13 Reasons We Need Have These Conversations…

Posted by Bart Frost // May 4th 2017 // Guides and Tools, Issues and Trends // no comments

But Maybe Not Using 13 Reasons Why Netflix recently adapted Jay Asher’s young adult novel, 13 Reasons Why, into a 13-part series that has catapulted into pop culture, breaking social media and viewership records. Visually compelling with cliff-hangers that pull you from one episode to the next, 13 Reasons Why is well made (produced by Selena Gomez’s production company) but that doesn’t mean it is good. A number of justified critiques of the series note that it glorifies suicide, includes graphic scenes of rape, and goes against recommended guidelines for discussing suicide in the media. It also portrays adults as non-supportive especially the black male guidance counselor, who fails to note the warning signs that the main character…

White Supremacy Teach-In

Posted by jennicadavishockett // April 26th 2017 // Guides and Tools, UUA // 2 comments

Resources for Youth and Young Adult Ministry When you hear or read the words “White Supremacy,” what thoughts come to mind, what emotions surface? For some of us, it is a fear-filled phrase that conjures images of white hoods and robes that seems totally dissonant with our Unitarian Universalist faith. For others, it is a term of criticism that exposes the ways our wider culture and even our systems within UUism continue to privilege the feelings, ideas, success and lives of white people over people of color. Because of our lived experiences and our intersecting identities, we may all have different reactions to this phrase. As Rev. Sofia Betancourt, interim co-president for our Unitarian Universalist…

Youth Ministry Training Webinar 9

Posted by jennicadavishockett // April 14th 2017 // Events and Opportunities, Guides and Tools // no comments

In the April Webinar, Natalie Briscoe, Congregational Life Staff in the Southern Region, and Kim Sweeney, Congregational Life Staff in the New England Region, talked about new models and methods for stellar Youth Ministry that may challenge our assumptions about what ministry to and with Youth can and should be.  When asked to sum up the webinar, Briscoe said “In particular we lifted up a vision of whole Unitarian Universalist communities where youth are a part of the entire congregation as well as having youth-specific space for developmentally appropriate stretching. We also explored methods for relationship-centered ministry (rather than program-centered ministry) that builds sustaining, multigenerational connections throughout the congregation. These models both rest on the foundational idea that youth…

Reflection on White Supremacy in Our UUA

Posted by T. Resnikoff // March 28th 2017 // Issues and Trends, Mosaic, UUA // 34 comments

From the staff of the Office of Youth and Young Adult Ministries UPDATED 3/31/17. [Since the publication of this post from our office, the President of the UUA has resigned (read the reporting of this event on UU World here), and the Leadership Council of the UUA released this statement.] – ed. A very important conversation has been happening about the insidious white supremacy in our Unitarian Universalist Association, centering currently around our hiring practices. We encourage you to do some digging and read multiple perspectives in this conversation. A good place to start is the 3/27 UUWorld article, statement from Black Lives of UU and this Compilation of Responses. With gratitude to those reminding…

Youth Ministry Training Webinar 8

Posted by jennicadavishockett // March 24th 2017 // Future of Faith, Guides and Tools // no comments

UPDATE: This webinar will be hosted live on April 12th at 1pm EST and it will be recorded. We are canceling the previously scheduled Thursday evening webinar to encourage attendance the #Uuwhitesupremacyteachin  webinar on Thursday, April 13 at 8 PM eastern. More information about that webinar available on the Black Lives of UU. For a long time many Unitarian Universalist congregations have successfully used the traditional model of youth ministry consisting of a weekly youth group, maybe some off-site trips or overnights, and a yearly youth-led worship service. As Natalie Briscoe, Congregational Life Staff in the Southern Region notes, “These traditional models are effective delivery mechanisms for often stellar curriculum, especially if that curriculum is a part of the…

Talk Amongst Yourselves, I’ll Give You a Topic…

Posted by jennicadavishockett // March 24th 2017 // Future of Faith, Guides and Tools, Stories and Voices // no comments

Cojourners on the Spiritual Way The Unitarian Universalist Association Office of Youth and Young Adult Ministries has two new discussion guides for youth based on Summer Seminary sermons: Grappling with the First Principle and What is God?. Today my body is a little sore from rock climbing and I think I might be getting a cold. I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how I can be most effective in these trouble times to create beloved community and my spirit is really trying hard to find meaning in the mundane. We all use check-in questions. Sometimes as a check in question I ask folks “how’s your body, mind and spirit this week?” (Thanks Annie Gonzalez Milliken for teaching me…

Be a Delegate at GA 2017

Posted by jennicadavishockett // March 16th 2017 // Events and Opportunities, Featured Youth, GA, General Assembly 2017, Guides and Tools // 2 comments

Did you know youth who are members of their congregation can represent their congregation at General Assembly by serving as delegates and voting in General Session (aka “Previously Plenary” aka “GenSesh” aka the way we conduct the business of the association)? Talk to your congregation’s leaders as soon as you can to start the process. They may be able to financially support your way to General Assembly. You’re also encouraged to apply for a scholarship because serving as a delegate increases your chance of getting a scholarship. The deadline to apply for scholarships is March 31st, so now is the time! Hannah Rigdon, Sr. Business Manager for Youth Caucus has some words of wisdom about the importance of…

What Does Sanctuary Really Mean?

Posted by emcdavid // February 28th 2017 // Issues and Trends // no comments

by Elissa McDavid We are facing reality, as a faith, a nation, and individuals who may not have been as active as we should have been before the election results of November 8th. Those that lived-in fear before, now live in greater fear as families and communities are torn apart, on an even larger scale. Like many people, I am figuring out how to help those that face deportation, fear, and intimidation. I am trying to understand this as a Unitarian Universalist and as a young adult. I am also an intern with the Unitarian Universalist Association Office of Youth and Young Adult Ministries, working with Young Adult and Campus Ministry Associate Annie Gonzalez Milliken,…

Youth Ministry Training Webinar 7

Posted by jennicadavishockett // February 27th 2017 // Events and Opportunities, Guides and Tools // no comments

Part of a successful youth ministry is creating and maintaining sustainable systems and organizational tools, like calendaring, directories and templates, to keep the youth ministry program running as a vital part of the congregation and so it can live on after a volunteer or staff member leaves. Adults need to be competent in practicing compassionate communication, handling conflict with grace and humility, expressing needs, and being a good listener. And they need to be able to model these skills for youth. Youth Ministry Advising: A Complete Guide has some tips for developing these skills. Volunteers and staff must be competent with social media. Supervisors should inform volunteers and staff if their congregation has something akin…

Why Should Young Folks Go To General Assembly?

Posted by Annie Gonzalez Milliken // February 21st 2017 // Events and Opportunities, General Assembly 2017, Guides and Tools // no comments

What is the role of spiritual community in these times? We’ve been asking that question over and over, particularly as we think about our upcoming Unitarian Universalist Association General Assembly. What is the point of gathering, especially a gathering that takes so many resources, when so many of us are in pain, subject to violence, unclear what the months between here and there will bring? This General Assembly the theme is “Resist and Rejoice.” And we certainly have much need for resistance. The white supremacy, greed fueled economic inequality, hetero-patriarchy and ableism that existed before Trump was elected is gaining ground in our government and in our streets. These developments are horrifying, outrageous, scary. So…