We’re Staying!

By Sara Steen, Board Member and Space Committee Member

The Board of Trustees and the Space Committee are delighted to announce that, after 8 months of intense study, we have determined that staying on our current site will be the best way for us to continue to accommodate growth and live into our mission.  

At the Annual Meeting on June 3, the Space Committee presented an overview of the work it has done since October to reach this conclusion.  The full presentation, along with the Programming Report produced for us by inFusion Architects, can be found on the church website.  In this post, I’ll provide you with a summary of the year’s work leading up to our recommendation to the Board that we remain on site.

As many of you may recall, when the Board came to the Congregation in October, we had come to the conclusion that we would likely need to find a new site in order to accommodate the growth we have seen over the past several years.  We provided several opportunities for people to share their reactions to that news, many of which were deeply sad and concerned about what moving would mean for us as a community.  Based on your input, the Board asked the Space Committee to do a very careful assessment of our current site to see if there was any possibility that we could stay. The Space Committee hired a programming consultant, inFusion Architects, to help us with this task.

From January through April of this year, inFusion conducted a series of meetings with staff and congregation to identify what exactly our space requirements were and to do the detailed assessment of our current property.  Alongside the work inFusion was doing, the Space Committee did work to identify transportation options for remaining on site (parking is a major hurdle; there is simply no way to double the parking on our current site, so we needed to expand our thinking to come up with other alternatives); met with City Planners to identify city regulations that we needed to consider on our current site; and launched our first subcommittee, Communications and Engagement, to facilitate communication between the committee and the congregation.  

The final report produced by inFusion identified the following as our key priorities in the expansion process:

      • 400 seat sanctuary (more than double current worship space)
      • Double size of RE, social hall, kitchen, office suite
      • Minimize environmental impact, continually seek to embed green considerations
      • Maintain connection to outdoors
      • Create flexible spaces that can be easily adapted to different uses

In May, the committee worked diligently to develop decision criteria that would help us to determine whether remaining on our current site or moving to a new (larger) site would better enable us to live into our bold vision as a congregation.  Using the report produced by inFusion alongside the work the committee conducted over the year, we identified 13 criteria to consider in making a location recommendation to the board. These included things like cost, our ability to remain inside city limits, our ability to live up to our climate justice and social justice missions, future expansion ability, and transportation options.  We assigned a numerical weight to each criterion to acknowledge that some criteria should weigh more heavily in the decision, then we scored each location (current and new/larger) according to how it met the criterion. By multiplying the scores by the weights (full scoring can be found on the website), we concluded that there was a strong advantage to remaining on our current site.  We took this recommendation to the Board of Trustees, who approved it on May 24, 2018.  

Our immediate next step is to hire an architect to develop architectural plans for us.  This summer, we will be identifying architectural firms of interest, writing and distributing a request for proposals (RFP), developing and executing an interview process, deciding on decision criteria for choosing an architect, and finally conducting interviews and making a selection.  Once we have retained an architect, we will work with them to continue our conversation with the City of Fort Collins, and with Gary Schroeder of the Integrated Design Assistance Program which assists organizations invested in minimizing the environmental impact of building projects.

Our hope is that we will be able to come to the congregation in the Fall with an architectural plan approved by the Board for the congregation to vote on.  We will be hiring a financial feasibility consultant to help determine how much money we can expect to raise prior to beginning our capital campaign. Our fabulous communications and engagement subcommittee will be keeping you posted at every step along the way.  

This is a huge undertaking, and a massive milestone in the history of our church.  We want to make sure that everyone’s voice is heard. There are several ways to get involved.  First, we anticipate needing volunteers in a wide range of areas, including: finance/capital campaign, transition planning, exterior design (landscaping), interior design, and sustainability/green design.  If you have interests/talents/skills in any of these areas, please email me directly at professor.steen@gmail.com and I will add you to our ever-expanding volunteer list.  Second, we will be holding a series of forums in the coming months to provide opportunities to hear from you on a number of specific questions–stay tuned.  Third, you can always find updates on what we are doing on our social hall bulletin board or the update section of our church website; there are tools for you to provide input in both locations.  Finally, the space committee meets weekly on Tuesdays from 12:30-2:30 in the RE building (typically room 22); our meetings are open to anyone interested in knowing what we’re up to.  

