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"Westward Bound: Arriving in the PWR" , PWR & UUA News, and more!
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Pacific Western Region
Newsletter June 2022
Westward Bound: Arriving in the PWR
by Carlton E. Smith
Regional Lead

Wednesday, May 25, 4:54 a.m. CT
Kansas City, Kansas

In about an hour, I will be on the road to Cheyenne, Wyoming, crossing from our UUA’s MidAmerica Region into the Pacific Western Region. Yesterday, I started off at 6:45 a.m. at my brother’s home in north Mississippi, at last on my way to live in the part of the country with the people with whom I partner in serving our life-affirming faith.

When I accepted the position of Lead for PWR, it was with the agreement that within a couple of months of the pandemic travel restrictions on UUA staff being lifted, I would relocate to the region. At the beginning of my sabbatical in March, we were still adjusting to what it might mean to do our jobs in-person as well as online. And now, in a few weeks, our region will once again host the Association’s General Assembly in Portland, where I will be based for the next six months.

As far back as the fall of 2020, I had been imagining a version of the journey I’m making now. I had hoped to make a road trip of a couple of weeks, during which I’d spend time with people in each of the historic districts of the region before looping back down to Mississippi. However, with the fire hazards, the road hazards, and the pandemic hazards that would have come with that trek, the staff and I came to the conclusion that it wasn’t time.

I enjoyed yesterday’s drive under overcast skies. Traffic only backed up briefly; there was an accident on the side of the road on the approach to Kansas City. My phone notifications started going off right about then with news of the mass shooting at the elementary school in Uvalde, Texas, in which 19 students and two teachers were killed. While the passage through all the beautiful green countryside feeds my soul, the awareness of another murderous attack weighs heavily, especially since those slain in Buffalo, New York, are still being buried.

Thursday, May 26, 5:59 a.m. MT
Cheyenne, Wyoming

The road trip yesterday started off overcast and windy, but not wet like the evening before. My thermos-like mug filled with coffee, I hit the road a little before 7:00 a.m., passing back into Missouri for a bit somehow, then a little bit into Iowa before crossing into the southeast corner of Nebraska. I spent the bulk of the daylight hours motoring along…there were construction zones along the way but no interruptions, a friend from the Central Time Zone and I had been trying to connect since last week, and we were on the phone for over three hours. That helped pass the time quite a bit. Somewhere along the way, I suddenly had the overwhelming feeling of not being alone, of being surrounded by love. Tuesday, I had meditated on God being change, as the novelist Octavia Butler wrote. And today, I felt God as love, within me and all around me, that also is me. I listened to YouTube videos of my favorite k-pop group Twice singing “Feel Special” and felt even more moved.

At some point, the day got very sunny and bright, and the sky very big, as one might expect in the Midwest. In spite of the horrible news yesterday and all the ongoing sources of grief, hope stirred within my heart. I got to the hotel before 4:00 p.m. (thank you, Mountain Time Zone!), responded to some emails, and then set off to Anong’s Thai Cuisine a half-mile away for early dinner. Summer rolls with peanut sauce and broccoli in brown sauce with fried tofu. So delicious. Next, a jaunt over the railroad tracks to the UU Church of Cheyenne (Pictured above). There was a friendly 12-step meeting going on that I was invited to join, but respectfully didn’t accept. It was just good to be in the space document being there, for sharing on Facebook, as I like doing when I’m in a town where there’s a UU congregation!

The road is calling me now…Time to wash up and head out.

Friday, May 27, 6:13 a.m. MT
Twin Falls, Idaho

Today, I will enter my new residential address into my car’s navigation system. I haven’t needed to do that until now.

At some points yesterday, I felt like I was riding waves as I drove up and down, through and between the mountains. Within an hour of leaving Cheyenne, the mountains came into view. I saw the snow-caps on some of them, and I’m not used to seeing snow anywhere in May. I pass through Laramie and think of Matthew Shepherd, and what it could mean to a town for its name to be closely associated with a hate crime. I’m not listening to the radio as I drive along. I’m tuning into YouTube music recordings, lectures and vlogs.

