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PCD Connections
The newsletter of the Pacific Central District of the           Unitarian Universalist Association
PCD Connections

Serving Unitarian Universalism and 
the ministry and mission  of our congregations in PCD and the Pacific Western Region

November 2015

In This Issue
PCD Logo Small
Leadership Day

Register Your Team Today!

Religious Leadership for the 21st Century

Time: registration at open at 9:30 - program 10AM to 4PM. $40.00 registration fee.

Religious Leadership for the 21st Century will be offered at the First Unitarian Church of San Jose. 

In this interactive workshop will be exploring covenant, collaborative learning, and resilient adaptive leadership. We are leading in changing times. This requires maintenance, experimentation, and innovation. Bring a team, learn with other congregational leaders how to lead effectively in changing times.

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!
District Assembly 2016 
Save the Date! 
April 22-24, 2016

Dear Friends:

We will be returning to the Newark Fremont Doubletree by Hilton on April 22-24, 2016, for our annual District Assembly and PCD Annual Meeting!

We are pleased to announce that we will be joined by Rev. Scott Tayler. 

"Rev. Scott Tayler is Director of Congregational Life, overseeing our Regional and District field staff, whose mission is to cultivate connections between congregations, inspire and coach new & innovative models of "doing church", and empower existing congregations & their leaders to next level of impact.  In short, our Congregational Life Teams serve "Interconnection, Innovation and Impact."

You can now make your hotel room reservations!  You can also call 1-800-HILTONS(445-8667) and request group code "PCD" to reserve your room.
Come gather again for worship, workshops, and friends, old and new - we hope to see you there!

In Faith, 

PCD Board of Directors

Chalice Lighters

Fall Call

Unitarian Universalists of Petaluma

We are excited to present the Fall 2015 Chalice Lighter call on behalf of Unitarian Universalists of Petaluma. They have been growing and recently moved to a new rental location and expanded their ministry and presence in Petaluma.
The move will allow the congregation to have designated religious education space for their growing children and youth programs. It will also provide a safe and friendly enclosed outdoor space for children and youth to gather with their families before and after services.
The new larger spiritually inspiring sanctuary space offers the congregation room to grow. In the new space they will have access to a kitchen and fellowship room to extend the hospitality and even provide space for wedding receptions, memorials, and community events.
To fill that worship space the congregation is committed to raising funds to increase their music program, develop their website presence, and add signage to the building.
Your generous Chalice Lighter donation will help them expand their ministry and mission presence in Petaluma and beyond. Please give generously.
Thank You!
Rev. Jeanelyse Doran Adams
For the PCD Growth Committee
Please make your check out to: PCD-UUA with "Chalice Lighters" in the memo line, and send to: PCD Chalice Lighters, 4100 Redwood Road, #344, Oakland, CA 94619

Starr King School Invites You!

November 17th

The Master of Arts in Social Change (MASC) degree program at Starr King School for the Ministry proudly invites students, faculty, and staff to Deep Caring and Social Change: Tending to Souls who Suffer.
Esteemed author, psychologist, peer support innovator, and SKSM research scholar Dr. Charles Garfield will give this special presentation, as part of our celebration of 10 Years of MASC!
His insights, drawn from years of both research and hands-on experience, will benefit anyone pursuing parish ministry, chaplaincy, community organizing, or any other vocations of caring.

Dr. Garfield led the team of engineers, scientists, and support staff on the Apollo XI project-the first manned mission to the moon; he developed himself to world class levels as an athlete; and he founded the internationally-acclaimed volunteer organization, Shanti Project. 
Please join us at the Berkeley Fellowship of Unitarian Universalists on the evening of November 17. 

