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"Regional Assembly,  PWR & UUA News, and more!
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Pacific Western Region
Newsletter January 2024
Pacific Western Regional Assembly: Registration Opens January 4!
Mark your calendars for April 19-20, 2024!

Elevate your Unitarian Universalist experience by immersing yourself in the 2024 Pacific Western Regional Assembly. This is more about more than geography; it's a community of individuals like you, representing local UU congregations and communities. Your active involvement is not just valued – it's indispensable. Whether you choose to participate virtually or in-person at the inspiring First Universalist Church in Denver, this gathering promises an enriching and enjoyable experience, fostering connections among individuals and congregations.

Join the excitement as we come together with the MidAmerica Region of the UUA for shared programming, strengthening ties across our regions. Friday evening kicks off with a compelling keynote conversation between our UUA president, Rev. Dr. Sofía Betancourt, and the new President and General Minister of the United Church of Christ, Rev. Dr. Karen Georgia Thompson – both remarkable women of color dedicated to justice work.

Saturday unfolds with workshops, conversational gatherings, a special luncheon, and a pivotal Transitions Update. While the official Regional Assembly concludes on Saturday afternoon, those extending their stay can savor dinner connections in Denver on Saturday evening. On Sunday morning, local UU congregations open their doors for special Earth Day worship, creating a family-friendly environment. Many RA events are suitable for all ages and child care will be provided as well.

Registration for Regional Assembly opens January 4, 2024, at Be part of the intricate web of connections! Whether you aspire to be a discussion leader, a workshop facilitator, or contribute in various other roles, your involvement is welcomed. Reach out to Rev. Sarah Schurr at to offer your time and skills, shaping this event into an unforgettable experience.

In this Issue
Regional Assembly
PWR & UUA News
Youth & Emerging Ad
ult News
Mountain Desert 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 Program Staff
Summer Albayati
Treasurers' Roundtable
Coming in February – UUA Legacy Giving Webinar
Saturday, February 10, 2024 1:00 p.m. 3:00 p.m. ET / 10:00 a.m. 12:00 p.m. PT

The UUA’s Legacy Gifts Office offers a number of services, including an online workshop to assist congregations and other UU organizations in creating legacy giving programs. The webinar on Saturday, February 10, 2024 covers the basics of legacy giving and aims to equip legacy giving committees with the knowledge they need to start or refresh their program. To register for the webinar or to reach out with a question about legacy giving, email us at or call (617) 948-6509.

Mosaic National Learning and Practice Gatherings
Mosaic National Learning and Practice Gatherings support organizations and congregations’ long-term commitment to carry out AR/AO/MC transformation. These 90-minute virtual gatherings include a mix of facilitated learning from trusted voices in the movement for AR/AO/MC transformation and opportunities to be in conversation with fellow UUs.

Join us for the next Mosaic National Learning and Practice Community: Lifelong Faith Formation as Antiracist/Anti-Oppression/Multicultural Transformation. Monday, Jan. 22 (3pm HT; 4 AT; 5 PT; 6 MT; 7 CT; 8 ET). With guests: Joy Berry, UUA Children and Families Faith Development Specialist and Rev. Dr. Mark Hicks, Angus MacLean Associate Professor of Religious Education at Meadville Lombard Seminary

Register here:
For questions and/or more information contact Dr. Melissa James at

System Theory Renaissance Module
February 2, 2024 to February 23, 2024

Central to our understanding of congregational systems is a grounding in the awareness that “everything we do is faith development; everything we teach is Unitarian Universalism and that the congregation is the curriculum.”
That expression, by Connie Goodbread, is the first part of going deeper into congregational systems, yet the second part must include an immersion into System Theory.

The “System Theory” Renaissance Module will:
  • Examine human beings as emotional, intellectual, and physical beings.
  • Discuss how everything humans create, discover, destroy, and build is born out of our humanity.
  • Explore and clarify what it means to be a Unitarian Universalist.
  • Discuss the human qualities that help and hinder the growth of the beloved community.

The overarching lens of System Theory will ground the experience and aid religious educators, and other religious professionals, to apply these learnings to their own professional context.

The Renaissance and Music Leadership Professional Development Programs provide Unitarian Universalist Religious Professionals learning communities within which they can easily access applicable skills and tools for religious leadership. Courses are also open to interested lay leaders.

