Relief for so Many, Webinars, Compensation Consultants, and more...


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PWR Newsletter


Relief for so many

Dear Pacific Western Region Congregational Leaders,

As we write these words, wildfires continue to burn across Northern California and while containment has progressed, they will remain a concern for several weeks to come.

Being described as "a serious, critical, catastrophic event," there are more than 40 dead and that number is expected to climb as dozens are still missing, including members from our congregations in the area.

Over 3,500 buildings and residences have been lost to the fires, including the homes of 15 members of Unitarian Universalist congregations in Santa Rosa, Napa, and Grass Valley. One of the homes lost in Santa Rosa belonged to members who had relocated to the area after losing everything in Hurricane Katrina. The loss of cherished animal companions has also been reported.

Let us hold the members of these congregations and the communities where they live in our thoughts and prayers. This is when we remember that we belong to one another and that together we can do what we cannot do alone.

We also encourage you to be generous in supporting relief efforts.

Donations to the recently-established UUA Disaster Relief Fund will now also benefit those affected by the California wildfires.

Congregations and other Unitarian Universalist organizations in affected areas will be able to apply for funding that can be used to benefit congregational members or community partners. (Funds can also be used to repair or rebuild congregational facilities, but to date, thankfully, none have been damaged or lost.)

Donate Online

If you prefer to donate by mail, please make your check payable to the UUA with "Disaster Relief Fund: California Wildfires" on the memo line, and send it to UUA Gift Processing, 24 Farnsworth St, Boston, MA 02210.

Rev. Dr. James Kubal-Komoto, Regional Lead, and Rev. Jan Christian, Congregational Life Staff

October 19, 2017
In this Issue
  • Relief for so Many
  • PWR Webinars
  • Board Development Days
  • Compensation Consultants
  • District and UU News
  • Job Postings
  • Youth News
PWR Quick Links
PWR Field Staff

Updates to Congregational Staff and Presidents

Do you have new staff members (administrators, directors of religious education or ministers) in your congregation? How about a new board president? Please check your congregation's listing on the appropriate district website and, if updates are necessary, send names, emails and phone numbers along to the Pacific Western Region at Keeping your congregation's file current helps us to communicate to the right people at the right time.


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

Reaching Out to Retirees

Rev. Sarah Gibb Millspaugh & Rev. Sarah Schurr - November 9, 7-8 pm

As Baby Boomers reach retirement age, it's time to take a fresh look at the spiritual and social needs of retirees. How can our congregations best reach people and build meaningful relationships with them in this transitional and tender time of life?

Register for Reaching Out to Retirees

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, 7-8pm PT

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

It's not too late to register for fall courses at the UU Leadership Institute!

The Core Leadership Courses are an online version of Leadership School and are designed to integrate newer leaders with current leaders by learning together! We provide materials so that you can self-organize your congregation or cluster for an in-person workshop where you can learn from one another, no matter which level course you are taking!

Visit for a full list!

Register Now

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

Plans are currently underway to offer these throughout the PWR. If you are interested in hosting a Board Development Day in the coming year, let your PWR Primary Contact know.

Multicultural Renaissance Module Registration Open

Multicultural religious education is a way of seeing and thinking as well as doing. It requires us to truly open our minds and hearts to the perspectives and experiences of others. It requires the humility to see those diverse perspectives to be as valid as our own. It calls us to welcome and include the unfamiliar, those who may be outside our comfort zone. It asks us to acknowledge the realities of oppression and privilege. It means we are open to change and growth, and ultimately care more about justice than comfort.

Nov. 6, 5:00pm to Nov. 8, 12:00pm
Denver, CO

Led by: Rev. Samaya Oakley and Aisha Hauser

Learn more

Compensation Consulting

Rev. Sarah Schurr - PWR Congregational Life Staff

Help with Compensation and Benefits

For many congregations, wages and benefits for the staff are the largest item in their budget, often 70% or more. And employment costs have gone up over the years. Some UUs will boycott businesses where they feel the workers are not compensated fairly. We want to be the good guys as employers. We, as congregations, don't want to treat our staff in ways that violate our values. Yet knowing what is fair, legal, and what is doable can be confusing.

There are folks who can help congregations with salary and benefits questions and concerns. Our Pacific Western Region has three Compensation Consultants you can call on to help with wage and benefits questions. These Compensation Consultants are specially trained volunteers who work under the auspices of the UUA Office of Church Staff Finance.

Some folks know that the Compensation Consultants will help a congregation while they are searching for a new minister. They will help the search team make an attractive and realistic offer to the new minister. But Compensation Consultants can help out at other times as well. You can call on your Compensation Consultant any time to review the salary or the benefits packages you offer your entire staff group, to advise and help offerings to be well balanced. They can also help give advice about the confusing world of insurance for your staff.

Our PWR Compensation Consultants are Martha Ketelle, Debbie Bieber, and Brian Rogers. Their contact information and assigned geographic area is below. Martha has extensive congregational leadership experience, including as a new congregation organizer. She also has years of management experience working for the Forest Service. Deborah is a CPA with additional credentialing in global management. She was Vice President for Finance of Meadville Lombard Theological School. Brian is a retired business consultant. He served as Chancellor and as Vice President of Finance for University of Alaska at Fairbanks. He is former treasurer of the PNWD. All our Compensation Consultants are specially trained to help your congregation.

There is no cost for calling on these consultants. It is part of the service provided by the UUA in our covenantal relationship. As with many regional services, much of the Compensation Consultant work is done remotely. They can point you to just the right online resources, review your documents by email, and meet with you by phone or Zoom. In the next few issues of this newsletter, look for favorite tips from our Compensation Consultants.

