#CongBeyond: Were young adults heard?
Yesterday was the third and final day of the Congregations and Beyond consultation. The young adult presence at the consultation was impressive. First, there were at least four young adults participating (out of 21 overall), including yours truly who was a co-facilitator of the event.
Secondly, the consultation made really innovative use of social media and the online connection tools that we as young adults use as part of our lives. One of the highlights was a live Tweetchat with dozens of UUs tweeting in from all over the country, while the Congregations and Beyond Facebook group kept people on site and elsewhere in the conversation throughout the day. Interestingly, use of these technologies demonstrated the potential of Unitarian Universalism to grow beyond the physical confines of place. While congregation can never be replaced it is clear we need not let our inability to gather physically slow the growth of our faith.
Most importantly, I heard a clear affirmation of conference-style programs and other experiences outside of congregations as truly UU religious spaces. These communities, from intentional community living to online ministry to UU summer camps, are often the strongest or only ways that young adults connect with our faith. This has been especially important for UU’s who grew up at youth cons and rallies, and have had difficulty finding a congregation that matches the intensity of those experiences.
Though in the past these places might have been downplayed as not “real” UU communities, with that distinction being reserved for UUA-member congregations, this consultation clearly showed that these attitudes have shifted. Moving forward, we identified young adults as one of the groups who need to participate in this conversation. You can start right now! Though there will soon be some more central platforms to share our thoughts and visions, don’t wait to get started! Ask questions of people you know, think about what we can do together, and keep the conversation going.