Safe from Harm, Tips on Compensation, Personal Testimony and more...


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PWR Newsletter


Safe from Harm

It's been more than nine years since an angry man walked into the Tennessee Valley Unitarian Universalist Church with a gun and started shooting. Since then, violent attacks on people gathered—for worship, for concerts, for shopping—have only increased in frequency and severity. While our hearts fill with sympathy for the victims as well as outrage at the prevalence of gun violence, we are also recognizing that "it could happen to us." The chances are quite low, but it could happen to us. That is why many of our congregations are feeling called to review our safety policies and our procedures for dealing with active shooters.

The following resources have helped our congregations develop plans and procedures for addressing threats and violent incidents:

  • Your local police department. Often, they can do a walk-through of your building and give you guidance.
  • Church Mutual Insurance Company's ALICE Training Institute Online Tutorial. ALICE stands for Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter, and Evacuate. These tactics are broader than a "lockdown only" approach, and have proven effective for minimizing harm.
  • The Justice Technology Information Center's Safeguarding Houses of Worship App and resources to use "in collaborating with community leaders and first responders."
  • The Anti-Defamation League's Protecting Your Jewish Institution [PDF] is a comprehensive security guide covering not only active shooter situations, but also violent protests, threats, and surveillance by hostile groups.

As the PWR's portfolio-holder for Safe Congregations, I'm interested in hearing from congregations that have developed strong policies and procedures. I'd like to share what you've done with other congregations. And if you're from a congregation that's just getting started with this work, be in touch with your primary contact.

For more resources on how to keep your congregation safe from all types of harm, check out our Safe Congregations resources. This website is in the process of revision and update, so if you can't find what you need, just write to the team and we'll get you connected.

Rev. Sarah Gibb Millspaugh
PWR Congregational Life Staff

November 16, 2017
In this Issue
  • Safe from Harm
  • PWR Webinars
  • Board Development Days
  • Compensation Consultants
  • District and UU News
  • Job Postings
  • Youth News
  • Technology and Communications
PWR Quick Links
PWR Field Staff

Events, Training and Webinars


PWR Webinars

Webinars offer a convenient way to engage in online collaborative learning across the Pacific Western Region (PWR). Participating as a learning community in your congregation gives your team a starting point to gain insight, discuss with religious leaders, and focus your congregation's learning community on what matters.

This year, the PWR staff provide a variety of exciting offerings with individual webinars at $20 per connection. A connection is one link that is viewed by as many as desired from one place, such as your congregation.

View the PWR Webinar Archive 

Questions about PWR Webinars: Contact PWR Congregational Life Staff, Jonipher Kwong at

Mental Health Information for Ministers & Lay Leaders

Rev. Barbara F. Meyers and Rev. Tandi Rogers - December 6, 7-8 pm

Our pews are filled with people suffering, often silently, from mental illness, either their own or that of a loved one. In this webinar, we will cover:

  • The congregation's role in addressing mental health
  • General information about mental health and recovery
  • Some specific mental health problems and how to address them
  • Religion / Spirituality and mental illness

Register for Mental Health Information for Ministers & Lay Leaders

Youth Leadership AND Spirituality: Not an Either/Or Proposition

Eric Bliss, PWR Youth Ministry Specialist, and Rev. Leslie Mills - December 12, 7-8 pm

For decades, the best that we thought we could accomplish in youth ministry was empowering leadership. Now, in these complicated and complex times, it is clear that leadership alone is not sufficient to minister to our weary and hyper-scheduled youth. How can a deeper spirituality inform youth leadership AND sustain it? What practices synchronize harmoniously with leading? How can youth balance religious life with the many pushes, pulls, and asks of modern life? These questions and others will be explored in this one-hour webinar.

Register for Youth Leadership AND Spirituality

Board Development Days

A day for congregational teams (board members and clergy) to explore and learn together. Note: This day may supplement your traditional Board Retreat, serve as part of it, or provide the foundation for it.

  • December 2 at First UU Church San Diego - Hillcrest (San Diego, CA)
  • December 9 at Florence UU Fellowship (Florence, OR)
  • January 27 at UU Society of Sacramento (Sacramento, CA)
  • February 3 at Granite Peak UU Congregation (Prescott, AZ)
  • March 3 at Olympic UU Fellowship (Port Angeles, WA)
  • March 17 at Edmonds UU Church (Edmonds, WA)
Register Now

There are still opportunities to bring a Board Development Day to your area. If you are interested in hosting a Board Development Day in the coming year, let your PWR Primary Contact know.


Denominational News


Tips from PWR Compensation Consultants

"It is good to provide professional development and training budgets for all professional staff, not just the minister. Help your religious educator stay connected with LREDA and your administrator stay connected with AUUA. They will get good support as well as helping your staff not spend time recreating solutions where colleagues have already found so solutions." - Debbie Bieber

Also, be sure and checkout the new Benefits Tune-up Workbook from the UUA.

