PWR Newsletter – September 2022 - Archived

“Wanderers and Worshippers” , PWR & UUA News, and more!
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Pacific Western Region
Newsletter • September 2022
Wanderers and Worshippers
by Carlton E. Smith
Regional Lead

Come, come, whoever you are / wanderer, worshiper, lover of leaving
Ours is no caravan of despair / come, yet again, come
– Come, Come Whoever You Are, #188 in Singing the Living Tradition

So far, I’ve been to six congregations in the Pacific Northwest, mostly in Oregon: First Unitarian Church of Portland for Rev. Bill Sinkford’s last Sunday service and the reception which followed; Wy’east UU Congregation, where a pulpit guest preached on the legacies of racial injustice in Oregon; West Hills UU Fellowship, where members reflected on the gifts and opportunities of aging, including a presentation by the “Raging Grannies”; Vancouver, Washington for a service on the importance of rest; Eastrose as it reflected on adapting to the changing times, and: the UU Congregation of Willamette Falls, as Rev. Marcia Stannard was returning from her summer break.

I have appreciated all the encounters I’ve had at these communities of faith. Thank you for showing me your buildings and telling me about your history and your challenges. There’s a perspective on what’s happening in Unitarian Universalism that’s accessed by coming through doors, meeting members, being the service and connecting during coffee hour. There’s also a different experience being in the congregation on Sunday rather than being a guest speaker. I value them both. As a guest speaker, my attention is on the details of the service, whereas when I’m a guest in the pews, I can take in the service as other newcomers might, without being responsible for the service itself.

Sometimes a member or friend of a congregation will jokingly ask if they “passed”, as if I were there to do some inspection on behalf of the Pacific Western Region or our UUA. That is never the case! I come in kinship, as another person in this radically inclusive faith tradition. While I am interested in what’s happening at each congregation, I’m wondering how I (and Regional staff more broadly) can be of support. I’m curious about patterns between congregations as well.

Some of the consistencies I’ve noticed among the congregations I’ve visited:
– Skill with multi-platform worship. Our congregations have incorporated ways to remain engaged with members and friends who continue to worship from home. Though technology doesn’t always cooperate as we might have planned, we still deliver on our commitment to serve the gathered community.
– Rebuilding programs for children and youth. Even though we are getting further away from the gathering restrictions of the Covid lockdown, we are still in the process of discerning the future of our programs for children and youth. With smaller budgets and fewer families, our smaller congregations are especially challenged in this regard.
– Mutual support through the Chalice Lighters program. It’s been especially touching to see funds from the Chalice Lighters program at work. At Eastrose, they have beautiful audio/visual equipment at the back of the sanctuary. At Willamette Falls, their elevator installation and their kitchen renovation was funded with donations from Chalice Lighters. To all those who’ve engaged in the program: Thank you! The Pacific Northwest Chalice Lighters program is now operated by the Cascadia Chalice Lighters program, and the plan for the Chalice Lighters in the rest of the Region is forthcoming.
– Meaningful connection for senior members and friends. Like many other “mainline” communities of faith in the U.S. these days, Unitarian Universalist congregations are largely sustained and led by dedicated people in the 50+ age range. Our congregations are especially well-suited to serve the needs of people nearing or already in their retirement years, as they are places where deep friendships and mutual aid have thrived for many years.

As we enter this season of in-gathering, new beginnings and transitions, may we celebrate the ties that bind us to each other and create welcoming spaces for the wanderers, worshipers, and lovers of leaving who hope for a place to belong. May we be those communities of connection and accountability that so many seek.

I have chosen an unconventional way of being in the region over the next two years. Because I am a family of one – free of spouses, children, adult dependents, pets, and houseplants – I have the ability to relocate easily. With that in mind, I’m moving through the different parts of the region in this timeframe: Pacific Northwest June-November 2022; Pacific Central, December 2022-May 2023; Mountain Desert, June-November 2023, and; Pacific Southwest, December 2023-May 2024. With my time in the Pacific Northwest at the halfway point as I begin to plan for my time in other parts of the region, let me know if your congregation has events coming up that I should be aware of. I might not be able to make it to every occasion, but knowing about them in advance will at least help!

In faith,

P.S. For suggestions on how to help newcomers feel right at home, check out “Make ‘A Warm Welcome’ Part of Your ‘New Normal’” by Rev. Sharon Dittmar on LeaderLab.

In this Issue

Wanderers and Worshippers
PWR & UUA News
Youth & Emerging Adult News
Pacific Central 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
DRE-Led Youth Ministry Volunteer Orientation
Congregational Life Staff and Lifespan Faith Engagement staff are releasing a five-hour orientation for new youth ministry volunteers. We intend this as something you facilitate with your adult volunteers. It combines video presentations featuring 10 UUA staff along with discussion prompts and several case studies. There are places for you to present what your volunteers need to know about your organization’s structure and safety policy. There are four modules: Roles and Relationships, Safety, Youth/Adult Partnership, and Covenant and Community. Each has about 30 minutes of video and 45 minutes of activities, discussion, and case studies. These four modules can be delivered in one day or over the course of weeks or months depending on your volunteer team’s needs. Learn more here!
Adult OWL Facilitator Training

There are several spaces available for the Adult Level OWL Facilitator training about Human Sexuality. The Our Whole Lives OWL classes are opportunity to share values and information around reproductive Justice, gender Justice, and exploring sexuality in an empowering educational space. Completing and passing this training qualifies you to serve as a facilitator within a congregation or community setting for the 1) young adult, 2) adult, and 3) elder adult level OWLs. It’s also empowering and enlightening to be a learner in that space throughout the training weekend! Milly Mullarky, East Shore member and longtime sexuality educator, will be co-facilitating this section with Tomoko from the SF Bay Area.