REGISTRATION DEADLINE: Registration for this Renaissance Module is limited to 24 participants and will close on January 31, 2024. Register here.
Updates from Side With Love
Save the Date for 30 Days of Love 2024: January 15–February 14, 2024
This annual event offers a month of spiritual nourishment, political grounding, and shared practices of faith and justice. Each week, you can expect to receive several different kinds of offerings, each from a different voice within Unitarian Universalism.

Within each weekly theme, which will connect with one of our intersectional justice priorities, we plan to offer prayers, blessings, grounding, and meditative practices, a story or time for all ages, as well as a reflection from one of Side With Love's program and field staff. To get an idea of what to expect or to enjoy some meditative breaks during your lunch this month, see last year's offerings here.

Green Sanctuary 2030 Orientation
Wednesday, January 3 at 4pm PT / 7pm ET

Get to know the new Green Sanctuary! Join the monthly orientation session to get a better understanding of the program and learn how your congregation can engage in ongoing climate action. Green Sanctuary 2030: Mobilizing for Climate Justice can transform your congregation through climate justice! Orientation meetings are held on the first Wednesday of the month at 4PT - 5MT - 6CT - 7ET. Register to join us at

Side With Love Monthly Mixer
Monday, January 8 at 5pm PT / 8pm ET

We know that these times ask a lot of us and that we need one another to stay in the work with hope, joy, impact, and accountability. Join us if you are doing the work on the ground, if you are showing up for and with Side with Love, and/or if you are just learning about Side with Love. Come connect with one another, build community across issues, and have some facetime with our staff. This gathering happens monthly on the 2nd Monday of the month at 5 PT, 6 MT, 7 CT, 8 ET. Register to join us at

Not Just Stop Cop City: The Issues at the Heart of the Movement – Session Three: Police Foundations & Policing
January 11 at 5pm PT / 8pm ET

Join Side With Love, the American Friends Service Committee, and Unitarian Universalist Service Committee for this political education series to learn more about the fight to stop Cop City. The fight to stop cop city is not just about the people of Atlanta. With similar projects sweeping cities across the nation (like in Baltimore, San Francisco, and Colorado Springs), this is our collective work. Understanding what is happening in Atlanta equipped us to understand the battles for justice and democracy in all the places we call home. Together we will dig deeply into the history of this plan, interrogate the interests of its corporate backers, and reflect on our values and the moral call to democracy and justice. Learn more at

[Please note: the link leads to our general form to get involved to support Stop Cop City and we’ll update it with the link to register for Session 3 of our webinar series as soon as we receive the URL from AFSC!]

Green Sanctuary Celebration
Wednesday, January 17 at 4pm PT / 7pm ET

Let's celebrate the good work our congregations are doing to create Green Sanctuary in our communities! Green Sanctuary teams will share how they're transforming their communities through congregational transformation, climate justice, mitigation, and community resilience. Join the fun! Register to join us at

Teams can fill out this short form to let us know that you plan to share what you’ve been up to. This can be celebrating a win, or sharing how you’re reframing your work when things went sideways. We just want to hear from you! Presentations need to be no more than 3 minutes long so we can make room for everyone!

Skill Up: Community Safety & Security
Sunday, January 21 at 1pm PT / 4pm ET

Unitarian Universalists are called to grapple with the question of what is safety? Black liberation organizers say “We Keep Us Safe" as a way to proclaim that true safety comes from relationship, community and structures of care and mutuality outside of state structures of violence and control. How do we build our political and theological commitment to keeping each other safe in the face of state and interpersonal violence? In this skill up, Nora Rasman and India Harris will define safety and security grounded in abolitionist practice, discuss our spiritual mandate towards building sanctuary and concretely outline what we can honestly offer to ourselves and each other. Register to join us at

Faithful Grounding
Thursday, January 25 at 4:30pm PT / 7:30pm ET

Join our Side with Love Fun & Spiritual Nourishment Squad for an hour of spiritual sustenance and grounding with others organizing on the side of love. Come drink in the music, meditation, play, and prayer. We end with a Connection Cafe for those who wish to talk together. Show up as you are, whatever is in your heart, and with your camera on or off as you need. This gathering happens monthly on the 4th Thursday of the month at 4:30 PT, 5:30 MT, 6:30 CT, 7:30 ET. Register to join us at

Reimagine with Energy Democracy
For the last in our webinar series on Clean Energy as a Human Right, we invite you to explore the power of Energy Democracy and the ways our congregations can reimagine energy for our communities. Energy Democracy helps frontline communities build power and liberation by reimagining how we organize our lives toward new systems that support the health and wellbeing of our communities and ecosystems.
Join the Energy Democracy Project, Cleveland Owns (OH), People Power Solar (CA), and POWER Interfaith (PA) for Reimagining with Energy Democracy on January 25 at 4PT - 5MT - 6CT - 7ET. RSVP today!

