Leadership Experience 2019, OWL trainings, and more...


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PWR Newsletter


Leadership Experience 2019

Dear Pacific Western Congregational Leaders,

I am happy to announce the launch of Leadership Experience 2019 — a pilot leadership development program in the Pacific Western Region.

This pilot program will be a hybrid in-person/online learning experience. Participants will meet for a weekend retreat in one of three locations in January 2019. Participants will then have eight follow-up 90-minute Zoom video conference calls February through May. There will also be an optional gathering for all participants at General Assembly in Spokane, Washington, in June.

This program will be ideal for board members or other individuals in leadership positions within a congregation. Congregations are also strongly encouraged to send people who are being considered for future leadership positions. Ministers and other religious professionals may also attend.

Participants will gain a deeper grounding in Unitarian Universalism and will also gain knowledge and skills regarding mission-focused leadership, systems thinking, change management, anti-oppression and multicultural transformation, and conflict transformation as well as other topics.

The weekend retreats and Zoom calls will be led by PWR staff.

Here are the times, dates, and locations of the three weekend retreats as well as the follow-up Zoom calls:

Group A
Weekend Retreat: Friday evening – Sunday afternoon, January 11-13, Vallombrosa Center, Menlo Park, California (near San Francisco)
Follow-Up Zoom Calls: First and third Tuesdays, 7-8:30 p.m. Pacific Time (February 5, February 19, March 5, March 19, April 2, April 16, May 7, and May 21).

Group B
Weekend Retreat: Friday evening – Sunday afternoon, January 18-20, Madonna Retreat and Conference Center, Albuquerque, New Mexico
Follow-up Zoom Calls: First and third Thursdays, 7-8:30 p.m. Mountain Time (February 7, February 21, March 7, March 21, April 11, April 25, May 2, and May 16)

Group C
Weekend Retreat: Friday evening – Sunday afternoon, January 25-27, 7-8:30 p.m., Menucha Retreat and Conference Center, Corbett, Oregon (near Portland)
Follow-up Zoom Calls: Second and fourth Wednesdays, 7 -8:30 p.m. Pacific Time (February 13, February 27, March 13, March 27, April 10, April 24, May 8, and May 22.)

If you are a minister or board president, please begin to consider who in your congregation might benefit most from participating in this experience and talk to them about the possibility of attending. Congregations are strongly encouraged to send a team of at least two people to participate.

The most successful congregations invest both time and money in lay leadership development, so please also begin to consider how your congregation might financially support the participation of those who may attend. PWR staff is still finalizing details, but we anticipate that registration costs will be $500 or less per participant. This includes all food, lodging, and materials costs, but not transportation to and from the weekend retreat sites.

Registration will begin in September. Participants may attend any one of the three weekend retreats, not necessarily the one closest to where they live.

For more information, please contact me at (253) 252-6539 or

Rev. Dr. James Kubal-Komoto, Pacific Western Regional Lead

P.S. I know the Russell Lockwood Leadership School, which was last held in 2016, was a transformative experience for many people in the Pacific Western Region, but high costs and the difficulty many people had being away from jobs and families for a week led to a dwindling number of participants in recent years. My hope is this new program will be as transformative while also being more affordable and accessible for more people.

August 9, 2018
In this Issue
  • Leadership Experience 2019
  • Events, Training & Webinars
  • District and UU News
  • Job Postings
  • Youth News
PWR Quick Links
PWR Field Staff

Events, Training and Webinars


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.

  • September 8 at UU Community Church of Santa Monica, CA
  • October 20 at First Unitarian Universalist Society of San Francisco, CA
  • November 3 at Valley UU Congregation in Chandler, AZ

Register Now

Upcoming OWL Trainings

OWL Grades K-1 & 4-6

OWL Grades 7-9 & 10-12

OWL Young Adult & Adult


PWR and UUA News


Congregational Pledges and Giving

The 2018/19 fiscal year brings a change to how congregations pledge to their districts and to the UUA. Pledge forms sent to congregations in the spring reflected a request for a unified payment supporting both the APF and your district. If your congregation did not submit a pledge form, you were recently emailed a copy by Norrie Gall, UUA Congregational Giving Manager. Please contact Congregational Giving Assistant, Katie Jacobsen, ( if you need this resent.

