Stories of Hope, Courage, Resistance, and Resilience, Tips on Compensation, and more...


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PWR Newsletter


Stories of Hope, Courage, Resistance, and Resilience

Dear Pacific Western Region Congregational Leaders,

I am happy to announce that "Stories of Hope, Courage, Resistance, and Resilience" will be the theme of our Regional Assembly, which will be held April 27-29, 2018, at the Double Tree Hotel in Portland, Oregon.

I'm also happy to announce who some of our speakers will be.

Our keynote speaker on Saturday, April 28, will be Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal. Jayapal is the first Indian-American woman to be elected to the U.S. Congress. Before being elected to represent Washington State's 7th District in 2016, Congresswoman Jayapal was an immigration and labor activist in Seattle. Her writing has been featured in The New York Times and The Nation. She has been written about in Mother Jones as well as many other publications.

The speaker at our worship service on Sunday, April 29, will be the Rev. Dr. William Barber. As an NAACP leader and civil rights activist in North Carolina, Barber led the "Moral Mondays" protests in that state beginning in 2013. The founder of Repairers of the Breach, an organization formed to train religious leaders across the country in social justice work, Barber is currently leading a new "Poor People's Campaign." His most recent book is The Third Reconstruction: Moral Mondays, Fusion Politics, and the Rise of a New Justice Movement.

In addition, the Rev. Susan Frederick Gray, the newly elected president of the Unitarian Universalist Association, will speak to us to share her emerging vision for the future of the UUA and our wider movement.

In addition to these three speakers during the Regional Assembly, the Rev. Erika Hewitt will be presenting a workshop for religious professionals, including ministers, religious educators, and music directors, on multi-generational, multicultural worship during the day on Friday, April 27, immediately before the regional assembly. Hewitt is on UUA staff as the Minister of Worship Arts and is the editor of Braver/Wiser, a weekly spirituality series.

I expect more details about our Regional Assembly, including registration details, to be available in December.

Rev. Dr. James Kubal-Komoto, Regional Lead

November 2, 2017
In this Issue
  • Stories of Hope, Courage, Resistance, and Resilience
  • 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

Excellent Worship for Small Congregations

Rev. Sarah Schurr - November 13, 5-6 pm

Small congregations with little or no professional ministry help can still have good worship services. This webinar gives you some tips.

Register for Excellent Worship for Small Congregations

Mental Health Information for Ministers & Lay Leaders

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.

  • November 11 at Cascade UU Fellowship (East Wenatchee, WA)
  • November 18 at Foothills Unitarian Church (Ft. Collins, CO)
  • 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


The Promise and the Practice of Our Faith Campaign

Imagine what our faith would look like if we upheld and centered the history, the perspectives, the voices, and the leadership of Black Lives of Unitarian Universalists...

The Promise and the Practice of Our Faith Campaign is our opportunity to take the lead as a faith denomination in addressing our history of upholding white supremacy. Together, we can collectively work to dismantle it and amend a long-broken promise to the Black Lives within our Association.

Join our Association of Congregations as we do something different in this extraordinary moment to connect our finances with our theological values as we enter a new chapter within our faith.

Congregations are asked to join in the Promise and the Practice of Our Faith by engaging in the following opportunities:

  • Schedule at least one Sunday on November 12, 2017 or February 4, 2018 (or any Sunday that is convenient for your congregation) to engage around the theme The Promise and the Practice of Our Faith.
  • Make a financial commitment in our support to BLUU that is transformational and inspirational which helps fulfill our $1 million match opportunity (double the impact of your contribution by meeting the threshold of $10 per certified member, or however you count the souls you serve).
  • Make a long-term commitment to dismantling white supremacy, racism and oppression from within our denomination and beyond, and uplifting the Black Lives, Voices, and Leadership of Unitarian Universalism.

This is our time to be Bold, Radical, and Transformational as we commit to nurture a radically inclusive, justice centered, multiracial and multigenerational religious faith!

Learn more about The Promise and Practice

Tips from PWR Compensation Consultants

"Don't forget to look at Long Term Disability Insurance for your staff. This actually helps out the congregation as well as the staff members. If a beloved staff member is sick or injured and has a long recovery, you can know they are cared for financially by the insurance and you can then afford to bring in temporary staff to serve in their absence." - Martha Ketelle

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

Mexican Immigrant Takes Sanctuary in Western Colorado Church - US News and World Report
Sandra Lopez of Silt moved into Two Rivers Unitarian Universalist Church in Carbondale with her 2-year-old daughter last week after immigration officials denied her request to delay deportation. Lopez, who also has two older children, is the fifth immigrant living in the country illegally to seek sanctuary in a Colorado house of worship this year.