Congregational Highlights

UU Fellowship of Redwood City
Saturday, March 5th 
7:00 PM

John Anning will be interviewing Secretary William Perry in March, discussing his political career from the Cuban Missile Crisis up to his new book, "My Journey At The Nuclear Brink". A $10 donation is requested, and all proceeds go to the Nuclear Threat Initiative.
In a remarkable career, Perry has dealt firsthand with the changing nuclear threat. Decades of experience and special access to top-secret knowledge of strategic nuclear options have given Perry a unique, and chilling, vantage point from which to conclude that nuclear weapons endanger our security rather than securing it. In 2013, he founded the William J. Perry Project to seek to promote greater public awareness about nuclear weapons and engage more people in acting to mitigate the growing threat they pose to humanity. The Project is a nonprofit venture supported with funds raised from private individuals and is sponsored by the Nuclear Threat Initiative in Washington, DC.   
His book will be for sale:


Mt. Diablo UU Church 
Devil Mountain Coffee House
Friday, November 20th
7:30 PM

Acoustic meets indie folk when Tish Hinojosa performs at Devil Mountain Coffee House Friday, November 20.
The Austin based singer songwriter is known for her contemporary music style that blends country, folk and Mexican love ballads and border songs. 

This concert is a part of a series and will be held at the Devil Mountain Coffee House on Friday, November 20th. Doors open at 7:30 p.m. Concert begins at 8 p.m.
Requested donation amount is $20 for adults, $5 for ages 6 to 15. Children under 6 years old are free. (No one will be turned away at the door for inability to pay).

Make Your UU Website Shine!

Wishing you could have a website that made your congregation shine? Searching for a platform that's easy to use and low-cost? The new UUA WordPress theme for congregations is just the tool you need! 

The theme, created by Christopher Wulff and the UUA Outreach team, is custom-made for the needs of UU congregations. Comprised of a series of page templates, plug-ins, and widgets, the theme not only makes your website look good, it does a lot of work for you:
  • Organizing and streamlining your news, events, staff contacts, and worship information;
  • Generating maps and directions;
  • Helping users find what they need through an intuitive menu.     
It's also mobile-friendly and accessible, representing best practices in web design. Along with the theme, you can download content that's ready-made for a UU site, such as pages about Unitarian Universalism and what to expect in worship. Learn more on the UUA website.

Awaken Spirit Small Creating an Effective Church Communications System

My garage and workshop needed organization. A quick look and it was obvious. I hate not being able to find stuff. The more disorganized something is, the harder it is to get started. They say that recognizing the problem is half the battle. I think they lie.
Recognizing the problem is really only the start - of a lot of hard work! We're often asked at conferences, "our church needs to fix (or establish) our church communication system" and then they add, "but how do we get started?!" In a short article, it's difficult to explain all the hard work, but here's 4 steps to get started:

UUA Logo New
Nurturing new staff into well-equipped, spirit-filled professionals who serve and lead in right relationship with colleagues and congregation. 
Nurturing new staff into well-equipped, spirit-filled professionals who serve and lead in right relationship with colleagues and congregations.
The PLUS Program is designed for new (and relatively new) professional staff in Unitarian Universalist congregations. The world of religious leadership is complex and ever changing, so it's critical to approach your work with a learning mindset, right from the start! Professional development is also a form of self-care, as new understandings and new connections keep you fresh and protect against burnout.

