A note from James, PWR & UUA News, and more!
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A note from James, PWR & UUA News, and more!
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Pacific Western Region
Newsletter July 11, 2019
What I've Learned
Dear Pacific Western Congregational Leaders,

This is my last newsletter article as the Pacific Western Regional Lead.

At the end of this month, I will end my three-year tenure on UUA staff and leave the Pacific Northwest, where I have made my home for 20 years, and return to congregational ministry. I will begin serving as the lead minister of the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Raleigh, NC. I have enjoyed this job and want to thank all of you with whom I have had the pleasure to work, especially the talented, hardworking, and committed members of the PWR staff.

During the past three years, I have done my best to help the more than 180 congregations in the PWR become the most vital congregations they each can be.

What have I learned about vital congregations in the past three years?

I know that vital congregations do a good job with the basic tasks of ministry: (1) reaching out to, making room for, and welcoming newcomers, (2) providing inspiring worship services that touch both the head and the heart, (3) providing opportunities for people to learn and grow, (4) caring for one another, and (5) serving the wider community.

I also know vital congregations do a good job with several organizational tasks: They (1) are mission centered, (2) have clear decision making and operational structures, (3) intentionally recruit and develop leaders, (4) have artful communication and conflict management practices, (5) are skillful at adapting and leading change, (6) and are connected to other Unitarian Universalist congregations as well as other congregations and organizations in their local communities.

However, I believe what is most important about vital congregations is their culture. I have visited many congregations during the past three years, and the most vital congregations have a nearly ineffable quality that nevertheless can be felt almost as soon as one walks through the congregation’s doors.

What words could be used to describe what is felt in these congregations? People in them are compassionate and kind (without having loosey-goosey boundaries or entertaining an “anything goes” attitude). They practice gratitude and generosity and are joyous. They don’t get stuck on past hurts but embrace the move from hurt to healing. They are hopeful about themselves and their future.

What might you do if your congregation’s culture falls short in any of these areas? I believe anyone who participates in a congregation, from a child or youth to a newcomer to a long-time member to a board president to a staff member to a minister, has the power to positively influence a congregation’s culture. How? Not necessarily by criticizing the current culture, but by embodying the cultural change one wants to seein the paradigms one uses, in the way one frames questions, in the way one talks about problems and challenges, in one’s own actions, and most of all, in the way one interacts with others. Change like this is caught more than it is taught.

Cultural change won’t happen right away, and there is no guarantee it will happen at all, but it might, and it might lead to many other changes as well.

The world desperately needs vital Unitarian Universalist congregations, so I wish each of you the best in helping your congregation become the most vital congregation it can be.
Rev. Dr. James Kubal-Komoto
Pacific Western Regional Lead

Welcome Our New Congregational Life Staff Member, Annie Scott
Annie Scott, Credentialed Religious Educator, feels honored and excited to begin serving congregations as the newest member of the Pacific Western Region Congregational Life field staff. She has most recently served as Director of Religious Education for Jefferson Unitarian Church in Golden, CO and President of the Liberal Religious Educators Association, LREDA. She has learned much from the congregations and religious professionals she has served with in Oregon City, Philadelphia, Phoenix and Golden over her twenty-seven years as a religious educator. She and her husband, Mick, raised their children in Unitarian Universalist congregations and are moving back to Oregon from Colorado to live near their three daughters, extended family and two-year old granddaughter, Emerson.
Serve on the UUA’s Moderator Nominating Committee
Your Unitarian Universalist Association needs YOU!

Are you committed to the work of our Association? Do you have a calling for developing strong Denominational Leadership? We're looking for dedicated volunteers to form the new Moderator Nominating Committee of our Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA). The Moderator Nominating Committee is charged with recommending 2 or more candidates for Moderator to the UUA Board, who will then place them for election at General Assembly. The committee will work intensively from August 2019 through December 2019 to offer candidates for election at GA 2020.

The UUA’s Moderator presides at General Assemblies and meetings of the Board of Trustees and the Executive Committee. The Moderator represents the Association on special occasions and assists in promoting its welfare. The Moderator further serves as Chief Governance Officer of the Association.

It is vital that the Moderator Nominating Committee reflect the diversity and promise of our liberating faith. Applicants from historically marginalized communities are particularly encouraged to apply.  If you have any questions about the Moderator Nominating Committee you can contact the Appointments Committee at

You can apply using our online application here. We ask for your applications no later than July 31st. Please note the application takes about 20 minutes to fill out completely.

Thank you for your interest in serving our faith, and please forward this announcement to anyone whom you think would be a perfect fit for the Moderator Nominating Committee.

With Gratitude,
Members of the Appointments Committee of the UUA Board of Trustees

Fundraiser: Building a Movement for a Green New Deal
The “Building a Movement for a Green New Deal” conference (held September 15-17, 2019) is designed to spark conversation and action to bring about legislation which addresses the climate crisis and economic inequality.  Hopefully after the 2020 election there will be an opportunity to enact powerful legislation which will move our country away from a carbon based systems and toward renewable energy while creating well paying jobs for all. This legislation can be found in House Resolution 109, known as “The Green New Deal”.

"Building a Movement for a Green New Deal” conference will provide the language and ideas for participants to build support for the Green New Deal and to bring this language back to their congregations and communities. The money received by Unitarian Universalists for a Just Economic Community from Faithify donations will be used for conference scholarships and speakers' honorarium. Learn more and donate to this campaign.
Reverend James Reeb Memorial Mural Fundraiser
The Unitarian Universalist Community of Casper, Wyoming is raising funds to help create a Reverend James Reeb Memorial Mural in his hometown of Casper. Understanding that Unitarian Universalists and others involved in social activism across the country feel deep respect and reverence for Reverend Reeb, the UU Community of Casper is extending an invitation to be a part of this unique opportunity to promote his legacy, social justice, community partnerships, and interfaith engagement.

