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Leadership is More Important Than Anything Else
Leadership is More Important Than Anything Else

Dear Pacific Western Congregational Leaders,

What’s the most important factor in your congregation’s future success? What will determine whether your congregation will be one of the many in the U.S. that will dwindle and die in the next 10 or 20 years or will be one of the few that adapts and thrives while nurturing the spirituality of its own members and acting for compassion and justice in the wider world?

Is it your location? Is it your financial assets? Is it your building or parking lot (or lack of either?) Is it your social media presence? Is it how many young adults, children, and youth you have? Is it whether your music on Sunday morning tends more to Bach or tends more to the bacchanalian?

No, more important than anything else, it is the quality of your leadership. This includes both your professional religious leadership as well as your lay leadership. Without good leadership, nothing else really matters.

Successful congregations intentionally and regularly look for opportunities to recruit, invest in, and develop good leadership.

I am happy to let you know such an opportunity is before you now.

Last month in this newsletter, I announced the launch of "Leadership Experience 2019" — a pilot hybrid in-person/on-line learning experience that will take place this coming winter and spring. This month, I am pleased to announce that it is now possible to apply to participate in this program.

Visit to learn more. Space is limited, so individuals are encouraged to apply to participate by October 15!

Participants will meet for a weekend retreat in one of three locations in January 2019. Participants will then have eight follow-up 90-minute video conference calls by Zoom February through May. There will also be an optional gathering for all participants at General Assembly in Spokane, Washington, in June.

This program will be ideal for board members or other individuals in leadership positions within a congregation. Congregations are also strongly encouraged to send people who are being considered for future leadership positions. Ministers and other religious professionals may also attend.

Participants will gain a deeper grounding in Unitarian Universalism and will also gain knowledge and skills regarding mission-focused leadership, systems thinking, change management, anti-oppression and multi-culturalism, and conflict transformation as well as other topics. The weekend retreats and Zoom calls will be led by PWR staff.

Leaders of large congregations, this is for you, too! Check in with Rev. Christine Robinson (crobinson [at] uua [dot] org) to learn about how the Leadership Experience will meet your needs.

Download promotional posters to use in your congregation.

Here are the times, dates, costs, and locations of the three weekend retreats as well as the follow-up Zoom calls:

Weekend Retreat A
January 11-13, Vallombrosa Center, Menlo Park, California (near San Francisco).
Follow-up Zoom Calls: First and third Tuesdays, 7-8:30 p.m. Pacific Time (February 5, February 19, March 5, March 19, April 2, April 16, May 7, and May 21).
Cost: $500.

Weekend Retreat B
January 18-20, Madonna Retreat and Conference Center, Albuquerque, New Mexico.
Follow-up Zoom Calls: First and third Thursdays, 7-8:30 p.m. Mountain Time (February 7, February 21, March 7, March 21, April 4, April 18, May 2, and May 16).
Cost: $350.

Weekend Retreat C
January 25-27, Menucha Retreat and Conference Center, Corbett, Oregon (near Portland).
Follow-up Zoom Calls: Second and fourth Wednesdays, 7-8:30 p.m. Pacific Time (February 13, February 27, March 13, March 27, April 10, April 24, May 8, and May 22).
Cost: $400.

Participants may attend any one of the three weekend retreats, not necessarily the one closest to where they live. Travel subsidies of $200 will be available for participants who live more than 300 miles from the location nearest to them.

Make a difference in the life of your congregation for next year and for years to come and encourage individuals in your congregation to apply to participate today!

For more information, please contact me at (253) 252-6539 or jkubalkomoto [at] uua [dot] org.

Rev. Dr. James Kubal-Komoto, Pacific Western Regional Lead


About the Author

  • Rev. Dr. Kubal-Komoto serves as the Lead Minister at the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Raleigh, NC.

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