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"Try to Remember the Kind of September", PWR & UUA News, and more!
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Pacific Western Region
Newsletter September 2023
Try to Remember the Kind of September
By Rev. Sarah Movius Schurr
PWR Program Staff

Some of you may remember that song, from the musical The Fantasticks, that invites us to “try to remember the kind of September when life was slow and oh so mellow". Reminiscence is a vital part of life. This is especially true for older adults, where looking back to days gone by is an important developmental task. It is necessary for making meaning out of our lives. Recollecting stories of our past accomplishments can inspire us to action in the present.  Remembering how you successfully learned a difficult skill can build confidence when facing a new challenge. Grandpa telling the story of how he was a conscientious objector in the war is a way to pass along the family values to another generation. Immigration stories have a key role in family traditions. And sometimes it is just fun to listen to the music you enjoyed in your youth or watch an old movie you first saw decades ago.

I recently attended Eliot Institute, the UU Family Camp in the Pacific Northwest. I have been attending Eliot for over 20 years.  My peers and I did a lot of reminiscing at camp. We watched a new generation of leaders and remembered when they were the children among us. We enjoyed the comfort of the new buildings while talking about the old buildings that once stood in their place. We told the stories of the old rope swing, long since removed. It felt great to remember some good times from the past and to see the generational shifts in the community. At evening worship, we lit candles for those who have died. There are rocking chairs on the inn porch bearing the names of campers who live on in our memories. This reminiscing engenders many feelings, including a mixture of pride in what we have accomplished and confidence in those who will lead into the decades ahead.

In addition to good reminiscing, we need to be mindful of how stories about the good old days can be problematic when they are used as a way to vilify groups of people. I am not talking about believing that no one will ever play guitar as well as Jimi Hendrix. I am talking about longing to go back to a mythic past that was a fantasy to begin with. Watching old TV shows where the imaginary town of Mayberry was so peaceful that the sheriff never even carried a gun, you might long for those days to return. But there never was a Mayberry – this was not real. And if you look closely, this southern town with no strife also had no people of color. Do some of us long for a peaceful Carolina town with only white people? Too often I have heard people say their community was so happy until “those people” moved in and everything changed. This is a story where often people of color or immigrants or sexual minorities are cast as those who ruined the mythic paradise that people remember. It even happens in our UU congregations, when long time members blame uncomfortable changes on new members with new their ideas. This is not healthy reminiscence, but the kind of revisionism we want to avoid.

As the turning of the year brings us another September, we can examine how and if our memories of the good times are working for the good. Looking at history, we see that Fascist movements often called on bringing society back to a lost golden age.  Mussolini wanted to return to the glory of ancient Rome. Hitler wanted to bring back the great Aryan nation.  Both dictators manipulated their people by trying to hold up a proud mythic past. Some today want to recreate a time from America’s past that we have somehow lost.  What were these mythic days?  A time when women were fine with sexual harassment?  A time where everyone was straight? A time when polluting the earth did no damage? Times like this never really existed. There may be some Unitarian Universalists who want to bring back the era when we were always working on the right side of justice in the public square. Those times never existed either. Longing for imaginary glory days might inspire some to try to bring those times back, by working against the rights for women, sexual minorities, or the earth.  And that would be a tragedy.
In this Issue
Try to Remember the Kind of September
PWR & UUA News
Youth & Emerging Ad
ult News
Mountain Desert 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 From The Heart: Training for Congregations
In this 3- part series for budding and experienced leaders, participating will ground you in your own spiritual soil, acknowledge roots, discern flowers, find abundance, and preserve seeds to keep the harvest going.

Topics will include: UU and ancestral theology, the synergy of passion and mission, living out of conviction and in covenant. For each session participants will complete prework introducing the topic, participate in a large group Zoom gathering to learn more, and meet with a small group (between large group Zoom) to go deeper and make meaningful connections with others.

Learn more and register today! Registration closes September 4.
Save the Dates: Pacific Western Regional Assembly
April 19-20, 2024
Online and in-person
Look for details about registration, location and presenters in upcoming editions of the PWR Newsletter.
Coming This Fall: PWR Chalice Lighters
The PWR Chalice Lighters Visioning Circle is designing what the future of the Chalice Lighters Program will be as the districts merge and dissolve into a unified region this winter. We intend to combine the mutual support and relationships among congregations that the District Chalice Lighter programs faithfully established over many years with multiplying the program’s effectiveness across all the participating areas of the region.

