The fire is out; the recovery is ongoing, PWR News and more...
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The fire is out; the recovery is ongoing, PWR News and more...


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PWR Newsletter


The fire is out; the recovery is ongoing

In early November, wildfires again plagued the state of California. The Camp Fire, in Butte County, was the largest and has been described as the deadliest and most destructive wildfire in California history. At the same time, two fires burned in the southern part of the state, the Woolsey and Hill Fires. Unitarian Universalist congregations in those areas have been impacted and are also having an impact on the slow but steady recovery.

The UU Fellowship in Chico is the nearest to the Camp Fire. Several members lost their homes in the fire, centered in nearby Paradise, California. The Chico community is facing some difficult challenges as people all over the county begin to recover from this terrible blaze. The Chico Fellowship, served by Rev. Bryan Plude, is helping the community to recover. Connections between local congregations of various faiths, including the UUs, have been strengthened as this strong coalition of faith leaders is working to set up ongoing support groups for the community as they face continuing loss.

The Chico Fellowship hosted a memorial service for the entire community, to give people a chance to come together to grieve the loss of homes and loved ones, and honor the emergency workers and first responders. And individual members have stepped up and shared their talents in so many ways. Their congregation president, Angela Risdon, managed the kitchens at one of the local shelters for people displaced by the fire. Members of the Santa Rosa congregation, who had been through fire recovery themselves, came up to give support and share their story with the folks in Chico.

The Woolsey Fires hit just blocks from the Conejo Valley UU Fellowship. Many congregants were evacuated, but thankfully, their homes were spared. The fires broke out just days after a mass shooting at a local bar, compounding the tragedy. Since there was uncertainty around whether the area would still be evacuated or not, an online service was held that Sunday to mourn and find places of hope and resilience. Around 80+ people attended this Zoom call, including members who had already moved away and new people who were touched by the outpouring of love they received.

Money from the UU Disaster Relief Fund has been sent to these fire-impacted congregations to support their members in this time of need, and to help with their community support. $10,000 went directly from the fund to the Chico Congregation within days of the fire and many of you contributed directly. Please consider making a donation to this important resource at

In appreciation,
Rev. Sarah Schurr
Pacific Western Region Congregational Life Staff

January 10, 2018
In this Issue
  • The fire is out; the recovery is ongoing
  • PWR & UUA News
  • Job Postings
  • Youth News
PWR Quick Links
PWR Field Staff

PWR and UUA News


Annual Certification

The deadline for submitting your congregation's online certification is three weeks away! This annual membership 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. Not sure if your congregation has certified? Check the list of certified congregations.

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

"We Are Still In" for bold, compassionate global action for Climate Justice!

The Unitarian Universalist Association joins other faith communities, as well as businesses, universities, and local government leaders in saying "We are still in". We are still committed to implementing — or better yet, surpassing — the US commitments to the Paris Climate Agreement and limiting global climate change to 1.5 degrees Celsius. Moreover, we are committed to Climate Justice.

"Multilateral action on climate change is the single most important moral decision of our time," said the UUA United Nations Office Director, Bruce Knotts. "We either move quickly to address this existential threat of climate change or we consign the planet and all life on the planet to a living hell on earth."

Learn more about the Create Climate Justice - A Community Organizing Hub for UU Climate Activists

UUA Announces Organizing Strategy Team

The UUA is thrilled to share a new structure in the Association’s justice work. The Organizing Strategy Team will lead the UUA’s prophetic public ministry work.

"The inherent worth and dignity of so many is under attack, and our Unitarian Universalist values and the justice ministry that flows from them is required - for our survival and the survival of our siblings," said Rev. Elizabeth Nguyen, Team Director.

Learn more about the Organizing Strategy Team

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

See You in Spokane!

The first time I attended a UUA General Assembly, I was moved to find myself surrounded by thousands of Unitarians who all shared my commitment to our seven principles. Seeing banners from hundreds of congregations and hearing thousands of people singing familiar hymns together brought me to tears.

Are there people in your midst who are ready to experience the sensation that our movement is much larger than their current congregation? Please remind the people around you how powerful it is to be part of a tradition that includes so many principled people working to improve themselves, their congregations and their communities. Encourage them to attend the 2019 General Assembly in Spokane, WA, in June.

Susan Howlett, PNWD District President

Homestay at GA

Greetings from Spokane to our Pacific Western Region neighbors!

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.

Two PWR UUs elected to Congress

Our thanks to Rep. Ami Bera, who represents California’s 7th district, in Sacramento County, and Rep. Judy Chu who represents California’s 27th district, in Los Angeles, who are living their UU values in their service to this country. Learn more about the religious diversity of the new Congress in the Pew Research Center article, 5 facts about the religious makeup of the 116th Congress

PWR Job Postings

  • Administrative Manager, UU Congregation, Santa Rosa, CA
    Application deadline is January 15.
  • 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.
  • Religious Exploration Coordinator - UU Community Church of Washington County, OR
    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.


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


Is Sunday School Really Dead? Find Out at the 2019 PSW District Assembly

No, it isn’t. But our congregations are part of a huge cultural shift, where 20th century models of children’s religious education just aren’t working like they used to. However, there are exciting new alternatives rising in Sunday School’s place. Join our region’s Lifespan Faith Formation specialist at the Pacific Southwest District Assembly to discuss and explore the issues.

