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Pacific Western Region
Newsletter March 2022
by Eric Bliss
PWR Youth and Emerging Adult Specialist

There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside of you.” - Maya Angelou

Acknowledging the massive contributions to our country by women, Women’s History Month actually began as a weeklong, local celebration in Santa Rosa, California in 1978. A few years later, President Jimmy Carter designated it nationally and then Congress passed a resolution in 1987 to make it a full month of celebration and recognition.

Women’s History month is a time for celebrating women’s stories.

In these last few years of uncertainty and challenge, there are countless stories of trauma and grief that have gone untold, particularly by women. As conservative-leaning states ratchet up pressure against a woman’s right to choose and as lawmakers increase aggressive rhetoric expressly against our women legislators (e.g. AOC, Nancy Pelosi, Ilhan Omar), it is well past time for the country to go beyond a token head nod to the women who make and have made this country great.  

It is time for truth-telling. Time to address the misogynistic and patriarchal bedrock that underlies the very foundations of our ecclesiastical and political systems. It is time for those in positions of authority to recognize that, to quote Nakeia Homer: “Behind every strong woman is a story that gave her no other choice.”  

Disney’s new sensational film, Encanto, is a story about a family in Colombia that has many gifts, but also has a number of invisible flaws. It is a story of a woman’s strength (Abuela Alma) to protect her own when there were truly no other choices, and in so doing, creating a miracle, bestowing wonders upon her descendants.  

These wonders appear in the form of individual enchantments, like super strength and weather control, among others. Their house, with the help of a magical candle, also is enchanted, blessing and protecting the nearby town and their people. It is the strength of the women of this lovely, complicated family, that not only builds the house and surrounding community, but also ultimately saves them.  

Abuela Alma is the matriarch of the family. She is wise, loving, and direct. Mirabel, her granddaughter without obvious magical gifts, takes a central role in rescuing the family from resentful and bitter dynamics through listening and storytelling. She reunites a lost loved one and ultimately keeps their magic alive. At the end, the entire town comes together to repair the home after the family conflict had torn it apart, finally bringing their Casita back to life.

Through Mirabel’s earnest efforts and the sharing of Alma’s untold story of suffering, the family writes a new chapter for themselves that takes them beyond the secrets, fear, and shame that had been poisoning them for so long.

During the story’s conclusion, Alma says, “I was given a miracle… And I was so afraid to lose it that I lost sight of who the miracle was for.”

What enchantments, miracles, or blessings exist in your congregation or UU community and how are women central to their very existence? Are you active locally for justice and equality? Purveyors of Our Whole Lives trainings far and wide? Providers of sensational religious education offerings and or worship? Big contributors to the UUA’s Annual Program Fund? How might you work with church leadership to celebrate and lift up women’s contributions to these wonderful, magical aspects of your church life? They are surely at the heart of any and all of them!

As a society, there is much we can learn from Encanto: what we can do to heal; what we can do to preserve the miracle that is our democracy, and; how we can do these by following women's leadership as well as that of other marginalized folx.

There are countless untold tales of harm poisoning our human family. May we lessen the burden by listening to and centering women’s stories this and every month. May we heal our own house, and in so doing may we take steps to preserve our own magic, our own miracles.  

Blessed be…
In this Issue
UU Nations: Ukraine and Our Commitment to Peace

PWR & UUA News

Youth & Emerging Adult News
Pacific Northwest News
InSpirit Update

PWR Links
Calendar and Events
Staff Contacts
Job Postings
Youth Ministries

RE Trainings

PWR Lead
Carlton Elliott Smith

PWR Program Staff
Summer Albayati
UU Nations: Ukraine and Our Commitment to Peace
Editor’s Note: As this edition of the PWR Newsletter was nearing completion, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine went from a terrifying possibility to a horrific tragedy. Your PWR staff team decries the violence and suffering brought by this turn of events. We light candles in our homes and in our hearts for the millions of innocent civilians whose lives are at risk, for those who love them around the globe, and for as peaceful a resolution as possible.

In this UUWorld blog, UU Office at the United Nations (UU@UN) Executive Director Bruce Knotts reminds us of the vital role of UUs in affirming and promoting human rights internationally over the past century. He also gives us a summary of how we arrived at the crisis over Ukraine, concluding with the preamble to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, drafted after World War II by Canadian Unitarian John Peters Humphrey. May each of us in our own way carry forward the legacy of Humphrey and other prophets of love and peace in these trying times.

