Our Origin

In 2009, Highlands Church was founded upon the belief that when God created the world, and human beings in particular, God said, “This is good.” Our origin story is one of goodness. We believe this goodness applies to all of humanity, regardless of gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, race, abled or differently-abled bodies. As Father Richard Rohr says, “We cannot create our union with God. It is objectively already given. There’s nothing we can do or not do to increase or decrease God’s love for us.”  
We believe God’s welcome into love is extravagant, and for all. Extending this welcome is the desired outcome for the mission to which we are called: to do justice, love kindness, and walk humbly with God. We believe that when we embody this mission, we will be an extension of God’s welcome in the world. 

what makes us different

Our Guiding Principles

The Apostles creed

I believe in God, the Father Almighty,the Creator of heaven and earth, and in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord:

Who was conceived of the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate,was crucified, died, and was buried.

The third day He arose again from the dead.He ascended into heaven and sits at the right hand of God the Father Almighty,and He will come to judge the living and the dead.

I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic* church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and life everlasting.

* universal

Our Ethos

Our Ethos describes the community we strive to be:

Married, divorced and single here,
it’s one family that mingles here.

Conservative and liberal here,
we’ve all gotta give a little here.

Big and small here, 
there’s room for us all here.

Doubt and believe here,
we all can receive here.

LGBTQ and straight here,
there’s no hate here

Non-binary, woman and man here,
everyone can here.

Whatever your race here,
for all of us grace here.

In imitation of the ridiculous love Almighty God has for each of us and all of us,
let us live and love without labels!

™ Mark Tidd, Highlands Church Denver. May be used with permission.

Our Community Covenant

We believe how we do what we do is as important as what we do. Our Community Covenant guides us in our relationships with each other, and is the way we evaluate relational health.

Become Self-Aware

  • Be present
  • Be authentic
  • Be clear about your intentions and expectations

Seek God

  • In service
  • In silence & contemplation
  • In gratitude, discernment & confession
  • In prayer for each other, our city, & the world

Create Space for All

  • Listen attentively
  • Everyone has permission to speak-up
  • Be aware of missing voices & invite them to speak

Cultivate Trust

  • Believe the best
  • Keep short accounts
  • Speak your truth with love
  • Love beyond agreement

Respect Each Other

  • Do what you say you’ll do
  • Share decision-making power
  • Allow everyone to process at their own pace
  • Take responsibility for the impact of your words and actions

We strengthen the health of the church through shared servant-leadership and dependence on God our Creator, Jesus Christ our Redeemer,
the Holy Spirit, our Sustainer, and on each other.

Ephesians 4:11-16, Ephesians 4:25-5:2, Romans 12:9-12, Romans 13:8-10, Luke 5:15-16, Philippians 2:1-11

Shared leadership

At Highlands Church, leadership is structured as shared, collaborative, and non-hierarchical

Like jazz musicians, the leadership team takes turns leading, following, and listening to each other and to God. 

meet our pastors

Rachael mcclair

she/her | Co-Pastor

Rachael is a Co-Pastor at Highlands Church, which she co-planted in 2009. She is also a founding Board member of W/, a collective of faith and community leaders who are exploring and leading in theologically progressive spaces. (withcollective.org) She was born and raised in Albuquerque, NM, and is – as her husband James describes – an absolute green chile snob. Rachael is a musician and leader called to curate sacred spaces in which people connect with God and can process their lived experiences in a spiritual and communal context. Rachael studied Music Performance at UNM and CU Denver, and under the tutelage of some of Denver’s finest jazz musicians. She is the very proud mom of two teenage sons, and the reluctant but thoroughly won-over owner of Mondo the Wonder Dog.

Jenny Morgan

she/her | Co Pastor

The Rev. Dr. Jenny Morgan is a percussionist, drummer, cyclist, pastor, and adventurer. She earned a BA in music from Northwestern University, an MA from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, and a DMin from Fuller Theological Seminary. After serving in Youth for Christ for 23 years, she was ordained in the United Church of Christ. In 2010, Jenny began pastoring at Highlands Church North Denver where they practice Trinitarian-inspired, shared leadership. Tama is her choice of drums and Felt is the bike she currently rides. Jenny and her partner adore their 13 nieces and nephews and they enjoy traveling the world.

our staff

Brett Bussen

he/him | Communications Director

Sam Carwyn

she/her | Families Minister

Mia clements

she/her | Operations Director

Jolene Funkhouser

she/her | Children’s Soul Care Coordinator

Karen goldman

she/her | Hospitality Coordinator

Monique Johnson

she/her | Events Manager

Amber Mansfield

she/her | Administrator

Amber Parrish

she/her | Youth Co-Director

hugh long

he/him | Facilities Manager

Trevar tessman

he/him | Youth Co-Director

Mark Tidd

he/him | Retired Founding Pastor

jamie Wolf

she/her | Music Director