General Assembly Behind Us, Summer Ahead
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"General Assembly Behind Us, Summer Ahead", PWR & UUA News, and more!
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Pacific Western Region
Newsletter July 2021
General Assembly Behind Us, Summer Ahead
by Rev. Carlton E. Smith
PWR Lead

As I write, it’s two days after the close of our UUA’s 2021 Virtual General Assembly.

Over 4000 UUs from the US and abroad convened on the Whova app’s GA Participation Portal for General Sessions, workshops, worship, caucusing spaces, chat rooms and more July 23-27. You can read the summary of highlights from GA 2021 here at

I’m grateful for the leadership of Charles Du Mond, who, along with Rev. Meg Riley, serves as Co-Moderator of the UUA. Charles is a prime example of someone who began at the local level within the Pacific Central District (predating the Pacific Western Region) as a Board member at the Unitarian Universalists of San Mateo, California in the 1990s. He served in several leadership positions there (including President), and would go on to serve on the PCD Board and the UUA Presidents’ Council before taking this national-spotlight role.

This is a great opportunity to encourage some of y’all who are so inclined to follow Charles’ example to apply for service positions in our UUA.

I experienced a thrill every time I saw or heard someone I knew was from the Pacific Western Region in action at General Assembly. While all of those occasions are too many to count, I will name just a few: The first song of opening worship, “Draw the Circle Wide” by Chalice UU Fellowship of the Conejo Valley, California; Mali Gottfried and Kitty Valbuena, both of the Pacific Northwest District, as leaders of the Synergy Bridging Service; Kia Bordner, Pacific Southwest District board member, as a leader of the worship offered by DRUUMM's Indigenous Caucus, and; UU vocalists of Santa Monica, California, singing “The Greatest Love of All” (arranged by Saunder Choi, UUSM Music Director) at the Sunday closing worship. Other PWR UUs on-screen during virtual GA include Greg Boyd, UUA Board Member; Francisco Ruiz, GA Choir Director (Long Beach, CA); Rev. Ranwa Hammamy, Executive Director of UU Justice Ministry of California, and; Rev. KC Slack, UUA Board Candidates Debate Moderator (Los Angeles, CA).

I also appreciate the involvement of PWR staff throughout General Assembly.

Amanda Radak, our Event Coordinator and Registrar, helped with the recording and editing of the on-demand workshop I led, “UU the Vote: Run for Office! (2021 Edition).” She also was behind the scenes during and after GA helping with the close-captioning of General Sessions and other events.

Rhiannon Smith, our Administrator, supported offerings and space for Black, Indigenous People of Color UUs as she completed her tenure on the Steering Committee for DRUUMM after three and a half years of service.

Rev. Summer Albayati, who served as Chaplain for UUA staff, led staff in a virtual devotional centering service the day before GA started, and she was one of the featured workshop speakers reflecting their chapters in the 2017 book Centering: Navigating Race, Authenticity, and Power in Ministry.

Rev. Sarah Schurr co-presented two pre-recorded on-demand programs: “The Post-Pandemic Small Congregation” with other members of the Congregational Life
Staff Group and “Building Resilience through Staffing Innovations” with Jan Gartner, our UUA’s Compensation and Staffing Practices Manager.

Rev. Sarah Millspaugh led a breakout room for Rev. Leslie Takahashi’s workshop “Trauma and the Spirit: Resources for Communities Today”.

If you weren’t part of General Assembly this year, you can still get a taste of what it was like by checking out the recording of Sunday worship here.

General Assembly returns to the Pacific Western Region in-person next time in Portland, Oregon -- June 22-26, 2022. It will be our second large-scale UU event in the PWR next year, after Regional Assembly in San Diego, February 4-6. We hope to see you at one or the other, or both! Volunteer roles are available for each of these: contact Amanda to find out more. We know that GA staff are already calling Portland area UUs about volunteer opportunities next year. For the next several weeks, however, we shift into another mode.

