PWR Newsletter – March/April 2021

“Joy and Woe are Woven Fine”, PWR & UUA News, and more!
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Pacific Western Region
Newsletter • March/April 2021
Joy and Woe are Woven Fine
By Rev. Carlton E. Smith
Lead – UUA Pacific Western Region

In less than a week, we grieved not one but two deadly gun attacks that left us reeling. The shooting spree in metro-Atlanta ended eight lives including those of six Asian-American women, and the supermarket massacre in Boulder claimed the lives of 10 people, most of whom were going about their daily business of providing for themselves and their families.

The Asian-Pacific Islander Caucus (APIC) of Diverse Revolutionary Unitarian Universalist Multicultural Ministries (DRUUMM) organized a powerful Black/Indigenous/People of Color (BIPoC) Unitarian Universalist virtual vigil a fortnight after the Atlanta murders. I was moved by the sharing as APIC members reflected on their own experiences of racialized harassment, sexual objectification, fears for their children, and the seductive lure and ultimate betrayal of the “model minority” label. Those of us who were not API expressed our love and solidarity: My brief sharing centered on the similar circles we’ve organized after other devastating crimes, such as after the Charleston Nine were gunned down at Mother Emanuel AME Church during Bible study in 2015.

Similarly this week, Unitarian Universalists in, around, and far beyond Boulder came together on Zoom the night after those murders. We created a time when we could offer words of comfort and support to each other as well as space to connect through music and song to the depths of our despair and collective loss. Rev. Summer Albayati, serving as the contact for the Boulder congregations while Rev. Sarah Gibb Millspaugh is on sabbatical, provided the chalice lighting. This is the prayer that I offered after a brief time of silence.

Where do we go as Unitarian Universalists when faced with humans’ inhumanity toward each other? We can go wherever we choose, and sometimes we find ourselves in emotional states not of our choosing that we can’t wish our way out of.

I would offer three ideals I find myself leaning into during these difficult days: covenant, community and connection.

Covenant is fundamental to who we understand ourselves to be as Unitarian Universalists. We are bound together less by shared systems of belief and more by agreements for the regard with which we will hold each other, humankind, and the “interdependent web of existence of which we are a part.” For example, what are our silent agreements with ourselves? Are we drinking enough water, getting enough rest, and otherwise tending to our own well-being? In our relationships with others, are we living out our Unitarian Universalist principles everyday, extending goodwill to others and taking accountability for the harm we do, even when we don’t intend it?

Community is where we live out and practice covenant. It’s where our shared values are tested and take on a life of their own. I recently heard a UU ministerial colleague describe the congregation she serves as a “socialist communitarian endeavor,” and that resonated with me. We are less focused on transactional engagement with each other in community — “I gave this so I expect that in return”–and more on the good of the whole. Questions we can ask are: What have I done to love up on my community or communities lately? Where can my gifts, resources and skills make a difference?

Connection takes us from the conceptual and into action as far as community goes. It’s one thing to think about how to keep agreements and how to contribute, and another to make the next move that puts us into relationship. Tragic losses like the ones we have borne witness to recently cause us so much pain, yet we can turn that pain right back around and make it a prompt to help build the world we dream of. In memory of those lost in metro-Atlanta, what eight organizations can give to that are countering violence against women, sex workers and/or Asians/Asian-Americans and Pacific Islanders? In honor of those slain in Boulder, what 10 people in my life can I reach out to and let them know how much they mean to me?

Life will continue to generate events that leave us devastated and bereft. As the song “Every Night and Every Morn” says in our hymnal Singing the Living Tradition, “Joy and woe are woven fine / clothing for the soul divine / under every grief and pine / runs a joy with silken twine.” May we in our liberal religious way continue to look for the good in this life, especially when doing so is hard.

In faith,
Carlton

In this Issue

Joy and Woe are Woven Fine
Love Right Through Forums
PWR & UUA News
Youth News
Mountain Desert News
Pacific Central News
Pacific Northwest News
Pacific Southwest News
InSpirit Update

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

PWR Lead
Carlton Elliott Smith


PWR Field Staff
Summer Albayati
Love Right Through Forums for April
Love Right Through Forum Topics
April 5 6:30pm – 8:00pm PT Chalice Lighters
April 19 6:30pm – 8:00pm PT Finances
Twice a month gatherings on specific topics. Boards & staff will offer 15-20 min of context & status on the topic, the rest is up to the group. We hope to answer specific questions and know that many concerns will take more time and thought than these 90-minute sessions. Topics to include: Chalice Lighters, Finance, Youth & Emerging Adults, and more. Join in the conversation first and third Mondays in April & May. Recordings and summaries will be available here a week after the forum. Register here.
PWR & UUA NEWS
UUA Board of Trustees Open House

Tuesday, April 13, 2021; 4pm Pacific / 5pm Mountain / 6pm Central / 7pm Eastern

Co-Moderators Meg Riley and Charles Du Mond invite you to come and check in with the UUA Board of Trustees at its upcoming Zoom Open House. Bring your questions and chat about:

