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"Faithfully Becoming", PWR & UUA News, and more!
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Pacific Western Region
Newsletter July 2023
Faithfully Becoming
By Rev. Carlton E. Smith
Pacific Western Regional Lead

As I write this blog, seven of your PWR staff team members are among the many Unitarian Universalists and friends who have returned from our UUA’s General Assembly (GA) in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Some of us were eager to get back to our residences, while others were off to other journeys before going home. For example, I visited a dear friend in Connecticut before going up to Montreal to join with another friend there and attend a bit of the city’s annual Jazz Festival. I arrived back in Colorado Springs July 2.

The theme of this year’s GA was “Faithfully Becoming”. To me, it pointed to the idea that we as individuals, congregations, and an association are constantly evolving, but in that evolution, we endeavor to be true to our best and highest ideals. It ties into the concepts behind Theodore Parker’s famous sermon on the “Transient and the Permanent in Christianity.” We seek to retain ways of being we wish to pass on, and to release those that seem to have served their purpose.

Of course, none of us has a list of things we’d choose to hold onto that’s identical to anyone else’s. Each of us emerges from distinct periods of time and particular place and unique circumstances, such that the meanings we bring to our lives and our culture will be specific to each of us individually. Not all of what each of us loves will be part of the future of our faith. There will be loss associated with letting go of some of what was familiar as we bring our focus to the path that lies ahead.

At this GA, we said farewell to Rev. Susan Frederick-Gray in her role as UUA President after six very challenging years in the history of our Association, of the United States, and of the world. I am so grateful to count her as a friend, and to have been part of her extended team during her historic, impactful tenure.

We also joyously welcomed Rev. Dr. Sofía Betancourt into her new role upon her election as the next President of our UUA. Rev. Dr. Sofía has close ties to the Pacific Western Region, as a graduate of Starr King School for the Ministry and as a former member of its faculty, in addition to having served as minister at First Unitarian Universalist Church of Stockton and interim minister at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Fresno.

With regards to the work of the Article II Commission, the process of revising our statement of purpose goes forward…The General Assembly delegates voted to continue the conversation for another year. A final vote on Article II will take place at 2024’s online General Assembly. We invite you to engage with the process on the Article II Commission pages.

Meanwhile, the work of the Pacific Western Region Transition Team continues to be about what Unitarian Universalism in the western parts of the country is becoming. Because of the faithful work of Bob Meiss, Mary Nordhagen, Keith Strohmaier, Libby Fitzgerald, and Rhoda Whitney, along with Rev. Ian Evison and myself in conjunction with UUA Executive Vice President Carey McDonald and Director of Congregational Life Jessica York, we are closer than ever to completing the documentation and legalities of becoming a unified region within our Association. We give particular appreciation to all the members of the district boards for their faithfulness. Stay tuned for further announcements and details about what happens next.

As we close chapters in the life of our Region and our Association, we open new ones. May we continue to be responsible stewards of the legacies we have inherited.

In faith,

In this Issue
Faithfully Becoming
PWR & UUA News
Youth & Emerging Ad
ult News

Pacific Southwest District News

InSpirit Update

PWR Links
Calendar and Events
Staff Contacts
Job Postings
Youth Ministries

RE Trainings

PWR Lead
Carlton Elliott Smith

PWR Program Staff
Summer Albayati
Leading Large: Board Training for Large Congregations
Are you a board member of a large “corporate” sized congregation with multiple staff focused on mission, policy, and strategy? Your LeaderLab team is offering a training especially for you! Self-paced prework will include frameworks such as Hotchkiss's Governance and Ministry partnership, conflict and change dynamics, cultural competencies, fiduciary responsibilities, efficient meetings, mission-based budgeting and decision-making, self-differentiation and boundaries, and spiritual grounding. In the live session you will be able to engage with board members from other large congregations as you work on case studies and creative problem solving. You will also be given planning tools for a self-directed goal-setting session.  

