Letter from Rev. Gretchen (with 2022 Annual Report and 2023 Budget Proposal)

Dear Foothills Community,

When I reflect on 2022, I will remember it as a building year. Literally – because it is when we finally broke ground and began constructing our long-awaited new sanctuary. Metaphorically because we have been re-building our community as we emerge from the heart of the pandemic.

One year ago, we had just started to find our bearings with our return to in-person ministry when another wave of the virus sent us back to online church for the first two months of 2022. It was a tough setback, and we were grateful that by March, we could begin to gather in person again – all while continuing our online ministry on Sundays and in small groups.

The return to gathering in person has been so healing and life-giving. To sing together. To hear each other’s laughter. To have the chance to sit next to someone new on a given Sunday. To remember the simple gift of being in community together. So much of 2022 was an experience of remembering, weaving anew the strands of community forever altered by the events of the last few years and yet as vital and strong as ever.

Gathering in person once again has felt so good, and still, this does not take away from the fact that it’s often been hard work. We have needed to rebuild systems of ministry that were paused during the pandemic and refresh our systems to meet the needs of life in 2022. We also needed to rebuild our ministry teams, most of which were also paused (and replaced with other sorts of ministry teams) when we were all online.

Re-building our systems and teams would be challenging work any time, but it is important to recognize that we are doing this as people who have been through a global pandemic (alongside unprecedented threats to our democracy, the existential threat of climate crisis, and a national racial reckoning). Most of us hold some degree of overwhelm, fatigue, and grief – if not a lot of all of these.

Which is why, more than anything, our work this year has been to build our relationships with one another and our wider community. You will see this foundational orientation throughout our preliminary 2022 Annual Report. (Also read our Building and Finance Update, which includes our 2023 Budget Proposal!) Behind all the numbers of worship attendance and the triumphant return of choir. Captured in the images of our camps and retreats. Threaded in the ministry reports from our justice teams. Central is the relationship among and between each of us. Across generations, stages of membership, relationships, and partnerships with our wider community – including with UU congregations in Wyoming and western Colorado where we are unleashing courageous love to counter the life-denying forces we face today.

This year affirmed our community’s resilience and our mission’s continued relevance. Through it all, this community continues to show up – with joy, kindness, and a sense of humor – because we know we are needed and we need each other. When you flip through the pages of our 2022 Annual Report, I hope you feel proud and grateful to be a part of this incredible partnership and tradition of courage and love. I know I do.

This Sunday, December 11, we will convene our Congregational Budget Approval Meeting online at 1 PM. While, per our church bylaws, one must be on the membership rolls at least 30 days before the meeting to vote, all congregants are welcome to attend the meeting. If you are unsure of your membership status, please contact the Foothills office at (970) 493-5906. If you plan to attend the Congregational Meeting, please register in advance. 

In preparation for the meeting, please review these materials:

1. Congregational Meeting Packet, which includes the agenda, congregational meeting standing rules and covenant, and a Board update regarding the bylaws revision

2. Preliminary 2022 Annual Report

3. Building and Finance Update, including our 2023 Budget Proposal

With deep love and gratitude,

Rev. Gretchen

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