PWR Chalice Lighters will officially launch in January 2024, and this fall will be our "on-ramp". Look for details in upcoming editions of the PWR Newsletter on how your congregation can apply for support from Chalice Lighters and how you can participate in the program as a PWR Chalice Lighter donor yourself. We thank everyone who already shows their commitment to Chalice Lighters by contributing to the program monthly.

From Your PWR Chalice Lighters Visioning Circle:
Judy Bentley, Mountain Desert
Janet Murphy, Pacific Southwest
Karen Urbano, Pacific Central
Rev. Carlton E. Smith, PWR Lead
Rev. Ian Evison, PWR Project Manager for Regionalization
Rhiannon Smith, PWR Administrator

Welcome, in this Season of Return
The Rev. Dr. Sofía Betancourt, elected UUA President at General Assembly in June 2023, offers a message of welcome at the start of a new congregational year for Unitarian Universalists. Rev. Dr. Betancourt also invites all UUs into a shared ministry together to reimagine the workings and expressions of Unitarian Universalist faith, while holding on to the traditions, theology, and commitments that have made us who we are.
Save the Date: PWR Transition Team Town Hall
The Pacific Western Region Transition Team is nearing the end of our work. We would like to invite you all to an upcoming series of Zoom town hall meetings, to be held Tuesday, October 17, 2023 at 6pm PT and Saturday, October 21, 2023 at 10am PT. The purpose of these meetings is to update you about the work of the Transition Team and to provide an opportunity for community connection and celebration as we transition together into a new Region. Be on the lookout for forthcoming details.

Warm regards,
Libby Fitzgerald
Transition Team member from the former Pacific Northwest District
Libby is a third generation Unitarian Universalist and the newest member of the Pacific Western Region Transition Team.
Caring for Trans Families
September 18, 2023
October 23, 2023
November 20, 2023

Each session will last two hours and start at 3:00 p.m. Pacific Time/4:00 p.m. Mountain Time/5:00 p.m. Central Time/6:00 p.m. Eastern Time.

Caring for Trans Families: A national 3-part series that will empower congregational leaders to faithfully support our transgender/non-binary community members. In this series, we will examine what multi-faceted support looks like including pastoral support, structural support and resources to help congregations work toward radical inclusivity, and advocacy in the public sphere. Register now.
Two New Offerings from Congregational Life
The UUA’s Congregational Life Staff Group has two new offerings this fall for small congregations, lay-led congregations, congregations with part-time ministry, and any congregation that is seeking resources for worship.
Sermon of the Month
The first offering is the Sermon of the Month series, a monthly subscription service that provides recorded sermons congregations can download and use for worship. Along with a transcript of the sermon, each month’s offering will include suggested readings and hymns. Speakers will be members of the Congregational Life staff, other UUA staff groups, or guest preachers from around the country.

For our September sermon, the Rev. Sarah Gibb Millspaugh, from the Pacific Western Region Congregational Life Staff, shares her sermon “Living Into the Living System.” In her sermon, she reflects on what it means to see our congregations as “living systems,” and although living systems are naturally resistant to change, beauty and power can emerge in unexpected places when we tend to our living systems.

The subscription costs $350 for 12 monthly sermons that can be used at any time. Annual Program Fund (APF) Honor Congregation will receive a $50 discount. For more information about Congregational Life’s Sermon of the Month series, visit:

Spiritual Deepening through Worship and Small Groups
Our second offering is a virtual course on Spiritual Deepening though Worship and Small Groups, presented in conjunction with the Center for Congregational Spirituality.

This four-session course will lead participants through a process of planning a liturgical year that is authentic to their congregation, gathering resources on the year’s seasonal themes, integrating those themes through communal spiritual practice in worship, creating opportunities for spiritual practice in small groups, and inviting participants to engage in individual practices centered on the theme.

The structure of the course will include both on-demand videos and in-person virtual sessions beginning on Saturday, October 28, and continuing through Saturday, November 18, 2023. While the course is open to individuals, congregations are encouraged to have two to four people participate. The registration fee is $125 for one person, $225 for 2 people, $300 for 3 people, and $350 for 4 people.

The course is compatible with a variety of UU Holidays, Holy Days and Worship Themes, including Earth-centered Wheel of the Year celebrations and monthly theme-based subscriptions services like Soul Matters or Touchstones. For more information on Spiritual Deepening through Worship and Small groups, visit
Fall Right Relationship Team Training is Open for Registration!
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 live into their covenants.

