PWR Newsletter – February 2023 - Archived

A Time to Love, Transitions Team Update, PWR & UUA News, and more!
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Pacific Western Region
Newsletter • February 2023
A Time to Love

Rev. Carlton E. Smith
Regional Lead

I officially arrived in Berkeley for the Northern California part of my itinerancy through the Pacific Western Region on January 12. After seven weeks on the road, I was glad to settle into my hometown for the next five months. I felt the rain and the chill in the air as I ran my errands those first few days, while California was in the last days of the torrential rains that brought so much damage to communities up and down the state.

Now, in the waning days of the month, we’ve seen a terrible wave of mass shootings in the state and beyond. At the dance studio in Monterey Park. On two farms near Half Moon Bay. At a gas station in Oakland. At a convenience store in Yakima, Washington. As I write on January 28, we’ve just gotten word of another incident in Los Angeles, where three were killed and four wounded in a residential neighborhood.

Meanwhile, in Memphis, body cam and surveillance videos have been released of the fatal beating of Tyre Nichols by five police officers. People are protesting the senseless brutality across the nation.
The sickness behind the parade of heinous crimes clamoring for our attention these past few days defies reduction to one simple hatred or another. As a nation, we are disturbed, and violent reactions to the violence we abhor will only compound our spiritual malaise.

The troubles we observe now are the harvest from seeds of destruction planted long, long ago. There will be no quick fix and no easy way to break these cycles of violence.

It’s February – the month we reflect on love and on the contributions of Black people to the United States and to the world. We do so with a heightened awareness of the criminally-loveless people that we might pass by on the street or in the drugstore aisle. We do so with the reminder from Memphis that Black Lives still don’t matter enough.

Our salvation will be found in reflection, in prayer, and in communities of love, care, and understanding. Our salvation will be found in communities that Side With Love to translate love into power: power to change our nation’s policies, power to change our culture toward love.

Unitarian Universalists have been holding candles and linking arms and marching for Black lives. Your PWR staff have reached out to congregations in the impact of the floods and the shootings (If you have been impacted in a way we aren’t aware of, please let us know at Some congregations affected by the storms have applied for and received support from our UUA’s Disaster Relief Fund. To generously contribute to it would be one tangible thing we can all do that would make a difference for love.

As Unitarian Universalists in the Pacific Western Region, this is a particularly good time to contemplate the centrality of love in the revisions of Article II of our UUA Bylaws, as proposed by the Article II Study Commission. In their new articulation of how we understand ourselves as people bound together by covenantal relationships, love is the core value from which our other values flow: Justice. Interdependence. Equity. Generosity. Transformation. Pluralism.

May we look to the sacred within us and all around us that is us for courage and strength. And may we do what we can to embody fierce love in a world that needs it so desperately.

In faith,
In this Issue

A Time to Love
Transitions Team Update
A Farewell to Amanda Radak
PWR & UUA News
Youth & Emerging Adult News
Pacific Central News
Mountain Desert 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
Update from the PWR Transitions Team

As I bring my time on the PWR Transitions Team to a close, I can’t help but get contemplative, reflecting on my time with this project.

I started on the Pacific Northwest District Board in the spring of 2019. As we’ve slowly moved into developing a regional, governing body, it has been remarkable to witness and be a part of the process. I don’t think anyone would say it’s been easy. Individually and as a group, we have been wrestling with questions about purpose and relationship. I don’t know that we’ve answered all of our questions yet, but it has been meaningful to be a part of a team which is moving slowly enough to tease these threads apart and come to shared understanding.

I believe in the work the PWR Transitions Team is doing to build an equitable and meaningful governing body for the region. I am excited to see where this goes and what they create, and I wish them all the blessings of creativity, joy, and community support as they continue this work.

If you are curious about the work of the PWR Transitions Team or are interested in joining the Team, I highly recommend you get in touch with this amazing group of people. You can fill out an introduction form (pdf linked here / Word document linked here) or reach the team by contacting

In joy and faith,
Aria Curtis

Farewell to Amanda Radak

On January 1st, our wonderful PWR Events Coordinator Amanda Radak started a different job with the UUA. If you’ve registered for any of our events, or attended our webinars or regional assemblies, you’ve likely interacted with Amanda. She could always be counted on for wise words, a kind joke, and quick, efficient work.

Amanda began her journey with the UUA as the registrar for the Pacific Northwest District, where she resides, and expanded into serving as registrar for the whole region, then as Events Coordinator for the region.

Amanda has always had a passion and a gift for youth ministry, so it’s a bittersweet feeling that she has followed that calling to become the Events and Communications Coordinator for youth and young adult events nationally inside the Lifespan Faith Engagement team at the UUA. We know she’ll love her new role.

If you wish to send her a note of appreciation for her service out West, we’d encourage you to! She’s at

Leadership Development: Leading from the Heart Registration Now Open!
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
When: March through May, participants will spend about 4 hours a month in a variety of solo work, small group discussion (once per month on group’s time frame) and a full group monthly meeting.

Full Group Sessions: 4th Tuesdays: March 28, April 25 & May 23
3-4:30 pm Mountain / 2-3:30 pm Pacific / 1-2:30 pm Alaska / 12-1:30 pm Hawaii
Who: Lay leaders in different areas of ministry (not limited to board). Congregational teams are encouraged but not required.
Registration will close at noon on March 21.
Fee: $60 per person, sliding scale, sliding scale based on your assessment of your ability to pay

Presidential Forums Coming in 2023

The Presidential Forums are coming in early 2023! You’ll be able to attend in person or online to meet the next presidential nominee(s). Want to know when/where they’ll be held? Check this newsletter for updates.

What Do We Do When Our Conscience Goes to Jail? Virtual Training and Toolkit

Training: Tuesday, February 7 at 4pm – 5:30pm PT /  7pm –  8:30pm ET

For generations, UUs have been jailed for our conscience in resisting systems of oppression. As our tradition becomes more justice-oriented, rates of UU arrests are on the rise. How does our conscience also call us to be there for those whose bodies are on the line? Learn how UUs are building capacity to support and share the load in the face of mass arrest. Find out more about how to organize support for those who are arrested and jailed as a conscientious form of protest. Presenters: Rev. Karen Van Fossan, Antoinette Scully, Rev. Dr. Clyde Grubbs, and friends. Register hereDownload toolkit here.

Spring Right Relationship Team Training is Open for Registration!

Creating beloved community requires intention and practice. Our covenants articulate our intention, but how do we live into the practice? Right Relations Teams (RRT) are lay leaders entrusted to help the congregation practice faithful communication and creative conflict based on values of mutuality and consent.

This UUA-sponsored training is for congregational teams who will be helping their congregations live into their covenants.

In this facilitated version, you will learn with other congregations during the six live practice sessions. The cost of $400/team covers the facilitators and includes a code to access to training materials. Register here.

Note: The training can also be taken on your own ($30/person). There are instructions for you to facilitate your own practice sessions.

February Religious Educator Meet and Eat

We are inviting religious education professionals, from across the country, to virtually join members of the UUA’s Faith Development Co-Lab on Tuesday, Feb. 21st from 12:00 p.m.-1:30 p.m. EST.

The meet and eat gathering for religious educators will be a wonderful opportunity to connect with other DREs. Our conversation topic will be twofold. First, we will explore the importance of community connection with colleagues. Then, we will share what folks are thinking about for Spring/Summer religious education opportunities which focus on service and multigenerational connection. Bring your ideas and questions on Spring/Summer social justice initiatives that welcome children, youth, and adults; Coming of Age experiences for youth, and Summer program ideas! Register here.

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