Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Minutes for GVIN Meeting- August 15, 2019

Minutes for GVIN Meeting- August 15, 2019

 A story shared by Aaron- A king and his shoes!  How things can run by themselves when we all work together and share the burden.

Kellene Mortensen Carlene Goldthwaite, Aaron Michelson, Kaila Armbruster, Wendy Jones, Joan Brighton, Sherry Cole, Ché Bou-Matar

Review :
 Farmer’s Market:  A booth will be set up joining GVIN and Together Colorado on Sept 12- 5:30-8:30.  It is fully staffed, but any are welcome to come and support. Materials from GVIN need to be brought that evening to be distributed.

Interfaith Awareness Week:
All felt it was a success—more activities and participation than last year and see it as a work in progress.  We need to have more outreach to faith leaders and congregations so members know when and what is going on.
Ideas for next year:  A movie held at the Avalon?  A panel of Interfaith leaders for Q & A or discussions on various topics.  Set dates earlier and more publicity.

New Business:  Proclamations  were given to Carlene from ALC to have displayed at their church.  These will travel and another faith group will receive it next month.

ThnksGVIN- Will be held at Shepherd of the Valley Lutheran Church
3133 F Road.  7:00 pm November 26, 2019

Treasure position:
Ché Bou-Matar  has officially stepped down as acting Treasure.  Joan Brighton was nominated by Aaron Brachfeld- GVIN Vice President –with a unanimous second and also a unanimous vote.  Joan Brighton will occupy the Treasurer position for GVIN immediately and will be transitioned by Ché. During the next month.

Fall Foods Day
This year’s food drive will be October 19 from 9-12.  Sherry Cole will gather charities wish lists and Kellene will make copies, gather bags and bring to GVIN to distribute within our faith communities.

Other Topics- Discussed the dynamics of hunger, and being able to access necessity items.   I
INVITATION:  As you gather food and form drives within your communities please consider GVIN as your recipient!  We will gladly distribute foods and items to appropriate charities to help alleviate hunger, and cold. 

Monday, July 29, 2019

Change in MOVIE EVENT for Interfaith Awareness Week

(July 29, 2019)   The movie showing for "The Human Family Tree" will be hosted by American Lutheran Church (ALC) on WEDNESDAY, Aug. 7 at 7:00 p.m. ALC is located at 361 26-1/2 Road in north Grand Junction.  [ This was previously scheduled for Thursday evening at another location. ]  

GVIN is extremely grateful for ALC's willingness to host this event. We encourage all our member churches, groups, and faith leaders to support this showing and the other events during Interfaith Awareness Week.

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Meeting Minutes July 18, 2019

GVIN meeting on July 18, 2019
at Peace & Justice (atrium conference room)

The meeting began by honoring those who showed up on time.

Comment was made on Rev. Kaila's T-shirt, a quote from Harry Potter, "I don't go looking for trouble, trouble finds me."

Rev. Kaila opened meeting with a prayer, asking that everyone be present on this holy ground at this holy moment to do our work together.

Present at the meeting were:

Carla, New Thought Colorado
Audrey, Unity GJ
Kaila, ALC
Joe, Dharma Mountain Zen Center, visiting
Tom, Dharma Mountain Zen Center, visiting
Stan, Koinonia
Aaron, Loka Hatha Yoga
Che, Islamic Center
Carlene, ALC
Gale Averez, Church of Rev. Moon
Wendy Jones, Unitarian Universalist
Sherry, Global Heart
Dave, Ohr Shalom
Joan, Baha'i
Chuck McDaniel, visiting in his capacity as a City Councilor

We first discussed the Farmers Market: additional volunteers were needed to staff the booth, hand out bookmarks, and invite people to Interfaith week. The booth is outside the Goat and Clover restaurant. Different members agreed to bring ice water and the banner. The next booth will be September 12.

President Carla noticed that the state records now indicate GVIN is headquartered at her home address.

Treasurer Che presented that there is $2528.58 in our account. Treasurer Che noticed he had been serving for two years, and wants to give someone else the opportunity to serve as Treasurer: please consider volunteering. An election will be scheduled at the next meeting.

A report was given on the Pride Parade: it was very good. Carla recommends everyone participate in the future. It was good to see such support of the LGBTQIA community. Carlene reports that their new pastor says that Grand Junction is more supportive of the LGBTQIA community than where she came from in California. It was remarked that Councilman Chuck McDaniel's supportive presence at the parade was appreciated.

