Ethos Video by Left Hand Youth Group member, Clare Gaddis.
Left Hand is a progressive Christian church rooted in a Trinitarian understanding of God with roots in the evangelical traditions of worship. While making plenty of room for people with a wide spectrum of beliefs, the teaching of the new church will be grounded in the beliefs about God consistent with the early followers of Jesus as expressed in the Apostle’s Creed:
(catholic in this context simply means universal)
As a community, we are committed to living relationally according to the values of the Highlands Church ethos, which will be spoken at every gathering of the new church:
As a church committed to racial reconciliation, it is our intent for our name to honor Chief Nawath, translated Left Hand, after whom Left Hand Creek and Left Hand Canyon are named. Chief Nawath, was a leader of the Southern Arapaho people in what is now called the Boulder Valley. Chief Nawath lived from 1825 to 1864. Even though their land was protected by treaty from white intruders, during the Colorado Gold Rush, Chief Nawath welcomed prospectors into their territory. Despite his generosity he was among those slaughtered by the Third Colorado Cavalry in the infamous Sand Creek Massacre.
We chose the name Left Hand Community Church, because our location is on the south side of Longmont, Colorado. Left Hand Canyon is midway between Lyons and Boulder, and is the origin of the 34-mile long Left Hand Creek, which joins the St. Vrain River on the south side of Longmont. Our name is grounded in this area where our church community is centered; as is Left Hand Creek, Left Hand Canyon and many local establishments. We wanted to honor both the land and the incredible man for whom these places are named.
In our thorough social and spiritual work towards understanding our privilege and our responsibility to the community, we now realize that despite good intentions our name partakes of at least some facets of cultural appropriation. Respecting and honoring diversity is a foundational pillar of our ethos and church community, and we understand our responsibility to investigate this further.
As you likely know, important, thoughtful and meaningful change does not happen instantly. As a congregation, we are making thoughtful and deliberate steps to work towards honor, out of our deep respect for the Southern Arapaho nation and the great Chief Nawath. As we enter this process of self-examination, it is our hope that our name and identity reflects this respect, honor and desire to be a supportive community partner to the Southern Arapaho nation.
Nearly ten years ago a new church was born in the Highlands neighborhood of Denver, Highlands Church. Since then Highlands Church has become a thriving community of 800 with a permanent home in the Holiday Theater on 32nd Avenue in Denver.
In 2016 the leaders at Highlands Church began to consider planting a daughter congregation north of Denver. Joining with other churches around the nation and a church planting ministry affiliated with Launchpad Partners, in the spring of 2017 Highlands Church made the commitment to plant a new church in Boulder County — which eventually became Left Hand Church!
(Ethos copyright Mark Tidd, Highlands Church Denver. Used with permission.)