In this facilitated version, you will learn with other congregations during the six live practice sessions. The cost of $400/team covers the facilitators and includes a code to access to training materials. Sessions are every other Thursday, 7:30pm-9:30pm ET. October 5 through December 14.

(Note: The training can also be taken on your own ($30/person). There are instructions for you to facilitate your own practice sessions with your team).

Taproot: A National BIPOC Space

The work of spiritual community is complicated in the 21st century. The need for faithful leadership that is grounded and resilient is imperative. This is all the more true for leaders within our communities and congregations who are Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPoC). All too aware of this need, Congregational Life is excited to explore and co-create a network with congregational leaders that support them in this time in emergent ways through Taproot: A National BIPOC Space. BIPoC Leaders rooted in the Unitarian Universalist congregations are invited to take part in this monthly, virtual gathering. Second Thursday of the month. Next meeting Thursday, October 12th at 8p ET/7p CT/6p MT/5p PT. Details and registration.
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.
Threats from Without, Care from Within
UUs have long acted for justice and equity in the world. Many times, we have experienced threats from those who do not agree. Even beyond that, we always need to consider how to create safer communities for all who choose to attend. This daylong conference will explore questions of safety and compassion through practical means. The day will include worship, workshops, panel discussions, and more on building, personal, and communal safety.

Registration fee: $10-$30-$50. Registration fees are on a sliding scale, based on your assessment of your ability to pay. Those who pay at the highest level are making a donation to help those in financial need for this event. Please remember that for a sliding scale to work, we need the same number of people with means to generously pay more to balance the needs of those who can afford less.

Register today! Registration closes on Friday, October 20th.
Coming in October – UUA Legacy Giving Webinar
Saturday, October 14, 2023 | 1:00 p.m. 3:00 p.m. ET / 10:00 a.m. 12:00 p.m. PT

The UUA’s Legacy Gifts Office offers a number of services, including an online workshop to assist congregations and other UU organizations in creating legacy giving programs. The webinar on Saturday, October 14, 2023 covers the basics of legacy giving and aims to equip legacy giving committees with the knowledge they need to start or refresh their program. To register for the webinar or to reach out with a question about legacy giving, email us at or call (617)-948-6509.
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.

Calling All UUs! Join Our First Threshold Conversation - Coming of Age!
September 14, 2023, 12:00-2:00 pm EST
Panelists will share their diverse experiences with CoA - from challenges and epiphanies, to adaptations and paradigm shifts. We will gather for a virtual viewing party of the panel discussion, followed by a live Q&A/discussion with the panel. More information.
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.


Mountain Desert Ministers Town Hall with PWR Staff
UU Ministers in the Mountain Desert area of the Pacific Western Region are invited to a Town Hall meeting on Zoom with PWR Staff.

Thursday, September 28, 2:30pm to 3:45pm MT

A chance to connect with your PWR staff and to get responses to your burning questions about what’s happening in the Mountain Desert part of the Region and in the wider Pacific Western Region. Registration is required.

This is not a Mountain Desert Chapter Meeting — UU Ministers Association membership not required


Save the Date: PSW Service Area Assembly
InSpirit UU Book and Gift Shop

Exploring Accountability with the UU Common Read: On Repentance and Repair

On Repentance and Repair: Making Amends in an Unapologetic World is the 2023-24 UU Common Read. In this 2022 Beacon Press book, Rabbi Danya Ruttenberg offers a fresh perspective on how we make ourselves accountable to others.

This UU Common Read offers a glimpse into Judaism, one of Unitarian Universalism’s foundational sources, through the writings of 12th century physician and scholar, Maimonides. The book invites us to explore practices, informed by Jewish tradition, that can lead us toward meaningful atonement in our personal, community, and national lives.  Discussion materials for On Repentance and Repair include a two-session workshop for in-person or online groups. While recommended as a two-part series, these discussion materials can also support a half-day workshop.

All resources for the UU Common Read can be found, along with Common Read updates, on the UUA website at Look for additional videos and discussion materials in Fall 2023.

UU Common Read gatherings can be facilitated by a UU lay leader or religious professional. A co-facilitator with tech skills is recommended for online or hybrid groups.

The inSpirit Book and Gift Shop offers a 10% discount on bulk orders of On Repentance and Repair.