About Columbine United
Meet Our Team
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.
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.
Our Values and Beliefs
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.
We believe the scripture is inspired by God and God continues to speak through them. We take the scriptures seriously, not literally.
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.
Columbine 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.
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.