Denominational News

News from or about the UUA or PNWD

UUA General Assembly  2014Janine Larsen, who has served UUA congregations in the Pacific Northwest since 2004, has announced her resignation from UUA Congregational Life Staff effective June 30, 2016.

In email messages sent to PNWD congregational leaders this week, Janine wrote, “My nearly 12 years with the UUA have been rewarding and challenging, in all the right ways. I have felt very called to this work, first as UUA District Executive for the Pacific Northwest, and more recently as a member of the Pacific Western Region Congregational Life Staff. It has been a privilege to serve our congregations and our faith.”

Beginning July 1, Janine will begin a new position as Director of Ministries at University Unitarian Church in Seattle.

The UUA is currently in the process of filling several full-time positions for Congregational Life Staff in the Pacific Western Region as a result of recent resignations or retirement. Lori Ragona, formerly Training & Communications Specialist, left at the end of December, 2015. Other resignations are effective June 30: Rev. Nancy Bowen, Regional Lead; Rev. Ken Brown, and Rev. Jeanelyse Doran Adams.

Pacific Northwest District – UUA

 2016 District Annual Meeting

Saturday, March 5

at University Unitarian Church, Seattle

The UUA Pacific Northwest District has opened on-line attendance at the March 5 Annual Meeting, at no charge.

Only activities in the main hall will be webcast. This will include the Opening Keynote by the Rev. Jon Luopa, the Business Meeting, the workshop on “Nurturing Healthy Congregations,” and closing discussions.

Check the Schedule of Events for timing. Please note that timing may be revised as event day unfolds, to respond to participant needs.

Some restrictions apply for on-line attendance:

  • Advance registration is not required for on-line attendance.
  • Business meeting participation may be restricted to Delegates.
  • Zoom Meeting # 579616425
  • If you are unfamiliar with Zoom Meetings, click here for details
  • Questions? Contact Janine Larsen – we cannot guarantee response during event
  • Participation may be disrupted by events beyond our control, including technical difficulties. We’ll do our best! Looking forward to having you with us on line.

See the Annual Meeting main page for more information.

question marksWhere Do We Come From? What Are We? Where Are We Going?

Please join us Saturday, March 5 as we gather in Seattle for our District Annual Meeting. This one-day event will be held at University Unitarian Church in Seattle. The Rev. Jon Luopa, Senior Minister at University Church, will be the keynote speaker. The $55 registration fee covers the entire day’s activities, including lunch and afternoon workshops. 

Four years ago when we celebrated PNWD’s fiftieth anniversary, we marked that occasion with recollections from past and current district leaders. In 2012, as in 1962, the theme was one of optimism, enthusiasm, and confidence. Longtime District Executive, the late Rod Stewart, observed in 1987 that he experienced the district “as a living organism with a life of its own. In addition to effectively utilizing its resources, I believe this creature has done remarkably well in adapting to its environment.

What is the nature of our environment today? Since our Golden Anniversary, regional collaboration has begun in earnest across the four western districts. The initial one-year agreement signed last spring by the PNWD board and the three other western districts provides for UUA regional staff to deliver services to congregations throughout the Pacific Western Region (PWR) and for districts to pay a portion of the personnel costs of these newly named UUA Congregational Life staff members. Last fall the boards delegated supervision of their district administrators to the PWR Lead, and staff in the four district offices began working as a PWR administrative team.

We look forward to seeing you in Seattle on March 5. Come be a part of this important conversation about where our Pacific Northwest District is heading and how we can thrive in this changing environment.



The PNWD Front Page currently features an article introducing PNWD congregations to their recently assigned “primary contacts” on the UUA’s Pacific Western Region (PWR) Congregational Life Staff.

Staff contact assignments offer a one-on-one relationship to support congregational leaders or address quick questions. Congregational Ministers, Presidents/ Moderators and Directors of Religious Education received a message in late August from their assigned primary contacts, and each district directory of congregations now includes the assigned staff member’s name with congregational information. (Find your congregation and its Regional Staff Contact on PNWD’s on-line directory for AK, ID, OR and WA.)

The PWR Congregational Life Staff says, “We look forward to working with you as your local UUA staff contacts and advocates… All of us are confident that just as our regional motto proclaims, our Big Faith holds us all, with No Borders to limit us. Whether you need a phone conversation, a video call, a workshop, webinar or on-site consultation, we are committed to responding quickly and appropriately.”