Interfaith Awareness Week is coming. Councilman McDaniel took a group photo. A press release was approved, as was a bulletin. Aaron volunteered to send these to the radio and television stations. And put it on the website. Carla will put it on FB and send it to the GJ Sentinel and GVIN members.

Councilman Chuck McDaniel said the Proclamation for Interfaith Awareness week was approved and related the way this was accomplished. This was met with applause. Councilman McDaniel wants to deliver the proclamation personally at Interfaith Week, reading it aloud. He was welcomed to do so.

Carlene announced that the Town of Fruita is also looking at such a proclamation and will let GVIN know of progress. It may likely happen on Tuesday, Aug. 6th at 7pm. Carlene also announced that a host church has been found for the Human Family Reunion & Picnic. Press releases and other materials will be updated to reflect the inclusion of First Congregational United Church of Christ.

There will be a blood drive during Interfaith Awareness Week. Apparently, even if your blood type is not needed, if you volunteer to give, you still qualify to get a pint of iced cream. Next year, we will try to get the bloodmobile.

A discussion was made on who the fundraising during Interfaith Awareness Week should benefit (love offerings collected at movie events). It was decided unanimously that CIRC - Colorado Immigration Rights Coalition - would benefit from our fundraising due to its public education efforts aligning with that of GVIN’s. That information will be included in the press release.

Dave then opened a discussion, regarding his observations on the mistreatment of Muslims and Islam-aphobia in general, both here in Grand Junction, in Colorado, and as a nation. He compared it to his experiences of anti-semitism. He posed the questions about what more we can do to support our Muslim neighbors. There was some speculation on the origin and cause of the mistreatment.

As the discussion progressed, GVIN members expressed personal reactions, optimism (or not), the transformative nature of society, what support has/has not been experienced locally, and what actions we can take to help and/or educate the community about our GVIN brothers and sisters of this faith or others. The conversation included the human rights abuses on the border, racism in our nation’s history and today, and what we (GVIN members) can do.

Suggestions included:
To invite guest speakers to our congregations and integrate Interfaith topics into our communities.
Put the symbols of other faiths on your websites and in your bulletins. Embrace the interfaith movement and differing cultures. Expand personal horizons.
Talk to people about these topics; gain understanding. It takes courage for these discussions.
Explore and confront personal biases and reactions regarding those who are “different” whether in religious beliefs, color, gender, etc.
Educate ourselves and those around us. Rev. Wendy offered curriculum to help with this; UU offers training. Stan said Harvard also has free training on implicit bias.
Participate in helping members within the GVIN community and the Grand Junction area, too. This is a good way to help one another - to encourage each other to seek help and support.

Those present then posed for a group photo to be used for promotional purposes of Interfaith Awareness Week and on social media.

The meeting gradually came to a close in friendship as attendees had to leave. Conversations continued even an hour later on how to be better friends, and how we are similar...

Minutes respectfully submitted by, Aaron with the help of Carla

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

GVIN Expands 2nd Annual Interfaith Awareness Week

The Grand Valley Interfaith Network (GVIN) is coordinating several activities this year as part of its second annual “Interfaith Awareness Week” (August 4-10). The Grand Junction City Council approved a Proclamation on July 17th in recognition of this week-long event.

GVIN members / faith leaders and their respective congregations will participate in these inclusive activities that encourage learning about religious diversity and similarities. The public is invited to attend and support these activities.

The events allow GVIN to raise awareness about the organization and the way its faith leaders interact with, befriend, and support one another, regardless of a preferred religion, spiritual belief, or secular affiliation. It is a learning opportunity for all involved and is carried out with mutual respect and curiosity.

Details for the week’s events can be found on GVIN’s social media page, "invitation and schedule" (sent out in the "special edition" newsletter on 7/24/19) and includes information about:
  • interfaith messages;
  • a blood drive (donating throughout the week at St. Mary’s Blood Center on Patterson, 970-298-2555);
  • three movies at GVIN members’ churches (see synopsis below) –

                 - Aug. 5: "One Light. Many Candles." at Shepherd Valley Lutheran Church, 3133 F (Patterson);
                 - Aug. 8: "The Human Family Tree" at Unity Grand Junction, 3205 N. 12th Street;
                 - Aug. 9: "The Gate: Dawn of the Baha'i Faith" at Unitarian Universalist Congregation of the Grand Valley, 536 Ouray Ave.; and

                   a “Human Family Reunion & Potluck Picnic” on Saturday (Aug. 10... 11:30a to 1:00p) at First Congregational United Church of Christ, 1425 N. 5th Street. Informal discussions with various faith leaders are encouraged during the picnic. Open discussions are meant to highlight the similarities many faiths have in common and to provide a forum to answer questions regarding religious practices.
Love offerings collected at the movie events will be donated to the Colorado Immigrant Rights Coalition (CIRC).

