SOUUP is Cooking, #LoveKnowsNoBorders, PWR Staff Update, and more...
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SOUUP is Cooking, #LoveKnowsNoBorders, PWR Staff Update, and more...


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PWR Newsletter


SOUUP is Cooking in Southern Oregon

It began as a conversation at Regional Assembly and developed into a wonderful new partnership for some previously isolated congregations. On October 27, leadership from the Unitarian Universalists of Grants Pass and the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Klamath County came together with their hosts at the Rogue Valley Unitarian Universalist Fellowship (RVUUF) in Ashland, Oregon.

Rev. Sean Parker Dennison, from RVUUF, was there to offer greetings and contribute wisdom and experience about inspiring worship. Rev. Sean is the only professional clergy currently serving a UU congregation in that part of the state.

But this event was organized and carried out by the RVUUF board. It provided a wonderful opportunity for lay leadership to share their best practices and common challenges with each other. This gathered group is now known as SOUUP - the Southern Oregon Unitarian Universalist Partnership.

At the October SOUUP meeting participants broke into working groups for morning and afternoon sessions on the topics of worship, religious education, membership, finance, justice, and governance. These groups are continuing the good work, as they have created a Google Group for ongoing sharing and will meet virtually at least once before the next SOUUP gathering in April.

Some great things have come out of SOUUP already. Rogue Valley is the "big church" in Southern Oregon, with 170 members. Leaders from the other fellowships were inspired by their stained glass chalice window as well as their busy schedule of activities posted on the bulletin boards. RVUUF has made a promise to send occasional preachers to other SOUUP congregations. But they will send along a musical ensemble with the preacher, to help the worship music and sermon to be well integrated.

Anya Kawka, president of the fast-growing Klamath Falls congregation, says their SOUUP experience has already helped them feel like they don’t have to reinvent the wheel all the time. As their leadership works to create new and better policies and practices, they are now stopping to ask things like, "How does Grants Pass do it?" or "What do they do in in Ashland?"

Grants Pass co-President, Constance Palaia said the SOUUP meeting left her feeling very positive, knowing everyone is working very hard and the work is paying off. But likely the most important thing to come out of SOUUP is the building of relationships. Those connections will buoy our faith in a conservative area of the region where many UUs have felt alone for years.

Rev. Sarah Schurr
Pacific Western Region Congregational Life Staff

December 14, 2018
In this Issue
  • SOUUP is Cooking
  • #LoveKnowsNoBorders
  • PWR Staff Update
  • Chalice Lighters
  • Job Postings
  • Youth News
PWR Quick Links
PWR Field Staff

PWR and UUA News


UUs gather for #LoveKnowsNoBorders protests at San Diego-Tijuana border

More than 400 people of faith gathered in San Diego in support of migrants seeking refuge in the United States, including more than fifty Unitarian Universalist clergy and leaders from every district of the Pacific Western Region. The event was coordinated by the American Friends Service Committee and is part of a week of action from December 10-18th. The campaign is calling on the U.S. to respect the human right to migrate, end the militarization of border communities, and end the detention and deportation of immigrants.

After hearing from numerous speakers, including UUA President Rev. Susan Frederick-Gray and Rev. Shawna Foster of Colorado's Two Rivers UU in Carbondale, the group processed to the border. There they were stopped by Border Patrol agents in riot gear and more than thirty people were taken into custody, including four UU clergy from the Pacific Western Region: Rev. Megan Dowdell, Starr King School for the Ministry; Rev. Sara LaWall, minister of the UU Fellowship in Boise, ID; Rev. Ranwa Hammamy, community minister with the Mt. Diablo UU Church; and Stevie Carmody, the intern minister at the First UU Church of San Diego.

"Our goal actually was for all the faith leaders to bring a blessing to the fence," Rev. Sara LaWall said. "We just stayed there and knelt down and prayed and sang and eventually after some warnings border patrol pushed us back."

LaWall says she knew without a doubt this was the right opportunity to go; she’d been watching the situation unfold from afar and has wanted to do something regarding immigration justice for months. She was one of the 32 arrested, and was cited but not jailed.

"I was apprehensive of course and nervous but kept reminding myself of what the migrants on other side were going through," LaWall said. "It was powerful, it was overwhelming."

The Rev. Gretchen Haley of Foothills Unitarian Church in Fort Collins, CO wrote about her experience on her blog, in a post titled, "When We Go Together: On Fear and Courage at the Border." In it, she writes, "It is the work of the religious community to keep alive our moral imagination. It is the work of our religious community to refuse to forget that the injustice we see today is not inevitable. That it is human made, and so can be human unmade. And to claim both our capacity and our responsibility to create a different future."