We are so grateful to be part of such a dynamic congregation that is up for this challenge, and are looking forward with great excitement to continuing this journey with all of you. 

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Comfort in Turbulent Times

by Karen Marcus, Foothills Blogger

Many who started attending Foothills after the 2016 election have found reasons to stay. 

The 2016 U.S. presidential election was shocking for many people — locally, nationally, and globally. Those who were confused, frightened, or angered by its outcome sought comfort, guidance, community, and hope. In and around Fort Collins, Foothills provided those things, and more.

Chris Guppy and her family started attending services at Foothills in December 2016. She says, “After the election we felt desolate, lonely, and helpless. We, as a family, needed community support.” They found it at Foothills, and continued coming to services because, says Guppy, “the sermons made me cry.” In addition, they enjoyed the presence of other young families, and Guppy’s son Jack “loved the ceiling fans in the sanctuary and kept asking to go back.”

Guppy and her husband, Brian, became members in early 2017, and joined a Gather Group. She teaches RE, and has volunteered for the welcome kiosk and the mobile food pantry. Now, Guppy wants to continue working with youth and to teach meditation techniques to both children and adults. She comments, “We continue to be amazed and thankful for such thoughtful and good-spirited church leadership.”

Erin Purdy is also very appreciative of Foothills. She notes, “We love the positive atmosphere, the rich and honest conversation, the social justice orientation, and the open-minded teaching, both for adults and in the RE classes. We’ve stayed because we feel at home and that we can explore our spirituality in an intellectually honest and deeply loving way.”

While the election got Purdy and her family into Foothills, she had been attracted to it for some time. She had a UU friend who often talked about her positive experiences, and she knew she wanted to check it out every time she drove by.

Now a member, Purdy and her family attend services regularly, and she teaches RE classes and brings meals to people who need them. “I think we’ll continue to come as a family,” she says. “I just love Foothills and am deeply grateful for everyone and everything there.”

The Sunday following the 2016 election marked the first time Sandy Brooks attended a service at Foothills. “I needed a family,” she remarks. “I had a couple of friends who were members, and I always noticed their enthusiasm when they talked about what their church was doing. I did some research online and decided it was the church I wanted to attend that day.” Brooks walked away from that service feeling like she had found exactly what she needed. Shortly thereafter, she became a member.

Brooks was active in the Sanctuary while Foothills provided housing to Ingrid and her children before their move to the Unitarian church in Boulder. She says, “Instead of thinking I was giving, I knew that what I received was much more.” She has also worked as a welcome kiosk attendant, a greeter, and an usher. As she reflects on her time at Foothills, Brooks wonders, as a Christian, if Foothills is the right church for her. But, she realizes that its main teaching is significant: “Courageous Love has new meaning for me.”

Mark Benjamin also started attending Foothills around the time of the 2016 election, though not necessarily because of it. He explains, “My 16-year old son moved in with me that November. Just before then, he came out to me as transgender, so I looked for churches that would support that.” He also wanted to find a community that “spoke to him.” Foothills offered the inclusiveness and acceptance he sought. Benjamin was involved in the Sanctuary movement; he worked with Gretchen to plan the space and ensure it was done legally.

Now living in Greeley, he’s not as involved as he would like to be, but “still loves going to Foothills.” As a result of his experience there, he feels happier and hopes he can return to being more involved.

Raised UU, Kathy Krisko moved to Fort Collins in the 80s and attended Foothills a few times then. She moved away for her career, but returned in 2014 and started coming to services irregularly in 2015. Then, when the 2016 election occurred, she says, “I felt the need to be in the presence of people who shared at least some of my opinions and concerns. I knew I could connect with other Unitarians, so I began attending services more regularly and became a member.”

Krisko says she’s continued because “it’s a time I can stop myself, sit down, and just listen.” While she doesn’t agree with everything she hears, she feels that Unitarianism is close to what she believes. In addition to attending services, she participates in Tai Chi Chih, a Gather Group, and concerts, and plans to engage in other activities as opportunities arise.

Foothills also holds special meaning for Page Frick, who loves being a part of the community. “After attending since November 2017, it feels like home to me,” she states. Prior to visiting, Frick had admired Foothills for its inclusiveness and commitment to making a difference in the local and global community. She says, “Like so many others, the 2016 election rocked my world. I needed a sane place, a respite, where people held similar views to mine.”

