About Us

Let's get to know each other.
Dr. Steve Poos-Benson
Senior Pastor

Adventure, imagination, passion, and love are a few adjectives to describe the life of Steve Poos-Benson. Through his speaking, teaching, writing, and insight, Steve lights a spark of life and a desire to embrace all the world offers. His writing is a reflection of his thirty-year career as a pastor, spiritual guide, and life coach. Through his work as Senior Pastor of Columbine United Church he has become a global voice for progressive Christianity. He builds bridges of understanding between people of all faith backgrounds. People follow Steve through his weekly messages on YouTube, Facebook and Twitter, as well as his weekly blog, Cowboy Jesus.

While fun and lively, Steve’s work is based upon solid academics. He earned his BA from Whitworth University in Spokane Washington, his Masters of Divinity from San Francisco Theological Seminary, and his doctorate from McCormick Theological Seminary.

In April 1999, Steve was at the center of a watershed moment in U.S. history - the shootings at Columbine High School. He was a first responder to the scene. The shootings defined his life for the next decade. Steve worked with families whose children had been killed or wounded. He also ministered to the family of one of the shooters. As a part of his work, he was interviewed by Time Magazine to assess the progress of healing in the community. He addressed the nation twice as a part of the five- and ten-year anniversary ceremonies.

In the years following the shootings, thousands sought his help to heal and regain a sense of purpose. Over the years he developed principles that enabled people to redirect their lives according to their divine purpose. In the wake of trauma, he encouraged people to see that their lives were far from over, but could move in new and creative ways.

Steve enjoys an active life outside of his work. With his wife Phoebe, they raised three children, now young adults. They live in the mountains of Colorado in the log home they both built. Steve loves all things athletic. He swims, bikes, runs, hikes, and practices yoga. He studies martial arts with the rank of Black Belt. Weekend afternoons finds him either scaling a fourteen’er, or riding his Palomino horse, Magic.

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Mitch Samu
Director and Minister of Music

Music Director at CUC since 2008, I am actually a trained Classical Organist and never actually took piano lessons. (Don’t tell the boss that.) I have been involved in and worked for churches since I was 14 years old living on Long Island New York. I have been blessed to play keyboards on Broadway, conducting National Tours, coaching and playing for Tony Award Winning actresses. My passion is composing. I am the composer of a 15-movement Oratorio, “Jesus, the last mile…” and the creator of “ A Kiss For My Father A Kiss For My Daughter”. I am a Motivational Speaker, Creator of “Mitch Talks” and the very proud husband of Kristen and father of Orion and Willow.

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Jane Ritterson
Associate Pastor and Minister of Care and Nurture

I am a native of Wilmington, Delaware, the First State! John and I have been married over 40 years and are the parents of two – a son and a daughter, and the grandparents of two pre-school ages boys. I felt a call to ministry later in life and attended Lancaster Theological Seminary in Lancaster, PA (an institution of the UCC), however, I am ordained as a Minister of Word and Sacrament in the Presbyterian Church USA. I have served several churches in northern Delaware and southeastern Pennsylvania, as well as worked as a Hospice Chaplain in Delaware. We moved here in May of 2015, the same as I begun my tenure at Columbine. My primary responsibilities include pastoral care and worship leadership. For fun, John and I love to travel, ride our bicycles, and hike. We especially enjoying spending time with our two grandsons. I also love to practice yoga and enjoy reading – either a good novel, a biography, or a book about death and dying. I have enjoyed each church where I have served, but CUC is definitely the most innovative and fun place I have ever worked. The entire staff is dynamic. Sundays are my favorite day of the week!

