Our Pacific Northwest District helped make history last month as nearly 700 Unitarian Universalists flowed across district borders to convene in San Jose for our first-ever Pacific Western Regional Assembly, held April 26-28. About 11% of the gathered came from PNWD; 10% traveled from Mountain Desert District; 29% from Pacific Southwest District; and the remaining half represented congregations in our host district, Pacific Central.
“This was just the right size,” our keynote speaker, the Rev. Christine Robinson, was heard to say. “More dynamic than any one district, but not as overwhelming as General Assembly.” Her provocative sermon was received with acclaim during the opening celebration. Many requested copies to share with their congregations, and the text is now posted on the Pacific Western Region (PWR) website. As part of her presentation, Rev. Christine introduced Elissa McDavid (left), a youth member of Saltwater UU Church (Des Moines, WA), to deliver her own electric testimony about “My Church” – you can read it on the Regional Assembly resource page.
Ministers from all four districts worked together to craft extraordinary worship experiences, with rousing and touching music that made us roar and weep in turns. Sarah Bush’s beautiful liturgical dance in Sunday's closing worship was cited by many as a high point of the weekend. She powerfully illustrated Alberto Blanco’s poem “Mi Tribu/My Tribe,” voiced by the Rev. Jacqueline Duhart. We were also gifted with the moving voices of the Silicon Valley Gay Men's Chorus.
More than $8,600 was collected as the Sunday offering. It is designated to the new
“Big Faith Fund,” which will help connect our congregations and their
leaders through the use of 21st century technology. While
distance-learning and virtual meetings will never replace in-person experiences, we also need
to expand our “no-borders” approach to open eyes and minds, generate
creativity, and develop leadership. Contributions are still being
accepted online if you'd like to help strengthen congregational capacity with your own offering.
Youth were a big part of this event, and the Full Community team provided an excellent Tip Sheet
for workshop presenters that will be highly informative to all congregations. The team explains strategies for engaging different learning styles, reminds us to be aware of "Middle Class Standard Time," and offers ways to get to know one another, start conversations, re-energize and have fun during presentation times. No one needs to give (or endure) a uni-dimensional lecture!
Inclusive Unicorn (left) says, “Check it out!”
Connie Kallaur Alexander, of Olympic UU Fellowship (Pt. Angeles, WA) posted on the Pacific Western Region Facebook page
“I'm still on a high from the weekend. Now trying to organize all my
notes. So much great information, inspiring ideas, wonderful new
friends. Thank you everyone for making this happen!” If you attended
Regional Assembly and have not yet completed an evaluation, we encourage
your feedback via the on-line survey.
Resources from the three all-day theme tracks are posted on the Pacific Western Region’s website,
along with some of the worship recordings and texts. And you can see
photos from the event as well as participant comments on the Pacific Western Region Facebook Page and the Regional Assembly Event Page on Facebook.
Attendees also kept up a lively Twitter feed throughout the event and
at the UUMA and LREDA professional programs which preceded Regional
Assembly. Tweets can be found via #pwra13.
Rev. Elizabeth Greene, Rev. Lois Van Leer and Tandi Rogers in joyous worship
In addition to worshiping, learning and enjoying fellowship with our UU neighbors, each district held their individual business meetings. PNWD had a total of 60 certified delegates, six of whom participated in the business meeting
without leaving home! Via video-conferencing, a tenth of our delegates were able to be “virtually present” to hear the reports, vote for nominees to the PNWD Board and Nominating Committee, and watch the board present outgoing member and president, Elton Hall, right
(Boise UU Fellowship), with a magnificent Ganesha
. A huge thanks to the delegates who were willing to serve as our remote beta testers this year!
Hayden Nevill (UU Fellowship of Fairbanks, AK), was elected to the board, representing “East of Cascades and Alaska.” The Rev. Elizabeth Greene, above (Boise UU Fellowship), our UUA trustee for the past eight years, was elected to a vacancy on the PNWD Nominating Committee. Since the UUA has moved to an all at-large election for trustees, Elizabeth’s role as our UUA Trustee ends with this year’s UUA General Assembly.
Left: PNWD Board members Hayden Nevill and the Rev. Carol McKinley
Even if you were not a delegate to the annual business meeting, we encourage you to peruse the Annual Report packet
and to review the separate Treasurer’s report
. PNWD Treasurer Dave Cauffman (UU Congregation of Whidbey Island, WA) reviewed the district's membership and budget growth, and confirmed that 2013/14 PNWD dues will be $25 per member, as announced at last year’s business meeting. He also alerted delegates that the 2014/15 PNWD dues will be assessed at $26 per member. In closing, Dave previewed the "GIFT" program which the UUA and the Southern Region will pilot beginning this July.
Finally, the PNWD board elected and announced officers for 2013/14:
President, Rev. Carol McKinley (Olympia UU Congregation, WA)
Vice President, Carrie Krause (Woodinville UU Church, WA)
Secretary, Emmet Band (UU Church in Eugene, OR)
Treasurer, Dave Cauffman (UU Congregation of Whidbey Island, WA)
Our first-time Regional Assembly exceeded expectations in many ways. And while no decisions have been made so far about a "repeat," some of us are already casting an eye to 2017 as a possibility.
In the meantime, we're excited about our 2014 District Assembly, which is set for March 14-16 in Spokane, WA. The Rev. Dr. Thandeka will go beyond a keynote address, and lead us in a full weekend of Love Beyond Belief. Hope to see you there!