What is Shifting in You, PWR & UUA News, and more!
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What is Shifting in You?, PWR & UUA News, and more!
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Pacific Western Region
Newsletter December 17, 2019
What is Shifting in You: From "Despair" to "Hope"
A Candle of Hope in the Darkness
By Rev. Sarah Schurr

The first of the candles in the Advent Wreath is the candle of Hope. In the Lutheran tradition of my childhood, we always lit Advent candles this time of year. Winter is often a time when we look for hope. We look with hope for the return of the sun in the months to come. We hope for good things in the future, as we celebrate the coming of the New Year.

As leaders in Unitarian Universalism in the West, our PWR team is inviting you to join us in seven cultural and spiritual shifts. The shift statement we want to highlight this month is the shift from Despair to Hope. Some people think that hope means denial of the despair we can feel during hard times or when acting against oppression. They may even say hope is just a distraction that keeps us from actions that will combat the roots of injustice. But I see things very differently. I think hope is part of what motivates us to make things better. Hope is what allows us to imagine a better future that could be possible. If we don’t believe a better future is possible, we cannot strive for it, work for it, even fight for it.  

Where would we be if our heroes of history had seen no hope? If there was no glimmer of hope in the civil rights movement, no one would have marched for freedom. If suffragettes had been without hope, no women would be able to vote in the upcoming elections. If medical researchers had abandoned their hope, we would not have the treatments for AIDS that we have today. Hope is what makes each new day an opportunity to bend the arc of the universe towards justice.  

Barack Obama said it this way: "Hope is not blind optimism. It's not ignoring the enormity of the task ahead or the roadblocks that stand in our path. It's not sitting on the sidelines or shirking from a fight. Hope is that thing inside us that insists, despite all evidence to the contrary, that something better awaits us if we have the courage to reach for it, and to work for it, and to fight for it".  

In our congregations, our hopes and dreams are often embodied in our congregation Vision statement.  Our Vision is how we describe our hope for what the congregation can do and be. Rev. Renee Ruchotzke describes the Vision as your "vow with the universe". If we embrace the hope of our Vision, letting it guide our decisions and inspire our actions, what kinds of good work can we accomplish together?  What justice can we make manifest?

As this year comes to a close, may we embrace our hopes and a vision that inspires us to create the brighter future we dream of. May we all be inspired by the candles in the darkness.  It is what we are called to do.

Here are some resources, pragmatic and spiritual, to help you grab onto the hope that will fuel your work to build a better world.

In this Issue
What is Shifting in You?
PWR & UUA News
Healthy Congregations
Youth News
MDD News
PCD News
InSpirit Update

PWR Links
Calendar and Events
Staff Contacts
Job Postings
Youth Ministries

RE Trainings

PWR Field Staff
Eric Bliss
Sarah Gibb Millspaugh
Jonipher Kūpono Kwong
Tandi Rogers
Sarah Schurr
Leadership Experience 2020
Our Region’s leadership school, which gives leaders in local congregations and communities the skills they need to help their institutions thrive, is fully subscribed this year. This learning experience includes work that involves other members of their congregation and community, a weekend retreat chosen from among four options around the Region (one in each district this year!), and 6 conference calls to discuss further learning and to help leaders apply what they have learned. This leadership school is useful for officers, board members, committee and team leads, and other leaders and possible leaders in congregations and UU communities. Healthy congregations attend to the need for leadership training and often budget to help leaders manage the costs. Does your congregation have someone going to Leadership Experience? Is there a budget item for Leadership Training in your congregation’s budget?
UUA Disaster Relief Fund
Wildfire season is upon us, with more than a dozen wildfires impacting California right now. This summer also saw flooding impact several congregations. Your generous donation to the UUA Disaster Relief Fund will help provide UU congregations, their people and their communities, with the tools they need to recover when they are impacted by disasters like these. Donations from individuals and congregations gratefully accepted.

If you are in a fire-impacted community, please know that we in the PWR staff are here for you. Congregation leaders, please reach out to your primary contact. We can help connect your congregation with trauma response chaplains as well as disaster relief funds if you need them. We care.

