Leadership Experience 2019, Healthy Congregations Team, and more...


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PWR Newsletter


"More Important Than Anything Else"

Dear Pacific Western Congregational Leaders,

What’s the most important factor in your congregation’s future success? What will determine whether your congregation will be one of the many in the U.S. that will dwindle and die in the next 10 or 20 years or will be one of the few that adapts and thrives while nurturing the spirituality of its own members and acting for compassion and justice in the wider world?

Is it your location? Is it your financial assets? Is it your building or parking lot (or lack of either?) Is it your social media presence? Is it how many young adults, children, and youth you have? Is it whether your music on Sunday morning tends more to Bach or tends more to the bacchanalian?

No, more important than anything else, it is the quality of your leadership. This includes both your professional religious leadership as well as your lay leadership. Without good leadership, nothing else really matters.

Successful congregations intentionally and regularly look for opportunities to recruit, invest in, and develop good leadership.

I am happy to let you know such an opportunity is before you now.

Last month in this newsletter, I announced the launch of "Leadership Experience 2019" — a pilot hybrid in-person/on-line learning experience that will take place this coming winter and spring. This month, I am pleased to announce that it is now possible to apply to participate in this program.

Visit to learn more. Space is limited, so individuals are encouraged to apply to participate by October 15!

Participants will meet for a weekend retreat in one of three locations in January 2019. Participants will then have eight follow-up 90-minute video conference calls by Zoom February through May. There will also be an optional gathering for all participants at General Assembly in Spokane, Washington, in June.

This program will be ideal for board members or other individuals in leadership positions within a congregation. Congregations are also strongly encouraged to send people who are being considered for future leadership positions. Ministers and other religious professionals may also attend.

Participants will gain a deeper grounding in Unitarian Universalism and will also gain knowledge and skills regarding mission-focused leadership, systems thinking, change management, anti-oppression and multi-culturalism, and conflict transformation as well as other topics. The weekend retreats and Zoom calls will be led by PWR staff.

Leaders of large congregations, this is for you, too! Check in with Rev. Christine Robinson ( to learn about how the Leadership Experience will meet your needs.

Download promotional posters to use in your congregation.

Here are the times, dates, costs, and locations of the three weekend retreats as well as the follow-up Zoom calls:

Weekend Retreat A
January 11-13, Vallombrosa Center, Menlo Park, California (near San Francisco).
Follow-up Zoom Calls: First and third Tuesdays, 7-8:30 p.m. Pacific Time (February 5, February 19, March 5, March 19, April 2, April 16, May 7, and May 21).
Cost: $500.

Weekend Retreat B
January 18-20, Madonna Retreat and Conference Center, Albuquerque, New Mexico.
Follow-up Zoom Calls: First and third Thursdays, 7-8:30 p.m. Mountain Time (February 7, February 21, March 7, March 21, April 11, April 25, May 2, and May 16).
Cost: $350.

Weekend Retreat C
January 25-27, Menucha Retreat and Conference Center, Corbett, Oregon (near Portland).
Follow-up Zoom Calls: Second and fourth Wednesdays, 7-8:30 p.m. Pacific Time (February 13, February 27, March 13, March 27, April 10, April 24, May 8, and May 22).
Cost: $400.

Participants may attend any one of the three weekend retreats, not necessarily the one closest to where they live. Travel subsidies of $200 will be available for participants who live more than 300 miles from the location nearest to them.

Make a difference in the life of your congregation for next year and for years to come and encourage individuals in your congregation to apply to participate today!

For more information, please contact me at (253) 252-6539 or

Rev. Dr. James Kubal-Komoto, Pacific Western Regional Lead

September 13, 2018
In this Issue
  • Leadership Experience 2019
  • Events, Training & Webinars
  • District and UU News
  • Healthy Congregations Team
  • Job Postings
  • Youth News
PWR Quick Links
PWR Field Staff

Events, Training and Webinars


Growing Generosity

Ten PWR congregations are participating in our "Institutionalizing a Ministry of Generosity" initiative, but other congregations can access our resources as they become available. The "homework" is now available. The Brené Brown book would make a great congregational common read.

