PWR Newsletter – October 2021 - Archived

“Starting With Gratitude” , PWR & UUA News, and more!
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Pacific Western Region
Newsletter • October 2021
Starting With Gratitude
by Rev. Sarah Gibb Millspaugh
PWR Program Staff

Remember at the outset of this pandemic, we kept telling ourselves, and each other, “it’s a marathon, not a sprint?” That message was meant to slow us down, to help us know we needed to do self-care, that we would be wise to store up energy for whatever challenges were up ahead.

Now, 18 months in, we’ve finished that marathon. We’re exhausted. But as pastor-blogger Jenny Smith so devastatingly points out in her July blog, what we did not foresee was that the finish line for the last marathon was just the starting line for the next marathon. Oh yes. The uncertainty, the pain, the fear… it continues. With so much weariness, to boot. How do we, individually and collectively, make it through this next marathon?

One of my spiritual teachers is the American Buddhist eco-philosopher Joanna Macy. Over many decades, she and a community across the world have developed The Work That Reconnects, a way of being that engages us in approaching, rather than avoiding, our pain and our fears so that we can help and heal ourselves and the world.

In this work, before we honor our pain, we always begin with gratitude. Because gratitude grounds us in the “what is,” not just the “what might be.” And our bodies and our minds begin to relax. When we fight to stop the destruction of forests, we must always begin with gratitude for the forests that are here, and the people who have kept them here. When we act to disrupt and dismantle policing as it has been, we can begin with gratitude for the people who have risked so much to build a movement endowed with life-giving community and compassionate care.

And thus, as we begin this congregational year with uncertainty and anxiety and fear, I invite us to pause and revel in gratitude for a moment. YOU, our UU community makers, our UU leaders, and weavers, and connectors. You have been creative, kind, generous with your time, talent, and treasure. You have amazed us with your ability to learn and do hard things during a worldwide pandemic. You have shown curiosity and generosity toward your sibling UU congregations in the PWR. We UUA staff are grateful for you, and we celebrate you.

We don’t know what this next marathon is going to hold. Perhaps it will change into a half-marathon, or a 10K, before we get to the end. With vaccines for all ages coming soon, I certainly hope it will. Whatever comes, we have got each other. The Unitarian Universalist Association has got you, and you’ve got the UUA—a network of generous, creative, inspiring institutions and people—traveling with you along the way.

With faith, hope, and love,

In this Issue

“Starting With Gratitude”
PWR & UUA News
Youth & Emerging Adult News
Mountain Desert News
Pacific Central News
Pacific Northwest News
Pacific Southwest 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
Multi-Platform Regional Assembly 2022

This year, because of the ongoing pandemic, we are offering you different ways to Reflect, Rejoice, and Renew through this major event of the Pacific Western Region.  You can participate in person, in beautiful San Diego. You can also participate from the comfort of your own home, wearing your bunny slippers or other comfortable footwear. You might organize small local pods of UUs to watch together as you share a meal or two. All educational programs will be offered via the internet and available to you prior to RA. Watch as many programs as often you like! Social gatherings, networking, and discussions will be available online, and also at the Hyatt Regency Mission Bay Resort. Attend the way that works for you. Key events, like worship services, will be broadcast to watch at home, or on the big screen on the hotel. On site events in San Diego will be predominantly outdoors and will offer the ability to socially distance as you feel comfortable. Child care will not be available at the San Diego location due to the abundance of unknowns and lack of vaccine for our youngest UUs.

Flexibility seems to be one of key skills needed at this time of pandemic. This format for Regional Assembly, with online programming and face-to-face or digital social and network time, gives us each the flexibility to participate in the way that works for our various levels of comfort and safety around in person gathering. Some of our PWR staff will be in San Diego, at the venue, and others will be providing support from their home offices around the west. We hope to see you at Regional Assembly, either in person or online!

When: Friday, February 4 through Sunday, February 6, 2022
Where: Hyatt Regency Mission Bay, 1441 Quivira Road, San Diego, CA

The latest details including registration, accommodations, tentative schedule, workshop proposals, and vendor and volunteer information can be found on our website.