Unitarian Universalists all over the country send our thoughts and prayers to those impacted by the fires. If you are not in a fire-impacted community and you want to offer some further help and support, please consider donating to the UUA Disaster Relief Fund. Click here to donate and learn more about the Disaster Relief Fund.
Save the Date-Regional Assembly 2021!
Pacific Western Regional Assembly
February 12-14, 2021

Much of our region is cold and/or wet in February, but a typical day in San Diego is mid-60s and sunny. We expect you’ll be busy with Regional Assembly February 12-14, 2021, but you might add an extra night to enjoy what San Diego has to offer. Our hotel rate will be honored 3 nights before and after Regional Assembly (full details in January, reservations open mid February). Kayak or wander from the hotel, visit area attractions, or explore Old Town. San Diego has much to offer.
Chalice Lighter Winter Calls Now Open!
The Chalice Lighter Calls for Winter 2019-2020 are now open! Check your district's website for details.

Chalice Lighters allows individual Unitarian Universalists to make small financial contributions to help other Unitarian Universalist congregations in their district with projects, often capital improvements, they otherwise might not be able to afford. There are now nearly 3,000 individual Chalice Lighters in the Pacific Western Region.

To set up a recurring monthly gift online, make a one-time gift online, or find out how your congregation might apply for a Chalice Lighters grant, please visit your district’s website at:

·       or
UU the Vote
The stakes couldn’t be higher in the 2020 elections. All our values, our work for justice, the communities we love and the beloved community we seek to create are under attack. Our religious community must speak with moral courage and act with prophetic clarity and determination in the 2020 electoral cycle. Our UU values of interdependence, democracy, and the inherent worth and dignity of all people are direct antidotes to the fear, bigotry, and inequity that define our world. In this political moment, UUs are called to join forces with all people who want to organize our communities and our nation to #VoteLove and #DefeatHate. Let’s UU the Vote in 2020! More info on our website.

UU the Vote officially launches in January 2020 with a live event. Register with us and host a group to participate from your home, congregation, or other location. We’ll gather on Sunday, January 12, 2020 at 1 p.m. PT/2 p.m. MT/3 p.m. CT/4 p.m. ET.
General Assembly 2020: Registration Now Open!

Registration is now open for General Assembly 2020! General Assembly is the annual gathering of Unitarian Universalists, where we conduct business of the Association, explore the theological underpinnings of our faith, and lean fully into our mission and principles. Please join us Wednesday, June 24 through Sunday, June 28, 2020 in Providence, Rhode Island for this 5-day immersive experience where we participate in inspirational worship services and informative workshops, reconvene with friends and colleagues, and explore our bustling exhibit hall. GA is an unforgettable experience for the thousands of UUs who attend. Meet us in Providence and you’ll leave with renewed energy and innovative ideas to share with your congregation and community-at-large!

The theme for General Assembly in June 2020 is Rooted, Inspired, & Ready! We are in touch with our theological roots, we are engaged in transforming our faith, and we are fired up to take action in the wider world.

NEW! Registration Payment Plan: With a $50 down-payment, the cost of registration can be paid over the course several months. Final payment must be received by February 29, 2020. When the final registation is complete, special consideration for dormitory lodging bundles, financial aid and volunteer opportunities will become available.

For more information about registration, housing options, and submitting program proposals, visit the GA website.
Webinar: Myths & Paradigms About Giving
Register Now: January 30, 2020. 7-8 PM Pacific Time
Kay Crider and Rachel Maxwell of Stewardship for Us will be hosted by Rev. Tandi Rogers in a presentation and Q&A about giving, including how Joy plays into generosity and ways to break the taboo of talking about money. Registration 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.
Congregational Healthy Congregations Team Learning Circle
3rd Tuesdays @ 7-8:30 pm Pacific
Register here.

This is a monthly learning space for Healthy Congregations Teams (HCT) in congregations.  Our first meeting in October will give an overview and introductions.  After that, each month will feature a different HCT sharing how they work, what they’re proud of and what they struggle with. We as participants will be able to ask clarifying questions.  Each call has agreements as to how we will be together.

You can send one or more people from your team.  You can gather and zoom in all together or separate.  Please register your congregation here.  You will be sent call-in information, which you can disseminate to your team.

Questions? Email Rev. Tandi Rogers or call her at 253-278-4646.
UU-UNO Intergenerational Spring Seminar
Dates: April 16-18, 2020  
Location: New York City

With a deep passion for and commitment to international human rights, youth and adults from all over North America gather annually for our three day seminar to dig deeply into issues with global impact.

