"On the Other Side of the Chauvin Verdict", PWR & UUA News, and more!
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Pacific Western Region
Newsletter May 2021
On the Other Side of the Chauvin Verdict
By Rev. Carlton E. Smith
Lead - UUA Pacific Western Region

[Note: There are important updates in this month’s e-News to pay attention to, including the annual meetings of the Pacific Northwest District and Pacific Central District. At the same time, there are pressing national events that affect us in big and small ways, and it is in that spirit that I offer this month’s Lead blog.]

Finally, we’re on the other side of the verdict in the Derek Chauvin trial. After almost of year of protests and speculations, the jury ruled that the former Minneapolis police officer was guilty on all counts in the murder of George Floyd.

I pause for a moment to salute Darnella Frazier, the then-17-year-old who videotaped the horrific last minutes of Floyd’s life with Chauvin’s knee on his neck. She could have kept walking, but she stopped to capture what the world wouldn’t have seen otherwise. Frazier spoke of her motivation when on the witness stand: “I have a Black father. I have a Black brother. I have Black friends,” she said in an interview, thinking of her loved ones. “And I look at that, and I look at how that could have been one of them.”

On the evening of April 21, our UUA hosted “In Grief, Rage and Hope: A National UU Post-Verdict Vigil” featuring national and Minneapolis-area leaders in our UUA, including Executive Vice President Carey McDonald, Rev. Karen Hutt, Rev. Mykal Slack, Rev. Joseph Santos-Lyons, Rev. Ashley Horan and Co-Moderator Rev. Meg Riley. I’m grateful to PWR’s Administrator, Rhiannon Smith, who provided smooth tech-support behind the scenes.

Like so many who spoke, I am grateful that at least in this case, the process cleared the bar of the baseline of justice. I’m grateful for the officers who broke through the “blue wall of silence” to give honest testimony about Chauvin’s neglect, incompetence and callousness where Floyd’s life was concerned. I am grateful for the skilled prosecutors who removed reasonable doubt of Chauvin’s culpability, and for the jurors who were not swayed by the defense’s bogus claims. I’m grateful for the end of the waiting period for the Floyd family, and the vindication of their lost loved one. I pray that this outcome indeed prevents officers in the US and around the globe from using excessive force – the kind that can result in severe injury and even death.

At the same time, I confess to being in a more prayerful mood than a celebratory one. The Chauvin guilty verdict doesn’t feel like a brand-new day. I’m wondering what kind of regressive punishment is the system going to cough up for the mishap of a judgment in favor of everyday marginalized people. I pray for Darnella Frazier. The lives of witnesses who record police misconduct are often turned upside down in retaliation. I pray for the jurors who might come forward, or whose identities might be leaked. I pray for all the many Black/Indigenous/People of Color communities where law enforcement will only become more aggressive and deadly in order to reassert its dominance.

As Unitarian Universalists in the Pacific Western Region, we well know the long legacy of state-sanctioned violence, genocide and exclusion in our own states and communities. We are yet reeling from the recent mass shootings in Boulder, Colorado, and Orange County, California. We long to be of support to each other in person, but we remain guided by the wise safety recommendations of our national UUA leadership.

Even at a distance, we can take this as an opportunity to rededicate ourselves to justice work near and far. For those of us in states with UU Social Action Networks, we can give our financial and volunteer support to them. We can connect with and deepen relationships with organizations and congregations that are on the frontlines of justice-making, so much so that we become one of them. We can look within our congregations to see where we fall short of the UU values and principles we proclaim so that more and more Black/Indigenous/People of Color and others from marginalized groups actually feel welcome and want to stay.

The Chauvin trial is over, and the “goal of world community, with peace, liberty and justice for all” is still at a distance. Everyday, let’s follow Darnella Frazier’s example and commit to doing at least one brave thing that gets us closer to that vision.