Prework available Tuesday, August 01, 2023
Interactive Live Session Saturday, August 26, 2023, Noon-4pm EDT
Cost $200 per congregational team
Dimensions of Faith Development Renaissance Module
  • Tuesday, August 15, 2023, 12:00 pm - 2:00 pm EDT
  • Tuesday, August 22, 2023, 12:00 pm - 2:00 pm EDT
  • Tuesday, August 29, 2023, 12:00 pm - 2:00 pm EDT
  • Tuesday, September 5, 2023, 12:00 pm - 2:00 pm EDT

Dimensions of Faith Development Renaissance Module will enable a grounding in the original work of Natalie Briscoe which brings:
  • A view of Faith Development that is central to the congregation's work and weaves together all of the primary ministries of a religious body.
  • Develop a method for dismantling white supremacy culture within their congregation and in the world through the content and method of Lifespan Faith Development within their congregations.
  • Envision a model for "What's Next" in our work of dismantling white supremacy culture that leaves participants feeling empowered to move forward with the work; and
  • Take away a collection of stories that both forms a multicultural narrative for our faith journey and communicates our UU values.

This module will be co-led by Lillian Drab-Braddock and Nancy Combs-Morgan, Congregational Life Consultants in the Southern Region of the UUA. REGISTRATION DEADLINE: Tuesday, August 08, 2023. Register here!
System Theory Renaissance Module
  • Friday, September 8, 2023, 12:00 pm - 2:00 pm EDT
  • Friday, September 15, 2023, 12:00 pm - 2:00 pm EDT
  • Friday, September 22, 2023, 12:00 pm - 2:00 pm EDT
  • Friday, September 29, 2023, 12:00 pm - 2:00 pm EDT

Central to our understanding of congregational systems is a grounding in the awareness that “everything we do is faith development; everything we teach is Unitarian Universalism and that the congregation is the curriculum.”

That expression, by Connie Goodbread, is the first part of going deeper into congregational systems, yet the second part must include an immersion into System Theory.

The “System Theory” Renaissance Module will:
  • Examine human beings as emotional, intellectual, and physical beings.
  • Everything that human beings create, discover, destroy and build is born out of our humanity.
  • Explore and clarify what it means to be a Unitarian Universalist.
  • Discuss the human qualities that help and hinder the growth of a beloved community.

The overarching lens of System Theory will ground the experience and aid religious educators, and other religious professionals, to apply these learnings to their own professional context.

REGISTRATION DEADLINE: Tuesday, September 1st, 2023. Register here.
Teacher Development Renaissance Module
Renaissance Modules are programs for religious educators’ and other religious professionals’ growth and development. They are an essential part of credentialing for religious educators. The Teacher Development Renaissance module equips a religious leader to nurture the teaching skills in themselves and others. It is an online learning experience comprised of five two-hour webinars with reading and other assignments for each session.

Dates and Timing:

July 18, 2023: 12pm ET - 2pm ET
Session 1: Teaching and Learning — What Shapes Us?

July 25, 2023: 12pm ET - 2pm ET
Session 2: Teachers as Learners and Seekers

August 1, 2023: 12pm ET - 2pm ET
Session 3: Supporting Learners and Seekers

August 8, 2023: 12pm ET - 2pm ET
Session 4: Toolkits for Teachers

August 15, 2023: 12pm ET - 2:30pm ET
(please note this last session would be 2.5 hours long)

Registration Fee: $250.00 for all 5 sessions.

Registration will close at Midnight (Eastern) or 11:00 PM (Central) on July 14th 2023 or if the webinar reaches its registration capacity. We will send an email with the Zoom number on the day of EACH event.
Please register here for this event.
Treasurers’ Roundtables starting September 2023!
Treasurers' Roundtables are a chance for lay leaders who serve as treasurer or similar financial roles within their congregation to gather for sharing information, making connections, learning, and conversation. Roundtables will be held the 3rd Thursday of every month (Sept-Dec) at 1pm Pacific/2pm Mountain/12pm AKDT/10am HST starting September 21st Interested in attending? Please fill out this form with your information and PWR staff will be in touch with information about fall roundtables. Contact Dr. Melissa James, Congregational Life Field Staff, at with questions or for more information.
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.
URGENT: Nurse Needed for Camp Blue Boat
Camp Blue Boat needs a replacement camp nurse for Sunday July 16 (1pm) – July 21 (~11am) in Ellensburg WA.

