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Introducing PWR New Staff and more!
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Pacific Western Region
Newsletter July 2024
What's Next
by Rev. Sunshine J. Wolfe, PWR Regional Lead

Greetings to all our leaders, members, friends, congregations, covenanting communities, organizations, and all UUs in the Pacific Western Region.  I am excited to join you as the Pacific Regional Lead, to work with the Transitions Team and the regional staff, to support and strengthen Unitarian Universalism.  A lot has changed and is changing.  I want to take a few minutes to be present to that.

Perhaps the greatest truth from birth is that we are always changing.  Our bodies never stay in a constant state nor do our communities.  It can be both the most exciting and exhausting part about being human.

What I know about change- especially when we are stressed or coping with trauma- is that it can lead us to react intensely.  Perhaps we completely shutdown or start shouting or aggressively pursue our own needs for a while.  All of that is normal and understandable.  Our brains are literally wired for it.  So, if you are finding yourself feeling overwhelmed or completely uncertain of how to respond to the world’s changes, I encourage you to seek the practices that help you regulate.  

You know what works for you.  Anything that brings a feeling of balance from playing with grandchildren to running a Dungeons and Dragons campaign to meditative breathing to dance and so much more.  We need folks who are practicing regulation and resilience to address the challenges of our world and in our communities.  The Unitarian Universalist Association is not exempt from these changes or the reactions they bring in us.  I recommend that we go gently with one another as we navigate all of this.

We have seen these changes with the PWR Regional Staff.  I offer blessings to Carlton Smith, Annie Scott, and Sarah Schurr in their new adventures.  Even as they leave we welcome our new Administrator, Hara Madera, to the team.  We will be welcoming new Congregational Life Field Staff in the coming weeks.  Our Transitions Team’s amazing work brings us very close to creating the new region with a Board, delegates, business meetings, and programming to match.  Look for news on that soon.  Please be patient with us we are dealing with that change and are understaffed for a little while.  I promise we are here for you, even if a bit stressed.

So, as in the region, to in the broader UU Association (UUA).  Our Annual General Assembly in June brought changes to the UUA Bylaws (you can read more about the votes on the UU World website).  I want to be clear- the decisions at General Assembly this year only bring changes to your congregation if you want them to.    The votes in this session only apply to the UUA with an encouragement to congregations to consider implementing them.  Some will and some won’t and that is ok.  We on Congregational Life and at the UUA are here to support you either way.

Perhaps the biggest change was to "Article II: Purposes and Covenant" of the Bylaws (read the final draft).  This has where the 7 Principles and 6 (previously 5) Sources were contained until the vote this June.  I know that many are heart-broken by this change and others are excited.  Talk about a change that is difficult.  Please be gentle with one another as you talk about this in your communities.  

I do find it reassuring that there will be UUs who are not comfortable with Article II.  In 2001, many members of my home congregation protested during an Annual Meeting the public use of the Principles, as they thought of them as a creed.  I know there are UUs who still feel this way.  I personally will continue to embrace both the Principles and Purposes and the new Article II Values.  We each will do what is meaningful for us.

All of that to say, we wouldn’t be who we are if we didn’t disagree on these things.  It is one of the strengths of our religious community that we do not require members and congregations to agree with everything and to resist when many religious communities require absolute agreement with codes and creeds.  We do not.  Whether you take on Article II or not, the UUA will support you.

We live in interesting times, and we are a wise people.  We will find ever new ways to embrace the world we dream about.  I certainly do not know what is to come, but I am grateful I am on this journey with.  May you cause trouble and comfort in equal measure- for our world needs it!
In this Issue
Introducing PWR's New Lead
Introducing PWR's New Regional Admin
PWR & UUA News
Youth & Emerging Ad
ult News
Camp News

InSpirit Update

PWR Links
Calendar and Events
Staff Contacts
Job Postings
Youth Ministries

RE Trainings

PWR Lead
Sunshine Wolfe

PWR Program Staff
Summer Albayati

PWR Administrative Staff
Introducing Hara Madera, New PWR Regional Administrator
by Hara Madera, PWR Regional Administrator

Hara Madera (she/her) is the new Regional Administrator for the Pacific Western Region based in San Diego, CA. Prior to assuming her role as Regional Administrator for the Pacific Western Region, Hara served as a College Corps Fellow for the Port of San Diego’s Planning Department. During her tenure at the Port, Hara distinguished herself by spearheading various sustainability reports focused on waste management, water conservation, carbon footprint reduction, energy efficiency, and plastic usage. Hara’s professional background encompasses a diverse range of industries including international consulting, luxury automotive, retail, and quick service restaurant industry.