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Tag Worley
Minister of Facilities and Technology

Hailing from the great state of Kansas with a degree in Media Communications from the University of Kansas (Go Jayhawks!). Tag brings a lifelong wealth of experience and knowledge to his position as Columbine's Facility Manager and Tech Specialist. With a passionate desire to “fix things”, Tag embraces every duty and challenge with an intense focus to keep the building current, comfortable, and attractive for every member and guest that enters. You may also encounter Tag at the sound desk on Sunday mornings managing the audio/visual and streaming aspects of our services. When not serving the church in his assigned capacity, you may catch Tag in and around town at various music theatre venues performing music as a drummer/percussionist. Tag loves traveling and seeing the world with his flight attendant wife, Alann.  They both are now enjoying the “empty nest” after raising two fine young men, Tucker and Dylan, who are pursuing their individual passions out in the world.

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Dani Way
Minister of Children and Youth Programs

Hello! My name is Dani and I have been on staff here at CUC for about a year as the Children's & Youth Minister. Columbine is also the church where I was baptized and attended Sunday School and Youth Group up until I graduated from Chatfield Senior High. I studied Business & Sports Management at Grand Canyon University in Phoenix, Arizona. Other than working with and advocating for children & teenagers, my passions include, the outdoors, travel, running, yoga, writing, service, and laughing! CUC has always been a place for me to call home and I am honored to be giving back to a church that has profoundly impacted my faith and my life. "

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Lindsey Stevenson
Minister of Finance and Business Manager
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Tom Rehling
Associate Pastor

Tom grew up in Millstadt, IL, a small town near St. Louis His father was a coal miner and his mother was a home maker. He graduated from Belleville Township High School, earned his B.A. from Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, his M.Div. and Doctorate of Ministry from Eden Theological Seminary in Webster Groves, MO. Tom was ordained as a UCC minister in 1973. He served churches in Jewell, IA; Chappaqua, NY; and Waterloo, IA. In 1988 he was called to serve as an Associate Conference Minister for the Florida Conf UCC and in 1998 was called to the Rocky Mountain Conference where he served as the Conference Minister until his retirement in 2013.

Tom and his wife Betsy have been members at Columbine United Church since 2003. They have three children and six grandchildren. In the summer of 2017 Tom joined the staff of CUC as a part time Associate Minister.

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Worship

 

Columbine Easter-307-1At Columbine United Church, we celebrate the presence of God through lively and inspirational music, creative liturgy, meaningful prayer, and dynamic preaching.  Worship is the expression of our relationship with Jesus Christ.  Through worship, we not only come into God’s presence, but we also contemplate what it means to be a disciple of Jesus.

All are invited to our Sunday worship services!  Those who are full of faith, as well as those who question their doubts and beliefs, will find a worship sanctuary at CUC.

Sunday Worship Schedule
8:00 a.m Traditional Worship
9:10 a.m. Adult Christian Education
10:00 a.m. Contemporary Worship

Our traditional worship at 8:00 AM combines hymns, the organ, choirs and soloists, and a formal liturgy.  The Adult Christian Education hour at 9:10 AM typically relates directly to the sermon for the week and is led by one of our pastors.  At our contemporary worship at 10:00 AM, the music is upbeat and lively, led by The Band. Children’s Sunday School and Nursery care are offered during the Contemporary worship.

 

Our History

P1040003-Copy-225x300Columbine United Church started in a small living room.  Fifteen people sat on chairs and couches dreaming of a congregation that was going to someday become a thriving part of the Columbine community.  Together, they felt the call of God to minister to the people of this new suburb.  It was more than just a dream, it was a reality to which they would dedicate their lives.  This humble group of fifteen, some still in our congregation, built the foundation of the church that we now know and love.

In 1968, CUC was founded as a United Methodist Church.  The first group of members worked hard to build and expand their dream, but met great challenges.  Their fledgling congregation struggled to expand beyond their initial group.  They even considered dissolving as a congregation.  The spark for the group came when they were approached by the three denominations, The Presbyterian Church (USA), the United Methodist, and the United Church of Christ, to form an ecumenical congregation.  These denominations were working to plant three new ecumenical churches in the Denver metro area – one in Montbello, one in Aurora, and a third in the Columbine Valley.  It was this spark that ignited the ministry that would soon flourish into Columbine United Church.

