Special District Meeting August 21 on Dissolving PSWD

modifying our access to UU resources and programs

The Pacific Western Region (PWR) of the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) includes all the states from Montana to Washington and Alaska in the north through New Mexico to California to Hawaii in the south. PWR is composed of the UU congregations in four districts, including our own Pacific Southwest District (PSWD). Regionalization is the process of restructuring all UUA districts into five Regions; this new structure is meant to better utilize the resources of staff and volunteers.

At a virtual PWR meeting in February 2021, PSWD Board President Rev. Kevin Lawson provided an update on the status of our district. He shared that there were no nominees to fill any of the upcoming vacancies on either the District Nominating Committee or the Board of Trustees. Given this information, the members of the PSWD Board discussed dissolving the District Board; they recommended that PSWD be absorbed into PWR. Three of the five District Board members who would have transitioned off at the end of their terms this June agreed to stay on through October 2 to facilitate the dissolution of the District. (Note: Camp de Benneville Pines is an independent Covenanting Community and will not be affected by this transition.)

A series of open meetings held from March to July explored the issues involved, while a team of experts within the four districts of PWR drafted a resolution to formally close the entity that is PSWD. Given the current circumstances, the PSWD Board believes the vote of congregational delegates that is scheduled for August 21 is the best course of action, and the Board is committed to proceeding in a timely way. The August vote would lead to a dissolution of PSWD in October, when the 50 congregations (13 in Arizona, 36 in California, one in Nevada) will continue to be served by the Region — instead of by both PSWD and the Region.

Beth Brownlie, our church President, asked me to look into this matter and tell you about it. Because I loved being involved in PSWD leadership activities in the past, I was interested in reviewing the current proposal to give you a summary — but my research came after the series of meetings had been held. From what I’ve read, I regretfully support the proposed dissolution. In future we can explore making better use of the many UU resources that are available as well as improve connections between our congregation and neighboring ones, the Region, and the UUA. I encourage everyone to participate in that process by joining in the GLAM SUUmmer Road Trip services; they’re wonderful!

To clarify, I favor dissolution because it was evident to me awhile back that the UUA had withdrawn from supporting the many districts in favor of just several regions. The UUA did this restructuring despite the reality that the western districts and region have thousands of miles more territory than any others in the denomination. Then in February no candidates were found to serve on PSWD’s Board or Nominating Committee; so, it’s time to move forward by dissolving the entity that is our District. Details on the series of meetings held in the past six months, plus the actual wording of the proposed resolution, are available by clicking on the links below. Beth adds, “Bottom line: it does not look like it affects us too much, it looks like UUA is just trying to use resources more wisely.”

Denominational affairs are important, especially because we’re a congregation involved in the exciting process of Developmental Ministry. We can’t grow into being our best local community without meaningful involvement in the wider UU community! Please consider volunteering to serve as a delegate to the August 21 meeting by emailing our Church Administrator, Nurit Gordon by August 17. If you have ideas or input for our delegates, please include them in your message.

Sigh… it looks like change is coming to us in yet another form this year, but we can make the best it.

Thoughtfully yours,

Joyce Holmen

 

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