New Beginnings, Familiar Concerns
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"New Beginnings, Familiar Concerns" , PWR & UUA News, and more!
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Pacific Western Region
Newsletter September 2021
New Beginning, Familiar Concerns
by Rev. Carlton E. Smith
PWR Lead

We are at the beginning of the academic year and the congregational year,  a time that comes with many emotions.

Some parents among us are eager for their children to be back in school. Some are anxious about safety measures that schools are or are not taking. Some are both, and others have different feelings.

Some of us were eager to get back to our congregations in-person and away from Zoom. Some don’t feel safe or even ready to be back in public spaces, especially as cases of the Delta variant continue their rapid rise. Some of us are both, and others have different feelings.

Many of us fear for the safety of the people of Afghanistan as US troops have removed themselves from the country and the Taliban takes full control of the government. Some of us have relatives, friends and comrades who are in danger, as is also the case with the aftermath of Hurricane Ida this weekend. Meanwhile, communities and forests in the Pacific Western Region itself remain at risk because of fire hazards …

Our UUA President, Rev. Susan Frederick-Gray, recently updated the Association’s recommendations for regathering. While there is no one-size-fits-all advice to be offered, we can remind each other of the value that we Unitarian Universalists place on life and lives, and use that to guide our choices, in our congregations, in school settings and beyond.

For those who want to be in solidarity with the vulnerable people fleeing from Afghanistan, a good place to start is with this list of possible actions from our partners with the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee.

And whenever natural disasters occur, it can always be a reminder to contribute generously to our UUA’s Disaster Relief Fund. Prayerfully, the impact of floods, winds and fires on UU congregations will be minimal, but in any event, our covenant of mutual support is stronger when we are mindful to contribute. I just gave to the UUA Disaster Relief Fund, and I hope many of you will too.

These times present us with new challenges, familiar concerns and new opportunities. May we continue to be true to each other and to the faith in love and unity at the heart of our tradition.

In faith,

In this Issue
"New Beginning, Familiar Concerns"
Welcome Rev. Dr. Ian Evison to PWR Staff

PWR & UUA News
Youth & Emerging Adult 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 Program Staff
Summer Albayati
Welcome Rev. Dr. Ian Evison to PWR Staff

I’m happy to announce a new member of the Congregational Life Staff for the Pacific Western Region: Rev. Dr. Ian Evison as Project Manager for Regionalization.

As both the Pacific Southwest and Pacific Northwest District Boards of Trustees announced their votes to recommend dissolution of their respective Districts this winter, conversations regarding regionalization shifted into higher gears. There were and are many questions to be answered, among them: What is the future of the Chalice Lighters program? How can the Districts reflect our UUA’s larger commitment to the Commission on Institutional Change’s “Widening the Circle of Concern” report? How do we honor the distinct legacies of all the Districts -- Pacific Southwest, Pacific Northwest, Pacific Central and Mountain Desert?

Since that time, the pace of the work has only accelerated, with each of the District Boards faithfully discerning what organizational and administrative transitions it needs to make. Our UUA has funded this temporary, 12-hour-per-week position through mid-June 2022.

Ian will collaborate with me as Regional Lead to provide coordination support to UUA and PWR staff and District Board members for the regionalization process in the Pacific Western Region. His many years of dedicated service to Unitarian Universalism, especially as the Lead for a Region that made the transitions that are now upon us, will be invaluable.

Just a little about his background: In 2019, Rev. Ian retired from his position as Regional Lead and Congregational Life Consultant with the MidAmerica Region, the first in which Districts dissolved. In January 2021 he moved to Seattle where he is becoming a Master Gardener and has begun volunteer teaching of English to recent immigrants. His personal passions include gardening, woodworking, and cooking. He previously served as Director of Research at the Alban Institute in Herndon, Virginia. before coming to the Alban Institute Ian served as Dean and Interim President at Meadville Lombard Theological School. Prior to that, he was minister of the First Unitarian Universalist Church of Niagara in Niagara Falls, New York. He has a Ph.D. from the University of Chicago Divinity School and a D.Min. from Meadville Lombard Theological School.  

You will be able to welcome him at his uua email address,, in a few days. Please join me in welcoming Rev. Ian!

In faith,

Registration Open for Regional Assembly 2022
Register now!
Reflect, Rejoice, Renew: Pacific Western Regional Assembly 2022 will gather UUs from across the West to hold space for multigenerational community, large and small, group worship, activities, discussion, and learning. Come celebrate our history and people and connect with each other, our faith, and our future.

When: Friday, February 4 through Sunday, February 6, 2022
Where: Hyatt Regency Mission Bay, 1441 Quivira Road, San Diego, CA

The latest details including registration, accommodations, tentative schedule, workshop proposals, and vendor and volunteer information can be found on our website.