When congregations affiliate with the UUA, they pledge their support to the Association. Each congregation’s gifts to their district and to the UUA Annual Program Fund are the fulfillment of a promise that has already been made, and the other congregations in our Association count on your support! The 2018/19 combined pledge is designed to help make clear the fact that we are all one Unitarian Universalist Association – bound together in a network of mutual support as an Association of Congregations. Thank you for your generosity.

New Resource! Worship Leaders' Toolkit

Explore the Worship Leaders' Toolkit, a wonderful new resource from a workshop led by Rev. Erika Hewitt, UUA Minister of Worship Arts, at General Assembly 2018. Find helpful information on developing a theology of worship, worship foundations, and a worship leaders' primary responsibilities. With additional links to outside sources and further reading, the Toolkit provides a great entry point into worship considerations for congregations of all sizes and styles. Featured in the resources is the webinar by PWR Congregational Life Staff Rev. Sarah Schurr, Good Worship in Small Congregations.

Resist the Criminalization of People Who Migrate

At General Assembly in Kansas City, MO, Unitarian Universalists overwhelmingly voted to adopt an Action of Immediate Witness calling for the abolition of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and an end to family separation and the detention of asylum seekers. Learn what you and your congregation can do to end family separation and #AbolishICE.

PWR Congregations in the News

Immigrant, labor, and abortion rights at stake in Oregon elections - Peoples' World
On July 26 the UU Congregation in Salem met for a follow-up to the community conversation. The church’s Sanctuary Team meeting decided to put up a large banner at a busy intersection urging a no vote on Measure 105. The team plans to assist in community trainings and partnering with the local Our Revolution group to do voter registration at the state fair. Salem Unitarians are joining with other Unitarian congregations to sponsor a declaration in the state voter’s pamphlet urging a no vote on 105.

New effort arises to possibly block shelter - Corvallis Gazette-Times
The Rev. Jill McAllister of the UU Fellowship of Corvallis, which operated the men’s cold weather shelter last winter and has agreed to do so again this year, said that "some very good concerns have been articulated" about the shelter, "especially around downtown livability" and related issues. However, she also lamented the tone of some objections to siting the shelter and other services for the homeless downtown. "To me, it looks like there’s a layer of fear and loathing that comes out as prejudice," she said.

Edmonds church offers safe parking to people living in cars - AP News
These days, in a parking lot behind the Edmonds UU Church, Dana is able to get a restful night’s sleep. For two and half years, the Edmonds church has hosted what is believed to be the only safe parking program in the county, providing 10 spots to families and single women experiencing homelessness. Last summer, the church had 33 people, including 19 children staying in their lot.

Yolo County to consider being a ‘safe and welcoming place for all’ - Daily Democrat
"It would put Yolo County on record against government policies that harm undocumented immigrant and refugee children and parents by sending them to separate detention facilities, often thousands of miles apart," according to a letter sent by Robin Datel, co-chair, Immigration Justice Team, UU Church of Davis. "The resolution states the myriad ways in which this is bad policy for individuals and communities; it also commits the county to several constructive actions against such policies and in support of better alternatives," she stated.

PWR Job Postings


Pacific Northwest News


PNWD Passages

We offer condolences to the families and friends of Jean Sundborg, who died June 22, 2018 and Dick Jacke, who died July 28, 2018.

Jean was a long-time member of Saltwater Unitarian Universalist Church and active in neighborhood, church, and PNWD activities. She also served as president of the PNWD Development Fund Board of Governors and was instrumental in establishment of the Rod Stewart Growth Fund, currently part of the Pacific Northwest UU Growth Foundation.

A memorial service for Jean will be held Saturday, September 22, at 2:00 p.m. at Saltwater UU Church in Des Moines, Washington. Read the full obituary.

