Denominational News

News from or about the UUA or PNWD

relaxDiane Brinson, Pacific Northwest District Administrator, returned to work July 7 after a 14-week Sabbatical.

She shares her reflections on her time off after 20 years of service to the PNWD — and emphasizes the necessity and value of intentional time for sacred “rest and relaxation” (recuperation? recreation? Yes!), as a pastoral message on the front page of the PNWD website.

There are always forces trying to keep us from relaxing,” she notes. “The key is intentionality.”

Her advice when you are “Overwhelmed with new emails each time you glance at your computer or phone?” is “Change the settings. Retrieve the messages only when you intentionally go get them; don’t have your new mail automatically retrieved. TV chattering away in the background? Turn it off until that show you really, really want to watch is on. I hear people complain of being inundated by Facebook posts. Can’t refrain from constantly checking? Cancel your account. As hard as it is to believe, life still goes on. (Trust me on this.) Be intentional.”

DianeBrinsonCongregations in the Pacific Northwest District have had the benefit of Diane’s assistance and wise guidance for two decades. This article provides more of the same.

Welcome back, Diane! Thanks for all you do for us.

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From Left: Stan Jewett PNWD Chalice Tour Captain; Beth McGregor, 2014 District Coordinator; Ken Wheeler, 2015 Coordinator

From Left: Stan Jewett PNWD Chalice Tour Captain; Beth McGregor, 2014 District Coordinator; Ken Wheeler, 2015 District Coordinator

As the chalice was extinguished at the 53rd Annual UUA General Assembly (GA) in Providence, RI, a fresh chapter opened to plan the next great gathering of UUs in Portland, OR in June of 2015. Volunteers brought the Chalice back to the Host Pacific Northwest District to begin a tour of each the 58 member congregations that make up the district.

The Chalice Tour will be planned and directed for the 2015 Volunteer Committee by Stan Jewett, who chairs First Unitarian Portland’s Outreach Group (Denominational Affairs Committee). It has been a UUA tradition since 2006 that the Chalice visit congregations throughout the year leading up to General Assembly.

The 21-pound chalice was sculpted by Mordecai Roth of Surprise, AZ. Contact Stan, stan.jewett@earthlink.net to get your congregation on the tour itinerary.

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GA2014 new logoAudio recordings of most UUA General Assembly programs, including years past, are now available. Good news for those who registered and attended the 2014 UUA General Assembly in Providence, RI: This year’s recordings are included in your registration. Registrants have access to over 100 hours of recorded MP3s at no additional cost.

Whether or not you are a GA 2014 registrant, you can purchase a flashdrive containing all recorded content. Price is $150 for non-registrants, and $75 for registrants. Or, you can opt for a bundled deal – flashdrives holding the content of the past five years of GA content! Cost for these is $199 for attendees, $269 for non-attendees.

To listen or download GA content, use the following steps to access content online.

  1. Click on this link: www.myseplus.com/uua/home
  2. Click the login button on the top right hand corner.
  3. Login using the login and password information provided to GA registrants via email. (Create a new account if you were not an attendee of GA 2014)
  4. Once you are logged in, click on the left hand menu – my library.
  5. There will be a list of all recordings as released by the speakers from the 2014 General Assembly. (Not all events are available, for a variety of reasons.)
  6. To listen online, please click on the word ‘view’ beside the presentation name.
  7. To download, click the box icon, and follow your computers instructions.

If you are interested in purchasing the recorded downloaded for you, they are available on a flashdrive and can be purchased by clicking ‘here’.

If you have any questions please contact the UUA or Strategic Events Plus.

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With 4,754 registered for the UUA’s annual meeting and conference, General Assembly 2014 (GA) was the scene for vibrant worship, active and reflective exploration of the theme “Love Reaches Out,” and lively deliberations on a variety of business and governance decisions for our Association of congregations.

The UU World On-Line offered comprehensive coverage of GA as events unfolded, and much of the Assemblyworship services, lectures, reports, presentations, workshops and other activities are available on video or audio through the UUA website. Additional recordings, written summaries and print materials will be posted by the end of July.
659 of the UUA’s member congregations – about 63% – from all 50 states had members present at General Assembly this year, though only 579 named voting delegates. The assembly heard reports from the UUA Board of Trustees and volunteers and from UUA staff. The 1920 seated delegates, including 105 offsite delegates (from 68 congregations in 30 states) voted on several issues before the Assembly:
An Action of Immediate Witness (AIW) “expresses the conscience and carries the authority of the delegates at the GA at which it is passed.” Because AIWs have not been brought to all congregations for their reflection and debate, they are not considered official statements of the UUA.
 

