Becoming a Sanctuary Congregation, Love Resists, News and more...


View this newsletter online


PWR Newsletter


Becoming Sanctuary

On April 2nd, the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Northern Nevada (UUFNN), accepted a request for sanctuary from David Chavez-Macias, a 30-year resident of the Reno community who was at immediate risk of deportation. This was the latest in a number of UU congregations in the Pacific Western Region who have opened their doors to sanctuary seekers or who have declared that they would be willing to do so.

PWR Congregational Life staff Rev. Sarah Movius Schurr sat down with the Minister of UUFNN, Rev. Neal Anderson, to talk about how this congregation had become a sanctuary and what that means to them as a community.

Rev. Schurr – First of all, can you tell us what it means when you say that you're providing sanctuary?

Rev. Anderson – When we accept a request for sanctuary we are offering an undocumented immigrant at immediate risk of deportation a place to stay and to be safe. The reason this is possible is because Immigration Control and Enforcement (ICE) has stated in their policies that they will not apprehend individuals in 'sensitive locations' such as schools, hospitals or religious communities. The recent change in administration did introduce concerns about whether the policies of ICE would be maintained with regard to sensitive locations, but the Director of ICE at a town hall meeting in Sacramento in March suggested that the policy will be maintained, so churches should continue to be able to offer sanctuary in the current manner.

Rev. Schurr – David lives on the grounds at the congregation?

Rev. Anderson - What we are offering is space within our building, a safe space. Our campus is split into two buildings, the worship building and the administration building, which houses the religious education classrooms as well as the administrative offices. We provide a physical space on our campus, a room with a bed, a couch, access to a kitchen. Our youngest group have given up their usual religious education room as a space for David to stay.

Rev. Schurr - Can David leave the campus at all?

Read the rest of the interview
May 4, 2017
In this Issue
  • Becoming a Sanctuary Congregation
  • OWL Trainings
  • Video Chat
  • Love Resists
  • District and UU News
  • Job Postings
PWR Quick Links
PWR Field Staff

Events, Training and Webinars


OWL Trainings

Our Whole Lives (OWL) is an excellent, comprehensive sexuality education program that offers our young people the opportunity to explore their values, gain accurate information about topics that are often not easily accessible. Our Whole Lives facilitator trainings cover the curricula for the one of three age levels - elementary, junior/senior high or young adult/adult. The goals of this workshop are to prepare the participants to implement the curriculum as well as the Sexuality and Our Faith component. Through a varied program including practice and participation activities, the trainers will cover implementation techniques, information about adolescents, curricula details, and technical information. Trainings are typically Friday evening through Sunday afternoon and include 15 hours or more of training time. To be certified as an Our Whole Lives Facilitator, one must attend the entire training.

Upcoming OWL Trainings in PWR

K-1 & 4-6

7-9 & 10-12


Video Chat: Building a Racially Diverse and Just Unitarian Universalism!

May 10 • 3:00pm PT / 4:00pm MT

Thinking about where to go next in your congregation's work to become truly multicultural, anti-oppressive, and inclusive? Whether or not your congregation hosted a teach-in on white supremacy this spring, you're invited to join this video chat to learn from other UU congregations in the Pacific Western Region and to find resources for your ongoing work.

Register now!

Hosted by Rev. Dr. Jonipher Kūpono Kwong and Rev. Sarah Gibb Millspaugh, your Pacific Western Regional staff with specialties in multicultural transformation and lifespan faith formation.

Created specifically for UU congregations in the Pacific Western Region. Free of charge and hosted on Zoom (

UUA Faith Development Webinar Series

What's a Religious Educator to Do (in the Summer)?

Whether or not you are "on duty" during the summer, how can you find the growth, nurturance, and inspiration you need to come back refreshed in August? Learn about camps and conferences you may wish to attend for collegiality and learning. Discover other ways to support one another in community and to nourish your spirituality at home, on vacation, or while leading others on a summer faith development journey.

Register online for Tuesday, May 16 at 1 p.m. EST or Wednesday, May 17 at 9 p.m. EST.

Save the Date


Denominational News


PWR Congregations in the News

A safe place to park and 'camp'
"Three parking spaces sit empty but numbered and ready for so called "car campers" behind the Rogue Valley Unitarian Universalist Fellowship. They are next to a small vegetable garden and a locked portable toilet. These spaces are for people who live in their cars and need a safe and welcoming place to park, sleep and function without getting a citation under the city's ban on camping. The Unitarian Universalist Church is the only house of worship so far offering such an arrangement, but the interfaith council in Ashland is looking at this as part of its goals going forward."
Read more in the Ashland Daily Tidings

Local Immigrant Feels Frustration, Stress in Sanctuary
"Sunday marked the third week of sanctuary for David Chavez-Macias. He's been living inside of the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Northern Nevada (UUFNN) while facing possible deportation after being a Reno resident for 31 years. Both ACTIONN and members of UUFNN have rallied for him to be able to stay in Reno. The UUFNN has clearly made, and continues to make, an effort to accommodate Chavez-Macias to the best of their abilities, but his confinement is still having its effects. I finished by asking him what outcome he would like to happen if he could choose. He said simply that he just wants to return home and to be done with this whole event, adding that he would love a permanent solution but that he just wants to return home."

