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"Choose Your Own Adventure", PWR & UUA News, and more!
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Pacific Western Region
Newsletter August 2023
Choose Your Own Adventure
By Dr. Melissa James
PWR Program Staff

Growing up I used to love “choose your own adventure” books. In these books you would read a page or two of the story and then get to choose what happens next based. If you want the characters to go into the haunted mansion, turn to page 52; If you want them to go home, turn to page 40. The theme of the story remained the same but you could read it over and over and have a different adventure simply by turning to a different page.

When I was serving in congregations, this time of year often felt a bit like a "choose your own adventure" book. With the church year quickly arriving, there were exciting, and sometimes daunting, preparations afoot. As your regional staff, we are here to journey with you on whatever adventures await this fall. There are several opportunities and resources available to help you on your way. Like a good "choose your own adventure" book, you don’t need to do them all–just choose the ones that best suit the adventure your on.

What is it that you and your congregation need to thrive this fall?

If it's going deeper into Anti-racism/anti-oppression work, check out:

If it's more connection you need, try:

If it's deepening your own grounding as a UU leader you’re looking for, try:

If your congregation/fellowship could use worship support:
  • Watch upcoming editions of the PWR newsletter for the “sermon of the month” series with prerecorded sermon and worship suggestions available to your congregation
  • Check out Worship Web–a searchable database of worship elements

If it's being able to take a moment or two to disconnect from congregation/fellowship life:

Blessings on your journey!

In this Issue
Choose Your Own Adventure
PWR & UUA News
Youth & Emerging Ad
ult 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

Support for Maui
To all our ohana (“family”) in Hawaii, we send you our love and prayers as you face the current wildfires. We are here for you! Here is the link to apply for (or for the rest of us, to give to) our UUA’s Disaster Relief Fund.
Leading Large: Board Training for Large Congregations
Are you a board member of a large “corporate-sized" congregation with multiple staff focused on mission, policy, and strategy? Your LeaderLab team is offering a training especially for you! Self-paced prework will include frameworks such as Hotchkiss's Governance and Ministry partnership, conflict and change dynamics, cultural competencies, fiduciary responsibilities, efficient meetings, mission-based budgeting and decision-making, self-differentiation and boundaries, and spiritual grounding. In the live session you will be able to engage with board members from other large congregations as you work on case studies and creative problem solving. You will also be given planning tools for a self-directed goal-setting session.  

Prework available upon registration
Interactive Live Session Saturday, August 26, 2023, Noon-4pm EDT
Cost: $200 per congregational team
Leading From The Heart: Training for Congregations
This three session series for budding and experienced leaders 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, and living out of conviction.

Learn more and register today!
Religious Educator Professional Meetups
November 7, February 6, May 7
Religious education professionals from across the continent are invited to virtually join members of the UUA’s Faith Development Co-Lab for a time of connection with other religious educators around a theme. The August 2023 connection theme will be "Threshold Conversations" - what they are, and discussing what they might mean for you. Future connection themes will be announced at the end of each meet-up. Learn more and register today!
System Theory Renaissance Module
  • Friday, September 8, 2023, 12:00 pm - 2:00 pm EDT
  • Friday, September 15, 2023, 12:00 pm - 2:00 pm EDT
  • Friday, September 22, 2023, 12:00 pm - 2:00 pm EDT
  • Friday, September 29, 2023, 12:00 pm - 2:00 pm EDT

Central to our understanding of congregational systems is a grounding in the awareness that “everything we do is faith development; everything we teach is Unitarian Universalism and that the congregation is the curriculum.”

That expression, by Connie Goodbread, is the first part of going deeper into congregational systems, yet the second part must include an immersion into System Theory.

The “System Theory” Renaissance Module will:
  • Examine human beings as emotional, intellectual, and physical beings.
  • Everything that human beings create, discover, destroy and build is born out of our humanity.
  • Explore and clarify what it means to be a Unitarian Universalist.
  • Discuss the human qualities that help and hinder the growth of a beloved community.

The overarching lens of System Theory will ground the experience and aid religious educators, and other religious professionals, to apply these learnings to their own professional context.

