At the foot of the Rocky Mountains, Denver has a rich history of exploration, connection to nature, creative arts, and a free Western spirit. Denver's food and art are heavily influenced by a large Hispanic population that was involved in the Chicano Movement in the 1960's and 70's. The city is also home to growing immigrant populations from African and Asia and to a community of people living homelessly. DOOR Denver invites all participants to a paradigm shift as we challenge you to change your focus from charity to solidarity, following the example put forth in Exodus 3 where God shows us that seeing, hearing, and feeling are important components for compassion.
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Heather Gordon Joins DOOR Denver
DOOR is pleased to announce that Heather Gordon has been hired as the DOOR Denver City Director.
Heather would describe herself as a wife, mother, servant, and athlete. After graduating college, she joined the Capuchin Franciscan Volunteer Corp for a year of service. During that year, she lived in Christian community with six other young people in southwest Baltimore. A few years later, she went on to pursue a double Masters in Theology from Aquinas Institute of Theology and Social Work from Saint Louis University in Missouri. While in graduate school, Heather volunteered with an afterschool program trying to curb violence and gang involvement, volunteered as a youth minister at a group home, and completed her Supervised Practice Ministry (SPM) with Let’s Start, a ministry dedicated to helping women transitioning from prison and their children. For the past eleven years she has been teaching theology, coordinating a service-learning program, and working in campus ministry at Marian Catholic High School in the south suburbs of Chicago, IL. A saying by St. Teresa of Avila has inspired and guided her ministry: “Christ has no body now but yours. Yours are the eyes through which Christ looks compassion into the world. Yours are the feet with which Christ walks to do good. Yours are the hands with which Christ blesses the world.” Sixteen years ago, Heather was blessed to meet her partner Phil who is equally passionate about serving God and building strong communities. They have been happily married for the past 12 years, and together are raising three loving children. Heather and her family are excited to discover and share the heart of Christ in Denver!
DOOR looks forward to having Heather and her passion for connecting faith, service, and learning join the staff team part time on March 26, 2017 and full time on May 28, 2017.
Discover is DOOR's short term mission trip/service-learning program that includes time for service, learning, and reflection. Read more about the Discover program.
Discover groups work out of the Lincoln/La Alma neighborhood, a working class neighborhood filled with schools, street art/murals, and an arts district. Although this neighborhood is thriving in many ways, it is not immune to the issues of poverty, police brutality, and low performing schools. We invite you to celebrate the assets of our city, gain a broader perspective on the roots of these issues, and grow a passion to make a change and bring heaven to earth, through love and justice.
DOOR Denver works with over 30 agencies and ministries around the city. Examples of service opportunities include:
- A resource center for people living homelessly that provides friendly-based services such as showers, meals, clothes, mail boxes, computer access, over-the-counter medications, and rehabilitation
- An adult day enrichment program that provides a community for people who have multiple sclerosis, brain injury, and other neurological conditions through fun classes and activities, nursing care, and other services designed to enhance the physical, emotional, cognitive, and social well-being of each client.
- A drop-in cafe for people living homelessly looking for a Bible study, free coffee, or a place to hang out with friends. Volunteers practice the ministry of presence where the only requirement is to hang out with folks, play board games, and simply enjoy people's presence over a cup of coffee.
- A summer education program that provides educational opportunities for children living in Denver's public housing neighborhoods so they graduate from high school and attend college or learn a trade.
Evening programming and activities may include:
- Street's Hope is a safe house for women recovering from the sex trafficking industry. We are privileged to have staff and participants share their stories with groups and answer questions.
- Solidarity Meal where groups will have the opportunity to live in solidarity with the population they will be serving that week. With just one meal, we can learn a lot form others, share stories, bless and be blessed, and allow some vulnerability to connect us with people we are so eager to serve.
- After a long week of service in the city, it is always a blessing to retreat to the beautiful Rocky Mountains for our final reflection. It is here when we can take a breather from all the hard work, admire the scenery, quiet ourselves before God, and allow time to review what God has done that week. We finish the reflection by praying over Denver as the city lights shine in the distance.
- Jimmy Rienzo is a Vietnam veteran, self-taught guitarist, and Atheist who spent some time living on the streets. He loves to share his testimony on how youth genuinely loved him into the kingdom of God. When with groups, Jimmy enjoys playing music, sharing stories from the war, and cracking a few jokes to see the youth smile.
- Parking is very limited at First Mennonite Church. Please consider bringing higher-capacity vehicles instead of many small cars.
- Public transit is an option while serving in Denver. See the registration form for current cost. Please note that public transit is not an option for Thursday evening reflection in the mountains. In the past groups have rented a car on Thursday afternoon and returned it on their wait to the airport on Friday afternoon. Contact the Denver City Director for more information.
- Denver International Airport (DEN) is located 26.5 miles northeast of downtown Denver and DOOR. Depending on your arrival time and traffic, it can take 30-60 minutes to drive from the airport to DOOR. Public transit is available from the airport to downtown via the A Line train.
- Groups stay at First Mennonite Church of Denver and sleep in Sunday School rooms, divided by gender
- Bath facilities are located near the sleeping rooms, equipped with multiple showers
- First Mennonite Church has several large areas for groups to gather. The fellowship hall/community room is set aside for meals and free time. Evening programming takes place in the sanctuary. Sunken Gardens Park is across the street from First Mennonite and gives groups a court to play basketball and a large grass field.
DOOR's Discern program provides summer staff and local yearlong engagement opportunities for young adults (ages 18-24). Read more about the Discern program.
Local and non-local participants discover (or re-discover) Denver through service-based organizations and fall in love with the city. Be amazed by all the good work being done in Denver, meet people passionate about helping others, build lasting relationships between community members, and discern your calling.
DOOR Denver's Discern program focuses on:
- Developing local leaders who learn about Denver through service
- Developing non-local leaders who will gain experience by serving in an urban context.
Participants in Denver's Discern program will:
- Lead Discover groups in service projects and reflections
- Learn how to work with people from different backgrounds and denominations
- Grow deeper in their faith as church groups pray, worship, and do church differently
- Learn transferable skills (public speaking, punctuality, meal preparations, time-management, effective communications, etc.)
- Discern or confirm a vocational call
- Actively advocate for the rights of those they are serving.
As a DOOR Denver Discern participant, you will receive:
- Housing in a duplex next to First Mennonite Church
- Public transportation passes
- Retreats and community activities
Dwell is a yearlong program for young adults interested in dedicating a year to service, intentional community, discernment, and faith development. Read more about the Dwell program.
In Denver, Dwellers will experience:
- Counter-cultural experiences that will broaden participants' worldviews
- An introduction to Liberation Theology, connecting faith with justice
- Retreats that focus on immigration, solidarity with people living homelessly, connecting with participants from other yearlong service programs, and reflection
- A community day each week that will include cultural experiences, book studies, and local events
Rebekah | Zach | Alicia | Katarina
Local Support & Connections
- The DOOR Denver local board welcomes Dwellers to the city and interacts with participants through the year
- Dwellers are connected with prayer partners and/or mentors
- Dwellers are welcomed and supported by several local congregations
- Refugee resettlement programs
- Provide services for people living homelessly
- Educational program for children in public housing
- Dwellers use either public transit or a bicycles to get around the city
- Monthly bus passes are provided for each Dweller
- Dwellers have limited access to the DOOR program vehicle
Dwell participants live in a duplex that includes four bedrooms, two full baths, and two kitchens. The apartment is a few blocks from the a West Line light rail station and a few blocks away from bus stops.