Interested in accessing federal grants for green building improvements? Unsure how these pragmatic investments are actually radical acts of justice? Check out Visionary Approaches to Federal Clean Energy Funding and Creating Hubs of Climate Resilience, the first two in our workshop series on Clean Energy as a Human Right. Then RSVP to join us for the final webinar in the series, Reimagining with Energy Democracy, featuring the Energy Democracy Project

Digital Security 101 for Congregations: A Two-Part Virtual Training
Session 1: Monday, January 22, 2024
Session 2: Monday, February 5, 2024
4:30pm PT–6:30pm PT / 7:30pm ET–9:30pm ET

Increasingly, our congregations are finding themselves the targets of online harassment, phishing, doxxing, and other forms of digital hate – often as a result of the ways we are embodying UU values in the world. Unfortunately, many of our UU communities do not have the skills and the infrastructure to protect themselves from malicious digital targeting that is constantly evolving.

Equality Labs' Digital Security For All Workshop is a dive into the world of digital security, and what that means for you and your organization. We will develop some common ground and shed light on types of attacks and security concerns that affect our communities, engaging with you at a strategic level as you plan for your organization.

We cover everyday, practical steps to mitigate online harassment, fraud, and other forms of cyber attacks. We look at how the data broker ecosystem coupled with open-source intelligence (OSINT) from social media increases security risks to individuals and organizations. We then look at key preventative measures including data broker scrubbing, phishing awareness, multi-factor authentication, password management, VPN, and other tools that can be immediately applied in anyone's daily lives.

Open to all congregational leaders but especially targeted to those who manage secure information such as congregational websites, social media accounts, databases, and communications.

Cost: $100 for congregational team of up to 5 attendees for both sessions. This cost is highly subsidized so we can bring this impactful training to our congregations. Register your team of up to 5 attendees at
New DRE: Settling in Series - Winter 2024
If you are a newer religious professional serving in UU faith development, this series will provide connection, community, and content! This training is valued at $175 with Continuing Education Grants available. Live sessions Jan 31, Feb 7, Feb 21. Course work available approximately Jan 24. Register here.
New Congregational Incident Form

Over the past couple of years, UUA Congregations and related organizations have seen an increase of outside threats and destructive incidences at our UUA congregations. In planning for ways to be supportive and affirming of your congregation’s ministry, it would be helpful to us to have a way keep track of these incidents.

We have designed a Congregational Incident form to help you help us keep track of these incidences. This simple form provides a way for congregations to inform the UUA of a threat or disruptive incident that comes from outside the congregation itself.

All forms come to the Safe Congregation Program email. Please let us know if you have any questions.
From the Office of Staff Church Finances: Resources and Reminders

Compassionate Terminations
Involuntary terminations are never easy. We've created a new LeaderLab resource, Compassionate Staff Terminations, to help congregational leaders and staff supervisors ensure the best possible outcomes for the congregation while offering kindness and respect to the employee. Treating a departing staff member well is good not only for them but for the congregation.

Form I-9 Documents
Form I-9 provides proof of identity and authorization to work in the U.S. Verifying an employee's documents and completing the I-9 is a crucial legal aspect of the hiring process. You must inspect an employee's I-9 documents carefully. Expired documents, for instance, cannot be accepted. The I-9 Form was recently modified, and the new version is required as of last month. You'll find everything you need to know about completing I-9 forms at I-9 Central.

Congregational Salary Program Updates
Because so many congregations begin planning and budgeting for the next program year in the late fall, we revise our salary information in November for the following July through June. All of the updated resources can be accessed from our main Congregational Salary Program page.

