- Sunday, August 13th 8:30 and 10:00 service, “Just Home,” led by the Rev. Mike Morran, First Unitarian Society of Denver, leaders in the Sanctuary movement in the Denver metro area
- Sunday, August 13th at 11:30 am, following the second service, Informational Workshop on Sanctuary, led by the Sanctuary Team and Foothills staff team – answering all the questions anyone can come up with, talking practical details, sharing in group discernment. Register to attend this workshop here.
- Wednesday, August 23rd at 6:30 pm, a 2nd opportunity for the same information provided at the 8/13 Informational Workshop for those who weren’t able to attend, or who want additional info
- Sunday, August 27th, Special Congregational Meeting at 11:30 am, following the second service, called for the sole purpose of voting on the question “Will Foothills Unitarian Church be designated as a Sanctuary Congregation?” All those who have been members for 30 days or more by 8/27 are welcome to vote.
Those of us who hang around churches a lot talk about the idea of “church-time,” by which we usually mean SLOW time. It’s often talked about with a chuckle, and sometimes a sigh of frustration, especially for leaders inclined towards moving the church forward in a way that makes “perfect sense,” at least to them.
This was the story about Foothills’ when it came to governance change – at least whenever I’d heard it up until this past week. We’d been trying for over 15 years to make an effective change in governance structure that would bring our underlying system into alignment with our church size and today’s best practices. This sense that it had been going on for a long, long time inspired the Board in the first year of the interim after Rev. Marc Salkin retired (2014-15) to move quickly on a new direction. What that Board – and all of us – quickly realized, however, is that even though it felt slow to some, not everyone was caught up, and after the retirement of a long-tenured minister, it felt like too much change, too fast.
The Board learned from that experience, re-grouped, and began a slower and more cooperative and consulting process beginning in the church year 2015-16. As a result of many, many conversations with all sorts of people in all sorts of ways, this past Sunday we saw the flip side of “church-time,” what I call the “all-of-a-sudden-it’s-done” phenomenon: The congregation enthusiastically endorsed the Governance Task Force’s work and authorized the Board to move forward with its trial year.
It was a huge and wonderful accomplishment for this congregation, and it was a beautiful thing to witness – because it was both about a single moment, and about all the faithful, sometimes-frustrating, usually-thoughtful moments that the meeting constituted. Thousands of hours and years of committees and teams all came together into one meeting where the the foundation had been properly set, the congregation was ready, and the time was right.
Even though people talk about church-time as slow time, that’s not at all how I see it. I see church as the embodiment of the principle that’s true in every case where you’re trying to do something big, and important and long-lasting – which is that if you want to go fast, go alone, but if you want to go far, you must go together. And going together takes patient, careful time…conversations and care, humility and a great sense of humor. But then suddenly, in one hot June afternoon, you look around and realize, all-of-a-sudden, it’s done. And then you just feel proud, and grateful, to be there at a time such as this.
If you were at the annual meeting, you already heard this great news that this year, our congregation was selected as the 2017 recipient for the UUA Bennett Award for Congregational Action on Human Justice and Social Action. This award recognizes congregations that has done exemplary social justice ministry.
In the letter from the Bennett Award Panel, they wrote:
“From your congregational vision to ‘Unleash Courageous Love’ to your approach of accompaniment of the most vulnerable in your community, positioning ‘real life, on-the-ground presence’ and service as part of systemic social change, your justice ministry truly deserves this recognition. It’s inspiring to learn about how your work for justice is driving by your mission and faith, and sustained by spiritual practices from breaking bread and vigiling to storytelling and companioning.”
Read the whole letter here.
This award recognizes the work of all of the many people who make our Faith Family Hospitality, One Village One Family, Food Bank, Immigration Coalition, and Climate Justice ministries happen – and have such a huge and consistent impact on our community. Thank you to all those who have stepped up in big and small ways, over and over – I hope you take this award as a recognition of just how much these efforts mean.
A special thank you to Kay Williams, Anne Fisher and Sue Ferguson who compiled the application and the ministry leads who each helped tell the story of their areas of our total ministry for justice.
I’m so happy to share that we have found both dates that will work and a Lead Team of three church members who have agreed to lead our Rummage Sale this year. Which means….the Rummage Sale is on!
The dates for the sale will be August 4th through 6th. (There may be an opportunity for an August 3rd pre-sale, but that’s something the Leads will be assessing.)
The Leads Team is: Pam Stevens, Sara Steen and Julie Estlick. (Thank you!!)
What we need: They will next be looking to ensure they have Room Managers for all of the rooms, as well as a few other key roles. If you are willing to be a Room Manager, or are just wanting to learn more about how to help us have a great rummage sale this year, please contact Pam Stevens directly at email@example.com. We will be posting job descriptions and time requirements for these roles in the next few weeks so look for that as well.
