Breaking Bread Together

by Anne Hall

Last summer several of us on our Sanctuary team heard a wonderful speaker, Rev. Alexandria Salvatierra, speak to the community-based Sanctuary Coalition. She spoke about the importance of broadly defining how we provide sanctuary to those in need within our community. While she recognized the importance of the traditional, physical sanctuary in our churches, she also spoke about the other needs of many members in our Hispanic community and how we might accompany them during this time. This message sparked our program “Breaking Bread Together”, where members of our church are now getting to know more closely families of The Family Center/La Familia.

Patricia Olson and I are members of our Sanctuary team, and we met with Lorena Mendoza from La Familia to find out how we could begin to get to know the families she works with. We all agreed that it was best to start small–with ten members of Foothills to meet and share food and stories with ten La Familia families.  On Saturday afternoon, November 18th, ten people from Foothills, including Rev. Sean, went to The Family Center/La Familia where we met ten families and their children.  After a brief welcome from Lorena and Sean, we broke into small, very informal conversation groups.

In her opening remarks, Lorena mentioned the work we were doing with Sanctuary in our church. Later, there were many questions about our program in the small groups.  The three women in my group really wanted to share how difficult their life as women had been in Guatemala and how much they appreciated their life in Fort Collins.

At the end of our time together, both the people from Foothills and from La Familia said how much they wanted these conversations to continue. Our plan is to schedule our next get together in mid-January at The Family Center/La Familia in the hope that our work of accompaniment will grow and flourish.  

If you would like to know more about this partnership and perhaps join us on this journey, feel free to contact me at  or call 970-282-3829. 


Pausing the Holiday Rush

This week marks the beginning of advent, which in the Christian tradition is a season of anticipation, paying attention, and waiting.   It is a time that invites our intentional pause, and slowing down so that we might more fully notice all that is about to be born.

In other words, advent embodies precisely the opposite of what many of us are feeling this holiday time of year.  So often we spend our Decembers in a rush, filled up not with anticipation but with anxiety, overwhelm, and sometimes even dread.

This year, we could all use the practice of advent.  To listen more intentionally, that we might hear beyond the restlessness, to pause more fully that we might see beyond the rush, to breathe more deeply that we might know ourselves still becoming, to see all that is growing and beginning in joy.

During this holiday season, we invite you to join us for a time of greater intention, attention, awareness, anticipation, and joy.

  • Join us on Sundays for explorations of memory (12/3) and hope (12/10), as well as our special all-music Sunday on the 17th with a theme of JOY.
  • Also on the 17th, join our Earth Based Path group for a traditional casting of the circle in honor of Yule – set up at 5, ritual at 6.
  • On the 21st we’ll gather to welcome the return of the light for our special holiday vespers at 6:15.
  • On Christmas Eve (a Sunday this year!) we’ll have 4 services – 10 am (a “Kitschy Christmas” celebration), 5 & 7 pm (family Christmas services) and 9 pm (Lessons & Carols).
  • And on New Year’s Eve Sunday, we’ll celebrate Fire Communion at 8:30 & 10, and at 11:30 we’ll share in waffle church with an abridged Fire Communion service.

Beyond worship, join us on the 17th for our annual Holiday Craft Fair – a sure bet for any gifts you haven’t yet been able to find.  Also, look for news from Chris Reed on our new-this-year family holiday pick-up choir.

Over the Christmas week, we’ll also be hosting families experiencing homelessness with Faith Family Hospitality, and we invite you to sign up to bring and share in a meal, or stay over night.

Whether in worship, in community, in service together, or simply in the breaths that fill all the space in between all of these, and that flow through and connect us all – in these days, my hope is that we can all find that pause of advent in our holiday rush, and remember there what it feels like to anticipate with joy, to notice with wonder, to let laughter overcome us, to be filled with hope.  This is my hope, and it is also an invitation, to keep coming back to this pause – we can practice, and become, together.

New System For Reserving Rooms at Church

building useFoothills has a new system for reserving rooms for both church events and outside events. This system will enable us to be more efficient and keep track of requests better. If you would like to reserve a room for a group, team, committee, or a private event, please go to to place your request.

This new page includes also includes an event calendar which shows when and where events are taking place.

