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  PCD Newsletter
      Pacific Central District of the Unitarian Universalist Assc.

Serving Unitarian Universalism and the ministry and mission  of our congregations.

September 2015

In This Issue
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PCD Leadership Days

Registration is Now Open

Religious Leadership for the 21st Century

Time: registration at open at 9:30 - program 10AM to 4PM.

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.  

Registration information is now posted on the new PCD website!


A Pot of Gold for Religious Education

Register Today!

September 26th, 8:30AM to 4:30PM.

Our keynote speaker is Mr. Barb Greve, Director of Religious Education at the Mount Diablo UU Church.

Costs: $45:  Individuals (includes light breakfast and lunch); $35:  Groups of 5 or more.

Ministers! Religious Educators! RE Teachers! And more! All are invited to this wonderful day of learning and connections!

Be sure to register for this year's amazing Pot of Gold Conference.  To register, click on the link here: 

Workshops include:  

*UU History: Intro and Advanced
*Strategies for working with Autistic and ADHD  children in the classroom
*Storytelling is fun: Using stories and story telling  when teaching
*UU Religious Education Philosophy
*Tuneful Teaching: Ways to bring music into the  classroom
*Youth Advising: A conversation with Eric Bliss, *UUA Youth Development
*Arts: Fidgets, Widgets and Crafts: How to make  art even if you have 2 left hands
*Lesson planning for effective classroom  dynamics
*Teaching as a Spiritual Practice
*Street Retreats in Your Town
*Starting a UU Parenting Group 

Our initial catering deadline is this Monday, September 15th. We want to have enough food for everyone, don't delay.  If you don't have your formal count, but have a rough number of attendees, please send it to me.

Please, make your reservations today!

Alyson Jacks
Co-Chair Pot of Gold
Our Common Humanity 

Approximately 11% of San Francisco's over 30,000 Tenderloin neighborhood residents are Black, 28% are Asian, and 24% Hispanic.  It's the most densely populated area of the city, and the district most densely populated with children and families. Spend some time in the neighborhood, even just a few hours walking, talking, observing, and you will get a sense of the diversity of people and life circumstances that shape the population in this vibrant part of San Francisco.
Most often, if you hear anything about the Tenderloin, you hear warnings about drug dealing and using on the streets, panhandling, people selling goods from unknown sources on sidewalks. You hear it's dirty and crowded. You hear warnings to go around instead of through.
But at the Faithful Fools, based as we are in the heart of the TL, we look for the places of common ground. It is in the streets, you'll hear us say, that we find our common humanity. We learn about ourselves and other people we might never have come in contact with just by slowing down long enough to be present.
Some of the teens in PCD congregations-over 70 last year alone-have joined us during their Coming of Age program.  Adults from our congregations and beyond have come, some more than once. The experience is surprisingly rich and for some, life changing.  We've had over 17 years to lead thousands of people through a process of conversation, preparation, walking the streets, reflecting upon the experience.  We invite you to join us, for the first time or the fifth in the coming year!
We're also moved by opportunities we have to speak with you at your congregation, either by offering a worship service, a workshop or a dramatic presentation.  We have a number of ways we can be "foolish" with you. We can even lead a street retreat in your community, helping you discover common ground on the streets you call home.
Please feel free to contact us for more information.

For street retreats  please email:  faithfulfools.retreats@gmail.com or call us at 415-474-0508 and ask for the Street Retreat Coordinator, Alex. 

For a worship service or to have us lead a workshop, call that same number and ask for Rev Mary or Rev JD.

Saving LGBTI Lives: Here's How You Can Help!

"Friends back home have been murdered, killed by judicial or extra-judicial means. We truly have to rescue LGBTI asylum seekers and refugees. They're escaping from just such threats of violence and death."
Since 2011 the Refugee Guardian Group (RGG) at UU San Francisco has been working with 12 such individuals. This dedicated group of volunteers wants to help save as many lives as they can. To do that they need more funds to help those they already serve as well as those on the horizon.
Those with refugee status were in one or sometimes two detention centers before they were cleared to come to the U.S., and often in poor living situations. Once here they get some support from the U.S. government. Asylum seekers, on the other hand, are people who come here who have not yet been screened by the government and they can wait 8 months or more to gain any benefits whatsoever.
Thus far most refugees and asylum-seekers this San Francisco group have assisted have fled Sub-Saharan Africa, the Middle East/North Africa, and one has come from Russia. They range in age from 20-40. The group almost ran completely out of money this summer. They rely upon small grants, individual gifts and many a time have pooled their own limited funds.
What is the money for? Everything from food to transit passes, clothing---whatever necessities RGG can put together. In addition, group members assist by reaching out to church members, family and friends for short or longer-term free housing.  This is especially challenging in the San Francisco area as one might imagine, given its housing crisis.
Go online to http://www.refugeeguardiangroup.org and donate, or send a check by mail payable to UUSF. Address: UUSF, Attn: Emily Wilson, Dir. of Finance, 1187 Franklin Street, San Francisco, Ca. 94109. In the memo line be sure to write "Refugee Guardian Group."
If you would like an RGG representative to come to your church to lead a service or forum, or if you would be willing to help with the work of the RGG or fundraise for this life-saving compassionate ministry, please contact: Jay Roller, 510-338-0690  or Rev. JD Benson, 415-776-4580 x161.

