Voting for our new Senior Minister by Jennifer Powell, BOT President

After receiving the news from the Foothills Ministerial Search Committee recommending the Congregation call Rev. Gretchen Haley as our Senior Minister, the Board of Trustees considered how and when that vote would take place.  The Board decided that the vote would be by written ballot cast by eligible church members in person at the Special Meeting of the Congregation called for 10:30 am on Sunday November 15, 2015.


The Board discussed possible alternative methods of voting, such as by mail or electronic ballot, particularly in cases where a church member had previous commitments and would be absent from church on November 15.  The Board agreed on the importance of members having an opportunity to participate in the events of the “candidating” week November 8 through 15, observe the candidate during the week, and review appropriate written materials from the candidate and the Search Committee.


In addition, the Board agreed that the process for an internal candidate should be the same as that which would be followed for an external candidate.  Therefore, the Board decided this important vote should be made in person by eligible members, who have signed the membership book on or before October 15, 2015, at the Special Meeting of the Congregation called for 10:30am on Sunday November 15, 2015.  The Board looks forward to attendance by as many members as possible.  Thank you.


Faith Family Hospitality by the Numbers – Guest post from Sue Ferguson

Faith Family Hospitality (FFH) by the numbers: We have completed our 17th hosting week since 2012. We’ve provided 119 nights of housing to 68 families with over 200 children. We estimate we’ve served over 6500 donated meals.

Our FFH ministry gives us a chance to provide very personal and basic assistance to families experiencing homeless in our community. Beginning Sunday evening November 15, four families will be our guests for the week. Their beds and possessions will arrive in the FFH trailer and over 40 Foothills volunteers will serve as their hosts. These hosts will prepare and serve meals and do their best to make our guests feel welcome, comfortable and at home while they are with us.

If you aren’t any FFH volunteer now is your chance to get involved. Attend the FFH training on Sunday November 1, 12:30-2:30. We’ll provide an overview of the program and answer all your questions. But since the volunteer jobs fill up quickly you may want to get your email address on the list NOW – we’ll send out invitations to volunteer Oct 15th. Just email and we’ll be sure you are on the list.

Thanks to the 185 people at Foothills who have served as FFH volunteers, especially Mary Pat & Peter Aukema, who do all the laundry and Rich Roberts, who tows the trailer.

Special thanks to our outstanding team of coordinators – they are the ones who make it happened: Danue Laborde, Josh Goldstein, Marla Nelson, Karen Johnese, and Dannielle North.

FFH Community Notes

Foothills is really proud that Karen Johnese was recently elected to the FFH Board of Directors. She is serving with a dynamic team of community leaders working hard to set the course of a rapidly growing organization. Started in 2012, FFH has become a force in advocating for the homeless in our community. The board together with the new FFH Executive Director, Annette Zacharias, are developing some exciting plans for the future.

In addition to the overnight housing provided by the 26 FFH member congregations, FFH also operates a family day center that offers guests day time respite, showers, laundry facilities, and access to a kitchen. Talk to Kay Williams who has volunteered an afternoon a week for well over a year and consider becoming a day center volunteer.

October 22, 7 pm, Foothills will host an exciting Interfaith Council panel discussion on some really creative Affordable Housing options.

Housing Panel Flier

 Sue Ferguson


Partnership and Forgiveness

Diana K. McLeanBefore I dive into our theme, let me take a moment to introduce myself to those of you I haven’t yet had the chance to meet at Buckhorn or here at the church. I’m Diana McLean, the Ministerial Resident serving both Foothills and the Unitarian Universalist Church of Greeley; this shared position is part of an experimental multi-site partnership between the two congregations. You’ll see me in the pulpit occasionally beginning this month, and I’ll typically be in the office on Wednesdays. Much of my work at Foothills will be around membership and engagement. I look forward to getting to know you!


As we continue exploring this month’s theme of “What does it mean to be a people of forgiveness?” I am especially interested in what forgiveness looks like at a community level.


