Rejoicing, Grieving, and the Possibilities of Change
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Pacific Western Region
Newsletter August 2021
Rejoicing, Grieving, and the Possibilities of Change
by Dr. Melissa James
PWR Program Staff

I entered the Lutheran church building for the first time on a Sunday in over a year and a half. I was a guest preacher there last summer, too. Then, however, they were virtual so I led worship sitting alone at the Pastor’s desk. This time was different. The congregation had started gathering for worship in person slowly--first by reservation only and just in the last couple weeks by open invitation. Come masked and preferably vaccinated (though we would all be on our honor), do your best to respect social distancing, but come. It sounded inviting enough. Like so many UU congregations, careful thought and planning had gone into safety protocols that balanced the need to follow guidelines yet remain worshipful. They had done a really admirable job.

As I talked with the stalwart volunteers who were there an hour before the service (you know the ones I mean) and asked them about being back there was a resounding answer of “I LOVE it!” Sometimes this was emphasized with “It didn’t feel like I was going to church sitting at home but here...” or “If only we could get rid of these masks!” They longed to be in the space that was so dear to them, they longed for connection. Many of them longed for some sense of normalcy. Being back together in the sanctuary gave them a taste of that normalcy and community. I rejoiced with them that those who were there could be back together.

And yet...When I looked around the sanctuary, I was deeply reminded of the now and not yet in which these liminal times hold us. Even as a guest I could sense absence in the space. There was no noise from the children as they left for their Sunday School class--because there were no children, though families typically make up a vibrant part of the community. As I remembered to direct my gaze up at the livestream camera now and again, I wondered who was on the other side and how they were doing. Those who were not, could not, or would not be physically present were all but forgotten by everyone except me as the preacher and the trusted tech volunteer. And this in a congregation that does community well--that works hard on welcome and draws people in. I grieved for those absences.

There is no blame or shame in my observations. Simply a recognition that whatever the shape of our regathering, our search for a predefined “normalcy” will be a failed one. Those who get to define that “normal” will inevitably be the ones who get to access it (and even then not fully) leaving many of us outside the boundaries. Our communities will not be the normal we knew before the pandemic. They can’t. We are changed just as the world around us has changed. And I, for one, find possibility in that reality.

There are so many examples of congregations doing multi-platform worship and programming well. Where I take heart are the examples where the change is adaptive and not just technical. All my gratitude and blessings on those staff and volunteers who have figured out the technical answers. The technical is very important. We have a real opportunity when those technical answers are linked to meaning-making. Where have we really seized the opportunity to ask ourselves how has the pandemic changed the way we understand ourselves? What opportunities has it opened up? What has it shown we can let go? How do we keep on the path of expanding accessibility? What is really important about living into Beloved Community together?

Please note: All UUA staff members including your Pacific Western Region staff continue to be under travel restriction through December 31, 2021 due to the ongoing pandemic. We anticipate that the restriction will be lifted in time for the Pacific Western Regional Assembly, February 4-6, 2022, but of course that gathering in San Diego is contingent upon favorable expert recommendations as we get closer to that weekend. For more helpful information to about how to discern whether and how your congregation should gather this fall, please visit the UUA website.

In this Issue
"Rejoicing, Grieving, and the Possibilities of Change"
PWR & UUA News
Youth & Emerging Adult 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 Program Staff
Summer Albayati
Save the Date: Regional Assembly 2022
Reflect, Rejoice, Renew: Pacific Western Regional Assembly 2022 will gather UUs from across the west to hold space for multigenerational community, large and small, group worship, activities, discussion, and learning. Come celebrate our history and people and connect with each other, our faith, and our future

When: Friday, February 4 through Sunday, February 6, 2022
Where: Hyatt Regency Mission Bay, 1441 Quivira Road, San Diego, CA

The latest details including Accommodations and Tentative Schedule, Workshop Proposals
Coming soon: vendor and volunteer information.
Registration Opens September 1.

Article II Study Commission
Unitarian Universalism is no stranger to movements that call for racial justice both within and beyond our institutions. Over and over again, pockets of people have worked to say racism is a problem, racism is a problem *for us,* and that we are committed to fighting racism and other oppressions. As a grassroots movement to adopt such a commitment as the 8th Principle of Unitarian Universalism, spreads throughout our congregations, the question has been raised, "how does the 8th Principle Project relate to the current study of Article II: Principles and Purposes, of the UUA Bylaws?"