Coming up from a rest stop exit, I realize that the 18-wheeler behind me in the lane I’m merging into isn’t making much space for me at all. I accelerate to put some distance between us. I became aware again of all the hazards of being on the road, especially solo and in a barren, unfamiliar part of the country. Many unexpected things could happen, and quickly. Each of the hundreds of cars along the way is a potential threat to my existence, not to mention my own capacity to misjudge risks. The strong wind gusts yesterday on my approach to Twin Falls had me wondering if driving cross country was such a bright idea – It felt as if my car could have been blown off the highway!

Nonetheless, I am on this journey, which is drawing to a close this afternoon. I will continue to trust in the universe to guide me and others along the road. Going forth in spite of the many hazards along the way has served me well so far. As we go deeper into 2022, I hope we will all be encouraged to keep on moving forward.

In faith,

Note: My sabbatical ends officially July 5, though I will be at work the week of General Assembly in Portland, June 20-26. I hope to see many of you there, whether in-person or online!

In this Issue
Westward Bound: Arriving in the PWR
PWR & UUA News

Youth & Emerging Adult News
Mountain Desert News

Pacific Central News
Pacific Northwest 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
Register Now for General Assembly 2022!
In 2022, we will have the option of meeting online or in-person! For those who enjoyed the convenience and accessibility of remote participation, General Assembly will continue to offer virtual attendance with robust programming and enhanced delegate discussion tools. For those who have been missing the physical experience, GA 2022 will also feature face-to-face interactions, hanging banners, a browsable exhibit hall, meals with friends old and new, local site attractions, and more! Join us June 22 - 26, 2022 online or in-person in Portland, Oregon. Click here for more information!

Registration is now open for in-person attendance. Full-time registration is $575 for adults, and $325 for high school youth, emerging adults, and retired and candidate ministers. Financial support for registration, lodging credit within the GA housing block, as well as a payment plan are available. Registration for virtual participation is now open!
Offerings for Small Congregations at General Assembly
Are you a member of a smaller congregation? The Small Congregations Task Force, part of the Congregational Life Staff Team, has reviewed the workshops being offered at General Assembly and curated a list we recommend for small congregations. These workshops offer ideas and programs that can help you thrive. You can read the full list, with descriptions, at our blog post, Small Congregations at GA 2022. To access these workshops you must be registered for GA and it’s not too late to do that for in-person or virtual attendance.
2022-2023 PWR Leadership Offerings
PWR announces the leadership offerings for 2022-2023, including:

  • Launch: Collaborative Board Retreat in August and September
  • A fall series of leader specific resources & best practices webinars
  • A spring session of Leading from the Heart

See our website for more details!

Save the Date: Owl Facilitator Trainings
Our Whole Lives facilitator trainings begin again in person:
August 19-21 in Berkeley, CA
September 3-5 in Bellevue, WA
Levels and Registration Links
Compensation and Staffing Survey: For All Congregations with Paid Staff
Greetings from Jan Gartner and Sean Griffin! We’re the Compensation Team within the UUA Office of Church Staff Finances. At the beginning of May, we launched a Compensation and Staffing Survey to help us learn how our congregations are staffed and what staff are paid. We’ve publicized it through numerous channels and responses have been rolling in. Has your congregation responded yet? (If you are unable to verify, drop a note to and we will check.)

We’re eager to begin analyzing the information, but we’ll hold the survey open through June 10 to enable even more congregations to participate. The staff member or lay leader most familiar with staff hours and compensation should complete the survey. We think they will find it quite intuitive, but we advise everyone to start by reading our Compensation and Staffing Survey LeaderLab page, which outlines the information needed, provides a PDF preview, offers tips for completion, and links to the survey itself. Once the necessary information is gathered, it should take just a minute or two to enter your congregational information plus 1-2 minutes per employee.

As we rethink our approach to providing salary recommendations, having "actuals" will help us ensure that our recommendations are useful and realistic. Thank you for sharing your congregation’s information!
UU the Vote Legacy Fellowship
UU the Vote and UU College of Social Justice are excited to announce the UU the Vote Legacy Fellowship for UU Young Adults and/or Black, Indigenous, and people of color Unitarian Universalists. This Fellowship recognizes and supports leaders in our faith community who carry on the legacy of activism and organizing that embody our faith through justice organizing and activism.