Contact PWR's Compensation Consultants
Do you have a question about compensation for your staff? Contact your compensation consultant.

  • Martha Ketelle,, for Pacific Southwest District plus congregations in New Mexico and El Paso, Texas
  • Debbie Bieber,, for Pacific Central District plus congregations in Colorado and Utah
  • Brian Rogers,, for Pacific Northwest District plus congregations in Montana, Wyoming, Nebraska, and Idaho

PWR Congregations in the News

Unitarians stand behind undocumented immigrants with sanctuary church vote - The Davis Enterprise
The Unitarian Universalist Church of Davis voted Sunday to become a "sanctuary church." The unanimous vote came at a special membership meeting called by the church board. It follows months of discussion about how the congregation will respond to harsh rhetoric and threats of mass deportation of undocumented immigrants by the Trump administration.

Open house at the men's shelter - Corvallis Gazette-Times
This year, the shelter will operate under the non-profit status of the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Corvallis. The church's minister, Jill McAllister, said taking on financial management of the shelter was a part of the church's justice and outreach efforts. McAllister said the church stepped forward when a financial manager was needed because people's lives are at stake.

Boulder church plans vote on becoming sanctuary for undocumented immigrants - The Denver Post
The congregation at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Boulder is expected to vote on Sunday on whether to proceed with preparations to outfit itself as a sanctuary for undocumented immigrants seeking to avoid deportation. The move, however, has caused some concerns among parents of students at the Active Boulder Kids Preschool, which is housed in the same building as the church.

Minister: 'It's going to take more than prayers' to keep churches safe - YakTriNews
Doak Mansfield has been a minister for over 40 years and every Sunday he's at the Community Unitarian Universalist Church in Pasco preaching. Like many ministers across the nation, the news of 26 church members killed and 20 hurt had him very worried Monday. "I don't want to be watching for people coming in to shoot my church up," said CUUC minister Doak Mansfield.

Church Celebrates 60th Anniversary - The Independent
On a balmy evening Saturday, October 7, more than one hundred members and friends gathered to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the Unitarian-Universalist Church in Livermore. Folks gathered around tables under the arbor and the back lawns to chat with friends, some who traveled far distances and who were founding members and congregants during the 1960s and '70s.

Call for Personal Testimony

The Commission on Institutional Change requests personal accounts and stories about how racism has affected individuals and groups within Unitarian Universalism at the personal, institutional, or systemic levels. It is seeking to document incidents that occurred between individual Unitarian Universalists, within a congregational or Associational setting, or as a result of white-centeredness embedded within the greater Unitarian Universalist culture. Within this context, the Commission asks you to respond to the following questions with specific examples:

  • In what ways have you or your group or community been hurt by current racist and culturally biased attitudes and practices within Unitarian Universalism?
  • In what ways have we, as a faith community, been living outside of our values and commitments?

Submissions—written, audio, or video format—in response to this set of questions will be accepted through January 31, 2018. Anyone is welcome to submit testimony, in audio, video or writing.

Submit Your Testimony

Join the UUA Health Plan

Great news: The UUA Health Plan rate increase for 2018 is ZERO. With the rates of small group plans going up as much as 15%, and up to 40% on the Exchanges, this is welcome news for our congregations. The UUA Health Plan includes benefits reflecting UU values, is managed by UUs, and is committed to offering the best insurance pricing possible. November is Open Enrollment Month. For congregations already in the UUA Health Plan, thank you for your support. For congregations not yet in the UUA Health Plan, we invite you to consider joining the hundreds of UU congregations that trust us with their health insurance. We can do so much more when we work together. For more information, look for the information packet mailed to all UU congregations and to all current plan members. Complete details of available plans, rates, eligibility criteria, and important deadlines are posted on our website.

Congregational Certification Opened Yesterday

The annual reporting period for UU congregations opened November 15, and congregations have until 5pm PST on February 1 to complete the process in order to be certified for General Assembly. Only certified congregations will receive credentials for delegates who can vote in elections and on business at GA. We are also inviting congregations to share information about the makeup of their faith community because awareness of our identities is part of living our values of justice and equity. Congregations will be sent a link in late November for accessing the certification system, or congregations can log in at For more information, visit our website or contact

PWR Job Postings

Ministry Positions


PWR Youth News


Interdependent Partners

Do you know a youth who was saved by UU youth ministry? Were you, yourself, an alumni of a transformational youth ministry program? Do you have the means to continue our legacy of life affirming, faithful programming for youth in the Pacific Western Region?