Please be aware that the UUA (including PWR) is closed from Friday, July 2 through Monday, July 5 for an extended Independence Day weekend break. Various members of the Pacific Western Region Staff will be on leave or vacation over July and August. In addition, the UUA staff is on summer hours from now through Labor Day. This means each full-time staff member reduces their workday by one hour over this period. As staff rotate through their vacations, each out-of-office email reply will let you know who is covering for them. Thank you for your patience while the faithful people of our team refresh themselves and reconnect with beloved family and friends!

In faith,
In this Issue
"General Assembly Behind Us, Summer Ahead"
PWR & UUA News
Youth News
Mountain Desert News
Pacific Central News
Pacific Northwest News
Pacific Southwest News
InSpirit Update

PWR Links
Calendar and Events
Staff Contacts
Job Postings
Youth Ministries

RE Trainings

PWR Lead
Carlton Elliott Smith

PWR Field Staff
Summer Albayati
Save the Date: Regional Assembly 2022
Pacific Western Regional Assembly
February 4-6, 2022

Your regional staff knows food is important and so does the Hyatt Regency Mission Bay San Diego. With a network of farm-to-table suppliers, the Hyatt Dining Services provides responsible, sustainable meals year-round.  Our four-meal menu will be set by the season, and we’ll eat what is fresh and local. Green practices are the norm in dining services and around the venue. You can learn more about the Hyatt's chefs, suppliers, and menu styles.

Book your room today. If you can’t make it in-person, consider helping someone else from your congregation attend. Watch the newsletter for the latest as the weekend develops.

If you are interested in helping tailor the content of caucus and workshop time, please reach out to Amanda Radak ( to contribute to 1-3 meetings over the next 3 months. Further space for contribution will be announced as planning progresses.

Come share a meal and a weekend together at Regional Assembly February 4-6, 2022.
Small Group Sessions for Re-Gathering
Looking for ways to meaningfully come together in-person in small groups? Looking for ways to talk together about what this time of Pandemic has been like for you and others in your congregation? A team at the UUA has created a series of six small group sessions for congregations to reconnect with one another during these summer months. Check out the description here.
Future Change Framework: Strategic Direction for a Post-Pandemic World
Saturday, August 7, 2021, 12 pm to 3 pm Eastern / 11 am to 1 pm Central / 10 am to 1 pm Mountain / 9 am to 12 pm Pacific

How can we use the recovery from Covid-19 to create real, lasting change? Our congregations have seen dramatic change during the pandemic—but the status quo is often resistant to lasting transformations. The Future Change Framework from the Royal Society for the Arts (RSA) is a way to think about how we respond to crisis and how that can drive positive change. Using the framework helps us to think through what we’ve stopped, what we’ve paused, what we’ve put in place temporarily, and how we’ve innovated. Reflecting on these areas helps us see what’s most valuable for an unknown, ever-changing future and clarify our strategic direction so that we stay relevant.

On August 7, MidAmerica Region will once again offer a 3-hour workshop with Ian Burbidge, Associate Director of the RSA Lab, and developer of the Future Change Framework. Ian will work collaboratively with participants to surface challenges and opportunities they are experiencing/exploring via the RSA’s Future Change Framework. This program is for any congregational leader, lay or ordained, interested in exploring the challenges and opportunities presented to us as we move into a post-pandemic world. Congregational teams are especially welcome! More information and registration here.
Recruitment Open for Hope for Us Regional Coaches (Nationwide)
Have you or someone you know been dreaming of being on a highly collaborative team of UUs helping congregations engage conflict faithfully with covenant in the center and with the understanding that “all we do is faith formation”? Or perhaps you know someone who is non-anxious, spiritually mature, and deeply compassionate in a way that when things are hard, you’d want this person to be holding the container for difficult conversation. Recruitment is open!

We encourage applications from members who are committed to the values of justice, integrity and healing, as well as have skills and experience that will prepare them to go deeper in their learning as part of a community of practice in several areas.

