Board of Trustees Winter Update

Foothills Unitarian Board of Trustees
Informational Forum and Update
Date:​ Sunday, January 22, 2018

You can view the video recording of the forum by clicking on this link and choosing the January Board Forum in the video player menu.

Following is a summary of the meeting.

Announcements:
● Recognition and thanks to the Auction Committee this year for the outstanding work and funds raised for the church and Faith Family Hospitality.
● Sara Edwards stepped down from her role on the Board and we thank her for her service. Cheryl Hazlitt is filling in behind her in a temporary assigned role until elections are held later this year.

Governance Progress Report by Jody Anderson
This report provided an update on the efficacy of the transition to policy governance. Specific topics the Governance Committee has been tracking include the role of the Board; delegation of work and duties; accountability of ministry team; collaborative governance; and financial management. Overall, the Governance Committee felt the use of the policy governance model was extremely effective. Gretchen Haley provided feedback that it has been very helpful to clarify and define duties particularly related to finance and staff duties.

Mid Year Financial Report – Gretchen Haley
Gretchen reminded us this was a midyear picture (at the end of December) in the churches fiscal year. The church received a $100,000 gift to add to our operation funds this year which has been programmed to use in supporting church activities; staffing needs and the ongoing growth we are seeing. The total amount for the year received was $497,163. The budget set for this year was $426,640. The plate collection at this midyear point is $27,803, and we because of the “Share the Plate”, have share about 60% of that amount. Our operating budget is set at $760,000, and we now have been able to establish the reserves identified in policy levels ($30,000). We are also paying our full fair share to the UUA National and District organization.

Music Visioning and Hiring a New Permanent Choir Director                                                   A task force has researched and surveyed other churches to get feedback on how they operate and function. Vision discernment took place during the fall as the team did small focus groups to get feedback and online surveying as well. This information will be coalesced into the a strategy and assist in determining a job description for the music director position. A search committee will be convened later this spring to begin a national search. Our current director, Chris Reed will have the opportunity to be considered within the applicant pool. NOTE: The board has decided to delay the hiring of a new choir director since this report.

Church Administrator Position and Transition
The Board approved the hiring of a consultant to do an overview of the duties and functional responsibilities necessary for a growing church and priorities. The consultant (Patrick Murphy) will be in the office over the next few months reviewing the practices. We will review these recommendations and look to fill a new position in July. Kathryn has assume facility responsibility and oversight of custodian hours and office volunteers.
Future Staff Planning
2019 is slated to consider ministerial staff needs as we explore the possibility of satellite gathering locations or a minister at one of these sites. We have many people who are semi-engaged, but are not pledging to the church ministry at this time, making the hiring of additional ministerial staff a real challenge.

Sanctuary
● No applicants at the moment. The leads and team gathered for lessons learned.
● A survey for congregation feedback has been sent out.
● The current remodel in the RE building has worked well.

Engagement
A summary of the Future Oriented Questions survey from last fall was presented. There were a total of 48 respondents who identified most significant aspects of Foothills were Relationships & Community, Space Needs, Outreach and Service, Issue Driven Concerns. We are setting up various opportunities for small group dialogues and conversations through the remainder of the year.
● Gretchen is conducting “fireside chats” through the spring. There were 15 in attendance at the first one.
● The board is setting up dialogue groups for various groups based on anniversary years as members, beginning with a board exchange between previous and current board members. These will continue into May.
● The “gather groups” appear to be very successful. Vespers run between 20-40, but attendees are usually coming to an additional service. There are about 90 people that cannot make services work to date. Monthly reports show continued growth to services, and maintaining growth. (Comment: Small groups are wonderful for engagement.)

Space Update
The board met with the city and based on discussions determined we cannot stay at this site due to zoning, growth needs and other building related issues. We have hired an architect as a programming consultant to look at the building activity and space needs. They have met with the staff and will continue meeting with various church groups for activities and spaces. They are also going to review our current campus and give us an opinion about whether we could stay.

We are in the beginning of a 3 – 4 year process which will allow many opportunities for communication and feedback. The Space committee is developing visuals of the timeline and process. (Audience comments: It is important that we start thinking NOW about where we move as part of the process. We cannot wait very long to make that decision of where we want to be in 3 – 4 years. Location and facility are both critical considerations, and should be evaluated as part of our future vision as a church. The UU Church in Tulsa moved back to inner city as part of their outreach mission.)

The current situation with 3 services (which are generally full) is difficult and hard the church staff, but we will not go back to 2. We have received over 400 adults most Sundays. Our current space is a major limitation. The basement of the church is still in need of cleaning out.

End of report.

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Becoming Belonged

Dinner.  Sharing stories.  For-real check ins.  

It’s a simple concept, but it’s not an obvious one.   The conventional wisdom these days is that we’re so busy, the only way to get folks to engage is to make it as easy, short, and simple as possible. To ask that people meet every single week, for 2 hours or more, for 8 weeks, and maybe longer – it’s too much.  

But the fact that we are over-programmed is only one part of the truth; the other, is that we are under-belonged.

I know, “belonged” isn’t technically a word.  But it helps describe how it happens.

Belonging isn’t passive – it’s active, it takes work, and discipline, and commitment – from us, and from others.  Belonging requires partnership.

Although we have more opportunities than ever before for connection, belonging is in short supply.  Only when we decide to prioritize opportunities for real connection, when we show up for true relationship with those who are committed to true relationship with us – can it really take hold.