Dick was a long-time member of East Shore Unitarian Church and was active at all levels of denominational work – his church, Puget Sound UU Council, Interfaith Council of Washington, PNWD, and the UUA. Dick served many roles in the Pacific Northwest District including founding member and chair of the Adult Religious Education Committee, PNWD Annual Program Fund Chair, Extension Ministry Advisory Committee, and the PNWD Board of Directors (four years as president), and many other areas. Dick was also a member of the current UUA Board of Trustees with one year remaining in his term.

Plans for a memorial service have not yet been announced, but should soon be posted on the East Shore Unitarian Church website.

The Dick Jacke Library

The late Dick Jacke, East Shore member, UUA Trustee, and well-known participant and leader in numerous social action and interfaith projects, was an avid collector of books on art, philosophy, world religions, Unitarian Universalism, church and volunteer organization governance, and related topics.

His library numbers a conservatively estimated 3,200 volumes, which had been added to consistently up to the time of his death.

This is a unique and uniquely valuable library, which his family would like to see maintained intact as a collection in his honor by a Unitarian Universalist or liberal religious church or other organization.

Accordingly, the Jacke family would be happy to donate Dick’s library to a qualified institutional recipient free of charge.

Representatives of interested organizations should contact Walter Andrews ( for further information and images of some parts of the library.


Pacific Central News


Pot of Gold - 7th Annual Religious Education Conference

"Reimagining Sunday School" With Kimberly Sweeney & Rev. Sarah Gibb Millspaugh

Saturday, September 29, 2018 - 8:30am to 4:00pm at UU Society of Sacramento, CA. Sponsored by the Pacific Central LREDA Chapter.

All RE professionals and volunteers, UU ministers and lay leaders from the Pacific Western Region are invited to the 7th Annual Pot of Gold RE Conference, hosted by the Pacific Central Chapter of LREDA at the UU Society of Sacramento. Shared keynote presentation by Kim Sweeney, author of "The Death of Sunday School and the Future of Faith Formation" & Executive Director of Courageous Faith Consulting and the Rev. Sarah Gibb Millspaugh, Congregational Life Staff member in the Pacific Western Region. Wonderful meals, worship, keynote conversations, and workshops on skills and models for our educational ministries for children, youth, families and volunteer leaders. Nearby lodging at Larkspur Landing. Free and easy parking at UUSS. Sacramento accessible by Amtrak, airport, and Megabus. $50/person or $40/person for teams of 4 or more per congregation (incl. meals). Rates go up after Sept. 15. Learn more and register. Questions? Contact us at


PWR Youth News


Update from Eric: Monthly Youth Advisor Zoom Calls and More!

PWR Friends and Colleagues,

Greetings! I hope life in your congregations hasn't gotten too frantic while you prepare for the coming church / RE year. Many blessings for the amazing ministry that you do for children, youth, and families!

And speaking of ministry, our collaborative youth ministry work continues with the monthly Youth Advisor Zoom Calls on the second Thursday of each month. The next one is Thursday, September 13 at 12:30 pm PT / 1:30 pm MT at

Some topics that we'll hit this year include:

  • Advisor Recruitment
  • Youth Group Dynamics
  • Going Deeper / Getting Out of the Comfort Zone

Here is a Google Drive folder with minutes and videos from the last cycle's meetings.

For those of you who participate in district youth events, please update your approved advisors / sponsors.

And just in case you missed it, here is a Google Doc with all of the PWR and district youth dates for 2018-19. Huzzah!

Hit me up if you ever have youth ministry questions! I look forward to hearing from and partnering with you.

Eric Bliss, PWR Youth Ministry Specialist

GoldMine 2018

GoldMine Youth Leadership School just wrapped up! 32 youth, young adults, and adults from all over PWR and beyond (Long Island, NY!), representing 20 plus congregations, came together in intentional community, with everyone having the experience of a lifetime.

Some students’ comments:

"GoldMine was more amazing than I could’ve ever expected. It was life changing."

"It grew me as a person and gave me the chance to experience and belong to an extraordinary community. It gave me a chance to explore my beliefs, ideas, and what it means to be a leader. Overall, I feel it has given me the inspiration, motivation, confidence, and tools to become a leader within the UU community and other communities too."