Stewardship for Us is working with us to curate healthy practices related to stewardship and to make those available. Those should be listed in the spring.

Webinar: Healthy Giving in Congregations

Oct. 29, 6:30-8:00pm Pacific
Sponsored by the Pacific Western Region of the UUA

Are you concerned about the distribution of giving in your congregation? Join Rachel Maxwell & Kay Crider of Stewardship for Us for a webinar on skewed giving. We’ll talk about the range of giving within our congregations, economic justice and the Fair Share Giving Guide, incentives for raising pledges, secrecy versus confidentiality, effective messaging and a congregational covenant about stewardship.

Register now to reserve a space for this webinar.

Board Development Days

A day for congregational teams (board members and clergy) to explore and learn together.

  • October 20 at First Unitarian Universalist Society of San Francisco, CA
  • November 3 at Valley UU Congregation in Chandler, AZ

Register Now

Upcoming OWL Trainings

OWL Grades K-1 & 4-6

OWL Grades 7-9 & 10-12

OWL Young Adult & Adult

Don't see a training that works for you? The OWL Training Calendar shows all the trainings across the country. You may also contact PWR's lifespan faith specialist Rev. Sarah Gibb Millspaugh to learn whether any trainings are being planned near you.


PWR and UUA News


Launching PWR’s Healthy Congregations Team

Imagine a spiritually mature, culturally competent and humble, non-anxious Unitarian Universalism where conflict is a faith formation opportunity and a normal part of religious community and the human journey. Perhaps your congregation is well on its way. Or perhaps your community needs a little help.

That’s where the PWR’s Healthy Congregations Team comes in. The purpose of the Healthy Congregations Team is to provide training, consultation and assessment for congregations who wish to embrace healthy communications and proactively engage conflict.

Services include facilitated conversations, practices of discernment, establishing norms and sanctions, covenant of right relationship, conflict assessment and leadership coaching. Healthy Congregations Consultants are specially trained and professionally experienced in this kind of work.

Join the PWR Healthy Congregations Facebook group, where leaders in congregations will explore what it means to be a Healthy Congregation. Resources are shared here and the regional Healthy Congregations Team will field questions here.

If you would like follow up with a Healthy Congregations Consultant, please fill out an intake form.

Phone or video consultation is free. If extended consultation time or face-to-face services are necessary, then fees may be required. Congregations in extreme financial circumstances may have all or part of the fees waived to ensure that consultation services are available.

The Healthy Congregation Team recognizes that whenever two or more people get together, conflict is inevitable. We’re here to help you embrace those challenges with integrity.

In faith,
Tandi Rogers, PWR Congregational Life Staff

Grow Yourself, Grow Your Congregation!

Leadership is learned from experience, from mentors, from peers and from training. The UU Leadership Institute's core leadership courses help new leaders understand how congregations function and help experienced leaders to develop strategies to help their congregation reach its fullest potential.

Centered Leadership Part 1 & 2
Learn how to function as a centered, spiritual leader in an interconnected system of relationships creating the Beloved Community.

Strategic Leadership
Focus your congregation on mission, by building trust and developing a cohesive leadership team.

Adaptive Leadership
Learn to help your congregations face challenges that don’t have easy answers.

Fall's online courses from the UU Leadership Institute are now open!

Stories for the Future of Unitarian Universalism

When it comes to our future, we know at least three things:

  • Organized religion is changing at breakneck speed as more people— young and old, of all identities and races— look for new forms of spiritual community that better meet their needs for meaning, personal fulfillment and companionship;
  • Our Unitarian Universalist tradition and principles speak directly and powerfully to many of them, even if our traditional ways of being in community don’t always;
  • And UU leaders of all types, professional and lay, are pioneering new ways of being in community, worshiping, educating, expressing creativity, leading social justice and starting-up social enterprises that give exciting expression to Unitarian Universalism.

