PWR Newsletter – May 2023

“Flowers and Rain, Transitions and Change”, PWR & UUA News, and more!
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Pacific Western Region
Newsletter • May 2023
Flowers and Rain, Transitions and Change


By Dr. Melissa James
Pacific Western Region Congregational Life Staff

It’s been a particularly rainy winter in Southern California. As the showers and storms subsided, spring started to claim its stake in our region. Hills that usually wear brown as their badge of resiliency are donning greens and yellows and purples they rarely get to show off. Thinking back to a year ago the difference is stark. There’s such splendor in this change. The flowers burst with colors of hope and possibilities. While I know droughts and fires lurk nearby, I hold onto the dialectic of beauty and temporality. The land around me is shifting from one season to the next. Spring has a particular rhythm that embodies this transition.

The season of transition isn’t limited to the hills. This is a time blooming with transition across our UUA’s Pacific Western Region. Congregations are saying their farewells to ministers and other religious professionals. Some of you have been moving through the hills and valleys of discerning what ministerial support is right and available for your congregation or fellowship. Many, many lay leaders are taking on the task of tending to their community in intentional or unintentional intervals as lay-led congregations. Many are on a schedule where board changes have already happened or will happen soon. Whether a congregation or fellowship has been historically lay-led or minister-led, we continue to transition to the “What now?” of this phase of the pandemic. To quote the Greek philosopher Heraclitus, “The only constant is change.”

Whenever we face transition, it can be both a time of great anxiety and of great hope. We wait in wonder of how the shift in season will transform the terrain around us. Likewise, in our congregations, we wonder how shifts in the congregational year will transform us. As in the hills, flowers and rains who are woven together in an ever-changing ecosystem. We, too, are deeply interconnected through Unitarian Universalism. Whatever transition surrounds you, know you are not alone. Your regional staff is here to accompany and support you. We are here to help you connect to others facing similar blooms and challenges. You have companions and friends while traversing the challenges and struggles before you and in celebrating the flowers that bloom around you in our ever-changing world.

Some Online Resources for UU Congregations in Times of Transition
Ministerial Transitions
Congregational Board Member Training
Essentials for Lay-Led Congregations
Mental, Physical, Emotional, and Spiritual Self-Care Workshop

Dr. Melissa James is a member of the Pacific Western Region Team of our UUA’s Congregational Life Staff Group. She earned her Master’s of Arts from the Lutheran School of Theology in Chicago (LSTC) with a focus on faith and justice. Melissa holds a Ph.D. in Ethics and Social Theory from the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, California. As a Religious Educator, she’s been on staff at both the First Unitarian Church of Oakland and the First UU Church of San Diego. On the PWR Team, Dr. James’ areas of focus include program development and congregational stewardship.

In this Issue

Flowers and Rain, Transitions and Change
PWR & UUA News
Youth & Emerging Adult News
Mountain Desert News
InSpirit UpdatePWR Links
Calendar and Events
Staff Contacts
Job Postings
Youth Ministries
RE TrainingsPWR Lead
Carlton Elliott Smith

PWR Program Staff
Summer Albayati
The Possibilities of Part-Time Ministry
If your congregation currently has or is thinking about part-time ministry, this event is for you! If you’re a minister currently serving or planning to serve as a part-time minister, this event is for you! If you’re just curious about what part-time ministry is all about, this event is for you!
Join us for the “The Possibilities of Part-Time Ministry,” a virtual one-day event on Saturday, May 13, 2023, from 12 to 5pm ET/9am to 2pm PT. Our featured theme speaker will be G. Jeffrey MacDonald, author of Part-Time is Plenty, Thriving Without Full-Time Clergy.
In addition to Jeff MacDonald’s theme presentation, there will be multiple one-hour workshops on all aspects of part-time ministry. If you can’t be there on May 13, a recording of the event will be available to everyone who registers. You’ll also receive a promo code for a 40% discount on MacDonald’s book Part-Time is Plenty, so register now.
Register Now for General Assembly!

The theme for General Assembly 2023 is “Faithfully Becoming.” We are at a threshold moment for our faith and will choose the next path in our journey. We will consider new articulations of Article II (including our Principles and Purpose) and elect a new President to lead our Association. These are decisions that will shape who we are and how we respond to and grow through these times. These changes offer us possibilities for becoming more connected, courageous, inclusive, generous, and continuing our ongoing journey of becoming Beloved Community.

Registration is now open!
Register early to secure the lowest rates. Volunteer opportunities and financial support are available.

GA Housing Reservation System is Now Open!
Reserve your housing today! To book your room today, visit the GA Housing Reservation System. Any reservations canceled after May 22 will be subject to a $50 cancelation fee. The housing reservation system will close for new reservations on May 23. Learn more about General Assembly housing options here.

Presidential Forums Continue

The series of presidential candidate forums contiues, to allow delegates and members to learn more about Rev. Dr. Betancourt. Planned in concert with the Election Campaign Practices Committee with support from UUA staff, each forum will offer both on-site and virtual participation. There will also be an additional forum during General Assembly in June.

All Unitarian Universalists are welcomed and encouraged to engage with the presidential candidate forums and the process as a whole, to ensure our next UUA President may establish the foundation for their leadership with broad participation.
Central East Region 2023 Security Update Training

Saturday, June 03, 2023, 12:00-3:00 PM ET

Many of our congregations have experienced security threats in recent months from protests to destruction of property to disruption in events. This program will offer a presentation on the core needs in safety and security: prevention, response, and after-care. We will have brief worship, workshops, and time to speak with other congregations about the work they are doing and/or questions they are reflecting on.
All members of UU congregations and communities are welcome to attend- particularly members of staff, boards, religious education committees, and safety teams. Register here!

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