Hope is Not a Strategy, PWR, UUA and District News, and more...
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Hope is Not a Strategy, PWR, UUA and District News, and more...


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PWR Newsletter


Hope is Not a Strategy

Wildfires in California. Clear-cutting in Oregon. Droughts in the Rockies. Utah’s air is so polluted children are asked to stay indoors for days on end.

It’s easy in these dark times of harsh environmental change to begin to feel a little lost and without hope. Hope is important now, it provides a wellspring of goodness from which to draw inspiration and energy. But, to quote author and speaker Rachel Hollis, "Hope is not a strategy." Now is the time to act resolutely. As Unitarian Universalists, we are called by our 7th Principle to respect, defend, and uphold the interdependent web of existence of which we are all a part.

Both steely resolve and direct action, despite our growing feelings of overwhelm and despair, are necessary to ensure a better tomorrow for our planet - action done in honest dialogue and sincere solidarity with communities that are feeling the most impacted by climate change.

And there is reason to be hopeful, indeed the kind of hope that can sustain our resolve. People in the West are doing amazing things to protect our Mother Earth. Groups like Day One, an environmental advocacy organization in Pasadena, CA, are helping to ensure that communities in Southern California are provided with clean water, nutritious foods, and policies dedicated to culturally sensitive efforts toward public health and the environment.

Shall we join them in this work?

July 3-7, a group of mostly youth and some adults, ranging from Nebraska to Alaska, will be doing just that!

First, we’ll spend time learning together, using the UU College of Social Justice curriculum and Goldmine Youth Leadership School’s methodologies. And then next, we’ll be gathering with Day One in the field to learn about and work to address the local community’s needs. Finally, this group will spend time in reflection, replenishing our spirits so that the commitment may be sustained.

The goal is to continue this work beyond a one-off - to stay connected to Day One and to the people of Pasadena, so that the service and solidarity endures.

Here’s where real hope begins — continued dialogue with the communities most drastically affected by the shifting global climate.

Please join us in the Pacific Western Region for the Goldmine UU College of Social Justice Journey in Pasadena, CA. The cost is $450 and scholarships are available.

The Pacific Western Region and UU College of Social Justice Goldmine Justice Journey provides an opportunity to:

  • Gain a deeper understanding of social justice issues and strategies for creating change
  • Reflect on questions of identity, power and privilege, the intersections of spirituality and activism, and the ways that you are called to work for justice in the world
  • Build community with other youth who are passionate about making a positive impact
  • Learn from grassroots community organizations through hands-on engagement
  • Prepare to return home inspired and motivated to take action in your community
  • In addition, the group will engage in centering practices as a way to build a lifelong foundation for justice work and compassionate understanding.

Please contact me at if you have any questions.

Hope to see you there!

In appreciation,
Eric Bliss
Pacific Western Region Youth Ministries Specialist

February 14, 2018
In this Issue
  • Hope is not a Strategy
  • General Assembly
  • PWR & UUA News
  • District Updates
  • Healthy Congregations
  • Youth News
PWR Quick Links
PWR Field Staff

PWR and UUA News

The UU Leadership Institute

New Online Leadership Courses for Spring!

Stop Recruiting, Start Retaining: Creating a Culture of Volunteer Sustainability with Laura Beth Brown ($30)

Co-Creating Diversity, Inclusion, and Equity in our Congregations with Beth Zemsky ($15)

Core leadership courses are designed for team or individual learning ($30)

Registration is open until April 15. For more information contact

Music Leadership Certification Program

The Music Leadership Certification Program (MLCP) is a program of the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) that summons music leaders to their calling of music ministry, enriches their service to Unitarian Universalist congregations, and enhances their professional perspective and skills. Over the course of the three-year program, music leaders in our congregations develop a foundational understanding of three main areas of knowledge: music skills and resources, UU heritage and values, and leadership and interpersonal skills. The deadline to apply is March 15.

For more information, as well as the application form, visit the website at Contact Pat Kahn, Professional Development Programs Manager at if you have questions.