"I didn't know what to expect from GoldMine, but it was INCREDIBLE and I loved every second. It helped me learn more about myself, and gain leadership skills and practices and has made me more enthusiastic about UU things as a whole."

What is GoldMine? Simply put, it is a laboratory for studying how to bring Unitarian Universalism to life.

How do we do that? Through exploration and learning, students and staff examine Unitarian Universalist covenant, religious history and values, worship skills, spiritual practices, leadership development, and how to counter oppression, with each lesson purposefully incorporating the lenses of activism, advocacy, and the building of Beloved Community.

GoldMine has a rich history! It began as the brainchild of Rev Jaco ten Hove when he moved to the Pacific Northwest District in 1988. And, after consulting with the PNWD Leadership School Committee, he designed a program that would meet the same goals as adult leadership school, yet was crafted for a younger audience.

The first version of GoldMine Leadership School happened in July of 1991, at Fort Worden Conference Center, near Port Townsend, WA. It was attended by 28 students — 19 youth and 9 young adults. There were 8 total staff. Twenty PNWD congregations were represented.

GoldMine has evolved immensely over the years. Now, the young adults don’t attend as participants, but instead contribute as trained staff with adult mentors. The original theme of "Heal the World" was changed to "Help Heal the World" and now has become "Together We Shine" to reflect our changing understanding of healthy practices in our approach to justice work and building solidarity. The curriculum has evolved, too. The latest, greatest version now incorporates more media and technology, strengthened sensitivity to accessibility, and a deeper commitment to building Beloved Community.

If you have GoldMine Grads, please ask them about their experiences and check in with them about leading in your congregations! They are prepared to serve on your Boards, to lead worship, to partner with your RE team, or to contribute on your social justice councils. Or, you might simply ask them how they might want to lead in your context. This is all depending on their interest and availability, of course!

If they are ready and willing, and if you provide them with a platform and essential support, they will shine, both for your church and for our movement!

2018 GoldMine Alumni include: Henry Goss-Grubbs, Oliver Crecca, Travis Albers, Joseph Renzema, Andrew Weber, Isaac Radak, Finn Owsley, Jaedon Williford, Zyreal Oliver-Chandler, Rachel Willis, Alana Henerlau, Emeline Wolff, Zoe Cole, Claire Bucklew, Sophia McDaniel, Marley Magee, Robin Heffelman, Ashley Earp, Jocelyn Prier, and Piper Kittersong.

Upcoming Youth Events

  • Puget Sound Middle School Con
    September 28-30, 2018
    Camp Sealth in Vashon, WA
  • PSWD Fall Con
    October 12-14, 2018
    UU Congregation of Las Vegas, NV
  • MDD Fall Con
    October 17-19, 2018
    First Unitarian Church of Salt Lake City, UT
  • PNWD Fall Con
    October 26-28, 2018
    Camp Cispus in Randle, WA
  • PCD Fall Con
    October 26-28, 2018
    UU Church in Livermore, CA
  • MDD MLK Con
    January 19-21, 2018
    First Unitarian Society of Denver, CO
  • PSWD Spring Con
    March 15-17, 2019
    Valley UU Congregation in Chandler, AZ
  • PNWD Spring Con
    April 5-7, 2019
    Camp Cispus in Randle, WA
  • MDD Spring Con
    April 12-14, 2019
    Foothills Unitarian Church, in Fort Collins, CO
  • PSWD Youth at District Assembly
    April 26-28, 2019
    Long Beach, CA
I'm Still Here

Austin Channing Brown, Convergent Books, 2018

Black Dignity in a World Made for Whiteness. From a powerful new voice on racial justice, an eye-opening account of growing up Black, Christian, and female in middle-class white America.

The Beauty Suit

Lauren Shields, Beacon Press, 2018

How My Year of Religious Modesty Made Me a Better Feminist. A young feminist finds herself questioning why "hotness" has become necessary for female empowerment-and looks for alternatives.