Frick used the opportunity to refocus on her ongoing goals of spiritual growth and giving back. She has attended Base Camp, joined a Gather Group, and volunteered as an usher. She plans to become a member in the near future, and to explore new spiritual practices. She comments, “Foothills comforts me and inspires me to grow as a person. I’m especially grateful for the efforts of Sean and Gretchen and members of the congregation to promote true connection and belonging among people.”

Thanks to everyone mentioned for your heartfelt remarks, and for the “piece of the truth” you bring to the Foothills community.

Board of Trustees Spring Update

Date:​ Sunday, April 15, 2018

Governance Update

A smaller Board is currently focusing on visioning, delegation to staff, monitoring and oversight for Foothills. The Board committees (Finance, Personnel, Governance, Nominating, and Space) advise and support Board work. Additionally, the Leadership Development Team has worked with nominating committee to develop exceptional slate of candidates to bring to the congregation at the Annual Meeting on June 4.

Nominating Committee Update

The Nominating Committee has developed a new process for seeking out potential candidates. Through conversations with the Board, the committee acquires job descriptions and skills needed for each position. Then, the Leadership Development Team provides a list of qualified and willing candidates to the nominating committee along with a smaller list of elected positions. To date, all positions have been identified for the slate and will be announced in the packet before the annual meeting.

Board Visioning and Engagement Update

The Board has compiled responses from the Future-Oriented Questions and established priorities for the coming year. The Visioning Committee is also working with a consultant to set plans in motion for long-term visioning.

The Engagement Committee held three sessions for listening and discussion sessions for general questions and one additional session focused on Marc’s decision regarding non-participation at Foothills. The majority of concerns brought to the Board included:

○ What are we going to do about space? How can we improve conditions at RE building?

○ How are we working to be inclusive of those with different viewpoints?

○ Is there potential to hire a third minister?

○ What is the status of hiring for music director and church administrator?

Space Committee Update

The hired programming consultant has completed six meetings with staff and congregants to gather input regarding existing space and future space needs. The Space Committee has been in contact with other Colorado churches involved in renovation process (Denver, Jefferson, Lafayette). A group of staff and congregants visited First Universalist in Denver for inspiration and ideas. Updates from the Space Committee can be found on the bulletin board in the Social Hall. The committee is moving into more volunteer-intensive phase of operations: start thinking about how you want to be involved!

Coming soon from the Space Committee:

  • Presentation of programming report conclusions at Annual Meeting
  • Fun challenges for brave souls interested in exploring alternative transportation options for Sunday services
  • Opportunities to get involved

○ Communications and engagement subcommittee

Ministry Updates

Our Top Ten Sunday Worship Attendance Dates have all totaled over 400 participants across the three services. On February 4, 600 people gathered at CSU for the All-Church Celebration. On lower attendance Sundays, online participation spikes. For example, in the last snowstorm, 20% of our attendance was online.

As of March, we have had 602 unique participants in non-Sunday worship activities. This would include volunteers and class check-ins. It does not include ministry teams or small groups. We currently have 140 people involved in Gather Groups (our major small group ministry initiative). When you add in the participants in other sorts of small groups, 21% of our church is currently active in small groups.

Total donations to community partners through Share the Plate through February 2018 were $32,310 and another $8,000 was donated to Faith Family Hospitality at the Auction and another $3,500 to Homeless Gear through the Rummage Sale.

Regarding staffing, we are still in the midst of our music visioning process. The Administrator transition is also still underway. Our Financial / Operations Consultant – Patrick Murphy is re-designing administration staffing and processes, Kathryn has been promoted to Office Manager, and we are transitioning to a payroll contractor. Looking ahead to coming church year, we are looking into part-time ministry staffing focused on pastoral care and older adult support and programming.

Stewardship Campaign

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For more information on the church budget, please attend the Budget Presentation on May 3, 2018 from 6:30 – 8:00 p.m.

An Update on Ingrid and Family – March Share the Plate

from Jane Everham

What a bittersweet moment it was when I learned that Ingrid and family were moving, suddenly and secretly, to the Boulder Church for continued sanctuary. It had been my hope that a sanctuary would become available closer to Eliseo and Bryant, but in the months Ingrid was with us I got attached. Sometimes physically when Anibal would grab my calf and ride my foot!