For Breakthrough 2018-19, the UUA and UU World want to tell your stories of innovations that are working, how you’ve brought them about and what you’ve learned along the way. This isn’t about numerical growth, community size or even whole-community programming. We want to celebrate innovative ways UU communities of all kinds—congregations, covenanted communities or start-ups—are better serving those who need Unitarian Universalism right now. Please help us inspire others to see possibilities, to adapt ideas that are working, and to encourage all the change leaders among us. We can’t wait to tell your story!

Anyone familiar with a Breakthrough innovation can submit an application after notifying the appropriate community leader, minister, religious education professional and board or board delegate. Visit Breakthrough Congregations to learn more and submit an application. Please apply by November 1.

New online course: Transgender Inclusion in Congregations

Is your congregation ready to take your welcome to the next level? Our movement has come a long way with regards to LGBTQ inclusion, but there’s still a long way left to go. A recent survey of trans UUs found that only 44% of trans women and men feel that their current or most recent congregation is completely inclusive of them as trans people—and this number drops to a shocking 18% for non-binary folks.

Transgender Inclusion in Congregations aims to make a dent in these numbers. This is not a "trans 101"—it’s a comprehensive, six-session online course for individuals, groups, and congregational teams that are committed to transformation, offered by two trans UU faith leaders: Rev. Mykal Slack and Zr. Alex Kapitan.

Each of the course’s six sessions includes a 45- to 60-minute pre-recorded lecture, reflection questions, and resources that take the conversation deeper. In addition, Mykal and Alex will be holding regular live video chats for all current or past course participants. Congregational teams are particularly encouraged to take the course.

Find out more and sign up at

UUCSJ’s Immersion Learning Programs

Immersion learning is what happens to us when we step outside of our comfort zones and allow the world to speak to us. It’s in the sudden awakening we feel when we cross boundaries of language or culture, race or country, with open minds and hearts. It’s when people whose lives are different from ours invite us into their homes, and we leave with the recognition that we are family. Learn more about the Unitarian Universalist College of Social Justice's immersion learning opportunities, and see how you can get your community involved.

Webinar for Faith Development Professionals Dismantling White Supremacy

This fall the UUA will pilot a structured process to help UU faith development professionals lead their congregations to dismantle white supremacy in religious education programming. They are seeking faith development professionals working in congregations of any size, staff configuration, geographic location, and level of antiracism experience to participate. Register to attend an informational webinar on Sept. 28 at 10am Pacific to learn more.

Ware Lecture Discussion Guide

One of the highlights of the 2018 General Assembly was the Ware Lecture by Brittany Packnett. This was a passionate and straight-talking talk about the place where we find ourselves and where we must find ourselves as individuals and as faith community. This talk offers much for us to reflect upon as we examine the impacts of racism and white supremacy culture within our faith. We urge you to watch this and then consider having a conversation in your congregation. The Commission on Institutional Change has prepared a discussion guide to support congregational conversations.

PWR Congregations in the News

Lopez leaving Carbondale sanctuary after 10 months - The Aspen Times
"Sandra is leaving the sanctuary of our congregation and goes into the larger sanctuary of our community," the Rev. Shawna Foster, minister at Two Rivers Unitarian Universalist, said in the statement. "This valley wants to keep families together and is committed to the unity of our neighborhoods by supporting sanctuary for almost a year.

How These Small Red-State Towns Are Teaming Up to Support Immigrant Families - Marie Claire
This past Sunday afternoon, after a church service at the Boise UU Fellowship in Garden City, Idaho, about 76 members of the community gathered for a cookout. The table in Garden City, a city with a population of 12,000, was complete with each family’s favorite dish—potato salad, deviled eggs, baked goods, fruit salads. But this cookout was about more than celebrating the summer: It was to raise money for the families who couldn’t enjoy this simple, sacred rite of gathering family for a meal.

