Leadership Experience, James Reeb Memorial, Retreats, UUA news, and more...
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Leadership Experience, James Reeb Memorial, Retreats, UUA News and more...
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Pacific Western Region
Newsletter June 13, 2019
Dates and Locations Announced for Leadership Experience 2020
Dear PWR Congregational Leaders,

I am happy to announce the dates and locations for Leadership Experience 2020, the PWR’s leadership development program for congregational leaders.
Weekend retreats will take place on the following dates at these locations:

    January 10-12 in the Seattle area
    January 17-19 in the San Francisco Bay area
    January 17-19 in the Denver area
    January 24-26 in the Phoenix area

The exact locations of the retreats will be announced after PWR staff finalize contracts with retreat centers.

Participants will be able to attend any of the four weekend retreat sites. It will not be necessary to attend the geographically closest retreat site.

The weekend retreats will be followed by six 90-minute Zoom (videoconference) calls, which will take place twice a month, February through April.

We are expanding the capacity of the program this year and will accept up to 30 applicants for each weekend retreat. As we did last year, our goal will be to keep registration costs below $500 per person. In addition, PWR staff are in conversation with district boards about providing generous scholarship support to those who would not otherwise be able to attend, as well as to young adults and individuals with historically marginalized identities.

We expect registration to open August 1. Though we are expanding the program’s capacity, we still expect that we may have to turn away late applicants, as we did last year, so we encourage people to register early.

Who should attend? This program is ideal for incoming or already serving board members or any other congregational members planning to serve or already serving in a leadership role. Religious professionals may also attend. We encourage congregations to send teams of at least two people to attend.

How will congregational leaders benefit from participating in Leadership Experience 2020?

The goal of the program is to helping participants become spiritually grounded leaders able to lead change in their congregations in order to help those congregations become the most vital Unitarian Universalist congregations possible.

Topics that will be covered in the program include (1) the changing U.S. religious landscape, (2) spiritual leadership, (3) being mission-centered, (4) governance, (5) communication and conflict management, (6) leadership recruitment and development, (7) systems thinking, (8) change management, and (9) multi-cultural transformation.

What should you do now? If you are a congregational minister or board president, especially, begin a conversation among your congregational leadership about who in your congregation might benefit from attending Leadership Experience 2020. If you have not yet had a summer board retreat, consider putting this on your agenda as a discussion item.

In the meanwhile, please contact me directly if you have any questions about the program.

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

Welcome Our New Regional Administrator, Rhiannon Smith
Rhiannon Smith is thrilled to join the PWR staff as our new Regional Administrator. Originally from Rhode Island, she found her way to Unitarian Universalism after moving to San Diego in 2013. Rhiannon graduated from Northeastern University in 2012 with a dual degree in International Affairs and Human Services. Since then she has worked primarily with international students and ESL learners.

Rhiannon currently serves as president of her congregation (First UU San Diego) and is also part of the steering committee for Diverse Revolutionary Unitarian Universalist Multicultural Ministries (DRUUMM), our denomination’s ministry group for people of color. She is so excited to join the PWR and UUA staff as it is a new way for her to support the faith community that has given her so much.
Sample Personnel Policy Manual Available
In any work setting, employees should know what the organization expects of them and how commonly occurring situations are handled. Without a personnel manual, decisions are often made ad hoc, which can result in claims of favoritism or unfair treatment. A policy manual ensures that employees understand expectations and are treated equitably.

any of you have been asking for sample personnel policies that you can use as a starting point for creating or revising your own congregation's personnel handbook.

Thank you for your patience! After many rounds of editing and review, the UUA Office of Church Staff Finances is pleased to present an updated
Sample Personnel Policy Manual. This resource is posted as a Word document for ease of copying and pasting, and it lives on the Policies for Congregational Personnel page of the UUA website.

If you use this resource, please take a minute to send us your feedback through
this brief survey(included on the webpage and within the resource itself). We will make improvements and provide clarifications based on user feedback.