The fellowship is a 6-month program (July-November) that will recognize 6 to 8 individuals to support your work and expand your skills and capacity. Fellows will be awarded $5,000 with an additional $1,500 project budget.

The success of UU the Vote was the result of leaders engaging in multiple strategies and tactics to support our UU and larger communities. Our success was defined by partnerships with frontline communities and organizations–many of which are led by and organized by young adults and BIPOC communities. The UU the Vote Legacy Fellowship is an investment in that leadership. Learn more here.

Join us for our
Open House on June 7th at 7pm ET for a 45-minute  informational event where you will be able to meet the Fellowship Committee and ask questions about the program and application process. RSVP here.

UUA Presidential Search Begins
The Unitarian Universalist Association's (UUA) Presidential Search Committee has started their work for the 2023 UUA Election. On the Presidential Search page, you'll find the official job description for UUA President, the portion of the UUA Bylaws that describe the nomination process, the application deadline, how to apply, and who to contact for more information. You can learn more from the UU World Article on the process. Applications open through July 15, 2022.
UUA Board of Trustees Updates
General Assembly Webinars
At this year’s multiplatform General Assembly (GA), we will explore the power, possibility, purpose, struggle, and joy of meeting the moment as Unitarian Universalists. Whether you're a first-time delegate or a long-time attendee, we invite you to join us to learn more about what will happen at GA this year. Members of the Board of Trustees (with some occasional special guests) will provide an overview, along with information for delegates regarding the business sessions. More information and registration here.

Open Houses

The Board will, once again, hold open houses on the 2nd Tuesday of each month.
  • Tuesday, June 14, 2022; 4pm PT/ 5pm MT / 6pm CT/ 7pm ET. Pre-register.

Board Meetings
The Board meets monthly. Here are the dates for each meeting. Please note that a registration link for the meetings will be available on this page in advance of each meeting.
  • Monday, June 13, 2022
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.
GA Travel Reimbursement for Youth and Young Adults
In addition to the registration discounts and housing credits available to youth and young adults attending General Assembly (more info on the Financial Aid Information Page), Lifespan Faith Engagement is offering travel reimbursements through the Katie Tyson and Davidoff Funds. Youth and young adults traveling to UUA events can request travel reimbursement by providing anticipated costs or travel receipts. Black, Indigenous, and People of Color youth and young adults can request up to $625, white youth and young adults can request up to $250 by filling out this Travel Reimbursement for UUA Events form.
Youth Mental Health First Aid Training
June 11th (9-12p PT / 10-1p MT / 11-2p CT / 12-3 ET) & 12th (12-3p PT / 1-4p MT / 2-5p CT / 3-6p ET)

This evidence based program created by practitioners and people with lived experience teaches people how to recognize the signs and symptoms of a mental health challenge, how to provide help, and what to do in a crisis. This training teaches the lifesaving skills of assessing for risk of suicide and harm, identifying alternatives to calling the police in a mental health crisis and putting someone who's overdosed in the recovery position. Lifespan Faith Engagement infuses this training with UU values of youth empowerment and agency, community care, and cultural humility. Registration fee is on a sliding scale from $0-$80. You can also request a private training for your congregation or cluster. Find out more and sign up here.

EA@GA: Together Again!
Join us the day before GA for an event sparkling with fun, community, worship, and laughter! Covenantal connection for both in person and virtual participants. All 18-24 year old UUs are welcome.
A day of activities including lunch and dinner at First Unitarian Portland.
Tuesday June 21, noon to 10pm PT.
Register here. See you in Portland!  🙂