Media coverage of the protests:

PWR Staff Update

Please join us in congratulating our Communications Specialist, the Rev. Christopher Wulff, on his recent ordination. Christopher was ordained November 4 by his home church, First Unitarian Congregation of Toronto. We are delighted to have Christopher in the Pacific Western Region and are proud of his achievement.

We are also sharing the news of three staff departures at the end of this month.

Administration team member Sarah Fulton, former District Administrator for the Pacific Southwest District, is moving to Edinburgh. Since the formation of the Pacific Western Region, Sarah has managed the four districts’ Chalice Lighter programs, wrapped up the PSWD office, and provided valuable support as an integral part of our administration team.

We are also saying goodbye to Sharla Wipplinger, our PWR Office Assistant. Since September 2016, Sharla has provided excellent customer service to the more than 2700 PWR Chalice Lighters, generated reports, and processed data entry and payments (nearly 3700 annually!) for the four districts.

In fall 2017 when we found ourselves suddenly without an Events Coordinator while deep in 2018 Regional Assembly planning, Andy Chirch appeared. He successfully planned this event for over 700 registrants with expertise and a fierce dedication to accommodate every attendee. Andy has also managed the multitude of smaller PWR events since joining us a year ago. Andy is completing his Master of Divinity at Starr King School for the Ministry, will begin his Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) in January, and looks forward to his ordination in March.

We are sorry to see Andy, Sharla, and Sarah leave us and wish them all the very, very best.

The Events Coordinator position has been expanded to include management and oversight of event registrations. Amanda Radak, current PWR Registrar, will be moving into the full-time Events Coordinator position in January. Amanda began serving as registrar for our districts over four years ago and later moved seamlessly into the position of PWR Registrar. Amanda has worked very closely with Andy on all recent PWR events and will transition easily into this role that encompasses both registration and event coordination.

PWR District Chalice Lighter Programs

The four boards are currently re-examining the districts' Chalice Lighter Programs and are putting the programs on hold as they figure out a new structure and a staffing model for these programs. Donors should know that any funds received from automated withdrawals continue to go into their district’s Chalice Lighter fund. If you have questions or concerns, please contact members of your district board at one of the following addresses:,,,

APF Webinars

The UUA Congregational Giving Office recently distributed a detailed information booklet about the New APF to our congregational leaders. They have also scheduled the following informational webinars:

Additionally, you can reach out directly anytime to the Congregational Giving Office at or Norrie Gall, Congregational Giving Manager, at

Annual Certification

All member congregations are required to certify their official membership numbers to the UUA. This annual reporting process also serves to update congregation information for the UUA database. Only certified congregations may send voting delegates to the 2019 General Assembly in Spokane, WA. Please be sure your congregation completes the online certification process before 5:00 p.m. Pacific Time on February 1, 2019.

UU-UNO 2019 Intergenerational Spring Seminar

"Equity in Action: Gender in an Intersecting World"
New York City, April 11-13, 2019

Registration is open through February 25; rates increase after January 21. Applications are also open to apply for reduced registration rates. We also have a special discount rate for young adult participants (ages 18-35) which includes lodging at the hostel where youth and their sponsors stay.

The UU United Nations Office is excited to host this year’s Intergenerational Spring Seminar on gender equity in collaboration with the UU College of Social Justice. Programming will be interactive and intergenerational, encouraging participants to challenge their assumptions, connecting their activism with grounding in UU faith, and empowering them with the tools to bring back to their communities to make change locally and globally.

Learn more at

Homestay at GA

Greetings to our Pacific Western Region neighbors from Spokane!

Our UU Church of Spokane is excited to have 2019 General Assembly held in our city. We have arranged over 20 homes to house visitors at rates well below hotel rates and we are offering them to our Northwest churches prior to going on the UUA website in February. The link to go to our church website and find an appropriate lodging is All of the listings include photos, what is available, and how far you will be from the convention center as well as whether you will be close to a bus line. Please consider this option; not only is it affordable, you will have a breakfast provided and meet a great UU from Spokane.

The Charles White Memorial Seminary Scholarship 2019

The White Memorial Scholarship is a one-time annual scholarship of at least $1000 available to help support Unitarian Universalist Ministerial students, with preference given to those who have a connection to the Pacific Southwest District. Any seminary student with connections to the PSWD is encouraged to apply online.

