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PWR Spotlight, Transitions Team Update, PWR & UUA News, and more!
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Pacific Western Region
Newsletter January 2023
Along with the rest of the UUA staff, your Pacific Western Region staff members are on holiday break through Monday, January 2, 2023. If you have a congregational crisis between now and then, please call or text (720) 778-6682, and you will be contacted by an on-call staff member. Otherwise, we look forward to connecting with you in the New Year. Thank you, and enjoy the season!
PWR Spotlight: Dr. William McPherson, Climate Change and Unitarian Universalists at COP27
The beginning of 2023 seems like a particularly good time to reflect on climate change and our responses to it. In November, the 27th Conference of the Parties of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) — also known as COP27 – convened for two weeks in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt. With our ongoing commitment to affirming the “interdependent web of existence of which we are a part”, Unitarian Universalists naturally have a stake in the outcomes of COP27.

Our UUA and the Pacific Western Region were well-represented at COP27. Both UUA COP27 Observers have ties to the UU Fellowship of Redwood City, CA, namely Lily Hartzell, who was raised there, and Deb Pritchard, a long-time member who also represented the International Convocation of UU Women (IWC) at COP27. Other PWR UUs bearing witness and raising their voices included UU-at-large Daphne Wysham, Chief Executive Officer of Methane Action, who traveled from Port Washington, WA to COP27, and Cindy Piester of the UU Church of Ventura (CA), COP27 Observer with Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom.

Meanwhile, leaders of Unitarian Universalist Ministry for Earth (UUMFE) were keeping its members informed through a series of conversations updating them on COP27, including some with UUs there in Sharm El-Sheikh. One of the facilitators of those conversations was Dr. William McPherson, author of Ideology versus Science; Climate, Weather and Ideology and Sabotaging the Planet. Dr. McPherson, a member of University Unitarian Church in Seattle, is a retired environmental diplomat with 21 years of service in the U.S. Foreign Service, including assignments in Tokyo and Geneva. He has continued his work on international environmental issues as a writer with Earth Negotiations Bulletin, and as an activist with the Sierra Club. Dr. McPherson generously agreed to be in the PWR Spotlight for January via a phone interview. – Rev. Carlton E. Smith, Lead - UUA Pacific Western Region

Rev. Carlton E. Smith: What is most important for UUs to know about the outcomes of COP27?

Dr. William McPherson: COP27 did make some achievements, mainly the Agreement on Loss and Damage. There was a request by some parties at COP26 to consider a fund to help with the damage from climate change, such as the flooding in Pakistan. Most of the parties agreed that a mechanism should be set up for future COPs that would review some of the dimensions and requirements. That committee will report to the next COP in Dubai.

A major setback at COP27 happened with regards to the statement that coal power plants should be phased down and that fossil fuel subsidies should be phased out. The word unabated was added to describe those coal power plants and the word inefficient was added to describe those fossil fuel subsidies. These additions were made to address objections of fuel-producing countries, including Saudi Arabia and India. By adding the word unabated, those countries have license to do carbon capture-and-storage, even though that form of mitigation is known to produce more emissions when gas or oil is burned. By adding the word inefficient, the statement includes the idea that financing can be done more efficiently, say with a lower emissions rate. It doesn’t alleviate concerns that the use of fossil fuels continues.

Most of the subsidies set aside go toward the developed countries. This allows oil companies to say that their wells are being depleted, so they can get some return on that. Six or seven words in that statement were the result of hours of negotiation.

All parties are expected to provide new national recommendations for emission reductions by next year. Anyone who is interested in learning more about nationally-determined contributions can visit

CES: What are the best ways for UU congregations that want to get involved in action for climate change to begin?

WM: One of the things we’ve been pushing is climate finance. The Green Climate Fund has a schedule of payments for all parties. The US fell behind during the Trump administration. We are trying to get the Biden administration to pick up the difference. Unitarian Universalists for Social Justice (UUSJ) does a lot of action directly with Congress. They’ve been pushing for Congress to fund the Green Climate Fund fully and make up the backlog of payments. They had an action recently in which members went on their website to send a letter to Senators and Congressmembers urging them to do so. That is still pending, but it's coming for a vote pretty soon. The new Congress and especially the House will be less receptive these next two years. It’s pretty urgent to get that funding going.

The other action is to keep informed about these COP meetings. UUs can use all the resources we have on the Unitarian Universalist Ministry for Earth (UUMFE) website. There is a page on the COP there. That’s where we have all the programs listed. If we can get congregations to look at those pages and join UUMFE that would be great. UUMFE won’t be in Dubai for COP28 next year, but It’s possible some other UUs will be selected to attend.

