September 16, 2008
I am excited to share with you recent positive developments
in the transition in our Unitarian Universalist (UU) youth ministry. Based on feedback from the UU youth
community and other key stakeholders last spring, we have worked over the summer
to enhance the voice of youth on the Youth Ministry Working Group (YMWG). I am delighted to announce that six
youth and two youth advisor positions have been added to the group, bringing the
total representation to ten youth, two youth advisors, and eight other adults
(including young adults).
As you may know, the YMWG is charged with recommending to the
Unitarian Universalist Association’s (UUA) Administration and Board of Trustees
a new framework for UU youth ministry based on the 2005-2007 Consultation on
Ministry to and with Youth and the related Summit on Youth Ministry. The Working Group will help us make
concrete the vision of a youth ministry that is central to the mission of
Unitarian Universalism, offers multiple pathways for involvement, and is:
The process for selecting these new youth and advisor members
was developed during a productive meeting I had with the 2007-08 Young Religious
Unitarian Universalists (YRUU) Steering Committee at General Assembly this past
June. During the meeting, those
present agreed that the outgoing elected YRUU leadership, in partnership with
youth currently serving on the Working Group, would be tasked with choosing the
additional youth and advisors to serve on the YMWG.
With the support of the UUA’s Youth Ministry Office, the
2007-08 Steering Committee and YMWG youth conducted a wide-reaching application
process to select the new members from among over 50 applicants. Those selected will join the returning
members at the group’s next meeting from October 3-5 in Waltham, MA.
You can find a complete roster of the Working Group, including the new
members, at the related page of our UUA website.
In the midst of these developments, I am mindful that some
confusion remains about the status of continental YRUU and the state of current
services to and programming for UU youth in our Association. Let me try to provide some clarity.
First, it is true that YRUU as a continental organization has
effectively ended. In April, the
Board of Trustees of the Association approved a 2008-09 budget that shifted
funding previously allotted to the YRUU Steering Committee and Youth Council to
the development of new youth programs and support for the charge of the Youth
Ministry Working Group. Thus, for
the time-being, the mantle of continental youth leadership has been passed to
those youth ably serving on the Working Group who for the next year will help to
shape the future of our Association’s youth ministry. Of course, representative youth
leadership continues at the district and congregational level throughout our
I know that for those UUs whose experience in our faith has
been positively shaped by participation in Continental YRUU, its end may bring
with it some measure of disappointment and hurt. Despite the broad consensus
that the current structure for continental youth ministry was not serving our
faith well, there is sadness in saying good-bye and uncertainty about what comes
Also, since the term “YRUU” is now used to describe many
local youth groups and district gatherings, the news of Continental YRUU ending
has, in some cases, been mistaken as a message that all youth programming in our
Association is suddenly ceasing.
This is certainly not the case.
The decision to end Continental YRUU will not affect local or regional
“YRUU” groups or gatherings. To the
contrary, a key goal of this transformation is strengthening our congregational
youth ministries and nurturing the role that districts and inter-district
collaboration play in successful youth ministry.
Further, it is important to note that core UUA-level services
to youth are being and will continue to be provided during this interim period
in youth ministry including Youth Caucus at General Assembly, the Chrysalis
training program, web resources, curriculum development and youth ministry
Many of you are wondering: what comes next? And indeed, our UU youth ministry is in
a liminal space as we embark on this intentionally interim year. We stand between what has been and what
is yet to be. In-between places
like these present us with uncertainty for sure, but also with tremendous
possibility. It is my hope that we
can use this time to generate excitement about the future of our youth ministry,
as we allow the Youth Ministry Working Group to carry out its charge.
Befitting the twenty-five year history of Young Religious
Unitarian Universalists, we will have a chance to honor and celebrate this
important organization and all of its accomplishments at General Assembly 2009
in Salt Lake
will also be an opportunity to acknowledge those who have served in its
leadership from its inception in 1983 through 2008.
In the meantime, I look forward to keeping you apprised of
further developments in youth ministry throughout the year. You can also sign up to receive regular
updates about the process by contacting the Office of Youth Ministry at firstname.lastname@example.org.
William G. Sinkford
For more information contact email@example.com.
This work is made possible by the generosity of individual donors and congregations.
Please consider making a donation today.
Last updated on Thursday, October 25, 2012.
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