Faith floods the desert: Humanitarian aid is never a crime - Peoples' World
No More Deaths is an organization that provides humanitarian relief to migrants, mobilizes search and rescue operations for disappeared migrants, and documents how border enforcement pushes migration into some of the most remote and dangerous areas in Arizona’s deserts. "Faith Floods the Desert" was an initiative sponsored jointly between NMD, the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee, and the Unitarian Universalist Association in response to the increasing criminalization of migrant relief work by the U.S. government.

New minister to head Unitarian Universalists - Half Moon Bay Review
There will be a new face at the helm of the Unitarian Universalist Coastside Community’s Sunday service. Tovis Page, who serves the Unitarian Universalists of San Mateo as an intern minister, will be leading the Coastside collective for the next seven months.

PWR Job Postings

PWR Administrator

The Pacific Western Region is accepting applications for an Administration Associate. This is a 30-hour per week position that begins December 3. Read the full job description in the PWR job postings (it should be available very soon, so check back if it isn't there yet).



Pacific Central News


Chalice Lighters News

The Pacific Central District's 2018-19 Fall Chalice Lighter Call will open on September 17. Funds raised will benefit the Starr King School for the Ministry. If you are already a Chalice Lighter member, you'll be receiving your call letter soon to learn more about this exciting project. If you are not a Chalice Lighter member and would like to be, you can sign up online using the Chalice Lighter Enrollment Form.

Are you a PCD Chalice Lighter yet?

It is easy to become a Chalice Lighter in the Pacific Central District. Once you have signed up, you will be asked to contribute a minimum of $20 three times a year for a grant call from a PCD congregation, or a proposal that will help to promote Unitarian Universalism in some way.

The fall PCD Chalice Lighter call will open on September 17. If you are already a Chalice Lighter, you will receive a letter in the mail or an email with the request to donate. If you aren’t already a Chalice Lighter, you can sign up here.

Here are a few questions you may have:

How can my congregation apply for a Chalice Lighter grant?
First, your congregation must be an Honor Congregation both with the UUA as well with as the PCD. This means that your congregation contributes its fair share to both, whether it is per member or according to a percentage of your church budget.
Second, you will need a good proportion of your members signed up and contributing to Chalice Lighters. Making an effort to increase your donor numbers counts.

What kind of grant proposal should we make?
Your proposal could be for new furniture for a new RE wing, playground equipment, a new sound system, lighting, hiring a new staff person, or expanding outreach into your community. Use your imagination.

How can we increase the numbers of Chalice Lighters in our congregation?
Have an Ambassador to be the cheerleader for the program! Maybe there is already a Denominational Affairs person who would be willing to take on the task. Set up a table during coffee hour. Ask to speak during announcements on Sunday morning. Pass out information about Chalice Lighters. Wear your red Chalice Lighter ribbon.

Where can I find information to share with my congregation?
Visit There you will find an application to sign up, a three-fold brochure you can download and print, and an application to apply for a grant proposal for your congregation. You can also contact me at I am happy to answer questions you may have.

Karen Urbano,
PCD Volunteer Chalice Lighter Coordinator

Pot of Gold - 7th Annual Religious Education Conference

"Reimagining Sunday School" With Kimberly Sweeney & Rev. Sarah Gibb Millspaugh

Saturday, September 29, 2018 - 8:30am to 4:00pm at UU Society of Sacramento, CA. Sponsored by the Pacific Central LREDA Chapter.

All RE professionals and volunteers, UU ministers and lay leaders from the Pacific Western Region are invited to the 7th Annual Pot of Gold RE Conference, hosted by the Pacific Central Chapter of LREDA at the UU Society of Sacramento. Shared keynote presentation by Kim Sweeney, author of "The Death of Sunday School and the Future of Faith Formation" & Executive Director of Courageous Faith Consulting and the Rev. Sarah Gibb Millspaugh, Congregational Life Staff member in the Pacific Western Region. Wonderful meals, worship, keynote conversations, and workshops on skills and models for our educational ministries for children, youth, families and volunteer leaders. Nearby lodging at Larkspur Landing. Free and easy parking at UUSS. Sacramento accessible by Amtrak, airport, and Megabus. $50/person or $40/person for teams of 4 or more per congregation (incl. meals). Rates go up after Sept. 15. Learn more and register. Questions? Contact us at