The Colorado Immigrant Rights Coalition’s (CIRC) believes in the inherent dignity and human rights of every person, regardless of immigration status. CIRC achieves this mission through non-partisan civic engagement, public education, and advocating for workable, fair and humane immigration policies. CIRC envisions a society in which all people are treated with dignity and respect and have equal access to fair and just work, housing, health care, and education and the opportunity to live united with family members. Visit for more information.

The Grand Valley Interfaith Network was originally incorporated on November 2, 1977. It consists of historical churches and congregations, faith-based agencies, chaplaincies, and other established faith traditions in the Grand Valley of Western Colorado.

The purpose of the GVIN is to foster friendship among its members, be examples of religious or spiritual coexistence, and to demonstrate constructive communication, collaboration, and cooperation between the faith and alternative communities of the Grand Valley.

For more information about GVIN, its members, or other details, visit their website at,  Facebook page (@GrandValleyInterfaithNetwork) or send an email to: .

MOVIE DESCRIPTIONS - all start at 7:00 p.m.
Aug. 5:  "One Light. Many Candles." (60 min) - Rev. Betty became aware of the need for greater spiritual inclusivity among the large and culturally diverse student body at Northfield Mount Hermon School. She held monthly interfaith services with students of various faiths, reading from their holy books and accompanied by music indigenous to other cultures.

Aug. 8:  "The Human Family Tree" (1 h 33 min) - On a single day on a single street, with the DNA of just a couple of hundred random people, National Geographic Channel sets out to trace the ancestral footsteps of all humanity.

Aug. 9:  "The Gate: Dawn of the Baha'i Faith (60 min) - When a former tech entrepreneur declared himself a Bahá’i, he felt compelled to bring awareness to his new faith. But since members are not allowed to proselytize, he set off to make a documentary about the creation of the Bahá’i faith and its prophet the Báb.

Saturday, June 29, 2019

Inter-religious sharing group lunch

Siblings of Faith,

An Inter-religious Sharing Group is forming and we'd love for you to be a part of it! Our first gathering was last month hosted by Pastor Pat Lewis at Fruita United Methodist and we had 12 of us attend! It was beautiful!

The next gathering will be Thursday, July 11th, from 11:30am - 1:30 pm. It will be hosted by (me) Pastor Kaila Armbruster of Shepherd of the Valley Lutheran Church at 3133 F (Patterson) Rd, Grand Junction, CO 81504.   Tel. 970-434-3119 or my cell 480-760-5614.

We will begin to get to know one another over good food provided by all of us via a potluck dinner. Please bring a dish to share that can feed 5 people. For the non-cooks or busy people, the food does not need to come out of your home kitchen. Just bring something yummy!  A main dish, side dish or dessert. Bring whatever your faith, cultural or health tradition allows.

Each of us will have a chance to share who we are, what faith we belong to, and a little bit about our personal spiritual journey. Here are 3 questions for us to discuss: Come prepared to answer one or all three:

Have you ever felt stereotyped because of your religious belief or lack of belief? Describe your experiences or the experience of someone you know.

Have you ever felt that the media portrays your religious tradition or other traditions inaccurately? Give examples.

I have heard religious diversity described as a “beautiful mosaic.” What would a society look like that values religious pluralism? Give an example of a rich religiously diverse and pluralistic environment you have read about, have observed, or been a part of. 

We will also be given a tour of the Shepherd of the Valley and will learn briefly of its history.

The hope is that we can meet monthly, each place of worship takes a turn to host, each host chooses the topic and mode of sharing. We believe that true world peace cannot come about without respect and understanding among the world's religions. Obviously, we will not agree on everything, but we can listen and learn how God has been working through each community of faith.

Kindly RSVP to me or to Antonio and Gale Alves, Lay Ministers of the Family Federation for World Peace and representatives of Women's Federation for World Peace: or 303-999-9268. Call or text. 