The intergenerational seminar is an opportunity to collaborate with others while learning how to be a global activist. Through workshops, peer and expert-led panel discussions, community building activities, and worship services, you will undergo a transformative process of learning, reflection, and growth while exploring some of the most challenging issues facing humanity today.

Registration is Open!

The cost of Early Registration (December 2 - January 20) for all attendees is $375. Regular registration is open January 21 - March 2 at an increased rate. This year we have a new model in which all attendees pay the same rate, regardless of age. This adjustment moves the Seminar towards being more sustainably funded, with all costs shared among attendees. Apply by January 13 for a reduced registration rate.
Metamorphosis Youth Leadership Camp
July 26-31, 2020, with staff arriving July 26th.   
Location: First Unitarian Portland, OR.

Student applications available soon!

Metamorphosis Youth Leadership Camp (formerly Goldmine) is a five-day community building and training space for high school youth interested in leadership, activism, and spiritual growth.

In the process of deeply listening, through exploration and learning, students and staff examine Unitarian Universalist Religious History and Values, Worship Skills, Spiritual Practices, Leadership Development, and Counter Oppression, with each lesson purposefully incorporating the lenses of activism, advocacy, and the building of Beloved Community.

All of this takes place alongside the designing one’s individual Credo, which is a statement about one’s own personal operating beliefs, within the context of Unitarian Universalism and the wider world. These are the values, beliefs, and tenets that guide your behavior as a leader within our movement and within other movements that uphold the values of inclusivity, justice, compassion, and radical love.

Questions? Visit our website or contact PWR youth ministry specialist Eric Bliss: - 303-903-3144
Upcoming Youth Events
  • MDD Spring Con - April 3-5. Boulder Valley Unitarian Universalist Fellowship, Lafayette, CO
  • Quuest Camp - July 5-10. Highlands Camp and Retreat Center, Allens Park, CO
  • Spirit Quest Camp - July 12-17. Highlands Camp and Retreat Center, Allens Park, CO

Coming of Age (Registration Link)
  • Justice / Street Retreat - Jan 24-26. Unitarian Universalist Society of San Francisco, San Francisco, CA
  • Nature Vigil Retreat - Apr 24-26. Unitarian Universalist Church of Davis, Davis, CA
Youth Retreats
  • Spring Youth Retreat - March 27-29. Mount Diablo UU Church, Walnut Creek, CA
MUUGs (More info here)
  • Winter Retreat - January 17-19. Location TBD
  • Spring Retreat - TBD. Location TBD

  • YES Team Retreat - Jan 18-19. Saltwater Unitarian Universalist Congregation
  • PNWD Spring Con - April 3-5. Camp Cispus, Randle, WA
  • Camp Blue Boat - June / July TBA. Camp N-Sid-Sen, Harrison, ID


  • Spring Con - Date TBA. Location TBD
Camps (More info here)
  • Sr. High Winter Camp - Dec 27-Jan 1
  • Winter Elementary/Family Camp - Feb 15-17
  • Summer Elementary Youth Camp - July 5-11
  • Counselor in Training Program - July 5-11
  • Summer Jr. high Youth Camp - July 12-18
  • Summer Sr. high Youth Camp - July 19-25

  • Metamorphosis Youth Leadership Camp - July 27-31. First Unitarian Portland, Portland, OR. Staff Application.

  • General Assembly - June 24 - 28. Providence, RI.
  • Thrive Youth - Dates TBA. Location TBD.
  • Summer Seminary - Dates TBA. Location TBD.
  • International Youth Pilgrimage - July 24 - Aug 2. Gyepes, Transylvania

Dale Arnik Sermon Award
Invitation for Submissions
As Unitarian Universalists, the sources of our living tradition include Humanist teachings, which counsel us to heed the guidance of reason and the results of science and warn us against idolatries of the mind and spirit.  Have you preached or heard a good sermon reflecting Humanist teachings lately?

