PWR Newsletter – February 2022 - Archived

2022 State of the Region – Excerpt” , PWR & UUA News, and more!
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Pacific Western Region
Newsletter • February 2022
2022 State of the Region-Excerpt
by Rev. Carlton E. Smith
PWR LeadDear Unitarian Universalists of the Pacific Western Region:

As we prepare to go into Regional Assembly in the next few days, and as I prepare to go on my sabbatical for 14 weeks starting March 4th, I thought now would be a good time to offer a State of the Region report. It’s a chance to look back at some of the highlights since Regional Assembly last year, to consider where we are now, and to look forward to what lies ahead in the year to come. The following is an excerpt from my much more detailed report, which can be seen in full here.

General Assembly, June 22-26, 2022: Once again, the Pacific Western Region has the honor of hosting all the participating congregations from across the Association at the UUA General Assembly in Portland, Oregon. This will be both an in-person and a virtual gathering, the largest we will have ever had. Click on the link above for registration, volunteer opportunities, Covid protocols, and anything else you want to know about GA 2022. It will be a wonderful time to celebrate our faith and the delights of the Pacific Northwest!

Sabbaticals: Starting the evening of March 4, 2022, I will be on sabbatical leave for 14 weeks. It’s one of the privileges of working for the UUA for over seven years – I started as a member of the Southern Region Congregational Life Team in 2013, so I was actually eligible for a sabbatical in 2020. However, I was just starting as Lead here in the Pacific Western Region then, so we timed it such that those of us who were newer to the PWR Team all had a chance to get acclimated to our work. Rev. Sarah Gibb Millspaugh completed her sabbatical last summer, and other eligible staff members in the next year or so include Bookkeeper Melanie Buck, Youth and Emerging Adult Ministries Specialist Eric Bliss, and Event Coordinator Amanda Radak.

My sabbatical project is to become the author of a self-published book. Over the past year, I’ve been working on a collection of daily reflections based on sayings of Jesus from the Gospels. My book-team and I are almost done with the final manuscript so that copies will be available mid-Spring. If you’d like to be kept abreast of what’s happening with the book, send an email to and I will gladly hook you up.

I close out with gratitude and love for all the members of the PWR Staff Team, whom I am so blessed to work with every day. Thank you for bringing some much joy to my life! And I thank all of you, members and friends of our Pacific Western Region congregations and covenanting communities. Together, we are indeed building a new way. Also, my ongoing gratitude to Director of Congregation Life Jessica York, Executive Vice President Carey McDonald, and President Susan Frederick-Gray, and all the rest of our colleagues and partners

Take care, friends…Be assured that you are not alone, for love surrounds you everywhere you may go!

In faith,

In this Issue

2022 State of the Region – Excerpt !
PWR & UUA News
Youth & Emerging Adult News
Pacific Central News
Pacific Northwest News
InSpirit UpdatePWR Links
Calendar and Events
Staff Contacts
Job Postings
Youth Ministries
RE Trainings

PWR Lead
Carlton Elliott Smith

PWR Program Staff
Summer Albayati
Extended by Popular Demand: Regional Assembly Registration Open Through Feb. 6!
Registration Extended
Registration is reopening for virtual Regional Assembly through February 6. Content will be available for the month of February.Check out the detailed schedule including:
“Community of Communities” with Paula Cole Jones
Covenant Workshops with Commission on Appraisal
Welcoming in a Wider Circle
A variety of workshops on timely church leadership needs
Lots of peer discussion and considering the future of our faith
Worship and social time

Join us February 4-6, 2022

Sunday Service

Regional Assembly is gifting a Sunday Service to the congregations of our region. We will be offering the Sunday morning intergenerational service for all, originally available for February 6th. Registrants will watch together (either on site or on zoom) and a recording will be made available to congregations. Sharing this opportunity with your worship leads will contribute the the impact of Regional Assembly. If you are the technical lead for worship in your congregation and would like notification of service details, please complete this interest form on Cognito Forms.
Reminder: Congregations Must Certify by February 4
Your congregation has through the end of business on February 4, 2022 to certify your current membership number and financial information from the previous fiscal year; review your congregation contact information and leaders and staff listing; and complete the diversity and congregational questionnaires. Certification is an essential step in determining Annual Program Fund (APF) requests, proportional delegates for elections and General Assembly, and to compile data about overall indicators and trends within Unitarian Universalism. More information and assistance can be found here.
Shift in COVID-19 Prevention Strategies from the UUA
The UUA recognizes that, even after the Omicron surge subsides, dealing with the COVID-19 virus will be an ongoing challenge for congregations. We are making some shifts in our COVID-19 guidance for congregations away from specific guidance based on metrics and instead offering strategies for risk reduction. Many congregations have set metrics about when it is safe to gather in person, or online-only, based on infection rate in the community. This Omicron surge, the availability of at-home tests, and the advent of vaccinations for ages five and up have made such metrics less relevant than before. The best decision-making regarding in-person gathering will need to be made by each congregation’s leaders in their local contexts. While the UUA will continue to suggest data you might track locally, our strategies are geared towards general best “risk reduction” practices as we move toward an endemic situation. For more details about the reasons for the UUA’s change in approach, visit our January update to COVID guidance.
Article II Study Commission: Get Involved!

The Article II Study Commission is connecting with Unitarian Universalists throughout the Association to hear from you about what—if any—changes to Article II might lead us boldly into the future. What’s Article II? It’s the section of the UUA bylaws that serves as the home of our Principles and Sources, the UUA’s Purposes, our Inclusion clause, and Freedom of Belief Statement.

As a living faith, we must regularly revisit the documents that guide us to be sure they match our values and commitments. You are invited to utilize new resources developed by the Study Commission to engage your community in this study and share back your reflections through the Article II Individual Survey (Google Form). Check out the new resources and scheduled opportunities to engage with the Article Study Commission in the latest communication from the Commissioners.

Save the Date: Side With Love Sunday is February 13!
All Unitarian Universalist congregations are invited to participate in this annual tradition! This year, Side With Love will offer a free-use worship service featuring stirring music, deep-hearted reflection, and moving testimonies from a range of UU leaders. The service will be available for use as a whole, or as individual videos for your selected use. A detailed order of service including worship leaders and elements will be available here on Monday, January 30; all videos will be available for access/download by end of day on Friday, February 5. Stay tuned for more information about this service! And the rest of the 30 Days of Love program is awesome too. (You can sign up for alerts on this page.)
From Reactivity to Resilience: Doing Our Inner Work in Congregations


  • Part I – March 5, 2022 – 2:00 to 4:00 PM (ET)
  • Part II – March 26, 2022 – 2:00 to 4:00 PM (ET)

This webinar series focuses on the Spiritual Leadership practice of “doing our inner work.” It is rooted in an awareness of the human tendency to fight, freeze, or flee when we are activated. It rests in a belief that congregations are called to create a container in which everyone can learn, hone and use tools that bring us through activation into resilience. Fee per person is $25 or pay-what-you-can using our coupon codes. Learn more and register here.

Leading from the Heart 2022


In this three-part series for budding and experienced leaders, you will ground yourself in your own spiritual soil, acknowledge our shard roots, discern fruits of our faith, find abundance in serving, and preserve seeds to ensure the harvest of leadership for years to come. March-May, Details and Registration.
Congregations: Host a Local Gathering for April Climate Justice Seminar!

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