Beginning Conversations about Race with Youth

Posted by jennicadavishockett // February 2nd 2016 // Guides and Tools, Stories and Voices // no comments

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Sheila Schuh, Director of Religious Education at First Unitarian Church of Rochester, NY recently told us about an innovative idea to bring people together across congregations to start a dialogue about racial justice. The youth in your congregation could be a catalyst for a multigenerational conversation to explore their and their neighbors’ identities and experiences with racism.  Here’s what Sheila has to say about this youth group experience: On a Sunday in November, First Unitarian Church of Rochester hosted youth groups from ten area churches in a viewing of I’m Not Racist… Am I? If you haven’t seen it yet, the film is a feature documentary engaging 12 teenagers from New York City to come together for one…

Giving Youth Access to Life-Changing Resources

Posted by T. Resnikoff // January 29th 2016 // Featured Youth, Stories and Voices // no comments

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Embarking on a life of ministry An Open Letter to UU Ministers and Religious Professionals, Three summers ago, I had the absolute privilege of attending Summer Seminary as part of its pilot year in Boston. Summer Seminary is a program run by the Unitarian Universalsit Association (UUA) that brings youth together from all over the country to learn about becoming religious professionals. These youth share a passion for ministry, religious education or music ministry. Throughout the program they learn from seminary faculty, UUA staff, and current religious professionals about all the pieces that go into a life of religious service. My year, we had speakers who shared about their social justice centered UU community ministry. This…

Challenged to Explore New Horizons By Religious Pros

Posted by Bart Frost // January 20th 2016 // Featured Youth, Future of Faith // no comments

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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…

APPLY TO THRIVE BEFORE FEBRUARY 15!

Posted by T. Resnikoff // January 19th 2016 // Events and Opportunities // no comments

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THRIVE HERE Save the dates!  Thrive Youth West is July 9-13, 2016 at First Unitarian Society of Denver and Thrive Youth East is July 27-31, 2016 at Cedar Lane Unitarian Universalist Church in Bethesda, Maryland! “Being able to bond with other people of color within the UU faith was honestly something that brought joy and hope to my heart, and makes me feel much more connected in my faith.” — Rhea, alum ’15 “I am grateful for you and the UUA for giving him the space to openly discuss and gain insight with other UUs of color. I think this experience has changed his perspective on whether he fits in this faith.  He is now ‘one of many’ instead of being…

Illuminating Leaders – Alex Jensen

Posted by jennicadavishockett // January 19th 2016 // Featured Young Adults, Featured Youth, Stories and Voices, UUA // no comments

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LUMINARY ALUM ALEX JENSEN WANTS TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE… And he’s well on his way to making that a reality. Alex is a graduate of the first ever Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) Summer Seminary in 2013. Summer Seminary was a very important experience for him, as it helped him discern and answer his personal call to the service of others and learn more about what he wanted to do in his future career. He is curious about Military Chaplaincy. Previously, at Future Leader Camp, he explored how his Unitarian Universalist values fit with the military while learning survival and leadership skills. Alex now attends California State University in Monterey Bay, majoring in Human Communication with…

Star Wars, Crisis of Young White Masculinity, and UU

Posted by Bart Frost // January 13th 2016 // Future of Faith, Issues and Trends // one comment

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!SPOILER ALERT! The following post contains spoilers for Star Wars: The Force Awakens, but it’s a month after the movie was released in theaters so it’s not our fault if you haven’t seen it. -Ed. Friends, we are currently suffering a crisis of identity for young white men in America. This crisis of identity is not new, but it has reached a boiling point. For the past 50 years, we have been moving towards a more progressive society and this has led to greater awareness of white privilege, male privilege, and the convergence of the two. As society takes greater strides to bring gender and racial equity, we’ve seen a pushback by white men. I…

Religious Professionals Made a Difference

Posted by Bart Frost // January 12th 2016 // Events and Opportunities, Featured Youth, Future of Faith // no comments

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Hello Friends, My name is Kirbey Geissler and I’m writing to tell you about my experience with Unitarian Universalism (UU), specifically Summer Seminary. Summer Seminary is a week-long introduction to what being a religious professional could look like for a group of 15-20 youth. Though the focus is on ministry, the youth are also exposed to other religious professional opportunities, such as religious education, music, and more. I attended Summer Seminary this past summer of 2015. A year or so prior, I had been contacted by Rev. Tandi Rogers, a minister and religious professional from my district, who told me she saw something in me and thought I should apply. I didn’t meet the deadline…

Being Stewards and Living Generously

Posted by Bart Frost // December 18th 2015 // Future of Faith, Guides and Tools // no comments

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One of the best things about church is that it is an intentional community where you can live your values. In a world where almost everything is based on a transactional “fee-for-service” system, church is one place where things operate differently. A church shares its services with you joyfully, until you decide that you feel ready to give joyfully back. Giving is an important part of the mutual relationship we have with our churches and with all of the people in our faith. One of the things I’ve noticed throughout the years is we always expect adults to give, but sometimes we forget that younger generations in our congregations want to live generous lives too!…

Taking a Small Risk for Big Growth

Posted by Bart Frost // November 25th 2015 // Future of Faith, young adults, youth // 6 comments

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How Smart Congregations Grow Members This summer at the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) General Assembly, our Youth Media Volunteers interviewed a number of youth about their personal histories with Unitarian Universalism. As I reviewed their footage, something stuck out to me. Almost all of the youth said something along the lines of “I’ve been a member since I was two,” or “My whole family has been members since my parents got married in our church, before I was born!” Our interviews at General Assembly reminded me that membership is more than just signing a book and making a pledge. Being a part of a community is about relationships, it isn’t about signing the membership book…

Summer Seminary Hires Three New Staff Members

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

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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…