We are always trying to make our website and digital content more easily accessible. Try out the new “Member Toolbox” tab on the homepage of our website to gain quick access to handy links.


Auction Items Still Available

Let the SUUn Shine In!

The auction was a great success!  Thanks to all – donors, attendees, and over 50 volunteers – who helped make it happen. Donors, you’ll be receiving an email soon – it will come from Community Auction Services, so make sure it doesn’t end up in your spam.  The auction made a profit of just over $20,000!  Amazing! The Special Appeal fund is up to $14,925!  Awesome! And we can make even more money – here are some spots left in fun events!  To sign up, email by next Wednesday, November 29th, at 11:59pm.  First emails get the spots. We’ll email you the details on how to collect.  Also, if you’d like to add to the Special Appeal, email us, too.

Thank You,

Your Outta Sight Auction Team

#110 Filipino Dinner for 10 – 12/02/2017(that’s soon!) Learn to cook Filipino food and enjoy the fruits of your labor! Marilou Smith, a native of the Philippines, will show you how to make LUMPIA (spring rolls), world-famous CHICKEN-PORK ADOBO, PANCIT BIHON (sauteed rice noodles with vegetables), LECHON PORK BELLY and LECHE FLAN for dessert!  Only 1 spot left!  $20. Marilyn Pierson and Mike Melville.

#101 Enjoy an evening at the Gessler’s (1/26/2018) as Historian Ken Rock talks about Germans from Russia: from the Volga to the Poudre! An abundance of desserts will be served.  5 spots available; $15 each.

#105 Charades! 4/07/2018.  Keeping the Foothills UU tradition, passing the torch.  An evening of astonishing creativity, (sometimes embarrassing) innovation, and just plain hilarity…Libations and outta sight appetizers served. At Polly Walters’ house. Only 1 spot left!  $25.

#108 Dr. Who Christmas Special Gathering – 12/27/2017.  Join with other UU Whovians (not to be confused with Whos from Whoville) for dinner and the theatrical showing of the Christmas Special at Cinemark on Timberline. Diane Barrett and Margaret Cottam will provide dinner, movie tickets and popcorn.  4 spots available; $20 each.

#111 First Annual White Elephant Party! 1/27/2018. Bring your favorite unwanted item to exchange at the Rhodes’ First Annual White Elephant Party! Hors d’oeuvres and beverages, then a hot chili dinner (veggie and carnie options available). Afterward, we’ll gather ’round for an old-fashioned “Thieves’ Exchange”. EACH participant should bring one WRAPPED item of their choice – this is your opportunity to re-gift that sweater or tacky wall hanging someone gave you over the holidays! 3 spots available; $20 each. Tom and Ticie Rhodes.

#112 Foothills’ Fabulous Afternoon Tea Party – (date TBD – probably Jan or Feb).  Join with other UUers for a special tea party, multiple courses of savories and sweets, and a variety of teas – catered by Pemberley Woods, Jenn Powell’s new business!  Only 1 spot left!  $20.

#116 New Orleans Feast – (this sold out on Auction Night, but 2 spots have become available since then) – 3/3/2018 – Join Mary Louise and Jim Gerek as they prepare and serve gumbo, red beans and rice, jambalaya, and other favorites – for an evening of good food, appropriate libations, and good conversation. 2 spots available; $35 each.

#120 House Concert by Vicki Pompea, at Cathy and Larry Watson’s home, featuring FABULOUS original music and some familiar tunes in a beautiful and relaxing venue. 3/24/2018.  Listen with your heart and soul while sipping wines and savoring delicious hors d’oeuvres. Vicki is a folksinger, songwriter, and guitarist (called a “female John Denver”).  10 spots available; $20 each.

#204 History Colorado Center Family Visit – Take the family out for a fun and educational visit to the History Colorado Center in Denver.  Item is a letter redeemable for a Family Visit (2 adults and 2 children).  You will also receive a copy of Colorado History Magazine.  Letters expire on October 31, 2018.  $30 (or make an offer).

#407 Miramont One-Month Family Membership – 1 One-month Premier Family Membership at Miramont. Valid for new members only. Get fit as a family!
Expires 11-1-18. $125 (or make an offer).

