Our Ministers and Staff
Rev. Wendy Williams
A native of Wisconsin, Wendy came to Colorado following a six-year ministry in Flagstaff, Arizona. Through a strong shared ministry, that congregation grew in membership, commitment, and identity. Prior to entering the ministry, Wendy practiced law for 15 years. That experience is evident in her inspiring pulpit presence and commitment to justice.
Wendy is passionate about Unitarian Universalism as a path for people who want to be awake and committed to act from love in a world both broken and beautiful. She shares the ministry with a talented staff and dynamic congregation to create a church community where everyone is included and all are urged to Deepen, Connect, and Engage.
Rev. Eric Banner
Eric hails from Manhattan, Kansas, and lives in Denver with his wife, Emily, and his daughters, Olivia, Julia and Maia. His first career was an environmental scientist specializing in water quality. Prior to coming to JUC, Eric served the Unitarian Universalist Church of Greeley, following an internship at another large and dynamic church, All Souls Unitarian in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
Rev. Keith Arnold
Minister of Music
Keith has served at Jefferson Unitarian Church since 1997. Keith earned a doctorate in the history and performance of choral music from the University of Colorado. He has led Unitarian Universalist music ministry programs in Nashville, Tennessee; Boulder, and Golden..Under his direction, the JUC Choir was invited to represent Colorado in the Washington, D.C., National Cathedral in 2005, and members of the JUC Choir sang at Carnegie Hall in 2010. At the denominational level, Keith conducted the General Assembly Choir (2001 and 2011) and Singers of the Living Tradition (2007), co-chaired a UU Musicians Network Conference (2005), and served as president of the Unitarian Universalist Musicians’ Network (2008-2010).
Outside the church, Keith conducts the One World Singers, a chorus dedicated to promoting understanding through performance of music from many cultures, and the Voices of Light Chamber Choir. Keith studied Renaissance music in England with Peter Phillips and conducted choirs on tour to Bulgaria, England, Scotland, Wales, Ireland, Canada, and China.
Director of Faith Exploration
Jules Jaramillo comes to Jefferson Unitarian Church with much experience and excitement for religious education. She has been religious educator since 2006 and has a special love for family ministry and creating a place of belonging in our church community and faith for young people. She believes that religious education is for all ages and encourages everyone to be engaged on a faith development journey throughout their whole lives.
Prior to religious education, Jules was a social worker holding various positions in non-profit organizations including working with homeless teens and children, adults and children on the autism spectrum, and providing family support services. Jules brings her experience as a social worker to her religious education work and believes that the power of love, community, and Unitarian Universalist values allows us to live transformational lives.
Melinda (she/her/hers) comes to us from Cleveland, Ohio, where she lived most of her life. She is a second year Master of Divinity student at Meadville Lombard Theological School. Prior to leaving her first career to become a seminarian Melinda was an IT professional specializing in technical writing, training, and service desk support. She holds a Master of Arts in Interdisciplinary Studies and Master of Business Administration in Entrepreneurship, both from small liberal arts institutions in Ohio.
A long-time Unitarian Universalist, Melinda acknowledged her call to the ministry after a powerful, albeit short, conversation with a beloved mentor. Through discernment in spiritual practice and speaking with the minister of her home congregation she decided to follow her call. She applied for, and was accepted to, Meadville Lombard at that point.
Melinda is single and has no human children, however is surrounded by wonderful friends and mentors. She is also a dedicated mom to her cat son, a rescue named Mojo.
Rev. Robert T. Latham
Robert is a native Texan, having been born in Wichita Falls. He grew up in the Southern Baptist tradition. He began preaching at the age of 13, was leading revival meetings during his mid-teens and was ordained at age 18. Robert has a bachelor’s degree from Baylor University in Waco, Texas, and two master of theology degrees.
As a result of a challenging educational experience in seminary, his religious view of reality was transformed. And as a result of an equally shattering experience in Vietnam, his cultural perspectives were also transformed. In the wake of these transformations, he discovered Unitarian Universalism and entered its professional ministry in 1969.
Robert served as Senior Minister of JUC from 1988 to 1997. He was conferred as Minister Emeritus on Jan. 31, 2016.