Register Now for General Assembly 2022!
In 2022, we will have the option of meeting online or in-person! For those who enjoyed the convenience and accessibility of remote participation, General Assembly will continue to offer virtual attendance with robust programming and enhanced delegate discussion tools. For those who have been missing the physical experience, GA 2022 will also feature face-to-face interactions, hanging banners, a browsable exhibit hall, meals with friends old and new, local site attractions, and more! Join us June 22 - 26, 2022 online or in-person in Portland, Oregon. Click here for more information!

Registration is now open for in-person attendance. Full-time registration is $475 for adults, and $250 for high school youth, emerging adults, and retired and candidate ministers. Financial support for registration, lodging credit within the GA housing block, as well as a payment plan are available. In-person registration rates will increase on March 1 and again on May 1. Registration for virtual participation will open March 1.
Leading from the Heart 2022
In this three-part series for budding and experienced leaders, you will ground yourself in your own spiritual soil, acknowledge our shard roots, discern fruits of our faith, find abundance in serving, and preserve seeds to ensure the harvest of leadership for years to come. March-May, Details and Registration.
Register Now for the Intergenerational Spring Seminar!
Intergenerational Spring Seminar: “Displacement & Human Rights: All in for Climate Justice”
April 22 – May 1

The Intergenerational Spring Seminar, hosted by the UU Office at the United Nations (UU@UN), UU Ministry for Earth, Unitarian Universalist Service Committee (UUSC) and Side With Love aims to instill in Unitarian Universalist youth and adults a commitment to global engagement and the skills to take action locally to address global issues.

The intergenerational seminar is an opportunity to collaborate with others while learning how to be a global activist. Through workshops, peer and expert-led panel discussions, community building activities, and worship services, you will undergo a transformative process of learning, reflection, and growth while exploring some of the most challenging issues facing humanity today. Learn more and register here.

UUA Board of Trustees Updates
Now Seeking Nominations
Our UUA Needs YOU and Your Leadership!
The UUA Nominating Committee is seeking nominations for our denominational committees elected by the General Assembly.
We are seeking nominations for all of our elected committees: Board of Trustees, Board of Review, Nominating Committee, General Assembly Planning Committee, Commission on Appraisal, Commission on Social Witness, and Financial Advisor. More information and applications here. Please apply by February 27th!

General Assembly Webinars
At this year’s multiplatform General Assembly (GA), we will explore the power, possibility, purpose, struggle, and joy of meeting the moment as Unitarian Universalists. Whether you're a first-time delegate or a long-time attendee, we invite you to join us to learn more about what will happen at GA this year. Members of the Board of Trustees (with some occasional special guests) will provide an overview, along with information for delegates regarding the business sessions. More information and registration here.

Open Houses

The Board will, once again, hold open houses on the 2nd Tuesday of each month.
  • Tuesday, March 8, 2022; 4pm PT/ 5pm MT / 6pm CT/ 7pm ET. Pre-register.
  • Tuesday, April 12, 2022; 4pm PT/ 5pm MT / 6pm CT/ 7pm ET. Pre-register.
  • Tuesday, May 10, 2022; 4pm PT/ 5pm MT / 6pm CT/ 7pm ET. Pre-register.
  • Tuesday, June 14, 2022; 4pm PT/ 5pm MT / 6pm CT/ 7pm ET. Pre-register.

Board Meetings
The Board meets monthly. Here are the dates/times for each meeting. Please note that a registration link for the meetings will be available on this page in advance of each meeting.
  • Monday, March 14, 2022; 4:00pm PT / 5:00pm MT / 6:00pm CT / 7:00pm ET
  • Friday, April 22—Saturday, April 23, 2022; Schedule TBD
  • Monday, May 9, 2022; 4:00pm PT / 5:00pm MT / 6:00pm CT / 7:00pm ET
Updates from the Organizing Strategy Team
Congregational Climate Convergence
March 22
Calling all congregational lay leaders and religious professionals passionate about climate justice! Join Side With Love, Green Sanctuary 2030, and UU Ministry for Earth for a day of community nourishment, resource sharing and skill-building to support your local eco ministries! Register now.