Pacific Northwest News


Workshop: An Introduction to Restorative Justice with Pam Orbach

Oct. 6, 2018 - 9:00-5:30pm Pacific at East Shore Unitarian Church

This hands-on experiential immersion in Restorative Justice, Circles and Practices will support those seeking a paradigm shift away from "Either/Or" thinking that leads to shame and blame and often results in punishment and disconnection. This is an alternative approach to accountability that brings connection and dignity. Contact to discuss scholarship opportunities. Bring your own lunch or use easily accessible restaurants in the neighborhood. $90 members; $100 non-members.

Learn more.


Pacific Southwest News


Raising the Roof at Tapestry

Two years ago, when their landlord told the congregation its rent could increase by as much as 40 percent over the next three years, the Tapestry congregation launched a "Raise the Roof" capital campaign. They were able to purchase an office building that could be renovated to give it twice as much space as its previously rented facility, more classrooms, a separate social hall, a better equipped sanctuary and a prep kitchen.

With the help of a $200,000 Spirit Level Foundation grant, Tapestry was able to complete most of the renovations and will eventually allow them to host OWL sleepovers, regional UU gatherings and community events.

But before the congregation can obtain an occupancy permit and begin holding Sunday services, some of the renovations required to meet building codes must be done by professionals, renovations that were unexpected and not budgeted.

The assistance of generous Chalice Lighters would help Tapestry complete those renovations, especially the installation of a fire alarm and sprinkler system, and finally move into the home it has dreamed of for more than 20 years.

You can submit your donation online. You may also write a check and mail it to PSWD Chalice Lighters, 7511 Greenwood Avenue North, #414, Seattle, WA 98103-4627. If you send a check, please write PSWD CL in the memo line of your check and on the payment envelope.

Contributions for this call will be accepted through October 23, 2018. If you have any questions, email Thank you for your generosity!


PWR Youth News


Update from the PWR Multicultural Team

Friends across the PWR,

In the last three years, a group of 2/3 People of Color and 1/3 white accomplices have been working in all four districts of the region to support youth of color and others representing marginalized voices. This group was called the PWR Multicultural Team.

During their tenure, members of the Team have produced webinars, workshops, caucusing resources, and made in-person visits to youth communities to companion and coach.

Now the Team is on hiatus. Most of the current leadership have aged out or moved on and it is going through a transition period to assess the ability our youth communities to tackle this work on their own. The Team has observed that many of the practices recommended by its leadership have been integrated into youth community positions, youth board practices, and/or congregational workshops. And, the resources the Team has created are still readily available.

In 2015 at the Youth Ministry Revival in Portland, OR, a group of POC youth challenged PWR to create space for caucusing/identity work at all subsequent events. The Multicultural Team is re-issuing that challenge. The Team is asking our PWR youth boards, con communities, and congregations to commit to:

  • Deconstructing white supremacy in UU spaces
  • Effective, intersectional caucusing at immersion gatherings
  • Get proximate
  • Make a conscious effort to include many identities in leadership (district boards, con staff), with an emphasis on racial diversity (without tokenizing)
  • Reach out to other communities in our region, share resources and collaborate on ideas.
  • Refer youth to programs like Thrive and Goldmine - leadership opportunities where students can further their intercultural skills and strengthen identity

The work continues. Will you join us?

With deepest respect...

Eric Bliss,
PWR Youth Specialist

Upcoming Youth Events

Welcome - A UU Primer

Edited by Patricia Frevert, UUA, 2008

Introduces Unitarian Universalist prayers and readings, including the seven Principles and six Sources, chalice lightings, and more.

Sunday and Every Day

Edited by Patricia Frevert, UUA, 2010

Features prayers for worship and everyday use, stories, songs, plus the seven Principles and six Sources in children's language. Ages 5 and up.


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Pacific Western Region - UUA
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