#702 A private Beauty Class offered at Sephora, 90 minutes.  In a quiet group setting during closed store hours, learn how to apply everyday makeup with our class facilitator, beauty coaches, and have private shopping time!  Date to be determined, likely a Sunday evening a 6:30 in late January, 2018.  8 spots available; $25 each.

#703 Belly Dancing Class 1/13/2018 – Hannah Mahoney’s Belly Dancing Class is back! Have fun learning some new moves and shaking what your mama gave you! Saturday, January 13, 2018, from 10:00 to 11:30 am – will be held at a dance studio in Fort Collins. 4 spots available; $15 each.

#713 Introduction to Tai Chi Chih in Your Home – Instructor Doriane Tippet will come to your home and teach slow, simple movements that open one’s meridians and lets the Chi (energy) flow. One-hour introductory session, to be scheduled at your convenience. Can be done standing, or in a straight-backed chair. 3 spots available – $20 each.

#718 Salsa Dance Lesson – 2/23/2018 Our own Kathryn Boyle and Darrick Hildman are offering a Salsa dance class. Singles and couples are welcome. In the church social hall. Put on your dancing shoes and join the fun! 12 spots available; $20 each.

#809 The Process Painting Experience – 2/08/2018. Interesting and exciting, the Process Painting Experience is an art form that requires no previous art experience, just a willingness to play with color and form and a commitment to the free flow of your own creativity. All materials will be supplied. We will paint for 3 hours, then discuss what happened, how we liked it, and so forth. Lola Sorensen. 4 spots available; $40 each.

Sharing Joy – reflections on Sunday’s service from Foothills’ member Lindsay Tearman

When I pulled up to the church at 8:15 Sunday morning, I knew that something special was in the air. The streets were already lined with cars which is a rare sight for first service. When I entered the building, the energy was already moving around, and my morning coffee became less critical, as I was quickly energized by simply breathing it all in. There were a few of us that knew what was in store for the morning service, and the anticipation of how the it would be received was thrilling.

As Gretchen opened up with sharing stories of joy regarding Thanksgiving, I smiled as I had also found myself on the “Turkey Train” for the last week. Tables got a big shout out this morning, and rightfully so. We gather around them constantly at our homes or offices, as a central meeting place to share food, stories, or ideas. A table is a rarely thought-about symbol of unity, the unsung hero of holidays. There were a few questions presented to us, calling attention to various things that make us happy. Songs, places, foods, and we shared those answers with the community at large, as well as with our neighbors. It was a well-needed moment to have.

I don’t know about you, but I can find myself struggling to hold on to happiness sometimes. As we carry justice to our local and global families, it can feel like an uphill battle against the injustice that is presented to be prevalent. Sunday morning was a beautiful reminder of what we know is true- that there is wonder and love and light that is everywhere. That the source of our strength comes from ourselves and from each other, and the hope that we hold so dearly in our hearts. Sunday was a chance to tap into our happiness, and to revel in it with each other.

We also did something that we haven’t done in a few years by holding a “reverse offering” in which a two dollar bill was handed out to every single member of the church (adults and children alike). The mission we were tasked with was to take that $2 and find some way of expressing courageous love to our community. We could work together, work as a family or with neighbors, or by ourselves to come up with a way to share joy. I can’t wait to hear the stories that come back for this, and knowing that Northern Colorado is going to get a little boost of love in the next few weeks is endearing.

This was followed up by Gretchen’s announcement that a donor, who sits amongst us each Sunday and yet wishes to remain unnamed, received an unexpected large sum of money and in the wake of Charlottesville, decided to give that money to the church. This is incredible and inspiring, a huge momentum given to promoting all of the good that exists here.

I expected a shock wave of such an announcement to flood through the church. I wasn’t sure if people would faint or jump out of their seats (being from the South I have a perpetual expectation of a “big tent revival level of expression” at any church I ever attend), or perhaps confetti and balloons would shower from the ceiling. Instead, I noticed the community smiled at each other and nodded, with immediate acceptance of this most wondrous gift. I found it intriguing, as if there was a collective “Yeah, that totally sounds like something one of us would do”. Which to me completely reinforces who we actually are. We are the people that go about our lives, day-to-day, in a fashion that may seem outrageous and bold to others. The spirit of giving and loving and taking care of others is ingrained in us, all year round. This donation was given whole-heartedly, in the spirit of love. We are approaching the holidays as heightened expressions of love and gratitude, not viewing them as a single day to celebrate.

