PWR Newsletter – June 2022

“Westward Bound: Arriving in the PWR” , PWR & UUA News, and more!
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Pacific Western Region
Newsletter • June 2022
Westward Bound: Arriving in the PWR
by Carlton E. Smith
Regional Lead

Wednesday, May 25, 4:54 a.m. CT
Kansas City, Kansas

In about an hour, I will be on the road to Cheyenne, Wyoming, crossing from our UUA’s MidAmerica Region into the Pacific Western Region. Yesterday, I started off at 6:45 a.m. at my brother’s home in north Mississippi, at last on my way to live in the part of the country with the people with whom I partner in serving our life-affirming faith.

When I accepted the position of Lead for PWR, it was with the agreement that within a couple of months of the pandemic travel restrictions on UUA staff being lifted, I would relocate to the region. At the beginning of my sabbatical in March, we were still adjusting to what it might mean to do our jobs in-person as well as online. And now, in a few weeks, our region will once again host the Association’s General Assembly in Portland, where I will be based for the next six months.

As far back as the fall of 2020, I had been imagining a version of the journey I’m making now. I had hoped to make a road trip of a couple of weeks, during which I’d spend time with people in each of the historic districts of the region before looping back down to Mississippi. However, with the fire hazards, the road hazards, and the pandemic hazards that would have come with that trek, the staff and I came to the conclusion that it wasn’t time.

I enjoyed yesterday’s drive under overcast skies. Traffic only backed up briefly; there was an accident on the side of the road on the approach to Kansas City. My phone notifications started going off right about then with news of the mass shooting at the elementary school in Uvalde, Texas, in which 19 students and two teachers were killed. While the passage through all the beautiful green countryside feeds my soul, the awareness of another murderous attack weighs heavily, especially since those slain in Buffalo, New York, are still being buried.

Thursday, May 26, 5:59 a.m. MT
Cheyenne, Wyoming

The road trip yesterday started off overcast and windy, but not wet like the evening before. My thermos-like mug filled with coffee, I hit the road a little before 7:00 a.m., passing back into Missouri for a bit somehow, then a little bit into Iowa before crossing into the southeast corner of Nebraska. I spent the bulk of the daylight hours motoring along…there were construction zones along the way but no interruptions, a friend from the Central Time Zone and I had been trying to connect since last week, and we were on the phone for over three hours. That helped pass the time quite a bit. Somewhere along the way, I suddenly had the overwhelming feeling of not being alone, of being surrounded by love. Tuesday, I had meditated on God being change, as the novelist Octavia Butler wrote. And today, I felt God as love, within me and all around me, that also is me. I listened to YouTube videos of my favorite k-pop group Twice singing “Feel Special” and felt even more moved.

At some point, the day got very sunny and bright, and the sky very big, as one might expect in the Midwest. In spite of the horrible news yesterday and all the ongoing sources of grief, hope stirred within my heart. I got to the hotel before 4:00 p.m. (thank you, Mountain Time Zone!), responded to some emails, and then set off to Anong’s Thai Cuisine a half-mile away for early dinner. Summer rolls with peanut sauce and broccoli in brown sauce with fried tofu. So delicious. Next, a jaunt over the railroad tracks to the UU Church of Cheyenne (Pictured above). There was a friendly 12-step meeting going on that I was invited to join, but respectfully didn’t accept. It was just good to be in the space document being there, for sharing on Facebook, as I like doing when I’m in a town where there’s a UU congregation!

The road is calling me now…Time to wash up and head out.

Friday, May 27, 6:13 a.m. MT
Twin Falls, Idaho

Today, I will enter my new residential address into my car’s navigation system. I haven’t needed to do that until now.

At some points yesterday, I felt like I was riding waves as I drove up and down, through and between the mountains. Within an hour of leaving Cheyenne, the mountains came into view. I saw the snow-caps on some of them, and I’m not used to seeing snow anywhere in May. I pass through Laramie and think of Matthew Shepherd, and what it could mean to a town for its name to be closely associated with a hate crime. I’m not listening to the radio as I drive along. I’m tuning into YouTube music recordings, lectures and vlogs.

Coming up from a rest stop exit, I realize that the 18-wheeler behind me in the lane I’m merging into isn’t making much space for me at all. I accelerate to put some distance between us. I became aware again of all the hazards of being on the road, especially solo and in a barren, unfamiliar part of the country. Many unexpected things could happen, and quickly. Each of the hundreds of cars along the way is a potential threat to my existence, not to mention my own capacity to misjudge risks. The strong wind gusts yesterday on my approach to Twin Falls had me wondering if driving cross country was such a bright idea – It felt as if my car could have been blown off the highway!

Nonetheless, I am on this journey, which is drawing to a close this afternoon. I will continue to trust in the universe to guide me and others along the road. Going forth in spite of the many hazards along the way has served me well so far. As we go deeper into 2022, I hope we will all be encouraged to keep on moving forward.