There are some very active UU state action networks, such as in Arizona, California, Iowa, Minnesota, Washington, and Oregon. These state climate programs can be examples. Those are the places you find action.

CES: How has being a Unitarian Universalist informed your climate activism?

WM: It’s given me the networks I work with. Networking is very important. You can't do a lot by yourself. There’s a climate action team at University Unitarian that’s been quite active in discussing important issues, but a lot of the actions are state-level and city-level actions. The Green New Deal idea is active here in Seattle. University Unitarian has also gotten involved in the Interfaith Resilience Center which is out of a neighboring Baptist congregation that uses solar and other energy alternatives. So we cooperate across denominations and faith traditions. In fact, we just had a Green Possibilities Fair at Temple Beth Shalom across the street from University Unitarian. We’re all in this together.

CES: What’s the best way for readers who want to follow up with you on what you’ve shared with us?

WM: I can be reached at

CES: Dr. McPherson, thank you so much for sharing your insights on COP27 and climate action with us!

If you have an idea for a future PWR Spotlight let us know at Special thanks to Julie Steinbach of the International Convocation of UU Women (IWC) for making sure COP27 was on our radar.

In this Issue
PWR Spotlight: Dr. William McPherson, Climate Change and Unitarian Universalists at COP27
Transitions Team Update
PWR & UUA News
Youth & Emerging Adult News
Pacific Central 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
New Year Update from the PWR Transition Team
Hello, members of the Pacific Western Region of the UUA! We’re hoping you have been having a wonderful holiday time and are looking forward to the New Year!

As we move into the New Year, the Transition Team is moving into some…transition! One of our beloved team members, Aria Curtis, is stepping back in February 2023, and so we are looking to bring aboard one or two new members. Might that be someone you know, or maybe even you yourself? Before you offer to step into it, you might wonder--
what does a Transitions Team Member do?

We meet twice per month, the second and fourth Mondays, 4-5:30pm Pacific Time, working on our transition. In each meeting members of the team are leading, learning, thinking carefully about the transition we are fostering, taking actions to move forward. What is this transition about?

In the recent past we have been four 501(c)3 UUA districts. We had district boards, district gatherings, district workshops and webinars, Chalice Lighter programs, leadership schools, and other opportunities for congregations and their leaders and members to connect with and support one another.

We are now transitioning to a Region-level organization that will be a 501(c)3 organization that will do most of the same things, but involving congregations across the entire Region. We are also consciously designing the organization to help us more richly connect with one another as a Community of Communities, be more anti-oppressive in the way we are organized and the way we work with one another, and more collaborative with our Regional Staff.

For anyone who might be interested in becoming a member of the Transitions Team for at least a year, we invite you to
  1. Email the transitions team at to express interest, ask questions, and explore this role.
  2. Attend one or more meetings of the team to observe and get a real “feel” for this exciting work.

We are striving to be as transparent as possible! If you have any questions, please feel free to email the Transition Team, and one of us will answer you as soon as possible.

In faith,
Your PWR Transitions Team

The PWR Transition Team is Bob Miess (Pacific Central); Mary Nordhagen and Rhoda Whitney (Mountain Desert); Aria Curtis (Pacific Northwest); Kia Bordner and Keith Strohmaier (Pacific Southwest) and Revs. Carlton E. Smith and Ian Evison (PWR Staff). If you would like to reach out to the Transition Team, please email us at
Presidential Forums Coming in 2023
The Presidential Forums are coming in early 2023! You’ll be able to attend in person or online to meet the next presidential nominee(s). Want to know when/where they’ll be held? Check this newsletter for updates.
Save the Date! 2023 Intergenerational Spring Seminar
The UU Office at the United Nations is excited to announce that the 2023 Intergenerational Spring Seminar will take place April 1-3, 2023, with the theme "Demilitarization & Abolition: Resist Policing and Empire." The event, planned in close partnership with the UU Service Committee & the UU College of Social Justice, will be a multiplatform event, held in-person in Minneapolis, MN and online. More details to follow, registration opens in January, put it on your calendars now!
Pastoral Care Training for Religious Educators
Led by: Rev. Sunshine Wolf and Annie Scott, CRE
Many parents and teens turn first to their Religious Educators for pastoral care, 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 pre-work 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.

Schedule: Every 2 weeks on Wednesdays, January 18 - April 26.
Staring at: 7:00pm ET / 6:00 pm CT / 5:00pm MT / 4:00pm PT / 3:00 pm Alaska / 2:00 pm Hawaii
Find out more and register here. Registration deadline January 11th.

Spring Right Relationship Team Training is Open for Registration!
Creating beloved community requires intention and practice. Our covenants articulate our intention, but how do we live into the practice? Right Relations Teams (RRT) are lay leaders entrusted to help the congregation practice faithful communication and creative conflict based on values of mutuality and consent.  