More information can be found on PSWD’s White Memorial Scholarship page. Applications for the 2019 scholarship are due by Feb. 15, 2019 and can be submitted online.

The winner of the 2019 scholarship will be announced at the PSWD business meeting at District Assembly in Long Beach at the end of April, and be given the funds to use to defray costs of their schooling. Applications are now open!

If you have any questions regarding the scholarship or the application, please contact

Solidarity with the Central American Exodus: Ways to Take Action

Multiple faith, human rights, and immigration justice partners have collected a list of concrete and immediate ways that you and your community can respond to, welcome and support families and individuals migrating from Central America. This is a crowdsourced list that includes various ways to take action and is updated frequently.

UUCSJ - Border Witness for Religious Professionals

The UU College of Social Justice is leading a Border Witness for Religious Professionals trip from February 11 through the 16. The registration deadline is December 10 and they have generous financial aid and travel stipends available (the financial aid is available to everyone, but the travel stipends are meant specifically to help seminarians and religious educators).

Learn more at

Registration is Open for Spring Online Leadership Courses

Deeper than a single webinar or workshop, the UU Leadership Institute offers core leadership courses online with on-demand materials. They are perfect for the congregation who wants to learn together at an affordable cost—only $30 per course per semester. Courses open on January 25, 2019. For more information contact

New UUA Job Board

There is a new UUA job board which advertises ministry positions, as well as job openings for religious educators, membership, music directors, administrators, and others. Currently, position openings in the PWR are posted at, but they are being migrated to the new job board in the coming weeks.

Congregational staff and board members may submit a listing to the UUA's Jobs Board by completing this submission form.

PWR Job Postings

  • Acting Music Director - Westside UU Congregation in West Seattle, WA
    Applications open until the position is filled.
  • Accompanist - UU Church of Livermore, CA
    Applications open until the position is filled.
  • Worship Pianist - Foothills Unitarian Church in Fort Collins, CO
    Applications open until the position is filled. Desired start date is before January 13, 2019.
  • Director of Lifelong Learning - Woodinville UU Church in Woodinville, WA
    Applications open until the position is filled.
  • Music Director - Conejo Valley UU Fellowship in Newbury Park, CA
    Applications open until the position is filled.
  • Director of Religious Education - UU Fellowship San Luis Obispo County, CA
    Application open until the position is filled.
  • Religious Exploration Coordinator - UU Community Church of Washington County, OR
    Application open until the position is filled.
  • Membership Coordinator - Jefferson Unitarian Church in Golden, CO
    Application open until the position is filled.
  • Piano Accompanist - Cascade UU Fellowship in East Wenatchee, WA
    Application open until the position is filled.
  • Director of Religious Education - UUs of Petaluma in Petaluma, CA
    Application open until the position is filled.

  • Director of Religious Exploration - Evergreen UU Fellowship in Marysville, WA
    Applications open until the position is filled.
  • Facilities Manager - First Unitarian Universalist Society of San Francisco
    Applications open until the position is filled.
  • Office Manager - First Unitarian Church of San José
    Applications open until the position is filled.
  • Relief/Weekend Custodian - First Unitarian Church of San José
    Applications open until the position is filled.

Looking for job postings in ministry? Visit the UUA's Jobs Board.


Pacific Central News


Starr King School for the Ministry Symposium 2019: "Ecowomanism: At the Intersection of Courage & Faith"

A tradition founded by former SKSM Provost Dr. Ibrahim Farajajé (1952-2016), Symposium is an annual gathering of our entire student body, faculty, staff, trustees, and community members. This "urban retreat" serves as a day of study, dialogue, food, art, music, community-building, service, and celebration of the Spirit of Life, as we cultivate multi-religious, counter-oppressive, just and sustainable communities.

Starr King’s 7th Annual Symposium will be held January 12, 2019. This Symposium is convened by Dean Gabriella Lettini in collaboration with other SKSM faculty and community leaders.

Learn more about Starr King School for the Ministry Symposium 2019.


Mountain Desert News


MDD Awards Open

Dale Arnink Award

The Dale Arnink Preaching Award goes annually to the preacher of a sermon that explores and promotes understanding and application of Humanist teachings in Unitarian Universalism. All Unitarian Universalist professional religious leaders, as well as those studying for professional leadership, are eligible to be considered for this award. Sermons are judged through a blind process by a panel of UU religious and lay leaders. The recipient will receive a $300 cash award and free partial registration to the General Assembly in Spokane, WA, June 19-23, 2019 (for Wednesday, Thursday and Friday only), if the recipient is able to attend. The award will be presented at the MDD board meeting at the General Assembly in Spokane, Washington on June 19, 2019, if the recipient is present, and will be posted on the Mountain Desert District website.