Our Monthly Publication
Are you a leader whose responsibilities support staff (board, finance, personnel)? A supervisor of staff? A staff member eager to stay in the loop about employment-related information? Sign up for Compensation and Staffing News for monthly tips and resources on compensation, benefits, and personnel matters.
Save the Date: Building Beloved Community
Join us Saturday, April 27, 2024, at the Beyond the Binary: building beloved community event. “A place to find community with transgender, nonbinary folx and our allies. A conference for us to gather, learn, and grow.” In-person and online! Registration will open in February 2024.  
UU Cultivators Collaborative
  • Are you a spiritual innovator—a religious professional or a lay leader—who wants to start a new community but you don’t know where to begin?
  • Did you just launch a project and feel like you need colleagues who understand your joys and frustrations?
  • Do you feel a yearning to build a local community but get overwhelmed by the idea of raising money and budgeting?
  • Are you committed to seeking spiritual growth, liberation, and healing for communities in your midst?

The UU Cultivators Collaborative is designed to support those innovators and teams who are ready to realize their wider vision for Unitarian Universalism with tailored support at critical junctures along the way.

The UUA and Beloved are excited to host a cohort of UU spiritual innovators (both religious professionals and lay leaders) in February/March 2024 for a one-year intensive followed by a co-created alumni experience. Learn more about eligibility and find the application at

Clergy Grants Available to Attend Star Island Conferences
The Isles of Shoals Association Unitarian Universalist (ISAUU) in partnership with the Star Island Beloved Community Project is pleased to present the Clergy Grants for the 2024 season of conferences on Star Island.

Grants are offered to Parish Ministers, Ministers of Religious Education, and Community Ministers. Applicants must be first-time attendee at a Star Island conference, a member of the UUMA, serving and/or affiliated with a UU congregation. Grants cover room and board expenses only. Grants are available to Unitarian Universalist ministers and their families to spend a week on Star Island at a conference of their choice. The intent is to introduce UU clergy to Star Island conferences, to support personal and professional relaxation and rejuvenation, and to promote Star Island with UU clergy and their congregations.

Star Island is a retreat and conference center founded on the values and principles of the Unitarian Universalist Association and United Church of Christ Church, located off the coast of New Hampshire. Star Island offers a wide range of conferences for adults and families and themes include arts and music, history, yoga, and personal growth. Attendance is open to all. For information about conferences at Star Island please visit Conference registration opens in early January 2024.

More information and the application can be found on the ISAUU website: The application deadline is January 16, 2024. Award amounts can vary based on number of applications received each year. Applications received after January 16 will be considered as long as grant money remains available.

For more information please contact: Miriam Coe,
Our Whole Lives Elementary Facilitator Training
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.
Do you have a recently bridged emerging adult (EA)?  

Plug them into our newly minted EA Database and The Emerging Adult Ministry (TEAM)!
There they will find resources to connect with other EA's, have access to small groups, local congregations, pastoral care, online hangouts and more!

For more information about TEAM or the leaders who help put all this together (NEAT - National Emerging Adult Taskforce) check out their Facebook page and Instagram, respectively.
New Chaplains for Emerging Adults
The UUA has hired Chaplains for our Emerging Adults

We've hired two wonderful contractors to provide pastoral Care to our Emerging Adults (18-24 yrs) - nationally!  Please meet Martha Durkee Neuman and Rev Natalie Malter. You can connect directly to these incredible Chaplains by emailing or calling our helpline at / 617- 948-6418.

To learn more about Martha and Rev Natalie, you can check out their bios here.
Peer Pastoral Care Course
Do you know a youth who wants more skills around what to do when their friends are having a hard time? Check out this Peer Pastoral Care course on UU institute that can be facilitated by a religious professional and youth or young adult lay leader. This course helps youth practice a variety of listening techniques, build awareness and skills regarding boundaries, cultural contexts and self-care, and know when and how to expand the circle of support.
Pastoral care isn’t about knowing how to say just the right thing, being able to fix someone else’s problem or having all the answers. Pastoral care just means being able to show up as a listener, pay attention to your friends' feelings, and knowing who to go to when help is needed. In this pastoral care course youth get the chance to practice these skills in a safe environment with supportive friends and mentors. Register here!
Save the Dates - 2024 Camps
Young UU Project
Have you heard of YUUP yet? The Young UU Project began in 2020 as a way for young UUs to keep in touch with each other and their faith during the pandemic, and is held by Lifespan Faith Engagement. The purpose of YUUP is to be a national community care network and multi-directional communication channel that centers BIPOC, trans/non-binary and neurodivergent youth and offers a transition zone for young people moving into emerging adulthood. 