  • what the Board has planned leading up to General Assembly
  • General Assembly 2021
  • serving Unitarian Universalism as a volunteer at the national level
  • the progress of the Article II Study Commission
  • your congregation’s engagement with Widening the Circle of Concern
  • the UU issues that matter to you
We look forward to seeing you! Register here.
Small Congregation Webinar Series on Sharing
The last webinar of the Small Congregation Sharing Series on Sharing Youth Programming in Smaller Congregations will be offered April 22, 2021 at 7pm ET/6pm CT/5pm MT/4pm PT. Registration is open! Join Shannon Harper and Eric Bliss to learn about ways to enhance your youth programming by joining with other congregations. Registration is open. If you missed the first two webinars on Worship and Staff Sharing, you can find recordings of both of them in the UUA LeaderLab Library.
Congregational Collaboration Board
Are you intrigued by the possibilities of sharing staff? Wondering how you might connect with a congregation that is offering or seeking staff? Browse our Congregational Collaboration Board, a new section of the UUA Jobs Board. To view basic information, no login is required. Create a MinistrySearch login to gain access to the contact information that accompanies the listings. When logged in, key congregational leaders can post new listings.

See our Sharing Staff page in LeaderLab for more on expanding work opportunities and enhancing programs through collaborative staffing.

Youth Peer Pastoral Care Training for Religious Educators
With Annie Scott, Evin Carvill Ziemer, and Nyana Harper

We had a wait list for the first round of the DRE focused “Peer Pastoral Care with Youth” so we’ve opened up a second section.

This one is Saturdays 12-3pm ET: 4/24, 5/1, 5/15, and 5/22

Session 1: Introduction to Listening Skills
Session 2: Crisis Pastoral Care
Session 3: Oppression and Microaggressions
Session 4: Implementation (policies, training your own youth and advisors, and more)

Register here!

Faithify Updates
New for Religious Professionals: “All-or-Nothing” threshold removed for all your education, credentialing, and professional development fundraising campaigns on Faithify!

Most fundraisers on Faithify need to reach a set goal before any of the donations will be processed (All-or-Nothing funding). However, some projects are best served if funds are immediately processed, so Faithify has categories of fundraisers that are exempt from the All-or-Nothing goal: UUA General Assembly expenses and Disaster Relief. Now, for April 2021, we are adding a third threshold exempt category of campaigns, UU Religious Professional Credentialing and Development.

Seminarians, Religious Educators, Community Ministers, Musicians, Ordained Ministers, Membership Professionals, Administrators – you asked for this and we listened. Seminary courses, professional development workshops, clinical pastoral education, and costs related to attend/complete these and similar experiences (including travel, childcare, and books) add up. Too many Unitarian Universalist religious professionals are burdened with excessive student loans or do not have adequate professional development budgets to cover their expenses to attend vital trainings. Let Faithify and your network of care help! This change allows you to keep every dollar you raise for your formation and continuing development as a verified UU Religious Professional.

Learn more about this new threshold exempt category and how it works on Faithify.org, the Unitarian Universalist crowdfunding website from the Unitarian Universalist Association.

Breaking Covenant – Repair Restore Renew
Saturday, April 10, 2021, 09:00 am – 12 pm Pacific
Every congregation has experienced destructive behavior that has caused upset, tumult, and conflict, from microaggressions to outright aggression, and other forms of inappropriate behavior. Join members of UUA Congregational Life staff on Saturday, April 10 to learn more about the need to have policies and procedures in place to deal with destructive behavior. Learn more here.
Virtual General Assembly 2021: Register Now!
Circle ‘Round for Justice ● Healing ● Courage is the theme for General Assembly 2021. General Assembly is a time to circle ‘round in community. We circle ‘round in care and healing; for liberation and justice; and for love and courage. We share stories of the work happening at our Association and in our congregations. We study ways to implement and live into our mission. UUA GA 2021 will incorporate recommendations from the Commission on Institution Change report, “Widening the Circle of Concern” and dialogue with the Article II Commission about our Principles and Purposes.

PWR Job Postings
Job openings in PWR congregations are now included on the UUA Jobs Board. Don’t worry — even though the URL says “ministrysearch”, you’ll find all positions posted here. If your congregation has an opening you’d like listed, please complete the online submission form and we’ll get it posted for you.
YOUTH NEWS
Spring Youth Con: ChUUse YoUUr Own AdventUUre!
Your regional con planning team is designing an adventure where you choose your path.  This con is spread out over a month and allows you to wander in and out for the parts you are interested in, or you can come for everything.

High school youth (14-18yr) and their adult sponsors will be gathering for an opening, then Monday, Thursday and Saturday nights as they wish over the next month and then everyone back together for a closing Saturday, May 1st. This will be a multisensory experience where each participant receives a care package and we are experimenting with fun platforms for gathering beyond simple Zoom.
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