God's Peace & Love,

Pastor Kaila Armbruster
Shepherd of the Valley Lutheran Church
3133 F Road Grand Junction, CO 81504
Office: 970-434-3119
Cell: 480-760-5614

Friday, May 24, 2019

GVIN Meeting Minutes - May 16, 2019

GVIN Minutes--May 16, 2019

In attendance:
Sherry Cole-Global Heart
Kellene Mortensen- Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
Carla Ryan-Colorado Center for Conscious Learning
Dave Edwards-Congregation of Ohr Shalom
Joan Brighton-Bahái Faith GJ
Wendy Jones-Unitarian Universalists Congregation

Meeting opened with Love- Sherry Cole

Reminded us that so many good things are going on over the years and that is very satisfying!

*We have received much thanks from participants receiving foods from the April 27 th food drive. Catholic Outreach weighed theirs and reported they received over 900 lbs!!! So thanks to all the GJ folks and congregations for participating!

*Discussion regarding farmer’s market and booth sharing. Reviewed pricing and logistics. Together Colorado is already looking and applying. We talked about joining with them and Wendy Jones will be the liaison to see if that is a possibility. Also talked about what we would have as our goal—the diversity of faiths, but coming together as one community and letting: “Love win”! We need to drown out hate! Let love be the louder voice! Talked about creating a book mark to share and pass out at the booth.

*Pride Fest Parade: June 23
11:30 Gathering
12:30 Parade
Carla Ryan will fill out application- no fees
Discussed having GVIN banner lead out with other congregations and faith groups marching behind, but together as one…..Love Wins!

* Interfaith Awareness Team -
Will meet to organize the August 4-10 activities- discussion about a Human Family reunion, blood drive, music…more to come

* Celebration with our neighbors—join together on events that are important to them. Talked about end of fast days with Baháis, and end of Ramadan. We need to support, love and be one with our fellow faiths.

*Newsletter—please send announcements or important events you would like included to Carla Ryan. We can support each other this way. Again—Love wins!

No change to treasure until Che Bou-Matar returns from his travels in late June. There were no oppositions or additions to nominations form the April meeting-

The slate is accepted by a unanimous vote-
Carla Ryan- President
Aaron Brachfeld Michelson: Vice President
Kellene Mortensen- Secretary
Che Bou-Matar-Treasure

Future meetings will continue to be held at Grand Valley Peace and Justice and on the 3 rd Thursday at 11:30 until further notified. All are welcome!

Dave from Ohr Shalom let us know that they could use some kitchen supplies in their newly renovated kitchen.

GVIN Meeting Minutes April 18, 2019

GVIN Minutes
April 18, 2019

Sherry Cole, Kellene Mortensen, Carla Ryan, Gretchen Annan, Jay Mashburn , Stan
McNeese, Joan Brighton, Carlene Goldthwaite, Aaron Michelson

Welcome: Sherry Cole
There is room for all! Thank you for coming!

Opening with Prayer: Kellene Mortensen

April Foods Day- April 27 th 9:00-12:00

A lot of good energy surrounding this event and positive stories shared

Calendaring: 4/27 is Earth Day—we need to be good stewards. Talk about the “whys” and “if “ we would participate this year- not time to pull resources together at this time. Also same day as Food drive.

Next year—talked about ideas for give aways if we had a booth

*Book marks, affirmations, potted plants—asking for donations to support GVIN

Pride Fest: June 15-16
No charge for parade
Charge for exhibit table—Ideas were to have GVIN banner as an organization, but all faiths to represent individually to promote togetherness and working together as a whole.

August 4-10—Interfaith Awareness Week.—will form a committee Carlene proposed moving ThanksGVIN to this time frame. No final determination was made. Talked about keeping it in November because of long standing tradition, but adding events to Interfaith week.

Idea from Aaron---Human Family Reunion!!! A picnic in the park which includes us all!

Carlene also proposed the blood drive again as well as a musical evening of sharing.

Sherry also added that speakers would be a nice touch as well.

Officers were nominated – A vote will take place at the May 16 th meeting
Carla Ryan- president
Aaron Michelson- Vice Pres
Kellene Mortensen- Secretary
Che Bou-Matar- Treasure

A big thanks to Carla Ryan for the newsletter. It will also be posted to Face Book
and the web sight.