We are so grateful to our Rummage Sale Visioning Task Force of Pam Stevens, Sara Steen, Angie Noden, Diane Banta and Eve Enright to helping us find a new vision for how to have success in our Rummage Sale. From their conversations and plans, we’ve come up with some changes we’ll be trying out this year – from trying out a “Share the Plate” model to scaling back the size of the sale, to having a more intentional leadership structure. You can find out more in this blog post (from the April 5th Extra).
In the meantime, start saving up your GREAT stuff you no longer need! Though we won’t be taking clothing or electronics this year, we would love to receive those wonderful finds that will make someone really happy! Look for more information on this blog, in the Extra, and in church on all the ways you can help make this year’s sale a great success.
Spring is in the air (and snow is on the lilacs!), so it’s time for an update on the financial state of the church from your intrepid treasurer. Below, I will review the current year’s finances, as well as the outcome of our annual Stewardship campaign and highlights of next year’s proposed budget.
IMPORTANT: we will hold a Budget Hearing on Sunday May 7 from 10:40 to 11:30 AM (between second and third services). Please come to this meeting, where we will present the details of the proposed budget. This is your best opportunity to get your questions answered before we vote on the proposed budget at the annual Congregational Meeting on June 4.
Current Year’s Finances:
We are 10 months into our current church year, and we’re doing very well. Pledge collections continue at a near-record pace. We’ve now collected 80% of our annual budgeted pledge (vs 70% this time last year). Spending is exactly what we’ve budgeted: 76% of this year’s budget, compared to 73% this time last year. We project that we will end the church year on June 30 with a balance within 0.5% of our annual budget.
One of our budget priorities this year was to augment the church’s reserve account. Think of this as our “savings” account from which we draw when expenses exceed income in a particular month, and which we pay into when expenses are less. Our written policies specify that the reserve account should be 10% of our annual budget. The reserve account was pretty much wiped out in the Great Recession, and we’ve been slowly building it back up. The reserve account will be about $50k at the end of this church year on June 30. Our target is $76k (based on next year’s proposed budget), so we’re getting there but have a ways to go.
Until we can grow our reserve account back to the 10% level, one of the most important ways you can help the church meet its monthly bills is to pay your pledge regularly. If you haven’t already done so, please consider setting up automatic monthly payments rather than paying in unpredictable lump sums. See Carolyn at the church office for details.
Thanks to all of you, and especially to our wonderful Stewardship Team who made this year’s campaign very successful. We have pledges of over $660k for the church year that begins on July 1. This is up more than 7% over last year — a very healthy increase! For the first time ever, more than 400 households pledged this year, including 336 member households as well as 78 nonmember households. This represents a total of about 750 people! You can read more details here.
Next Year’s Proposed Budget:
Considering your generous pledge plus additional revenue from plate collections, contributions, fundraisers, and various other sources, we project total income of about $760k for July 1, 2017 through June 30, 2018. Therefore we will propose a budget in that amount. Almost 94% of next year’s budget is supported by pledges and donations!
Next year’s proposed budget includes small salary increases for most of our staff as we continue toward our goal of paying everybody at the midpoint of the guidelines of the denomination for our region.
We are very excited to include a request for a part-time Membership Coordinator (a new hire) in the proposed budget! As our Three Services Experiment has made clear, we are attracting a lot of new members and friends. Most other large UU congregations have found that the expense of hiring a Membership Coordinator literally pays for itself in a few years through growth in pledging. As more people join our community, this new staff person will ensure that all are welcome and well integrated into the Foothills UU family.
Please bring your questions, comments, and concerns about next year’s proposed budget to the Budget Hearing on Sunday May 7 at 10:40 AM. See you there!
This update is a part of a Governance Update being sent by email to all Foothills members.
Every year, the church prepares a budget in the spring for the church year starting on July 1, projecting monthly income and spending 15 months in advance. Our budgets are balanced, so we spend only what we earn.
Nearly all of our income is from the pledges of financial commitment made by members and friends of our community.
The budget for next fiscal year has been prepared by the Finance committee, affirmed by the board, and will be voted on for final approval by the members of the congregation at our annual meeting on June 4.
A hearing to introduce and discuss details of the budget will be held on May 7 at 10:40am. Highlights include an overall increase to the budget of nearly $43,000 made possible by a projected pledging increase of over 8%!
Most of the additional income will be invested in our human resources, including a new part-time coordinator position for membership, as well as salary adjustments to reflect current UUA compensation guidelines for our ministers and staff.
Please plan to attend the May 7 hearing to inform your vote as the budget presentation at the Annual Meeting will be abridged.