BLUU - The Harper-Jordan Memorial Symposium

St. Paul, MN, Oct. 30 - Nov. 2

Proclaiming a Black UU Theology

The Harper-Jordan Memorial Symposium responds to a longing on the part of many Black Unitarian Universalists to more fully understand where we have been, who we are now, and how we hope to live out our Unitarian Universalism as Black people.

This four-day gathering will offer a welcome reception on Wednesday evening; educative, informative, and interactive plenaries on Thursday and Friday; spiritual grounding and worship experiences that speak directly to our onsite learning; and as many meaningful and joy-filled networking and community-building opportunities as you can handle. We will conclude our time together with a worship service on Saturday morning, open to all, at Unity Church-Unitarian.

We are opening ourselves up to an articulation of Unitarian Universalism that is unapologetically Black and proceeds from our co-creation and co-development, such that we might proclaim and clarify a vision for a Black Unitarian Universalism. Join us in St. Paul, Minnesota for this historic event!

Learn more and register.

Videos from the New Day Rising Conference

The Central East Region recently hosted a one-day conference on identifying congregations' next steps in the struggle with White Supremacy Culture. The afternoon session, The Struggle and the Success, featured ten congregations sharing about their experiences and the hard-won lessons they take from them. You can watch the afternoon as one video, or watch any of the ten presentations separately, on the Central East Region website.

UU-UNO 2019 Intergenerational Spring Seminar "Equity in Action: Gender in an Intersecting World"

New York City, April 11-13, 2019. Registration closes February 25.

The UU United Nations Office is excited to host this year’s Intergenerational Spring Seminar on gender equity in collaboration with the UU College of Social Justice. Programming will be interactive and intergenerational, encouraging participants to challenge their assumptions, connecting their activism with grounding in UU faith, and empowering them with the tools to bring back to their communities to make change locally and globally. There is a special discount rate for young adult participants (age 18-35) which includes lodging at the hostel where youth (14-18) and their sponsors stay. More at

Upcoming OWL Trainings

  • Jr/Sr High - March 15-17 - Vancouver, WA - Vancouver United Church of Christ. Learn more.
  • K1/4-6 - April 12-14 - Anchorage, AK - Anchorage UU Fellowship. Learn more.
  • All Levels - August 30 - Sept. 1 - Bellevue, WA - East Shore Unitarian Church. Registration details to come.

Pacific Western Region hiring Congregational Life Field Staff

We are excited to be inviting applications for the position of Congregational Life Field Staff to join our fantastic team here in the Pacific Western Region. Find details about the position responsibilities, qualifications and how to apply in the job posting PDF.

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.


UUA General Assembly


General Assembly is the annual meeting of our Unitarian Universalist Association. Attendees worship, witness, learn, connect, and make policy for the Association through democratic process. Anyone may attend; congregations must certify annually to send voting delegates. The 2019 General Assembly will be June 19-23 in Spokane, Washington. Most General Assembly events will be held in the Spokane Convention Center.

The Power of We

What do we want Unitarian Universalism to be? It is a time when we are asking big questions in our faith, and GA 2019 will be focused on digging into those questions together. It is a critical chance for congregational leaders and passionate UUs to set new goals and aspirations for our religious community. Help begin to reshape our Association and our congregations in new and powerful ways.

This year’s theme is about collective power, "The Power of We," as well as the possibility, the purpose, the struggle and the joy of what it means to be together in faithful community. In the past two years, Unitarian Universalism has recommitted to the work of liberation inside and outside our faith community. The antidote to a time of dangerous dehumanization is a love that connects us to our deeper humanity. Come to Spokane to experience what our shared faith can become when we embrace the Power of We.

Watch the video of Rev. Dr. Todd F. Eklof welcoming Unitarian Universalists to Spokane.

Registration and Housing Open March 1

GA Registration and the GA Housing Reservation System open at 9am PST at


The Spokane region is the gateway for adventure and exploration in the Intermountain Northwest. Located driving distance from Glacier National Park and Yellowstone, Spokane is nestled in natural beauty.