The move to Boulder was a good move for this family. Then it resulted in a financial loss for the Boulder Church when the pre-school they rented space to chose to leave. Foothills stepped up, and through our March Share the Plate, donated $2,525.78 to the Boulder congregation, so they could continue their sanctuary ministry without undue hardship. That change took place in December and Ingrid is still seeking clemency from Governor Hicklooper so she can begin to pursue residency and ultimately citizenship.

Here is an update on Ingrid’s status:

Not enough has changed for Ingrid or the other three women finding in sanctuary in Colorado: Arecel, Rosa and Sandra. These sanctuary guests have unveiled a People’s Resolution – Creating a Path Forward on Immigration and they are asking people to sign it in support.

We call on the Colorado delegation, Colorado Legislature, and Governor Hickenlooper to respond to four Colorado women speaking for thousands of others. As Endorsers we call on you to use the authority of your office to provide official mercy and advocacy in all Sanctuary cases, to enact policy changes at the State and Federal level allowing all Colorado residents to participate in the well-being of our state, and to create a path to status they can start walking down.

You can read the whole resolution at www.peoplesresolution.org It has also appeared on Facebook several times. You can go to the Foothills FB page and sign, share it to your own FB page, and then share with all your friends. Please help spread the word.

Here is an update on Eliseo:

Eliseo is back at work. He was released from detention on bond, and recently his father’s application for US citizenship came through which may open new opportunities for his father to petition for Eliseo to receive a green card and get on a path to citizenship.  Ojala que si!
And Bryant:
Bryant is glad to be with his mother, he likes that he can walk to his new school, and he has new friends. He made a video asking for support to release his family from sanctuary so he and his whole family can become real Americans citizens. Bryant continues to be his normal, awesome self.

Last but never least, Anibal:

Anibal got a haircut recently and looks like a little man. He is using more words and is as rambunctious as ever.

Lastima, that this journey Ingrid and the others is on is a long one. Signing the petition, writing to the governor (mention the role the governor can play in Restorative Justice), and making donations, as feasible, to the Boulder Church are steps we all can take. There will probably be another Share the Plate for the Boulder Church in our congregation’s future. Please share thoughts and prayers and take action to end this uncivil time in our country’s history.

An Exegesis of the Reading from James Luther Adams

There was a version of the sermon on Sunday that included a full exegesis of James Luther Adams’ reading…but as you heard – or you’ll hear in the podcast – that version wasn’t the version that made it to the service. Too much else I wanted to say….
But, I know JLA is dense, and especially since the reading comes at the end of a long essay filled with all sorts of other ideas that culminate in this section….some might find it helpful to have a little more commentary….So, for those of you who fall into that category…my JLA exegesis on this reading on conversion. 
 
First, the context for this reading – it is an essay he calls, the “Root Ideas of Human Freedom: The Changing Reputation of Human Nature.” In it he is exploring the relationship between rationality/rational order, human freedom, choice and the nature of the human being, in a theological sense.  It was first presented at a meeting of the American Unitarian Association in May 1941.  You can find the essay in the collection of his essays entitled On Being Human Religiously (check out esp pg 40 – 54; this quote is from pages 53-54).  
Throughout this essay, his motivating question – as I talked about on Sunday – is: what would create a liberal religion that would be able to effectively resist Fascism if it came to the United States?  That is, a religion that would motivate and organize people for real impact in history.
He diagnoses the problem as being liberal religion’s optimistic orientation towards human nature, as well as its over-emphasis on the individual, rather than the corrective of the “association,” which is his term for the group you associate with.
Right before the section of our reading, he’s talking about our struggle to engage with the destructive portions of life and human nature, and instead an over-reliance on restraint, and reason, as if those could save us all.  Here he starts to build towards one of the main points – reason alone can’t save us.  Lots of people know how to reason – but that doesn’t mean they actually have the motivation, or the orientation, to direct their energy towards collective liberation and healing.  For this, it requires the “affections” of the heart.
As the reading says, “It is not reason alone, but reason inspired by ‘raised affections’
that is necessary for salvation. We become what we love.”
It is hilarious to me that he’s describing how we need to better engage the heart, and he does so with such a restrained term as “raised affections,” but I also find it endearing.  He swims in this water too.
Also, before the reading, he describes how we need to reckon with the enormity of the evil that exists in the world – we need to get in touch with it – so that we can motivate the necessary will to actually address it.   At the same time, we need to reckon with the capacity for evil that exists within us – and the ways that our choices enable the evil in the world.  He encourages a kind of individual repentance – a seeing-clearly that connects with a desire for change –  that can foster world repentance – what he ultimately calls individual conversion (change) that leads to societal conversion.
Back to the reading – he wants to be clear that it isn’t that he thinks there is no place for the rational, or the intellectual approach in manifesting change, “Not that information and technique are dispensable. Even a St. Francis with commitment to the highest would be impotent when confronted with a case of appendicitis if he did not recognize the malady and did not know what to do.” 
St. Francis – huge heart, right? Can’t solve all problems just with that heart.  He needs information, education.
And so, JLA acknowledges: “One sector of the problems of society is its intellectual problems. Here no amount of goodwill alone can suffice. But something of the spirit of St. Francis is indispensable if the benefits of science and of society are to be in the widest commonalty spread, and for that matter, if even the intellectual problems are to be dealt with adequately.” 
I really think that climate change is the best example right now of this insight – we need the science, we need the scientific options for where to go next – but we cannot solve climate change – we won’t have the will, and we won’t actually find the right solutions if we don’t also engage the heart, what he’s calling, “the spirit of St. Francis.”
 
