Spotlight On: Buckman Bridge
Buckman Bridge Unitarian Universalist Church in Jacksonville, FL is one of the two congregations awarded Anchor Congregation status in 2012. The other is the Unitarian Universalist Church of Davis, CA.
The only adjective that I can find to properly describe Buckman Bridge Unitarian Universalist Church’s young adult movement is swarming. Now for some reason that word has some negative associations. Probably because bees can be scary. But I’m not talking about a scary swarm here. I’m talking about an amazing swarm that swiftly created a highly functioning hive of its own and is now busy going to its neighbors and helping them build.
You also might notice that I called them a young adult movement, not a group. I totally put that definition on them, but to me they do really seem to be a movement, not just a group. They are constantly growing within their congregation, district, and the association on a national level.
They sent three of their founding leaders to General Assembly this year, all of whom were actively participating in a wide range of events, activities and conversations. They attended their District Assembly and got a table so that they could answer questions about how to starts a vibrant ya/cm group and share their own story. Their excitement is spreading, having seeped into district leadership who has asked them to help organize a district ya/cm presence. One member is now even serving on the District Leadership Selection Committee.
The young adults of Buckman Bridge are equally involved in their own congregation, serving on membership, re, social action, worship and welcoming committees. The Anchor Congregation and YA/CM Task Force is chaired by a young adult, and reports directly to the church board. The clear importance of this task force is one example of the incredible support the congregation as a whole has provided to their young adults.
There are three main groups that serve young adults specifically, all of which meet monthly: YA group meeting at congregation, campus ministry group meeting on campus, and lunch groups that meet after Sunday services.
In between meetings, the group stays in touch and handles business matters through a closed Facebook group, email lists, and a text messaging list. They also have a public Facebook page and website presence.
A group which began with 8 doubled within 6 months, and as they group wrote in their application, has moved from an affinity group to a blooming ministry.
I suppose that’s a nicer metaphor than a swarming movement.
My call to Buckman Bridge and other blooming ministries/swarming movements is to be here in 5 years. And 10, too. Continue to institutionalize your changes and ensure that they’re sustainable while you grow in size and depth. I hope you do not move so fast you burn out, and that you can be a guiding light to our association for many years to come.
Thank you for being such an inspiring movement to so many.