Also, be sure and checkout the new Benefits Tune-up Workbook from the UUA.

PWR Compensation Consultants
  • 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

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

Sign the Petition for Araceli Velasquez

UU congregations across the Metro Denver area have been committed partners of the Metro Denver Sanctuary Coalition for many years, along with partners from UCC, Catholic, Methodist and Baptist churches as well as a Quaker meeting and synagogue. Their diverse coalition provides safety and/or support to immigrant families seeking time to adjust their status and achieve justice.

Araceli Velasquez is living in sanctuary at co-congregations, Park Hill United Methodist and Temple Micah in Denver. Araceli Velasquez fled for her life from El Salvador to the U.S. in 2010 at 19 years old. Following the international process for asylum, she threw herself on the mercy of the U.S. government at the U.S.-Mexico border, and asked for asylum. The U.S. government detained her for a month and half. Upon her release, she was able to reunite with relatives here in Colorado who helped her contract with an attorney to represent her. Although ICE granted her a one-year stay of deportation to July 2017, Araceli's application for an extension of her stay was denied this year. Fearing for her life again as well as separation from her children, she made the difficult decision to give up her freedom again by claiming sanctuary in a local congregation Temple Micah and Park Hill United Methodist Church on August 18, 2017.

The coalition is seeking five thousand signatures on a petition supporting Velasquez, and have already reached more than 3700.

Sign the Petition

PWR Congregations in the News

Foothills Unitarian Church becomes sanctuary congregation - The Rocky Mountain Collegian
Sanctuaries like Foothills Unitarian Church provide a safe place for immigrants when they are in need. Senior Minister Reverend Gretchen Haley said after the 2016 presidential election, the Foothills Unitarian Church decided they needed to get more serious about what they were doing to help their immigrant neighbors in Fort Collins.

Interfaith: Special blend of traits needed to navigate these difficult times - Ventura County Star
On Oct. 21 from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., the Conejo Valley UU Fellowship are holding a unique workshop titled "Love Resists." This is a progressive empowerment and action workshop, open to interfaith partners and anyone interested. The aim of the workshop is to offer practical ways that congregations, organizations and individuals can make a difference in supporting human rights in today's charged and divisive political climate.

Community Unitarian Universalist Church hosts candlelight vigil for Las Vegas -
Organizers of a candlelight vigil on Wednesday night said our community needed an opportunity to come together after the mayhem in Las Vegas. The theme Hold on, Hold Each Other, and Hold to Love was repeated throughout the evening at the Community Unitarian Universalist Church in Pasco.

Pocatello Unitarian Universalist Fellowship welcomes new minister - Idaho State Journal
Pocatello Unitarian Universalist Fellowship has a new minister. Jennifer Peek, who goes by Pastor Jenny, was recently selected to serve in the position that has been vacant for two years.

PWR Job Postings

Ministry Positions


PWR Youth News


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 - Aug TBA
  • Summer Seminary Late July - Meadville Lombard Theological School in Chicago, IL.

Technology and Communications


When the Comments Are Negative

Timing is everything sometimes. Right after I finished reading Todd Hertz's article Responding to Negative Facebook Comments, I wondered whether there would be a relevant example of negativity and 'customer service' from our UU world in time for the newsletter. Turned out, I had to wait all of 11 minutes.

Foothills Unitarian Church in Fort Collins, CO recently declared itself a sanctuary congregation and two days ago offered that sanctuary to Ingrid Encalada Latorre and her two year old son. Yesterday they started to receive reviews on their page from people attacking their practice of sanctuary.

Since noting this review through their personal networks and inviting responses, the congregation's page has been overwhelmed with positive feedback, from members, guests, and community members celebrating them for their action. A rapid response, made possible by an active Facebook community, meant the congregation both maintained a really positive reviews section of their Facebook page, but also enabled their own members to speak more publicly about what they value in the congregation and reply to concerns with integrity.

For all of the concern that we may have about people leaving negative comments on our pages or our posts, in many ways its a real benefit that so much of our 'customer service' is public now. I remember as a kid asking my parents about why we suddenly started walking three blocks to get milk instead of from the convenience store at the bottom of the street. Turned out the son of the owner hadn't been very kind to one of our neighbours, so we were taking our business elsewhere. I don't know if the owner knew why my whole block disappeared from his customer base, or what was being whispered across fences on summer nights, but that wouldn't be the case now where people express their concerns where everyone can see them. Painful and upsetting as it may be when it happens, it gives us an opportunity to respond where everyone can see us too, to model who we are and how we want to be.

You can choose to reply, to hide or delete comments, to block users. In some cases, that's the only productive response (like with internet trolls or unconscientious objectors). But in many cases, with people who genuinely have questions or need to be heard, we want to take that opportunity to invite a conversation, to reply with curiousity or invite a private conversation offline or via direct message. As Hertz notes, "Social media culture upholds and respects basic good customer service practices. Be honest. Practice humility. Take ownership. Offer help. Apologize when merited." Good practices in our congregations too.

Give Hertz's article a read for more ideas about responding to negative comments. And always remember to take a deep breath before you hit reply.


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

When We Fight, We Win

Greg Jobin-Leeds, AgitArte, The New Press, 2016

Longtime social activist Greg Jobin-Leeds joins forces with AgitArte, a collective of artists and organizers, to capture the stories, philosophy, tactics, and art of today's leading social change movements.

We Wear the Mask

Brando Skyhorse, Lisa Page, Beacon Press, 2017

15 True Stories of Passing in America Why do people pass? Fifteen writers reveal their experiences with passing-including racial, ethnic, sexual orientation, gender, and economic forms of passing.


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Brighton, CO 80601
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