REGISTRATION DEADLINE: Tuesday, September 1st, 2023. Register here.
Casper, Wyoming Gathering
Last month the small UU congregations in Casper and Sheridan Wyoming got together for joint campout. Though about 150 miles apart by car, they came together for crafts, smores, camp songs, and worship. It is great when congregations work together! Here is a link to a blog post about this cooperative event.
Responding to Far Right/White Nationalists - Resources from Side with Love
As UU congregations are increasingly being targeted by right-wing hate, our communities should be prepared to respond to threats with skill and courage while also remaining grounded in our spiritual values. Visit the Side with Love website to access resources and a recent webinar recording of UUA staff from Congregational Life, LGBTQIA+ & Multicultural Ministries, and Side With Love as they share observations regarding national trends, offer resources for assessing security threats/creating safety plans/discerning and growing risk tolerance, and support building connections to fight back against overwhelm, fear, and isolation. If you have question, please reach out to your Primary Contact or Regional Safer Congregations Team Member.
Treasurers’ Roundtables starting September 2023!
Treasurers' Roundtables are a chance for lay leaders who serve as treasurer or similar financial roles within their congregation to gather for sharing information, making connections, learning, and conversation. Roundtables will be held the 3rd Thursday of every month (Sept-Dec) at 1pm Pacific/2pm Mountain/12pm AKDT/10am HST starting September 21st Interested in attending? Please fill out this form with your information and PWR staff will be in touch with information about fall roundtables. Contact Dr. Melissa James, Congregational Life Field Staff, at with questions or for more information.
UU Wellspring: Spiritual Dive into the Proposed Article II
Updated to include the five amendments passed at the June 2023 General Assembly, this four-session program engages you in the Purposes, Values and Covenant, Inspiration, Inclusion and Freedom of belief of the proposed Article II which will be voted on at General Assembly 2024.

You can bring this four-session program to your congregation and run as many cohorts as possible between now and General Assembly 2024 for a one-time cost of $150. Individuals can also sign up to be with other Unitarian Universalists from around the continent in sessions run by UU Wellspring at a cost of $100 per person. An optional journal is available to companion you in this program and keep all of your growing ideas and experiences in one place.

Join a UU Wellspring cohort and see how Article II resonates with your heart! Visit the UU Wellspring website or email Linnea Nelson, Executive Director for more information.
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.
Young UU Project
Have you heard of YUUP yet? The Young UU Project began in 2020 as a way for young UUs to keep in touch with each other and their faith during the pandemic, and is held by Lifespan Faith Engagement. The purpose of YUUP is to be a national community care network and multi-directional communication channel that centers BIPOC, trans/non-binary and neurodivergent youth and offers a transition zone for young people moving into emerging adulthood. 

Anyone (youth, caregivers, religious professionals, lay leaders, everyone!) can tap into the social ministry of YUUP by following them on Instagram @yuup.uua and signing up for the YUUP newsletter. YUUP also has a community sphere just for youth, those who bridged in 2022 and support adults. These “Third Monday Meetups” are where youth swap ideas they can take home to their local communities. In August they swapped Favorite Check In Questions. In September they swapped favorite youth group games, which will soon be released on Instagram and in the newsletter.

Adult readers - We need your help connecting youth to this community! Please point them to UUA.ORG/YUUP to connect at whatever their capacity is.
Young Adult Revival Network Worship
UU young adults and friends from around the world are invited to attend our monthly worship service, held on the third Sunday of each month. Each month our Worship Team puts together a fabulous, faithful, spiritual program that reflects our faith and the fact that we are young adults. From our song choice, to the content of our reflections, this isn’t your traditional UU worship experience. So join us, and discover a different way to embody our faith. This is an intergenerational event, all people ages 18 and older are welcome to attend. Register here.  
Emerging Adult Database
If you or another emerging adult UU (18-24) are interested, please sign up and join our community. Our Pacific Western Region 2022 EA Database signup can be found here.

Small Groups
We have an annual, monthly gathering for EA (18-24) Small Groups.  It’s a mix of fun, ministry, and faith. Email if you’d like more information. It's a great way to stay connected to UUism if you don't have the time or inclination to attend church on Sunday!

Pastoral Care
Are you an 18-24 year old in need of Pastoral Care?  We have a network of chaplains specifically for you! Simply email or by phone: 204-900-0150. Rev. Marcia Stanard and others are here to listen and be of support.

InSpirit UU Book and Gift Shop
The Tending Years: Understanding Your Child's Earliest Years
Every day you meet your child’s spiritual and emotional needs—you just don’t know it. In this short, accessible, and comforting book, expert J.L. Shattuck provides insight into your child’s earliest rituals.

Have you ever wondered why your toddler will only drink from a specific cup, or only eat if you turn mealtime into a game? Have you ever found yourself following along with—and maybe even enjoying—your child’s increasingly elaborate bedtime routines?

In The Tending Years, J.L. Shattuck argues that these behaviors are not just habits but rituals—patterns of behavior young children naturally develop to reassure themselves they are safe and loved. Shattuck draws on child developmental theory and more than two decades of experience as a teacher, religious educator, and parent to explore the spiritual roots of this behavior. She demonstrates how adults and young children instinctively work together to support each other’s growth during this unique developmental period.

Unlike parenting books that ask you to change the way you interact with your child, this easy-to-read volume details the ways in which you’re already tending to your child’s needs and offers inspiration and support to help you through the preschool years and beyond.

J.L. Shattuck has worked with preschoolers for more than twenty years. A lifelong Unitarian Universalist, she supports congregations to meet the spiritual needs of the very young. She currently serves as Family Worship Coordinator at Sanctuary Boston and is a religious educator at the Unitarian Church of Barnstable. She is also the creator of a curriculum of digital resources, POP! (Parents of Preschoolers), that helps families explore and support their children’s spiritual development. Available for pre-order now!