Shape UUA Justice Commitment Through the Social Witness Process
Join our 2022 Spring Social Witness Convening
Wednesday, March 30, 2022 from 7 pm to 9:30 pm ET | 4 pm to 6:30 pm ET

Join this special event to learn from UU leaders on the most recent statements below, and come ready to share what YOU have done and what you’ve struggled with this year on these calls to action.

  • “Undoing Systemic White Supremacy: A Call to Prophetic Action"
  • “Defend and Advocate with Transgender, Nonbinary, and Intersex Communities”
  • “Stop Voter Suppression and Partner for Voting Rights and a Multiracial Democracy”
  • “The COVID-19 Pandemic: Justice. Healing. Courage.”

Then join in imagining newly emerging calls to action for 2022. We will review the new process for Actions of Immediate Witness for 2022 and share ideas for 2022 calls to social witness action. Register to participate on Zoom.

**If you want to present your accomplishments or challenges during the Convening please email by March 15, 2022 so we can make arrangements.

Jubilee III Anti-Racism Training
March 25-27, Virtual
Do you wish to deepen your understanding of how race and ethnicity play out in our institutions and our daily lives? Are you ready to take a leading role to nurture a multicultural future in the face of opposing cultural currents? Come Join Us for this Life-Changing Weekend! Register here.

Taproot: A National BIPOC Space
The work of spiritual community is complicated in the 21st century. The need for faithful leadership that is grounded and resilient is imperative. This is all the more true for leaders within our communities and congregations who are Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPoC). All too aware of this need, UUA Congregational Life staff is excited to explore and co-create a network with congregational leaders that support them in this time in emergent ways through Taproot: A National BIPOC Space. BIPoC Leaders rooted in the Unitarian Universalist congregations are invited to take part in this monthly, virtual gathering.

Second Thursday of the month. ***PLEASE NOTE NEW TIME*** Next meeting March 10th at 8p ET/7p CT/6p MT/5p PT. Details and registration.
A Second Slice of Pi: An Online Conference for Smaller Congregations
Are you in a small congregation of 120 members or fewer? Want to connect with others who are doing church the way you do – or the way you hope to? We have just the thing for you!

Join us for A Second Slice of Pi: A Small Conference for Smaller Congregations. This is an opportunity for networking, connecting, sharing and learning with others, all from similar sized congregations to yours.

What will be happening? As of now, an online resource library is available for any participant to access. On March 12 from 3p-5p ET/12p-2p PT there will be opportunities to talk with other congregational leaders about worship, partnerships, creative uses of space, covenanting communities and more. Learn more. We encourage you to register now and attend with at least one slice of your favorite pie!

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.
Camp is Back in 2022!
Exciting news! Camp will return in 2022. Dates have been confirmed for our week-long, residential high school & middle school camps in the mountains.
QUUest: July 3-9, 2022 in Casper, Wyoming.
Camp Blue Boat: July 17-21 in Ellensburg, WA.
Watch the newsletter and our website for more information as it becomes available.
Staff applications open until positions are filled.
Donations to support camp always welcome.
Free Radical Ministry
For emerging adults who are free range, in college, working, or doing whatever and who want to worship and connect in a social and social justice setting. For UUs across the country! No UU campus ministry where you are? No problem. Get radical! No UU church near you or offering Emerging Adult ministry? No problem. Get radical! Sign up here.
A Note from Your PNWD Board
Dear friends in the PNWD and PWR,

After securing approval by the Washington State Attorney General of our plan of dissolution, including asset distribution, the Board unanimously voted on Sunday, January 30, to dissolve the Pacific Northwest District. We are now in the process of paying our final expenses and distributing remaining assets. Next we will obtain a Revenue Clearance Certificate from the Department of Revenue, after which we will file Articles of Dissolution with the Washington Secretary of State.

Our final asset distribution is as follows:
  • Alaska Fund: The total of $3,934.69 was split evenly among the UU congregations in Alaska ($983.67 each).
  • Chalice Lighters: As many of you know, the Cascadia Growth Fund has agreed to steward the PNWD Chalice Lighters program. Any assets associated with this program will be distributed to Cacadia Growth Fund ($25,975.29).
  • Closing Expenses: Tech assistance and attorney ($3,500).
  • Our remaining assets totaled about $83,000. Cascadia Growth Fund has generously agreed to steward this money as well, in a fund for PNWD area congregations in distress and in need of the help of the Healthy Congregations Team.

