"New Book, First Chapter", PWR & UUA News, and more!
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Pacific Western Region
Newsletter December 24, 2020
New Book, First Chapter
By Rev. Carlton E. Smith
Lead - UUA Pacific Western Region

And just like that, in a matter of days, the year 2020 will be history.

After all the sleepless nights, the hopeless tears, the difficult choices, the remembered blessings, the thankful sighs, the disorienting shocks, the lethal threats, the fallen loves and so much more … It’s come down to this.

I know some can’t wait until we declare the first year of the new decade over. For my part, I’m not so sure. A year ago we were excited for the beginnings and possibilities 2020 held in store. Looking back, I wonder how many of us would have clung to the last days of 2019 if we knew what lay ahead.

It’s not that easy to get excited about the New Year for me right now. In our own Pacific Western Region and across the country, homelessness is escalating in cities large and small as stays of eviction begin to lift. White supremacist groups continue to organize, terrorizing local communities with shows of force and acts of violence. US hospitals and healthcare systems teter on the brink of collapse as Covid cases skyrocket, with some 3,000 deaths projected everyday for the next two or three months.

All of these severities will not just disappear at the stroke of midnight between December 31 and January 1. There was nothing inherently evil about the year that’s ending, and there is nothing inherently good about the one about to start.

What the New Year offers is a chance for us to be better people together. Different from a birthday, which marks an individual opportunity for renewal, the New Year allows us to collectively say that we are going to recreate our realities. We are letting go of our grudges, our resentments, our unhelpful ways for the sake of a better world for all of us.

In the spirit of being better people together working toward a better world all throughout 2021, I call your attention to a few events that are coming up soon and that your PWR Staff and District Boards have been collaborating on: the Pacific Western Region General Assembly, Saturday, February 13; PWR Generosity Labs, starting Wednesday, February 3, and; the UUA’s New Day Rising Conference National Saturday, February 27. Also, be sure to check out the opportunities to engage your congregation, yourself or others with regards to the the Widening the Circle of Concern Award, proposals for Virtual General Assembly, or volunteer positions in our UUA.

While none of us knows what 2021 holds, we can reaffirm our commitment to hold on to each other, to be each other’s encouragement and support, and to show what it looks like to love wholeheartedly and responsibly.

May January 2021 be the first chapter in a new book for us all, one written with as much courage and love as we can muster.

In faith,

Please note: The UUA, including the Pacific Western Region offices, will be closed December 19 through January 3 so that our staff can enjoy some much-needed rest and time with family. Additionally, I will be out of the office from January 4-10. In the event of a true emergency, please contact Melanie Buck at (720)-778-6682 (Mountain Time), and she will see that someone gets back to you. Thank you!

In this Issue
New Book, First Chapter
Remembering Rev. Dr. Hope Johnson
Regional Assembly 2021 Registration
Sharing Our Resources & Successes
PWR & UUA News
Youth News
Mountain Desert News
Pacific Central News
Pacific Northwest News
Pacific Southwest News
InSpirit Update

PWR Links
Calendar and Events
Staff Contacts
Job Postings
Youth Ministries

RE Trainings

PWR Lead
Carlton Elliott Smith

PWR Field Staff
Summer Albayati
Remembering Rev. Dr. Hope Johnson
The Pacific Western Region staff joins the rest of our UUA in mourning the death of Rev. Dr. Hope Johnson, who departed from this life November 28. She was a powerful voice and presence in the Association over generations, as a lay leader, a minister, and as a member of Congregational Life Staff. Here is an obituary, composed by staff from our UUA's Ministries and Faith Development Group.
Register Now for Regional Assembly 2021: Love Right Through
This has been a difficult year and we have done many things to Love Right Through all the challenges. Join us for an afternoon of celebrating our accomplishments and challenges with sharing from spotlighted congregations. Engage with small groups around shared identity and how that impacts church and life. Hear what is happening for good in the world and opportunities yet to come.

Regional Assembly will run from 12 pm- 5 pm (Pacific) Saturday, February 13th, opening with a lively celebration, welcoming, and congregational spotlights before a break headed into identity-based discussion groups and back for collective sharing and more celebration.