Check out the latest blog post from the Article II Study Commission, as they reflect on the 8th Principle Project, and how it relates to the work of the Study Commission: The Article II Study Commission and the 8th Principle.
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.
Save the Date: Compass Virtual Gathering
COMPASS: A Liberatory, Everyday Theology for Changing Times
December 11 & 12, 2021

What is Compass?
It’s a national virtual event
It’s a regional gathering*
It’s a time to learn together - worship together - share our wisdom
It’s a time to be with other congregational leaders on the journey towards our shared future.
Registration opens October 1st.

*Compass is different from the Camp de Benneville Pines 60th anniversary celebration December 4, 2021, and the Pacific Western in-person Regional Assembly Feb. 4-6, 2022 (see ’Save the Date’ above). We hope to see your congregation represented at all three events...Stay tuned for more details!
Pastoral Care by Religious Educators
Led by: Rev. Sunshine Wolf and Annie Scott, Credentialed Religious Educator
Thursdays, October-February
Register here.

Many parents and teens turn first to their Religious Educators for pastoral care, and being prepared to receive those conversations is the focus of this series. The class will be based on the Spiritual Leadership program in Leader Lab created by the New England Regional staff. There will be prework prior to the first class and each session and you must get an endorsement from the minister you serve with or your board to sign up for the course. More information here.

Leading from the Heart
October 13th, November 10th, December 8th
8-9:30 pm Mountain / 7-8:30 pm Pacific / 6-7:30 pm Alaska / 4pm (Oct) 5pm (Nov/Dec) Hawaii
Hosted by: PWR Staff led by Rev. Summer Albayati and Melissa James
In this 3-part series for budding and experienced leaders, participating will ground you in your own spiritual soil, acknowledge roots, discern flowers, find abundance, and preserve seeds to keep the harvest going.

Topics will include: UU and ancestral theology, the synergy of passion and mission, living out of conviction. Participants will spend about 4 hours a month in a variety of solo work, small group discussion (1 per month on group’s time frame), and a full group monthly meeting. Register here.
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 (age 14-18) 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.
Take Action to Become a Sixth Principle Congregation
The Unitarian Universalist Office at the United Nations announces an annual award to recognize congregations that show their commitment to our Sixth Principle’s “goal of world community with peace, liberty, and justice for all” and their support of the UU@UN through their actions and financial giving. The Sixth Principle Award is given yearly to congregations that complete at least three engagement activities between April 1, 2021 and March 31, 2022 (see the categories online!). In recognition for their steadfast dedication to international human rights, Sixth Principle Congregations that qualify and submit a brief report by March 31 will be presented with an award certificate during a reception at UUA General Assembly, formal recognition on the UU@UN website, and a specialized video from UU@UN staff honoring the congregation’s contribution. Find more information about the Sixth Principle Award and how to qualify here.
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.
Fall Youth Studios: Drop In, Connect, Grow
Multigenerational drop In spaces with monthly themes and guest youth and adult hosts: Youth Advising, Leadership, Worship Arts, Pastoral Care, Justice, and Multicultural Transformation. Each month will have a Saturday bonus event with caucusing first and then games. Register for a month's worth of content and get videos for the sessions you miss!

Join for one session, one month or the whole series. Register here.
Network of Hospitality for Bridging Youth
The UUA’s Office of Lifespan Faith Engagement—in collaboration with the Mount Vernon Unitarian Church—is happy to announce the piloting of a new network of hospitality for Unitarian Universalist youth who are bridging out of their high school years. Building off of wisdom from previous programs, this network aims to connect bridging youth to the congregation where they will be living. Whether they’re staying in the same place, or moving far away from home, bridging youth may appreciate connection and community in this new life stage.

Congregations sending forth bridging youth are encouraged to share the Bridging Youth Hospitality Network survey with their youth to fill out. That way, bridging youth will identify how they would like to be supported. Congregations receiving these new young adults are encouraged to also fill out the survey, to make the connection. The intensity of the connection can vary and should develop organically from the needs expressed by the young adult. To find additional bridging resources, visit our website.