ICE detains undocumented dad who took sanctuary in a Denver church
"An undocumented Mexican man who once took sanctuary at the same Denver church that is now a focal point of the fiery immigration debate was detained Wednesday by federal immigration agents. Arturo Hernandez, 44, took refuge in 2014 at the First Unitarian Society of Denver. The site is now home to Jeanette Vizguerra, an undocumented mother of four from Mexico who was named one of Time magazine's 100 Most Influential People for her efforts to win rights for immigrants. Vizguerra moved into the church in February when a stay on her deportation order was denied."

Fleeing violence, a Syrian family pursues the American dream all the way to Eugene
"The week after the election, Gershenzon brought Hussain to a meeting at the Unitarian Universalist Church in Eugene. The church that January had launched the Refugee Sanctuary Project largely in response to the Syrian crisis... The Unitarian Universalist Church threw a welcome party for the Rachous the day they arrived. Then he showed them their local grocery store."
Read more in the Register Guard

Climate march to hit streets of Langley this weekend
"I think there's always somebody who will organize a march when there's a national one," said Shipley, who is also a member of the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Whidbey Island's social and environmental justice council. "We want to be reflected on a local level and be part of a global movement. It was just a matter of some friends getting together and saying we want to do it."
Read more in the South Whidbey Record

Goodman: Immigrant movement builds toward May Day
"Arturo spent nine months in 2015 living in sanctuary in a church, the First Unitarian Society of Denver. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) notified Arturo back then that he was not considered a "priority for removal" from the U.S., that they would exercise "prosecutorial discretion," in effect letting him carry on with his life. That all ended Wednesday. As he was loading materials for his work laying tile, Arturo was arrested by ICE and taken into detention. ICE told one of his advocates that the letter he has from the Obama administration doesn't count, as there are no longer "priorities." All those who are undocumented will be targeted equally, it seems."

Love Resists!

In January, the UUA and UUSC began an unprecedented level of collaboration to support a growing movement to resist hate speech and xenophobic policy actions at local, state, and national levels, fed by the Trump administration's dangerous and immoral policy agenda. Since then, thousands of individuals, congregations, and organizations have joined by adding their names to the "Declaration of Conscience," kick-starting the first phase in our recently named joint initiative, Love Resists.

Over the past three months, that effort has continued to grow. Love Resists is now nearly 15,000 strong, and includes individuals and groups from all 50 states, as well as across the globe. UUs have joined in this work to resist the increasing criminalization of our communities and to support inclusive policies and strategies that will create safer, more just, welcoming, and sustainable communities.

Many UUs have already taken further actions beyond signing the Declaration—participating in Conscience Calls, joining webinars to learn more about sanctuary policies and strategies, and sharing resources and information about ongoing work in communities. The collaborative are taking another step forward in this major effort, unveiling a new website which offers a range of information and materials to help UUs engage in this work. The site is designed to facilitate learning about strategies and tactics that are having positive impacts as well as share news updates and enable UUs to more easily report the great work they are doing as they inspire and network with others. They invite UUs to visit to continue this journey and join the online conversation using #LoveResists on social media!.

Small Group Ministry: A Call to Faith in Turbulent Times

The UUA's Faith Development Office has published a series of small group ministry sessions designed for reflection, discernment, and commitment of faith at this moment in U.S. political history: A Call to Faith in Turbulent Times.

Since the U.S. Presidential election, many Unitarian Universalists feel challenged by this moment in our nation's history. Four new, two-hour sessions by the Rev. Marta Valentín for adult small ministry groups ("chalice circles") help participants discern the requirements of our faith commitments and values. The sessions use a standard "small group ministry" format and include readings, audio-visual materials, and questions for reflection.

PWR Job Postings

Ministry Positions
A Documentary History of Unitarian Universalism: Vol. One

Edited by Dan McKanan, Skinner House, 2017

A panel of top scholars presents the first comprehensive collection of primary sources from Unitarian Universalist history. Spanning two volumes, each containing more than a hundred distinct selections, with scholarly introductions by leading experts.

365 Ways to Live Generously

Sharon Lipinski, Llewellyn Worldwide, 2017

The only thing standing between you and the life you want are your habits. 365 Ways to Live Generously features lessons each day that focus on one of the seven generosity habits: physical health, mindfulness, relationships, connecting with yourself, gratitude, simplicity, and philanthropy.


Unsubscribe | Manage your UUA subscriptions

Pacific Western Region - UUA
P.O. Box 567
Brighton, CO 80601
United States