Summer Seminary Hires Three New Staff Members

Posted by jennicadavishockett // November 20th 2015 // Future of Faith, Guides and Tools // one comment


The Summer Seminary program for Unitarian Universalist youth exploring the possibility of becoming a religious professional welcomes 3 new staff members! They will accompany 25 youth from across the nation exploring the call to ministry in all its forms, learning about life as a religious professional, and connecting with other youth considering ministry. Summer Seminary is August 2nd-8th, 2016 in Berkeley, CA hosted by Starr King School for the Ministry. Minister in Residence, Kimberly Quinn Johnson As a teenager,  I could imagine nothing less likely for my own future than ministry. I grew up in a family and a culture deeply committed to religion: reverence, faith, care for the world around me—in a household that encouraged questions, reason, and critical…

Can Unitarian Universalists Really Believe Anything?

Posted by jennicadavishockett // November 11th 2015 // Future of Faith, Guides and Tools, Issues and Trends // 24 comments


Contrary to What You Might Have Heard, UUs Don’t Just Believe Whatever They Want Unitarian Universalists (UU) are a strange bunch. In any given gathering of UUs there may be someone whose faith is based on the teachings of Jesus, someone who has a daily meditation practice, someone who sees God in nature and someone who doesn’t see a god in anything. And yet they can all sing the same hymn and worship together. You may meet Unitarian Universalists who believe there’s a divine spark in each of us and others who believe that to be human means to have a fun mix of good and evil. And yet we come together to support one another and…

5 Ways to Support Youth In Your Congregation

Posted by Bart Frost // October 1st 2015 // 2014 Youth Ministry Survey, Featured Youth, Future of Faith, Guides and Tools, UUA // one comment


A.K.A. 5 Things Your Congregation Will Thank You For Our survey of 351 Unitarian Universalist (UU) youth provided some real gems and had some real flaws. Here are the five major takeaways we learned: 1. Build Opportunities for Connection This survey shows us that our youth want to be involved in the life of their congregation because they are already invested in their congregation. Think about the times when you feel most welcome in a situation. Did someone invite you to the party, to worship, to a concert? When you showed up, did they ignore you or did they welcome you and engage you in conversation?   Invite your youth to worship! If they can’t make…

How Congregations Can Better Serve Their Youth

Posted by Bart Frost // October 1st 2015 // 2014 Youth Ministry Survey, Featured Youth, Future of Faith, Guides and Tools, UUA // no comments


Leads for Keeping Youth in Your Congregation We started asking “How could your church better serve you?” after noting the responses to the magic-wand question were highly aspirational. Because they are qualitative instead of quantitative, measuring these two questions is more difficult than evaluating youth’s favorite part of church. The two most prominent responses were food-based and some form of “[My congregation] can’t because they already serve me well.” Other responses included promoting youth leadership: “It could send a youth leadership newsletter for opportunities such as those mentioned in the meeting at the UUA.” “More opportunity for youth leadership.” “Get the kids more involved in everything and tell us all about what’s going on in the general congregation.”…

What Would You Change with YOUR Magic Wand?

Posted by Bart Frost // October 1st 2015 // 2014 Youth Ministry Survey, Featured Youth, Future of Faith, Guides and Tools, UUA // no comments


Youth Perspective on What We Need to Do Better One of the questions we asked the youth who visited the Unitarian Universalist Association UUA was, “If you had a magic wand, what would you change about your church?” This question – although seemingly frivolous – was intended to see what needs youth had that their congregation wasn’t serving. Instead, the responses showed us the aspirational vision our youth have for their congregations. Because of these responses, we added another question: “How could your church better serve you?” We shared the responses to these two questions with the leaders of the youth’s congregations. The “magic wand” questions elicited some fantastically detailed responses from our youth. Their…

Favorite Parts of Church and Why

Posted by Bart Frost // October 1st 2015 // 2014 Youth Ministry Survey, Featured Youth, Future of Faith, Guides and Tools, UUA // no comments


Youth’s Favorite Parts of Church As you can see by the chart on the right, there is a very clear winner in terms of what youth enjoy the most about church. 44% of youth prefer youth group over every other aspect of congregational life. This isn’t new information; we’ve known that youth prefer the opportunities for community and connection that youth group provides. We also know that youth group serves young people’s needs regarding identity formation and community participation. Social events, religious education, and coffee hour follow youth group as the most popular activities (15%, 14%, and 11% respectively). These programs serve very similar needs as youth group in meeting the social needs of youth. Religious…

What Youth Do at Church… and Why

Posted by Bart Frost // October 1st 2015 // 2014 Youth Ministry Survey, Featured Youth, Future of Faith, Guides and Tools, UUA // no comments


Youth Participation As mentioned in the previous post in this series, this survey has some flaws. The first question we asked was a check-all-that-apply, “When I attend church, I go to…” that had five possible responses: The worship service, Religious Education classes, Youth group, Coming of Age, and Our Whole Lives Because we didn’t define the time period, we don’t know if this comes from the last year, last six months, or just gives a general sense of preferences. It was left to the respondent to decide what church attendance means to them. There is also no qualitative data to back up the data we have. We don’t know why they responded the way they did….

What Do UU Youth Do In Their Congregations?

Posted by Bart Frost // September 29th 2015 // Featured Youth, Future of Faith, Guides and Tools, UUA // one comment


 The Results are in! Last year, we asked youth who visited the headquarters of the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) in Boston, MA to fill out a brief survey about the ways they were involved in their congregation. 351 middle and high school aged youth filled out the survey answering questions like “What programs do you attend at your congregation?,” “What is your favorite part of church?,” and “If you had a magic wand, what one thing would you change about your church?” Introduction The purpose of this survey was to create a small picture of what programs our youth  participate in at our congregations. We asked questions like: Do you attend Sunday morning worship? Coming…

GoldMine: 5 Lessons Learned (By An Adult)

Posted by Bart Frost // August 25th 2015 // Events and Opportunities, Featured Youth, Guides and Tools, Stories and Voices, UUA // no comments


THESE FIVE TAKEAWAYS WILL GET YOU MINING FOR GOLD This summer was a busy one for us in the Office of Youth and Young Adult Ministries at the Unitarian Universalist Association. After General Assembly, I spent a week at Edmonds Unitarian Universalist Church in Edmonds, WA as staff at PNWD GoldMine Youth Leadership School. I was invited to lead workshops about Race, Identity and Oppression for the youth leaders, a section that had not been consistently run in the past. I also assisted in other ways necessary, including leading a credo group. Here are my top takeaways from this experience: 1. Youth want to go deep in to Unitarian Universalism Our youth want to go…

Spotlight: UUs of Wellesley College

Posted by Annie Gonzalez Milliken // August 3rd 2015 // Featured Young Adults, Spotlight, Stories and Voices // no comments


Consistency is Key Rosemary Dodd is a student at Wellesley College and was very involved in youth leadership in her Unitarian Universalist(UU) community back home in California. She is part of the UU student group at Wellesley, supported by a UU chaplain, and she can see the difference it makes coming to a school with an active and supported UU group on campus. “I think it helps to keep me balanced and gives me an opportunity to stay connected to my spirituality, especially since being UU has been so key to my identity and focus before Wellesley; it creates some continuity, which so many of my other UU young adult friends have struggled to find.”…