Transitions in Foothills Music Ministry

Dear Foothills Community,

We are writing to let you know that Benjamin Hanson has let us know that he will not be continuing in the role of Foothills’ Music Director. While he has deeply valued his time as our Music Director, he has realized that this position is just not the right long-term fit for him. 

Over the summer, Benjamin will be taking personal leave to discern his future both personally and professionally, beginning May 27th. During this time, both he and we will be considering if there may be another role for him at Foothills.  

Since beginning his work with us two years ago, Benjamin has brought immense joy and meaning through his leadership in worship and choir. His calming presence and generous spirit have deeply enriched our community, and he will be greatly missed. Before his leave begins, Benjamin will be available via email at and we encourage you to reach out and express your appreciation for his time and work with us at Foothills. 

While we are discerning our own right next steps for the long term, we are extremely grateful that we have found a wonderful solution for music ministry at Foothills over the summer months in Sophia Miller, who will be joining us from mid-June through late August, as our Summer Musician-in-Residence.  

Recommended by Adam Podd, Music Director at First Unitarian Congregational Society in Brooklyn, NY (and composer of our new arrangement of Spirit of Truth), Sophia is a seasoned song leader and choral director, as well as a leader in the Association for Unitarian Universalist Musicians Ministries (AUUMM). We are excited for the energy and expertise she will bring to our summer services.

Read more about Sophia and her background!

As Sophia will be here on a short-term basis, we are hoping to help her find a housing solution. If you (or someone you know) has a “mother-in-law” apartment, or you will be out of town for a period of time over the summer and looking for a house sitter, or have any other ideas that may be a good fit for a single person from mid-June through mid-August (or a portion of that time), we’d love to hear from you.  

We are grateful to be able to both support Benjamin in his request for leave and time for discernment, as well as continue to support a strong music ministry at Foothills without interruption with Sophia’s leadership. 

As we talk through our next steps, we will both seek your feedback, and keep you informed.  Please send any of your immediate thoughts and questions to Rev. Gretchen at Thank you for your understanding and support during this time of transition. 

In partnership, and with gratitude,

The Foothills Executive Team
Rev. Gretchen Haley, Senior Minister
Rev. Sean Neil-Barron, Associate Minister
Katie Watkins, Director of Finance and Operations 

In consultation with Foothills’ Board of Trustees

Mary Klecan, President
Beth Adams, Vice President
Sue Bloomfield, Treasurer
Linda Kothera, Secretary
John Hill
Diana Hutchinson
Susan Williams 

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