The Pacific Western Region encompasses 4 districts, each of which may gather during the weekend as well. Register once & stay informed. Mountain Desert District will host a Saturday morning business meeting, and Pacific Northwest District will gather socially at that time. Other districts are still determining details. Register Now!
Sharing Our Resources & Successes
From Susan Howlett, PNWD Co-President: The four district boards of the Pacific Western Region have been exploring the recommendations in Widening the Circle of Concern, the report from the Commission on Institutional Change, which was released at GA last summer. We’re claiming the work that we as the boards and staff of the region are uniquely called to do, and we encourage you to do the same. If your congregation is discerning how you can respond, here’s a helpful spreadsheet that lists all the recommendations in order, color-coded to indicate which action steps need to be taken by other entities, such as UUA staff or board. Feel free to take this spreadsheet, created by Rev. Bob Miess of the UU Church of Livermore, and tailor it to your needs. This is another example of the positive things that result from the four districts collaborating to do the work of the Region! Good luck and let us know what you decide! 

P.S. Our hope is that we will be able to highlight resources, successes, and stories from our congregations in all four districts in this space. We’d like to start sharing good news each month from some of our congregations so that others can get inspired by their successes and feel more connected to them. We think people are hungry for success stories and connection these days, and we want to be shining a light on the benefits of being connected with our fellow UU leaders. If you have something to share, please email

Got Financial Issues at Your Congregation? Welcome to … Generosity Labs!
This 5-part series engages congregations in creative conversations about pressing needs around generosity and stewardship, connect with each other to share best practices, and develop plans for taking their generosity ministry to the next level.This interactive series will engage stewardship through a lens of anti-racist generosity as a tool for dismantling White supremacist culture and building a sustainable future together.

Each lab can be done independently and the full set dovetails one to the next.

February 3: Building a strong foundation: theological and practical grounding for stewardship and generosity
February 10: Budgeting in a time of uncertainty
February 17: Help! Our big fundraiser isn’t happening! Fundraising in a global pandemic
February 24: Stewardship for Sustainability
March 3: Congregational life cycle and use of resources.

To learn more about each section, click here. To register, click here.
"Widening the Circle of Concern" Award
The four District Boards of the Pacific Western Region are excited to jointly announce the very first Widening the Circle of Concern Award. The $2,000 award will go to a PWR congregation which has taken significant congregational action based on the recommendations in the Widening the Circle of Concern Report or has made efforts which foster diversity, equity and inclusion. The winner will demonstrate innovative and replicable work that presented a challenge to participants. The award will be presented at the PWR Regional Assembly Feb 12-14, 2021. For consideration, please submit a one-page summary of the work to Rev. Mary Wellemeyer at   Submissions are due January 15, 2021. Winners will be notified by email.
Virtual General Assembly 2021
The UUA Board of Trustees has passed a resolution making the 2021 UUA General Assembly a 100% virtual event. Let’s reach record-breaking attendance June 23-27, 2021! Registration opens December 1, 2020 and costs $200 per person. Financial support for registration as well as a payment plan are available. You are warmly invited you to submit a Program Proposal. We are looking for programs that are the best of the best - adding tremendous value to this experience. Proposed programs should provide meaningful opportunities for learning and skill development, as well as address one or more of the following focus areas - liberatory theology, grief and trauma healing, community of communities, preserving connection to Milwaukee, and social justice. See the Program Proposal Guidelines for more information.
    Article II Study Commission
    The Article II Study Commission (A2SC) was appointed at the 2020 Virtual General Assembly, to complete a review of the Principles and Purposes of the Unitarian Universalist Association. This process is outlined within the bylaws of the Association and is required every 15 years. The A2SC has released an introductory message and reflection of their first six months engaging their charge. This first blog post is available here.
    EqUUal Access Sermon Contest
    EqUUal Access is holding Our Carolyn Cartland Sermon Contest! This annual contest highlights disability-related themes and topics. Entries are due by May 1, 2021 with a cash prize of $500 going to the chosen applicant. The award will be presented at the virtual EA Celebration. Time permitting, the winner may be asked to give an excerpt at the event. For more information, please click here. All entries, including the cover page found on this link should be emailed to
    Claiming Our Spiritual Leadership
    Claiming Our Spiritual Leadership, originally developed as a popular in-person workshop by the New England Region staff, is now accessible nationwide as an online training through the UU Leadership Institute!