Our emotional yet hopeful meeting on the 30th was witnessed by past board members, regional staff, and other leaders in our district. We are so grateful they joined our meeting and were with us through this vote.

Just as the PNWD Board dissolves, a new leadership entity is being formed. We are proud to say that Christina Davitt and Aria Curtis will continue their service to Unitarian Universalism on the Transitions Team for the Pacific Western Region. Alongside members of the other districts in the region, Christina and Aria will work to imagine and establish governance in the Pacific Western Region.

We look forward to meeting at future Regional and General Assemblies, and continue to hold the congregations and communities of the Pacific Northwest in our hearts.

In faith,
Aria Curtis, Susan Howlett, Craig Cyr, Susan Christie, Joseph Bednarik, Christina Davitt

Cascadia/ PNWD Chalice Lighters Update
Notice of New Mailing Address, Delayed Spring call, and Automatic Payment Changes
Following the PNWD Board's vote to dissolve on January 30, responsibility for the District's Chalice Lighter program is moving to Cascadia Growth Fund to continue serving UU congregations in the Northwest. PWR Staff and the Cascadia Board are working together to make the shift as seamless as possible. Cascadia Chalice Lighters will continue to operate as it has over more than twenty years: generous UUs supporting their neighbor congregations.

The Winter Chalice Lighter call is still underway. If you have not already done so, please contribute before March 1!

While the program remains the same, the transition means a name change, an address change, and bank account changes. Here is what this means for Chalice Lighter Donors:

  • The Spring call will open on April 1 instead of March 1. If your congregation wishes to propose to receive the proceeds of this or a future call, please contact program coordinator Dave Cauffman at

  • Automatic payments to PWR for PNWD Chalice Lighter donations will cease in March. Donors using autopayments will be contacted by PWR staff about redirecting gifts to Cascadia Chalice Lighters once our new system is set up.

  • Going forward, checks must be made out to Cascadia Chalice Lighters, and mailed to: 2839 W. Kennewick Avenue, PMB 231, Kennewick, WA 99336. If your bank or software is set up to mail a check, YOU must redirect your donations.

As part of the transition, Cascadia Growth Fund is seeking a part time Administrator familiar with UU congregations. Please visit our website or email us for details.

Thank you to all the dedicated Chalice Lighter Donors in the Northwest for sticking with us during this transition! Thanks also to PWR Staff for their support, and special thanks to Chalice Lighter Ambassadors who keep the flames of generosity burning in our member congregations.

Rev. K. Antonia Won
President, Cascadia Growth Fund

InSpirit UU Book and Gift Shop
BLUU Notes: An Anthology of Love, Justice, and Liberation
“May this power of love you find in these pages change your life and your Unitarian Universalism.”

Forged at the intersection of faith and justice, BLUU Notes: An Anthology of Love, Justice, and Liberation is the first publication from Black Lives of Unitarian Universalism (BLUU). Editors Dr. Takiyah Nur Amin and Rev. Mykal Slack, both on BLUU's Organizing Collective Board of Directors, have collected original poems, prayers, and short prose pieces by Black Unitarian, Universalist, and Unitarian Universalist writers, musicians, worship leaders, and liturgists. This rich and profound collection can be used for personal study, private meditation, and worship that amplifies a Black Unitarian Universalist perspective and worldview. Selected music and additional resources round out this transformative collection.

Takiyah Nur Amin, PhD, is a dance scholar, educator, and academic success strategist. Her research focuses on twentieth-century American concert dance, African diaspora dance performance and aesthetics, and pedagogical issues in dance studies. Dr. Amin has been a member of the Black Lives of Unitarian Universalism Organizing Collective Board of Directors since 2016.

Rev. Mykal Slack is a speaker, trainer, worship leader, and congregational life specialist in Unitarian Universalist and other faith settings. He has been a member of the Black Lives of Unitarian Universalism Organizing Collective Board of Directors since 2017 and serves as BLUU’s Community Minister for Worship and Spiritual Care. He is also a co-founder and facilitator of the Transforming Hearts Collective.

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Pacific Western Region - UUA
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