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PWR Spotlight, Chalice Lighters Update, PWR & UUA News, and more!
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Pacific Western Region
Newsletter November 2022
PWR Spotlight: Rev. Dr. Elizabeth Stevens Counters Christian Nationalism in Northern Idaho
“Pastor Seeks to Make Moscow, Idaho A “Christian Town”. That YouTube video title intrigued me enough to click on it. As I watched, NBC news correspondent Anne Thompson interviewed Douglas Wilson, the Senior Minister of Christ Church, who is campaigning to make the liberal college town a haven for evangelical Christians – a place where same-sex marriages would not be allowed and men would be affirmed as "little kings” of their households who dominate their wives and children.

Then I heard a voice of reason. My ministerial colleague Rev. Dr. Elizabeth Stevens, Minister of the Unitarian Universalist Church of the Palouse there in Moscow, described the congregation as a “dominionist cult” that represents patriarchy as it fights a culture war. A stained glass window at the Church of the Palouse is of a flaming chalice surrounded by the rainbow colors of LGBTQIA+ inclusion. Meanwhile, Senior Minister Wilson operates a thriving publishing enterprise, which includes hundreds of books for evangelical Christian parents homeschooling their children.

Rev. Dr. Elizabeth and I have known each other for decades now, going back to her seminary days at Starr King School for the Ministry in the late 90s, while I was serving as one of the ministers at the First Unitarian Church of Oakland. I was delighted when she agreed to an asynchronous interview for this month’s PWR Spotlight. – Rev. Carlton E. Smith, Lead - UUA Pacific Western Region

Rev. Carlton E. Smith: You’ve been Minister at the UU Church of the Palouse for a decade now, since the beginning of President Obama’s second term. How has Moscow changed over that time, and the congregation in relation to it, particularly as that regards Christian nationalism?

Rev. Dr. Elizabeth Stevens: Like much of the country, Moscow has become more polarized. The right-wing extremists here in town make up less than 10 percent of the population, but they are very noisy and aggressive. The congregation has responded by living out loud. Our UU values are on display literally and figuratively. We have a reputation in town for making good trouble! In responding to the offensive and bullying behavior of Christ “Church,” the Dominionist cult, it feels vital to us to have our faith community embody and proclaim progressive values AS religious values.  

CES: Douglas Wilson’s rhetoric is very much geared toward a pre-1960s world, before the modern women’s movement, the LGBTQIA+ movement, legalized reproductive choice, and desegregation. Where are you seeing the impact of his agenda? Who in the congregation and the larger community is most affected?

ES: Doug Wilson aims to shock and offend, and he is largely successful in this.  However, what’s more concerning are the ways cult members are bullying our City Council. Their protests of the mask mandate were vicious and targeted specific city leaders. It was disgusting! Many of us are also worried about the amount of real estate the cult is buying up. They’ve already forced several beloved local businesses to move or close their doors permanently. I’m also in touch with organizations supporting women and children trying to escape the cult. They are the most heartbreaking victims.

CES: So many of our congregations across the region and the country are liberal outposts in conservative states and particularly college towns like Moscow. What advice do you have for UU congregations where the rise white Christian nationalism is active and spreading?

ES: It’s a tricky dance.  On the one hand, responding to the outrageous and shameless promotion of Christian Nationalism feels like a waste of time and energy. I mean, who even takes these ideas seriously anymore? On the other, real people are being harmed, so we have to do something. I generally think it’s more effective to be ‘louder’ about what we believe than it is to argue with the ideologies we oppose. Clarity around what we are for is more effective than attacking the beliefs we are against. The Christian Nationalists are particularly good at playing victim.  

CES: Where are you finding hope in the midst of the struggle toward justice, equity and compassion?

ES: My congregation is amazing. When I look out into the sanctuary on Sunday morning, I see so many good hearted, deeply faithful people, all of whom are quietly going about making a positive difference in our community as they are able. We recently completed a 2.4 million dollar renovation and expansion- quite an accomplishment for a congregation with less than 200 members! No one wastes time or energy on fake fights.  We just do church well, and trust that what we do, matters.

CES: Is there anything else you’d like to add?

ES: I think these times demand deeper relationships between congregations, especially those in rural areas. Idaho has some of the strictest abortion laws in the country, so we will need help getting pregnant people across state lines to access the care they need. We may also need to get trans folks and other members of the LGBTQIA+ community to safety, if things keep going the way they are in the Idaho Statehouse. Those of you living in states where basic human rights are respected? We’ll need you to open your hearts and maybe your homes to people who are under attack from extremists like Doug Wilson.

CES: Thank you, Rev. Dr. Elizabeth!

ES: And thank you!