To find out more and to support this worthy project, visit the Reverend James Reeb Hometown Memorial Mural, Casper Wyoming page on Faithfify.
Find out more about the Unitarian Universalist Community of Casper on their website.
Upcoming OWL Trainings
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.
Adult Summer Camps at Camp de Benneville Pines
Everyone’s taking a breather in August, shouldn’t you too?
Escape the daily grind to recreate, rejuvenate, and reconnect with what matters most at Camp de Benneville Pines

At Camp de Benneville Pines, visitors enjoy cabins equipped with modern bathrooms, hot showers, and comfortable sleeping quarters. Facilities include a beautiful heated swimming pool, a hot tub, playground, an archery range, and opportunities for many outdoor sports including hiking, and fishing or canoeing in nearby Jenks Lake.  Make connections with UUs and kindred spirits from across the Pacific Southwest in a safe and supportive retreat community nestled among the pines in the San Bernardino National Forest,

Turning the Tides:
This multi-day gathering for restoration and imagination invites UUs and friends of all ages as we ground our whole selves in UU theologies and history to transform our world, nourish our spirits with collaboratively-led worships and spiritual practices, strengthen our resilience in the power and welcome of a UU community; learn and share strategies to engage climate, immigrant, healthcare, and economic justice; and relax and connect by canoeing, hiking, swimming, or a dip in the hot tub. Find out more and register here.

Summer Break Camp & Singin’ in the Pines: This is a 2-for-1 retreat! You can join guest Choir Director Donald Milton III to explore the power of music and how it takes us deeper into our UU worship and spiritual communities. You can also can dive deep into spirituality with Rev. Tom Owen-Towle and keynote speaker Carolyn Bohler. Alternatively, explore creative writing with author Chris Epting or just sit on the porch and read or tinker with a music instrument. Find out more about Summer Break Camp and Singin’ in the Pines!

Summer Arts Camp for Adults: Come spend time with other artists of all levels and hone skills in your medium of choice, and discover new artistic expressions as you try out a variety of artistic expressions like encaustic painting, printmaking, collage, life drawing, ink sketching, Chinese brush painting, alcohol ink, watercolor drawing, and more. Learn more and register today.

DRUUMM Los Angeles Gathering
We invite UU People of Color in the Greater Los Angeles area to gather on Tuesday, Aug. 20, 2019 at Throop UU Church in Pasadena for dinner and a facilitated meeting. We will have a worship led by local UU religious professionals of color. Our goal is to nurture new relationships between UU People of Color in the area, discuss some of the historical development of UU People of Color and anti-racism efforts, and learn more about what the community needs and interests are among those who attend. We will share a new working timeline chronicling the major milestones and development of UU People of Color ministries.

Please RSVP with Rev. Joseph Santos-Lyons at or (503) 512-0490 ideally by August 15, 2019.  We ask participants to bring a side dish to share if they are able for dinner.  We will have several main dishes catered. The event is open to UU People of Color and People of Color interested in Unitarian Universalism.

DRUUMM is the Diverse & Revolutionary Unitarian Universalist Multicultural Ministries, a volunteer-led national organization dedicated to serving the spiritual growth of UU People of Color and fulfilling the our vision of an anti-racist/anti-oppressive/multicultural faith. Learn more on our website.
Loving Us Into Being, Even When We Act Out
Tools that work on people of all ages when conflict feels unmanageable
Rev. Tandi Rogers

My first vocation was teaching. Middle School. It prepared me well for working with congregational leaders. I’m not being cheeky. As a teacher I compassionately assessed where students were, and loved into their becoming. This can be very messy business, because people often act out when we’re stressed and tired.

What I found is that a lot of the tools I used on children and youth also work on adults. I want to share two of those with you. These come from Positive Discipline:
  • The Mistaken Goal Chart – exchange “adult” for “child” and “I” for “parent/teacher.” It works the same. We all have an inner child who will make an appearance if under duress.

Now for some folks this may feel like manipulation. I’m open to that. My former staff called me “The Queen of Behavior Modification.” But honestly, my goal was to bring out the best in others so we could be the best learning community. And UU community is the same – what if we acted to bring out the best in each other (even when we feel the least lovable) and therefore ourselves? To me, that is love. Plain and simple.

My prayer is that we love each other well and then go love the hell out of the world.
InSpirit UU Book and Gift Shop
Sparks of Wonder: Theme-Based Ministry for the Whole Congregation
Becky Brooks & Erika Hewitt, Skinner House Books, 2019
As theme-based ministry continues to increase in popularity in Unitarian Universalist congregations across the continent, the need for programmatic resources has grown as well. Now Sparks of Wonder presents this omnibus collection of services, readings, songs, and programs for all aspects of church life, related to five evocative themes: Humility, Journey, Chaos, Power, and God. Within each theme are ready-to-use resources for eleven key aspects of congregational life, including theological reflection, a worship service, spiritual practice, social ethics, readings, reflection questions, ideas for engaging with the theme at home, and more.

Helpful guides at the back of the book offer creative suggestions for using these resources in small groups, worship services, social justice activities, youth groups, and religious education programs. Sparks of Wonder provides everything you need to explore rich themes in all facets of your congregation, helping you dive deeply as a community into both spiritual reflection and social action.

Visit InSpirit to learn more or pre-order Sparks of Wonder


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Pacific Western Region - UUA
P.O. Box 567
Brighton, CO 80601
United States