Congregational Study & Action Issue (CSAI) moves through a three-year period of study and action with opportunities for congregational and district comment and may become an official Statement of Conscience if approved by delegates to GA after the study period is complete.

Delegates also engaged in continued discussion and received updates on issues which will come up for votes in future years:

Other items of note:

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DianeBrinson“No one who cooks, cooks alone. Even at her most solitary, a cook in the kitchen is surrounded by generations of cooks past, the advice and menus of cooks present, the wisdom of cookbook writers.” Wisdom from Laurie Colwin, novelist, posted in honor of Diane Brinson, our Pacific Northwest District Administrator, who returns from sabbatical this weekend having completed a tour of the South, where she joined lifelong friends of the family in their kitchens, preparing and collecting favorite family recipes and the stories that go with them.

In addition to the gathering of family stories through shared cooking, Diane volunteered for a month full time for the “Aging In Care” program of her neighborhood association, helping elders with tasks they are no longer physically able to manage. Diane also spent time during her sabbatical travels with fellow district/regional administrator the Rev. Glenn Johnson, to investigate the Southern Region’s experience in moving to a regional administrative team instead of separate district administrators.

Welcome back Diane! We’ve missed you, and we’re so glad you got to have this particular refreshment of sabbatical after 20 years of service to the district and the UUA. Diane will resume regular office hours starting Monday, July 7.

GA 2014 ThemeAttending UUA General Assembly (GA) in Providence, Rhode Island, June 25 – 29? Then the pastoral message currently posted on PNWD’s front page is for you! Not attending this year? The message is still for you –remember that much of GA is live-streamed, and delegates can vote from offsite. Check out opportunities to attend from the comfort of home: click here for more info.

The theme for General Assembly 2014 is “Love Reaches Out,” which invites us as Unitarian Universalists to consider what universal, unconditional love means. But General Assembly can also be a chaotic time – much as life – where one forgets to pause and check-in with the self. It can be a challenge sometimes to recognize spiritual groundedness in the midst of the busiest, most mundane tasks.

In June’s edition of Catalyst, the UUA’s Multicultural Growth & Witness staff decided to take a moment for self-reflection and ask: What about General Assembly will feed my soul/spirit? 

Take a moment to enjoy their reflections on the experience of General Assembly, now on the front page of www.pnwd.org. And have a great GA, everyone!

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UUA Rainbow starburst logoThe UUA’s Welcoming Congregation Program, which is celebrating its 25th anniversary! The LGBTQ world has changed dramatically since the program was conceived in 1989, and implemented in 1990. Today, over 70% of our congregations have been recognized as Welcoming Congregations. That includes over 95% of large and mid-sized congregations, and, now, over 50% of small congregations.

The Welcoming Congregation Program has been revised over the years to incorporate some of the changing realities for LGBTQ people, but, for a host of reasons, the last revision of the Welcoming Congregation Handbook was in 2002, four years before any state had legalized same-sex marriage!

Welcoming Congregation Poster

Recently, the office of Multicultural Growth & Witness, which currently manages the Welcoming Congregation Program, has been encouraging congregations to rely more heavily on web resources we have curated and developed. However, despite outdated content, the Handbook has still been available through the UUA Bookstore as a guide for congregations. Until now, that is; the Welcoming Congregation Handbook is no longer being sold through the Bookstore.

Congregations seeking Welcoming Congregation status will be encouraged to access the web resources and design a program that is customized to fit its needs as a congregation. Find LGBTQ resources on uua.org (http://www.uua.org/lgbtq/)

Welcome and Inclusion in the 21st Century

It’s time to take a new look at what welcoming means, what inclusion and hospitality mean, and how our multiple identities across race and ethnicity, abilities, class, sexual orientation, and gender identity/ expression inform who we are as whole people within Unitarian Universalism. Informed by the results of the Multicultural Ministries Sharing Project, which has been underway for the past year, the office of Multicultural Growth & Witness will now undertake re-envisioning the Welcoming Congregation for the next twenty-five years.

As the United States becomes a mosaic of diverse cultures, Unitarian Universalism can play a leadership role in adapting to and embracing this new reality, not unlike the one we played with LGBTQ rights over the last forty years. Throughout this process of revisioning, UUs will have formal and informal ways for to share their wisdom with the MG&W staff.

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In order to continue to participate in the UUA Retirement Plan, every UUA congregation or UU employer must adopt the provisions of the 2014 Plan Restatement. To do so, the governing board of each participating employer must have done these three things before 6/30/14:

  • pass an adoption motion
  • submit the 2014 Employer Participation Agreement
  • receive confirmation from the UUA.