Rev. Dr. Elizabeth Stephens can be reached at revehstevens@gmail.com. If you have an idea for PWR Spotlight, email pwr@uua.org.

In this Issue
PWR Spotlight
Chalice Lighters Update
PWR & UUA News
Youth & Emerging Adult News
Pacific Central News

Mountain Desert News

InSpirit Update


PWR Links
Calendar and Events
Staff Contacts
News
Job Postings
Youth Ministries

RE Trainings


PWR Lead
Carlton Elliott Smith

PWR Program Staff
Summer Albayati
Chalice Lighters Update from the PWR Transition Team
Greetings! I am Mary Nordhagen, a volunteer member of the Transition Team of the Pacific Western Region. I am a member of the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Missoula, MT. I am writing with exciting news of the status of Chalice Lighters in the region.

As many of you know, Chalice Lighters began in 1984 as a way for individual Unitarian Universalists to support projects and programs within and among UU congregations by donating $10 or more three times a year. Once a District’s Chalice Lighter Team approved a project, a “call” would go out to participating UUs who would then write checks and send them to help meet the Chalice Lighter goal.

Most recently in the Districts of the PWR, three separate District calls were held each year, with the proceeds going to help a congregation in the District. These calls had varying degrees of success, especially between Districts. With each of the four Districts in discernment and negotiation with each other about the future of the Region, recurring issues include the evolution of Chalice Lighters in the geographic areas represented by each District and funding for projects of particular importance to each of the current District Boards.

The members of the Transition Team envision a Regional Chalice Lighters program that does the following:
  • Builds on the successes of the District Chalice Lighters programs
  • Honors and affirms the generosity of current Chalice Lighters
  • Focuses on generous giving to the program itself, rather than to specific projects
  • Reflects the priorities and needs of the different areas within the Pacific Western Region
  • Standardizes grant amounts, which supports congregational financial planning
  • Streamlines and clarifies the application process
  • Allows for low-risk investment in experimental and emerging ministries, including those that might otherwise be marginalized
  • Centers marginalized groups and projects at each state of the Chalice Lighters process
  • Benefits from sustained and sustainable PWR/UUA staff support

To move this from a vision to reality, a Chalice Lighter Helping Circle (a task force in sociocracy) is being formed – stay tuned for news from them!

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 transitionsteam@pwruua.org.
PWR & UUA NEWS
FOUNDATIONS: Skill Building Series for Congregational Leaders
This series of PWR-hosted webinars in October to December will equip leaders and potential leaders in congregations with skills to lead their congregations effectively, relationally, and focused toward transformation and liberation. These leaders and potential leaders will connect with one another and foster a sense of connectedness with the region and larger UUA. Some sessions will be role specific; many will support every type of leader in our churches.

1st and 3rd Tuesdays ( 2:00 PT) and Thursdays (6:30pm PT) - each topic offered twice
  • Nov. 1st & 3rd - Sustaining leadership: leadership succession planning & development
    Oh, no! Who will be president next year? Who will take on worship? If this feels like an annual anxious and typical experience for your congregation, then come and learn about planning for leadership succession and subtle ways to develop more leaders within your congregation.
  • Nov. 15 & 17 Elements of a congregation: Understanding the parts and roles that make up your community (good for sabbatical planning, lay-led, and sustainable ministry)
    Who does what in this congregation? What do we need? What can we live without? If you are interested in how you will cover every aspect of ministry now that you are facing sabbatical/departure of a minister or being unintentionally lay-led, then this is the workshop for you.
  • Dec. 6th & 8th Governance: Beyond Robert’s Rules
    Is there life beyond Robert’s Rules? For some of our congregations, life is thriving without Robert’s Rules. If you want to know more, and bring more possibilities to be more inclusive within your congregational governance system, then join us for this wonderful workshop where we will explore life beyond the norm.

Register via Wufoo once for the entire series, and join when you can for what serves you.
Elements for a Holiday Season Service Now Available!
In response to requests for pulpit time from my September newsletter blog, the PWR staff is offering the following elements that can be used for a Sunday service: A “For All Ages” by Annie Scott, CRE; the poem "Gate A-4” by Naomi Shihab Nye read by Rev. Summer Albayati, and: a sermon, “Lessons from Gate A-4”, made of reflections from Dr. Melissa James and Revs. Sarah Millspaugh, Sarah Schurr, and myself, Carlton E. Smith. Here is the blurb for that service:

"Lessons from Gate A-4”
Pacific Western Region Staff Team
In her poem "Gate A-4”, Arab-American poet Naomi Shihab Nye shares an account of distress, compassion and community as she is called to interpret Arabic for a fearful traveler at an airport. As many of us take to the highways, airways and railways this November and December, the PWR Staff has put together a worship service that touches on the themes of the poem, and questions such as Who are we called to care for? When do we answer the call to serve? Where might we be surprised by grace?