Questions about this network can be directed to Rev. Stevie Carmody, Emerging Adult Ministry Associate in the Office of Lifespan Faith Engagement of the UUA.
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
District Specific Programs

PSWD Camp de Benneville Pines
MDD Fall Chalice Lighter Call Now Open!
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.

Jubilee III Anti-Racism Training Opportunity Via Zoom
September 4-6, 2021
The First Unitarian Church of Honolulu invites PWR congregations to join us and Jubilee Trainers Paula Cole Jones, Dr. Leon Spencer and Lutricia Callair as we continue learning together about systemic racism. Whether you are beginning the journey or are already actively engaged in undoing systemic white supremacy in its many manifestations, you can be part of this life-changing weekend via Zoom. Church members, church leaders of any faith and community members are all welcome!
Find details and register here.
PCD Fall Chalice Lighter Call Now Open!
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 Call Now Open!
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 Special Business Meeting August 2021
The Pacific Southwest District of the UUA (PSWD) announces a special business meeting from 10-11am PT on Saturday, August 21. Please see below for the agenda. Registration is open. Delegate certification is also open. See for more details.

10:00-10:05    Opening & Welcome
10:05-10:10    Establish Quorum
10:10-10:15    Approve Minutes from April Business Meeting
10:15-10:30    PSWD Proposed Dissolution Update
10:30-10:55    PSWD Bylaw Amendment Discussion and Vote
10:55-11:00    Closing

Here is the link to the proposed bylaw amendment. For questions, contact

PSWD Board Midsummer Update
"To prepare for the vote to dissolve the District on October 2, PSWD Board members discussed and deliberated over the course of many meetings how to responsibly and faithfully disburse the District’s assets. While the usual course involves all assets reverting to the UUA upon dissolution of a district, the members of the PSWD Board decided to live into the 8th Principle and actions suggested in the Commission on Institutional Change’s “Widening the Circle of Concern” report. Multiple conversations ensued about the Board’s responsibility to the congregations and covenanting communities within our district. The Board recognized this pivotal opportunity to incorporate our UU principles and consciously create a proposal for disbursement without replicating oppressive systems, such as merit-based application processes. The Board chose to focus on underrepresented communities, including Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPoC) and Asian American, Pacific Islander (AAPI) youth, young adults, and religious professional UUs in the Pacific Western Region, which have often gone unfunded or underfunded by Unitarian Universalist organizations."

For the complete update,
click here.

InSpirit UU Book and Gift Shop
The Through Line: 200 Years of the Berry Street Lecture
Rev. Dr. Kate R. Walker
For more than two hundred years, Unitarian and then Unitarian Universalist ministers have gathered to hear one of their own deliver an essay of reflection and critique on their profession. The Ministerial Conference at Berry Street, or as it’s more commonly known, the Berry Street lecture, was started in 1820 by famed Unitarian minister William Ellery Channing. It is believed this essay series is the longest running of its kind in the United States.

In this powerful collection, Berry Street scribe and editor Kate R. Walker and contributors look back over the essays on record and offer analysis on what was said and the historical context surrounding them; selected essays have also been included in this volume. The voices and ministry of thundering preachers, inspiring activists, and dedicated academics point toward a compelling future. When examined as a whole, their threads weave a rich and complex pattern.

And yet Walker and contributors also look at what was not said and who was not invited to speak. As Unitarian Universalism enters a new era of ministry in our congregations and outreach to the wider world, our commitment to being a radically inclusive faith demands these teachings. Our survival as a liberal religious faith depends on learning from our failures so we don’t repeat them.

Rev. Dr. Kate R. Walker serves as the minister at Mount Vernon Unitarian Church in Alexandria, Virginia. She also currently serves as the Scribe of the Ministerial Conference at Berry Street. She previously served the Meadville Unitarian Universalist Church in Pennsylvania. And in addition to several volunteer positions with the Unitarian Universalist Ministers Association, she served as President of the Unitarian Universalist Women’s Heritage Society and the Unitarian Universalist History and Heritage Society.

Now available to pre-order!

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