Because we are human, we will sometimes fall short of the promises we make each other. When we do, what does it mean to be people of forgiveness? How do we move forward after a hurt has occurred in our community, in a way that is healthy? Every church encounters these situations, and in our case, I believe the answer is found in the concept of covenant.


Unitarian Universalist congregations like this one are covenantal communities—we are bound together not by a shared creed but by a covenant, by promises about how we will be with each other on this shared journey. When congregations join in multi-site partnerships like the one between Foothills and the Unitarian Universalist Church of Greeley, then there is a covenant between the congregations as well as the covenants in place within each church. You can see that covenant here:


As we move further into this year-long experiment of partnership between Foothills and the Unitarian Universalist Church of Greeley, I imagine there will be times when forgiveness is needed. We are two systems full of human beings, and we are bound to sometimes let each other down. Sometimes this is the result of unvoiced expectations—maybe even expectations we didn’t know we held for each other. Other times it may be the result of actions made with the best of intentions but resulting in less than ideal outcomes. In fact, the covenant of partnership between the two congregations ends with these words:


“We acknowledge that we are each new to this partnership and so we assume we will stumble at times and encounter challenges that test the well-intended explicit and implicit promises of this covenant. When these challenges arise, we promise to come together in conversation, and seek help from outside resources as we may need, to seek and offer forgiveness generously, to learn well from our experiences, and to begin again.”


We will be stronger, individually and as partners, if we can forgive ourselves when we make those kinds of mistakes, and when we can extend that forgiveness to each other when we are disappointed or hurt.


I look forward to continuing to explore this rich theme with you, and to joining you in worship for the first couple of times!


In gratitude, Diana

Great News from our Stewardship Team

After many years of charging a fee for our Religious Education program, in consultation with ministers and staff last summer, the Board of Trustees decided to eliminate the RE fee. The idea is that we are all in this together, we all contribute in many ways to fulfilling the mission of our church, and a fee-for-service approach is counter to this. This bold step meant that initially we let go of the $10,000 generated by the fees for children and youth programs; yet the resiliency and commitment of our church community is truly amazing. The wonderful news is that our members with children and youth in the RE program actually INCREASED their pledges this year by $15,000, for a net positive effect of $5,000. Thank you!

This is another example that, like the amazing growth in the Share the Plate program, people respond in generous ways when inspired by opportunities to help. Our church members and friends also recognize the value to our children, congregation and wider community of a solid RE program that helps our children, youth and adults explore questions of ethics, spirituality and social action that exemplify our mission: “to further the reach of love in our own lives, in Northern Colorado and beyond.”

More Great News! Besides increasing the church’s funds through this thoughtful decision, our members and friends have increased their contributions dramatically over the last five years: total pledges in 2010 were $388,477. This year, pledges are $567,480! 

Your generosity over these years is reflected in our capacity to better serve our members and our wider community.  It has meant – for example – the addition of a second minister, the year-round employment of our Director of Religious Exploration, the growth of our incredible music program, significant progress in moving towards fairly paying our staff, the availability of childcare at all events and programs, significant new justice ministries like Faith Family Hospitality and ESL Tutoring, enhanced excellence in worship and a greater capacity to meet the ever-growing administrative and technological needs required to support ministry today…and much more.  We have made so much progress in moving from a culture of scarcity to a culture of abundance – a culture where we ask how big our vision can be and live into that big vision.

New to your Stewardship Team’s responsibilities this year is overseeing all fundraising in the church, to ensure that fundraisers and events not only do not conflict with each other, but complement one another.

Your Stewardship Team will further the wonderful work that has been done over the last five years. During this time of transition in our church, we will continue to nurture the culture of abundance at Foothills that has been created and grown with care. We look forward to helping guide our church into the future.

Thank you for your commitment and generosity to our church –

Kay Williams, incoming chair of the Stewardship Team, Karen Johnese, Peg MacMorris, Jim Lathrop, Lynn Young, Nels Broste, Scott Denning, and Rev. Howell Lind