Rev. Sarah Gibb Millspaugh of the UUA Pacific Western Region Congregational Life staff will talk about many of them during the workshop she leads at the District Assembly April 26-28 at the UU Church of Long Beach.

You can see the entire District Assembly program and register now to take advantage of the early-bird discount.

Rev. Millspaugh answered a few questions recently about her workshop entitled "The Death of Sunday School and the Birth of What?"

What do you mean by "the death of Sunday school"? What’s dying?

Rev. Millspaugh: UU religious educator Kim Sweeney coined the term "The Death of Sunday School" in her provocative 2017 paper on the future of faith formation. Our U.S. culture, our congregations and our families are changing in ways that make the "default" of age-segregated classroom-based Sunday morning religious education not work so well anymore. Acknowledging this helps us begin to think creatively about how we minister meaningfully to children and families, today and in the decades to come.

What will replace it?

Rev. Millspaugh: A variety of models are bubbling up as our congregations grapple with how to best help form the faith of children and families. These include whole-congregation (all ages) worship, multigenerational community service, worship and programs specifically for families with young children, opportunities for age-based programs, and more. And many familiar ingredients of Sunday School will still be a part of what we do: curricula, stories, learning through play, building friendships with peers, Our Whole Lives, Coming of Age, youth groups, and more.

What will attendees who attend your workshop at the District Assembly learn?

Rev. Millspaugh: They’ll learn that if they’re struggling to maintain an age-segregated, classroom-based program that just doesn’t seem to be as robust as it used to be, they’re not alone. They’ll gain some permission and some ideas to think differently about how we approach religious education as congregations. They’ll leave with tools: a framework for engaging in visioning as a congregation around children’s programs, and examples of models that other congregations have implemented.

Plan now to register for and attend the 2019 Pacific Southwest District Assembly!

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, April 26-28, 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


PWR Youth News


Regional Goldmine Justice Journey for Youth and Adults next summer!

Do you have a passion for environmental justice? Did you read the UN’s Climate Report? Our Earth needs action now! Have you wanted to collaborate with grassroots organizations to create a lasting partnership in solidarity with local communities? Ever wondered what it would be like to make a real difference while also learning hands-on skills and concepts?

Join us for a leadership-immersion experience focusing on environmental sustainability through service, learning, and spiritual practice designed to be reflective and to sustain future justice work. We’ll be partnering with Day One, an environmental advocacy group based in Pasadena.

The Regional Goldmine Justice Journey takes place from the evening of July 3 to the afternoon of July 7, 2019 at Throop Unitarian Universalist Church at 300 S. Los Robles Ave. Pasadena, CA 91101.

You are invited! 25 multigenerational participants - youth (rising 9th - rising 12th graders), and adults 25+. Cost is $450.00 per person for five days. All meals, lodging at the church, local transportation, (air and ground transportation to the Throop Church is not included). Scholarships are available. Finances shouldn't be a barrier to folks attending the events.

The Pacific Western Region and UU College of Social Justice Goldmine Justice Journey provides an opportunity to:

  • Gain a deeper understanding of social justice issues and strategies for creating change;
  • Reflect on questions of identity, power and privilege, the intersections of spirituality and activism, and the ways that you are called to work for justice in the world;
  • Build community with other youth who are passionate about making a positive impact;
  • Learn from grassroots community organizations through hands-on engagement;
  • Prepare to return home inspired and motivated to take action in your community;
  • In addition, the group will engage in centering practices as a way to build a lifelong foundation for justice work and compassionate understanding.

Questions? Contact Eric Bliss, PWR's Youth Communications Specialist at

Report from the PNWD Fall Con

People often look at me like I am completely bonkers when I tell them, "I am taking 150 high-school-aged youth into the woods this weekend." But here's the thing: if you haven't witnessed the unique spiritual community and deep connection that is formed at these conferences, you haven't fully experienced the power our faith can make people feel.

It is more than just a gathering. It is a place for our young people to come together as people of faith. It's a chance to gather and remember there is a place in this chaotic world where their values are reflected in other people who are also willing to take a stand for their beliefs. A place to learn again and again that they are not alone, that there is a community they can call home that will accept them as they are because radical inclusivity is not just an idea, but a practice they hold each other accountable for.

When I sponsored youth for the first time at a Con I was filled with joy that this community is here for them. But more than that I was blown away by the way these youth lead each other, support each other, care for each other and show up for each other. It is beautiful.

I walk away from every conference having learned something and with a new sense of hope. I also walk away with a renewed belief that it is vital that we continue to invest in youth ministry. In our youth. If you ever have the chance to sponsor youth and bring them to Con, I hope you jump in and experience for yourself what amazing young people we have among us.

Amber Alexander, PNWD Youth Con Coordinator

Upcoming Youth Events

  • 2019 MDD MLK Con
    January 20-21, 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
Camp Programs
After the Good News

Nancy McDonald Ladd, Skinner House Books, 2019

Progressive Faith Beyond Optimism. With humor and humanity, this book calls religious progressives to greater authenticity and truth-telling rather than blind optimism. Available Jan. 16, 2019.

How to Be Less Stupid About Race

Crystal M. Fleming, Beacon Press, 2018

On Racism, White Supremacy, and the Racial Divide. A unique and irreverent take on everything that's wrong with our "national conversation about race"-and what to do about it.