Submit it for the Dale Arnink Sermon Award.  This award is granted in recognition of a sermon that best explores the place or use of critical reason in examining religious experience within the Unitarian Universalist tradition. The Unitarian Church of Los Alamos, New Mexico, where Reverend Arnink served for 24 years, and is currently Minister Emeritus, sponsors the $300 award. A representative committee using an anonymous process with standardized criteria makes the selection. Application and more info are available on our website.
MDD "Walk the Talk" Awards
Nominations now open!
The Mountain Desert District (MDD) "Walk the Talk" Award is given to a Unitarian Universalist lay person for living a life which best exemplifies Unitarian Universalist principles. The winner will be given free registration at the MDD Assembly May 1-2, 2020 in Albuquerque, New Mexico, if they are able to attend. Apply on our website.
MDD Board Recruiting Officers
Mountain Desert District (MDD) Board is Recruiting Officers!
Vice President and Secretary beginning in June 2020

The Mountain Desert District Board of the UUA has two upcoming positions open to persons across the district. The MDD is comprised of congregations in Colorado, Utah, Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, Texas, and New Mexico.

This opportunity is perfectly suited for persons interested in growing their UU identity and connection, helping the district accomplish its mission, and connecting congregations to the larger UU movement. All the positions are volunteer-only, but travel expenses are paid by the district.

General duties and responsibilities:
  • Attends in-person board meetings twice a year – once in conjunction with the annual business meeting and once in an MDD location
  • Participates in monthly online meetings on Zoom platform
  • Assists with 3 - 4 phone calls monthly to congregational leaders to survey them concerning their relationship with district and region and the services they receive
  • Manages the Chalice Lighters program, to include: soliciting grants, reviewing proposals, and awarding funds to congregations needing financial support for special projects
  • Is knowledgeable about MDD by-laws, business meetings, credentialing, budgets, governance, and leadership training
  • Special board need: a person with organizing skills for developing a handbook of board policies and procedures
  • MDD has a letter of agreement with the UUA for Regional Services and works closely with the PWR Lead and the Congregational Life Staff

Vice President:
  • Vice President will become President in 2021 and assume those duties.
  • The President attends the UUA General Assembly.

  • Secretary is responsible for taking minutes of meetings, distributing and posting minutes to board and MDD webpage.
  • Secretary also certifies delegates, quorum requirements, and meeting minutes.

People with disabilities, people of color, Indigenous people, Hispanic/Latinx, and LGBTQ candidates are encouraged to apply. The MDD is committed to developing a diverse and talented board.  Former and current board members and UUA staff are available to assist you in growing into this important leadership role.

Interested persons should contact Judy Bentley for more information by January 2020 at Incoming officers will be voted in at the Annual Business Meeting on May 2 in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
MDD Winter Chalice Lighter Call Now Open!
The second call for FY20 is to assist the Otero County Unitarian Universalist Fellowship in Alamogordo, New Mexico with a repair project and funding for a new religious educator.

The Church Board Vice President writes, "We bought the three-bedroom house across the street from our fellowship to have classrooms to teach all different ages of our youth in separate classrooms. We have also put together a new website and…begun to gain new members. Our [RE] teacher is very enthusiastic…Programs include movies, meditation, and conversations to make things better and sessions relative to our history and purpose of the UU community.

"Unfortunately, we have discovered a serious roofing problem in the new building and have made the necessary repairs…Fortunately, one of our members paid the $5,578 for this roof repair and we need to pay him back.

"The new house and website have already resulted in five or six new young people with children who have become members. We have eight new off-street parking spaces for our members. We have gained 42 new people we call friends…and we opened our ‘Spiritual Learning Center’". For more information and to make a donation, please visit our website.
UU Church of Berkeley Now Hiring
The Unitarian Universalist Church of Berkeley is hiring! We are looking for a passionate, gifted professional to be our new Connections Coordinator. If you or someone you know shares our values and has the skills to be part of the team leading our church into its next chapter, we encourage you/them to apply. Please see the job listing below for more details about the position and the application process.

Connections Coordinator Job Listing
Reports to: Executive Director
Effective: 12/01/2019
Status: Part time: 25 hours per week (Occasional evenings/weekends)
FLSA: Non-Exempt
Benefits: % of full-time benefits including life, health, and dental insurance; paid holidays

Position Summary
The Connections Coordinator is responsible for developing an efficient and effective program that promotes church activities and events to members, friends and the general public through traditional marketing, social media, and community partnership development. The Connections Coordinator works in collaboration with the Executive Director, Ministers, lay leaders, and volunteers to ensure UUCB is a welcoming place for all by connecting and engaging people with opportunities to pursue lives of integrity, joy, & service.

