Staff

Like 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. He can be reached at mark@highlandschurchdenver.org.

Jenny Morgan likes playing Tama drums and she’s an avid road cyclist. Jenny grew up a coal miner’s daughter, the oldest of four kids, in a small town outside of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. She discovered a real and lasting relationship with Jesus Christ sometime early in the 70’s under the influence of the Roman Catholic Church, some Pentecostal friends, and reading the Bible voraciously.

She loves people, particularly her 13 nieces and nephews, most of whom live far too far away. She earned a bachelors degree in music from Northwestern University, a master’s degree in religion from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, and a Doctor of Ministry from Fuller Theological Seminary. After serving happily for 23 years in Youth for Christ/Campus Life, along with doing a bunch of writing, speaking, and teaching, she finally became a pastor. Jenny enjoys wine and cheese with her life partner anywhere near Florence, Italy. She lives her life as though God really does adore her – and she believes God adores everyone else too. Some of her best memories are working alongside amazing people in Chicago, as well as Sri Lanka, The West Indies, Egypt, all over the continent of Africa, and in Denver, Colorado. She can be reached at jmorgan@highlandschurchdenver.org.

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. She serves Highlands Church by curating and presiding over the weekly Sunday gatherings, supporting and providing leadership to the Staff, overseeing our Bookkeeper and coming alongside various volunteer-led ministry teams. Rachael is also involved in OPEN (Organizing Progressive, Evangelical and Non-Denominational leaders and communities), providing leadership, collaboration and vision for this bourgeoning organization.
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. She can be reached at jeana@highlandschurchdenver.org.

Born in Wyoming, Andrea made Denver her home at the age of 8. She has always had a love for education and “the enlightenment of the masses.” She earned her journalism degree from the University of Missouri-Columbia, where she also minored in Español and environmental studies. After serving as an Environmental Education Peace Corps Volunteer in Paraguay, she returned to Denver to complete her teacher licensure in Elementary Education at the University of Colorado-Denver. She taught in Denver Public Schools for five years before taking a huge leap of faith and entering the unpaid career/calling of early childhood homeschooling with her children, Dalia and Rafael. When she isn’t working in her role as “Mama Taxi,” Andrea loves reading, dancing, eating, hanging out with her many relatives, and exploring the wilderness—urban and otherwise—with her husband Joshua and kiddos. Andrea’s spiritual journey has included children’s or youth ministry for nearly two decades, and feels blessed to join the Highlands Soul Care Team and family! She can be reached at andrea@highlandschurchdenver.org.

Jill Altieri grew up outside of Philadelphia, PA. She moved to Denver in 2001 in search of adventures in the mountains. Jill is married to Michelle Neuroth and they have two beautiful children, Mia and Cruzer. Jill completed her Masters Degree in Social Work in 2005 from Colorado State University. Two years later she became a Licensed Clinical Social Worker. She has worked in community mental health, the Denver Public School District and has her own private practice as a therapist in Northwest Denver. Jill has been working with adolescents and youth for as long as she can remember. She has a passion for helping youth develop a deep sense of value rooted in God’s abundant love for them. She desires to help them grow into God-loving, people-loving, change- makers. In her free time, Jill is outdoors as much as possible. She loves camping, biking, snowboarding, running, traveling, cooking, and spending time with her family and friends. She can be reached at jill@highlandschurchdenver.org.

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. She can be reached at facilities@highlandschurchdenver.org.

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. She can be reached at admin@highlandschurchdenver.org.

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!) She can be reached at stephanie@highlandschurchdenver.org.

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! She can be reached at mtoner@highlandschurchdenver.org.

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.

Trevar Tessman, Middle School Youth Coordinator

Trevar Tessman, Middle School Youth Coordinator

Trevar Tessman grew up in Riverton, Wyoming. Was raised with a mix of Christian traditions from Catholic School to the holy rollin’, Pentecostals. Which, got him to United Kingdom for a conversion therapy program that didn’t work very well. And led him to come out, leave the program and run to Orlando, Florida for the boys and the sun.
February, 2013 after being in Denver for 3 months he was sitting in the back row of Highland’s Church and had an idea “You should come out to God”. Since that day he realized the calling he had felt wasn’t denied to him because of his sexuality and is passionate on letting everyone know “Jesus, loves your QUEER self!”
Trevar will complete in March 2019 a certification from Fuller Youth Institute in Urban Youth Ministry, and is in the process of completing a bachelors degree in Political Science with a minor in Gender/Sexualities studies from Metropolitan State University.
Trevar works with youth  by co-leading the Interfaith Youth Camp every summer, co-leading OWL which is a sexual education for youth and writing curriculum for progressive youth ministry. He currently leads a bible study for 18+ on Friday nights called URS which studies scripture in an UnClobbered way (http://www.highlandschurchdenver.org/events/urs-group/all/). Leads the junior high youth group at Highlands Church and is helping develop Left Hand Churches (Longmont, CO) youth group.

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.