As Unitarian Universalists, the sources of our living tradition include Humanist teachings, which counsel us to heed the guidance of reason and the results of science and warn us against idolatries of the mind and spirit. Have you preached or heard a good sermon reflecting Humanist teachings lately? Submissions for the Award must be received no later than 5:00 p.m. Friday, April 5, 2019 in order to be considered.

Download the Nomination Form for the Dale Arnink Award – 2019

Walk the Talk Award

The MDD "Walk the Talk" Award is given to a Unitarian Universalist lay person for living a life which best exemplifies Unitarian Universalist principles. The winner will be recognized on the MDD website and be given partial free registration (for Wednesday, Thursday and Friday only) at the UUA's General Assembly in Spokane, WA on June 19-23, 2019, if they are able to attend.

Complete and return the Nomination Form for the Walk the Talk Award by 5:00 p.m. April 5, 2019.


Pacific Southwest News


2019 PSW District Assembly Registration opens Jan. 1

The keynote speaker for the 2019 PSW District Assembly has been announced and he has a few simple questions for every member of every UU community:

  • Are you engaging your congregants on the deepest and most meaningful levels possible?
  • Are you impacting their lives through your worship services to the point that they want to go out into the highways and byways to spread compassion, grace and radical hospitality?
  • Are you ready to "upcycle" your community’s worship?

If so, then you need to attend the 2019 Pacific Southwest District Assembly, April 26-28, 2019, at the UU Church of Long Beach, California.

Donald Milton III will lead the keynote presentation entitled "Upcycling Church Music for Deeper Engagement." Together we will explore new ways of approaching hymns, music, readings, rituals and sermons to make them more meaningful, impactful and fully engaging. Milton is the director of music at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Atlanta, the largest UU congregation in the Southeast. He runs one of the most eclectic and exceptional music programs in the UU movement. He wrote a chapter on upcycling church music for the recently released book, Upcycle Your Congregation: Creative Ideas for Transforming Faith Communities.

Registration for the 2019 PSW District Assembly will be available Jan. 1.

Along with Milton’s keynote presentation, there will be opportunities for worship, workshops, a youth con, social justice field trip and plenty of chances to connect with UUs from throughout Southern California, Arizona and Southern Nevada. Workshop details can be found on the PSWD website. Plan to be there: April 26-28 in Long Beach!


PWR Youth News


PWR has a new Camping Ministries Director!

Please welcome Jessica Laikeman to our PWR Youth Staff Team!

She will be overseeing MDD QUUest/Spirit QUUest and a PNWD camp that is scheduled for July 2019! Get psyched!

Jessica, is a lifelong UU and has been active in UU leadership most of her adult life. Since 2012 she has served as the Director of Faith Formation at High Plains Church UU in Colorado Springs, along with numerous other leadership positions within the district and at regional and national UU events including, Chaplain to Youth and Leadership Development Specialist for the Mountain Desert District, various staff roles including Assistant Director for both QUUest and Spirit QUUest Camps since 2012, Summer Seminary faculty and General Assembly Youth Caucus staff member. Outside of work Jessica is kept busy by her family which includes her husband, twin toddlers and teenage sister-in-law who also lives with them. Jessica says youth ministry and motherhood are two of her deep passions in life and she can hardly imagine better things to fill her time with.

You can contact Jessica with questions about camp at

Upcoming Youth Events

  • 2019 MDD MLK Con
    January 19-21, 2019
    First Unitarian Society of Denver, CO
  • PSWD Spring Con
    March 15-17, 2019
    Valley UU Congregation in Chandler, AZ
  • PNWD Spring Con
    April 5-7, 2019
    Camp Cispus in Randle, WA
  • MDD Spring Con
    April 12-14, 2019
    Foothills Unitarian Church, in Fort Collins, CO
  • PSWD Youth at District Assembly
    April 26-28, 2019
    Long Beach, CA

InSpirit Holiday Guide

Make the holiday season a little easier with our InSpirit Holiday Guide! Check out this great resource for gift ideas for all of your loved ones. From inspiration titles and children's books to unique UU items, it's all here! Free standard shipping within the U.S. on orders of $50 or more is available through December 14th. Your purchase from inSpirit contributes directly to the work of the Unitarian Universalist Association—thank you, and happy holidays from all of us at the bookstore!


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