Spokane is located on interstate I-90, 110 miles from the Canadian border and 18 miles from Idaho. It is the largest city between Seattle and Minneapolis.

Spokane International Airport (GEG) is serviced by Alaska, American, Delta, Frontier, Southwest, and United Airlines. Nonstop service is offered to 17 destinations, including Minneapolis, Chicago, Dallas, Phoenix, and LAX.

Spokane is accessible by rail via Amtrak’s Empire Builder route (Chicago – St. Paul/Minneapolis – Spokane – Portland/Seattle). It is also reachable by Greyhound Bus.

Excellent Programming

GA will offer more than 100 programming selections over the course of five days. This year, in addition to Theme-Based Programming, the schedule will feature Role-Based Track Programming, including time for discussion among attendees, sharing inspiring models and stories, and concrete suggestions for how to further the work or "take it home." More programming details are available at

2019 Ware Lecturer is Richard Blanco

Selected by President Obama as the fifth inaugural poet in U.S. history, Richard Blanco is the youngest and the first Latino, immigrant, and gay person to serve in such a role. Born in Madrid to Cuban exile parents and raised in Miami, the negotiation of cultural identity characterizes his three collections of poetry: City of a Hundred Fires, which received the Agnes Starrett Poetry Prize from the University of Pittsburgh Press; Directions to The Beach of the Dead, recipient of the Beyond Margins Award from the PEN American Center; and Looking for The Gulf Motel, recipient of the Paterson Poetry Prize and the Thom Gunn Award. He has also authored the memoirs For All of Us, One Today: An Inaugural Poet’s Journey and The Prince of Los Cocuyos: A Miami Childhood, winner of a Lambda Literary Award. His inaugural poem "One Today" was published as a children’s book, in collaboration with renowned illustrator Dav Pilkey. His latest book, Boundaries, a collaboration with photographer Jacob Hessler, challenges the physical and psychological dividing lines that shadow the United States. A new book of poems, How to Love a Country, is forthcoming from Beacon Press in April 2019. Blanco has written occasional poems for the re-opening of the U.S. Embassy in Cuba, Freedom to Marry, the Tech Awards of Silicon Valley, and the Boston Strong benefit concert following the Boston Marathon bombings. He is a Woodrow Wilson Fellow and has received numerous honorary doctorates. He has taught at Georgetown University, American University, and Wesleyan University. He serves as the first Education Ambassador for The Academy of American Poets.

The 2019 Ware Lecture is Friday, June 21 at 7:30pm PDT at the Spokane Convention Center. General Assembly registration is required to attend the lecture in Spokane. The Ware Lecture will be streamed live on

Financial Aid Available

The UUA is committed to the goal of making GA accessible to as many attendees as possible. Go to in the month of March to learn about scholarships to support delegates – particularly those from marginalized groups – and volunteer opportunities (work in exchange for registration).


Mountain Desert News


Volunteer Positions Available on the Mountain Desert District Board: Vice President and Treasurer, June 2019

Are you excited to talk to congregational leaders about our faith and what is happening at the District, Regional and National level of Unitarian Universalism? Are you looking for important work of connecting congregations to the larger Denomination? Do you like working with fun interesting and committed volunteers like yourself?

Then contact Judy Bentley, MDD Board President by March 2019 for more information at

People with disabilities, people of color, indigenous people, Hispanic/Latinx, and LGBTQ candidates are encouraged to apply. The MDD is committed to developing a diverse and talented board.

In addition to board work, these positions make calls to congregations in the MDD connecting with leadership as Advisory Council members, both Regionally and Nationally, and as part of Generosity Network of the UUA.