Our youth desperately need you! Each year we receive upwards of $10,000 in requests for youth scholarship and travel subsidies. $10,000! And our UU youth are regularly traveling longer distances and demonstrate greater needs than ever before. In today's complicated and divisive times, the Beloved Community offered by our immersion events and programs is precisely the solace and spiritual nourishment that our teens need and deserve.

We are looking for champions to help us achieve a goal of ten thousand dollars annually in scholarship monies that will go directly to serving youth participation in UU youth ministry events. Are you interested in becoming one of our UU youth champions?

If so, please sign up as an Interdependent Partner for Youth Ministry, today!

Become a:

  • Jagged Rock for $30-150 quarterly
  • Source for $150-300 quarterly
  • Principle for $300+ quarterly

Thank you for your kindness and for your support of PWR UU youth faith formation!

Learn more

LAST CHANCE Regional Mission Trip for Youth and Adults next summer!

  • Do you have a passion for environmental justice?
  • Have you been interested to partner with grassroots organizations to create a lasting partnership in solidarity with local communities?
  • Have you ever wanted to make a real difference while learning hands-on skills and concepts?
  • If you answered "Yes," or better yet, "Hell yes!" to any of the above, then the new PWR Justice Journey is for you!

Pacific Western Region Justice Journey: Roots, Reflections and Relationships - An Environmental Justice Journey. A week-long immersion experience focusing on Environmental Sustainability through service, learning, and through a meditation practice designed to be reflective and to sustain future justice work.

Register now! Deadline is Nov. 20, 2017.

Learn more

Upcoming Youth Events

  • PNWD Inheriting the Flame Con
    January 14-15, 2018

    East Shore Unitarian Church, WA
  • MDD MLK Con
    January 13-15, 2018

    First Universalist Church in Denver, CO
  • PNWD Spring Youth Con
    March 23-25, 2018

    Camp Cispus in Randle, WA
  • MDD Bridging Con
    April 6-8, 2018
    Los Alamos UU Church in Los Alamos, NM
  • PSWD Youth Cons
    Coming up! We'll have more details soon!
    January 12-14 - Winter Retreat
    March 16-18 - Spring Retreat
    MiSC Camp - TBA 2018
  • PNW Leadership Development Con
    December 1-3, 2017

    UU Church of Spokane, WA
  • PSWD Youth Advisor Training
    Spring 2018

  • Roots, Reflections, Relationships - A UU Justice Journey - Pasadena, CA
    July 14-22, 2018
    Throop UU Congregation in Pasadena, CA
    Only 15 youth slots available
    Register Now
  • Thrive West (For Youth and Young Adults of Color) July - August TBA
  • Summer Seminary Late July - Meadville Lombard Theological School in Chicago, IL.

Technology and Communications


Keeping Records Close

Sadly, one of the more common questions I get from congregations is about how to reclaim a domain, or website, when a volunteer has moved along and can't be reached anymore. It is, for good reasons, a frustrating and challenging process. After all, you wouldn't want it to be easy for folks to access and change the records for your online assets.

The process varies a lot depending on whether you're trying to reclaim a domain, or access to website, or a social media identity, so I encourage folks to just call me if you need a hand and I can try to walk you through it.

But how might we prevent it in the future?

Here are the four things I encourage folks to do to keep access to their records and assets safe:

  1. When you sign up for a service, do it with an institutional address ( for example) that you have the ability to control. Discourage folks from using their personal email addresses or even their personal church address (
  2. Make sure that your domain record is up-to-date. Sometimes, when getting set up, a volunteer or contractor might register your domain with their own contact info so they can make adjustments. But when they're done, all of that info should be changed over to your own info. Take a look at your domain's info at
  3. Keep a Google Spreadsheet, something you can access and secure online, with each site, your login and password on a new line. With each line, be sure to also record the email that the account was created with and the phone number that may be used for recovery, so that you can recover the password in case it's lost.
  4. Give people the lowest level of access required to complete their task. One congregation made more than a dozen people administrators on their Facebook page, when the only thing that most of those folks would do was add posts. But any one of them could have deleted all the other users if they wanted to (or inadvertently for that matter).

Take care of your information and you'll be in much better shape if the unthinkable happens.


This is a new feature in the PWR Newsletter in which we will feature a technology or communications tip related to congregational life. Do you have a question about technology or communications in your congregation? Send a note to Christopher Wulff, PWR's Communications Specialist, via email at

Malala's Magic Pencil

Malala Yousafzai, Hachette Book Group, 2017

This beautifully illustrated volume tells Malala's story for a younger audience and shows them the worldview that allowed Malala to hold on to hope even in the most difficult of times.

Race Matters

Cornel West, Beacon Press, 2017

25th Anniversary Edition Now more than ever, Race Matters is an essential book for all Americans, helping us to build a genuine multiracial democracy in the new millennium.