PWR Newsletter – March 2022 - Archived

ruth-Telling” , PWR & UUA News, and more!
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Pacific Western Region
Newsletter • March 2022
by Eric Bliss
PWR Youth and Emerging Adult Specialist

“There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside of you.” – Maya Angelou
Acknowledging the massive contributions to our country by women, Women’s History Month actually began as a weeklong, local celebration in Santa Rosa, California in 1978. A few years later, President Jimmy Carter designated it nationally and then Congress passed a resolution in 1987 to make it a full month of celebration and recognition.
Women’s History month is a time for celebrating women’s stories.
In these last few years of uncertainty and challenge, there are countless stories of trauma and grief that have gone untold, particularly by women. As conservative-leaning states ratchet up pressure against a woman’s right to choose and as lawmakers increase aggressive rhetoric expressly against our women legislators (e.g. AOC, Nancy Pelosi, Ilhan Omar), it is well past time for the country to go beyond a token head nod to the women who make and have made this country great.
It is time for truth-telling. Time to address the misogynistic and patriarchal bedrock that underlies the very foundations of our ecclesiastical and political systems. It is time for those in positions of authority to recognize that, to quote Nakeia Homer: “Behind every strong woman is a story that gave her no other choice.”
Disney’s new sensational film, Encanto, is a story about a family in Colombia that has many gifts, but also has a number of invisible flaws. It is a story of a woman’s strength (Abuela Alma) to protect her own when there were truly no other choices, and in so doing, creating a miracle, bestowing wonders upon her descendants.
These wonders appear in the form of individual enchantments, like super strength and weather control, among others. Their house, with the help of a magical candle, also is enchanted, blessing and protecting the nearby town and their people. It is the strength of the women of this lovely, complicated family, that not only builds the house and surrounding community, but also ultimately saves them.
Abuela Alma is the matriarch of the family. She is wise, loving, and direct. Mirabel, her granddaughter without obvious magical gifts, takes a central role in rescuing the family from resentful and bitter dynamics through listening and storytelling. She reunites a lost loved one and ultimately keeps their magic alive. At the end, the entire town comes together to repair the home after the family conflict had torn it apart, finally bringing their Casita back to life.
Through Mirabel’s earnest efforts and the sharing of Alma’s untold story of suffering, the family writes a new chapter for themselves that takes them beyond the secrets, fear, and shame that had been poisoning them for so long.
During the story’s conclusion, Alma says, “I was given a miracle… And I was so afraid to lose it that I lost sight of who the miracle was for.”
What enchantments, miracles, or blessings exist in your congregation or UU community and how are women central to their very existence? Are you active locally for justice and equality? Purveyors of Our Whole Lives trainings far and wide? Providers of sensational religious education offerings and or worship? Big contributors to the UUA’s Annual Program Fund? How might you work with church leadership to celebrate and lift up women’s contributions to these wonderful, magical aspects of your church life? They are surely at the heart of any and all of them!
As a society, there is much we can learn from Encanto: what we can do to heal; what we can do to preserve the miracle that is our democracy, and; how we can do these by following women’s leadership as well as that of other marginalized folx.
There are countless untold tales of harm poisoning our human family. May we lessen the burden by listening to and centering women’s stories this and every month. May we heal our own house, and in so doing may we take steps to preserve our own magic, our own miracles.
Blessed be…
In this Issue

UU Nations: Ukraine and Our Commitment to Peace
PWR & UUA News
Youth & Emerging Adult News
Pacific Northwest 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
UU Nations: Ukraine and Our Commitment to Peace

Editor’s Note: As this edition of the PWR Newsletter was nearing completion, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine went from a terrifying possibility to a horrific tragedy. Your PWR staff team decries the violence and suffering brought by this turn of events. We light candles in our homes and in our hearts for the millions of innocent civilians whose lives are at risk, for those who love them around the globe, and for as peaceful a resolution as possible.

In this UUWorld blog, UU Office at the United Nations (UU@UN) Executive Director Bruce Knotts reminds us of the vital role of UUs in affirming and promoting human rights internationally over the past century. He also gives us a summary of how we arrived at the crisis over Ukraine, concluding with the preamble to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, drafted after World War II by Canadian Unitarian John Peters Humphrey. May each of us in our own way carry forward the legacy of Humphrey and other prophets of love and peace in these trying times.

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 $475 for adults, and $250 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. In-person registration rates will increase on March 1 and again on May 1. Registration for virtual participation will open March 1.

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.
Register Now for the Intergenerational Spring Seminar!

Intergenerational Spring Seminar: “Displacement & Human Rights: All in for Climate Justice”
April 22 – May 1

The Intergenerational Spring Seminar, hosted by the UU Office at the United Nations (UU@UN), UU Ministry for Earth, Unitarian Universalist Service Committee (UUSC) and Side With Love aims to instill in Unitarian Universalist youth and adults a commitment to global engagement and the skills to take action locally to address global issues.

The intergenerational seminar is an opportunity to collaborate with others while learning how to be a global activist. Through workshops, peer and expert-led panel discussions, community building activities, and worship services, you will undergo a transformative process of learning, reflection, and growth while exploring some of the most challenging issues facing humanity today. Learn more and register here.

UUA Board of Trustees Updates
Now Seeking Nominations
Our UUA Needs YOU and Your Leadership! The UUA Nominating Committee is seeking nominations for our denominational committees elected by the General Assembly.
We are seeking nominations for all of our elected committees: Board of Trustees, Board of Review, Nominating Committee, General Assembly Planning Committee, Commission on Appraisal, Commission on Social Witness, and Financial Advisor. More information and applications here. Please apply by February 27th!

General Assembly Webinars
At this year’s multiplatform General Assembly (GA), we will explore the power, possibility, purpose, struggle, and joy of meeting the moment as Unitarian Universalists. Whether you’re a first-time delegate or a long-time attendee, we invite you to join us to learn more about what will happen at GA this year. Members of the Board of Trustees (with some occasional special guests) will provide an overview, along with information for delegates regarding the business sessions. More information and registration here.

Open Houses
The Board will, once again, hold open houses on the 2nd Tuesday of each month.

  • Tuesday, March 8, 2022; 4pm PT/ 5pm MT / 6pm CT/ 7pm ET. Pre-register.
  • Tuesday, April 12, 2022; 4pm PT/ 5pm MT / 6pm CT/ 7pm ET. Pre-register.
  • Tuesday, May 10, 2022; 4pm PT/ 5pm MT / 6pm CT/ 7pm ET. Pre-register.
  • Tuesday, June 14, 2022; 4pm PT/ 5pm MT / 6pm CT/ 7pm ET. Pre-register.

Board Meetings
The Board meets monthly. Here are the dates/times for each meeting. Please note that a registration link for the meetings will be available on this page in advance of each meeting.

  • Monday, March 14, 2022; 4:00pm PT / 5:00pm MT / 6:00pm CT / 7:00pm ET
  • Friday, April 22—Saturday, April 23, 2022; Schedule TBD
  • Monday, May 9, 2022; 4:00pm PT / 5:00pm MT / 6:00pm CT / 7:00pm ET
Updates from the Organizing Strategy Team
Congregational Climate Convergence
March 22
Calling all congregational lay leaders and religious professionals passionate about climate justice! Join Side With Love, Green Sanctuary 2030, and UU Ministry for Earth for a day of community nourishment, resource sharing and skill-building to support your local eco ministries! Register now.
Shape UUA Justice Commitment Through the Social Witness Process

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