A Move for the Millennial Generation
As you have probably heard, the Unitarian Universalist Association is planning a big move of its HQ offices from historic Beacon Hill to the up-and-coming Fort Point neighborhood in Boston. If you ask me, I’m super excited about this move. It feels like a true recognition from the highest levels of leadership in our faith that we are embracing the future that is a reflection of the way our generation, the Millennial Generation, will be interacting with religion for years to come.
First, with this move we’ll get considerable upgrades in technological capability at the UUA. Right now, all the internet access in my office has to be beamed across two city blocks to the servers located in a different building. How can we expect to keep up with changes in video conferencing, webinars, online education and resources, even graphic design and mobile applications, without the technology infrastructure to make it possible?
In addition to the technology improvements, we’re getting the chance to design the new Fort Point space from scratch. Conversations among the staff and with our architecture consultants have so far emphasized a flexible, open work environment. It would help us get beyond the traditional program silos that the UUA has been trying to overcome in the last few years through cross-staff collaboration. The importance of partnership and team building will only increase as the UUA becomes a nimble organization for the 21st Century, focused on seeding and feeding the good work going in our religious communities rather than policing the bylaws and boundaries of our administrative structure.
A new space has the chance to be the embodiment of our values and aspirations. It can be a place that we are proud to call home for years to come, not just for years past. We see 50-60 youth groups and Coming of Age classes visiting the UUA’s current offices every year, and sadly all we have to show them is a conference room and a few pictures on the walls. Imagine having a museum space that displays our history in an accessible, creative way that our visitors can experience. I’ll leave the debate over the historical value of our Beacon Hill location to my capable colleagues, but I will note that, when I visited the UUA as a high school student, the exciting thing to me was making a pilgrimage to where the my faith’s leadership was housed, wherever that was, rather than visiting a specific place on a map.
Ultimately, I see this move as us as UUs trying to put our money where our mouth is and set ourselves up for success in the changing religious landscape in America. I invite you to look forward with me to what our future holds!
Tell us what you see in the years to come in the comment section below… –Ed.