| Highlights from General Assembly 2015
More than 5,000 UUs gathered in Portland, OR June 24-28 for this year's General Assembly (GA). Highlights included:
- Adopting the Statement of Conscience on Reproductive Justice
- A Sacred Public Witness event in collaboration with Lummi Nation focused on climate justice
- An inspiring Ware Lecture by Cornel West
- A rally following the overwhelmingly supported Action of Immediate Witness on Black Lives Matter.
PCD Leadership Days
Save the Dates!
PCD Leadership Day: Religious Leadership for the 21st Century
Saturday, October 17 @ Livermore
Saturday, November, 14 @ Davis
Saturday, January 23 TBA
Time: registration at open at 9:30 - program 10AM to 4PM.
PCD Leadership Day: Religious Leadership for the 21st Century will be offered in three locations around the district.
This year we are exploring new ways for congregational leaders to network and collaborate together. Your team is welcome to attend the workshop that is nearest to you, the date works best for your team, or to attend one or more workshops.
While the theme and workshop content will be similar, each day will offer a unique mix of leaders, congregations, and perspectives offering a different learning opportunity at each workshop.
There will be an interactive workshop format. Teams will have time to work together as well as network and collaborate with other congregational leaders.
| Walking the Walk: UU Justice Summit and Camp
Don't miss your chance to enjoy four days at Camp deBenneville Pines, learning about, reflecting on and building connections around social justice.
The 2015 Walking the Walk Justice Summit and Camp is just around the corner! Join this powerful extended weekend gathering of justice-makers and their families from throughout nation. Join us August 8-12 at Camp deBenneville Pines in San Bernardino Mountains of Southern California.
There will be practical skill building, rejuvenating worship, community building and updates on important issues.
- Pick up practical training to strengthen the justice ministries in your congregation.
- Become more grounded in UU theologies and history to support UU justice work.
- Refresh your spirit with dynamic worship and the warmth of UU community
- Learn strategies to address climate change; tackle housing insecurity; advance immigrant justice; look at race, class and culture and find next steps in LGBTQQI equality.
- Network with like minded UU's and learn how to build effective multi-faith coalitions.
Registration is now open at uujmca.org/walkingthewalk.
Discounts for UUJMCA members, congregational groups of five or more and young adults available. Scholarship information is available at the website as well.
| A Message to Religious Educators from Eric Bliss
Hello! I want to reach out and introduce myself in this new role as Congregational Life Staff for the Pacific Western Region (PWR). Starting July 1st, I am your Youth Ministry Specialist and I look forward to working with you to create vibrant youth and mutigen communities in your congregations, clusters, and beyond. Hooray!!! :)
My vision for youth ministry in PCD and across the regions is threefold:
1) Cultivating a "Constellation of Connection" (Mark DeVries)
My vision for vibrant youth ministry in a regional setting is one that is devoted to fostering connections and building bridges for the youth to engage with Unitarian Universalists across the generations. I am convinced that if we are interested in creating a liberal religious revolution, then we must invest heavily in the avenues that strengthen the bonds between our youth, their mentors, congregations, and their faith.
2) Leadership Development
It is absolutely necessary to train and counsel energetic youth and adult leaders. Any successful endeavor requires capable organizers who have interpersonal skills, knowledge of systems, and a commitment to the cause. Leadership training opportunities based in best practices, mentoring processes, and a commitment to partnership, are all extraordinary tools for cultivating the leaders of tomorrow. Stay tuned to the PCD/PWR websites, Twitter, email, and Facebook for future webinars, retreats, cons, camps, and other immersion experiences designed to this end.
3) Faith Formation
Our youth leaders require a sturdy spiritual center from which to draw strength and inspiration for their work. There is a need for an understanding of mission, and a necessity for self-awareness-an attribute that instills resiliency for when events do not go as planned. I am committed to working with multigenerational leaders to instill and nurture a robust UU core identity that evokes a spirit of wonder, an emphasis on the transforming power of love, and an enduring commitment to exploring religious ideas.
I am thrilled beyond measure at this opportunity to further contribute to our religious movement and to the development of our youth and their communities. There is much terrific groundwork that has already been laid in the PWR. I hope to add to that legacy of sustainable and supportive youth ministry.
Please reach out to me anytime with your questions. My new phone number is below. That is my preferred means of contact.