This is the theory behind our Gather Groups – a new initiative that isn’t so much an initiative as a whole new way of being together.  

Last month at our Group Link we launched 8 new Gather Groups – and 2 pilot groups were already under way – that makes 10 groups of about 10, all of whom are following that simple formula: Dinner, Sharing Stories (related to faith), For-Real Check-ins.  Every Week.  Eight weeks – and then…maybe more, or something else, or – who knows.

Simple, but not easy – and not that short.  Simple, and transformational.  

Meanwhile, we’re piloting a Leadership version – which uses the same formula while intentionally putting mentors (i.e. longtime church leaders) with mentees (potential future leaders) to intentionally tend to leadership development in our congregation.  We’re also piloting a Family version, where families with their children meet to gather and grow together, in community.  We’ll be launching both of these in their full versions by the fall.

If you missed that first Group Link, not to worry – we’re offering another one on March 17th.  More info and sign up here.  

When I look to our future as a congregation, I am excited about the breadth of our potential impact, but I am also overwhelmed by the depth of our potential connections, the power we have to ease the central dis-ease of life today – our separation, our isolation, our longing to be known, and to know one another – for real.  

Showing Up for Democracy: The Women’s March

from Foothills Blogger, Jane Everham

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The Women’s March isn’t just for women!

Brian and I attended the first March in 2017 where the organizers hoped for 20,000 attendees – they got 100,000 instead! This delayed the march as the logistics were re-worked, but the standing around with like-minded strangers gave us hope and good cheer.

The 2nd Annual Women’s March took place in downtown Denver on January 21, and even more came to march! Despite the March starting on-time at 9:30, it still took us almost 90 minutes to funnel with the crowd onto 14th St and Bannock – we were so many! This year we encountered numerous of the dozens of Foothills UUs that rode buses or carpooled down to join the March. They carried signs made at various Sign Parties sponsored by church members. The sign I carried said, “Hick, Pardon Ingrid!” and UUs from Boulder and Quakers from Denver, all part of the larger Support Ingrid coalition, recognized its meaning and stopped to talk. Many strangers asked, “Who’s Ingrid?’ and were enlightened on how they could support Ingrid and stand up for justice. It was heartening to hear them express gratitude and support for our Sanctuary efforts.

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Many of the beliefs and principles of Unitarian Universalism were on display at the March.

The demographic of the marchers was extensive and inclusive – babes in arms – girls 3and women – the elderly in wheel chairs – men and boys – LGBTQ – the disabled on scooters – a rainbow of colors. They were from all over Colorado. Most carried signs – many marchers brought extras to share. The signs varied from sweet to snarky to political, and many were very funny:

“It’s about all of us!”  “Girls just want to have FUN-damental rights!”

“I’ve seen better Cabinets at IKEA!”

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Note the Ingrid balloon in the background!

We were a mighty, joyous, and peaceful crowd!

Mark your calendars now for the 3rd Annual Women’s March – it is a moving experience of Showing Up -not to be missed!

January 19, 2019.

 

Progress Is Possible

from Foothills Blogger, Jane Everham

“It is possible to make progress.” said Rev. Nathan Woodliff-Stanley, Executive Director of Colorado’s American Civil Liberties Union and Unitarian Universalist Minister during his guest sermon last Sunday. Rev. Nathan used two stories to illustrate his point. The first story was about the exertion required in the ground-breaking effort to rebel – (something UUs take to rather well.) The second story reflected a painful reality–our democracy is far from seeing our ideals as universal and fair. He called on us to weave these two stories together in a tale which will prevail and define us – to let our highest ideals “ring true not hollow.”

True democracy, he pointed out, is evident in the words at the base of the Statue of Liberty, in the Suffragettes’ movement, the civil rights’ movement, the support for the LGBTQ community. Our Constitution speaks to us with “We the People”, equality for all.

Rev. Nathan reminded us that though the quote “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice,” is frequently attributed to Rev. Martin Luther King (who did repeat it often) it was first spoken by Theodore Parker, reforming minister of the Unitarian church. What connects UU’s and the ACLU is our shared belief that no one should be left out from experiencing equality and justice.

Showing up for democracy means having a better sense of what needs to be done. The 2016 election galvanized both our UU world and the ACLU. The population of the ACLU in Colorado in October 2016 was 7,000 – today it is 37,000. This influx of newly engaged Coloradans has enabled the ACLU to hire a Voting Rights Committee Coordination, a Reproductive Rights Attorney, launch a podcast called Purple State Report, and other useful entities that weren’t affordable before.

These words of Rev. Nathan bear repeating – it is possible to make progress. In the last year, much progress has been made. As we look toward the future, the November 2018 election is crucial. He called on us to at the very least show up to vote – at the very least! Or step up and RUN for office. Many, many, new people are entering the political field and running for office for the first time.

Rev Nathan closed his sermon inviting us to stay engage and to do the serious work ahead . . . with joy.

This last point was so important that Rev. Gretchen underscored it in the Gratefulness Moment of the service. “Focus on joy, give thanks for all the gifts of this life – feel gratefulness, gratitude.”

This service, like so many others, was deeply inspiring – I often leave church on Sunday thinking “This is so good, they should charge admission.” But they never will! We are invited to show our gratitude, support, and commitment to our faith’s future through pledging. Speaking of pledging . . . see you at CSU for breakfast at 9:30 next Sunday morning.