As the school year comes to a close, so does the church year. On Sunday, June 4 at 11:00 a.m. we will hold our official annual congregational meeting. Please save the date! All members will be asked to attend to vote on elected offices as well as bylaws changes and the annual budget.
We’ve decided to try scaling back the sale, primarily by doing the following:
- Reducing the time it takes for set up and sell to 10 days
- Eliminating and and sale of adult clothing
- Eliminating collection and sale of electronics
- Eliminating sales on Sunday. Sunday will be all church cleanup
- Training additional personnel on non-global pricing to expand number of folks who can do pricing, provide consistency and reduce rework
But in times like these, I firmly believe that having homework for understanding and respecting other cultures is more important than my current homework. That spending time getting to know those in this community while applying the values of this community is the best way to feel connected to it.
I remember hearing a story about a young couple that showed up at a church for the first time. They had recently moved to the area and were church shopping. Walking into the church they quickly noticed that nobody, and I mean nobody, was even close to their age. If you took their parents’ age and added it to their age, you would get in the ballpark of the average age of the congregation. But…five years later they were still there. Why?
After they visited the congregation for the first time, one of them was diagnosed with cancer. Even though they had only been to the congregation that one time, a church member followed up with them.
The afternoon after the first chemo treatment, the couple responded to a knock at the door and they were met with the sight of a casserole sitting on their front door, steaming, and the back of a church member hurrying away. And the casseroles kept coming. For months. Why did they stay? Because the congregation cared about them deeply, and they knew they belonged.
I have only been getting to know Foothills for a short time, but in that time I have witnessed a spirit of love rippling outward. People at Foothills actually want to hear the truth when we ask them “How are you doing?” What a healing balm that is, and how critical it is to that hope we all have to feel like we belong.
Within our congregation, we have dedicated teams that actively partner in our shared ministry of care and belonging:
- Our Parish Visitors care and visit with dozens of people within our community each month who need a listening ear.
- Our Meals Team jumps into action to provide meals during times of stress and need.
- Our Cards Crew helps us reach out and share our concern
- Our Caring Team connects people to rides to church and supports hospitality during memorial services
- Our small groups – each led by a trained and supported facilitator – offer a sense of intimacy, connection, and shared spiritual growth
Our professional ministry team, Rev. Haley and myself, extend this care by offering pastoral care and counseling, end of life support, rites of passage, and alleviate financial burdens for members through the Ministerial Discretionary Fund.
In a church our size, it can sometimes be hard to figure out how to access this care, and you can often wonder if they are meant for you. They are. Dropping by or calling the church office, sending an email to email@example.com or connecting directly with Sean (firstname.lastname@example.org) are the easiest ways to start the conversation. If you think you know a member who might need some support, please let us know in these ways, as well.
This month, our theme moves from covenant to healing. It is our ministry of care where these two themes come together. May our walk together be one where we deeply care for each other, healing ourselves, and our world.
The Rummage Sale has come and gone leaving another successful sale in it’s wake. Thank you to Pam Stevens and the volunteers who worked many, many hours to make this huge event happen. If you donated treasures or bought some, we thank you too.
The 2016 Foothills Rummage Sale raised $16,840.00. The pledge drive is our largest income source followed by the Rummage Sale and the Auction (coming up in November).
When someone connected to our congregation has a concern, life transition, or something going on in their life, our hope is that we can connect with them in the spirit of our covenant, bringing a sense of a larger presence to those moments in life when it is so important not to feel alone. Sometimes that “presence” is simply a phone call or a visit, sometimes it is a card from your friends at church; other times it is a ride to church, or a whole series of home cooked meals during a difficult time; and sometimes it is a combination of all of these things.
Over the past few years, our caring team has been expanding and developing to meet all the various needs for presence in our congregations, responding to the growing and changing size and needs of our community. Here are some of the frequently asked questions and answers about our caring team. Please let us know if you have a question about something not listed here!
