Congregational Resolutions, RLLS Announcement, News and more...


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PWR Newsletter


Helping Things Go Right in the New Year

Three Congregational Resolutions

It's the time of personal resolutions for many of us and we have three resolutions for congregations to consider that just might make for a healthier and more joyous new year.

We resolve to clarify roles and responsibilities
Confusion around roles and responsibilities is one of the leading causes of conflict in our congregations. This RACI document can help you provide clarity. If you have questions about best practices or seem stuck, feel free to contact your Primary Contact on staff.

We resolve to create a Covenant of Right Relations
Covenants help us avoid conflict by calling us to our best selves and they help us find our way through inevitable conflict by calling us back. to our best selves. This document, How to Create and Restore Covenant, can guide you through this process.

We resolve to create a Policy for Addressing Disruptive Behavior
The time to adopt such a policy is when we don't have a certain person in mind. When there are serious disruptions or when safety is an issue, it is a relief to already have a policy in place to us in ways that are consistent with our values. Here is a Sample Policy on Disruptive Behaviour.

Jan Christian
Congregational Life Staff, Pacific Western Region

In this Issue
  • Congregational Resolutions
  • Webinars
  • Events & Training
  • RLLS Announcement
  • District and UU News
PWR Quick Links
PWR Field Staff

Events, Training and Webinars



Webinars offer a convenient way to engage in online collaborative learning. 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 on what matters. Webinars are just $20 per connection and can be watched by one person at home or with a group from your church.

Introduction to Conflict Dynamics

Rev. Margaret Kiep & Dave Mentz
Jan. 18, 2017 - 7-8pm PT

In this webinar, you will learn how to recognize the dynamics of conflict as it arises in yourself and in your congregation, how to address it in healthy ways, and grow strong in both of these areas.

Register for Introduction to Conflict Dynamics

A Theme-Based Approach to Full-Week Faith

Eric Bliss, PWR Youth Ministry Specialist
Jan. 19, 2017 - 7-8pm PT

Using current social media and smartphone technologies is a great way to involve families in a full week of UU faith. This one-hour webinar will include strategies for more intentionally involving families in an expression of UUism in their daily lives with an emphasis on spiritual practice, storytelling, and faith in action, all through the lens of monthly theme based ministry. Ultimately, this webinar will present a useful resource for combining Full Week Faith and Theme Based Ministry approaches, as developed by Eric Bliss while serving as Director of Religious Exploration at First Unitarian Society of Denver.

Register for A Theme-Based Approach to Full-Week Faith

SpiritJam: Fun, Engaging Faith Formation

Katie Covey
Jan. 24, 2017 - 7-8pm PT

Are you having trouble recruiting teachers? Check out a new model of Religious Education called "SpiritJam" developed at the UU Fellowship of Boulder, CO.

  • Staff teachers lead the program.
  • Align Religious Education with Thematic Ministry.
  • Provide consistency, professional leadership and safety for the children.
  • Free up the energy of parents with paid lead teachers.
  • Offer service opportunities for all ages.

Register for SpiritJam: Fun, Engaging Faith Formation

More PWR Webinars
Learn more and register for PWR Webinars

Black Lives of Unitarian Universalism Webinar

Offered by the Faith Development Office of the UUA

Three members of the Black Lives of Unitarian Universalism collective (BLUU)—Kenny Wiley, Dr. Takiyah Amin, and Elandria Williams—will talk with religious educators, other religious professionals, and lay leaders in faith development about BLUU's objectives and plans, history and formation, and the March 2017 BLUU Convening for Black UUs in New Orleans. Come talk with BLUU and learn how our work in UU faith development and religious education can explore and support today's national and UU-specific movements for black lives.


Events and Trainings

Religious Education Trainings
Learn more about RE Trainings

Staff Development Days for Religious Professionals

Whether your staff team is brand new or has been together for a while, this interactive day will connect both role cohorts and staff teams around common blessings and challenges and boost your ability to work as a team with a covenantal network of support. Bring the entire staff team to get the most out of the day!

  • Santa Barbara County
    Feb. 4, 2017 - Live Oak UU Congregation
    Rev. Dr. Jonipher Kwong and Rev. Jan Christian
  • Los Angeles County
    Feb. 9, 2017 - Throop UU Church
    Rev. Dr. Jonipher Kwong and Eric Bliss
  • Arizona
    Feb. 21, 2017 - Valley UU Congregation
    Rev. Dr. James Kubal-Komoto and Rev. Sarah Gibb Millspaugh
Staff Development Days details

Save the Date


Russell Lockwood Leadership School on Hold

Dear Pacific Western Region Congregational Leaders,

I am writing to inform you that Regional Staff have made the decision not to hold the Russell Lockwood Leadership School during the summer of 2017.

Over the years, Russell Lockwood Leadership School has transformed the lives of many lay and professional clergy who want to deepen their faith as Unitarian Universalists. We have also received feedback lately that it has become cost-prohibitive for many and it's increasingly challenging to get time off from work to attend this week-long experience during the summer time. From the region's perspective, we have also struggled to make sure we don't go over budget and still draw a high-caliber staff. We have operated under a financial deficit the past few years.

We are re-evaluating how to provide high-quality, accessible, affordable leadership training to the more than 30,000 Unitarian Universalist adults in the Pacific Western Region.

