Some Racial Justice Learning Opportunities for February

One of the goals of the Racial Justice Change Team is to connect the congregation to our work. With that focus in mind, we want to help honor Black History Month and Lunar New Year (February 12). We would also like to bring to your attention some learning opportunities about Coast Salish tribal history and a book by a Korean-American author on the Asian American experience. Each learning opportunity is offered by a Seattle organization. (Note: Presenter and author names followed by * indicate the person is BIPOC. [WSUU] indicates that the presenter/facilitator is a WSUU member or friend.) Many

Continue reading

Racial Justice Change Team Goals for 2021

Wondering what the Racial Justice Change Team (RJCT) is working on this year? Here are the team’s goals for 2021: Become conversant in the recommendations of the UUA’s “Widening the Circle of Concern” report and align our actions to those recommendations. We have ensured that our planned actions below align with the general recommendations of the report, as well as the priorities of the WSUU Board. The report is available for free at the above link, or for a fee in print or as an Amazon Kindle ebook. Support our BIPOC members and continue to be connected and accountable. Currently,

Continue reading

President’s Letter January 2021- Vanessa Shaughnessy

We made it to 2021! I hope you had opportunities for rest and joy in the last few weeks of that very long year. I am deeply grateful that those of us on the board have been able to take some time for celebration and rejuvenation ourselves, especially because it’s about to get very busy! It’s been helpful for me to reflect that, through the hurt and uncertainty of the last several months, there have been opportunities unique to this time. Virtual gatherings have fostered connection and conversation that may not have happened in person. For example, my youngest is

Continue reading

Make the Circle Wider

John Britt, Pastoral Associate Imagine that we are back in our beloved building (Yay!)  You are heading downstairs after the service. You get your cup of coffee or tea and begin greeting people. If you are like me, there are people you regularly interact with, people with whom you share a mutually acknowledged connection. There are others I greet, however, where our relationship is friendly but more recent or less well established.  One of my early drumming teachers, Simone LaDrumma (yes, that is her real name) wrote a great song called “I Will Be Your Witness”. Having people recognize and

Continue reading

A Pledge, an Offering, and an Auction Event Walk into a Bar…

At Westside, our three biggest sources of congregant-based income are: Your pledges Our yearly Auction Sunday Shared Offering contributions Why are there three separate ways to give financial support to our community, instead of just one?   A pledge is what you believe you can commit to giving Westside in a given year, which makes it possible for us to build a budget for the upcoming year. It lets us know whether or not we can provide more benefits to our staff, expand congregational programs, or pay for anticipated building expenses.   Historically, pledges alone have not provided enough to cover our

Continue reading

Right Relations Survey Results!

From the Right Relations Phase One Team — Thank you to the 60 people who responded to our Right Relations survey — woohoo! The input we received is very helpful. The majority of voters chose congregational training as a foundation for working with our covenant. We also received seven alternative responses, and many thoughtful comments. We learned some important things from your input, especially regarding our covenant. Here are some of the informative comments, and look for more Westside Week articles with Right Relations updates! Congregational Training — Maybe the first priority should be more general education about what this

Continue reading

November Message from the Board President

This fall has felt like a real grind. Resources and energy have been limited, stressors have been high. We’ve all been functioning under the weight of huge uncertainty and often grim realities for months on end. It’s a lot for each individual to hold and any community to weather.  Although I wasn’t totally conscious of it, I realize now that, on some level, I was hoping the election would be a massive relief. Instead, the way it played out was tense and grueling and it’s become clear that a sense of relief is further off into the horizon than I

Continue reading

The Foundations of our Covid Gathering Policy

Dear Westside Members and Friends, We are finding ourselves faced with such an unusual set of circumstances and no easy answers. Like many of you, our board members feel the wear and tear on our tolerance and stamina as this pandemic wages its storms on us. Like many of you, we are grasping for ways to feed ourselves with human connection. And like many of you, we are trying to find a path for how to strengthen and nourish the bonds of our community. What we do have as a vital resource, is our collective wisdom as a congregation. And

Continue reading

Reflections from the Board

The Blessings of the Binder Keepers – Shelley Webb, Board Treasurer In my In my 20’s, after a failed three-month career as a middle-school math teacher but before I knew what I wanted to do next, I landed a job as customer service representative #4 of what would later become a national DSL company. DSL was the hot, new, high-speed, low-cost way of connecting to the internet in 1999. It was a furiously growing start-up, and the training was pretty entertaining. There was none, really, just a lot of spoken words. When we hired service reps #5 and #6, talking

Continue reading

Update from Board President 9.23.20

It’s hard to know where to start right now. At every level and in every direction, there are complexities, moving pieces, and areas that need time and attention. This is no less true in our congregation, as we emerge from our years without a settled minister in this time of great upheaval.  I am so grateful for the time our board has taken over the summer getting to know each other, learning to work together, building a foundation of trust, and digging into our work. As we prepared for the board’s final retreat, each board member brought forward what we

Continue reading