Jen Simon (they/them, she/her), MDiv, serves as the Community minister for The Mountain Top BIPOC Community and CO UUs for Racial Justice. Jen’s calling is to provide space for BIPOC UUs and their families to live into the fullness of their spiritual growth and expression, as well as to provide resources to our UU communities as they do the work of dismantling white supremacy within and without. Jen has been welcomed into preliminary fellowship by the Ministerial Fellowship Committee and will be ordained on May 15, 2021.
Rev. Kelly Dignan
Rev. Kelly Dignan is a Unitarian Universalist community minister, serving as a spiritual director, teacher and justice chaplain. She lives in Denver, Colorado and is involved in multi-faith immigration, LGBTQ, racial, and climate justice efforts there. Thanks to video technology, her spiritual directees can be found all over the country. She teaches UU History as an adjunct instructor at Iliff School of Theology and is on the Board of Directors of UU Wellspring. Before shifting her focus to the community, Kelly served three Colorado UU congregations.
Music Ministry Team
Pianist/Assistant Choir Director
Adam began playing the piano in 1978. He was trained classically and competed and performed throughout his childhood. He received his bachelor of music degree in piano performance in 2002 from CU Boulder, where he studied with Doris Lehnert, Robert Spillman, and David Korevaar. He went on to earn a master’s degree in jazz performance and pedagogy, also from CU Boulder. Adam has since been part of many bands, combos, and other musical projects. His music has taken him to Germany, Italy, Alaska, New York, San Francisco, Boston, Chicago, and many other venues across the US. In 2010, he released an album, entitled “Triple Leaf” on the Dazzle Recordings label. His band, Adam Revell & Essence Rider, performs in the Denver metro area, and he also works as a freelance jazz pianist, producer, and composer.
Mrs. Laura Lizut, MM, started taking formal piano lessons at age 9 and starting accompanying choirs in high school. She received her Bachelor of Music degree at Northern Arizona University and Masters of Music at Illinois State University. She has received scholarships, assistantships, and has won various awards during her studies. She is recognized as a STAR award winner from the Music Teachers Nations Association (MTNA). Laura is a former college professor and has prepared music majors and non-majors for piano proficiencies and college recitals. She has also worked with children teaching general music to elementary school students. Laura currently teaches privately in her home studio and conducts group lessons at schools across the area. From 2007-2009, Laura played for the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Flagstaff where she first met and worked with Rev. Wendy Williams. She is happy and excited to be reunited with her and to join the Music Ministry team at JUC!
Carol Wilsey has been the Administrator since the fall of 2012. She joined JUC in 1995 and held many volunteer roles prior to being employed here (initially as the Assistant to the Administrator, part-time beginning in 2003). She has a master of nonprofit management degree from Regis University. Her prior career path was as an actuary for an employee benefit consulting firm and a stint in the middle teaching math at Red Rocks Community College.
Darcy is a Denver native who attended JUC with her grandparents as a child. After moving to the Golden area with her husband and two children, she became a member in 2012. She is overjoyed at the opportunity to use her experience in marketing and business development to further the mission of her beloved church community.
Children, Youth, and Family Ministry Coordinator
Denard comes to us with years of experience in youth ministry at his home Pentecostal church, where he developed leadership skills, a deeper love for church family, and an understanding of community. In 2016, he was introduced to Unitarian Universalism by his partner, AJ Blackwood- where he discovered a LGBTQ welcoming faith community. He has continued his calling in youth ministry at Prairie UU, Mountain District cluster developing collaborative youth programming, the Mountain Top UU, and Colorado’s UUs for Racial Justice. Denard is looking forward to working with Jefferson Unitarian Church’s staff, children, youth, and families as we continue to create a program that engages the entire family
Membership and Adult Faith Coordinator
Katie believes in the power of connection to make the world a better place. Originally from Kansas, she found Unitarian Universalism in 2010, while working on her Masters of Public Administration at Indiana University, Indianapolis. She has been a member of three UU churches, most recently making Jefferson Unitarian Church her spiritual home. After spending ten years in nonprofit management, Katie is excited to use her expertise in collaboration and facilitation to weave connections and support adult faith formation at JUC.
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