In faith,

In this Issue
On the Other Side of the Chauvin Verdict
Love Right Through Forums
PWR & UUA News
Youth News
Mountain Desert News
Pacific Central News
Pacific Northwest News
Pacific Southwest News
InSpirit Update

PWR Links
Calendar and Events
Staff Contacts
Job Postings
Youth Ministries

RE Trainings

PWR Lead
Carlton Elliott Smith

PWR Field Staff
Summer Albayati
Love Right Through Forums for May
Love Right Through Forum Topics
May 3 6:30pm - 8:00pm PT Youth & Emerging Adults (18-25)
May 17 6:30pm - 8:00pm PT Leadership
Twice a month gatherings on specific topics. Boards & staff will offer 15-20 min of context & status on the topic, the rest is up to the group. We hope to answer specific questions and know that many concerns will take more time and thought than these 90-minute sessions. Join in the conversation first and third Mondays in May. Recordings and summaries will be available here a week after the forum. Register here.
Save the Date: Regional Assembly 2022
Save the Date for Face to Face: Regional Assembly February 4-6, 2022
San Diego or Online
Plenty of open air southern California weather for us to enjoy next winter. 
If you can, plan to join us in person at the Hyatt Regency Mission Bay; you can book your room today.
If you can’t make it in-person, consider helping someone else from your congregation attend. Watch the newsletter for the latest as the weekend develops.

Conversations: Multi-Platform Church
Many congregations are wondering what’s next, how do we continue to do church safely. As you think through what this next phase of the pandemic holds for your congregation, consider the words of our UUA president, Susan Frederick-Gray, in the Planning for Multi-Platform Church and the work of our broader Congregational Life staff, Multi-platform Resources. The weeks of May 3 & 10, your Pacific Western Region staff will host a set of conversations, on how our values guide our decisions. We’ll expect that attendees have already watched the 30 min Dual-Platform Future hosted by our sibling, Central East Region, and read over Multi-platform: Choose Your Own Adventure, so that we can spend our 90 minutes together in conversation. These conversations will be tailored to those in your congregations looking at the why, when and what of this next phase, so folks like worship teams, board members, safety teams, RE teams. Bring a buddy or 5, or come solo, join the conversation that fits your schedule. We invite you to think together, share ideas and challenge each other & our faith. Join the Conversation.
EqUUal Access Sermon Contest
EqUUal Access is holding its Carolyn Cartland Sermon Contest! This annual contest highlights disability-related themes and topics. Entries are due by May 1, 2021 with a cash prize of $500 going to the chosen applicant. The award will be presented at the virtual EA Celebration on June 17, 2021. Time permitting, the winner may be asked to give an excerpt at the event. For more information, please click here. All entries, including the cover page found on this link should be emailed to
UUA Board of Trustees Open House
Tuesday, May 11, 2021; 4pm Pacific / 5pm Mountain / 6pm Central / 7pm Eastern

Co-Moderators Meg Riley and Charles Du Mond invite you to come and check in with the UUA Board of Trustees at its upcoming Zoom Open House. Bring your questions and chat about:

  • what the Board has planned leading up to General Assembly
  • General Assembly 2021
  • serving Unitarian Universalism as a volunteer at the national level
  • the progress of the Article II Study Commission
  • your congregation’s engagement with Widening the Circle of Concern
  • the UU issues that matter to you

We look forward to seeing you! Register here.
UU World Special Issue: (Re)Building Democracy
Coming Soon! UU World Special Issue: (Re)Building Democracy: A National Reckoning About Race, Justice, and Equity

We are excited to announce that a special issue of UU World magazine will be arriving in Unitarian Universalists’ mailboxes in early May. Redesigned and including vibrant art and photography, this issue captures this historic moment in (re)building democracy in the United States. Through interviews, essays, images, and reflections, we seek to engage readers in examining how each one of us can help create a truly just, equitable, and anti-racist democracy.
Look for your issue to arrive in your mailbox in early May! Not sure if you’re getting UU World magazine or need to update your subscription information? You can do that here.

Congregational Collaboration Board
Are you intrigued by the possibilities of sharing staff? Wondering how you might connect with a congregation that is offering or seeking staff? Browse our Congregational Collaboration Board, a new section of the UUA Jobs Board. To view basic information, no login is required. Create a MinistrySearch login to gain access to the contact information that accompanies the listings. When logged in, key congregational leaders can post new listings.

