347 Highlights, 570 Wishes, and 197 Values Words Later…

Were you one of the 350 participants in the 22 visioning sessions that a heroic team of volunteer facilitators led last month, supported by our wonderful staff here at Foothills?

Were you moved and inspired by the time spent thinking about the past and future of this beloved community in the company of long-time and newly-made Foothills friends?

Were you wondering how we were going to turn these many hundreds of value words, stories, and wishes for Foothills’ future into actionable vision statements for the congregation to pursue in the next 5 to 7 years?

We – your Foothills Board of Trustees — were too!

We spent so much time trying to pull together so many sessions that we barely had time to look ahead to the next step in the process. (Our visioning consultant informs us that we exceeded any previous congregation’s participation in both sheer numbers and percentage of congregation taking part, that’s how engaged and enthusiastic Foothills members were in this process!)

We did have faith, however — fueled by many in-person and online meetings with the wise and skillful Laura Park of Unity Consulting — that the process would result in tangible, focused vision statements for the years ahead, visionary dreams that reflect the collective character of this congregation, its long history, and the hopes for its future that so many of you shared with us over the course of these workshops.

The weekend before Thanksgiving, the entire board of Trustees (Ed Beers, Sara Steen, Cheryl Hazlitt, Brendan Mahoney, Glenn Pearson and Sue Sullivan), Rev. Gretchen Haley, Rev. Sean Neil-Barron, and Laura Park spent Friday evening and all of Saturday surrounded by this data — distilling themes and common values and discerning where we saw the congregation wanting to go in the coming years.

The shared values we discerned will serve as touchstones for our board decisions and the policies that we write, and as guides and anchors for all that we do together as a congregation.

The vision statements that we identified will become our promises to each other and the larger community. They are what we will be asking ourselves to do together as a beloved community in the next 5 to 7 years. They represent what we want our ministers to lead, equip, and support us in doing – for us as individuals, for the Foothills community, and for Northern Colorado and beyond.

Because the task was so ambitious and the feedback was so generous from the many participants, we didn’t quite finish the work that weekend before Thanksgiving. There is some wordsmithing left to do, and perhaps some whittling down of a vision statement or two into a more manageable charge to the congregation and its ministers.

As a board we will finish that work up next month, and we’ll present the final values and vision statements to the congregation at our half-year congregational update meeting in late January.

We are deeply grateful that so many of you participated with such presence and enthusiasm. Unitarian Universalist churches are congregationally led – without the input of an engaged congregation, we cannot live into our spiritual ideals of embodying the democratic process and making collective decisions about our congregation’s life.

In faith and love,

Sue Sullivan,
Foothills Board of Trustees


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