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What caught the soul of people who were invited to this small group to worship was the strong sense of a welcoming community. Everyone knew each other’s names and they genuinely cared about the individuals and families that lived and worked around them.  The small group began to expand and grow.  The congregation bought their first piece of property on a small bluff above Platte Canyon Road.  They built a Montessori school, and then met in the school building (which currently serves as our staff offices) on Sunday morning and rearranged the chairs back for school on Monday morning.

The congregation took another major leap of faith when they decided to build a sanctuary.  When the denominations denied funding for the project because they lacked a large membership, several of the members took out second mortgages on their homes to secure the necessary financing.  These members talk fondly about the first Christmas Eve held in their still-under-construction sanctuary.  They were bundled in down coats and sat on bales of hay and folding chairs.

The congregation grew and expanded as the Columbine neighborhoods expanded.  Several pastors led the congregation, beginning with Rev. Doug Bale and then Rev. Jim Brock.  CUC went through a large expansion when Rev. Ken Biel was hired in 1977.  Ken took the small church and grew it to a thriving 600-member congregation.  CUC was known for its dynamic ministry that welcomed people from all different theological and denominational backgrounds.  When Ken retired in 1991, then Associate Pastor, Steve Poos-Benson, was hired as the Senior Pastor and Head of Staff.  Under Steve’s tenure, CUC took its next step of growth to its current size of 1200 members. Throughout the history of CUC, there have been many strong pastoral and lay leaders which have led the congregation.
The seeds of the congregation, planted back in its conception, still continue to flourish.  CUC is known for its welcoming community that embraces people of all theological and denominational backgrounds.  The dream of the first members, to build a congregation that would provide dynamic worship and serve its community, is realized every day of the week.  The present congregation is a living testimony to what God can do through a small group of people, who feel the call of Christ in their lives.

Today, we are still affiliated with the Presbyterian Church (USA), the United Church of Christ and The United Methodist Church.

Who We Are

Columbine United Church is a Christ-centered, theologically open, ecumenical congregation where faith and life meet.

As a community, we value unconditional positive regard, the process of life-long faith development, the joyful sharing of resources, and the actualizing of our divine potential.

Our vision is that all people seeking a relationship with God can come to Columbine United Church and find a welcoming community that will accept them, care for them, provide the means by which they can explore and celebrate their relationship with God, and be challenged to live their faith in accordance with the teachings of Jesus Christ.

The Mission of Columbine United Church is to inspire and sustain a faith driven church environment where members, friends and seekers of all ages may explore and develop their personal relationship with God. We seek to grow our faith through the teachings of Jesus Christ and the study of scripture, critical thought and theological exploration, and in fellowship with others, regardless of racial, ethnic or religious background, gender, or sexual orientation.

Frequently Asked Questions

What do you believe about scripture?

We believe the scripture is inspired by God and God continues to speak through them.  We take the scriptures seriously, not literally.

What does CUC believe about gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender persons?

Because we believe that all God’s children are full participants in the Body of Christ, we encourage the full participation of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered people in the life of our church.  At CUC, our LGBT brothers and sisters are fully involved in congregational life.

What local and global missions do you support?

CUC has a very active mission program.  We have one-time mission commitments and we have mission relationships that have spanned the years.  We support local programs such as food banks, homeless ministries, and building projects.  We send church members on mission projects around the world and support targeted initiatives, including Africa, Central and South America.

How do I get to know other people at CUC?

Come and enjoy – we want to get to know you!  There are so many ways to participate and to connect with people.  Among the fellowship events that we have are a Homecoming celebration in September, Music Concerts, Cowboy Sunday, and various Holiday celebrations.  Volunteering with CUC is also an excellent way to meet people!  Contact the church office to find out what opportunities are currently available at the church, or through our Mission Committee.