Board Buzz 
Steve Burns, 
PCD Board President

As we move well into the Fall, it is a reflective and busy time for most of us. The weather has finally started to change in our area, and we were blessed with a significant rainstorm, our first in what feels like ages. Leaves have been dropping along with the temperatures and in the span of a few days our high temps dropped 25 degrees.
Last weekend included Halloween and a number of Dia de Los Muertos celebrations. This service is one that reminds me of all those in my life who are no longer with us, and our town also has picked up the tradition and had events both downtown and at the cemetery. Many were moved with this contemplative time, and children were excitedly contemplating their sweets.
One of the dearly departed recently was our former PCD Board colleague and minister, the Rev. Dan Kane. I mention this again because his memorial service will be held on 14 Nov, which unfortunately conflicts with a planned Leadership Day. Because many leaders and ministers will be attending the memorial, this Leadership Day event was cancelled. But there is another scheduled for January 23, in San Jose.
More holidays are on the horizon and Thanksgiving is a time of enhanced reflection on gratitude for me, and I'm sure for many of you. It is always good to be with family and share our lives more fully during these special occasions. I'm also grateful for all the good work being done throughout the PCD, including all the social justice actions and involvements and the slow and important process unfolding through the Beloved Conversations initiative. There is other exciting news in the District, but it cannot be shared just yet. Let's just say that there's some big stuff going on with at least one of our congregations. We've also been getting to know our new congregational life staff more deeply, having met with Rev. Jan Christian at our last Board meeting and we'll meet Eric Bliss (in the flesh) at our November meeting. We're excited about the energy they bring, and the Rev. Jonipher Kwong will also be helping us with our District Assembly.
One of the new accountability processes being built into the new Regional structures is the Regional Advisory Council. I'm happy to report that intense surveying of targeted congregational leaders will begin very soon, and the first round of this process will start in the next month. This is a group of 7 leaders from across the Pacific Western Region who will collect and help make sense of information from across our vast territory and partner with Nancy Bowen and Scott Tayler to guide their work with the consolidated UUA staff.
Finally, I leave this week to attend the annual District President's meeting in Boston. We will meet with many of the senior staff of the UUA and will be wrestling with similar questions of the most effective governance, and sharing our insights. The four Districts in the Pacific Western Region have all chosen to remain intact and work more collaboratively to help best serve the needs of our congregations and those unaffiliated with congregations. Other Districts have chosen different paths-from dissolving completely, to forming a Regional governing system, and perhaps even other hybrids.
It is an interesting time, full of challenges and opportunities. I hope your holiday season is the combination of excitement, restoration, and connection that you wish it to be.


PCD-UUA Board of Directors
Sonya SukalskiPCD MUUGS
Middle School UU Group

Rev. Sonya Sukalski
PCD Board 

 When I think back to my days in 7th and 8th grade, I can almost feel the awkwardness in my bones - school was different, my body was changing, and social groups were challenging. What I would have given to have a place where all these challenges and awkwardness were understood and affirmed! As someone new to Unitarian Universalism almost 2 decades ago, I was most impressed and amazed by the youth programs I saw and heard about from other young adults.
When I stepped into the Sacramento congregation about a decade ago to take my daughters to their first youth conference, it was an exciting moment with more than a little trepidation. I hoped they would enjoy themselves, find new connections, and feel the affirmation UU youth programs are so good at creating. They came home with lots of stories, tired, and connected. They came home so connected that over the next several years, I took the opportunity to learn about the youth programs in PCD, and volunteer at camps and conferences.
It fills my heart now to visit the MUUGs Ministry website and see that so many of the people I grew to respect and love when they were high school youth are involved in fostering leadership skills while creating intergenerational community. The young adults who were smart, grounded, insightful youth only a few years ago are running this impressive program for the Middle School youth, collaborating across generations, bringing empowerment like only those steeped Unitarian Universalist upbringings can. I encourage you to consider getting involved. If you have a middle school child, I know there are many demands on their and your time, but make this a priority - the upcoming January Retreat January 15-17 could change all of your lives for the better, so mark January 15-17 on your calendar - you will want to make sure this happens for your child!
It takes many adults of all ages to run this program, getting involved will leave you inspired, hopeful, and excited about life. The commitment I have experienced among the volunteers I know who run MUUGs is truly heartening. It might be the best gift you give yourself all year to reach out and get involved!

UU Society of Sacramento Builds for the Future!

By Marilyn Reynolds and Rev. Roger Jones
See how it happened at: http://www.uuss.org/renovation/

In September UUSS celebrated the completion of a $3 million expansion and renovation of our sanctuary building.  It was the result of a long-range planning process, a new architectural master plan, a capital fundraising campaign and a mortgage loan.  

During our 13-month construction project we rented worship and RE space at a nearby church and moved UUSS offices into our RE wing.  Without use of our main stage, our UUSS Theater One volunteers created a black box stage in a large classroom, and produced more community theater productions than we had in the year before moving away.