Congregations/Organizations failing to complete these steps by June 30, 2014 will not be able to submit contributions on behalf of their employees as of July 1.

Information related to changes in the retirement plan and the actions required by 6/30/14 was distributed by the UUA Office of Church Staff Finance to all participating employers and individual employees November 20, 2013, with reminders from various sources since. Complete information is also available through the UUA website at http://www.uua.org/careers/compensation/retirement/.

UUA Compensation Consultant for the Pacific Western Region, Peter Henrickson (member, UU Church of Vancouver, WA) also provided a summary of changes and an overview of necessary actions – see his December 2013 message here.

If your congregation is currently enrolled in the UUA Retirement Plan, please be sure your 2014 Employer Participation Agreement has been submitted to the UUA Office of Church Staff Finances. If you need assistance, contact Linda Rose, Acting Director, UUA Retirement Plan. She can be reached at retirementplan@uua.org or by phone at 617-948-4265.

 

Attending UUA General Assembly in Providence Rhode Island this month? Local planners for 2015 GA in Portland will be there to welcome you!

Here’s where: 

  • Regional Meet and Greet: From 4:00 – 6:00 PM on Wednesday the 25th. Look for the Pacific Western Region table in the concourse of the Dunk Arena, at the far end of the Rhode Island Convention Center. You can access the concourse by going thru the Convention Center. Say hello to your neighbors from the Pacific Northwest and others from this half of the UUA, and meet volunteers who are planning GA 2015 in Portland.
  • GA 2015 Booth #800 on the Exhibit Floor: The Portland GA booth will be open all times the Exhibit Hall is open, staffed by volunteers. Help staffing the booth on Saturday and Sunday would be appreciated! Stop by to sign up for a shift, or contact Ed McClaran in advance. The GA 2015 booth is the place for potential attendees and volunteers to find materials and advice. There are handsome T-shirts to identify GA 2015 volunteers!
  • Host District Reception: Join the local planning team at 12:30 PM on Sunday the 29th, in Show Office A&B of the Rhode Island Convention Center. This short session will preview some of the aspects of planning and conducting next year’s GA in Portland. BE SURE TO ATTEND THIS TO LEARN ABOUT VOLUNTEER OPPORTUNITIES AND BENEFITS! GA runs on volunteers, and you are needed!

Several volunteer coordinators for key assignments next year are unable to attend 2014 GA in Rhode Island. The 2015 Local Planning Team needs help scouting various activities in Providence, so the team can do a great job in 2015. Learn all the details at any of the meeting times above.

For more information on volunteer opportunities for 2015 General Assembly in Portland – whether or not you’re going to GA this year in Providence – contact Ken Wheeler, District GA Coordinator, at dgac2015@gmail.com.

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PNWD will host the week-long Russell Lockwoood Leadership School at Menucha Conference Center just east of Portland, OR, this August. A “Commuter Rate” has been added as an option for those who live near enough to commute to the conference site each day, or for those who would prefer to stay at a local hotel in order to have more private accommodations. This rate is $650, which includes the full week of intensive programs, all meals, and all materials. The residential rate is $900 for the full week, which also includes lodging at the conference center (shared rooms).

This intensive UU leadership experience has been a staple of leadership development for the congregations of the Mountain Desert District for decades, and now it’s a regional resource. If you and your congregation haven’t yet learned about the Russell Lockwood Leadership School, please take a look at the article at www.pnwd.org, or see the full information on our Pacific Western Region website, at http://pwruua.org/rlls/.

Congregations must endorse their participants and contribute a $350 flat fee for their entire team (not per person). There are some scholarships available to provide up to $200 against the congregational fee.

Space is limited – as of May 23, only 13 spaces remained. First registration deadline is June 1, so please encourage your chosen leaders to apply now. To register, visit the PWR website to review the information, and follow the link on the “Enrollment” page to access on-line registration.

RLLS faculty and staff are outstanding, and are coming from all over the Pacific Western Region. Those from the Pacific Northwest District include: 

    • Rev. Jon Luopa, University Unitarian Church (Seattle, WA) – UU Theology and Primal Leadership
    • Rev. Lois Van Leer, Woodinville UU Church (WA) – Worship & Ritual
    • Susan Peck, UU Community Church of Washington County (Hillsboro, OR) – Music & Movement Leadership
    • Janine Larsen, UUA Staff – Governance & Leadership
    • Lori Ragona, UUA Staff – Social Media & Religious Technology

Faculty from the other three western districts will bring expertise in other areas of UU leadership – see http://pwruua.org/rlls-faculty/ for more info on the 2014 staff.

 

 

 

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