual service is seen through the birth of the Pray Act Trust movement (see PrayActTrust.com or follow #PrayActTrust on social) begun by Denver’s local clergy leaders. Each day of April brings an opportunity to join in group prayer (via public conference call), perform an individual act of service, and show trust in God throughout the process. Examples of service range from doing yard work for a neighbor, calling someone you haven’t talked to in awhile, or even chalking the neighborhood sidewalk with messages of hope and optimism. 

Pastor Del Phillips of The House Worship Center has taken the lead on the initiative. He reports, “Finding triumph in the midst of tragedy is not unfamiliar to people of faith.  In moments of tragedy we discover what is inside of us. The present pandemic tragedy has disclosed we are all born from the same flesh and blood fabric when faced with a virus that ignores race, creed, or color.  We have learned that people are willing to put themselves in harm’s way knowing there is no way to avoid the commitment they made to put others before themselves.  This tragedy has produced evidence to prove when we want to work together, working together empowers us to Pray, Act, and to Trust God.”

Another quiet way that service has been provided is the recent arrival of 9,600 rolls of toilet paper. The most publicized staple to be missing from shelves, toilet paper has become the hallmark of preparedness in this pandemic. Blessedly, coordination between The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and Denver Mayor Hancock’s Faith Council helps alleviate the problem for high risk citizens in the Denver area. Local non-profit senior centers will now be able to provide basic toiletry needs for thousands of people. 

Craig McIlroy, Director of Denver South Area Communication Council was on hand to help with  a delivery of a busload of 100 boxes of toilet paper to a senior living center. Having also helped coordinate the arrival of large food orders to local food banks, he is being the goodness in action. Unheralded by most, but very much appreciated, these gracious acts of service are given without expectation of reciprocity. Of the experience McIlroy reports, “It’s been a heartwarming experience. The ability to do something that means so much to others was really special.” 

Between the prayers, simple daily service, and the bus filled with toilet paper, all stories simply add to the illustration of living charity. While the COVID-19 case numbers grow, so does something else: people showing up with love. In spite of things turning upside down or backwards, facing towards the Savior continues to manifest in showing love for one another. 


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


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.


You have probably heard by now that this year Denver will be a host city for the much sought after “Giving Machines.”

Some of the items available in a Giving Machine in 2018

What follows is a summary of the core information about the Giving Machines in Denver this year.

Where Are The Machines Located?

3 Machines will be installed in a single location in Downtown Denver. They will be hosted at Writer Square on the 16th St Mall. The address is 1504 Larimer Street. Click here for more information about the location, parking, and public transportation.

When Can I Visit The Machines?

The machines will be officially opened at 11 am on Nov 26th and will then be available daily from 9 am to 11 pm through January 1st.

How Do The Machines Work?

The machines are set up just like a vending machine. Foam cards are in the vending machine racks that represent the individual items available to donate.

When you make a donation at the machine one of the cards representing the item(s) you donated will fall down into a collection area.

The actual donations are counted electronically and the individual charities receive the donation checks from The Church of Jesus Christ after the new year.

What Can I Donate At The Machines?

At the machines, six different charities are represented and each has five items available that you can donate. The six charities include 4 local organizations and two global ones.

Charities:

  • Black Child Development Institute
  • Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Denver
  • Rose Andom Center
  • Mile High Ministries
  • Water for People
  • CWS Global

Click here to learn more about each organization.

Items available for donation range in cost from $3 to $300 and any single transaction is limited to $1500.

Click here to see the full detailed list of every item available for donation.

How Much Of My Donation Will The Charity Receive?

100% of your donation will go toward the thing you donated. For an example of you donate a pig, which is a $100 donation here is what happens with those funds:

You pay $100. Credit card merchants charge a transaction fee that varies between 2 and 5% so for example if the fee were 5% then $95 would be received into the LDS Charities fund.

The church covers that transaction fee and provides $100 to the designated charity.

If that charity has administrative fees or costs necessary in order to get the piglet to the end consumer those will also be covered by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints up to 10% (and the charities do not have administrative costs in excess of 10%). So the Church would cut a check to the charity for $110 and $100 of that $110 will purchase piglets.

The long story short is that your exact dollar donation amount will go toward the thing you donated.

What Forms Of Payment Are Accepted?

All major credit cards are accepted. You cannot donate using cash or check.

Can I Donate Without Visiting The Machines?

Each of the charities represented accepts donations directly. If you are unable to visit the machines in person we encourage you to contact one or more of these charities directly to make a donation.

There is no way to donate via the machines without visiting the machines

How Can I Prepare For My Visit To The Machines?

If possible visit the machines during the day. During evening hours and weekends, lines are expected and wait times will be longer.

Visit this website and plan out your donation in detail to limit how long it will take you to make your actual donation at the machines. Given the anticipated wait lines, making your donation plans in advance will help limit how long others will have to wait in line.

Plan to snap a few pictures and share your experience with your friends and networks on social media and via other electronic communication!

How Can I Volunteer And Help With The Machines?

Volunteers from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints have already been assigned to man the machines and help visitors make their donations.

If you are interested in bringing a large group, providing music for those visiting the machines, handing out materials, or otherwise contributing to the effort please contact your Stake’s Public Affairs Director or fill out the contact form at the bottom of this webpage.