In faith,
Carlton

Note: My sabbatical ends officially July 5, though I will be at work the week of General Assembly in Portland, June 20-26. I hope to see many of you there, whether in-person or online!

In this Issue

Westward Bound: Arriving in the PWR
PWR & UUA News
Youth & Emerging Adult News
Mountain Desert News
Pacific Central News
Pacific Northwest News
InSpirit Update

PWR Links
Calendar and Events
Staff Contacts
News
Job Postings
Youth Ministries
RE Trainings

PWR Lead
Carlton Elliott Smith


PWR Program Staff
Summer Albayati
PWR & UUA NEWS
Register Now for General Assembly 2022!
In 2022, we will have the option of meeting online or in-person! For those who enjoyed the convenience and accessibility of remote participation, General Assembly will continue to offer virtual attendance with robust programming and enhanced delegate discussion tools. For those who have been missing the physical experience, GA 2022 will also feature face-to-face interactions, hanging banners, a browsable exhibit hall, meals with friends old and new, local site attractions, and more! Join us June 22 – 26, 2022 online or in-person in Portland, Oregon. Click here for more information!

Registration is now open for in-person attendance. Full-time registration is $575 for adults, and $325 for high school youth, emerging adults, and retired and candidate ministers. Financial support for registration, lodging credit within the GA housing block, as well as a payment plan are available. Registration for virtual participation is now open!

Offerings for Small Congregations at General Assembly

Are you a member of a smaller congregation? The Small Congregations Task Force, part of the Congregational Life Staff Team, has reviewed the workshops being offered at General Assembly and curated a list we recommend for small congregations. These workshops offer ideas and programs that can help you thrive. You can read the full list, with descriptions, at our blog post, Small Congregations at GA 2022. To access these workshops you must be registered for GA and it’s not too late to do that for in-person or virtual attendance.

2022-2023 PWR Leadership Offerings

PWR announces the leadership offerings for 2022-2023, including:

  • Launch: Collaborative Board Retreat in August and September
  • A fall series of leader specific resources & best practices webinars
  • A spring session of Leading from the Heart

See our website for more details!

Save the Date: Owl Facilitator Trainings

Our Whole Lives facilitator trainings begin again in person:
August 19-21 in Berkeley, CA
September 3-5 in Bellevue, WA
Levels and Registration Links
Compensation and Staffing Survey: For All Congregations with Paid Staff

Greetings from Jan Gartner and Sean Griffin! We’re the Compensation Team within the UUA Office of Church Staff Finances. At the beginning of May, we launched a Compensation and Staffing Survey to help us learn how our congregations are staffed and what staff are paid. We’ve publicized it through numerous channels and responses have been rolling in. Has your congregation responded yet? (If you are unable to verify, drop a note to Comp@uua.org and we will check.)

We’re eager to begin analyzing the information, but we’ll hold the survey open through June 10 to enable even more congregations to participate. The staff member or lay leader most familiar with staff hours and compensation should complete the survey. We think they will find it quite intuitive, but we advise everyone to start by reading our Compensation and Staffing Survey LeaderLab page, which outlines the information needed, provides a PDF preview, offers tips for completion, and links to the survey itself. Once the necessary information is gathered, it should take just a minute or two to enter your congregational information plus 1-2 minutes per employee.

As we rethink our approach to providing salary recommendations, having “actuals” will help us ensure that our recommendations are useful and realistic. Thank you for sharing your congregation’s information!

UU the Vote Legacy Fellowship

UU the Vote and UU College of Social Justice are excited to announce the UU the Vote Legacy Fellowship for UU Young Adults and/or Black, Indigenous, and people of color Unitarian Universalists. This Fellowship recognizes and supports leaders in our faith community who carry on the legacy of activism and organizing that embody our faith through justice organizing and activism.

The fellowship is a 6-month program (July-November) that will recognize 6 to 8 individuals to support your work and expand your skills and capacity. Fellows will be awarded $5,000 with an additional $1,500 project budget.

The success of UU the Vote was the result of leaders engaging in multiple strategies and tactics to support our UU and larger communities. Our success was defined by partnerships with frontline communities and organizations–many of which are led by and organized by young adults and BIPOC communities. The UU the Vote Legacy Fellowship is an investment in that leadership. Learn more here.

Join us for our Open House on June 7th at 7pm ET for a 45-minute  informational event where you will be able to meet the Fellowship Committee and ask questions about the program and application process. RSVP here.

UUA Presidential Search Begins

The Unitarian Universalist Association’s (UUA) Presidential Search Committee has started their work for the 2023 UUA Election. On the Presidential Search page, you’ll find the official job description for UUA President, the portion of the UUA Bylaws that describe the nomination process, the application deadline, how to apply, and who to contact for more information. You can learn more from the UU World Article on the process. Applications open through July 15, 2022.

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