As I sat there, still thinking about exactly what I could possibly do with my $2, the choir took the stage. Their performance sung beautifully as always, and there was a power to their voices that flowed through each one of us. I found it interesting to think about what we are able to give to the world. The impact that a single voice makes, that is amplified by the others that join them- it fills the entire room. And it’s genuinely moving.

There is so much work to be done, but we are never alone on our journey. Side by side, we continue to share our gifts with our community, only to have that create a continuous energy that cannot be contained.

So it is up to us to continue to sing that song of joy, to hold that space of Hope even in the most difficult of times. It is the only way that we can be true to ourselves, and to fulfill our purpose here. One of my favorite proverbs is “Shared joy is a double joy; shared sorrow is half sorrow”.  (Disclaimer: this was on a desk calendar I had many years ago, but it has stuck with me throughout time.) When we keep anything to ourselves, we deny others the ability to be a part of something that is bigger than us. I am so thankful to be a part of this community and I wish you all the most magical of holidays. May your hearts be filled with everything that is wonderful in this world.

Lindsay Tearman, Stewardship Team Member

Board Update #3: Board Leadership Transition

We’ve been a busy Board already this year! Because we have so much to share, we are offering it in three parts, this is the third (you can find the first here and the second here). This one provides news about a recent transition on the Board.  

Last in our news roundup is a change in leadership. Due to work stresses, Sara Edwards has resigned from the Board. Sara contributed a lot in the last 16 months as she served as Secretary-Elect and Secretary. The Board is very grateful for all that she did.

Per our By-Laws, the Board is required to appoint someone to fill any vacancies when it occurs mid-term.  As a result, at our meeting last week, the Board appointed Cheryl Hazlitt to the Board. She will serve the remainder of Sara’s term, and is considering the possibility of being nominated for one of the vacant positions beyond that.  More information on this around February or March when the Nominating Committee begins its work of determining a slate for our elections in May.

Cheryl has been a great asset on the Personnel Team and we’re sure she will be a big help on the Board as well. Please give both Sara and Cheryl your thanks the next time you see them.

Board Update #2: Space Exploration

We’ve been a busy Board already this year! Because we have so much to share, we are offering it in three parts, this is the second of these (you can find the first here). This one provides an update on our space task force. 

As you have likely experienced and heard, our church has grown quite a bit in the last decade, and especially in the last couple of years – which is why we are looking at our space needs for the future. The Board believes our current campus cannot be adequately expanded to meet our (and Fort Collins’) anticipated growth. We discussed space at our informational forum a few weeks ago, where we had 55 people attending. We got lots of great comments in person and on sticky notes. We have conducted two additional meetings with 16 people participating.

The main question we’re hearing so far is about the process – how and when it’ll all happen. It’s a great question and we have broad answers to it right now. We are in step 1 of probably 50 steps. We wanted to bring the whole congregation into the conversation as early as possible. We wanted to hear your thoughts and concerns, as well as your hopes and dreams.  Our next step is to hire a programming consultant to

  1. Help us understand how much space we need and what kinds of space we need given our programming;
  2. Give us a second opinion about our current campus and if there is a possibility we could adequately expand here; and
  3. Help us figure out what to look for or build in a different place.

The Space Committee has already interviewed and checked references on several professional firms that do this work. The church will be hiring someone shortly. There will be opportunities for you to participate in this step – so we hope that you will keep an eye out for announcements.

All of the steps in this process will be thoughtful and deliberate, and will probably take three to five years, which will look generally like this:

  • Year 1 (Fall 2017 -Summer 2018)….This year we will figure out what we need and develop some more specific plans.
  • Year 2 (Fall 2018 – Summer 2019/20)…..Next year, we will figure out how much it will cost and how to pay for it.  This could take 1-2 years.
  • Year 3/4 (Fall 2019/20 – Summer 2020/21) The third year, we will remodel, renovate or build and take care of the other logistics around moving. This too might take slightly longer, depending on all the decision points along the way.

Do we know exactly how many steps there are actually going to be? Not really, but we wanted to give you the general sketch. We also wanted you to know that the congregation will be involved all along the way. That’s why we brought you in early!

We on the Board are always happy to hear from you. We are all going to figure this out together.