The biggest and most significant way to support the Giving Machines effort is to invite a friend or neighbor to visit the machines with you and make a donation. Then share your experience with others.

Lastly, remember the giving machines are a small part of the larger #LightTheWorld campaign of the Church, encouraging all people worldwide to serve others the way Jesus Christ did.

Visit lighttheworld.org and learn more about how you can spread the light of Christ this holiday season!


In the largest gathering of conservatives outside of Washington, D.C., Elder Michael D. Jones, Area Seventy, joined many faith leaders at the Western Conservative Summit. He was included in the reading and signing of the Williamsburg Charter. Read on for a snapshot of what transpired July 12 – 13. Don’t miss the video links as well!

VIDEO: Elder Jones Reads and Signs Williamsburg Charter

LAKEWOOD, CO— At the recent Western Conservative Summit, Roman Catholic, Evangelical, Seventh-day Adventist, Hispanic, African American, Sikh, Muslim, Jewish, Lebanese, and Latter-day Saints religious leaders stood side by side on the stage, along with Colorado Christian University President Dr. Donald Sweeting, and pledged their commitment to defending religious freedom for all people.

The words they spoke were a reaffirmation of the Williamsburg Charter, written and signed by Republican and Democratic leaders, as well as leaders from a variety of faiths and backgrounds in 1988. Principle number one of the charter says, “Religious liberty, freedom of conscience, is a precious, fundamental and inalienable right. A society is only as just and free as it is respectful of this right for its smallest minorities and least popular communities.” Many attendees to the Western Conservative Summit also signed the Williamsburg Charter.

“We are proud to stand for the religious freedom and freedom of conscience of all faiths and no faith. America did not create religious freedom, religious freedom created America,” said Jeff Hunt, Chairman of the Western Conservative Summit.
“We are grateful to be joined by significant faith leaders of many different faith communities from our state in agreement with the Williamsburg Charter and the religious freedom and freedom of conscience for all,” said Dr. Donald Sweeting, President of Colorado Christian University.

Signers of the Williamsburg Charter include:
Dr. Donald Sweeting, President of Colorado Christian University; Biff Gore, Highline Community Church; Tim McTavish, Seventh Day Adventist Church; Gerard Abiassaf, St. Rafka Mission of Hope and Mercy Church; Reverend Ruben Rodriguez, Mountair Christian Church; Elder Michael D. Jones, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints; Rabbi Hillel Goldberg, PhD, Intermountain Jewish Newspaper; Ismail Akbulut, Mosaic Foundation; Mr. Tejwant Singh Mangat, Colorado Sikh Sabha Temple; The Most Reverend Samuel J. Aquila, Archbishop of Denver.

VIDEO: Western Conservative Summit 2019 – YouTube Playlist

Credit: Western Conservative Summit of the Centennial Institute


Missionaries serving in the Denver Stake participated in a day of service early on July 20th at Bronco stadium for the Cystic Fibrosis Climb 2019. 

Over 500 people participated in running and walking inside around the stadium and climbing over 3600 steps for the cause. Participants ranged from professional step racers to friends, families together with babies on their backs and very young children. 

The missionaries served as the route marshalls to show the way around the stadium as participants climbed up and down the stairs.

In this the 10th annual CF Climb, the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation continued to lead the charge in finding a cure. This year over $140,000 was raised at the event!

To learn more about the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation visit https://www.cff.org/


On Saturday, April 27, 2019, members of the Denver, Front Range and Arvada Stakes–joined by ten full-time missionaries–participated in a special Denver Days kick-off event at Inspiration Point Park. 

Based on Mayor Michael Hancock’s vision of “a city where neighbors not only [know] their neighbors but as a result [feel] safer and more connected to the communities they call home,” The city created Denver Days, “a program….that encourages neighbors to get to know their neighbors by hosting block parties, picnics, and service projects with the focus on small, organic gatherings.”

(See https://www.denvergov.org/content/denvergov/en/denver-days.html)

Organized by Denver’s Department of Parks and Recreation and Office of Neighborhood Engagement, with further sponsorship support from Comcast Cable, Saturday’s event at Inspiration Point Park commenced with opening remarks from various City officials, including Mayor Hancock, as well as remarks from former U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar. 

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On April 11, 2019, accompanied by his wife Marva, Elder Thomas T. Priday of the Seventy attended and was among various leaders recognized in opening remarks at the 2019 Annual Dialogue and Friendship Dinner hosted by Multicultural Mosaic Foundation and Abrahamic Initiative. 

This special evening program, held at historic St. John’s Episcopal Cathedral in Denver, provided a wonderful opportunity for making and deepening relationships with interfaith friends in the community–including many members of the local Christian, Jewish and Muslim communities.

Among the many guests and interfaith leaders in attendance included The Reverend Jim Gonia, bishop of the Rocky Mountain Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America (and his wife Kim, also an ordained ELCA pastor), Imam Muhammad Kolila of the Downtown Denver Islamic Center, Brother Ismael Akbulut (President) and Gulsum Katmer (Executive Director) of the Multicultural Mosaic Foundation, The Very Reverend Richard Lawson (Dean) of St. John’s Episcopal Cathedral, Osnat Fox (senior Israeli emissary) of Jewish Colorado and the Reverend Bonita Bock, member of the Metro Denver Faith Leaders Caucus and former director of Wartburg College West, and emcee of the dinner program. 

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