This training is for congregational teams who will be helping their congregations live into their covenants.

In this facilitated version, you will learn with other congregations during the six live practice sessions. The cost of $400/team covers the facilitators and includes a code to access to training materials. Register here.  

Note: The training can also be taken on your own ($30/person). There are instructions for you to facilitate your own practice sessions.

UUMA/UUA Neurodiversity Skill Up Series
Register for the next in the UUA/UUMA Neurodivergence Skill Up: January 24 1-3pm ET/10am-12pm PT with the Rev. Leela Sinha.

Rev. Leela Sinha (ze/zim/zir) is a brown, queer, genderqueer, entrepreneurial community minister with a theology of pleasure and a habit of transformative mischief. In zir work, ze offers leadership coaching, training, and keynotes, working with leaders and organizations to develop and delight in the power and intensity we have, and to use that power for good. Zir book, "You're Not Too Much" came out in 2016. Ze has been a UU all zir life, and lives and works in the Bay Area. Check out zir’s work with zir Sinha Intensive/Expansive Framework, work supporting teams and individuals working together, and podcast The Intensives Institute. We’re excited to welcome Leela because zir’s framework of supporting individuals and teams in embracing their strengths and working together even with different brains does not depend on medical diagnosis. Find out if you’re an intensive or expansive!

Find past presentations including the November Supporting Children and Youth on the UUMA store.

UUA Congregational Life & Stewardship for Us Webinar Series
The UUA Congregational Life and Stewardship for Us announce a 3-part national webinar series in early 2023: Cornerstones of Effective Stewardship for our Congregations.
TUESDAYS, 7:00 - 8:30 PM ET, 6:00-7:30 CT, 5:00-6:30 MT, 4:00-5:30 PT

Part 1-January 24th: The Multiplatform Context Part 2-January 31st: The Multicultural/Multiracial World
Part 3: February 7th: The Changing Multigenerational Demographics

    Registration fee is $30 per webinar or register for all three at the discounted rate of $75. Find out more and register by January 19th.
    Coming in February: UUA Legacy Giving Webinar for Congregations
    Saturday, February 11, 2023 | 1 pm - 3 pm ET / 10 am - 12 pm PT
    The UUA’s Legacy Gifts Office offers a number of services, including an online workshop to assist congregations in creating legacy giving programs. The webinar on Saturday, February 11, 2023 covers the basics of legacy giving and how to set up a legacy giving program in your congregation. We aim to equip congregations with the knowledge they need to start a legacy program. To register for the webinar, email us at or call (617) 948-6509.
    UUA and The Management Center Partner for Training
    The Unitarian Universalist Association is partnering with The Management Center to provide practical, interculturally informed management skills training designed for UU religious professionals who supervise in congregations.

    The Management Center will lead two separate two-day online Managing to Change the World trainings, facilitated by JK Nelson. We have space for 40 people in each session, and we’d like to invite you and your colleagues to apply!

    • Session One: Thursday, January 19 – Friday, January 20, 2023
    • Session Two: Monday, February 6 - Tuesday, February 7, 2023
    • All sessions will be held from 9:00 am to 3:00 pm Pacific/ 12:00 pm to 6:00 pm Eastern

    Registration Fee: $400 for those with professional development budgets, $200 for those who don’t have professional development budgets (and may have to find the money in other budget lines. Full waivers available on request.

    The training will consist of group activities, role-plays, PowerPoint presentation, individual and small group work, and group discussion. Participants will have time to apply, practice and translate the tools to their specific work contexts, and get input on core challenges from the trainer and their peers.

    More information and registration here!
    EqUUal Access Carolyn Cartland Sermon Contest
    Since 2016, EqUUal Access has sponsored an annual contest for sermons related to disability.  It is named after Carolyn Cartland, an early president of EqUUal Access.  This annual contest highlights disability-related themes and topics. Entry deadline: May 1. One cash prize of $500. When feasible, the winner may be invited to present their sermon at an EqUUal Access event during UUA General Assembly. Travel costs to GA cannot be supported.

    • The sermon must be an original work on a disability theme or topic
    • The sermon must be preached between May 1, 2022 and April 30, 2023.
    • Entries (sermon text and entry cover information) must be submitted before midnight on May 1st, 2023.
    • This sermon contest is open to all lay or religious professional Unitarian Universalists.

    For more information, see Information for Submitting a Sermon.
    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.
    Less Stuff, More Memories - Give the Gift of Camp!
    In the beauty of the great outdoors, youth build community and deepen their connection to Unitarian Universalism through worship, workshops, justice work and plenty of good ol’ fashioned camp fun.

