UUs to hear about role with Pagosa Outreach Connection

By Pauline Benetti
Special to The PREVIEW
This Sunday, Jean Smith will remind us of the work of the Pagosa Outreach Connection (POC) and the Pagosa Unitarian Universalist Fellowship’s (PUUF) role in that work.
As our representative with POC, Smith has seen firsthand the dark shadow of crippling poverty that lies beneath the outward beauty of majestic mountains and running river that bless Pagosa Country.
The POC mission states, “The organization is a partnership of individuals and organizations that provide emergency assistance to people in need. Our goal is to empower people and families to move toward independence and self-sufficiency, offering, not a hand out, but a helping hand.”
That’s a goal in line with the first UU guiding principle: “The inherent worth and dignity of every person.”
The participating organizations, which include churches, foundations, service organizations and Archuleta County Department of Human Services, meet weekly to review the requests for assistance.
Smith said, “The most disturbing fact about poverty in Archuleta County is that despite all our wealth, there are people in Pagosa living in their cars and unheated trailers in the winter.”
Smith will share with us some of the poignant stories she has heard in this crucial work in our community.
Smith has lived in Pagosa since 2002. She is professor emerita of the University of Nebraska, where she taught general and analytical chemistry and did NIH-funded research on the proteins in the lens of the eye.
In Pagosa, Smith has been PUUF’s representative to POC since January 2014. She has also served on boards of several local groups including Habitat for Humanity, the Pagosa Springs Arts Council, the Ross Aragon Community Center, Connecting Pakistani and American Communities, and Seeds of Learning, and is a Medicare counselor at the Senior Center. Smith has participated in numerous musical events in Pagosa. She currently sings in the choir at the Episcopal church and sometimes is organist for the service. Along with Jean Broderick, she is half of the “A Pair of Jeans” cello-piano duo.
PUUF extends an invitation to all to attend our service — whether you seek community, encouragement to spiritual growth; freedom to seek truth wherever it resides; or simply a quiet interlude of reflection.
We are a welcoming congregation and invite everyone to share in our faith community. We cherish diversity and foster a safe environment for all. Service begins at 10:30 a.m. and, following that, we invite you to share refreshments and conversation.
Find us in Unit B-15 of the Greenbriar Plaza. From North Pagosa Boulevard, turn right onto Park Avenue and right again into Greenbriar Plaza, then turn left and continue around the complex until you see the Unitarian Universalist sign as it faces the mountains. Come in and join us. You are welcome.
Children’s Religious Explorations begin again in September and information is available by contacting afrancis_@hotmail.com.
For further information about PUUF, visit pagosauu.org or call 731-7900.

This story was posted on August 4, 2018.