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

  • Tuesday, October 12, 2021; 4pm PT/ 5pm MT / 6pm CT/ 7pm ET. Pre-register.
  • Tuesday, November 9, 2021; 4pm PT/ 5pm MT / 6pm CT/ 7pm ET. Pre-register.
  • Tuesday, December 14, 2021; 4pm PT/ 5pm MT / 6pm CT/ 7pm ET. Pre-register.
  • Tuesday, January 11, 2022; 4pm PT/ 5pm MT / 6pm CT/ 7pm ET. Pre-register.
  • Tuesday, February 8, 2022; 4pm PT/ 5pm MT / 6pm CT/ 7pm ET. Pre-register.
  • 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.

  • Thursday, October 14—Saturday, October 16, 2021; Schedule TBD
  • Monday, November 8, 2021; 4:00pm PT / 5:00pm MT / 6:00pm CT / 7:00pm ET
  • Monday, December 13, 2021; 4:00pm PT / 5:00pm MT / 6:00pm CT / 7:00pm ET
  • Friday, January 21—Saturday, January 22, 2022; Schedule TBD
  • Monday, February 14, 2022; 4:00pm PT / 5:00pm MT / 6:00pm CT / 7:00pm ET
  • 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
Putting Our Generosity to Work: The 2021 PWR Grants Program

During this unique time in history, with a global pandemic and uprisings for justice, the PWR has been looking at our assets and resources to see how they could be used to help move the arc of the universe. Putting Our Generosity to Work is part of that effort.

The Pacific Western Region Staff plans to distribute residual grant monies collected at and prior to the 2013 Regional Assembly. Congregations can apply for one or both of these grants. Applications will be reviewed, and award decisions made, by a regional volunteer team of volunteers as well as a liaison from the PWR-UUA staff.

The Leap of Faith grants are to assist with congregational growth in a multitude of areas, including active partnership with local communities and implementation of Commission on Institutional Change’s recommendations to widen the circle of our faith. Approximately 10 of these $3000 grants will be awarded.

The Big Faith grant program is to facilitate the uses of technology growing our faith. This might include web page modernization, online worship or staff training in social media. Approximately 8 of these $1000 grants will be awarded

Applications will be accepted between through October 11, 2021. Recipient organizations are expected to report back on how the money was used. Potentially these reports could be included in future PWR newsletters.

Interested congregations, and covenanting communities with fiscal sponsorship, can apply for either or both PWR grant(s)If you are interested in serving on the selection team please apply. We hope to have many perspectives at the decision-making table.

Taproot: A National BIPOC Space

The work of spiritual community is complicated in the 21st century. The need for faithful leadership that is grounded and resilient is imperative. This is all the more true for leaders within our communities and congregations who are Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPoC). All too aware of this need, Congregational Life is excited to explore and co-create a network with congregational leaders that support them in this time in emergent ways through Taproot: A National BIPOC Space. BIPoC Leaders rooted in the Unitarian Universalist congregations are invited to take part in this monthly, virtual gathering.

Second Thursday of the month, starting October 14th at 9p ET/8p CT/7p MT/6p PT. Details and registration at the UUA website.

Gather, Inspire, Launch! Commission on Social Witness Fall Convening

Two-part Fall Social Witness Convening of the Commission on Social Witness (CSW), 10/6 and 10/13

At the UUA General Assembly this past June, the delegates voted to affirm three bold statements for healing action. The delegates also adopted a formal UUA Statement of Conscience on Undoing Systemic White Supremacy. Join these two meetings to find out what UU leaders around the country are doing, what you can do, and who you can partner with to carry forward these bold actions full of inspiring possibilities.

Gather, inspire, and launch your social witness action! The Commission on Social Witness invites you to the Fall Social Witness Convening in two parts. Attend both sessions to find out about all the statements and actions! More information and registration here.

Compass Virtual Gathering

COMPASS: A Liberatory, Everyday Theology for Changing Times
December 11 & 12, 2021

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