    PWR Camps are open to all middle and high school youth (current 5th graders through class of 2023) with age specific cabins and programming. Reserve their spot now with a deposit you can afford (sliding scale) and customize your payment plan to fit your budget. Gift the t(w)een in your life a week they’ll never forget! Learn more and reserve their spot here.

    “Camp Blue Boat was the best UU experience of my life!” -Camp Blue Boat 2021 Attendee
    “QUUest was the single most important UU experience of my youth, it’s the reason I am who I am today” -QUUest Camp Alum

    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.

    Small Groups
    We have an annual, monthly gathering for EA (18-24) Small Groups.  It’s a mix of fun, ministry, and faith. Next year's edition kicks off in Sept/Oct. Email if you’d like more information. It's a great way to stay connected to UUism if you don't have the time or inclination to attend church on Sunday!

    Pastoral Care
    Are you an 18-24 year old in need of Pastoral Care?  We have a network of chaplains specifically for you! Simply email or by phone: 204-900-0150. Rev. Marcia Stanard and others are here to listen and be of support.

    Winter Chalice Lighter Call Now Open!
    The Winter 2022-23 PCD Chalice Lighter proposal comes from three congregations: The UU Church in Livermore, Napa Valley Unitarian Universalists, and Unitarian Universalists of Petaluma. The PCD board has agreed to augment the amounts brought in from your Chalice Lighter donations. If you have been a monthly donor, we thank you for continuing your donations as we reimagined the program. Now is the time to encourage others in your congregations to step up and help these three worthy projects come to fruition. Learn more and donate 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 or email
    Save the Date: Pacific Southwest Service Area Assembly!
    Save the weekend of April 21-23, 2023 to gather together again.

    A year ago, the Pacific Southwest District voted to merge into the Pacific Western Region.  We are currently in the midst of that transition process.

    During the merger transition, Camp de Benneville Pines, which serves the PSW’s 50 congregations, was asked to continue the annual tradition of holding an Assembly (which has coexisted with the Camp’s annual business meeting for the past 60 years). Camp De Benneville Pines graciously accepted.

    Camp de Benneville Pines, which now stands as an independent entity, will continue the tradition of bringing our congregations together, annually, for a weekend of fellowship, informative workshops, dynamic discussion groups, keynote speaker, music, worship, youth bridging, community building activities and the Camp’s annual meeting.

    This year the first annual Pacific Southwest Service Area Assembly (PSWSAA) sponsored by Camp de Benneville Pines is happening Friday evening, April 21 to Sunday midday, April 23, 2023. It will be hosted by Unitarian Universalists San Luis Obispo and take place in beautiful San Luis Obispo, CA and virtually on Zoom. The theme for the 2023 PSWSAA is  “Living in Harmony, with each Other and our Earth”.

    Questions can be directed to Janet James (Executive Director, Camp de Benneville Pines) at or Janet Murphy (PSWD President & Assembly Liaison) at

    We have a great deal to offer the Pacific Western Region, the UUA and the world! As the PSWSA we can still be loud & proud, so prepare to come to San Luis Obispo. Together, we can make the greatest impact in the wider world.
    InSpirit UU Book and Gift Shop
    UU Common Read Discussion Guide
    The UU Common Read builds community in our congregations and our movement by giving diverse people a shared focus for reflection and action. A Common Read can take us on a powerful faith journey into what it means to be human and accountable in a pain-filled world.

    Co-authors Nancy Palmer Jones and Karin Lin—a white minister and a lay person of color—explored five UU congregations' journeys toward Beloved Community. In Mistakes and Miracles: Congregations on the Road to Multiculturalism they shared the joy, disappointment, and growth these congregations found. Today, Unitarian Universalist communities are grappling with a charge to dismantle white supremacy in ourselves, our communities, and our world. As we enter a Common Read of this book, many will welcome its report with a ready spirit to meet the urgent need for multiculturalism and antiracism work in our congregations and our movement.

    The UU Common Read discussion guide for Mistakes and Miracles offers a series of four 90-minute, online gatherings. Participants are guided to engage deeply with the stories of others in UU congregations who have chosen a faithful path toward Beloved Community and struggled along the way. The final session guides strategic planning to move forward toward antiracist, antioppressive, multicultural community, from wherever you are.

    If you plan to facilitate this Common Read and/or promote the discussion series in your congregation, please start by reading the section, “Using This Guide". Another suggested preparation for facilitators and participants is to watch the recorded workshop We Can Do This: Faith, Conflict and Antiracism. An audio edition of Mistakes and Miracles will also be available in December. Please contact Mary Benard if you’d like to be personally notified when the audio is ready.

    To learn more visit