  • Travel to GA in Spokane, Washington June 17-23, 2019 for GA and MDD Annual Business Meeting for election required. Expenses will be reimbursed including GA registration. Board member shared Airbnb with private rooms has been booked.
  • Vice President will become President in 2020 and assume those duties
  • Treasurer will be able to read financial reports and advise the board and have banking responsibilities.
  • Monthly online meetings using Zoom on a computer (easy)
  • In-person board meetings twice a year – once before the annual business meeting and once in a convenient location in the MDD.
  • Making 3 to 4 calls to congregational leadership per month on behalf of Regional Advisory Council, National Advisory Council and the Generosity Network.
  • Must be able to work independently to set up calls with congregational leaders who are busy and may require some research to connect with. Training and scripts are available but going off script is also encouraged.
  • Board members will be responsible with District funds but will be reimbursed for their travel expenses for in-person meetings. Shared accommodations at Airbnb’s or home hospitality is encouraged.
  • Managing the Chalice Lighters program
  • By-laws, business meetings, credentialing, budgets, governance, leadership and making important decisions.
  • Other duties as needed
  • MDD has a letter of agreement with the UUA for Regional Services and works closely with the PWR Lead and the Congregational Life Staff.

Grant for Lay Led Congregations

We have exciting news for lay-led congregations in the Mountain Desert District! The Midwest Unitarian Universalists Conference is offering the Monroe Husbands Grant. This grant can award up to $2000 to some of our smaller congregations. This is money for sending delegates to GA, making use of training opportunities, implementing theme-based ministry, building a new web page, or other innovative projects to help your lay-led congregation thrive. Eligible congregations need to be in the Mid America Region or the MDD and have either no professional ministry or be served by a minister working less than half time. Find more grant information and apply online, or contact the grantors at

Apply for a Chalice Lighter Grant

The Mountain Desert District Board is soliciting applications for a Chalice Lighters grant. Learn more about MDD's Chalice Lighter program and requirements. The grant application form is available. Applications are due by April 30.

MDD Awards Open

Dale Arnink Award

The Dale Arnink Preaching Award goes annually to the preacher of a sermon that explores and promotes understanding and application of Humanist teachings in Unitarian Universalism. All Unitarian Universalist professional religious leaders, as well as those studying for professional leadership, are eligible to be considered for this award. Sermons are judged through a blind process by a panel of UU religious and lay leaders. The recipient will receive a $300 cash award and free partial registration to the General Assembly in Spokane, WA, June 19-23, 2019 (for Wednesday, Thursday and Friday only), if the recipient is able to attend. The award will be presented at the MDD board meeting at the General Assembly in Spokane, Washington on June 19, 2019, if the recipient is present, and will be posted on the Mountain Desert District website.

As Unitarian Universalists, the sources of our living tradition include Humanist teachings, which counsel us to heed the guidance of reason and the results of science and warn us against idolatries of the mind and spirit. Have you preached or heard a good sermon reflecting Humanist teachings lately? Submissions for the Award must be received no later than 5:00 p.m. Friday, April 5, 2019 in order to be considered.

Download the Nomination Form for the Dale Arnink Award – 2019

Walk the Talk Award

The MDD "Walk the Talk" Award is given to a Unitarian Universalist lay person for living a life which best exemplifies Unitarian Universalist principles. The winner will be recognized on the MDD website and be given partial free registration (for Wednesday, Thursday and Friday only) at the UUA's General Assembly in Spokane, WA on June 19-23, 2019, if they are able to attend.

Complete and return the Nomination Form for the Walk the Talk Award by 5:00 p.m. April 5, 2019.


Pacific Northwest News


Have an expansion project? We have Funds!

What is your congregation’s next big plan to strengthen or grow your congregation? Maybe the Pacific Northwest UU Growth Foundation (PNUUGF) can help.

PNUUGF offers loans and grants to congregations in Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Alaska, and British Columbia. Loans are available for building acquisitions, expansions, or upgrades that exceed Chalice Lighter grants limits. We also fund the development and education of ministers and interns in conjunction with the Pacific Northwest Chapter of the UUMA (UU Ministers Association).