Please keep in mind that the sample manual is not a substitute for thoughtful policy conversations among congregational leaders nor does it replace a review by a legal professional in the congregation's local area. (We can't account for differences in state and local laws.)
Pacific Western Region Ingathering at General Assembly
If you will be attending UUA General Assembly next week, be sure to join with fellow Pacific Western Region attendees during our Regional Ingathering from 5:00 to 6:00 in room 100-B of the Spokane Convention Center. Gather with old friends and meet new ones from PWR in this informal networking space. This is item #112 in the GA Program.
Spear-Phishing Fraud Targeting Congregations
The UUA IT department is reminding everyone to be extra vigilant regarding unexpected email and text messages. The latest messages purport to be from a minister or someone in a leadership position urging the recipient to "…run a task for me real quick. I am going into a meeting…" That’s an almost textbook scam style; declaring the need for immediate action and indicating that the person won’t be available for follow-up communication. The next step is usually a request to initiate a wire transfer of funds, purchase gift cards, etc. Simply by searching websites, scammers can learn enough information about organizations and roles of individuals to target staff and others. This is happening not only in congregations, but UUA staff have also been targeted.

When you receive a communication or request that seems out of the ordinary, contact someone who can verify the request through another channel. Do not hit reply if it’s a text or email; call instead or initiate a new message to the sender from your Contacts. Taking a few extra minutes can save your congregation huge costs in terms of money, potential technical disruption and reputational damage.
Webinar: Serving Congregations with a History of Clergy Misconduct
Offered by Deborah Pope-Lance
An exploration of the impact of clergy misconduct on a congregation and of the unique challenges experienced by ministers who serve these congregations. The focus throughout is on the pastoral relationship and the after-pastor’s unique tasks in healing and cultural change. Among the questions considered: how to respond to the immediate aftermath of disclosed misconduct; how to address the persistent, chronic difficulties that pervade the culture of a congregation; how to encourage healthy practices and to begin to effect cultural change; and how to navigate reactive and crazy-making interactions typical of minister-congregant relationships in misconducted congregations.

Six units include pre-recorded video lectures or presentations, reading assignments, activities or practice, and a breakout session on Zoom. Each unit is designed to require 3 hours for a total of 18 hours, inclusive of breakout sessions. Summer, Fall and Winter offerings for Parish Ministers and Religious Education Staff.

Learn more about the program offerings.
Faithify Campaigns from the Pacific Western Region
FAITHIFY is a crowdfunding platform for Unitarian Universalist ministry projects. This includes everything from youth work to justice, service, buildings, staff positions, and emerging ministries. FAITHIFY itself is not a funder and does not distribute funds. It is simply the platform for projects to generate funders within communities. See the PWR projects that are currently open and those that have recently been funded.

Open Campaigns
Alison & Carol's Excellent GA Adventure
Reverend James Reeb Memorial Mural Fundraiser
The Unitarian Universalist Community of Casper, Wyoming is raising funds to help create a Reverend James Reeb Memorial Mural in his hometown of Casper. Understanding that Unitarian Universalists and others involved in social activism across the country feel deep respect and reverence for Reverend Reeb, the UU Community of Casper is extending an invitation to be a part of this unique opportunity to promote his legacy, social justice, community partnerships, and interfaith engagement.

Many UUs know the story of UU minister and civil rights martyr James Reeb, who was murdered in Selma, Alabama in 1965 (there was even a special NPR series on his murder recently). What UUs may not know is that Reverend Reeb grew up in Casper, Wyoming, and served there as a Presbyterian minister before his faith journey led him to Unitarian Universalism and civil rights activism.

The James Reeb Memorial Mural project includes a website, short film, and several public events in Casper later this year to heighten access and engagement with Reverend Reeb’s story. This interfaith and community-wide collaboration among UU Casper, downtown Casper dinner church The Table, and many other organizations and individuals also includes Reverend Reeb’s granddaughter Leah Reeb, representing the Reeb family.

To find out more and to support this worthy project, go to "Reverend James Reeb Hometown Memorial Mural, Casper Wyoming" at FAITHIFY
.org. Find out more about the Unitarian Universalist Community of Casper at
Upcoming OWL Trainings
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.
MDD Annual Meeting
The Mountain Desert District meeting will be held in conjunction with the UUA General Assembly in Spokane, WA, on Wednesday, June 19 at 3:30 in room 300-C of the Spokane Convention Center.