Originally from Bohol, Philippines, Hara is a first-generation immigrant with a strong commitment to advocacy across various causes including sustainability, maternal and child welfare, gender equality, and BIPOC rights, just to name a few. Beyond her professional pursuits, her interests are pageantry, fashion and wellness, real estate, aviation, culinary arts, and cinema. She also enjoys traveling to new places, participating in new adventurous activities, and spending time with her husband, family, and chosen friends. Most notably, Hara is eager to leverage her skills and experience in her new role as PWR Regional Administrator, while also embracing opportunities for further learning and professional growth.

A message from Hara:
"Hello! I am thrilled to be your new Regional Administrator for the Pacific Western Region, to be working alongside Rev. Sunshine J. Wolfe, Rev. Summer Albayati, Rev. Sarah Gibb Millspaugh, Dr. Melissa James, Melanie Buck, as well as the entire UUA family. Thank you for all for the warm welcome, and I am excited for the journey ahead."
Please Share Your Pledge Data
(So We Can Track Trends In Giving)
Data is essential to all of us, but we need your help in supplying it! Please participate in the survey put out by the UUA’s partner Stewardship for Us.

Learn more and take the survey.

Two Timely Topics from the UUA Office of Church Staff Finances
Staffing Sustainably and Faithfully
Many congregations are revisiting their staffing structure and/or struggling to maintain their current level of staffing. If your congregation is among them, check out our new page in LeaderLab: Staffing Sustainably and Faithfully. You’ll find history and context, important reminders and practices, and a variety of strategies to consider.

Exempt Salary Threshold Increase July 1
For nearly a century, the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) has been protecting workers from exploitation through a minimum wage, overtime pay, recordkeeping requirements, and youth employment restrictions. Employers have the option of exempting certain employees from the FLSA provisions if they meet specific requirements. Are any of your staff classified as exempt under the FLSA? The exemptions have a minimum salary requirement, and that threshold increased on July 1 from $684/week to $844/week; it is scheduled to rise further on January 1, 2025. If an exempt staff member does not meet the new threshold, you’ll need to reclassify them as nonexempt or raise their salary.

Important Note:
Some staff, including your ministers, may be exempt under the "ministerial exception," which has no salary requirement. This change has no impact on these employees.

Check out the Exempt or Nonexempt section of our Worker Classification page in LeaderLab – and reach out to with questions.

Check out our Congregational Salary Program and sign up here for Compensation and Staffing News, our monthly newsletter.
Mosaic Fall Conference - Save the Date!
Save The Date! Join Unitarian Universalists from across the Association between October 18 - 20, 2024 at Cedar Lane Unitarian Universalist Congregation in Bethesda, MD for the Mosaic Fall Conference. As part of the ongoing work to dismantle racism and oppression, this will be a multi-platform time of skill-building and resource sharing, spiritual grounding and transformation. Registration will open on Thursday, August 1, 2024.
Covenant Calls Us In: Living Into Behavioral Covenant
We are pleased to announce the launch of Covenant Calls Us In: Living into Behavioral Covenant, the second of two courses about behavioral covenants. The first course, Covenant Calls Us In: The Why of Behavioral Covenant (class 109 in UU Institute), gives you background information for helping you and your congregation understand why you would wish to have a behavioral covenant. This course, Living Into Behavioral Covenant, helps you create your behavioral covenant, involving the congregation in making it come alive, and helping you to live into becoming ever more a Beloved Community.

Living into Behavioral Covenant is a great resource for the team in your congregation who is creating, or oversees, your behavioral covenant practices. The sessions will help you know how to craft your covenant, policies, and procedures, and can be used either for initial development or for review of your existing policies.

The course is available on demand can be taken by a team, working on your own, or you can reach out to your Region’s Safe Congregations Team member to see if there are any plans for group sessions where you can work alongside other congregations doing similar work. The cost of the course is $30 per person. You can add comments to the modules as you go through them, and we will respond as we can--and you may also encounter questions and comments from other UU congregations as they move to make their behavioral covenants work best for them.