Four of the seven “Generalists” on the Pacific Western Region staff are assigned to congregations in the Pacific Northwest District. They are:

Read the full article about primary contact staff assignments at

To find out more about staff assigned to PNWD congregations and other members of the Pacific Western Region Congregational Life Staff, visit the “About Us” page at the Pacific Western Region website,

Eric BlissEric Bliss is the new Youth Ministry Specialist for the Pacific Western Region, including the Pacific Northwest District. He introduces himself in the current front page message on the PNWD website, and shares his threefold vision for youth ministry throughout the Region:

1)  Cultivating a “Constellation of Connection”

Eric’s vision for vibrant youth ministry in a regional setting arises from Mark DeVries’ concept, a “Constellation of Connection.” This is devoted to fostering connections and building bridges for the youth to engage with Unitarian Universalists across the generations. Eric is 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, says Eric. 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 PWR and PNWD 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, explains Eric. 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. Eric is committed to working with multi-generational (multigen) 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.

Congregations and religious leaders are encouraged to contact Eric any time to learn more about youth ministry resources and events available through the UUA and the region. Read Eric’s full letter of introduction at!

Meet all the UUA Congregational Life Staff serving the Pacific Western Region!

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The Pacific Northwest District was well represented in leadership and honorees at the Service of the Living Tradition during UUA General Assembly in Portland at the end of June. Here are just a few – who else was recognized there?

  • Rev. Bill Sinkford (Senior Minister, First Unitarian Church of Portland, OR) invited the offering
  • Mavis Cauffman (UU Congregation of Whidbey Island, Freeland, WA) presented the newly Credentialed Music Leaders

Ministers Receiving Preliminary Fellowship

  • Catharine Buck Clarenbach
  • Barbara Ann Cornell
  • Katie Larsell
  • Sarah Eileen LaWall
  • Kevin J. Lawson

Ministers Receiving Final Fellowship

  • K. Antonia Won

Ministers Completing Full-Time Service

  • Wendy Fish
  • Peg Boyle Morgan

Other PNWD Leaders appearing prominently at GA were Susan Peck (UU Community Church of Washington County, Hillsboro, OR), who served on the Worship Arts Team and led music during General Sessions; Rev. Cecilia Kingman and Wil Sederholm (Edmonds UU Church, WA), Morning Devotionals; and Bertram Gulhagen (Westside UU Congregation, Seattle, WA), who served as Music Director for GA and led the 180-voice GA choir at Sunday’s public worship service.

The Rev. Tandi Rogers (Tahoma UU Congregation, Tacoma, WA), who serves the UUA as Innovation and Network Specialist, introduced the new UUA pilot program for “Covenanting Communities,” including four groups within the Pacific Northwest District:

  • North Kitsap Unitarians (Poulsbo, WA – previously, an Emerging Congregation)
  • Peninsula UU Fellowship (Port Orchard, WA – previously, an Emerging Congregation)
  • Methow Valley UU Fellowship (Twisp, WA)
  • UUs of Goldendale (WA)


GA2015 NEW logo



GA2015 NEW logoMore than 4,500 UUs from around the country traveled to Portland, OR, for the annual General Assembly (GA) of our Unitarian Universalist Association, June 24-28, 2015. Nearly a quarter of this number were from the Pacific Northwest District (PNWD)!

See the UU World coverage for more information on decisions and events at General Assembly. Many recorded events and general sessions are available on-line). You can also catch the Pacific Western Region Twitter feed – find a convenient link at the PNWD website – front page, scroll down the left-hand sidebar.

Special thanks to Ken Wheeler (First Unitarian Church of Portland, OR) and his crew of many, many volunteers who provided a warm welcome to Portland (pun intended – with temperatures in the 80s, 90s and even breaking 100, everyone was glad for the air conditioning in the Oregon Convention Center). Great job with the local organizing committee, Ken and all!

Who went on a tour offered by the Mid-Columbia UU Fellowship (Hood River, OR)? Bet those were well received and fabulous!

PNWD mastheadAlthough 44 PNWD Congregations certified 174 delegates to represent them at the 53rd Annual General Meeting of Pacific Northwest District, held June 27 at UUA General Assembly in Portland, OR, only 74 delegates from 29 congregations actually attended. After a delay in the proceedings while a quorum was confirmed, the PNWD Board conducted the meeting as announced in advance per PNWD bylaws.

The 2015 Annual Meeting packet can be downloaded from the PNWD website. Contents of the packet can be previewed along with an announcement of the 54th Annual Meeting, which will be held Saturday, March 5, 2016, at University Unitarian Church in Seattle, WA.

The Treasurer’s report, part of the Consent Agenda, offered financial statements for the year ending June 30, 2014. Also in the report was an overview of congregational support for district dues and teh UUA’s Annual Program Fund. District Dues for 2015/16 will remain at $26 per member, and are anticipated to remain at that level for 2016/17 as well.