UUA Updates COVID-19 Recommendations Due to Delta Variant
With COVID infection rates surging in many communities and with the even more highly contagious Delta variant circulating, the UUA created updated guidance on gathering on August 20th, 2021. Many UU congregations had planned to be meeting in-person by this September, yet the surge of the virus has created many hotspots across the country where even vaccinated people are at “very high” or “severe” risk of acquiring the virus in the course of their normal daily activities. For congregations that COVID Act Now categorizes as “very high” and “severe” risk, the UUA urges the suspension of large in-person gatherings. For more information, congregational leaders may be in touch with their primary contact on the Pacific Western Regional staff.
Putting Our Generosity to Work: The 2021 PWR Grants Program
During this unique time in history, with a global pandemic and uprisings for justice, the PWR has been looking at our assets and resources to see how they could be used to help move the arc of the universe. Putting Our Generosity to Work is part of that effort.

The Pacific Western Region Staff plans to distribute residual grant monies collected at and prior to the 2013 Regional Assembly. Congregations can apply for one or both of these grants. Applications will be reviewed, and award decisions made, by a regional volunteer team of volunteers as well as a liaison from the PWR-UUA staff.

The Leap of Faith grants are to assist with congregational growth in a multitude of areas, including active partnership with local communities and implementation of Commission on Institutional Change's recommendations to widen the circle of our faith. Approximately 10 of these $3000 grants will be awarded.

The Big Faith grant program is to facilitate the uses of technology growing our faith. This might include web page modernization, online worship or staff training in social media. Approximately 8 of these $1000 grants will be awarded

Applications will be accepted between through October 11, 2021. Recipient organizations are expected to report back on how the money was used. Potentially these reports could be included in future PWR newsletters.

Interested congregations, and covenanting communities with fiscal sponsorship, can apply for either or both PWR grant(s). If you are interested in serving on the selection team please apply. We hope to have many perspectives at the decision-making table.
Update on the Accessibility & Inclusion Ministry (AIM) Program
Nothing could have prepared the world for the upheaval we would all face in 2020. We learned how fragile life can be, especially for those who are most vulnerable. It has become abundantly clear that every voice matters and needs to be heard.

EqUUal Access helps to amplify the voices of people with disabilities in UU congregations. We are presently working out how best to carry this mission forward, including with our signature program, Accessibility and Inclusion Ministry (AIM). For a full update and a list of current resources available, click here.
Gather, Inspire, Launch! Commission on Social Witness Fall Convening
Two-part Fall Social Witness Convening of the Commission on Social Witness (CSW), 10/6 and 10/13

At the UUA General Assembly this past June, the delegates voted to affirm three bold statements for healing action. The delegates also adopted a formal UUA Statement of Conscience on Undoing Systemic White Supremacy. Join these two meetings to find out what UU leaders around the country are doing, what you can do, and who you can partner with to carry forward these bold actions full of inspiring possibilities.

Gather, inspire, and launch your social witness action! The Commission on Social Witness invites you to the Fall Social Witness Convening in two parts. Attend both sessions to find out about all the statements and actions! More information and registration here.
Save the Date: Compass Virtual Gathering
COMPASS: A Liberatory, Everyday Theology for Changing Times
December 11 & 12, 2021

What is Compass?
It’s a national virtual event
It’s a regional gathering*
It’s a time to learn together - worship together - share our wisdom
It’s a time to be with other congregational leaders on the journey towards our shared future.
Registration opens October 1st.

*Compass is different from the Camp de Benneville Pines 60th anniversary celebration December 4, 2021, and the Pacific Western in-person Regional Assembly Feb. 4-6, 2022 (see ’Save the Date’ above). We hope to see your congregation represented at all three events...Stay tuned for more details!
Pastoral Care by Religious Educators
Led by: Rev. Sunshine Wolfe and Annie Scott, Credentialed Religious Educator
Thursdays, October-February
Register here.

Many parents and teens turn first to their Religious Educators for pastoral care, and being prepared to receive those conversations is the focus of this series. The class will be based on the Spiritual Leadership program in Leader Lab created by the New England Regional staff. There will be prework prior to the first class and each session and you must get an endorsement from the minister you serve with or your board to sign up for the course. More information here.

Leading from the Heart
October 13th, November 10th, December 8th
8-9:30 pm Mountain / 7-8:30 pm Pacific / 6-7:30 pm Alaska / 4pm (Oct) 5pm (Nov/Dec) Hawaii
Hosted by: PWR Staff led by Rev. Summer Albayati and Melissa James
In this 3-part series for budding and experienced leaders, participating will ground you in your own spiritual soil, acknowledge roots, discern flowers, find abundance, and preserve seeds to keep the harvest going.

