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

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It’s time to Answer the Call of Love – from Kay Williams

Foothills HeartFlame logo 2.1.17 ANSWERING THE CALL O LOVE (1).jpgIt’s time. Time to help support all of the important work that Foothills is doing to unleash courageous love in Northern Colorado and beyond. It’s time to affirm what Foothills means to you and your family personally.  And, it’s time to thoughtfully consider your financial commitment and the ways that love calls each of us, and all of us together to respond to the challenges and hopes of our world today.

It’s time to answer the call of love.

We ask all friends and members to keep an eye on your snail mailbox during the next few days – you’ll find information on the ways we’ve been growing, and the ways we are all needed to respond to the needs of today – to meet the rising fear and hatred with a bolder, more courageous love.

To dive in now, be sure to check out our website to see where we have been and where we are going as we discover what it will mean to Answer the Call of Love.

Thank you for your generous support of Foothills and for making all that we do together possible – Kay Williams, Stewardship Team Chair

P.S. If you’ve been preparing your taxes, and thinking you would like to save money on them next time, click here to learn how your pledge of financial commitment to Foothills can provide you with tax advantages for next year.

2 New Ways to Save Taxes & Pay your Pledge – from Cherry & Leonard Sokoloski

TWO WAYS TO SAVE TAXES WHEN PAYING YOUR PLEDGE OF
FINANCIAL COMMITMENT TO THE CHURCH

 If you’re planning how to pay your financial commitment to Foothills for 2017-18, here are two ways to fulfill your commitment and SAVE ON TAXES!

1.      Give appreciated securities (stocks or mutual funds). When you transfer securities DIRECTLY to the church, you avoid capital gains tax, and you are able to give the appreciated amount as a gift. If you sell the securities yourself and give the proceeds to the church, you lose this tax benefit.

2.      Donate part or all of your RMD. If you are older than 70 ½, and you have an IRA, you must take a “required minimum distribution” from your IRA each year. This is taxable income. However, under current tax law, you are allowed to use part or all of your RMD as a charitable gift. That portion will not be taxed.

Important info about a gift from your IRA: The IRS does not allow you to avoid taxes on your RMD and also deduct the gift as a charitable donation. Only one or the other. Therefore, this option is most useful for people who do NOT itemize on their tax return. Please contact Cherry Sokoloski (below) for more information, and also consult with your CPA or other tax advisor.

If you plan to pursue one of these options, please let Cherry or the church office know so we can explain the process.

Remember, to receive the tax benefit, you must transfer securities directly to the church, instead of selling them first yourself. The church will then sell the securities. In the case of a gift from your IRA, it can be cash or securities, but again, it must be transferred directly from the IRA to the church.

Your friendly coordinator for gifted securities,

Cherry Sokoloski:  970-484-5705 or LCSoko@Q.com

Church office: 970-493-5906

Our Annual Every Member Canvass is upon us!

stewardshipSunday we kicked off this exciting season.  It’s time to affirm how important Foothills is to you. We have experienced so much generosity, caring, and serving together over the past year, and no doubt next year will be just as transforming. Our theme for the 2016-2017 canvass is Together – We Are Transforming. We hope that Foothills is transforming you, as we transform the community and even the greater world.

Speaking of generosity, a very grateful thank you to church member Steve Sedam, who designed the beautiful brochure that you received in your mail recently (that’s right – I said mail, not email!). It highlights the many vibrant groups and activities that we love about Foothills.

In order to keep those programs going, we need your responsible financial commitment (which is what we call a pledge).

Other big goals on the horizon:

  • Bringing Ryan Marvel to full-time!
  • Meeting the UUA fair compensation guidelines for our staff who are the drivers and supporters of our congregation’s many great programs.
  • Funding the 12% increase in staff health insurance.
  • Performing some basic building maintenance that has been too-long postponed.

Please help us achieve these goals and more. Thoughtfully consider your pledge to your church, think about what Foothills means to your family, and give as generously as you are able. Together, we can make a big difference in the life of our church.

Let us continue to nurture the culture of abundance that has been built and grown here over the years. Be Transformed!

Thank You – Your Stewardship Team

submitted by Kay Williams, Chair 

Great News from our Stewardship Team

After many years of charging a fee for our Religious Education program, in consultation with ministers and staff last summer, the Board of Trustees decided to eliminate the RE fee. The idea is that we are all in this together, we all contribute in many ways to fulfilling the mission of our church, and a fee-for-service approach is counter to this. This bold step meant that initially we let go of the $10,000 generated by the fees for children and youth programs; yet the resiliency and commitment of our church community is truly amazing. The wonderful news is that our members with children and youth in the RE program actually INCREASED their pledges this year by $15,000, for a net positive effect of $5,000. Thank you!

This is another example that, like the amazing growth in the Share the Plate program, people respond in generous ways when inspired by opportunities to help. Our church members and friends also recognize the value to our children, congregation and wider community of a solid RE program that helps our children, youth and adults explore questions of ethics, spirituality and social action that exemplify our mission: “to further the reach of love in our own lives, in Northern Colorado and beyond.”

More Great News! Besides increasing the church’s funds through this thoughtful decision, our members and friends have increased their contributions dramatically over the last five years: total pledges in 2010 were $388,477. This year, pledges are $567,480! 

Your generosity over these years is reflected in our capacity to better serve our members and our wider community.  It has meant – for example – the addition of a second minister, the year-round employment of our Director of Religious Exploration, the growth of our incredible music program, significant progress in moving towards fairly paying our staff, the availability of childcare at all events and programs, significant new justice ministries like Faith Family Hospitality and ESL Tutoring, enhanced excellence in worship and a greater capacity to meet the ever-growing administrative and technological needs required to support ministry today…and much more.  We have made so much progress in moving from a culture of scarcity to a culture of abundance – a culture where we ask how big our vision can be and live into that big vision.

New to your Stewardship Team’s responsibilities this year is overseeing all fundraising in the church, to ensure that fundraisers and events not only do not conflict with each other, but complement one another.

Your Stewardship Team will further the wonderful work that has been done over the last five years. During this time of transition in our church, we will continue to nurture the culture of abundance at Foothills that has been created and grown with care. We look forward to helping guide our church into the future.

Thank you for your commitment and generosity to our church –

Kay Williams, incoming chair of the Stewardship Team, Karen Johnese, Peg MacMorris, Jim Lathrop, Lynn Young, Nels Broste, Scott Denning, and Rev. Howell Lind