The New UU Common Read 

Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption is the UUA's 2015-16 Common Read.  Author Bryan Stevenson advocates for those trapped by the U.S. criminal justice system - poor people, people of color, children, and women. The book speaks to justice, mercy, and compassion, timeless and important concerns of people of faith.  Begin reading now; a discussion guide will be ready in October. 

Contact us:

PWR Regional Lead

PWR-UUA Congregational Life Staff 

PWR-UUA Congregational Life Staff

Eric Bliss
PWR-UUA Youth Ministry Specialist

PCD District Administrator

Pacific Central District - UUA
4100 Redwood Road, #344
Oakland, CA 94619-2363
(510) 530-1437

Quick Links



Board Buzz 
Steve Burns, 
PCD Board President

Well, summer is starting to wind down and the church year start up. (Though summer may not be completely over in our area, with a forecasted 108 F two days from now.) The excitement of General Assembly has started to fade and congregational Boards are having their retreats and new members are starting their terms. RE programs are gearing up, and of course children and youth are all starting school again.
Similarly, the Pacific Central District has new things happening as well. Our new regional hires have started settling in and we are sure to have both Rev. Jan Christian and Eric Bliss helping with our congregations and programs soon. All Regional staff will be having a planning session in a week, and envisioning ways they might better deliver services and programs. After years of somewhat 'doing things the same way', the borders of the box have been broken open and new possibilities are all around us.

Our PCD Board continues to work on discerning our best use of resources and has requested some priorities from the Regional Team. These include having more resources for programming and less for 'infrastructure', and also for our staff to include in their thinking the possibilities for Multi-Site development in this District. Though I was not aware of it, we are apparently lagging some of our neighboring Districts in attempting any Multi-Site experiments. But in thinking about ways to spread our message to all the un- or under-served areas of Northern CA, we recognized that the many possible permutations of Multi-Site may offer great potential. Our Board members with the most experience with this new strategy were highly enthusiastic.
We also want to continue working to assist congregations in finding partners in their work, whether it is for social action, fundraising for capital projects, or facilities planning. We have found that sharing ideas and resources allows congregational leaders to leverage the work of others who have already done similar work. Our congregational Boards spend a great deal of time solving similar problems, so why should each one invent the wheel each time? It can be tremendously helpful to learn from the successes or failures of others, and often more efficient. We intend to continue this theme in our District Assembly, which we have begun to plan. Contacting Board members or the Regional Staff can help connect you to partners who can share their advice and lighten your load.
Wishing you a great start to your new church year! Look elsewhere in this bulletin for information on upcoming Leadership offerings in your area.


PCD-UUA Board of Directors
Covenanted Community Life 
Rev. Jeanelyse Doran Adams, 
Congregational Life Staff
The song "Wade in the Water," has always spoken to me. Like all good spiritual texts, it always reveals new meaning each time I listen. Often the new meaning is related to what is going on in the world or in my life.
This summer, I longed for healing waters as I witnessed images of fires and parched, cracked riverbeds through out the West. Images of Syrian refugees brought all to many images of people on waters that were more perilous than healing. Too many images, people being hosed down by water, pushed down for enjoying pool water, and tap water not fit for consumption.  Too many images of life destroying ways of control, blame, and shame to count.
I imagine I am not alone. As people of faith in a Covenantal tradition that affirms the gift and goodness of life these realities are testing us all. As I struggle to hold both, the destruction and the goodness of life, the song has become an invitation to the revealing waters of emotions.
As we gather for another church year, may our rituals of Water Communion provide healing for broken hearts. May they offer release and forgiveness from our known, and unknown participation in life destroying ways. May they hold our prayers and claim us in a movement of love, justice and mercy as we partner to reconcile and restore the interdependent web of existence and life.  