These positions are paid, adjunct staff of the UUA with up to 40 hours per year. Monthly meetings with a community of practice and conflict engagement work with congregation in collaboration with UUA Congregational Life staff already in relationship with the congregation(s). This one way we are widening the circle and deepening our faith.
UUA Board of Trustees Summer Open House
Tuesday, July 27, 2021; 4pm Pacific / 5pm Mountain / 6pm Central / 7pm Eastern

Co-Moderators Charles Du Mond and Meg Riley invite you to come and check in with the UUA Board of Trustees at its Summer Zoom Open House.

Bring your questions and chat about your GA 2021 experience, the Board’s plans for the coming year, what you’re looking forward to in the upcoming church year, your congregation’s engagement with Widening the Circle of Concern, what it means to serve Unitarian Universalism as a volunteer at the national level, and the UU issues that matter most to you.

We look forward to seeing you! Register here.
Congregation-Based Spiritual Direction: An Online Certificate Program
The MidAmerica Region–UUA and the Center for Congregational Spirituality are excited to offer a new online certificate program in Congregation-Based Spiritual Direction. The program is open to clergy, religious professionals (religious educators, music directors, membership professionals, youth advisors, and directors of congregational life), congregational lay leaders, and individuals engaged in innovative ministries beyond congregational walls. Denominational and middle judicatory officials and spiritual directors who share their ministry of presence with a congregation are welcome as well.

The program begins with an introductory module on October 19, 2021 and ends with a closing virtual retreat on May 14, 2022. Each session will be built around an intentional pattern of theory, practice, and reflection.

The dates for the three sessions are:
  • Fall Session: October 26–November 13, 2021
  • Winter Session: February 8–26, 2022
  • Spring Session: April 26–May 14, 2022

The Congregation-Based Spiritual Direction Online Certificate Program tuition is $1250. An early bird discount of $250 is currently available through August 31, 2021, bringing the cost to $1000. Additional discounts available for UU seminarians and religious professionals enrolled in one of the UUA’s credentialing program.

You can register for the Congregation-Based Spiritual Direction program here. For more information, visit the website or contact Phillip Lund.
News from the UUA International Office
For UU Youth, Adults, and Climate Justice Enthusiasts
Be part of planning the 2022 Intergenerational Spring Seminar hosted by the Unitarian Universalist Office at the United Nations! Youth Dean applications are due July 7, 2021. Youth and Adult Chaplain and Planning Committee Member applications are due August 9, 2021. The planning team will convene in September to design intergenerational programming that is inclusive, engaging, and inspiring. The 2022 Intergenerational Spring Seminar, expected to take place in NYC April 22-24, 2022, will center around the theme of action for climate justice, with a focus on climate-forced displacement. Learn more here about the Seminar, this year’s theme, and leadership opportunities.
Resources for United Nations Sunday: October 24, 2021
A collection of resources is available online to help congregations plan a worship service and activities surrounding United Nations Day this October 24 on the theme “All In for Climate Justice: Food Equity and Sustainability.” Check out the materials online now; additional content will be added throughout the summer.
Workshop on Transitional Religious Leadership
The Guild of Interim Religious Educators now offers a training program focusing on congregational transitions for professional staff serving in religious leadership roles. This program provides you with the tools you and your team need while serving a congregation experiencing a transition. And when you want to imbue your work in the congregation with fresh perspectives, this program will provide you with the skills you need to re-imagine a bright future in your church!

This program is the first of TWO seminars, providing leaders with the skills and perspectives they need on a variety of topics.

Facilitators: The program is co-facilitated by Michele Grove, D.Min, Lily Rappaport, and Deborah Weiner.

