Leaning Into Transitions: Foothills Staff Retreat

This past week was the first in over a year that offered multiple opportunities for us to come together in person. IT WAS AMAZING! Many of you joined us in beautifying the church grounds through the Many Hands Project, a large group gathered to connect and support local restaurants at the FoCo Food Truck Rally for Friends Night IRL, and Foothills’ Earth Based Path hosted a Summer Solstice Ritual.

Summer Solstice, which officially took place on Sunday the 20th, marks the longest day of the year and the start of Summer. Turning of the seasons offers an opportunity to pause, digest the previous season, and transition with intention. Our staff took time to do just that on Monday at an all-day retreat focused on navigating the year ahead. It was the first time our whole staff had the opportunity to be together IRL, and we spent the entire day together building our trust and exploring the congregation’s vision for the future – and our part in it.

We discussed what pre-pandemic church was like and what pandemic church was like. (This was especially meaningful for the three staff members who joined us mid-pandemic.) We explored ways of having conversations that help us connect regularly with our mission of unleashing courageous love and reviewed key upcoming events:

July 18: Open House at the church with the ministers
August 21: Summer Picnic at Rolland Moore Park
September 19: Water Communion, outside at church
September 25: Annual Auction

Stay up-to-date with our plans for reopening at foothillsuu.org/reopening!

We even made some awesome marshmallow towers!

Perhaps, most importantly, though, we acknowledged that this year will be an in-between year. In large part because we are about to break ground on our new building, but also because we are collectively transitioning out of the height of the pandemic and all that came with it.

As a staff, we recognized that where we are headed isn’t where we were pre-pandemic, nor is it where we’ve been during the pandemic. It’s not even a neat blending of the two. Rather, it’s a new place that reflects an integrated understanding of how to be the church now. It’s an emergent process of deep reflection, listening, and integrating the lessons of the past year.

Just as you may still be metabolizing the past year and trying to determine what your life looks like post-pandemic, so too we, collectively as a church, need to lean into a process of discernment in the midst of transition. It might be easier (at least at first) to just try and rush back to where we were, but that wouldn’t allow for the profound opportunity for growth that is a gift in the struggle and stress of the pandemic. We have an opportunity now to re-anchor in our deepest purpose. But that takes time, and it takes trust – trust that if we make space for discernment and deep listening, we can allow this time of transition to be powerfully grounding as we move forward into the future.
So we invite you to pause for a moment and take a deep breath. You don’t have to have it all figured out right away. Join us on this journey of embracing the transition – the in-between time – because life won’t be like it was before the pandemic, nor will it be exactly what we expect after. 
The future is emerging, and we can either fear that uncertainty or lean into it and allow it to help us grow. It’s scary to exist in the in-between space. But in staying uncomfortable and in embracing the transition, we open ourselves up to profound growth that can lead to a life and community that better serves our deepest needs, not just our preference for normalcy. So let’s lean in together and step forward with open hearts and minds. Whether we’re journeying as a church into what our community looks like over the next year or identifying what our personal or family life is like – we’re in this together every step of the way.

In partnership,

Rev. Gretchen

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