This camp is for MS & HS camp for ~60 UU campers, and designed by UU Young Adults (~20 adult staff onsite).

Qualifications: available (even part of the week, we’d consider job-share), clear background check, minimum first aid certified (more medical training would be a blessing), understanding of UU values and bonus if they enjoy being with youth.

Compensation: Eternal gratitude, Room (private w/ ensuite bathroom), Board and $1000 (Negotiable, and this is a non-profit camp budget…). Local transportation could be made available.

Ask: On call for emergencies, managing morning/evening meds IF campers need assistance.

Optional: Could participate in Summer Camp, could read a book by the creek, or otherwise self-occupy onsite.

If you qualify and need more information, or are ready to step up, please reach out to Amanda Radak at

Thanks for helping us spread the word!
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.  
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. Email 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 or by phone: 204-900-0150. Rev. Marcia Stanard and others are here to listen and be of support.

Turn Up the Tempo! It's Time to Harmonize with the Maestro! Camp de Benneville Pines
Music lovers, choir enthusiasts, and vocal virtuosos, have we got a camp for you! Get ready to elevate your voice to new octaves and tune into the rhythms of the choral world with Donald Milton III, one of the leaders in Unitarian Universalist music and worship creation. This year’s Summer Break Camp for Adults & Singing in the Pines at Camp de Benneville Pines is sure to be one to remember.

Singing in the Pines participants will:
  • Spend a meaningful 5 days and 4 nights making beautiful, energizing music together
  • Participate in lively, interactive sessions and receive expert vocal pedagogy
  • Explore beautiful anthems together every morning
  • Perform an unforgettable concert for all camp participants at the end of the week

But that's not all! You'll also have a chance to participate in the full camp sessions, forge lasting friendships, and create harmonious memories that will echo long after the final encore.

So, what are you waiting for? Warm up your vocal cords, grab your sheet music, and secure your spot today! You won’t want to miss this incredible opportunity.
Click here to learn more about Donald Milton III
Click here to Singing in the Pines at Camp de Benneville Pines

InSpirit UU Book and Gift Shop
Why Can’t I Fix It? The Questions We Ask When We Love Someone with Addiction
We’re thrilled to announce that Why Can’t I Fix It? is now available as an audiobook. You can find it on Audible,, and a variety of other audiobook platforms!
When Rev. Nathan Detering shared the story of his brother’s death from a drug overdose with the members of his congregation, many of them shared their own addiction stories with him. Realizing the healing power of sharing stories and questions in community, Rev. Detering conducted interviews to identify and address the common questions that haunt us when we love someone with addiction. In conversations both within and outside his community, he heard the palpable need for those struggling with a loved one’s addictions to know they are not alone.

Weaving together his own and others’ deeply felt experiences of addiction, Why Can’t I Fix It? responds to sometimes desperate questions such as: Why is this happening? What can you do? What can’t you do? How do you care for yourself and the rest of your family? Can you trust your community to support you and your family? While the answers to these questions aren’t easily found, Why Can’t I Fix It? encourages those of us who are struggling with a loved one’s addictions to practice self-care and self-compassion, understand the cultural context for emotional responses and expectations of ourselves and others, and reach out for support.

Rev. Nathan Detering serves as the senior minister of the Unitarian Universalist Area Church at First Parish in Sherborn, Massachusetts, a position he has held since 2003. His passions in ministry include sustaining one’s ministry without overworking or over-functioning; writing for pew, pulpit, and public square; and mentoring students. Prior to seminary, Rev. Detering served for two years as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Grenada, West Indies. He lives in Holliston, Massachusetts, with his family.