This year, we decided to do some experimentation by working more closely with the UU Leadership Institute. UULI is an online leadership school that uses the convenience of the web while still creating opportunities for interconnection and transformation that was such an integral part of RLLS. I was recently named as co-dean along with Rev. Renee Ruchotzke from the Central East Region. Our emerging model blends online and in-person learning to adapt to the changing needs of today's leaders and congregational resources. Moving forward, we're hoping to make these course offerings even more interactive--and dare I say--fun for a very low fee (not to mention low carbon emission). We're also putting together focus groups so we keep on top of the big questions that you're grappling with as religious leaders. We would also like to archive some of our best webinars from all over the UU galaxy so you can have access to all the online learning resources you need. We'd like to make sure we become your one-stop leadership development shop.

I know it may be disappointing to hear that we are putting RLLS on hold for now. Some of your congregations may already have a built-in budget to send people to Leadership School. We thank you for your patience and understanding as we re-imagine what becoming a learning community might be like for the 21st Century. Please let me know if you have any thoughts or input about these changes.

Thank you!

In Faith,
Rev. Dr. Jonipher Kūpono Kwong
Congregational Life Staff, Pacific Western Region




PWR Congregations in the News

Local church holds "Black Lives Matter" march

"A new "Black Lives Matter" sign is now up at the Unitarian Universalist Church in Idaho Falls. On Sunday, the church replaced an old banner and held a march to remind the community of an important message. Single-digit temperatures didn't stop marchers from walking through Idaho Falls in support of the "Black Lives Matter" campaign. The march started at the Unitarian Universalist Church, went along the greenbelt, across Broadway Bridge and back again." Read more from Local News 8.

Sandy Hook Memorial March and Vigil

"Members of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Studio City are making sure we all remember because this Wednesday will be the 4th anniversary of the massacre. "I don't know how it affected me so strongly but it still does," Dorothy Wait said. The group held a march and vigil in Studio City to push for bans on assault rifles and high capacity magazine clips. Such laws will go into effect in California in the coming days but this congregation would like to see them become federal law." Read more from CBS Los Angeles.

'My Beings of Light': Church 'adopts' refugee family

"Instead of giving gifts this year, Monie Smith and three of her friends decided to help others in need. Now a newly arrived refugee family has an entire Unitarian Fellowship helping them acclimate to their new home in Twin Falls. Smith reached out to the College of Southern Idaho Refugee Center and found out a family of seven would arrive Dec. 14. She quickly realized she would need more help. When she reached out to her church, the Magic Valley Unitarian Universalist Fellowship, the entire congregation pitched in and quickly rounded up donations and helped prepare a home for the incoming family." Read more from Magic Valley Times-News.

Candlelight vigil in Costa Mesa, CA offers prayers for people in civil war-ravaged Aleppo, Syria

"Feeling hopeless about the people besieged by civil war in Aleppo, Syria, nearly 100 people gathered Wednesday night for a candlelight vigil at Fairview Community Church in Costa Mesa. The Rev. Karen Stoyanoff of the Unitarian Universalist Church in Anaheim spoke to the crowd and led prayers inside the chapel." Read more from the Los Angeles Times.

Little Free Library opens in Amado

"Take a Book, Return a Book. That's the official motto of Little Free Library, a nonprofit that now has a location in front of the Amado Food Bank and Clinic on South Nogales Highway in Amado. Green Valley resident Mary Lou James learned about the Little Free Library program while visiting Seattle two years ago. As a member of the Unitarian Universalist Congregation in Amado she approached the Rev. Matthew Funke Crary a year ago and waited six months for approval from Pima County." Read more from Green Valley News.

Social Justice

Congregations Take Action: Show the Love

In the wake of the 2016 election, Unitarian Universalists are showing the love, spreading our message of hope, caring, dignity and justice. The UUA has created a section of their website called Show the Love, that collects actions and resources of congregations engaging in UU Social Justice projects.

There is a scheduled Week of Action, January 14-21, that includes the January 16 launch of 30 Days of Love 2017—Fortifying the Movement. Get ready for four inspiring weeks of building the movement for justice, focusing on relationships, covenants, transformation and sustenance. The Show the Love Map already includes events in Alaska, Washington, California, Arizona, Colorado and Wyoming.

Add your congregation's vigils, events, projects, and actions

If your congregation is interested in learning more about Show the Love resources or being more involved in social justice in your community, be in touch with your congregation's Primary Contact.




Upcoming Youth Ministries Events

The Call to Care: Essays by Unitarian Universalist Chaplains

Karen Hutt, Editor, Skinner House Books, 2016

For the first time, Unitarian Universalist chaplains come together to share why they care, who they care for, and how they care. In sixteen heartfelt and thoughtful essays, they provide a close-up view of their day-to-day ministry in hospitals, hospices, prisons, the military, the police force, and rehabilitation centers. With the increasing secularization of our culture, and the growing numbers of religious seekers, Unitarian Universalist chaplains today play ever-more important roles in these institutions. They model non-sectarian care for a world that is increasingly spiritual but not religious. These writers open a window into the caring arts as they share their stories about companioning people in crisis who are on a journey to find meaning and purpose in difficult times.

To This I Give My Heart: A Coming of Age Journal

Bart Frost, UUA, 2017

Coming of age in Unitarian Universalism is an important ritual that marks one step on your path to adulthood. This journal will be a companion on your year-long journey and a tool to help you think through some challenging questions. Credo means "to this I give my heart," and within these pages you'll find prompts, quotes, and creative exercises that will help you explore UU history and theology, spirituality, community, leadership, your personal beliefs and identity—and ultimately help you decide what it is you want to give your heart to as you deepen and grown your relationship to your faith and community.


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