PWR Newsletter – July 2023 - Archived

Faithfully Becoming“, PWR & UUA News, and more!
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Pacific Western Region
Newsletter • July 2023
Faithfully Becoming


By Rev. Carlton E. Smith
Pacific Western Regional Lead


As I write this blog, seven of your PWR staff team members are among the many Unitarian Universalists and friends who have returned from our UUA’s General Assembly (GA) in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Some of us were eager to get back to our residences, while others were off to other journeys before going home. For example, I visited a dear friend in Connecticut before going up to Montreal to join with another friend there and attend a bit of the city’s annual Jazz Festival. I arrived back in Colorado Springs July 2.

The theme of this year’s GA was “Faithfully Becoming”. To me, it pointed to the idea that we as individuals, congregations, and an association are constantly evolving, but in that evolution, we endeavor to be true to our best and highest ideals. It ties into the concepts behind Theodore Parker’s famous sermon on the “Transient and the Permanent in Christianity.” We seek to retain ways of being we wish to pass on, and to release those that seem to have served their purpose.

Of course, none of us has a list of things we’d choose to hold onto that’s identical to anyone else’s. Each of us emerges from distinct periods of time and particular place and unique circumstances, such that the meanings we bring to our lives and our culture will be specific to each of us individually. Not all of what each of us loves will be part of the future of our faith. There will be loss associated with letting go of some of what was familiar as we bring our focus to the path that lies ahead.

At this GA, we said farewell to Rev. Susan Frederick-Gray in her role as UUA President after six very challenging years in the history of our Association, of the United States, and of the world. I am so grateful to count her as a friend, and to have been part of her extended team during her historic, impactful tenure.

We also joyously welcomed Rev. Dr. Sofía Betancourt into her new role upon her election as the next President of our UUA. Rev. Dr. Sofía has close ties to the Pacific Western Region, as a graduate of Starr King School for the Ministry and as a former member of its faculty, in addition to having served as minister at First Unitarian Universalist Church of Stockton and interim minister at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Fresno.

With regards to the work of the Article II Commission, the process of revising our statement of purpose goes forward…The General Assembly delegates voted to continue the conversation for another year. A final vote on Article II will take place at 2024’s online General Assembly. We invite you to engage with the process on the Article II Commission pages.

Meanwhile, the work of the Pacific Western Region Transition Team continues to be about what Unitarian Universalism in the western parts of the country is becoming. Because of the faithful work of Bob Meiss, Mary Nordhagen, Keith Strohmaier, Libby Fitzgerald, and Rhoda Whitney, along with Rev. Ian Evison and myself in conjunction with UUA Executive Vice President Carey McDonald and Director of Congregational Life Jessica York, we are closer than ever to completing the documentation and legalities of becoming a unified region within our Association. We give particular appreciation to all the members of the district boards for their faithfulness. Stay tuned for further announcements and details about what happens next.

As we close chapters in the life of our Region and our Association, we open new ones. May we continue to be responsible stewards of the legacies we have inherited.

In faith,


In this Issue

Faithfully Becoming
PWR & UUA News
Youth & Emerging Adult News
Pacific Southwest District News
InSpirit UpdatePWR Links
Calendar and Events
Staff Contacts
Job Postings
Youth Ministries
RE TrainingsPWR Lead
Carlton Elliott Smith

PWR Program Staff
Summer Albayati
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 Tuesday, August 01, 2023
Interactive Live Session Saturday, August 26, 2023, Noon-4pm EDT
Cost $200 per congregational team
Dimensions of Faith Development Renaissance Module
  • Tuesday, August 15, 2023, 12:00 pm – 2:00 pm EDT
  • Tuesday, August 22, 2023, 12:00 pm – 2:00 pm EDT
  • Tuesday, August 29, 2023, 12:00 pm – 2:00 pm EDT
  • Tuesday, September 5, 2023, 12:00 pm – 2:00 pm EDT

Dimensions of Faith Development Renaissance Module will enable a grounding in the original work of Natalie Briscoe which brings:

  • A view of Faith Development that is central to the congregation’s work and weaves together all of the primary ministries of a religious body.
  • Develop a method for dismantling white supremacy culture within their congregation and in the world through the content and method of Lifespan Faith Development within their congregations.
  • Envision a model for “What’s Next” in our work of dismantling white supremacy culture that leaves participants feeling empowered to move forward with the work; and
  • Take away a collection of stories that both forms a multicultural narrative for our faith journey and communicates our UU values.

This module will be co-led by Lillian Drab-Braddock and Nancy Combs-Morgan, Congregational Life Consultants in the Southern Region of the UUA. REGISTRATION DEADLINE: Tuesday, August 08, 2023. Register here!

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: TuesdaySeptember 1st, 2023. Register here.
Teacher Development Renaissance Module

Renaissance Modules are programs for religious educators’ and other religious professionals’ growth and development. They are an essential part of credentialing for religious educators. The Teacher Development Renaissance module equips a religious leader to nurture the teaching skills in themselves and others. It is an online learning experience comprised of five two-hour webinars with reading and other assignments for each session.

Dates and Timing:

July 18, 2023: 12pm ET – 2pm ET
Session 1: Teaching and Learning — What Shapes Us?

July 25, 2023: 12pm ET – 2pm ET
Session 2: Teachers as Learners and Seekers

August 1, 2023: 12pm ET – 2pm ET
Session 3: Supporting Learners and Seekers

August 8, 2023: 12pm ET – 2pm ET
Session 4: Toolkits for Teachers

August 15, 2023: 12pm ET – 2:30pm ET
(please note this last session would be 2.5 hours long)

Registration Fee: $250.00 for all 5 sessions.

Registration will close at Midnight (Eastern) or 11:00 PM (Central) on July 14th 2023 or if the webinar reaches its registration capacity. We will send an email with the Zoom number on the day of EACH event. Please

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