See our Sharing Staff page in LeaderLab for more on expanding work opportunities and enhancing programs through collaborative staffing.
Youth Peer Pastoral Care Training for Religious Educators
With Annie Scott, Evin Carvill Ziemer, and Nyana Harper
Wednesdays April 28, May 12, May 26, and June 9
3 to 6 pm ET (2-5p CT/1-4p MT/12-3p PT)

This workshop series will cover the same curriculum as the high school Peer Pastoral Care workshop series but focused on the role of the Religious Educator. Participants may find they want to use portions of this curriculum with their volunteers and youth. The final session will focus particularly on the benefits and challenges of encouraging peer pastoral care between youth and pastoral care by volunteer youth advisors. Register here!
Virtual General Assembly 2021: Register Now!
Circle 'Round for Justice ● Healing ● Courage is the theme for General Assembly 2021. General Assembly is a time to circle ‘round in community. We circle ‘round in care and healing; for liberation and justice; and for love and courage. We share stories of the work happening at our Association and in our congregations. We study ways to implement and live into our mission. UUA GA 2021 will incorporate recommendations from the Commission on Institution Change report, "Widening the Circle of Concern" and dialogue with the Article II Commission about our Principles and Purposes.

    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.
    Network of Hospitality for Bridging Youth
    The UUA’s Office of Lifespan Faith Engagement—in collaboration with the Mount Vernon Unitarian Church—is happy to announce the piloting of a new network of hospitality for Unitarian Universalist youth who are bridging out of their high school years. Building off of wisdom from previous programs, this network aims to connect bridging youth to the congregation where they will be living. Whether they’re staying in the same place, or moving far away from home, bridging youth may appreciate connection and community in this new life stage.

    Congregations sending forth bridging youth are encouraged to share the Bridging Youth Hospitality Network survey with their youth to fill out. That way, bridging youth will identify how they would like to be supported. Congregations receiving these new young adults are encouraged to also fill out the survey, to make the connection. The intensity of the connection can vary and should develop organically from the needs expressed by the young adult. To find additional bridging resources, visit our website. Contact Rev. Stevie Carmody with any questions.

    Upcoming Youth Events
    Pacific Western Region (PWR) Events
    • FUUsion 2021 - Virtual Camp July 11-18.

    District Specific Programs

    PSWD Camp de Benneville Pines
    MDD Spring Chalice Lighter Call Now Open!
    It’s that time again – time to help out a deserving congregation in the Mountain Desert District.  Three times a year, the MDD puts out a call for donations from Chalice Lighters (or anyone). Your generosity with the Spring Call will help Cache Valley Unitarian Universalists of Logan, Utah with a much-needed repair project to the retaining wall on their property – can’t have their land falling into their neighbor’s land!

    We know UUs are generous people – hopefully, your circumstances allow you to be generous at this time. The Winter call which ended February 28 will help the UU Fellowship of Missoula, Montana replace their roof, something which is long past due.
    Visit the MDD website to read the call letter and make a donation.

    Updates from the PCD Board
    Please mark your calendars for Saturday, June 12 at 2PM PT for the Pacific Central District Annual Meeting. Registration information and other details will be available mid-May.

    The District has had three primary functions:
    1. Provide a structure for self-governance for area congregations and to provide direction and guidance to UUA staff providing services to area congregations under contract with the four districts of the Pacific Western Region (PWR).
    2. Collect input from volunteer leaders and build relationships among them, primarily through one-on-one conversations.
    3. Invest funds from member congregations into the health and growth of the Unitarian Universalist movement and its values in the area.

    Here is what is happening: each of these functions will likely have a new home.
    1. PWR volunteer leaders are proposing to form a transitional, developmental, interim, liminal regional body to explore how congregations and other UU communities in the PWR might be in accountable relationship with each other and the UUA at this time.
    2. On all scales of the UUA, institutional structures for funneling input from leaders in the field and create relationships among them, such as the district boards, Regional and National Advisory Councils, have not functioned as hoped. However, the UUA Board continues to actively seek input though association-wide conversations focused on core collective priorities. The next big conversation will be hosted by the Article II Study Commission.
    3. In the short term, the Pacific Central District Board is preparing to pare down its purpose to funding ministries that belong collectively to UU communities in the area, such as the Youth Ministry Facilitation Project.