Sex ed: We're doing it wrong - Reno News Review
Reverend Karen Foster, Director of Religious Education at the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Northern Nevada is one person who's comfortable talking about religion and sex—including LGBTQ sex—in the same sentence. Her church teaches a sex ed program for kids and teens that addresses, among other topics, anatomy, body image, consent, relationships, communication, domestic violence, pregnancy prevention and decision-making. It's called Our Whole Lives — or OWL for short. And that curriculum recently went through an update process, too. It now mentions how specific drugs relate to issues of consent.

Unitarian Universalists welcome new minister - The Columbian
The Rev. Kathryn Bert will be the Unitarian Universalist Church of Vancouver's next settled minister after a yearlong nationwide search. "I fell in love with the church because of the people," Bert said in a news release. "I could see from my interviews and visits that they are people of integrity and depth and that they embrace the philosophy that 'change begins with me' as the foundation of their work for broader social change."

Ashland group advocates for more winter shelter - Ashland Daily Tidings
In the quiet, windowed chapel of the Rogue Valley Universalist Unitarian Fellowship a group of 40 or so activists came together this week to plan for the inevitable — a cold winter that will swallow up those who find themselves without an indoor place to sleep.

Colorado woman denied pardon by governor re-enters sanctuary in Fort Collins church - The Denver Post
Congregations go through a discernment process before they decide to offer sanctuary. At Foothills Unitarian Church, 92 percent on Aug. 27 voted in favor of becoming a sanctuary congregation. Rev. Gretchen Haley said they are called to act based on the Unitarian belief in "courageous love."

UUA Common Read

The challenges, the call, and the opportunity of this moment in Unitarian Universalism and in the broader US American society are compelling. Unitarian Universalists must be prepared and willing to look inward, examining, exploring, and acting to dismantle white supremacy culture in our association, in our congregations and groups, and in ourselves. At the same time, we must be prepared and willing to look outward and act to lift up Unitarian Universalist values in the political and civic challenges of our time. After much deliberation, the Common Read Selection Committee has chosen two books for this year's Common Read:

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 Opens November 15

The annual reporting period for UU congregations opens November 15, and congregations have until 5 p.m. 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

Better Ways of Doing Social Witness Work at GA

During the last two General Assemblies, the Commission on Social Witness has held workshops to gather ideas for ways to do more effective social witness work when we are gathered at GA. In order to ensure that those unable to attend also have an opportunity to provide input, the CSW is hosting a ZOOM meeting on Nov. 8 at 5:30 Mountain and 4:30 Pacific time.

For background, look over the slides from 2016 GA.

To join the meeting on Nov. 8, go to

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

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

  • 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!
    November 3-5 - Fall Retreat
    January 12-14 - Winter Retreat
    March 16-18 - Spring Retreat
    MiSC Camp - TBA 2018
  • Youth Chaplain Training - Columbine, CO
    November 17-19, 2017

    Columbine Unitarian Universalist Church
  • 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


Put Your Mark on it

I am a huge fan of UU podcasts. I love The Pamphlet, Fortification: Spiritual Sustenance for Movement, the VUU, and most especially the services and sermons from our member congregations. It gives me the feeling that I'm dropping in on our communities, witnessing to the many ways in which we gather for worship, the many ways we are living our faith.

I recently noticed something in the feed from the Unitarian Church of Quincy, Illinois that I really appreciated. They open each recording with "The Unitarian Church in Quincy, Illinois, presents a talk by..." as the lead in to the sermon. They provide the date, the speaker and the setting. And at the end of the recording they express their thanks to listeners, invite them to come down and join the congregation sometime, and then offer just a few words from their mission and who they are. Give a listen to the Quincy podcast.

It struck me that this kind of context setting and welcome was really rare in the recordings I'd heard, and that it was really valuable to me. Using these fifteen seconds at beginning and end allowed the congregation to tell me something about who they were and welcome me to become part of the community. It felt a little less like I was dropping in unannounced, or observing from afar, and instead like I was being welcomed with hospitality.

When putting our recordings together for podcasts, we can all throw in a little announcement and bumper, maybe with some music overlaid, without much trouble. If you're looking for free sounds, check out Jamendo, a community of free, legal and unlimited music published under Creative Commons licenses. Or visit AudioJungle if your budget can handle a few dollars (really just a few). Set up a template of words and sounds for yourself and it will only add another ten or fifteen minutes to your podcast production.

Take the time to welcome people, to draw them near, to invite them in. It makes a difference.


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

Women Writing Resistance

Edited by Jennifer Bowdy, 2017

Essays on Latinx and Caribbean identity and on globalization by renowned women writers, including Julia Alvarez, Edwidge Danticat, and Jamaica Kincaid

Mindful Kids

Whitney Stewart and Mina Braun, Barefoot Books

Introducing Mindful Kids, the one-of-a-kind mindfulness activity deck for kids age 4 to 104! Make any moment mindful from morning to night with 5 categories of cards, designed to fit into each part of the day.