    Consider taking this training if you and your congregation are looking for ways for congregational life to be more about:
    • soulful engagement with your faith;
    • finding energy and meaning in the gifts already present in your congregation; and
    • the transformative power of communities living their values in ways that challenge dominant culture — both within and beyond the congregation.
    Save the Date: New Day Rising Conference National
    February 27, 2021- Zoom Format
    Is your congregation ready to take a new step in racial justice work? Want to learn what your fellow congregations are working on, and how you might apply it at home? Join a continent of UUs as we explore next steps in creating Beloved UU Communities

    On Your Own: Watch compelling video TED-talk style testimonials from selected congregations around the continent sharing their learnings, hopes and next steps in their quest for racial equity in their congregations

    Together: Worship·Workshops·Caucusing. With plenty of breaks
    Saturday, February 27th, 9a-6p PT/10a-7p MT
    UUA Seeking Volunteers
    What’s your vision for Unitarian Universalism? We want to hear from you!
    The Unitarian Universalist Association seeks visionary and flexible Unitarian Universalists to serve the committees, commissions, and boards that work with staff and the UUA Board of Trustees to carry out the mission of the Association. If volunteering at the Associational level is of interest to you, please consider serving in volunteer leadership. We’re actively recruiting to fill openings on several volunteer bodies, which will be elected into position at General Assembly 2021. Submit an application by the January 15, 2021 deadline.

    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.
    Upcoming Youth Events
    Pacific Western Region (PWR) Events
    • “Transform YoUUrself”: Training for youth and adult advisors on spiritual leadership. Virtual, Jan 9, Feb 13, and Mar 26, 7:30 - 9 pm MT, and small focus groups in between. Register here.
    • Youth Peer Pastoral Training (formerly Youth Chaplain Training). February 19-20, register through February 8th.
    • Winter 2021 Middle School Conference. Saturday, February 27, 2021, 11:00 am - 7:00 pm PST. Middle school UU youth (11-14 years old, in grade 6-8 or equivalent) from across the U.S. will come together to play, worship, and explore their UU faith. Register through February 19th.

    District Specific Programs

    PSWD Camp de Benneville Pines
    MDD "Walk the Talk" Award
    We need something to celebrate!  Do you know a lay person in the Mountain Desert District who is living a life which exemplifies Unitarian Universalist principles?  Nominate them for the “Walk the Talk” Award.  We need your help to lift up the people who further this faith.

    Even though you probably have the principles memorized, it never hurts to be reminded! Follow this link to reflect on them and see who might come to mind to nominate.

    Visit our website and tell us who you think should win the award and why. The winner will have their registration paid for our next annual assembly, plus receive a $100 prize. Nominations are open until December 31, 2020.

    MDD Winter Chalice Lighter Call Now Open!
    We know that circumstances may mean some may not be able to give more than good wishes, but we’re hoping that those who can will step up and help fill in for those who must take a break. The Winter Call will assist the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Missoula, Montana replace their roof. It is way past time it was done. They have used buckets in the kitchen to catch the drips, but it is time for a more permanent solution. Visit the MDD website to read the call letter and make a donation.
    A District Update from the PCD President
    Dear Ones,

    As a challenging year comes to a close, may each and every one of us have the joy of knowing that, as UUs, we have chosen to live from an awareness of a deep connection to one another. Even now, a caring presence is only a phone call, Zoom call, a letter, wave from a window, or a calming breath away.

    Catherine Ishida, on behalf of the PCD Board

    Apply for Chalice Lighters Mini-Tech Grants
    Apply for a mini-grant of up to $500 for investments in communication technology by January 18th! Please share what investments your community has made and how it has made a difference.  

    Nominate a Community for the PWR Widening the Circle of Concern Award
    Find the nomination form here. Volunteer leaders from the four districts of the Pacific Western Region are collaborating with staff to implement recommendations by the UUA’s Commission on Institutional Change. Our biggest challenge: imaging a new way that we haven't yet fully experienced ourselves.

    We know that communities throughout our movement are already experimenting with ways to widen our circles of concern. Would you share with us what you are learning?
    Although the PWR award will go to a PWR community, the Pacific Central District (PCD) Board would like to learn about any community that is implementing promising practices.
    Please share stories of any community that is inspiring you! The PCD Board will be collecting nominations through Monday, February 1, 2021.

    Join District Leaders in Conversation at 3PM PT Sunday January 24th, 2021
    Please mark your calendars and expect a registration form and Zoom link to become available in early January 2021.

    Who Hears You?
    District Conversations are a way for communities to be in direct conversation with one another, but they are also a way for communities to be in indirect conversation with UUA staff, at regional and national levels, and with the UUA board. Summaries of district conversations are shared with the Regional Advisory Council and the National Advisory Council, two tiers in the structures of accountability that weave UU communities into a movement.