For more information and to apply, visit our website!
Camp De Benneville Pines Annual Meeting
Camp de Benneville Pines is a Unitarian Universalist retreat center on a 16-acre campus in a tall tree forest at an elevation of 6700 feet. It is owned by the UU congregations that make up the Pacific Southwest District (PSWD). Once again Camp de Benneville Pines (deBenneville) will hold its annual meeting immediately following the PSWD annual meeting at the District Assembly during the last weekend of April. Both deBenneville and PSWD use the same delegate certification process. The next District Assembly will be in San Luis Obispo on April 24-26, 2020. DeBenneville has many initiatives including staying in harmony with our strategic plan, to modernize, and to coordinate with outside entities such as the United States Forest Service. You are encouraged to attend, represent your congregation, and nurture the sustainability of Camp de Benneville Pines.
Charles White Memorial Scholarship
The Charles White Memorial Scholarship is a one-time annual scholarship of $2000 available to help support Unitarian Universalist ministerial students from throughout the Pacific Western Region, with preference given to those who have a connection to the Pacific Southwest District. This connection would include growing up in the district, doing work with the district, or living in the district.    

Filling out an Application is straightforward and can be done online. The Charles White committee will notify all applicants of our decision by the end of March.

Application Deadline is February 28th, 2020.
To be considered, applicants must:
1) Have Candidate status
2) Envision their tentative goals as one of the following:
  • Parish work
  • Religious education
  • Clinical pastoral education
  • Community ministry
  • Another related UU Ministry

Visit our website for more information.
Save the Date: District Assembly 2020
PSW District Assembly 2020: The Climate of Justice

The Big Deal: 2020 UUA Pacific Southwest District Assembly Keynote Speaker Aly Tharp

The Dates: April 24-26, 2020

The Place: Unitarian Universalists San Luis Obispo, CA

"The Climate of Justice" is the theme of the 2020 PSW District Assembly scheduled April 24-26, 2020, at Unitarian Universalists San Luis Obispo, Cal.

The keynote speaker will be Aly Tharp, the program director of the Unitarian Universalist Ministry for Earth (UUMFE) and leader of the UUA & UUMFE's Create Climate Justice initiative.

Aly Tharp will join UUs from throughout PSWD as we strategize for a future in which our congregations are at the forefront of the fight for climate justice in their communities.

The 2020 PSW District Assembly will be the best opportunity this year for UU congregations to share how they are working for climate justice and learn from one another about how to live out our seventh principle: "Respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part."

Detailed information coming early in the new year! Keep an eye on our website for updates.
Call for Workshops: District Assembly 2020
Call for Workshops!

Proposals for workshops, conference sessions, and other activities are requested for
the Pacific Southwest District Assembly 2020

How do our PSWD congregations and covenanting communities embrace and live out their passion to validate, slow, and reverse the progression of Climate Change?

Come share the programs, activities, and connections your congregation has implemented within your community as leading examples to inspire the rest of us!

Send your completed workshop proposal by January 15th, 2020, to DA planning committee co-chairs: Maggie Burbank Yenoki: or Michael Hart:

Please note: Presenters will provide their own transportation, DA registration fee, and hotel expenses
InSpirit UU Book and Gift Shop
Holiday Gift Suggestions from inSpirit
Make the holiday season a little easier with the holiday guide from inSpirit: The UU Book and Gift Shop. Check out this great resource for gift ideas for all of your loved ones. From inspiration titles and children's books to unique UU items, it's all here! Your purchase from inSpirit contributes directly to the work of the Unitarian Universalist Association to support our congregations—thank you, and happy holidays. Here are some of our favorites from the holiday guide:

Breathe: A Letter to My Sons by Imani Perry— Breathe offers a broader meditation on race, gender, and the meaning of a life well lived and is also an unforgettable lesson in Black resistance and resilience.

Here and Now by Julia Denos and illustrated by E. B. Goodale—A stunning celebration of mindfulness and a meditation on slowing down and enjoying each moment. For children ages 4–8.

How to Be an Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi—From the National Book Award–winning author comes a bracingly original approach to understanding and uprooting racism and inequality in our society.

Spilling the Light: Meditations on Hope and Resilience by Rev. Theresa I. Soto—At once deeply compassionate and spiritually empowering, this volume of the inSpirit Series tends to our souls and emboldens us to become our truest selves.

Chalice Socks—Proclaim your Unitarian Universalism in warm comfort with these socks.

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