He goes on, “The desire to diagnose injustice as an intellectual problem as well as the power of action to achieve a new form of justice requires ‘raised affections,’ a vitality that can break through old forms of behavior and create new patterns of community.”
This is a really complicated sentence – I take from it his sense that you can’t get people to even hear the “intellect,” (the climate science), let alone take the action required to fix an issue, without first touching their hearts.  Because you have to change people’s behavior, and create new relationships, and new commitments.  It’s really hard.  Information alone, analysis alone, rationalism alone – cannot do it.
I left out a sentence in the reading, but in the text, he also adds this line at this point: “But the raising of the affections is a much harder thing to accomplish than even the education of the mind; it is especially difficult among those who think they have found security.”
This is the challenge of getting privileged people to care about the suffering of those who do not share their privilege.  It requires what Bryan Stevenson calls “getting proximate.”
He goes on to describe how religious liberals have often failed to stimulate this heart-opening experience, as he says, “This element of commitment, of change of heart, of decision, has been neglected by religious liberalism, and that is the prime source of its enfeeblement. We liberals are largely an uncommitted and therefore a self-frustrating people.
 
We focus on changing people’s minds – but we fail to engage the heart, to meet ourselves and the world in our real brokenness.
As he says, “Our first task then, is to restore to liberalism its own dynamic and its own prophetic genius.” 
One of his main projects is to help liberalism claim its power.  As one of his other essays says, “liberalism is dead. long live liberalism.”
And here he turns to conversion: “We need conversion within ourselves.” 
By this he means – change, starting with repentance – a clear-eyed look at our own brokenness, and the world’s.  Our own capacity for destruction, and society’s.  To see and more importantly, to feel the human capacity for destruction, and how, either directly or indirectly, we are all a part of this suffering.  (Remember, he wrote this in the context of Nazi Germany where he had been working along side the Confessing Church movement, attempting to overthrow the Nazis. There was a time where I wondered if or how his urgency translates to our world today. I don’t wonder this anymore.)
He does not mean to instill guilt, or shame, but only a sense of our responsibility, motivated by love.  Love for others, love for the world, love for life itself.
As he concludes: “Only by some such revolution can we be seized by a prophetic power that will enable us to proclaim both the judgment and the love of God.  Only by some such conversion can we be possessed by a love that will not let us go.”
It is the change of heart that fosters the necessary commitment to stand alone in transforming the status quo – the status quo of our individual lives, or of society.  Conversion is a transformation of heart – a revolution of the heart – that comes when we feel this deep connection with our fellow humans, and take a personal sense of responsibility, because we are bound up together in this transcendent, ultimate, and universal love.
I hope that this helps a little in making sense of the JLA – and helps us keep the conversation going about this idea of conversion! It’s one of my favorite topics, so please feel free to comment with your questions or further thoughts.

New Leadership Development Model

from Karen Harder, Leadership Develoment Team Member

It’s almost time to elect new church leaders. Where will they come from? A group here at Foothills has been busy envisioning a new way of growing our own. Instead of scrambling to find leaders to fill a nomination slate every year, a Leadership Development Ministry Team is working to foster a culture where potential leaders are continually mentored by seasoned leaders and where emerging and experienced leaders learn, grow, and discern together where they are next called to serve.

