First, let me say how appreciative that many of you come to the quarterly Congregational Informational Forums as it offer both for me and your leadership an opportunity to hear from church members and for church leadership to briefly share some of programs, projects, and thinking that is going on here at Foothills.
At this most recent Forum on January 10th, I read a list of some of the highlights of this current church program year and several folks asked if the list of these exciting highlights could be shared electronically. So let me do just that and share some of these notable efforts that have transpired in the first six months of this current 2015-2016 church year.
Some highlights in our congregation this year:
- Fun and engaging All Church Start-Up Festival got the year off to a great start
- High level of engagement in our search process and a successful call of a new senior minister
- New Mission Statement Task Force and Governance Task Force are in place, working, and moving the church forward in ways that keep the members informed and on track
- One Village One Family has added a 6th Village, and in the next couple months nearly all of our initial families will be in housing
- Huge generosity in our Share The Plate program has resulted in about $20,000 given in the past year to our community partners
- Powerful Interfaith vigil with about 100 in attendance from Foothills at the Islamic Center showed our strength as a leader for inclusivity and respect across diversity in our community
- Sunday Services have seen consistent high attendance with sermons of depth and meaning and consistently excellent music
- Vespers Services have continued to grow in popularity – about 160 in attendance in December
- We will run OWL (Our Whole Lives) for K-1, 5th Grade, 8th Grade, High School and Young Adults this year – the most offerings of this excellent program that we have ever been able to offer
- Big improvements in communication systems – people are responding well to the new way we’re doing our inserts, and our “clicks” on the blog have never been higher – we consistently see at least 39% clicking on our main articles
- New members are getting connected more easily and more fully due to Diana McLean’s outreach and our programming “4 Ways to Connect” – this will improve even more in the coming year with the addition of our Hospitality Learning Community
- New support for parents of younger children (which we are seeing a lot of right now!) – twice a month “coffee chats” are seeing on average 20 in attendance. Also new Dads of Young Kids group about to start with leadership from one of our newer members.
- Climate Justice efforts are growing in clarity and strength (note the great forum we hosted in November). Much more to come from this emerging group in terms of its impact on our members and our wider community
- Strengthened presence of Unitarian Universalism in Greeley through our partnership there – especially with our ministers’ presence and leadership on Sunday
- Hilarious fun and filled-with-talent Cabaret this fall!
- Highly successful Auction underscored our community’s generosity
- Very successful Rummage Sale that highlighted the hard working efforts of the members of our congregation
- Added a few new short-term small groups – Forgiveness Practice Circles and Grief/Loss over the Holidays – and ran another round of Powerful Tools for Caregivers (this time facilitated by our own members who we sponsored to get certified as trainers) – these all created set-aside space to address important issues in our community
- New speaker system for sanctuary to be installed in the coming months!
- And – whew! – much much more!
In the last half of this current 2015-2016 Church Program Year, we are anticipating: looking forward to:
- The hiring of our new assistant minister!
- Continued growth and strength in our staff team – professional development, living into our new structure and system, more cohesion across programming
- Continued growth and clarity in our Adult Religious Exploration/Faith Development program – including additional access to information online
- Enhanced parish visitors (thinking about support as issues arise on Sunday morning) – offering a person for people to talk to
- Visioning process that will build on our new clarified mission
- Continued progress in our living into and owning our new mission
- Continued reaching out to the full lifespan of our community – all ages and stages
- Growing our presence as leaders in the wider community, particularly in the areas where we are active – homelessness, climate justice, immigration
- A much more enhanced process for membership integration and leadership development
- Continued enrichment of our programs to address our members’ needs and spiritual growth, as well as the needs of our wider community and our world
- Starting to set the stage for addressing our facilities/grounds needs now and to the future – including additional experiments of neighborhood gatherings in outlying communities
Phew! So much has been initiated in the first half of this Church Program Year and quite a few exciting ideas and projects being considered as we head into the latter half of 2015-2016.