Mike Becker

Michael Becker

Susan Howlett

Susan Howlett

Delegates elected Susan Howlett to a three-year term on the District Board of Directors. They also elected Michael Becker to a five-year term on the District Nominating Committee. For more information on the slate presented to delegates, see the Nominating Committee report.

Following discussion, delegates passed the resolution proposed by the Bellingham Unitarian Fellowship directing the PNWD Board to sign on to a 2014 letter from religious leaders supporting the Lummi Nation’s defense of their lands against the threat of mining, transporting, burning and disposal of fossil fuels. Several PNWD congregations had taken action to endorse the resolution prior to the Annual Meeting.

The PNWD Board then invited discussion of regional collaboration in the Pacific Western Region (PWR). Materials can be found on the PWR website, including the Letter of Agreement contracting with the UUA for program and staffing services. The Agreement is for a one-year period and will be renewed or revised in March, 2016.

Two members of the recently established Advisory Council to the UUA Director of Congregational Life were introduced: Dana Regan and the Rev. Carol McKinley will serve as appointees from Washington and Oregon, along with five others from the Pacific Western Region. The purpose of the group is to act as ambassadors to regional congregations and covenanted communities, ensuring that the director and Congregational Life Staff have the information they need to appropriately address the needs of local congregations.

An offering was invited for the Pacific Northwest UU Growth Foundation, which convened its annual meeting immediately upon adjournment of the PNWD business meeting.

PNWD Officers were announced for 2015/16 and the assembly spoke a covenant to serve faithfully with one another. Officers are:

Hayden Nevill

Hayden Nevill

President: Hayden Nevill (UU Fellowship of Fairbanks, AK)

Vice President: David Cauffman (UU Congregation of Whidbey Island, Freeland, WA)

Treasurer: Emmet Band (UU Church in Eugene, OR)

Secretary: Carol McKinley (Olympia UU Congregation, WA)

Newly elected board member Susan Howlett will serve as Director At Large. The PNWD board as a whole can be reached via email to


Finally, several volunteer leaders were honored for completing terms of service to the PNWD:

Carrie-KrauseCarrie Krause, 2014/15 PNWD Board President

anne-marie_davidsonAnne-Marie Davidson, Youth Con Coordinator

Dave DierdorffDavid Dierdorff, Chalice Lighters Team

MargaretKeipDr.Dr. Kristin Guest Kristin Guest and the Rev. Margaret Keip, co-leads, Healthy Congregations Team



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Janine, 2014

Janine Larsen, UUA Congregational Life Staff in the Pacific Western Region, has posted an article on the front page of the PNWD website recapping the recent UUA General Assembly and the Pacific Northwest District’s 53rd Annual General Meeting.

PNWD held its Annual Meeting at General Assembly (GA) this year, expecting to take advantage of high attendance with more than 1,000 UUs from the district registered for GA. However, despite strong delegate certification for the PNWD meeting, fewer than half showed up. A quorum was barely achieved, and Janine recaps the results as well as musing about the disappointing turnout and the district’s new agreement for services from the UUA through its Pacific Western Region.

Janine also reflects briefly on her experience of sabbatical this past January 2 through April 5.

PNWD’s 2016 Annual Meeting has been scheduled for Saturday, March 5, at University Unitarian Church in Seattle, WA.

bannerWhile you are in Portland for the UUA General Assembly, don’t forget the Annual Meeting of the Pacific Northwest District. Since so many PNWDers will be in the neighborhood, we realized this would be a great way to cut congregations’ travel costs and still conduct our annual business meeting in the absence of a District Assembly. We will convene at the DoubleTree by Hilton (1000 NE Multnomah Street) in the Multnomah/Holladay rooms on Saturday, June 27 promptly at 1:00. Delegates should arrive early to check in and receive their voting card. Delegate check-in will be open by 12:30.

You do not have to be a delegate to attend. Anyone is invited! GA registration is not required and a GA nametag is not needed for entrance to the PNWD meeting. If you are concerned that you won’t have time to eat before the 1:00 start, grab lunch and bring it with you.

There are many, many changes afoot in our district. So even if you aren’t a delegate from your congregation, you may still want to attend to learn about these. At the very least, do take a look at the business meeting materials posted on the Annual Meeting website. You’ll find links to the agenda, annual reports, and a resolution, as well as details about the shift from district staff to a unified staff structure with the three other Pacific Western Region (PWR) districts.

At the end of the PNWD Annual Meeting, the Pacific Northwest UU Growth Foundation (PNUUGF) will convene their annual meeting. Delegates to the PNWD meeting remain during this very brief session to also serve as PNUUGF delegates.

The meeting will be adjourned by 3:00.

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