Camp is Back in 2022!
Exciting news! Camp will return in 2022. Dates have been confirmed for our week-long, residential high school & middle school camps in the mountains.
QUUest: July 3-9, 2022 in Casper, Wyoming.
Camp Blue Boat: July 17-21 in Ellensburg, WA.
Watch the newsletter and our website for more information as it becomes available.
Staff applications open until positions are filled.
Donations to support camp always welcome.
Support Reproductive Health in Wyoming
Plans are underway to move ahead with opening the Wellspring Health Access Clinic in Casper, Wyoming on June 14, 2022 after an apparent arson last week. The clinic's construction and opening budget has been greatly impacted by this attack, and they are seeking support. For those who would like to donate to the clinic’s fire fund, please find the link at the Wellspring Health Access website. Reverend Leslie Kee, an area UU minister, serves on the clinic’s community advisory board and helped secure meeting space for organizers since the project came to Casper last year. Another way local UUs have been involved is helping lay the groundwork for the pregnancy prevention, healthy sexuality, and LGBTQ health care services which are part of Wellspring’s holistic approach. Support from the larger UU family, inspiration from our values, and commitment to reproductive freedom are, once again, at the forefront and making a difference. From all of us in Wyoming, thank you!
Reminder: PCD Annual Business Meeting
Dear Friends,

We know that the Pacific Central District hasn’t existed in many minds for quite some time. However, it still exists as a legal entity, and as the custodian of hopes and resources bequeathed to the District long ago, and ministries that still matter.

It’s time to find a new way to steward these hopes and resources, and the PCD Board needs your help. Please be a delegate or send a delegate to the PCD Annual Meeting on Saturday, June 11th at 1PM PT, 10AM HT.

We will be asking you to do five things:

  1. authorize the board to pursue a course of institutional integration with other UU entities, either through merger or dissolution,
  2. affirm the ongoing volunteer service of the Board to do the work of institutional integration,
  3. bring the District by-laws in alignment with the current scope of the District,
  4. approve a last year’s minutes, and next year’s budget, and to
  5. be in conversation with the Board and each other.

Your Pacific Central District Board,
Catherine Ishida
Roger Jones
Bob Klein
Bob Miess
Karen Urbano

Eliot Institute: UU Camp in the Pacific Northwest
The Eliot Institute holds four multi-day inter-generational camps each year for members and friends of Unitarian Universalist congregations in the Pacific Northwest.

For three of Eliot’s camps, there is a morning program on topics that range from spiritual growth, social justice, environmental issues, and the arts.  Programs for youth and children run concurrently with the adult morning program. Afternoons and evenings are filled with traditional camp activities. Our fourth camp, Creative Arts Eliot, features workshops led by artists instead of a speaker.

Visit our website to learn more and read about specific camp descriptions and dates. Seabeck Conference Center has a variety of housing options. Proof of vaccination is required by Eliot Institute and there are scholarship funds available. If you have questions, you can contact our administrator, Bev Hesterberg, at

Come relax, grow and connect with others on the beautiful 90-acre campus in Seabeck, Washington, with sweeping views of Hood Canal and the Olympic Mountains. We would love to have you join us!
InSpirit UU Book and Gift Shop
Swinging on the Garden Gate: A Memoir of Bisexuality and Spirit
Every story begins with a word. As a young woman, Elizabeth Jarrett Andrew carried a word within her so potent that it spread through her every artery and vein. She carried it in secret until she was shown a different way and the word inside her turned restless and eager.

A stunning memoir of coming of age and coming out, Swinging on the Garden Gate: A Memoir of Bisexuality and Spirit describes a period of time in award-winning writer and teacher Elizabeth Jarrett Andrew’s life when she came to know bisexuality as an embodied manifestation of divinity. Andrew not only reconciles her United Methodist faith with her sexuality but realizes that her body is holy, her sexuality is holy, and the word she carried within her has always been holy.

The spark of spirit Andrew identifies in her body she also finds throughout the solid matter of life—in childhood, nature, creativity, loss, death, and especially the coming out process. Andrew brings a distinctly queer feminist lens to Christian teachings and answers the question innumerable young people have posed to her over the years: “Is it possible to be both queer and spiritual?” The act of bringing hidden, personal truths to light is transformative, and for Andrew, a universal calling.

This second edition includes a new note from Andrew as she looks back on its twenty-year history and a foreword by Bishop Karen Oliveto, the first openly lesbian bishop to be elected in the United Methodist Church.

Elizabeth Jarrett Andrew teaches creative writing at Wisdom Ways Center for Spirituality in St. Paul, Minnesota. She is the author of two books for writers: Writing the Sacred Journey: The Art and Practice of Spiritual Memoir and Living Revision: A Writer’s Craft as Spiritual Practice, which received a Nautilus Award in 2018.

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