Congregation Spotlight: Church of the Foothills
Updated: May 2
Welcome to the first installment of our “Congregation Spotlight,” a weekly segment on the blog where we will highlight our partner congregations.
One of the things Family Promise of Orange County is most proud of is the diversity of the different faiths of our partner congregations. As an interfaith organization, we believe every family is deserving of stable housing and a better future independent of their background or faith. Our 24 wonderful congregational partners work together in community partnership in order to help us accomplish this mission of ending family homelessness!
As we enter into our 10th year of serving families in Orange County, we will kick off our congregational spotlights with the congregations who have been there from the beginning. This week, we are excited to be highlighting longtime host congregation, Church of the Foothills.
Church Of The Foothills is an open and affirming, progressive Christian congregation located in Santa Ana, California. Their longtime pastor, Rev. Dr. Michael Holland, retired in September 2020, and the congregation is now embarking on their pastoral search. Their current interim pastors are Rev. Bill and Rev. Mary Jacobs whose backgrounds align with the beliefs of the church as they welcome and include people of every ethnicity, age, gender, sexual orientation, disability, economic status or religious background.
In 1964, A United Church of Christ (UCC) congregation was founded at the present location as the Church of the Foothills. By 1987, Church of the Foothills and the Camile Christian Church “dually aligned” as congregations within two faith traditions creating a diverse fellowship that welcomes people of all faiths and seekers of no religious background. The current congregation is a joint congregation between the United Church of Christ (UCC) and the Disciples of Christ (DOC).
Church of the Foothills is an original founding partner congregation of Family Promise of Orange County (FPOC). In August 2008, the first meeting to discuss starting a Family Promise affiliate in Orange County was held at Church of the Foothills, in part due to the importance Pastor Mike Holland placed on seeing if establishing a Family Promise affiliate could become a reality in Orange County. A community meeting was then held with other potential partner congregations on Sept 25, 2008. The affiliate was established, and Church of the Foothills has been proudly hosting families since 2012.
Church of the Foothills currently hosts families four times a year, utilizing congregation volunteers to help provide meals and hospitality to our local families in need. FPOC staff member Malia Cary currently also serves as this congregation’s volunteer coordinator. Malia has been supported by amazing volunteers including Bill & Susan Richardson, Gloria Wildman, and Bruce Borden who have tirelessly served as overnight hosts.
Bill and Susan Richardson have been involved with Family Promise of Orange County since its inception, and were instrumental in getting the affiliate established. They continue to be amazing advocates for both our program and our families, and they regularly serve as overnight volunteers. Gloria Wildman, Bruce Borden also serve as regular overnight hosts and stay in their campers behind the church when hosting our families. Overnight volunteers are vital in handling any emergencies that may occur during the night. The overnight volunteers are supported also by a core group of volunteers and donors from Church of the Foothills who provide grocery gift card donations, meals during hosting weeks, and help with setup/cleanup of the hosting rooms.
As life begins to shift back to normal, Church of the Foothills is looking forward to hosting families once again once the pandemic is behind us. To learn more about the congregation, visit https://www.churchofthefoothills.org/