Denominational News

News from or about the UUA or PNWD

James GrinerJames Griner has joined the UUA Congregational Life Staff in the Pacific Western Region (PWR) as Interim Youth Ministry Specialist.

James fills the position vacated by Jennica Davis-Hockett in mid-August, when she was recruited by the UUA office of Youth and Young Adult Ministry. As Interim Youth Ministry Specialist for the PWR, James’ primary focus will be on supporting the existing youth ministry programs of the PNWD and the Mountain Desert District. The Rev. Nancy Bowen, Pacific Western Region Congregational Life Staff Lead, anticipates that James’ interim service will continue through the busy summer youth program months, and allow some overlap with the successor position.

James brings solid experience as a UU youth and young adult advisor since 2007 for his congregation, First Unitarian Church in Salt Lake City. He has been an adult sponsor at numerous Youth Cons, has facilitated workshops, and has served on camp staff for Mountain Desert District’s QUUest Camp for youth, 2011-2014, including supervising the camp Deans.

In addition to youth & young adult ministry for his congregation, James has been a Small Group Ministry facilitator, OWL teacher, Adult RE facilitator, Coming of Age mentor and co-leader of the junior high heritage trip to Boston. He’s also a 2007 graduate of Russell Lockwood Leadership School, which lead him to develop and produce a local Young Adult Leadership Conference, to serve as a member and then chair of his church’s Lay Service Committee, and then to appointment as a member of the church’s board of directors.

James has pursued his interests in youth development, communications, conflict resolution, and media through a variety of academic endeavors, too. James earned a BA in Communications from Baylor University (1997) and was awarded a Master Level Certificate of Conflict Resolution in 2007. He earned his MSW from the University of Utah in 2012, and passed the Clinical Social Work Exam in the State of Utah last year. This Interim position comes at an opportune time for James, as he looks towards a career shift to pursue his interest in social work. James anticipates PhD study is potentially on the horizon as he visions himself serving as faculty at some point in the future.

James is passionate about youth development. Some key objectives he has identified in working with youth development include “developing healthy adaptive ways of managing conflict, setting clear boundaries, awareness of self and environment, practicing self-awareness and humility, and building respectful relationships…to contribute to cultivating thoughtful, respectful, grounded youth and future leaders.” Youth ministry is of utmost importance for James, and he regularly is advocating for the tremendous value UU programming provides in the development of youth because it provides “a listening ear, a non-judgmental perspective, and a safe, respectful space to explore ideas.”

In addition to church leadership and graduate school, James has worked as a computer technician with the University of Utah since 2005. To allow him to transition smoothly to his new position, he’ll start with PWR at 3/4-time for the time being.

When he is not traveling to attend youth ministry events and work with youth ministry leaders in the PWR, James will work out of his home in Salt Lake City. He can be reached via email to jgriner@uua.org.

Learn more about the Pacific Western Region at pwruua.org and meet the PWR Congregational Life Staff at the “About Us” page on the PWR website.

board 2013-14The Pacific Northwest District Board (left) has sent an update on “Regional Collaboration in the West” to leaders of PNWD congregations and religious professionals who are members of the local chapters of the UU Ministers Association (UUMA) and the Liberal Religious Educators Association (LREDA). The Board’s message is currently featured on the front page of the PNWD website.

The article contains a link to a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) document that provides brief responses to the issues and concerns the Board has heard to date related to regional collaboration.

PWR staff 2014-15Recent actions have included the UUA’s implementation of a Unified Staff Plan in the Pacific Western Region (PWR), which includes the four western districts: Pacific Northwest, Pacific Southwest, Pacific Central and Mountain Desert. One result of this plan is the discontinuance of the “District Executive” title, in favor of the common title of “Congregational Life Staff” for all UUA field staff in the region. Janine Larsen has filled the District Executive position for the past ten years in the PNWD, and will continue to serve the district and region, along with the eight other Congregational Life Staff members in PWR.

Questions or comments about regional collaboration in the Pacific Western Region and its current and potential effects in the Pacific Northwest are encouraged to contact the PNWD Board via email, at board@pnwd.org. The Board notes that the recent communication is one of several that will be distributed to congregational leadership and religious professionals over the coming months.

The PNWD Addictions Ministry Project provides education and resources to Unitarian Universalist congregations to help them support individuals and families affected by addiction and other mental illness.

If you have a passion for recovery, some background knowledge or experience in the field, and want to be part of a team of laid-back, compassionate, and productive folks who do important work in the district, this is the group to join. Program goals include breaking the silence around addiction and mental illness, ending the stigma, and giving people tools to manage situations in their congregations and to thrive.

The team recently presented a workshop at PNWD Discovery Day, reached out to youth at one of the district youth cons, and will be presenting a webinar on addiction and youth for the adults who work with youth. In March 2015, they will host their fourth annual conference.

Most team meetings are by phone or video conference, although once or twice a year they gather in Olympia for a face-to-face meeting.

If you would like to be a part of the Addictions Ministry team, contact the Rev. Barbara Stevens at barbaras@aracnet.com or 503-734-9634.

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As PNWD congregations launch their new church year, we want to remind you of registration deadlines for some upcoming training opportunities. Take a look at the links, there’s something for everyone — from greeters to youth advisors, parish nurses to canvassers, and worship planners to social media users.

REGISTRATION DEADLINE SEPTEMBER 10
Jump Start Youth Advisor Training: designed for new advisors, but this is also a great refresher for seasoned advisors; September 20 in Portland, OR. Program questions, contact Dana Regan, PNWD Lead RE Consultant, REconsultant@pnwd.org.

REGISTRATION DEADLINE SEPTEMBER 10
Discovery Day – Workshops and Peer Learning: a full day (September 27) of 75-minute workshops led by peers and professionals. Registration fee is only $15 for the entire day. Check out the variety of innovative offerings at the link and plan to attend the workshops that will have the most impact in your congregation. Can’t make it to Bellevue, WA to attend in person? See the link for selected workshops that are also available for remote participation. If you have questions, contact Lori Ragona, Pacific Western Region Training & Communications Specialist, lragona@uua.org.

REGISTRATION DEADLINES SEPTEMBER 24/OCTOBER 8
2014 Fall Youth Con: October 24-26 at Camp Cispus in Randle, WA. Details and registration are online at the link. Get your registration in by September 24 and save money. Final date to register is October 8.

NEW WEBINARS POSTED
Check out this fall’s line-up of Pacific Western Region Webinars. Don’t miss these virtual learning opportunities. The cost is only $15!

SAVE THE DATE
And don’t forget to make plans to attend the 2015 UUA General Assembly, June 24-28 in Portland, OR. Take advantage of the opportunity to attend GA in our own backyard!

 

 

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The UUA staff is dedicating the new Headquarters with a powerful live streamed worship service on October 4, 2014. For this to be a truly inclusive and global Unitarian Universalist celebration, they are asking congregations to participate.

Send a photo blessing from your religious home to be included in an original music video for the dedication service. All it takes is a few minutes and a camera. So gather in a place that means “home” with your UU family and friends and snap a few.

Three important things to know:blessings to uua
1. Landscape images – not portrait – are the way to go.
2. It’s not mandatory, but nice to include the word “Blessings” in a creative way.
3. Submit by Monday, September 8 to be included in the video.

Go to the submission form to send your picture and to view sample photos.

In addition to being a part of this original music video that will be live streamed as part of the worship service on October 4th your photos might show up on uua.org, on one of the UUA’s many social media channels, or in UUA printed materials.

Questions? Contact Dea Brayden at president-assist@uua.org.

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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.

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