From #MeToo to Easter – Making Space for a New Story

To call last Sunday’s #MeToo service “powerful” feels too small, too overused a word.  It was holy, it was terrifying, it was the beginning of something that we don’t yet totally understand.  (If you were not able to join us in person, check out the podcast here, or watch the full service here, and check out the text of the sermon here.)

Holding space with you as we traveled the path of our stories of pain, and shame, violence, and also resilience and resistance broke my heart, and also bolstered my spirit.  It was brave space that we made together, and also, it was just the beginning.

As I prepared for the service, I was struck repeatedly at the ways that the #MeToo movement connects so readily to the #NeverAgain marches that happened across the country on Saturday, and also the #BlackLivesMatter movement, and the work for Immigration Justice and also environmental justice, and….because all of these movements are trying to address the dominant paradigm that says some lives matter more than others, that some voices and stories matter more – that we are not ultimately all in this life together.

It can be easy, when we start delving deeply into this work in the ways that we did on Sunday, to get caught up in the pain, or the shame, or to feel that these old stories we are fighting to change are in fact intractable, or to be overwhelmed at just how deep the dysfunction goes, including in ourselves.

Which is why, I’m so glad that the Sunday immediately following #MeToo is our Easter Sunday.  Because Easter reminds us that it’s never too late for forgiveness, for healing, for reconciliation, for redemption.  It’s never too late to imagine a new story, even one that feels at times impossible.

So, come on Sunday, and let’s celebrate together, and remind each other – that we are still in the middle of a story that we are writing together, and that so much remains unknown, and out of our individual control – and, despite what we might think sometimes, that’s such good news.  Because then in the midst of some of the darkest days, there emerges Emma Gonzales, and Naomi Wadler, and the movement for Black Lives, and the intersectional work of the Women’s March.

Our task, as we gather, is to make space in our hearts, and in our lives, for all that is trying to be born, and to keep doing our own work that we can be shepherds of a new day, and a changed story.  And to give thanks, for this good and worthy work that we can do together.


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.  

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.

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.

Congregational Meeting on Becoming a Sanctuary Church

August 14, 2017

Dear Members and Friends,

There will be an important Congregational Meeting on Sunday August 27 at 11:30 AM to consider a resolution to designate Foothills Unitarian Church as a Sanctuary Congregation. The meeting will include a lot of very valuable information about what this means, how it works, and the conditions and limitations we’ve proposed.

According to our Bylaws, those who have been members for 30 days or more can vote, meaning you would need to have “signed the book” by July 29, 2017. A three-fourths majority of those present is required for us to proceed.

The text of the resolution on which we’ll vote is as follows:

With our policies and procedures in place, as well as the established Guidelines and Limitations set by the Board of Trustees, the Foothills Unitarian Church affirms the following statement:

As people of faith and conscience, we pledge to resist any policies that target and/or deport millions of undocumented immigrants and discriminate against marginalized communities. We will open up our congregation and community as a sanctuary space and accompany our immigrant neighbors in their journey for justice and safety.  We will work alongside our friends, families, and neighbors to ensure the dignity and human rights of all people.  We hereby designate ourselves as a Sanctuary Congregation, aligning ourselves with the traditions and practices of the New Sanctuary Movement and affirming our willingness to receive a guest seeking sanctuary into our congregation and to provide hospitality support for them during their stay.

Before the vote, there will be a series of presentations and opportunities for discussion and questions, as well as some very informative handouts.

Please come to this important meeting and urge your friends and family to attend as well.



Your Board of Trustees


Donation Days Are Here!

Donation Days are here! The Foothills Rummage Sale is less than two 2 weeks away and donations can be dropped at the church beginning tomorrow July 26th.
Donations accepted:
  • WednesdayThursdayFriday and Monday from 9 a.m.- 8 p.m.
  • Saturday 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.
  • Sunday 12:30 p.m. -5 p.m.

Please do not drop off donations after hours or during Sunday services. (After the 11 a.m. service a Team member will be available at the RE Building if you want to bring items to church with you on 7/30.)

This year we are accepting:

Baby Items
Bikes & Sports   (NO skis)
Children’s Toys
Decor & Holiday

Garden & Pets
Health & Beauty
Kitchen/Housewares   appliances/vacuums,
Linnens & Luggage
Office & Lamps
Sewing Crafts
Storage & Organization
Tools & Construction

We aren’t accepting adult clothes (but shoes and accessories are okay) or electronics (like DVD players, computer stuff) this year.


Foothills Members & Friends (of the church) sale is Wednesday, Aug. 2:
4:30 p.m. Sale volunteers with 15 or more hours logged shop
5 p.m. Wine and Cheese Reception begins. Sale volunteers (6 or more hours worked) or church members/friends who pay $10 shop
6 p.m. – 8 p.m. FREE for all Foothills members and friends
The public sale is Thursday, Aug. 3 – Saturday, Aug. 5 from 8 – 6 daily. Saturday is 50 percent off everything that is left.
This sale is hugely popular in our community, helping those with lower incomes and students furnish homes and clothe their families. We are coordinating with the nonprofit Homeless Gear in 2017, and half of all net proceeds will go to support their essential programs – The other half will support our church’s work.
Many volunteers have stepped up, but there are still several open slots to fill. Childcare is available for volunteers on Saturday, July 29 and Friday, Aug. 4. Please contact if you need babysitting. Please go to the sign-up sheets at and see where you can lend a hand. We’ve shortened the sale and want to see this tradition survive.

Preparing for our Annual Meeting this Sunday

Dear members and friends,

We are excited to be nearing our congregational meeting this Sunday.  We hope you all received the following two documents to prepare you for this important gathering:

Because of the complicated nature of this year’s agenda, the Board leadership met earlier this week with a professional Parliamentarian to prepare.

In that meeting, we realized that it would be ideal to establish a few standing rules at the beginning of our gathering to ensure our meeting runs smoothly, respectfully, and within a reasonable time frame.  While these rules will need to be approved by the gathering on Sunday (2/3rd majority), we wanted to give you the heads up about what we’re thinking in advance.  So, here are a few of the sorts of rules we’re considering:

  • An agreed-upon time limit for speakers;
  • An agreement that everyone who wants to speak gets to speak before anyone speaks a second time;
  • An agreement to abide by our covenant of right relations as a part of our business;
  • For any amendments (particularly to the by-law portion) that they be submitted in writing in advance to the Board so that the whole gathering does not need to wait while editing/drafting occurs.

While we believe that our governance proposal has been thoroughly vetted through our many meetings and conversations with the congregation over the course of the last 18 months, our process leaves open the possibility that there remains something needing further consideration.  As a result, please do note this last potential rule if you are considering an amendment proposal, and please submit it in writing as soon as possible (and no later than 11:15 am on Sunday) to the Board of Trustees at

Thank you all for your partnership and support as we continue to grow our congregation in service of our shared mission, unleashing courageous love across our whole community, and beyond.

In faith,

Erin Hottenstein, Board President