Dates and Cost: Thursdays: July 29, August 5, 12, 19 - 1:00 PM EDT (each class runs for 2 hours). Deadline for registration: July 15. Registration fee: $200; GIRE members receive a 20% discount ($160). Visit our website for more information and to register. Questions:
PWR Job Postings
Job openings in PWR congregations are now included on the UUA Jobs Board. Don't worry — even though the URL says "ministrysearch", you'll find all positions posted here. If your congregation has an opening you’d like listed, please complete the online submission form and we'll get it posted for you.
UU Faith Lab
UU Faith Lab is a chance for UU youth to explore spiritual leadership from wherever they are, and experiment with mystery and wonder in their own context. The FaithLab community will gather just after the summer solstice, meet monthly around the full moons, and reunite on the fall equinox. Small groups will gather in between to delve more deeply into community care. Learn more, request information, and register at
Save the Date: Emerging Adult Con
All Pacific Western Region Emerging Adults are invited to its first ever virtual conference explicitly for 18-24 year olds!
Title/Theme: HUUG's - A place for welcome and renewed connection
Date/Location: August 13-15th. Virtual (and we're planning something for in person later in the year!)
This event will feature The Other Side of the Bridge Welcome Worship for the recently bridged, a reception immediately afterward, "heavy duty icebreaking," games, a movie night, workshops with discussions.
Email for more information. Come get your HUUG's!
Upcoming Youth Events
Pacific Western Region (PWR) Events
  • FUUsion 2021 - Virtual Camp July 11-18.

District Specific Programs

PSWD Camp de Benneville Pines
MDD Fall Chalice Lighter Opens July 1!
It’s that time again, time for the Chalice Lighter program to help a UU congregation in the Mountain Desert District (MDD)! Three times a year, the MDD puts out a call for donations from Chalice Lighters (or anyone). Your generosity with the Fall Call will help the Unitarian Universalist Church of Las Cruces, New Mexico with asbestos abatement. They had ages-old carpet, past redemption, and were in the process of removing it so that their choir members would be able to breathe in the sanctuary when they discovered they had a larger problem than they knew.

Hopefully, you’re feeling generous! If those with the financial capability consider doing a little more than usual, it will help close the gap caused by lost donations from those of us who are still hurting from this unusual past year and more and can only contribute best wishes. The Spring Call which wrapped up on June 30, 2021 is helping the Cache Valley Unitarian Universalists of Logan, Utah repair the retaining wall on their property.

Visit the MDD website to read the call letter and make a donation.

A Note from the PCD Board
Dear Ones,

On June 12th, a quorum of delegates gathered and concluded the business that member congregations agreed to do once a year long ago: to approve minutes and a budget, and to elect new officers. In addition to the volunteers on the Nominating Committee’s original slate, Rev. Ben Meyers, currently ministering with the UUs of San Mateo, joined the PCD Board.

The new Board will be drafting new bylaws that will allow member communities to support ministries that are ours collectively on any scale: the whole UUA, the Pacific Western Region, the District, somewhere in-between or even smaller.

More information to come after General Assembly, and after the new board has a chance to gather. Meanwhile, here is a link to the resources for the Annual District Meeting.

May your joy be strong this season,
Catherine Ishida
On behalf of the PCD Board
PCD Fall Chalice Lighter Opens July 1!
The Unitarian Universalists of Petaluma have purchased their first permanent home as of May 31, 2021. They intend to nurture a vibrant UU presence in the historical district of downtown Petaluma. However, as an older building, there are many things needed to bring it into accessibility compliance, in addition to needing a new roof, paint, new carpeting and many more items. They are fortunate to not have a mortgage thanks to a generous donor, but all of these repair items are costly. Fundraising is underway for most of those upgrades.

The congregation anticipates growth, both due to the attractive and well-situated new building, and their enthusiastic permanent minister. To bolster this ambition, they are proposing two inclusion and outreach projects: non-gendered and accessible bathrooms to welcome all bodies, and a large display case to create a clear and attractive welcome at their doorstep. With these paired in-reach and out-reach strategies, they hope to offer their community a UU congregation that is deeply inclusive and living our expressed values. Your Chalice Lighter donation will help the UUs of Petaluma achieve their goals.

Visit the PCD website to read the call letter and make a donation.
PNWD Fall Chalice Lighter Opens July 1!
Thank you for being a stalwart and generous donor to Chalice Lighters! This is your Fall Call for the 2021-2022 church year: fund Growth Technology Grants. As congregations decide when to reopen for in-person services, their interest in "hybrid" services, that can also be attended virtually by congregants in their homes using their computers, has mounted. This capability is especially important to serve those whose immune systems are compromised or who for a variety of reasons believe it to be unsafe for them to attend indoor worship services. We PNWD Chalice Lighters can help provide equipment to meet this need, as well as more traditional applications of technology, such as assisted listening.