Additionally, once you have your process in place, feel free to make sure your team is well trained for this work. There is an on-demand course, Tending Covenant: Training for Right Relationship Teams 330, in the UU Institute that will help your team assigned with dealing with breaches in covenant.
Announcing the UUA's Mosaic Lifespan Anti-Racism Curriculum Series Launch
The Mosaic Hub, the UUA's online central location for anti-racism resources, is proud to announce this week's launch of the Mosaic Lifespan Anti-Racism Curriculum Series! This series provides K-adult with a multi-media approach to age-appropriate lessons in understanding racism and how we can work together to dismantle the systems and institutions that uphold it.

On June 22nd, the first three lessons of all curricula (K-1st, 2nd-3rd, 4th-5th, Middle School, High School, Emerging Adult, BIPOC adult, and General Adult) are available to those who complete the free self-paced facilitator training. Go to our website for more information and a link to the UU Institute training course, Facilitating for Transformation.
Do You Faithify? is a UU specific crowd-funding platform. Have a project you need help funding? You can apply here! Want to support a UU project? This is the place to look! See what projects appear to you. Current projects include:
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.
Good Trouble Check-in
July 16 at 5pm PT / 8pm ET
Join our bi-monthly (every other month) check-ins to review your congregation’s progress, talk through any challenges and provide peer support. Please send at least one member of your Good Trouble Team to this meeting.
Register Here
Reimagine Together: From An Extractive Age to a New Era, UU Climate Justice Revival
September 28-29, 2024
UUs are coming together to inspire, reawaken, and transform our churches through climate justice. Bring your justice teams, problem solvers, and dreamers. The planning team will provide everything needed: facilitation toolkits, training, music, projects, coordinated justice action, and more. No matter your congregation’s size or resources, you can join and together we will enter a new era of climate action. Let's go—appoint two volunteer facilitators who will be trained to participate. Register Here
TEAM - The Emerging Adult (EA) Ministry for UUs - is looking for new members
The leadership body for this group is called NEAT - The National Emerging Adult Taskforce and we are always looking for new team members. Highlights of our work this year include nationalizing our pastoral care network, partnering with YARN (Young Adult Revival Network) on newsletters, worship, and small group ministry, as well as sharing resources directly supporting EAs (18-24 years old), and fashioning a forthcoming GA workshop. If you think you know an emerging adult leader who might want to join this spectacular group from all over the nation, please have them submit a quick, easy application 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 2023-24 EA Database signup can be found here.
Camp de Benneville Pines
For those folks who seek other adventures, there are always plenty of choices for great things to do at Camp de Benneville Pines. Check out our events calendar for the 2024-2025 programming year.

Want to be the first to know about registration dates and more? Be sure to subscribe to our mailing list.

InSpirit UU Book and Gift Shop

Now Available for Order

Love at the Center: Unitarian Universalist Theologies. Available as an e-book now!

Unitarian Universalists as a progressive religious community hold a humbling expectation to periodically re-evaluate the freely chosen covenant that holds us together. While this work impacts the bylaws that define our governance structures, it also gives life to the values we express in common cause. We do this work to live into the Unitarian Universalism of the future.

In response to the Article II Study Commission and the more than 10,000 Unitarian Universalists who answered complex questions about the values that guide their faithful living, it is clear that the value most describe as central to their faith, to their living, and to the mission of their congregations is love itself. We are a people guided by, and centered in, our engagement with all that love requires.

Our pressing task now is to ask ourselves and each other
how this understanding calls us forward, individually and collectively. We may agree that love is central, but what
does that mean to us and what does it require of us? It is in that spirit that we asked more than two dozen leaders in our movement the question of what it means to put
love at the center of our faith.

In these pages, you’ll find personal testimony to love’s
power, reminders of the centrality of love throughout the long histories of Universalism and Unitarianism, and theologies of love drawn from many different expressions of Unitarian Universalism—from the natural world to the justice rally, to a loved one’s deathbed, to the quiet moment before a worship service begins. May Love at the Center serve as an invitation to deepen your own understanding and practices of love.

Rev. Dr. Sofía Betancourt is the tenth president of the
Unitarian Universalist Association. She was elected in June 2023. Rev. Dr. Betancourt’s twenty-year ministry has included serving as a parish minister, seminary professor, scholar and environmental ethicist, and public theologian.

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