Onward and upward!
In faith and in the spirit of love,
Youth Ministry Specialist, Congregational Life Staff
Pacific Western Region
(303) 903-3144 (MST time zone)
Youth Caucus Junior Dean
The Office of Youth and Young Adult Ministries seeks leaders to apply for the 2016/2017 General Assemblies' Youth Caucus Dean
The Deans choose and coordinate programming, select additional staff, facilitate meetings and collaborate with adult leaders across the Association.
Applicants must be dedicated to serving youth
who want to become more involved in Unitarian Universalism and grow as UUs. Applicants must be high school students (grades 9-12 or the equivalent for home-schooled youth) for both years of their term, i.e.: for the 2015-2016 and 2016-2017 school years. Please share the application widely. Applications will be accepted until 5 p.m. EST on August 5.
Questions? Contact Jennica Davis-Hockett, Leadership Development Associate, at:
PCD Board of Directors
Congregational Life Staff
PCD District Administrator
PCD Youth Chaplain and
PCD Coming of Age Coordinator
Pacific Central District - UUA
4100 Redwood Road, #344
Oakland, CA 94619-2363
PCD Board President
It seems like just yesterday that 4500 of us UUs were up in Portland at our annual General Assembly. That was another enjoyable, worthwhile and tiring gathering, but it always ends up energizing me.
First, I'll apologize if this President's column is longer than usual. There are quite a few issues to share with you, so I hope you don't mind the extra length. Some thank you's are at the start.
I haven't formally thanked Judy Young for her many years on the PCD Board, and both her strong leadership and mentorship. Thank you, Judy!
Next, I want to thank Josh Searle-White for his two years of excellent service to our District (and Region). There was a question to our Board as to why there was no mention of Josh's departure in our last newsletter, and that was just an oversight. He had been widely feted at District Assembly but nothing appeared in the newsletter where he gave his final farewell. He will be missed but we are very excited about the three new hires that will serve our Region. (A little more on this later.)
Final thanks go to Emma's Revolution, who added their great energy to our Regional Ingathering at GA. Those who were there know what I'm talking about; those who missed it might show them some love by visiting http://emmasrevolution.com/ because their performances at our opening of GA were almost a labor of love.
Next, more about General Assembly which this year had a strong racial justice theme. With Cornell West's strong Ware Lecture, and many stirring and impassioned workshops we were filled with a sense of action and the need to address this systemic problem in our country.
If you have some time, I recommend two excellent sermons: From the Service of the Living Tradition (start at 1:23:00) http://www.uua.org/ga/virtual/2015/worship/slt
and also the Closing Worship http://www.uua.org/ga/virtual/2015/worship/closing
On to the business of GA, which this year interested me more than usual. The UUA Board had made a couple of recommended changes to their bylaws; one which changed the Commission on Appraisal (COA) and the other changing the abilities of Districts (or Regions) to bring business directly from a District (Regional) Assembly to the agenda of the General Assembly. After studying the issue for a while I was neutral on the COA changes, but our District Board discussed and voted on the other bylaws change. We were opposed to those changes as they reduced the voices of Districts and Regions. Even though there are large changes going on across the country, all four Districts of the Pacific Western Region have chosen to stay intact and collaborate to best serve our congregations. It seemed premature for the UUA Board to disenfranchise those Districts (Regions) who have chosen to stay involved in governance. It was gratifying to see that the UUA Board listened carefully at the Mini-Assembly on this bylaws change and incorporated a number of amendments that corrected what we saw as flaws. The revised amendments passed with the support of all those originally opposed to the bylaws changes.
I did not attend the Mini-Assembly about the COA changes and those discussions in the General Session were contentious, and the changes ultimately did not pass. We will see how that body evolves, and perhaps other changes will be proposed for it in future GAs. And it appears I have now become a policy wonk, despite my best efforts.
Very shortly our new Pacific Western Region staff will begin their work with us. We are excited to have them join us and look forward to the good work we will do together. If you haven't already heard the news or read about the new staff, there is more info here. http://www.pcduua.org/pacific-western-region-announces-new-staff/
I hope your summer is going well and that you are able to recharge, spend time with those you love, and reconnect in all the ways that are important to you. Immediately following GA my wife and I were able to meet our first grandchild, which was an immeasurable blessing.
