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Pacific Western Region
Newsletter June 2021
Re-enter, Rejoice, and Stay Masked
by Rev. Sarah Gibb Millspaugh
PWR Program Staff


Wow, the CDC sure surprised us all a couple of weeks ago saying that vaccinated people would not need to wear masks in most indoor places! Lots of UUs are wondering about what this means for our congregations as many of us begin holding some in-person group meetings and small events, and as many of us look toward starting in-person worship in the next four to five months.


Here’s the scoop: For the time being, we need to maintain a culture of mask-wearing at our congregations, even for the vaccinated. Why? Because:

  • We are all-ages communities, and not all ages have been able to get vaccinated yet.

  • We are all-abilities communities, and some of us have immune systems that don’t have the ability to tolerate a COVID vaccination or infection.

  • We are all-inclusive communities, and we want to express our UU values by being able to include all, regardless of vaccination status.

I’ve been working on the UUA’s COVID response team since the pandemic began. Last March I was amazed at how quickly and effectively whole congregations pivoted from in-person worship to online-only worship within weeks. But the way we come out of this pandemic is not going to be fast or uniform. It’s going to require more complicated planning and decision-making, custom-tailored to each congregation’s building, local environment, programs, and size. So every congregation needs to find its own way, within the context of our shared values. With that in mind, I offer you these resources from the UUA:

And finally, I just want to say a few words about how we all are doing right now. It’s been a tough 15 months. Many of us are quite tired and grumpy, "crispy" even. We have just passed the one-year mark since George Floyd was murdered. Many congregations are reckoning with the fullness of their commitment to diversity, equity, justice and inclusion. We are needing to think in complex and expansive and creative ways, and our brains crave simple solutions. We’ve been through some trauma, as Rev. Sunshine Jeremiah Wolfe so wisely tells us in this video. Let us be gentle with ourselves and others. We’ve never been here before and there is no roadmap. But as Unitarian Universalists in congregations all across the West, we know we are never alone.
In this Issue
Re-enter, Rejoice, and Stay Masked
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
News
Job Postings
Youth Ministries

RE Trainings


PWR Lead
Carlton Elliott Smith

PWR Field Staff
Summer Albayati
PWR & UUA NEWS
Save the Date: Regional Assembly 2022
Save the Date for Face to Face: Regional Assembly February 4-6, 2022
San Diego or Online
Plenty of open air southern California weather for us to enjoy next winter. 
If you can, plan to join us in person at the Hyatt Regency Mission Bay; you can 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 set the theme for our weekend, please reach out to Amanda Radak (aradak@uua.org) to contribute to 1-2 meetings in June setting our course for this event. Further space for contribution will be announced as planning progresses.
Pop Up 4th Webinar for Smaller Congregations
When the Congregation IS the Youth Group: How to bring the culture of youth and emerging adult ministry to multigenerational communities. Join Shannon Harper and Jennica Davis-Hockett, UUA Youth and Emerging Adult Ministry Specialists, as we explore relationship-centered community building for all ages in small congregations. A great second part to the Sharing Youth in Smaller Congregations webinar from April! Details and registration here.
Hope for Us: Conflict Engagement Team
As of May 1, 2021, Hope for Us: Conflict Engagement Team has been working together to develop teams and processes to help Congregational Life Staff serve congregations in conflict. This process of formation will, of course, take time. We are off to a great start.

Hope for Us: Conflict Engagement Team is the culmination of many things:
  • the vision of the late Rev. Dr. Hope Johnson
  • years of training in different processes for conflict management and restorative practices
  • developing and practicing a variety of district and regional models for conflict engagement
  • the iterative process of comparing and improving those practices
  • this time of change and opportunity
  • the maturational growth of Unitarian Universalism

Many of us close to congregations have seen the need for a process that could help congregational leaders regain and recommit to covenant with the goal of community vitality. The Widening the Circle of Concern report includes a call for the development of a conflict team (p 119-120).

Read the full article to learn more about this exciting team.

UUA Board of Trustees Open House
Tuesday, June 8, 2021; 4pm Pacific / 5pm Mountain / 6pm Central / 7pm Eastern

Co-Moderators Meg Riley and Charles Du Mond invite you to come and check in with the UUA Board of Trustees at its upcoming Zoom Open House. Bring your questions and chat about:

  • what the Board has planned leading up to General Assembly
  • General Assembly 2021
  • serving Unitarian Universalism as a volunteer at the national level
  • the progress of the Article II Study Commission
  • your congregation’s engagement with Widening the Circle of Concern
  • the UU issues that matter to you

