I’m passionate about God, Christ, and life. In my personal and professional life, I seek to explore the many different dimensions of how God permeates all part of creation. I’ve been a pastor at Columbine since 1984. I started as the Associate Pastor for Youth and Christian Education. I mentored under Ken Biel who is now our Pastor Emeritus. As the church grew, so did my sense of call. In 1987 my call was changed to Associate for Congregational Nurture and Care. When Ken Biel retired in 1991 I was called, by an act of God, to be Senior Pastor of the Church. It has been my joy and challenge to serve with the other members of the staff and congregation.
I was born and raised in San Diego, California. I went to Whitworth College in Spokane, Washington, where I majored in Literature. It was at Whitworth that I met my wife Phoebe. We were married the day after graduation. Phoebe and I migrated to San Francisco where I went to San Francisco Theological Seminary and she went to The Dominical College in San Rafael. Upon graduating we moved to Denver and Columbine. I earned my Doctor in Ministry in 1998. Phoebe and I have enjoyed raising our three kids in beautiful Colorado where we enjoy horses, dogs, running, cycling, and all things outdoors.
Rev. Justin Spurlock
Associate Pastor / Pastor of Children, Youth, and Families
I’m the guy you see running around Columbine – one moment I’m up front giving announcements, next you might find me downstairs teaching kids, and then you will find me eating breakfast in Biel Hall. I like to be where the action is, and if I find things to be a bit boring or too quiet, I tend to make some noise and create some chaos – which is easy when you work with children, youth and families. When it’s not a Sunday morning, you might encounter the more serious side of my personality organizing programs, planning events, doing some pastoral counseling, sitting beside a hospital bed, or a whole host of other hats that come with the job of pastor.
I came to Columbine and Colorado in July 2011. I’ve served in churches all over the country – LITERALLY all over - Fort Wayne (IN), Tulsa (OK), Fresno (CA), and Chicago (IL). I’ve served as a youth pastor, bible teacher, family life director, and now here as Associate Pastor. For college, I attended Taylor University where I received a BA in Christian Ministries. In Fresno, I completed an MA in Organizational Leadership at Fresno Pacific University. In Chicago, I attended McCormick Theological Seminary where I received an MDiv.
Now the really important information – in 1998 I met Sarah at Taylor University and started dating the sixth week in our Freshman year. We married in 2001 and have had a ton of fun moving all over the country. We live here in the Columbine Valley with our amazing cocker spaniel Vanilla. Sarah and I are “foodies” – we love food and new dining experiences. We are addicted to Food Network and any other food show (i.e. Top Chef). In addition to food, we love long walks on the beach but since there is no beach within a day’s drive here in Colorado, we settle for walking the plethora of beautiful paths all around Denver.
Director of Music and Arts
I am a professional Music Director, Conductor, Composer and Accompanist. I have composed major choral works & musicals including: “Jesus, The Last Mile…”, “God’s Tombones”, “Just a Miracle”, “We’ll Beat the Odds”, and “Motherhood: The Agony & The Ectasy?”
I have over 200 productions, as Music Director, to my credit throughout my career. Some of my Broadway credits include: “The Lion King,” “Saturday Night Fever” and “Little Shop of Horrors”.
I am the proud father of Willow & Orion, and loving husband of Kristen. www.mitchsamu.com
My motto: “If not now, when?”
Lee Ann Smith
After moving to Colorado from the central coast of California, I began attending CUC as a sophomore in high school. I graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Accounting from the University of Denver, and worked predominantly intelecommunications before joining the staff of CUC. As Business Manager, I oversee the daily business operations of Columbine, including the financial aspects. In addition to being part of the CUC staff, I also volunteer with our Children, Youth & Families program. I love to spend time with my family, and travelling with my husband and two children, Audrey and Abel. It’s easy to describe what draws me to Columbine. It’s fun! I love how relaxed of an environment it is, and how much I smile and laugh when I’m here for worship, volunteering with the kids, or working. I’ve never experienced a community of people quite like Columbine!
Twenty + years ago, I interviewed with then-Associate Pastor Steve, while Ken Biel was in Germany, and with the search committee chair, Bob Kettle, for the position of church secretary. I said to myself, “I’ll try the job for six months and see how it goes.” Obviously, it went well. I love being your secretary! The position encompasses so many things - happy times, and sad times. I’ve seen your children grow up and I’ve helped bury a lot of very dear friends here at CUC. You are a very caring congregation and I thank you for the privilege of working at Columbine.
I graduated from Kansas State University with a degree in elementary education. My husband, Bill, and I have four adult children and nine grandsons.
I came to work at Columbine by way of volunteering one morning a week, after I lost my job with a Denver law firm in 2009. It eventually turned into my part-time position. I went to the University of Georgia, majored in Elementary Education, but when I did my student teaching, I discovered that I wasn’t cut out to teach and have been a paralegal most of my working career, with the exception of a 10 year stint at General Dynamics in San Diego. I have many interests and passions, some of which include my friends, animal welfare, art, jewelry design, cooking and gardening. Since I’ve become more and more involved here at church, Columbine and its people have become one of my passions.