Examples of some PNUUGF-supported projects that led to growth and improved congregational life are:

  • gender-neutral washrooms at First Unitarian Fellowship of Nanaimo (BC) as part of a Welcoming Congregation initiative
  • kitchen renovations and a major expansion at Quimper Unitarian Universalist Fellowship (Port Townsend, WA)
  • partial funding for a ministerial intern at First Unitarian Church of Victoria (BC)
  • helping Westside Unitarian Universalist Church (Seattle, WA) purchase a new building
  • helping Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Klamath County (Klamath Falls, OR) with a desperately needed new septic system
  • supporting a new website and increased service offerings at Comox Valley Unitarian Fellowship (Comox, BC)

The Growth Foundation wants to help your congregation realize its hopes and visions for the future. Start by visiting the PNUUGF website. For more information or to discuss other ways PNUUGF may assist your congregation, contact president Stan Jewett or use the contact info on the Pacific Northwest UU Growth Foundation home page.

PNW District Directors Support Christina Rivera

Whereas, Unitarian Universalists include justice and peace as core concepts of ethical and faith practice.

Whereas rejecting hate is an essential element of practicing peace.

Whereas, the interconnectedness of Unitarian Universalist congregations and communities means that the acting out of white supremacy damages the people it targets, along with the rest of the people who long for the world we dream about.

Whereas, an ethic of solidarity calls Unitarian Universalists to acknowledge their common values and to unite for action because all of us need all of us to make it.

Whereas, the first principle of Unitarian Universalist affirms and promotes each individual has inherent worth and dignity.

Therefore, Be It Resolved – the Pacific Northwest District Board Directors support uniting for action, rejecting hateful behavior, and supporting Christina Rivera and other religious professionals of color whose labor of love in our movement is hampered by racism and unexamined practices of white supremacy.

Be It Further Resolved - the Pacific Northwest District Board Directors call on all PNWD congregations to enter a process of focused self-examination and discernment to identify and dismantle internal practices that further white supremacy.

Rev. Theresa Soto, Western Oregon
Toyan Copeland, Western Washington (excluding Seattle)
Hayden Nevill, East of Cascades and Alaska
Susan Howlett, PNWD President, Seattle Metro Area
Craig Cyr, PNWD Vice President, At Large

PNWD Regional Social Justice UU Youth Summit

March 9, 2019 - 12-5pm Pacific

Join other youth ages 13+ from our region for an afternoon centered around social justice, discussion, worship, and service project activities. This is a great event to invite your friends to!

Register here, UU youth and friends, please register early to reserve a space.

The registration includes a $30 fee to support our guest presenters. NOTAFLOF (no one turned away for lack of funds).

Learn more.


Pacific Southwest News


How Do You Partner With Local Grassroots Organizations? The Social Justice Field Trip at PSW District Assembly

For years, the UU Church of Long Beach has partnered with the East Yards Communities for Environmental Justice as it gives a voice to the communities surrounding the Port of Long Beach that suffer the impacts of harbor and port pollution.

How does UU Long Beach do it? And how can your UU congregation better partner with grassroots organizations in your community to advance your UU values?

The UU College of Social Justice will lead a field trip during the Pacific Southwest District Assembly and present a program entitled "How Your Congregation Can Partner with Local Grassroots Organizations."

The district assembly will take place April 26-28 at the UU Church of Long Beach. You can get information about the DA and the social justice field trip and register right now.

As we work to end oppression in the world, the last thing we want to do is re-create it — that’s why eye-to-eye partnerships are so important. We want to make sure that we come into partnership treating everyone with the dignity and respect that we all deserve.

This workshop will offer concrete acts of solidarity, while honoring the vision, expertise and self-determination of people on the ground.

Those who participate in the field trip will spend part of the afternoon helping the East Yard Communities conduct its annual Toxic Tour of its community, raising consciousness of the impact that harbor traffic – ships, trucks and trains – has on the neighborhoods of Long Beach and East and Southeast Los Angeles.

They will also learn some of the ups and downs of the UU Church of Long Beach’s partnership with the East Yards Communities and offer some insight into how to effectively partner with grassroots organizations in your church’s community.

"This would be the right starting point for any congregation that wants to see its social justice values demonstrated in their community," said Heather Vickery, a senior associate with the UU College of Social Justice.

