StaffLike jazz musicians, our staff work collaboratively with volunteers in an improvisational style of shared leadership.
Mark Tidd dreamed of being an archaeologist digging up ancient bones and artifacts. He became a follower of Christ when he first heard about Jesus as a hippie up on the Hill in Boulder. After graduating from C.U. his plans changed from digging in the dirt to digging into the Word and the human soul.He received an M.Div from Calvin Theological Seminary and has been a pastor since 1984. In March, 2010 he lost his ordination in the Christian Reformed Church because of his beliefs and practice of the full inclusion of the LGBTQ community in the life of the church. He has been described as a “one trick pony” — he always finds himself preaching about grace, in one form or another. But, as he says, “If you only have one trick, grace is a doozy.”
Mark is married to attorney Leanne DeVos, whom he claims is much smarter than he and wins all their arguments. His only respite is that a half hour later she feels guilty. They have five grown children. For decades he has been brutal to his 1971 Martin D-18 guitar he claims to love despite signs to the contrary. He and Leanne have been fully vested in restoring their Highlands area home, garden and neighborhood.
Born in Albuquerque, Rachael made the pilgrimage 444 miles north to Denver in 1999, and while she misses her green chile and hot air balloons in October, she loves the vibe of living in the heart of Denver. Rachael studied music at UC Denver and the school of “real life,” tutored on-the-job by some of Denver’s most celebrated jazz musicians. Rachael is also the Board Chair for W/, providing leadership, collaboration, and vision for this network of faith leaders around the country.
Rachael married James McClair in 2002 and together they are raising two lively, musical and hilarious boys. In her spare (Ha!) time, Rachael enjoys being outdoors, walking, biking and generally enjoying the beauty Denver and the surrounding area have to offer.
Jeana hails from the great city of Chicago, but would never live there again. As a graduate of the University of Denver, she considers the DU neighborhood home. Jeana has a Master’s Degree in Biblical Counseling from Colorado Christian University and holds a licensed practical counselor certification. She spent many years serving in the local church and working in the mental health field, until both these endeavors threatened to make her crazy. (Well, mostly church threatened to make her crazy.) A very long season away from church has helped her discover the heart of God in sweet and rich ways. Jeana’s belief in God can be boiled down to, “anything that violates kindness, violates God.” Jeana’s great desire is to help kids and adults alike discover what it is they love, and go after it (though kids pretty much know it already) So Jeana just hopes to help them keep that beauty within themselves into adulthood. Her great loves include her husband, Tim, two daughters, Fiona and Aria, and BBC Masterpiece mysteries.
Caio is a Brazilian who dearly loves and misses his home country, but who nevertheless enjoys living in Colorado and exploring this mountainous land. He has been living in the United States for 10 years and during this time Caio has discovered a very strong passion for theological discourse, which led him to enroll at Fuller Theological Seminary and obtain a Masters of Divinity. And now, one of his favorite hobbies is to sit around for hours at a time and talk about things that no one else finds interesting, such as why the book of Ecclesiastes is so awesome. But below the surface of his geekiness, Caio carries the commitment to reclaim the biblical text for the post-modern reader (including our youth) by seeing it as a conversational partner as opposed to seeing it as a teacher with all the right answers; and this partner, it so happens, is asking many of the same questions we still ask today — questions about what it means to be a person in a universe that so often seems indifferent to the many struggles we experience daily. Caio is married to his lovely better half, Mariel and has a kitty cat he absolutely adores. Her name is Socksy Mama.
Born and raised in Denver, Melissa fell in love with all the beauty Colorado has to offer and decided if she could help it she would never leave. She grew up attending preschool at church and found her love of Jesus and his teachings through her Nana’s gentle guidance. In 2008, Melissa graduated from the Art Institute of Colorado with a BA in Industrial Design. A year later she and her then boyfriend, now husband, bought a house in the Highlands neighborhood right down the street from the original location of the Highlands Church on Lowell. After walking up for service one day, Melissa knew as soon as she walked in that she had finally found her church home. Now a family of four, Melissa and her husband spend most of their time trying to keep up with their silly two-year-old and very happy 7-month-old. In the summer, you can usually find them at their favorite place in the world: the cabin her great-grandparents built in Grand Lake. In her limited free time, Melissa enjoys reading, crocheting, knitting, sewing and being up to her eyebrows in all things craft.
Mia was born in Massachusetts but grew up in Denver where she also met and married her best friend and high school sweetheart – Chris. After college and spending some time in the Army, Mia had enough of the rest of the country and came running back to Colorado in 2012. She never plans on leaving. After moving back, she spent awhile “church shopping” and is so happy to have found Highlands Church so that her family, including four kids, can celebrate both the saving and accepting power of Jesus with the wonderful Highlands community. Mia absolutely adores children and has been involved with various children’s ministries and programs for over a decade. After many years working as a project manager, Mia was blessed and honored to be able to leave the corporate world and start homeschooling her children while also working as a nanny part-time. Since taking this step, Mia has become more aware of what makes her tick and has been able to grow closer to her family and deeper in her faith than she ever thought possible. She looks forward to continuing this discovery process. In her free time, Mia enjoys reading and anything outdoors – no matter what the weather.
