Challenged to Explore New Horizons By Religious Pros
Dear UU Religious Professionals:
My name is Alex Jensen and I was a Summer Seminary attendee the first year it was offered by the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) Office of Youth and Young Adult Ministries in 2013. Having graduated, I have had the privilege of watching Summer Seminary develop and flourish into an absolutely amazing program. This is highly in part due to the amazing religious professionals that encourage and guide our youth towards our collective ministry in Unitarian Universalism (UU).
When I was first considering a call to ministry, I received an informational email from my congregation’s Director of Religious Education (DRE), Sally Ahnger, about the Summer Seminary program opening up for the first time. Sally, keeping me informed, helped to provide me with the opportunity to explore this call to ministry through telling me to apply to this program. Through her loving, yet insistent, encouragement, I decided to go out on a limb and apply to the program.
In addition to Sally’s help, the help and guidance of our local congregation’s minister, the Rev. Jeremy Nickel, encouraged me to go outside my comfort zone and travel, as a sophomore in high school, from Fremont, California, to Boston, Massachusetts, in order to explore this call at the UUA’s previous headquarters. Jeremy was always so supportive in giving me advice and challenging me to explore newer horizons. Jeremy helped me think through my application to Summer Seminary and provided wonderful recommendations for me. Having enthusiastic support from wonderful religious professionals was absolutely essential to my success in this program.
From Summer Seminary, I gained a newfound confidence in my choice to pursue religious leadership as a career. The mentorship of ministers and directors of religious education has been instrumental in my own faith development, as well as my life’s journey. This program is phenomenal for Unitarian Universalist high school youth to build their own sense of faith and meet other youth considering calls much like their own. I know that without the support I received, I wouldn’t have been able to confidently explore my own call.
I highly encourage you to recommend this program to other Unitarian Universalist youth you know who might benefit from this program: you might just be that instrumental person for another youth, needing the extra encouragement to step outside their own comfort zone!
The application deadline for the Unitarian Universalist Association Summer Seminary 2016 is February 1. Don’t miss it – apply here!
Also, consider giving generously to the wonderful programs offered by the UUA Office of Youth and Young Adult Ministries. Your gift will go a long way in building up our living tradition for the future and to encourage young adults like myself to continue on paths toward ministry.