It is impossible to overstate the hours of work and restless nights this project has entailed.  The common commitment of dedicated and talented volunteer leaders was inspiring, as was the extra effort of our staff and the grace and generosity of so many.
Here is a deeper look at how we got to this point:

By the late 1990s it became apparent that our buildings were well worn and could no longer adequately serve the UUSS members.  What to do?  Sell the property and move to the suburbs? Raze the buildings at 2425 Sierra Blvd. and start over? Rework and add to the old buildings?  In 1998, a Long Range Planning Committee began exploring possibilities. Then, 2003, a Strategic Planning Team started to develop long-range goals, and a plan was adopted in 2004.

In 2006 a UUA consultant led a weekend workshop, "Searching for the Future." This helped to clarify congregants' priorities. With more committee meetings and ongoing input from the membership, plans gradually evolved.  The congregation adopted a new long-range plan in 2008 and stayed on top of progress.  Goals included building community across the generations, serving and retaining visitors and new members, and reviewing facility needs. 

In 2012 members voted unanimously to accept a 50-year Master Plan.  An architect was retained, a site review completed, and then came the tough job of figuring costs and how to meet them in phases.  In the face of higher cost estimates in 2014, we had to defer the original plan's goals of adding small chapel, outdoor amphitheater, and a new administrative staff building.   Also left for the future was an expansion of our RE building, also dating to the early 1960s.  We did, however, add new paint, carpet and counters to our RE and meeting rooms during the construction year.

The first phase of the project was limited to the remodeling, renovation and expansion of the main hall - still no small task. A $1.2 million capital campaign in 2013 combined with funds from the sale of four long held rental apartments brought us part of the way, as did bequests from thoughtful and generous departed members.  A property appraisal and pledging history enabled us to secure an $800,000 bank loan to bridge the gap.  

We hired a general contractor.  We broke ground for the long awaited "new" project after our farewell service on Sunday, July 27, 2014. Several elders who had been at the August 23, 1959, groundbreaking for the original Sierra Blvd. building were on hand for the ceremony.
From August 2014 to September 2015, nearby Sierra Arden United Church of Christ was our rented home away from home on Sundays. Although this arrangement went as smoothly as possible, sharing the space required patience and good will on the part of both congregations. We were eager to get back home. 

While away we overhauled our website , which now features daily updates posted by committees and staff.  Staff and volunteers kept Spirit Play, youth groups and our nursery going in rented quarters and our choir sang more often.  Rev. Lucy Bunch started a year-long  small-group ministry program, with 10 circles led by trained co-facilitators.

On September 6, we entered an expanded, beautiful space. Yet, as indicated by a ceiling-high stepladder (in lieu of flowers) near the pulpit, it was still a "work in progress," the sermon topic for the day.  Days earlier, Sacramento County's planning commission and health department threatened not to let us occupy the space.  Our volunteers, staff and contractors hustled day and night to meet all contingencies in the kitchen and sanctuary.  We convinced the County to give us 90 days to finish the landscape plan, allowing us to plant after the hot weather would abate.

Our September 13 Re-dedication Ceremony included a choral piece we commissioned from UU composer Lucy Holstedt, greetings from a neighboring pastor, and from the former chair of the Planning Commission that had approved our Master Plan. The chair of our capital campaign, who had grown up in UUSS, led us in prayer, followed by a sermon by Rev. Dr. Terasa Cooley, the UUA's Program and Strategy Officer.   Nearly all of our 330 new chairs were occupied on our big day.  We're now waiting on 20 more chairs with arms on them.  It was an honor to have UUs visiting from several PCD churches.  Recently the PCD Board held a meeting in our rebuilt boardroom/library, and the fall MUUGs youth retreat took place at UUSS!  We invite you to visit soon.

Over two months since the move home, we are still hanging signs, receiving special donations, fixing bugs in the system, and tweaking traffic patterns for coffee hour and soup after church.   Indeed, Rev. Lucy Bunch's November newsletter message is entitled Post-partum Anxiety. As with our year away, our transition back home (to a new home) also requires patience and good will. 

But we're home.  We have lapsed UUs and new visitors coming to check us out and find a warm welcome.   With larger space we need only one service now, so we've added extra activities before and after church.               

We have programs to serve and connect new and returning community members, all in service of our mission:  We come together to deepen our lives and to be a force for healing in the world.

Quick Links



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