    Do any of these ministries call you? If so, please reach out to your current district volunteer team.
    Catherine Ishida
    For the Pacific Central District Board

    PCD Winter Chalice Lighter Call Now Open!
    The Spring 2021 Chalice Lighter call for the Pacific Central District will be devoted to the Unitarian Universalist Church of Berkeley (UUCB). They write: “The mission of UUCB is to create a loving community, inspire spiritual growth, and encourage lives of integrity, joy, and service. We begin that commitment with the youngest members of our church. UUCB is looking forward to our faith’s future by investing in our youth. We have great energy and vision for reimagining our high school and young adult programming mid and post-pandemic and need your help to make our vision into reality...A Chalice Lighters grant will help us apply the lessons UUCB learned to the creation of new programming for high school youth at UUCB in terms of a UU History Pilgrimage around the crucial areas of Unitarian and Universalist history in the Bay Area with field trips and events for 10th-12th graders." Read the full call letter and make a donation on our website.
    PNWD Annual Meeting 2021
    Hello dear friends in the Pacific Northwest,

    The board of the Pacific Northwest District of the UUA invites you and your fellow congregants to join us for a rousing annual meeting on Sunday, May 16th at 2:00 p.m. PDT. We plan to sing and connect and celebrate the resilience and leadership of our fellow UUs during the last challenging year. We will also address our final step in regionalization, as we link arms to do our work with the other three districts in the Pacific Western Region. Please register for the Annual Meeting and indicate your interest in serving as a delegate, by clicking here.

    Any updates and more details about the Annual Meeting Agenda will be available on the PNWD website.

    As you will see in our agenda, the Pacific Northwest District Board is working with the Pacific Central District, Mountain Desert District, Pacific Southwest District, and the staff of the Pacific Western Region to take the next steps in regionalization. We will not be voting to dissolve the PNW District at this meeting. Rather, the Board will introduce the idea, present the context, and share about ways you will be able to give your feedback on regionalization moving forward. We will vote on the Bylaws amendment in anticipation of voting to dissolve the PNW District later this fall.

    Our Annual Meeting Packet, which includes reports from many of our affiliated organizations, will be available on the website soon. As we get closer to May 16th and more details about our meeting become available, we will post those updates to our website.

    If you have questions about:
    To encourage optimal participation in this important meeting, we urge you to use these promotional materials (linked here) in your congregational communication (announcements, newsletters, etc).
    We are looking forward to gathering with you on May 16th!

    In faith,
    Your Pacific Northwest District Board of Directors: Susan Howlett, Aria Curtis, Craig Cyr, Susan Christie, Joseph Bednarik, and Christina Davitt
    PNWD Winter Chalice Lighter Call Now Open!
    This is your Spring Call for the 2020-2021 church year. The Inland Northwest Unitarian Universalist Community (INUUC) is an emerging UU congregation that will serve the population of Spokane and Eastern Washington. Their belief in the promise of Unitarian Universalism and adherence to its principles led them to risk beginning a new religious community in the midst of a global pandemic. They are making practical but bold plans, focusing on social justice issues, and striving to be inclusive, multicultural, and multigenerational. Your support will assist INUUC with the nonrecurring costs associated with “hitting the ground running” in their quest to offer more opportunities for religious liberals in their area to become Unitarian Universalists. For more information and to make a donation, visit the PNWD website.
    Updates from UU Justice Arizona
    Love & Justice: Abolition and Alternatives to Policing
    Every first Wednesday, 6:30pm
    UUs proclaim that no one is outside the circle of love, therefore, our goals are also abolitionist goals. Join UUJAZ team member Thoi every first Wednesday of the month in actively resisting the systems of policing and incarceration while building relationships and community with other passionate UUs in Arizona. Register for our next meeting here.