In partnership, Jacqui Wallace, Kay Hood, Bonnie Inscho, Cam Elvheim, and Rev. Gretchen Haley – lead team members for Caring at Foothills
How do you tell us about a concern, life transition, illness, injury, or something else going on, including a joy?
- We ask you to either call the church office at 493-5906 or email email@example.com, or complete the online form here: foothillsuu.org/joys-and-concerns/.
- You might also go ahead and share about it in the Sunday Joys and Sorrows book, now placed for your privacy in the sanctuary by the sound booth window.
- All of these will get routed to the On-Call Caring Team Member.
Who should tell us about someone’s concern?
- If you know about something going on in someone’s life and have a general sense that it is something the person would be fine with their church’s caring team knowing about, you are welcome to send a note or call us on their behalf, especially when they are not able.
- Of course, we always welcome and encourage you to share about yourself, for yourself, as well!
Who receives the information when I share it with the church?
- The information is always routed to our On-Call Caring Team Member who will reach out directly to the person experiencing the concern, expressing our congregation’s caring presence, as well as assessing other needs.
- It is also always shared with Rev. Haley, and recorded onto our Caring Log so we can be sure to follow up and check in with you.
Who fills the On-Call Team Member role? How does that work?
- Our Parish Visitors team rotate in filling the On-Call role – every two weeks. When it is their turn, they receive the notices of caring concerns, and reach out to the individual directly. They also see if the individual could use meals, or rides, or a contact from a minister, and generally offer the caring presence on behalf of our congregation.
- If the individual does need rides, meals, or other support, the On-Call person makes a referral to the lead for the particular area.
What is a Parish Visitor?
- A Parish Visitor is a church member who – after applying, interviewing, receiving a background check and proper training – visits with a church member who is either unable to get to church due to injury or illness, or who appreciates a little extra conversation and listening during a time of need from a fellow church member.
- These Visitors work directly with Rev. Haley, meeting with her at least every-other-month for check-ins and direction. They also keep Rev. Haley apprised of all of their visits, and work with her directly whenever particular issues may arise.
- The Parish Visitor program started about 2 years ago, near the end of Rev. Salkin’s time with the congregation, and is a way to ensure that we are better able to reach out and walk with more of our large community. It is also one of the best ways we express our covenant and our commitment to a shared ministry.
- Our ministerial team is still always available for appointments for pastoral support. Reach out to them directly to make an appointment to meet.
Who are the leads for the caring roles?
- Kay Hood fills the lead role for our Parish Visitors, so when a new Visitor assignment is needed, she works with Rev. Haley to make that assignment.
- Currently we are in need of a new lead for our meals team, although Jacqui Wallace has been filling in until we are able to fill this role. This is an important yet not-too-time-consuming role of reaching out to a person in need, to their primary circle of community in the church, and to our regular volunteers who bring meals to those who need a meal, and sets up a meal coordination website for all of these folks to bring meals in a way that meets the needs of the individuals.
- Currently we rely on an informal network to support our rides, as we recognize that we aren’t able to offer too many rides too often. We do our best when we are able, and otherwise we help an individual to connect with other supports.
- Kay Hood and Jacqui Wallace both help ensure that there is support for receptions for Memorial Services.
Is this the same as the “Caring Committee?” How is it different?
- While all the elements of the Caring Committee still exist, we have decided not to meet as a whole Committee on a regular basis – because we found that with the Parish Visitor program and our On-Call system, it was redundant. Instead, people can just jump in and provide the support – no meeting required!
- So if you know someone needs meals, instead of contacting a “committee,” just use our firstname.lastname@example.org email, or contact the office, and we will coordinate directly with the Meal team.
How can I sign up to help with meals when they are needed?
- Contact Jacqui Wallace at email@example.com.
How can I sign up to be a lead for either rides or meals?
- Contact Rev. Haley at firstname.lastname@example.org or 493-5906.
How can I sign up or learn more about the Parish Visitor role?
- Contact Kay Hood at email@example.com.
What if I have other questions about the Caring Team or other elements of Foothills Pastoral Care support?
- Contact Rev. Haley at firstname.lastname@example.org or 493-5906.