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Chalice Lighter Call Schedule 2014/15
Call was open for contributions through June 14, 2015.
NOTICES & QUICK LINKS
in PNWD Congregations, District and Region
24 Farnsworth Street, Boston, MA 02210
Recap: Pacific Northwest District Annual Meeting and UUA General Assembly
|Quick Notes from GA and PNWD Annual Meeting |
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).
As for the PNWD Annual Meeting results, please review the Meeting Agenda and Materials – and here’s a quick re-cap of actions of note:
District Dues will remain at $26 per member for 2015/16 and 2016/17
Susan Howlett (University Unitarian Church, Seattle WA) was elected to the PNWD Board and Michael Becker (UU Congregation of Salem, OR) was elected to the PNWD Nominating Committee
PNWD residents Dana Regan and the Rev. Carol McKinley were introduced as members of the Advisory Council to the UUA Director of Congregational Life
Resolution passed as proposed by Bellingham Unitarian Fellowship
Several volunteer leaders were honored for completing terms of service to the PNWD:
Carrie Krause, PNWD Board President
Anne-Marie Davidson, Youth Con Coordinator
David Dierdorff, Chalice Lighters Team
Dr. Kristin Guest and the Rev. Margaret Keip, co-leads, Healthy Congregations Team
PNWD Officers for 2015/16 were announced:
Hayden Nevill, President
David Cauffman, Vice President
Emmet Band, Treasurer
Carol McKinley, Secretary
by Janine Larsen, Congregational Life Staff, UUA Pacific Western Region
More 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)!
As an experiment, the District held its annual meeting in Portland during GA. With such a big crowd of PNWD members attending GA, high advance numbers of delegates (174) certifying for the district meeting – from 44 of our 58 congregations – and given unusually significant topics up for discussion and vote at the meeting, we were looking forward to a large turnout and a lively time together. However, we were ultimately disappointed that only 74 delegates showed up to the meeting, representing only 29 congregations. The meeting barely made a quorum.
We identified three primary factors to the lack of attendance:
- Congregations did not pass along meeting details and expectations of their delegates, despite multiple communications to presidents, ministers and congregation offices over a period of several months.
- The UUA considered the district meeting to be a “private event,” so located the meeting away from the convention center (at the “headquarters hotel”), and not including it within the GA event listings.
- Unanticipated schedule conflicts with programs similarly not included within the GA event listings.
Our conclusion is that while holding a district or regional business meeting at GA would seem to make sense in terms of inclusivity of high numbers already on site, it is not viable unless recognized as a UUA event included within the GA primary meeting space and public schedule.
In 2016, PNWD will hold its District Assembly and Annual General Meeting on Saturday, March 5, at University Unitarian Church in Seattle, WA. The PNWD Board looks forward to this time to engage delegates and congregational leaders in considering the future of Unitarian Universalism and the role of the District in that future. This is anticipated to be the final opportunity for feedback before the Board votes to extend, revise or discontinue the Agreement for Regional Services that was adopted on a one-year basis as of July 1, 2015.
This agreement provides funding from the four western Districts to restructure general program services and staffing through the UUA’s Pacific Western Region, including the intention to incorporate the District Administrators within Regional Staffing over the next year.
Congregations should not see much change in levels of service, though increasing travel costs and environmental sensitivity is gradually making “virtual visits” more frequent. With a larger regional staff representing broader areas of specialty not bound by district borders, congregations should experience an increase in the depth of knowledge offered through regional staff connection.
Regionalization efforts are taking different forms throughout the UUA, which can be confusing. See the Regional Collaboration page on the Pacific Western Region website for more information specific to our format.
On a more personal note, I was blessed to be able to take sabbatical leave earlier this year, from January 2 through April 5. What a rare and amazing gift! During my time away from this work I have loved for 11 years now, I was able to take stock of my life and losses, both personal and professional.
First of all, I recognized how thoroughly exhausted I was. This surprised me, frankly, and as I had the opportunity to rest and reflect, I realized that being present so completely with our congregations – whether celebrating or navigating very hard paths together – takes a physical toll, even with the constant support of devoted spiritual practice. Life in religious community requires one’s whole commitment, soul deep.
Diving even deeper into spiritual practice was my antidote. I spent a month in retreat at a Zen Buddhist temple, engaging the animated and completely irrational practice of Koan introspection. Gradually, I realized that my life was not really dependent on the identity of “District Executive” that I have held dear since coming to serve the UUA and the Pacific Northwest District in 2004. Gradually, I rediscovered and reclaimed my values and my value apart from the construct of professional identity – though it had, for certain, fit me well and nourished me greatly even as I worked in this role to nourish others.
Regionalization offers a new way to be in relationship with my UUA colleagues, with our congregations, and – more intimately for me – with my faith. So I have returned from sabbatical renewed in spirit and refreshed in body. In the words of the Holly Near song we have adopted as our Pacific Western Region anthem, I Am Willing, and I Am Ready.
None of us knows what our lives will hold. None of us knows, really, what this effort in regional collaboration will bring us, or what it will mean to the 54-year-old Pacific Northwest District. Perhaps it is a passing. Or perhaps, it is a passage to an evolving and even more robust Unitarian Universalism.
We live in hope! And may we continue to grow together, each attending to that which affirms life, each trusting that wisdom and grace can inform us, in each present moment.
PNWD archives front page articles and pastoral messages.
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