Your congregation may be one of those who need equipment to provide such capabilities. If so, encourage your leaders to apply for a Chalice Lighter Growth Technology grant. A revised application form is available through the PNWD Chalice Lighters web page. The form contains further guidance on award criteria. We will accept applications until the call closes, October 31, 2021.

For more information, to make a donation, or two apply for a grant, visit the PNWD website.
PSWD Board Update
Dear Friends in the Pacific Southwest District,

On March 4, the PSWD Board announced it was recommending the district vote to dissolve itself and merge with the Pacific Western Region (PWR). This vote will take place at a special business meeting on October 2 from 10am-12pm.
More information about this transition can be found at the PSWD news page.

Here is an update on the PSWD Board’s recent work.

First, at our last meeting, the board voted to adopt the 8th Principle of Unitarian Universalism. Many communities throughout the district, region, and nation have also adopted this newly proposed principle. The PSWD Board encourages its member congregations to adopt the 8th Principle and to create policies to actively live into it. More information about the 8th Principle can be found here.

Second, to prepare for the vote to dissolve the district on October 2, the board approved a disbursement plan for most of the district’s assets. Stay tuned for additional details.
The PSWD Board welcomes participation at its upcoming Listening Session at 10am on Saturday July 17. Register for the event here. You can also email the board directly with your questions or concerns at

Please save the following dates:
  • Saturday July 17 10-11:30am PSWD Listening Session
  • Saturday August 21 10-11am Special PSWD Business Meeting to vote on dissolution bylaw amendment
  • Saturday October 2 10am-12pm Special PSWD Business Meeting to vote on dissolution of the District

In Service,
Pacific Southwest District Board of Trustees
Updates from UU Justice Arizona
Love & Justice: Abolition and Alternatives to Policing
Every first Wednesday, 6:30pm
UUs proclaim that no one is outside the circle of love, therefore, our goals are also abolitionist goals. Join UUJAZ team member Thoi every first Wednesday of the month in actively resisting the systems of policing and incarceration while building relationships and community with other passionate UUs in Arizona. Register for our next meeting here.
Updates from UU Justice Ministry of California
No Borders, No Walls: Virtual Journey for Immigrant Justice
In partnership with Via International & UURISE (UU Refugee & Immigrant Services and Education), UUJMCA is excited to offer an online immersion for UUs and UU-aligned individuals interested in learning and engaging more with the realities of immigration at the California border. Through online virtual visits, attendees will have an opportunity to witness the effect of US Immigration policies from both sides of the border, deepen our faith connection to issues and efforts around immigration justice, and to connect with communities directly impacted by our broken immigration system. Learn more and register for our upcoming "No Borders, No Walls" journey happening this July 30-August 2 here!
InSpirit UU Book and Gift Shop
Unlocking the Power of Covenant
Report of the UUA Commission on Appraisal
We are living in immensely difficult times. Deep societal issues including racism, economic inequality, and environmental injustice mar our current lives and threaten to harm the lives of future generations. There are no easy remedies to these community ills, but returning to the practice of covenant may offer a path forward. Living in covenant creates and develops community. It also furthers both the mission and the health of our faith movement.

The 2021 Commission on Appraisal report, Unlocking the Power of Covenant, examines the nature, substance, and structure of covenants within Unitarian Universalism. Through reading, focus groups, interviews, and surveys, the Commission describes and interprets the role that covenants do, can, and should play in the individual lives of Unitarian Universalists, as well as in our relationships with other congregations, other faith traditions, and the Unitarian Universalist Association. With its resources and recommendations, Unlocking the Power of Covenant is a powerful must-read for all looking to tap into a richer, fuller utilization of covenant.

Learn more about the Commission on Appraisal.

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