Topics will include: UU and ancestral theology, the synergy of passion and mission, living out of conviction. Participants will spend about 4 hours a month in a variety of solo work, small group discussion (1 per month on group’s time frame), and a full group monthly meeting. Register here.
News from the UUA International Office
Resources for United Nations Sunday: October 24, 2021
A collection of resources is available online to help congregations plan a worship service and activities surrounding United Nations Day this October 24 on the theme “All In for Climate Justice: Food Equity and Sustainability.” You can also celebrate UN Sunday any other time! Resources in the collection include detailed information about the theme and its connection to Unitarian Universalism, actions congregations can take for climate & food justice, a sample order of service, and more. UN Sunday is a beautiful opportunity to celebrate our world community and links between Unitarian Universalism and the United Nations. Learn more from the UUA Office at the UN and check out the UN Sunday materials online here.

Take Action to Become a Sixth Principle Congregation
The Unitarian Universalist Office at the United Nations announces an annual award to recognize congregations that show their commitment to our Sixth Principle’s “goal of world community with peace, liberty, and justice for all” and their support of the UU@UN through their actions and financial giving. The Sixth Principle Award is given yearly to congregations that complete at least three engagement activities between April 1, 2021 and March 31, 2022 (see the categories online!). In recognition for their steadfast dedication to international human rights, Sixth Principle Congregations that qualify and submit a brief report by March 31 will be presented with an award certificate during a reception at UUA General Assembly, formal recognition on the UU@UN website, and a specialized video from UU@UN staff honoring the congregation’s contribution. Find more information about the Sixth Principle Award and how to qualify here.
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.
Youth Reboot Webinar Series
October 6, 2021, 4-6p PT and October 16, 2021, 10a-12p PT
This is a team-learning centered program to start, restart, or reboot your congregation’s youth ministry. Each congregation’s youth ministry is unique and youth around the country have similar needs including: trauma informed formal and informal pastoral care, age specific and all ages community building, and opportunities for spiritual growth and justice making. This two part event will provide UUA staff expertise, opportunities to share ideas with other congregations, and time to work as a congregational team. Registration and details.
Webinar: Centering Marginalized Youth
As we partner with youth to engage in spiritually nourishing, life-affirming faith formation, there are no more salient issues to explore than our program's attempts at inclusivity and accessibility.  And how can we do this in each congregation? Come, join us October 21!
Upcoming Youth Events
District Specific Programs

PSWD Camp de Benneville Pines
Save the Date: MDD Regionalization Process Continues
We want you to know what’s happening and have a chance to give your input!

Plan to attend – by zoom – either Thursday, September 30, at 7 pm MDT or Saturday, October 2, at 10 am. Register by emailing MDD Vice President, Rhoda Whitney at

Important decisions about how the Mountain Desert District wants to participate in the regionalization of the Pacific Western Regions are being discussed. These meetings are being held in advance of the MDD Business Meeting planned for Saturday, October 23 at 10 am. For more information, please see our website.

MDD Fall Chalice Lighter Call Now Open!
It’s that time again, time for the Chalice Lighter program to help a UU congregation in the Mountain Desert District (MDD)! Three times a year, the MDD puts out a call for donations from Chalice Lighters (or anyone). Your generosity with the Fall Call will help the Unitarian Universalist Church of Las Cruces, New Mexico with asbestos abatement. They had ages-old carpet, past redemption, and were in the process of removing it so that their choir members would be able to breathe in the sanctuary when they discovered they had a larger problem than they knew.

Hopefully, you’re feeling generous! If those with the financial capability consider doing a little more than usual, it will help close the gap caused by lost donations from those of us who are still hurting from this unusual past year and more and can only contribute best wishes. The Spring Call which wrapped up on June 30, 2021 is helping the Cache Valley Unitarian Universalists of Logan, Utah repair the retaining wall on their property.

Visit the MDD website to read the call letter and make a donation.

Jubilee III Anti-Racism Training Opportunity Via Zoom
September 4-6, 2021
The First Unitarian Church of Honolulu invites PWR congregations to join us and Jubilee Trainers Paula Cole Jones, Dr. Leon Spencer and Lutricia Callair as we continue learning together about systemic racism. Whether you are beginning the journey or are already actively engaged in undoing systemic white supremacy in its many manifestations, you can be part of this life-changing weekend via Zoom. Church members, church leaders of any faith and community members are all welcome!
Find details and register here.
PCD Women & Religion Virtual Retreat
Our Spring Virtual Retreat was so much fun we are offering another Virtual Retreat this Fall on September 25! Based on what we learned from the first one, this one will be a bit shorter and will include affinity circles and learning sessions, as well as a keynote presentation from Paula Cole Jones. She will present the proposed 8th UU Principle, which articulates a commitment to the dismantling of white supremacy. Click here for more info on the 8th principle.