Your congregation’s minister, president, or their designee should certify MDD delegates as soon as they are determined. Please note that becoming a delegate for General Assembly and becoming a delegate for your district annual meeting are two separate processes.

Delegates will need to check-in at the MDD Delegate Table outside room 300-C between 1:00 and 3:15 in order to be issued voting credentials before the meeting. If you are not yet certified as a delegate for the MDD meeting, please check at the Delegate Table to see if there are still slots available for your congregation. A PDF of the compiled meeting materials is available on the annual meeting page. Print copies will not be distributed on site.

Looking Forward: PCD 2019 Annual Meeting Summary
Rev. Roger Jones
The Annual PCD Business Meeting on May 11 was the first to be held online by any district of this Region. Not only did it save time, the cost of travel, and fossil fuels, it had few first-time glitches, thanks to Christopher Wulff of the Pacific Western Region's staff.

Approximately 40 delegates attended; an email ballot went out later to the registered delegates with a slate of nominees as well as revised minutes from the 2018 meeting and the budget proposal for 2019-20.
The draft 2018 minutes and proposed budget were approved.

Welcome to newly elected Board members: Rev. Bob Klein (Stockton), Bob Miess (Livermore), and Maddie Tuning (Mount Diablo) and to Clovice Lewis (Lake County), elected to his first full term. They join Rev. Catherine Ishida (Hawaii) and Rev. Roger Jones (Sacramento), who are in the middle of two-year terms. The Board has appointed Max Parrish (Santa Rosa) to hold the voting position of Youth Board Member; welcome to Max! Congratulations to Nominating Committee member Ramon Urbano (Davis), elected to a second term; he joins Millie Phillips (San Francisco), Rev. Joy Atkinson (emerita of San Mateo), and Jim Lewis (Walnut Creek), who are in the second year of their terms. We thank them for their work this year.

See the annual meeting materials and proceedings video here.

As the new Board looks toward a new year, we thank former board members Paul Teplitz, Dusty Taylor and Charles DuMond for their service to the PCD.

We thank Rev. Samantha Wilson for the deep and inspiring work she did in facilitating Community Conferencing sessions regarding youth ministry in the PCD, especially the history and future of the relationship between Young Religious Unitarian Universalists of the Pacific (YRUUP) and the Region and PCD. She and her PCD Steering Committee members soon will submit a summary of that work. The Steering Committee and Board will consider how to build on the open dialogue we experienced. 

The Board also thanks our PCD Chalice Lighters coordinator, Karen Urbano, who is announcing a new call to support a project of the UU Congregation of Marin. You can reach all the members of the Board at We intend to have another online Annual Meeting in the spring of 2020 and look forward to coordinating with the Regional Assembly in 2021.

Expanding Bonds Young Adult Retreat
Zephyr Point, Tahoe August 2-4, 2019
What does it mean to balance the seven principles while living life as an active working adult?

Hosted by the UU Fellowship of Northern Nevada (UUFNN), join us for this weekend retreat of lay-led explorations of the intersection between the social, spiritual and service opportunities that arise in the daily life of members establishing their careers.

Registration Deadline: July 2nd

Friday - 5-8pm
- Dinner and worship

Saturday - 9-6pm - Breakfast, workshops, worship, fun and dinner
Sunday - 8am Breakfast, Reno/Tahoe area exploration, checkout at 10am.

Adults and Youth - $200
Youth 2-7 - $120
Under 2 years old - $75

All inclusive (dorm-style lodging with 5 meals). This is a sober weekend of intentional connections and celebration. 15 private beds available for $20 per adult (ex. $220 per person for couple splitting private room). Scholarships available. All ages welcome, families are awesome, ages 20-40 encouraged.

Contact us at

Retreat space information and directions:
ACLU Sues Fresno County for Removing Church Polling Place over Black Lives Matter Banner
The ACLU Foundation of Northern California filed a lawsuit this week against Fresno County's chief elections official for her illegal removal of a polling place at Unitarian Universalist Church of Fresno – for the sole reason that the church refused to cover up Black Lives Matter banners on the property.