    Trans Inclusion in Congregations from Transforming Hearts Collective

    UUJAZ is thrilled to provide access to this online course on radical welcoming for all AZ UUs, thanks to a generous grant from the UU Funding panel. This course on transformational culture shift counts towards your annual Welcoming Congregation renewal. Contact us for your free login code (usually $125 per person) to explore this course at your own pace, or create a group at your congregation to take it together! If you’re interested in taking this course through UUJAZ, facilitated by Janine Gelsinger, fill out this form, and groups will be scheduled soon.
    Updates from UU Justice Ministry of California
    Regional Justice Convenings for California UUs
    Join UUJMCA and our California partners for our FREE 2021 Regional Justice Convenings! These convenings are an opportunity to deepen our faith-rooted work for justice, learn about active legislative efforts and statewide actions, and take a "deep dive" into UUJMCA's Core Campaigns for 2021 (including: Defund Police, ICE out of California, Fossil Free California, and Medicare for All).

    This year we are especially excited to root our conversations & community in our new Love ARCs model for putting our love into faithful and intentional action for collective liberation. Our Regional Justice Convenings include an optional but recommended spiritual grounding Friday evening, followed by a half-day of programming/conversation with plenty of breaks on Saturday. Convenings will be held on the following dates:

    Northern California
    Friday May 14th & Saturday May 15

    Central California
    Friday May 21st & Saturday May 22
    Southern California
    Friday June 11th & Saturday June 12th

    Learn more and register today.

    No Borders, No Walls: Virtual Journey for Immigrant Justice
    In partnership with Via International & UURISE (UU Refugee & Immigrant Services and Education), UUJMCA is excited to offer an online immersion for UUs and UU-aligned individuals interested in learning and engaging more with the realities of immigration at the California border. Through online virtual visits, attendees will have an opportunity to witness the effect of US Immigration policies from both sides of the border, deepen our faith connection to issues and efforts around immigration justice, and to connect with communities directly impacted by our broken immigration system. Learn more and register for our upcoming "No Borders, No Walls" journey happening this July 30-August 2 here!

    May California JUUstice Collectives Monthly Call
    Get connected with UUs and UU-aligned justice makers in California who are working to manifest justice! UUJMCA is growing our California JUUstice Collectives, where justice makers can join online spaces to share updates, resources, & events, as well as ask questions of others working on similar justice issues. Find new collaborators, share opportunities for action and education, and create justice together in California. Our May 2021 JUUstice Collective calls will be held May 26 & 27 - learn more and sign up here.
    InSpirit UU Book and Gift Shop
    Desmond Gets Free
    Matt Meyer (illustrations by Khim Fam), Skinner House Books, 2021
    “If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor. If an elephant has its foot on the tail of a mouse and you say that you are neutral, the mouse will not appreciate your neutrality.” —Archbishop Desmond Tutu

    Every morning Desmond the mouse wakes with the sunrise and spends the day playing in the beautiful meadow where he lives. And every night he goes to sleep under the starry sky. That is until one night he wakes up and finds an elephant asleep on his tail! Desmond asks for help from every kind of animal passing by but no one wants to disturb the sleeping giant. How will Desmond get free? With Matt Meyer’s thoughtful story and lush watercolor illustrations by artist Khim Fam, Desmond Gets Free introduces young readers to timely and nuanced concepts of justice and liberation in a kid-friendly and accessible way. Ages 4–8.

    Matt Meyer has a degree in hand drumming from Berklee College of Music and has studied abroad in Cuba, Ghana, and Central America. He’s worked on campaigns to preserve old growth forests, support farmworkers rights, and stop the construction of fossil fuel pipelines, and is always looking for ways to dismantle systems of oppression and support communities grounded in justice.

    Khim Fam is a self-taught illustrator who caught the painting bug as a child watching his uncle paint vibrant canvases in the studio. He loves taking long walks in the woods and is inspired by the colors and shapes of our natural landscape. Khim hopes to create magical worlds through painting that allow us to better connect ourselves with the world around us.

    Now available to order!