This new way of growing leaders is inextricably tied to Foothills’ faith formation vision. That vision is the product of a year-long effort by a team of staff and lay leaders to articulate what it means to grow in faith as Unitarian Universalists. The work likens faith formation as a journey, with steps along the way in five areas: growing in self, grounding in Unitarian Universalism, building beloved community, experiencing mystery and awe, and practicing church.

Folks participating in one of Foothills’ new Gather Groups already will be familiar with these components. They are the same five catalysts for deepening faith that Gather Groups explore sometime between their second and third meetings, when members are invited to reflect on their engagement and consider what it might mean to grow in each area.

Core to the new leadership development strategy will be the convening of Leader Gather Groups this fall. Leader Gather Groups will consist of potential and seasoned leaders invited to meet together for at least eight weeks to focus on relationship building, mentoring and mutual learning. They will use the Gather Group curriculum augmented with opportunities to focus on shared learning around leadership-related content. The goal is to harness the power and potential of all in service to the Foothills mission to unleash courageous love.

As the Leader Gather Groups discern together who might be called to serve and how, lay leaders will work closely with the Senior Minister in communicating to the Nominating Committee candidates to consider and place in nomination. Several times a year, emerging leaders as well as any interested congregants also will be offered workshops on specific skills and knowledge needed to serve on the Board of Trustees and other senior leadership roles.

“I’m excited about the new model,” said Jennifer Powell, past president of the Board of Trustees and member of the new Leadership Development Ministry Team. “It has been clear to many of us in leadership at Foothills, that we have needed to mature and expand our training and education for new, current, and potential leaders of the church for some time. The care, thoughtfulness, and connection to our faith that is present in this new model has impressed me. I know you will be, too. Providing this resource, as well as a more comprehensive leadership development program will strengthen our congregation and the good important work we do.”

Other Leadership Development team members are Sue Ferguson, Karen Harder, Jenn Powell, and Tim Weinmann, along with Senior Minister Gretchen Haley.

If you would like more information about the Leadership Development team, you can read the team charter here. If you are interested in church leadership, please contact Rev. Gretchen.

Following Up on #MeToo

It’s been a little over 3 weeks since our #MeToo worship service, and the conversation is just beginning.  A few of our Senior Sisterhood groups have been taking up brave and tender conversations around #MeToo – sharing their own experiences and reflections with one another.  The small group conversations for women to reflect on problematic sexual experiences started tonight, with another on Saturday.  And, the conversations for Men and #MeToo are set to begin next Wednesday.  This last one has drawn the attention of NPR’s All Things Considered, who is doing a story on men and the #MeToo movement – they reached out to hear about our intent for these conversations, and how men are responding.

Another part of this continued conversation is also just beginning to take shape – the Restoring Wholeness Task Force announced by the Board as a part of the #MeToo service.  Over the past few weeks, the Board has been drafting the charter for this Task Force, and thinking carefully about the desired ends.

The Board has been clear that we are called to be a church that deals directly with sexual misconduct and harassment, and that we want to be a part of shifting the culture towards one of greater respect, equality, understanding, and mutual liberation.  To do this, we know we need to start by taking a good look at our past – for, as the Rev. Jan Christian says, “going back can change the way we go forward.”

Part of the work of the Task Force will be in collecting stories about our congregation’s past – including relationships between congregants and religious professionals, and the ways our congregation’s culture, as a system, may have contributed to a lack of clarity or other factors that may have allowed misconduct or harassment to occur.  The goal is to learn, to change, to grow, and to do better.

If you are someone who is wanting to share about an experience that you are thinking through from the past that may connect to this conversation, please email metoo@foothillsuu.org, which for now (until our Task Force is fully up to speed) will be responded to by me, or by Rev. Sean directly.  You can trust that your confidentiality will be protected, as together we continue to understand and learn from our own past – so that we can create an even stronger future.

This is brave, and sometimes challenging work.  I am proud to serve a congregation whose leadership has been willing to do the difficult and yet faithful thing at each step, with a commitment towards being that church that we know we are called to be.  And, I am grateful that we can create spaces and opportunities for this brave learning to happen together, so that we can all grow, and learn, and change, for the better.