Anyone (youth, caregivers, religious professionals, lay leaders, everyone!) can tap into the social ministry of YUUP by following them on Instagram @yuup.uua and signing up for the YUUP newsletter. YUUP also has a community sphere just for youth, those who bridged in 2022 and support adults. These “Third Monday Meetups” are where youth swap ideas they can take home to their local communities. In August they swapped Favorite Check In Questions. In September they swapped favorite youth group games, which will soon be released on Instagram and in the newsletter.

Adult readers - We need your help connecting youth to this community! Please point them to UUA.ORG/YUUP to connect at whatever their capacity is.
Young Adult Revival Network Worship
UU young adults and friends from around the world are invited to attend our monthly worship service, held on the third Sunday of each month. Each month our Worship Team puts together a fabulous, faithful, spiritual program that reflects our faith and the fact that we are young adults. From our song choice, to the content of our reflections, this isn’t your traditional UU worship experience. So join us, and discover a different way to embody our faith. This is an intergenerational event, all people ages 18 and older are welcome to attend. Register here.  
Emerging Adult Database
If you or another emerging adult UU (18-24) are interested, please sign up and join our community. Our Pacific Western Region 2022 EA Database signup can be found here.
Grant Funding Available for MDD Congregations
The Midwest Unitarian Universalist Conference has endowed funds, established in the early 1900s, to offer financial support to elderly Unitarian Universalists, both lay persons and retired ministers and their partners in the UUA MidAmerica Region and Mountain Desert District of the Pacific Western Region. Funds have been used to assist in the purchase of hearing aids, mobility devices, and medical expenses. More than $3,000,000 has been distributed since the Conference was formed.

In 2018, the Midwest Unitarian Universalist Conference also established a Munroe Husbands Grant fund to assist Lay-led congregations in the MidAmerica Region and Mountain Desert District of the Pacific Western Region. These funds have been used for leadership development, procurement of technical equipment needed for multi-platform meetings and services, attendance at conferences and General Assembly, and religious education program development. Since its inception, more than $21,000 has been distributed in support of Lay-led congregations.

For more information visit our website.

Updates from Camp de Benneville Pines
Do you know a youth who would love to ring in the new year in the mountains? Check out our upcoming Senior High Winter Camp. Campers will enjoy a week in the mountains with old friends while making new friends and welcoming in the new year with their “camp family!”

For those folks who seek other adventures, there are always plenty of choices for great things to do at Camp de Benneville Pines. Check out our events calendar for the 2023-2024 programming year.

Want to be the first to know about registration dates and more? Be sure to subscribe to our mailing list.

Save the Date: PSW Service Area Assembly
InSpirit UU Book and Gift Shop

InSpirit Holiday Gift Guide

What will it take for diverse leadership within Unitarian Universalism to truly thrive and contribute to a radiant and inclusive future? In Seeds of a New Way, editors Manish Mishra-Marzetti and Nancy McDonald Ladd and contributors explore how to foster and nourish diverse and authentic leadership within congregations.

Building on the foundations of the groundbreaking Centering: Navigating Race, Authenticity, and Power in Ministry, this collection offers a glimpse into the forming edge of the shared journey happening right now to make diverse leadership, both lay and ordained, more survivable and vibrant. Rather than presenting one definitive pathway or roadmap, Seeds of a New Way recognizes that the specific context and relationships within any given setting will shape the journey and so brings together a diverse array of perspectives, experiences, and strategies to illustrate a range of considerations and possibilities.

As congregations strive to live into the potential and joy of Beloved Community, these essays will inspire them to seed and nourish a new way.

Rev. Manish Mishra-Marzetti serves as senior minister of the First Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Ann Arbor, Michigan. He has served extensively in denominational leadership, including as a member of the Board of Trustees of the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee and the Unitarian Universalist Association, as well as president of Diverse Revolutionary Unitarian Universalist Multicultural Ministries (DRUUMM). He is co-editor of Justice on Earth: People of Faith Working at the Intersections of Race, Class, and the Environment and Conversations with the Sacred: A Collection of Prayers.

Nancy McDonald Ladd serves as senior minister of the River Road Unitarian Universalist Congregation in Bethesda, Maryland. She is a national leader in broad-based ommunity organizing and has served on the adjunct faculty at Meadville Lombard Theological School. She is the author of After the Good News: Progressive Faith Beyond Optimism.

Available to pre-order!