In faith, 

Rev. Jeanelyse Doran Adams
Congregational Life Staff

Congregational Highlights

Unitarian Universalist Society of Sacramento

Founded on March 29, 1868
Sierra Boulevard Dedication on July 10, 1960
Re-dedication on September 13, 2015
We come together to deepen our lives and to be a force for healing in the world.
UUSS Mission Statement
Please join members, families, friends, and guests for a Ceremony of Re-Dedication as we celebrate the return to a newly expanded congregational home!

Sunday, September 13, 3:00 PM
Reception following in the Welcome Hall and on the Patio
2425 Sierra Boulevard
Sacramento, California 95825
(916) 483-9283 - www.uuss.org
No RVSP required
Celebrating the Return to a New Home!

Fresno UU Building
The UU Church of Fresno Seeks DLRE
The Unitarian Universalist Church of Fresno seeks a Full-time Settled or Acting Director of Lifespan Religious Education to lead our vibrant religious education program. Working with other staff and lay leaders, the Settled or Acting Director of Lifespan Religious Education will direct and manage the daily functioning of a program that serves our dynamic congregation of 365 adults and 98 children. 
This is a full-time settled position with an option to serve as the acting Director of Lifespan Religious Education. The term begins on August 24th, 2015 or as close to the date as possible. A decision to extend an acting position or, if mutually agreed upon, to convert an acting position to a settled position will be made no later than April 1, 2016. 

You can find more information here, and please do not hesitate to contact Michael R. Macias, Director of Operations, at:  operations@uufresno.org

Unitarian Universalists of  San Mateo

Good News! We are so happy to announce the hiring of Heather Sawyers as our new Director of Religious Education for Youth Ministry! Heather comes to UUSM with a lifelong connection with Unitarian Universalism. She has a strong background as a UU religious educator and was awarded the Jenella Hanson award for excellence in her field in 2014 by the UUA. She has over a decade of experience in religious education and a passion for building teen programs that extend beyond local church walls. Heather has served as the president of the Pacific Central Chapter of the Liberal Religious Educators Association. Heather is deeply drawn toward guiding Unitarian Universalists and growing the UU faith.  


Saturday, February 20, 2016
Kailua-Kona, Big Island, Hawaii

The UUs of West Hawaii invite all UUs who are planning to visit The Big Island to arrange their trip so they can participate in our "Aloha Spirit Day."  The Day will offer well-designed workshops and fascinating speakers plus a communal dinner. Experience the Big Island of Hawaii more deeply and understand the unique nature of this place we love so much: environment, volunteering, cultural sensitivity, music & fun. Connect with UUs in Paradise - we look forward to meeting you!

Pre-registration is necessary. Contact Linda Olsen at 530-368-0079 to obtain more information. You could also email linda-o@audioeditions.com. Our website is www.uuwesthawaii.org

Two Americans Who Defied the Nazis

Thursday, October 8, 2015
6:00 PM
San Francisco Public Library / Koret Auditorium
100 Larkin Street, San Francisco, CA
In early 1939, REV. WAITSTILL AND MARTHA SHARP, a young Unitarian minister and his wife, who was a social worker, moved to Prague and aided hundreds of refugees fleeing Nazi persecution. Join us to preview selections of an upcoming documentary about the Sharps' remarkable actions and to learn about their collection of personal papers that has been donated to the Museum.
Artemis Joukowsky, Filmmaker and Member of the Sharp Family, and
Gretchen Skidmore, Director, Education Initiatives, United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
This program is free and open to the public, but registration is required at:
For questions, contact the Museum's Western Regional Office at 310.556.3222 or western@ushmm.org
Picture: Martha and Waitstill Sharp in 1939, before departing New York for Europe. US Holocaust Memorial Museum, gift of Artemis Joukowsk.

Natural Disaster Relief, Response

Summertime in the Pacific Western Region of the UUA is often a time of heightened awareness and occurrence of natural disasters that can affect our congregations and families - wildfire, flash floods and landslides/ mudslides are common and terrifying in the summer months, though we experience these and other natural disasters year 'round as well. We're prone to volcanic eruptions, earthquakes, avalanche, as well as crisis and trauma that can have human origins - car accidents, shootings, toxic spills, derailments, terror attacks, suicide. Serious illness of a church member, whether chronic or sudden, can also be traumatic events for a congregation.
While there are many needs for support and relief for congregations and people affected by such events, one of the most important first steps for your congregation is to establish and be ready with a crisis response communications system. This can serve the critical need for timely and accurate information about what has happened, what is needed and what is the current status. Having a known and trusted avenue for communication can provide relief in itself, allowing families in distress to stay focused on their immediate and personal needs without having to also respond to constant requests for details, surprise visitors and a deluge of well-intended but overwhelming offers of help.