PCD-UUA Board of Directors
Covenanted Community Life
Rev. Jeanelyse Doran Adams,
Congregational Life Staff
The theme for the 2015 Unitarian Universalist Association of Congregations General Assembly was Building a New Way. I witnessed new ways, new expressions of old ways, and people celebrating, making mistakes, and beginning again in love.
The Service of the Living Tradition is always a highlight for me. It is an annual reminder and a call to return again to what it means to offer our lives to vocational calls and ministries of love and justice. Ours is shared ministry; musicians, religious educators, parish and community ministers and lay-leaders are called to serve the common good. We are called to be full hearted, open handed, and willing to step into the unknown, to partner and build new ways even when the way is unclear or getting rocky and rough.
This year, Reverend Dr. Marlin Lavanhar, Senior Minister, All Souls Unitarian Church, Tulsa, Oklahoma, offered the sermon. He called Unitarian Universalists to come out of the closet and to embody the promise of Unitarian Universalism. Lavanhar said, "It goes against everything we say we're about. It's like double speak and Fox News, if we say we're all about freedom of belief, but then we have an unspoken culture that keeps people in spiritual silos...a culture that keeps people afraid to reveal their true selves openly to one another. It is double speak to say we are bound by a covenant that allows us to be united without any test of creed...but then we have a culture that makes many people feel their own personal spiritual journey and beliefs don't fit."
It is time, to embody, our faith boldly. Big Faith-No Borders is more than a slogan in the Pacific Western Region. It is a way of living into covenant and becoming the promise of Unitarian Universalism. It is a way of building Beloved Community, building communities that facilitate new ways to listen and hear one another's deepest longings, truth, vulnerability, and strengths. It is a way to embody our faith, to stand in solidarity, relationship, and promise. It is a call to each of us, from the youngest to the eldest, to create congregations, communities and ministries that nurture and build the gifts, the call, and the spiritual vocation of all people.
Reverend Lavanhar said, "We can and must redeem this faith...by living into it... in a way we never were able to before. Can you imagine that God, or the Goddess or Gaia or the spirit of love, the Universe... however you name it, may have put you here, among us, for just such a time as this? I can!"
I can too! Will you be part of this great revolution of love? Will you continue to redeem this faith and live into its promise?
As we build a new way, together, I share the words of the Chalice Lighting, offered by the Ferguson Activist Delegation, to light our way:
Why a flaming chalice?" the question comes.
It's the cup of life, we answer. A cup of blessings overflowing. A cup of water to quench our spirits' thirst. A cup of wine for celebration and dedication. The flame of truth. The fire of purification. Oil for anointing, healing.
Out of chaos, fear, and horror, thus was the symbol crafted, a generation ago.
So may it be for us, in these days of sorrow, uncertainty, and rage, a light to warm our souls and guide us home.
Let us work together to make Big Faith - No Borders a reality in the Pacific Western Region and beyond. Let us all share in this ministry of love and justice. Let us embody this faith as never before and go boldly, freely, and joyously toward building a vision of Beloved Community that transcends borders and celebrates Life.
Rev. Jeanelyse Doran Adams
Congregational Life Staff
| Spring 2015 Chalice Lighter Call
The Chalice Lighter program is an exciting opportunity to promote and strengthen Unitarian and Universalism in the Pacific Central District. You can help spread the light of liberal religious values through the District by making a donation to growth initiatives in our member congregations.
We are excited to present the Spring 2015 Chalice Lighter call on behalf of the UU Fellowship of Chico. They have been growing at such a pace that they would like to hire a Membership, Outreach and Events coordinator.
Leadership School 2015
There's a few spots left! Don't delay!
You are invited to invest in yourself and your congregation by participating in an inspiring and intensive week this summer at the Russell Lockwood Leadership School (RLLS). More than 600 UUs have attended this prestigious leadership school over the years.
See what 2014 RLLS graduates have to say about their Russell Lockwood Leadership Experience in this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?t=53&v=PTpAGiaoX1s
For more information or questions, contact:
Mark Neiwirth, Administrative Dean, firstname.lastname@example.org, (208) 251-8051
2016 Save the Dates: July 23 - 29, Mary and Joseph Retreat Center, Rancho Palos Verdes, CA