This content is now available (free of charge) to all congregations for Sunday services! A version with captions in English is available now, and a version with Spanish captioning will be available soon. Sign up here for access.
UUMA/UUA Neurodiversity Skill Up Series
This series is jointly supported by the UU Ministers Association and your UUA staff. It is aimed at religious professionals but open to all. Religious educators can get credit for credentialing and UUMA members continuing education credit.

Join us Wednesday, November 16, 2022, 5:30 pm - 7:30 pm EST for a panel presentation and Q&A focusing on supporting neurodivergent children and youth. Learn with Katie Resendiz, Rev. Sierra-Marie Gerfao, April Rosario, and Meredith Plummer. Between them they have extensive experience across many kinds of neurodivergence and decades of experience with neurodivergent children and youth inside and outside UU congregations. We recommend having watched at least one of the first three sessions and read the recommended 101 document to get the most of out this experience. You can find all previously recorded sessions on the UUMA Store Front and you will receive the 101 document when you register for the November 16th viewing. It’s worth registering even if you can’t attend because you will be sent the video in advance, can submit questions to the panelists and will receive a recording of the Q&A. Subscribe to our announcement list to be notified of future events and resources. Visit the Neurodivergence Skill Up Series main page for more information.

Article II Study Commission Draft Feedback Sessions
The Article II Study Commission is excited to share a full draft of Article II (PDF, 3 Pages) for feedback. The Study Commission's outreach team will be hosting Zoom feedback sessions in the first half of November, along with gathering feedback through a forthcoming online form for individual comments. To register for one of the eight Zoom sessions, visit our website.
Widening the Circle of Governance in Congregations: Sociocracy
Webinar Saturday December 3 1p-3p ET/ 12p-2p CT/11a-1pm MT/10a-12p PT

Congregations wanting to move to inclusive and engaged decision-making are exploring Sociocracy.
We will share an overview and some real-life examples, followed by Q&A and more resources.
This webinar is co-sponsored by Sociocracy for All, and is open to any faith community looking to dismantle systems of white supremancy in their governance system. Learn more here.
Call for Nominations for the Distinguished Service Award
The Award for Distinguished Service to the Cause of Unitarian Universalism (often informally referred to as the Distinguished Service Award) is one of the most prestigious awards given by the UUA. Recipients of this award have strengthened the institutions of our UU denomination, clarified our message in extraordinary ways, and exemplified what Unitarian Universalism stands for.
The Award Committee seeks nominations from throughout our Association so it may select from a broad range of the most exemplary leaders in our movement. The deadline for receipt of nominations is January 1, 2023. Visit this link for more information on how to submit your nomination.
UUA Congregational Life/Stewardship for Us Webinar Series
UUA Congregational Life and Stewardship for Us announce a 3-part national webinar series in early 2023: Cornerstones of Effective Stewardship in Our Multiplatform, Multicultural-Multiracial/ and Multigenerational World.

TUESDAYS, 7:00 - 8:30 PM ET
January 24th, January 31st, and February 7th


Part 1: January 24th:

The Multiplatform Context
Now that a multiplatform world is here for good, how do we steward a multiple-form congregation? Who is part of our congregations? Let’s explore what stewardship could look like in a permanent multi-platform, in-person and online congregation. Share your stories and hear about how others are adapting for the future. 

Part 2: January 31st:
The Multicultural/Multiracial World
Has your congregation been exploring the 8th Principle, working on antiracism and multiculturalism? How do these efforts connect with stewardship practices?
Come join us to explore values- and faith-aligned stewardship, widening the circle to promote multicultural engagement and equity-based systems.

Part 3: February 7th:
The Changing Multigenerational Demographics
Our congregations may comprise 3, 4, or 5 generations now, each with its own approach to spirituality, community, activism, money, and more. How can stewardship and generosity thrive and how will financial health best be supported as our congregations undergo generational shifts?  Let’s share strategic and creative ideas and experiences in sustaining communities of generosity and commitment.

Registration information available soon!

New Program for Lay-Led Congregations
Is your congregation operating without a professionally-trained minister? Your UUA Congregational Life Staff is offering a program this Fall just for you: Essentials for Lay-Led Congregations. 
 
The program includes an email subscription to a newsletter (full of helpful tips, tools, training opportunities, and other resources), and admission to the December 10, 2022 Lay-Led Congregation Convergence. There you will get to connect with leaders from other lay-led congregations. Learn more here.
Right Relationship Team Training is Open!
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 (or other covenantal communities) live into their covenants.