    The National Advisory Council is currently preparing a summary of conversations held throughout the UUA in the past year to share with all UU communities. The plan is to have the document ready by the next meeting of the UUA Board.

    Save the Date: Women & Religion PCD Virtual Retreat
    Saturday, March 13, 8:30 am to 8 pm

    There will be touch groups (affinity circles), learning sessions, a scavenger hunt, memorial for lost members (Liz Fisher and Meg Bowman in 2020), opening orientation, and closing to share our lives.

    We will charge $25. Net proceeds will be split between Women & Religion Continental and International Women’s Convocation. We will email you when registration is open. To be added to the retreat email list, send a blank email to

    We need a website editor! If you are willing and able to help and know WordPress
    please contact Beverly Morgan at
    PCD Winter Chalice Lighter Call Now Open!
    The Winter 2020 Chalice Lighter Call for the Pacific Central District will be devoted to the UUA Disaster Relief Fund. Many members of congregations in the PCD, as well in other districts of the Pacific Western Region, have been affected by the wildfires that have raged through Northern and Southern California, Oregon and Washington. Now Colorado is experiencing climate-related wildfires. The disaster fund is a general fund, but we want to support it because it is actively supporting UU families that have lost their homes to wildfires this year. In addition, individual UUs and UU communities in our district have been supported in the past and will need support in the future. Visit the PCD website to read the call letter and make a donation.
    PNWD Gathering During Regional Assembly
    The Board of the Pacific Northwest District will host an informal gathering of district congregations the hour before Regional Assembly begins on Saturday, February 13th.  We’ll shine a light on congregations and programs who have done innovative things over the past year and we’ll welcome your feedback about how the district can serve you better. Watch for a Zoom link and plan to join us for a lighthearted conversation that connects us all. 
    PNWD Winter Chalice Lighter Call Now Open!
    The Winter call is again dedicated to supporting PNWD congregations struggling to survive in the wake of the coronavirus. Why, despite evidence of need, have we not received more applications for these funds? Some have told us that while operating virtually, the challenges of signing up the requisite percentage of their members as Chalice Lighters has been a deterrent. In response, the PNWD Chalice Lighter team and board have agreed that only 20% of members need to be Chalice Lighters in order to apply for pandemic relief grants, rather than the standard 30%. This should put applying within the reach of every PNWD congregation. Others have said that they are “treading water” and overwhelmed. To help, we have further simplified the application. Others have not yet experienced budget shortfalls, but fear problems in the coming months if online or deferred worship services fail to attract new members to replace attrition. Consequently, the deadline for applications is extended until all funds collected for this purpose are disbursed. Visit the PNWD website to read the call letter and make a donation.
    White Memorial Theological School Scholarship 2020
    Are you currently a student in theological school? Could you use some help with tuition and expenses? If the answer to the first question is yes, likely the second question has the same answer. The PSWD can help.

    The White Memorial Fund was established in the 1920s with a $10,000 gift from Charles White of Pasadena, CA. The interest from this amount is used to further the theological education of students preparing for Unitarian Universalist ministry. Over the years, the White Memorial Scholarship has provided a one-time annual gift of $2000 available to help support Unitarian Universalist Ministerial students, with preference given to those who have a connection to the Pacific Southwest District. All UU students attending theological school are encouraged to apply. For more information and to apply please go to our website.
    InSpirit UU Book and Gift Shop
    This Day in Recovery: 365 Meditations
    One of the often-repeated mantras of 12-step and recovery programs is “one day at a time.” This Day in Recovery: 365 Meditations offers a short, daily experience to help bring readers back to their spiritual center in the daily moments of struggle and questioning. Editors Rev. Lane Campbell and Rev. Katie Kandarian-Morris and contributors—each of them speaking from direct personal experience with addiction and recovery—have collected daily quotes, reflections, and questions for readers on their spiritual journey of recovery, with each month focusing on one of the 12 steps. Inclusive and accessible, This Day in Recovery is a thoughtful and powerful spiritual tool in the toolkit for those in recovery and their families.

    Rev. Lane Campbell serves as minister at the First Universalist Church of Rochester, New York, in the heart of Rochester’s downtown. Lane has been in recovery for the last eight years.

    Rev. Katie Kandarian-Morris has been a minister for twenty-two years and currently serves a vibrant congregation in Durango, Colorado. She’s been active in addiction recovery work for nearly two decades.

    Visit InSpirit to learn more or pre-order This Day in Recovery.