Now that Rev. Keyes has begun his time with us, you may be wondering what to expect from the interim period. Here’s a broad sketch of the calendar for the next couple years.
- September, 2014 – Interim Senior Minister “Temporarily Installed.” Retreats & Workshops for Board & Staff to set Outcomes & Objectives for the interim time.
- Transition Team, appointed by Board, begins planning ways to involve congregation and community in the transition.
- October, 2014 – January 2015 – Transition Team leads congregation in self study and creative conversations.
- January, 2015 – Board & interim senior minister evaluate transition progress, correct course as needed.
- February, 2015 – Board begins involving the entire congregation in selection of a Senior Minister Search Committee.
- March 2015 – Search Committee (MSC) elected by congregation. Holds start-up retreat
- April – May MSC invites comment from the congregation in focus groups; creates all-church survey instrument.
- May- June Congregational survey completed; MSC begins work on a web-based information packet to distribute to applicants.
- October 2015 – MSC begins scheduling telephone interviews with promising applicants.
- January 2016 – MSC schedules intensive interviews and “pre-candidating weekends” with the most promising applicants
- Spring, 2016 – MSC presents a candidate for settled senior minister. After a week and two Sundays of getting acquainted, the congregation votes on whether to call and settle the candidate.
Rev. David Keyes, Interim Senior Minister
It is said of the Bambuti tribe of west Africa that in times of change – whether it is a change of leaders, of weather, or whatever – they leave their village and go deep into the rain forest. There they remain until they are ready to face a changed world. When they return to their village, they sing “It was all work! It was all play!”
So may it be for you. As the congregation faces change, please come with me into an inviting forest. There we will work and play, embracing change, struggling with new ideas, and discerning whether traditions are best kept, polished up, or left behind. I’m quite excited about working and playing with you, and glad to be starting an adventure in a part of the country where I have seldom been before.
From all I have learned, Fort Collins must be one of the best places to live on earth. I feel so fortunate to be coming there, and to be near great colleagues in area Unitarian churches, most especially the Rev. Gretchen Haley, who has been generous with her time and wisdom. Eleanor VanDeusen, Carolyn Myers, Ryan Marvel, and the rest of the staff have been extremely helpful and welcoming. Likewise your Board, whose members have impressed me, even from afar, with their openness to new ideas.
I’m so hopeful that we can all work together, as if deep in a friendly forest – a place where we will work hard, stay playful, and emerge singing a delightful new song.
Rev. Gretchen Haley, Associate Minister
A few months ago, the Membership Committee and I became curious about how some of those who had begun to connect in our congregation were doing a few months after their early experiences. They printed a report and started going down the list. The team wondered: how are these folks doing as they move along their path – what one Committee member describes as moving from calling Foothills “that church,” to “my church,” to “our church.”
The Committee started with the basics – have we seen them? Because most of us tend to gather on Sundays, we wondered if we had seen them recently in Sunday worship. After that, the group assessed if they’d connected to any of our social groups or through our caring team. Or just as importantly, had they come to any of our programming outside of Sunday – a small group, Adult RE program, or a Family event. Which in turn led to whether they had served within or beyond the congregation. And finally, the Committee wondered if they’d literally joined the church, and expressed their commitment with a financial pledge of support.
If these new individuals were lacking in any of these things, the group assumed they probably weren’t yet calling Foothills “my church,” let alone thinking about being a part of the “we” of our community.
From these questions, the Committee and I started to name a path of meaningful membership in our congregation, the ways we understood that membership could become vital and life-changing: worship liberally, connect in a caring community, grow in spirit, serve in partnership and give in gratitude.
Since then, we’ve changed the Path to Membership class so that we are talking in terms of these 5 areas, and asking each person to think about how they will walk the path in a way that has meaning for them. But that’s just the beginning. We’ve realized these 5 areas can be helpful to more than just newcomers. These categories are the invitations this congregation is making to its members all the time, as we each discover how we are connecting and growing in Beloved Community and our Unitarian Universalist faith.
Still our congregation must ask ourselves – why are we doing these things? What motivates all this worshiping, connecting, growing, serving, giving?
Your answer to this question is what you understand as our congregation’s mission, the fire that drives us in all that we do. I’d love to hear your bold answers and big visions – don’t be shy. Comment here, or email me at Gretchen@foothillsuu.org or tell me on Sunday. Life is too short for us to put so much time and effort to anything less than what truly matters. Let’s make sure our congregation is filled up with this kind of vitality.