Stephanie is a Colorado native, and lived here all her life. She has three grown children (no grandchildren yet), so the infants and toddlers are a great place to “borrow” some. She loves all things creative, but especially loves the way oil paint slides across the canvas. As a Spiritual Director, she feels like the creative process is an excellent way to connect to the Divine. Stephanie volunteers at Denver Women’s Corrections, and leads walks with “Walk to Connect”, she is also part of our “Be Still” team as she finds herself drawn to the quieter side of things. Other loves include reading, gardening,cooking & eating good food, yoga, and fly fishing. Stephanie finds God everywhere she looks, but especially while taking a walk (she just got back from walking about 500 miles across Spain!).
Jolene is a Midwestern girl from Indiana who moved to Colorado in August of 2008 and have never regretted her choice. She has a B.A. in Spanish Language and Literature from Ashland University (OH). While her degree is in Spanish, her heart has always been working with kids and teens and has been in a non-profit working with youth development programs for over 10 years. After moving to Colorado, she was invited to Highlands and even though was “not doing church” anymore due to some painful experiences working with the church, something about Highlands stuck. Her passion for seeing youth succeed and grow as individuals drives her to continue pushing for a better world and community. She enjoys camping, off-roading, gardening and reading. Looking back over the years, she’s learned that life is meant to be an adventure, full of love and lived to the fullest. Jolene is married to her best friend, Patrick in 2014 and have a dog named Porter.
Melissa (Mel) grew up in Texas, Alabama, New York AND Colorado. She’s lived here permanently since 1987 so considers herself a “native” at this point. Married to Vincent (Vin) since 2001 with two teenagers and a new pup, she currently lives in SE Denver. In addition to helping at Highlands Church with administrative tasks, she’s also co-founder of Take Back Your Time, LLC, a meeting planning company. She is excited to be a part of the admin team at Highlands Church!
Cindy Wells grew up in Dighton, KS, a farming community located 4.5 hours east and south of Denver. She learned the importance of community and service while growing up in this town of 1,000.
Cindy received a Masters Degree in Counseling from Emporia State University. She has worked in mental health since 1985 and currently has a private practice in Denver. She considers it an honor and privilege to share in the sacred journey of others.
She has been with her partner Sara since 1990. The two moved to Denver a few years later and have embraced CO as their “adult home.” They enjoy a variety of activities together and most value time spent with family and friends.
Cindy’s spiritual journey started at home as she learned about love from her mom – the person she credits for being the greatest human example of unconditional love. Cindy grew up in the First Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and was involved in a variety of churches before finding her way to Highlands in September 2014.
She is passionate about relationships and experiences the love and presence of God while interacting and connecting with others. She values a spiritual community that is warm and welcoming, healthy, filled with opportunities to build relationships, and one that offers a variety of ways to get involved.
After being a very curious skeptic for years, Jamie decided to follow Jesus at an Easter sunrise service right before she went off to college. She studied music education and has been teaching and directing choirs ever since. She and her husband Scott moved to Denver in 2009 and were lucky to find Highlands Church right as it was starting weekly services. Jamie started the Highlands Church Choir, has served on the worship team, spends time weekly with her Deepen Group family, and helped get the racial justice work off the ground and running. Before her two lovely daughters were born, she spent a lot of time as a singer/songwriter. She has a passion for educational equity, a love of reading, and enjoys biking, playing board games, and spending time with family. Jamie assists Co-Pastor Rachael McClair by coordinating the music and musicians for Sunday services as well as occasionally leading worship.
Lindsay is a Minnesota native who enjoys a good hockey game and traditional tater tot hot dish. She has lived in Denver for 4 years and has a two and a half year old son. When she is not living out her passion for coffee and hospitality, she works as a special education teacher at the high school level in Parker. In her free time she enjoys skiing, adult coloring books, riding her motorcycle, and ingesting large amounts of caffeine.
From the moment she stepped into Highlands she felt at home and free to both accept her own truth as well as let go of pervious concepts she held about God, religion, and church. Lindsay deeply cares about connecting with others and loves to cheer them on their own journeys.
A designer, a creative mind and entrepreneur with more than twenty three years of experience in advertising and design, has worked in Honduras, the United States, East Africa and Canada. Started working in the church at the age of 17. Founder of Industrialista, a studio developing marketing, branding, interactive, social media, collateral, environmental and facility branding, for a wide variety of businesses and organizations, especially faith communities and NGOs. And possessing a tremendous design vision for spaces with special attention to design with an authentic, industrial, soulful and artistic approach. Well knowledgeable of the arts and acquainted with the art world, he’s a contemporary art collector himself. Fluent in English, Spanish, and French is liaison between Hispanophone, Anglophone and Francophone cultures. He lives with his husband in Washington D.C., they are dads of five beautiful kids.