We look forward to seeing you! Register here.
Please Take a Survey for UU World
The Spring 2021 issue of UU World magazine with the theme "(Re)Building Democracy" incorporated a variety of changes in editorial focus and design. The staff of the magazine want to hear your feedback so they can keep improving the magazine. Please complete a quick 20-question survey and let them know your thoughts (your answers will be anonymous).
News from the UUA International Office
Support COVID-19 Response in India
The UU Holdeen India Program’s partners have been working around the clock during the COVID-19 crisis. A second surge of infections since April 2021 has led to severe shortages in oxygen, medical supplies, and hospital beds. The raging virus has not spared any part of the country – small towns, villages, and big cities have all been hit hard. The road to recovery will be long and challenging. HIP's partners across the country are working closely with the authorities to ensure relief reaches all those in need. If your congregation is planning to take up a special collection to support crisis relief in India, please consider the Holdeen Fund as a beneficiary. Donations to UUHIP can be made online or by texting HOLDEEN to 51555. Contact holdeen@uua.org if you’d like more information or a short video to introduce the special collection.
UU Congregations All In for Climate and Food Justice
The UUA Office at the UN invites congregations to dedicate one worship service each year to addressing the work of the United Nations, our UU connections to global justice work, and the yearly theme. The 2021-2022 UN Sunday theme is "All In for Climate Justice: Food Equity and Sustainability." Save the date now for United Nations Sunday at your congregation: The recommended date is United Nations Day which falls on Sunday, October 24, 2021. UN Sunday can be held any time. Reach out to the UU@UN (unitednations@uua.org) if you’d like to coordinate a virtual guest speaker. A collection of worship-planning resources is under development and will be available this summer, also including an action toolkit! UN Sunday resources will be online here. Begin engaging with this topic: Join the Group called "All In for Climate Justice: Food Equity and Sustainability" in the Create Climate Justice network to begin connecting with others who are passionate about climate and food justice, and share about events and opportunities. Check out resources and more from the UU@UN!
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: uugire@gmail.com
Faithify: Help Fund Silent Retreat for Justice Leaders to Restore Their Spirits
This past year has been traumatic for so many people, in so many different ways. But it has been especially challenging for UU Justice Leaders – seminarians, clergy, and lay leaders in congregations and community. These leaders are called to be on the front lines of movements towards justice, challenging us to be agents for change, strategizing in the face of opposition, and comforting those affected by trauma.

This is an opportunity to offer a healing experience for those standing at the forefront of our UU justice efforts. We are asking for your contribution for scholarships for UU justice leaders so they can attend SpiritRest Silent Retreat. Your donation will provide a lifeline to those leading the hard work of dismantling racism, raising the alarm of the climate crisis, and leading UUs to live into our principles. Time for retreat isn't a luxury, it's a necessity in order to replenish their spirits. Learn more and donate here.

Virtual General Assembly 2021: Register Now!
Circle 'Round for Justice ● Healing ● Courage is the theme for General Assembly 2021. General Assembly is a time to circle ‘round in community. We circle ‘round in care and healing; for liberation and justice; and for love and courage. We share stories of the work happening at our Association and in our congregations. We study ways to implement and live into our mission. UUA GA 2021 will incorporate recommendations from the Commission on Institution Change report, "Widening the Circle of Concern" and dialogue with the Article II Commission about our Principles and Purposes.

    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.
    YOUTH & EMERGING ADULT NEWS
    Youth Invited to Join Synergy Bridging Worship Service at GA
    The Synergy Bridging Worship during General Assembly that honors and celebrates our youth transitioning to young adulthood (UUs call them bridgers) is free and open to the public. Even those bridgers who are not registered for General Assembly can be honored and their friends and family can attend the livestream. It’s happening Friday, June 25th at 7 pm ET.

    To be honored at Synergy, bridgers can submit a photo, short video, or just their name and congregation which will be featured in the worship service. Deadline for submissions is June 7th. Each bridger will receive a commemorative engraved chalice flame necklace.

    Find more information and the bridger sign up form at the Synergy Service webpage. Questions can be directed to Jennica Davis-Hockett at yayaministry@uua.org.

    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 uua.org/FaithLab.
    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 pwreacomm@gmail.com 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
    PCD MUUGs

    PSWD Camp de Benneville Pines
    MOUNTAIN DESERT DISTRICT NEWS
    MDD Spring Chalice Lighter Call Now Open!
    It’s that time again – time to help out a deserving congregation in the Mountain Desert District.  Three times a year, the MDD puts out a call for donations from Chalice Lighters (or anyone). Your generosity with the Spring Call will help Cache Valley Unitarian Universalists of Logan, Utah with a much-needed repair project to the retaining wall on their property – can’t have their land falling into their neighbor’s land!

    We know UUs are generous people – hopefully, your circumstances allow you to be generous at this time. The Winter call which ended February 28 will help the UU Fellowship of Missoula, Montana replace their roof, something which is long past due.
    Visit the MDD website to read the call letter and make a donation.