Your team can take the training on your own ($30/person), or you can take a facilitated version with other congregations and 6 live practice sessions ($400/team). Payment must be received to reserve your spot.

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.
YOUTH & EMERGING ADULT NEWS
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.  
Invitations
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 ebliss@uua.org 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 pastoralcare@cuc.ca or by phone: 204-900-0150. Rev. Marcia Stanard and others are here to listen and be of support.

PACIFIC CENTRAL NEWS
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.

The UU Church of Livermore has dreams of creating a beautiful, functional space to utilize for community celebrations. They are in the process of attracting a new preschool/elementary school program, hiring new staff and are truly on the brink of some exciting new changes/growth. Having a functioning and inviting kitchen space at UUCiL will enable them to bring outside groups in to utilize this space as well - furthering their ability to grow their church and Unitarian Universalism as a whole. They are very excited to be actively pursuing relationships with several local organizations that serve their community such as the Hispanic Heritage Center and the Livermore American Indian Center. Having an operating kitchen to offer to them for potential joint events will greatly improve their desire to make these connections.

Napa Valley Unitarian Universalists are in need of safety upgrades for their exit doors. New doors would remove the lip at the threshold making it easier for anyone with mobility issues to enter through the main doors to the sanctuary thus making it more welcoming to all.  The threshold would be altered in compliance with ADA standards. The doors would include emergency release hardware so if there were a need to leave the building in an emergency, the large double doors would be used instead of the small doors. The double doors are easier to access for all in the sanctuary, thus making all feel safer and welcome.

Unitarian Universalists of Petaluma would like funds to help enhance those middle school and high school youth who are struggling post-pandemic with their mental health to get back into connection with their peers. Their part time DRE is currently the only paid staff person as they are currently without a minister. They would like to run a UU-focused youth program culminating in an alternative high school prom with an LBGTQ focus in May 2023. The lead up to this will include monthly gatherings of youth with activities that support a safe gathering of community and perhaps become a hub for youth in the North Bay. Your Chalice Lighter donations will help this dream become a reality.

You can now have your gift automatically charged to your credit card or debited from your bank account each month. Automatic giving may be set up on the PCD automatic giving page. You can make a one-time donation online at our general giving page.  If you have already set up automatic giving, or if you have already donated to the Winter call, we thank you. We do not expect you to make an additional contribution to this call. We are grateful for whatever you can contribute. Direct costs to administer the call are reimbursed from the donations before the grant is issued. More of your money will go toward the grant if you opt for emailed call letters and make your contribution online. Donations for this call will be accepted through February 28, 2023.

If you are sending a check, please make it payable to PCD Chalice Lighters and mail to our new address: PCD Chalice Lighters, P.O. Box 567, Brighton, CO 80601-0567.

Thank you for being a PCD Chalice Lighter!
Karen Urbano
PCD Volunteer Chalice Lighter Coordinator
pcdchalicelighters@pwruua.org
MOUNTAIN DESERT NEWS
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 midwestuuconf@gmail.com.
InSpirit UU Book and Gift Shop
UU Common Read Discussion Guide
The UU Common Read for 2022-23 is Mistakes and Miracles: Congregations on the Road to Multiculturalism (Skinner House Books, 2019). The book’s co-authors Nancy Palmer Jones and Karin Lin—a white minister and a lay person of color—are working with Susan Dana Lawrence of the UUA’s Lifespan Faith Engagement team on a four-session Discussion Guide that will be available for congregations in November.

The introductory section of the Discussion Guide, “Using This Guide,” is available now. Please use the information here to prepare and launch your Common Read group. Beyond scheduling and promoting your group, you will want to put in place support for participants who are Black, Indigenous, and People of Color or hold other often-marginalized identities. Facilitators will want to become familiar with facets of leading an online group that may be new.

If you are already reading Mistakes and Miracles now, you can prepare for your group discussions by considering the reflection questions that close out each chapter. Another suggested preparation for facilitators, as well as group participants, is to watch the recorded Zoom workshop, We Can Do This: Faith, Conflict and Antiracism (Vimeo, 56:00), from the UUA General Assembly 2020 on-demand video library. Co-authors Jones and Lin moderate a discussion based on Mistakes and Miracles with Unitarian Universalists Aisha Hauser, Jimmy Leung, Rev. Bill Sinkford, and Rev. Marta Valentín.

Mistakes and Miracles can be purchased from inSpirit: The UUA Book and Gift Shop. Discounts are available on orders of 10 or more books.

Skinner House is working on an audiobook edition of Mistakes and Miracles. If you would like to be notified when the audiobook edition is available, or if you need the book in another format, please email UUA Publications Director Mary Benard at mbenard@uua.org.
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