Read more in the Fresno Bee or on the ACLU website. See TV Coverage.
PNWD Annual Meeting
The Pacific Northwest District Annual meeting will be held in conjunction with the UUA General Assembly in Spokane, WA, on Wednesday, June 19 at 3:30 in room 300-B of the Spokane Convention Center.
Your congregation’s minister, president, or their designee should certify PNWD delegates as soon as they are determined. Please note that becoming a delegate for General Assembly and becoming a delegate for your district annual meeting are two separate processes.

Delegates will need to check-in at the PNWD Delegate Table outside room 300-B between 2:30 and 3:15 in order to be issued voting credentials before the meeting.
A PDF of the compiled meeting materials is available on the annual meeting page. Print copies will not be distributed on site.
Thank You for Supporting PWR Youth Program Scholarships
I’d like to give a personal shout out of appreciation to the Pacific Northwest District (PNWD) Board for its generous gift to the Pacific Western Region Youth Program Scholarship Fund. The generosity of the Board has ensured that a substantial group of youth can now participate in transformative, faith-filled summer programs like General Assembly and the newly minted Camp Blue Boat. Thank you, PNWD Board leaders, especially Board President Susan Howlett!

If you’d like to ensure that youth have access to life-affirming ministry programs, please consider giving once via our payment form (put Youth Scholarship in the notes section), o
r, quarterly as an Interdependent Partner.

Donations are tax deductible. If you cannot give, your family's participation in district/regional programs is more than gift enough!

This is what a few youth have said about the power of Pacific Western Region youth immersion events:

"Being among friends, where we can all explore our spirituality for a week is always an amazing experience which I cherish. Throughout the years, Cons have been a safe place and a breath of fresh air..."

"Being an active member of my congregation and youth group is extremely important to me. We live in a very conservative city and are constantly surrounded by people whose values differ from our own. Being part of a UU congregation, and especially youth group, affords me a safe place where I can be myself and feel empowered by joining with others committed to living out our UU values."

"The current political climate in our country can make me feel overwhelmed and hopeless but connecting with Unitarian Universalism, the seven principles, and the larger UU community gives me hope that we can be a powerful force for change."

"In this day and era as a human being it is impossible to not care about others and the pain of marginalized and disadvantaged people, and want to fight for a better future. Growing up as a young person with my own marginalized identities I must be involved in social justice both on a small scale of small day-by-day actions and large scale of changing the political environment. Already I have made an effort to educate myself on others' struggles and social justice techniques, and otherwise involved myself in methods of social change. As I move forward with my life, I want to continue to help others find equal ground and justice."

"Youth Cons and trainings have become a very important part of my life. I have built incredible friendships and grown my leadership skills in ways I could have never imagined. This has allowed me to take on many leadership roles, from co-leading the social justice club at school to organizing a field trip to a mosque for my youth group to joining YES Team."

"My spiritual practice is so interwoven with who I am that without UUism I have honestly no idea who I would be. Without UUism I wouldn't have the ability to be me. In every sense of the word."

Thank you sincerely for your support of PWR's UU youth ministry!

Eric Bliss,
Youth and Emerging Adult Ministry Specialist

InSpirit UU Book and Gift Shop
Spilling the Light: Meditations on Hope and Resilience
2019 InSpirit Meditation Manual
Rev. Theresa I. Soto (newly called Minister of the First Unitarian Church of Oakland)
The thing you must be is yourself.
Unadulterated, shedding the willingness
to journey alone, as though you are made of something
hard and unforgivable. You are human. You belong,
right here, right now. And together, we will chase away
the sickness, the secrets, and leave only the open
Possibility that the future is a space for growth.
— from "Spilling the light"

At once deeply compassionate and spiritually empowering, this collection of inspirational poetry provides pastoral care and an encouragement for authentic living. In this 2019 volume of the inSpirit Series, one of the most creative voices in Unitarian Universalism today tends to our souls and emboldens us to become our truest selves. Rev. Soto’s poems of hope and resilience validate our identities and our humanity—especially for those of us marginalized by mainstream culture.

Visit InSpirit to learn more or order Spilling the Light.