    PACIFIC CENTRAL DISTRICT NEWS
    PCD Spring Chalice Lighter Call Now Open!
    The Spring 2021 Chalice Lighter call for the Pacific Central District will be devoted to the Unitarian Universalist Church of Berkeley (UUCB). They write: "The mission of UUCB is to create a loving community, inspire spiritual growth, and encourage lives of integrity, joy, and service. We begin that commitment with the youngest members of our church. UUCB is looking forward to our faith’s future by investing in our youth. We have great energy and vision for reimagining our high school and young adult programming mid and post-pandemic and need your help to make our vision into reality...A Chalice Lighters grant will help us apply the lessons UUCB learned to the creation of new programming for high school youth at UUCB in terms of a UU History Pilgrimage around the crucial areas of Unitarian and Universalist history in the Bay Area with field trips and events for 10th-12th graders." Read the full call letter and make a donation on our website.
    PACIFIC NORTHWEST DISTRICT NEWS
    PNWD Spring Chalice Lighter Call Now Open!
    This is your Spring Call for the 2020-2021 church year. The Inland Northwest Unitarian Universalist Community (INUUC) is an emerging UU congregation that will serve the population of Spokane and Eastern Washington. Their belief in the promise of Unitarian Universalism and adherence to its principles led them to risk beginning a new religious community in the midst of a global pandemic. They are making practical but bold plans, focusing on social justice issues, and striving to be inclusive, multicultural, and multigenerational. Your support will assist INUUC with the nonrecurring costs associated with "hitting the ground running" in their quest to offer more opportunities for religious liberals in their area to become Unitarian Universalists. For more information and to make a donation, visit the PNWD website.
    PACIFIC SOUTHWEST DISTRICT NEWS
    PSWD Dissolution Update – New August Special Meeting
    Dear Friends in the Pacific Southwest District,

    At our Annual Business Meeting in April, the PSWD Board presented our recommendation to dissolve the district. Dissolving the district will merge it with the Pacific Western Region.
    To read the announcement of this recommendation, click here. To read about questions related to this recommendation, click here.

    We have updates on two items related to dissolution.

    First, the Board wanted more clarity and transparency for the dissolution process. Our bylaws are silent on how we would dissolve the district. Thus, the Board is proposing a bylaw amendment to specify the dissolution process. We have scheduled a special business meeting for Saturday, August 21 from 10-11am. At this meeting, we will discuss and vote on this bylaw amendment. Approval of this bylaw amendment will make our vote to dissolve the district at the special business meeting on Saturday, October 2 from 10am-12pm clear and transparent.

    Second, we want to make sure everyone knows about the Listening Sessions we have scheduled. These sessions are for you to be heard. Bring your questions, comments, or concerns about the dissolution process. Bring your questions about anything else related to our work. The first Listening Session had some deep discussion and sharing. Listening Sessions are scheduled for Monday, June 7 from 6-7:30pm and Saturday, July 17 from 9-10:30am. Bring your questions and concerns about the dissolution process. This includes the above proposed bylaw amendment. Register here.

    We will post additional information to our website as it develops. The events calendar will include the dates of the Listening Sessions, special meetings, and other events.

    On behalf of your PSWD Board,
    In community, Rev. Kevin Lawson, President PSWD

    JUSTICE NEWS
    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
    The Darkness Divine: A Loving Challenge to my Faith
    Kristen L. Harper, Skinner House Books, 2021
    Too often in U.S. culture—and notably in faith communities—a culture of white supremacy is reinforced in damaging but unexamined ways. In The Darkness Divine, minister and poet Kristen L. Harper confronts and unpacks the language, imagery, buzzwords, and cultural touchstones that demean and dehumanize Black people but are so commonplace they can easily escape notice.

    More importantly, in a brilliant arrangement of essays and poems in the vein of Claudia Rankine, Harper lifts up the strength, beauty, and resilience of Black people and outlines a path forward. She invites readers to explore what they have learned and assimilated so they might de-center whiteness and stretch their understanding and imagination to radically transform perceptions of blackness.

    While directed at her own Unitarian Universalist tradition, The Darkness Divine is a powerful and loving challenge to all those committed to the work of dismantling white supremacy.

    Rev. Dr. Kristen L. Harper is the minister of the Unitarian Church of Barnstable, Massachusetts, where she has served for 18 years. Rev. Harper previously served in Ormond Beach, Florida. She received her D.Min from Meadville Lombard Theological School in 1999, and was only the second Black woman to be called to a Unitarian Universalist Congregation as sole minister. She has contributed to Voices from the Margins: An Anthology of Meditations and Centering: Navigating Race, Authenticity, and Power in Ministry.

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