Regular registration price is $25. Discounted registration for first time attendees and women 18-35 is $10. Scholarships will be available. To register, fill out this Google form.

We are also planning to hold our regular in-person retreat at Enchanted Hills Camp on March 3-6 in the Napa hills. If you'd like to be notified of that retreat, please send a blank email to to be added to the email list.

We hope to see you there,
PCD Women & Religion
PCD Fall Chalice Lighter Call Now Open!
The Unitarian Universalists of Petaluma have purchased their first permanent home as of May 31, 2021. They intend to nurture a vibrant UU presence in the historical district of downtown Petaluma. However, as an older building, there are many things needed to bring it into accessibility compliance, in addition to needing a new roof, paint, new carpeting and many more items. They are fortunate to not have a mortgage thanks to a generous donor, but all of these repair items are costly. Fundraising is underway for most of those upgrades.

The congregation anticipates growth, both due to the attractive and well-situated new building, and their enthusiastic permanent minister. To bolster this ambition, they are proposing two inclusion and outreach projects: non-gendered and accessible bathrooms to welcome all bodies, and a large display case to create a clear and attractive welcome at their doorstep. With these paired in-reach and out-reach strategies, they hope to offer their community a UU congregation that is deeply inclusive and living our expressed values. Your Chalice Lighter donation will help the UUs of Petaluma achieve their goals.

Visit the PCD website to read the call letter and make a donation.
Subscriber Drive for UUFM YouTube Channel
The Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of McMinnville (Oregon) is conducting a subscriber drive for our YouTube channel. We are interested in expanding our ability to reach our members, friends and supporters that cannot make in person meetings by broadcasting our services on YouTube Live but we need 1000 subscribers to go live and use our phones to do so. We have many members and supporters that are immunocompromised that regularly view our broadcasts and some of our members require the user friendliness of YouTube. We ask that our friends in the Pacific and Western congregations and fellowships like our YouTube page in order to get more subscribers.

If any other congregations are in a similar situation we can return the favor and subscribe to other congregations' channels and pages as well!

Thank you for your attention to this request.  

Eric Gabrielsen
PNWD Fall Chalice Lighter Call Now Open!
Thank you for being a stalwart and generous donor to Chalice Lighters! This is your Fall Call for the 2021-2022 church year: fund Growth Technology Grants. As congregations decide when to reopen for in-person services, their interest in "hybrid" services, that can also be attended virtually by congregants in their homes using their computers, has mounted. This capability is especially important to serve those whose immune systems are compromised or who for a variety of reasons believe it to be unsafe for them to attend indoor worship services. We PNWD Chalice Lighters can help provide equipment to meet this need, as well as more traditional applications of technology, such as assisted listening.

Your congregation may be one of those who need equipment to provide such capabilities. If so, encourage your leaders to apply for a Chalice Lighter Growth Technology grant. A revised application form is available through the PNWD Chalice Lighters web page. The form contains further guidance on award criteria. We will accept applications until the call closes, October 31, 2021.

For more information, to make a donation, or to apply for a grant, visit the PNWD website.
Notce: Special PSWD Business Meeting October 2
The Pacific Southwest District of the UUA (PSWD) announces a special business meeting from 10am-12pm on Saturday, October 2.

This is a very important meeting. We will vote on the future of the district. The PSWD Board needs your participation!

Please see our website for the agenda and more information. Registration and delegate certification are now open.
InSpirit UU Book and Gift Shop
Faith on Trial: Religion and Law in the United States
Mark J. T. Caggiano
Books about religion and the law tend to be highly technical or aimed primarily at religious conservatives. In Faith on Trial: Religion and the Law in the United States, legal scholar and Unitarian Universalist minister Mark J. T. Caggiano argues that concerns about separation of church and state often serve to silence the viewpoints of religious progressives, many of whom exit the conversation in the hope of protecting important social issues from religious infighting. But it is impossible to win a debate that you never join, and as Caggiano writes, it is paramount in these times that “religious liberals and progressives cultivate and refine an ability to articulate the need for moral changes within the political system. That goal will require an understanding of the law as well as a moral vision for the world.”

Complete with historical context, legal analysis, and specific examples of cases and statutes, Faith on Trial is an invitation to religious progressives and moderates to help put social progress and inclusion at the center of the national conversation about religion and the law.

Mark J. T. Caggiano currently serves as minister at First Church in Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts. A former lawyer, he is a graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Divinity School and received his Juris Doctor from Boston College Law School. He is also an adjunct faculty member at Boston College Law School, teaching First Amendment law concerning matters of religious rights and the separation of church and state.

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Pacific Western Region - UUA
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