This past Tuesday was my last official staff meeting before I semi-retire in July to 25% time. Our team had so many beautiful words to bless me with as I make this transition. Part of what made their thoughtful words so meaningful to me is that it was clear they all “got me”; they understand what makes me tick and they are probably more aware than most people in our church what my weaknesses are.

I think lots of us have a certain measure of fear that if people really got to know us they would find out that we are frauds and we are just faking our way through life! I felt none of that fear at my last staff meeting; I felt both known and deeply loved.

We also offered parting blessings to our Youth Director, Jill Altieri and to Trevar Tessman who have worked together serving our young people in such extraordinary ways.

I’ve been in weekly staff meetings for over 35 years. That’s a lot of meetings. I don’t think I will miss the meetings but I sure as heck will miss being with the wonderful crew that staffs Highlands Church North Denver. Several of our staff members have said at different times that they were nervous when they were first hired because they loved HCND and were afraid that maybe when they got to see “behind the curtain”, they’d see some of the same ol’ power plays and other nasty stuff that happens in so many businesses, schools and other organizations. Thankfully, everyone who had that fear has said that they found just the opposite. I could not be more proud of and grateful for the staff that serves Highland Church North Denver.

Tuesday morning I had so many affirmations spoken to my face. In the afternoon, however, I had to have a procedure on my prostate which means the doctor was talking to my derriere the whole time! He was curious about our church so I recounted to him the foundational story of how being with the family of a seven year old transgender boy in Boulder changed my life, got me excommunicated from my denomination and was the reason I wrote our Ethos and wanted to start Highlands Church. Apparently the urologist is used to having conversations under these unusual kinds of circumstances because he paused at one point and said to my butt, “Thank you for what you have done. It is so very important”

In one day I was richly blessed at both ends.

Nothing but love,

Mark