Register now for the 2019 Pacific Southwest District Assembly April 26-28 at the UU Church of Long Beach.

Delegate Credentialing

If your PSWD congregation would like to have delegate representation at the 2019 Annual Meeting, please be sure your minister or president (or their designee) submits the online delegate certification form by April 19. Find details about delegate credentialing.

Turning the Tides - Intergenerational Leadership Summit and Camp

Save the date - August 4-8 at Camp de Benneville Pines

Justice-seeking UUs of all ages are invited to register for this multi-day summit on the mountaintop. Adults and families will gather for restoration and imagination with Unitarian Universalists and kindred spirits from across the region. UU Justice Ministry of California has new leadership so this promises to be a particularly exciting summit.

Programming includes:

  • grounding in UU theologies and history
  • collaboratively led worships and spiritual practice
  • strengthening resilience in the power and welcome of a UU community
  • learning and sharing strategies to engage climate, immigrant, healthcare, and economic justice
  • relaxing and connecting by canoeing, hiking, swimming, or a dip in the hot tub!

Families with children are invited to enjoy traditional camp activities as well as participate in special sessions as time allows.

More details about guest speakers and registration are coming soon. This event is sponsored by UUJMCA.

Visit to sign up for updates!

Registration will open in March!

The Charles White Memorial Seminary Scholarship 2019

The White Memorial Scholarship is a one-time annual scholarship of at least $1000 available to help support Unitarian Universalist Ministerial students, with preference given to those who have a connection to the Pacific Southwest District. Any seminary student with connections to the PSWD is encouraged to apply online.

More information can be found on PSWD’s White Memorial Scholarship page. Applications for the 2019 scholarship are due by Feb. 15, 2019 and can be submitted online.

The winner of the 2019 scholarship will be announced at the PSWD business meeting at District Assembly in Long Beach, April 26-28, and be given the funds to use to defray costs of their schooling. Applications are now open!

If you have any questions regarding the scholarship or the application, please contact


Healthy Congregations


Covenant: Easily Broken

By Rev. Laura Shennum, minister of the Cascade UU Fellowship and member of the PWR Healthy Congregations Team

"Promises and pie crusts are made to be broken." - Jonathan Swift, Irish Writer

This church year, the Cascade Unitarian Universalist Fellowship has been taking our newly formed congregational covenant and studying different lines of it to become more familiar with what it asks of us. This month, we are looking at the phrase: When we fall out of covenant, we recognize, reflect, and re-engage.

Covenant is a fancy word to indicate a promise. We make promises all the time in our lives and can be deeply hurt when they are broken. I wonder if the hurt could be tempered if we viewed covenants or promises in a different light. What if instead of insisting a promise is made as an absolute, it is seen as a commitment to try our best.

What we know about commitments is they have to be renewed. Otherwise, we would not have such a flurry of activity in gyms or diets every January. The other aspect of a commitment is every time we re-commit we bring with us the learning from what we gained in keeping the commitment and what we know from breaking it.

By engaging in our congregational covenant, we have made a commitment to try to understand it and live into it. We have also realized it can easily be broken and therefore, put in a phrase which starts a process for us to re-commit. A covenant offers us opportunities to grow and to gain wisdom in how we keep showing up for ourselves, for each other, and for the greater good. May we remember this when our hearts are disappointed or broken and may we each find ways to recognize, reflect, and re-engage.


Learn more about the PWR Healthy Congregations Team and what it can do for your congregation.


PWR Youth News


Upcoming Youth Events

Camp Programs
Reclaiming Our Space

Feminista Jones, Beacon Press, 2019

How Black Feminists Are Changing the World from the Tweets to the Streets. A treatise of Black women's transformative influence in media and society, placing them front and center in a new chapter of mainstream resistance and political engagement.

The Heritage

Howard Bryant, Beacon Press, 2019

Black Athletes, a Divided America, and the Politics of Patriotism. Following in the footsteps of Robeson, Ali, Robinson and others, today's Black athletes re-engage with social issues and the meaning of American patriotism.