This training is hosted at East Shore Unitarian Church just outside of Seattle in Bellevue Washington over three days – from Saturday September 3-Monday September 5 – and will be held concurrently with two other OWL training workshops. More details and registration can be found here.

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!

Updates from Faithify
100th Anniversary Flower Ceremony UU-wide Celebration
2023 will be the 100th anniversary of Norbert Čapek’s first flower ceremony and a group of UU professionals are undertaking the planning of a commemoration. This will likely include the creation of ritual, liturgy, and worship elements to share with UU congregations worldwide, that we may all celebrate this momentous anniversary together spiritually. The elements are just starting to take shape but could include readings, stories, poetry, music, audio and video. Although in the initial stages, we are looking to include in some manner, the church in Prague where the original ceremony was held, the Unitarian Church in Cambridge, MA where Mája Čapek held the first American ceremony, as well as iterations of the ceremony across the world. Other potential elements of the celebration may include a planting of seeds ritual in which congregations participate in preparation for the anniversary as well as the production of a commemorative video which will include recordings of completed celebrations worldwide. Learn more and donate here.

Help MVUC support a Ukrainian Refugee Family

How did it come about that the Ukrainian refugee family came to Alexandria, VA? When Russia invaded Ukraine, Liza and her two young daughters were forced to flee after their town was bombed. She left behind her husband, Serhii, their dog, Rocky, all of their belongings and other family members. Because Serhii has a medical issue, he has not been conscripted into the Ukrainian Army. However, he is helping his local community to resist. After evacuating, Liza and her girls ended up in a hotel in Cyprus for two months. In desperation, Liza reached out to Greg who she had met in the Peace Corps in 2009. Greg his wife Chelsea and their two young daughters had not planned on sponsoring a refugee family, but in an amazing act of humanity and generosity they agreed to host Liza and her daughters for up to two years as their sponsors. Greg is a school child psychologist and Chelsea works for the World Wildlife Fund. They live in a home that is definitely not meant to house seven people for two years.

The Mount Vernon Unitarian Church reached out to Greg and Chelsea to see how we might help Liza. We were told that the best way we could help would be to raise money to pay the rent for a modest apartment for Liza and her daughters. In the Alexandria, VA area renting a small apartment is expensive and will cost about $2,000 a month. The total rental cost for the duration of their stay, assuming an apartment can be found in October, would be about $40,000. Donate here.

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 Worship with The Mountaintop

You’re invited to youth worship!
The Mountain Top: A BIPOC UU Community, Colorado UUs United for Racial Justice, and UU Justice Ministry of California present monthly Youth Virtual Worship.

An invitation from Gabe Ward (13, Denver):  “Hi, if you like hanging out with some fun people and want a safe space to do that, feel free to join our worship space that we offer almost every month. We have games, discussion questions to get to know each other, check-ins to see how everyone is doing, and music.”

At UUs United for Racial Justice we recognize that sometimes, worship spaces in our UU congregations don’t always speak to our youth.  If you’re a UU middle or high schooler, this space is for you – to talk about what matters to YOU, to build your own UU culture, to build each other up, and to have a good time together.  YOU will determine what we talk about.  If you went to a UU camp this summer, this could be a good way to reconnect with friends!  If you didn’t go to camp this summer, this is a good way to make new friends! But… you’ve got to show up!

Please join us for our first meetup of the church year in September – worship built around the youth-chosen theme of… CATS! (the animal, not the musical)  Please register here so we know to expect you.  In the meantime, enjoy our TMT/UURJ youth playlist, and maybe add a tune.  See you soon!  #croissantsnotdonuts #robbiesrule  #IYKYK #ifyoudontknowcomefindout

Photo credit: Faith Holland

Young Adult Revival Network Worship

UU young adults and friends from around the world are invited to attend our monthly worship service, held on the third Sunday of each month. Each month our Worship Team puts together a fabulous, faithful, spiritual program that reflects our faith and the fact that we are young adults. From our song choice, to the content of our reflections, this isn’t your traditional UU worship experience. So join us, and discover a different way to embody our faith. This is an intergenerational event, all people ages 18 and older are welcome to attend. Register here.


Emerging Adult Database
If you or another emerging adult UU are interested, please sign up and join our community. Our Pacific Western Region 2022 EA Database signup can be found here.

Small Groups
We have an annual, monthly gathering for EA Small Groups.  It’s a mix of fun, ministry, and faith. Next year’s edition kicks off in Sept/Oct. Email if you’d like more information. It’s a great way to stay connected to UUism if you don’t have the time or inclination to attend church on Sunday!

Pastoral Care
Need Pastoral Care?  We have a network of chaplains specifically for you!
Simply email or by phone: 204-900-0150Rev. Marcia Stanard and others are here to listen and be of support.

Urgent! Help Preserve Indigenous Sacred Ground!

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