Dear Friends in the Pacific Southwest District,
On March 4, the Pacific Southwest District Board announced its recommendation that the District vote for dissolution and merge fully into the UUA Pacific Western Region (PWR). To dissolve and merge, a vote by a quorum of district constituents is needed and will take place at a Special Business meeting.
Please save the following dates and plan to attend these meetings:
- Saturday, August 21, 10am-11am Pacific: Special PSWD Business Meeting to vote on dissolution bylaw amendment
- Saturday, October 2, 10am-12pm Pacific: Special PSWD Business Meeting to vote on dissolution of the district
More information about this transition can be found at the PSWD news page: News | Pacific Southwest District (pswduua.org.
At the June 14th meeting, the Board voted unanimously to adopt the 8th Principle of Unitarian Universalism. The 8th Principle states:
“We, the member congregations of the Unitarian Universalist Association, covenant to affirm and promote: journeying toward spiritual wholeness by working to build a diverse multicultural Beloved Community by our actions that accountably dismantle racism and other oppressions in ourselves and our institutions.”
Many communities throughout the District, Region, and nation have also adopted this newly-proposed principle. The PSWD Board encourages District member congregations and covenanting communities to adopt the 8th Principle and to actively examine their policies and processes in order to live into it. More information about the 8th Principle can be found at: The 8th Principle of Unitarian Universalism (8thprincipleuu.org)
To prepare for the vote to dissolve the District on October 2, PSWD Board members discussed and deliberated over the course of many meetings how to responsibly and faithfully disburse the District’s assets. While the usual course involves all assets reverting to the UUA upon dissolution of a district, the members of the PSWD Board decided to live into the 8th Principle and actions suggested in the Commission on Institutional Change’s “Widening the Circle of Concern” report. Multiple conversations ensued about the Board’s responsibility to the congregations and covenanting communities within our district. The Board recognized this pivotal opportunity to incorporate our UU principles and consciously create a proposal for disbursement without replicating oppressive systems, such as merit-based application processes. The Board chose to focus on underrepresented communities, including Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPoC) and Asian American, Pacific Islander (AAPI) youth, young adults, and religious professional UUs in the Pacific Western Region, which have often gone unfunded or underfunded by Unitarian Universalist organizations.
Here is a summary of the disbursement proposal for the majority of the District’s assets that the Board approved at its June meeting:
PSWD Technology Grant Funds were previously used to help District Annual Meeting host congregations upgrade their technology for the benefit of Annual Meeting delegates and participants. The Board proposes to divide the remaining Technology Grant funds between an existing online Covenanting Community led by BIPoC and to support the technology needs of newly emerging BIPoC/AAPI Covenanting Communities in the PWR.
PSWD Refugee Funds will go to UU organizations already doing immigrant and refugee work in the PWR: UURISE (Unitarian Universalist Refugee and Immigrant Services and Education), UUJAZ (Unitarian Universalist Justice Arizona), and UUJMCA (Unitarian Universalist Justice Ministry of California).
Portions of the PSWD Trauma/Disaster Fund will be allocated to the UUA Disaster Relief Fund, and to seed Trauma/Disaster Funds for both the BIPoC UUMA Chapter and newly emerging BIPoC/AAPI Covenanting Communities in the PWR.
In order to financially support both Camp de Benneville Pines and BIPoC/AAPI youth and young adults in the PWR, the Board proposes funding the establishment of a scholarship to provide access to camp directly for BIPoC/AAPI youth and young adults.
The future home of the Charles S. White Memorial Scholarship will be announced at a later date.
Finally, the PSWD Board unanimously voted to create grants and scholarships, which will be held by the PWR, dedicated to BIPoC/AAPI religious professionals and ministry teams in the region.
It is the hope of the PSWD Board that our intention to disburse our assets directly to Black, Indigenous, People of Color and Asian American, Pacific Islander Unitarian Universalists will serve as a model for the other District Boards within the PWR as they dissolve or reorganize, as well as to the congregations and Covenanting Communities within the newer, more-unified Pacific Western Region. May this be the legacy of the final Pacific Southwest District Board.
In Faithful Service,
Pacific Southwest District Board of Trustees
Janet Murphy, President*
Keith Strohmaier, Treasurer
Annie Barker, Member at Large
Kia Bordner, Member at Large
David Sheh, Member at Large
Sam Goldwhite, Youth Board Representative
*NOTE: Just before publication of this edition of the PWR E-News, the PSWD Board received the written resignation of Rev. Kevin Lawson, effective immediately. He joined the Board in 2017 and served as President. While we will miss Kevin’s presence, we support him as he turns his attention toward pressing personal matters. Thank you, Kevin, for your leadership and dedication to our District, our Region and our faith. Your courage and vision will help guide us forward. Former Vice-President Janet Murphy replaces Kevin as President. Meanwhile, the Board voted David Sheh back onto the Board as an at-large member to help ensure continuity over the next few months. Thank you, David!