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Bridging from Youth to Young Adulthood

Synergy- Bridging

Youth cross the "bridge" into adulthood at the Synergy Bridging Service at General Assembly 2013.

Unitarian Universalists recognize that the transition from youth to young adulthood is a moment to be celebrated, a process to be supported, and requires a lifelong commitment from all of us.  We use the term “bridging” to refer both to the ritual used to honor this transition and the process of leaving youth community and finding one’s place in young adult community.  UUs of all ages can support young people making this transition by increasing our capacity for multigenerational ministry and reaching out to emerging adults.

A Moment

The bridging ritual is often celebrated during a worship service in our congregations, in youth communities, and at camps and conferences.  We also celebrate bridging nationally during the Synergy worship service at our annual General Assembly.  In preparation for this celebration, some communities work through the Bridging Handbook.  In addition to planning the ceremony, many communities purchase simple gifts for the bridgers to take with them.  You can check out the UUA bookstore for ideas, such as a copy of Becoming or the guide Worship for Young Adults.

A Process

Like many transitions that young people go through, bridging can be joyful, sad and challenging.  There are many ways to navigate this process and stay connected with Unitarian Universalism.  Emerging adults can find a congregation or other young adult ministry in your area, learn about campus ministry or join the Church of the Larger Fellowship.  You can also join a UU young adult group on Facebook, sign up on the Young Adult Leaders List, read Blue Boat or follow our Facebook page to stay connected.  And don’t forget to check the HubMap in the sidebar for young adult events!

A Lifelong Commitment

UUs of all ages are called to support newly bridged young adults in finding faith homes.  Our congregations can reach out to emerging adults (PDF), which may include engaging in campus ministry (PDF). From multigenerational pastoral care to using Coffee Hour Caution (PDF), we can make our congregations more welcoming to emerging adults and work to build a faith for all of us within, between and beyond congregations.

Ruth Hinkle gives a YA@GA sponsored GA Talk on going beyond bridging.

Bridging A Handbook for Congregations

By Gail Forsyth-Vail, Jessica York

From inSpirit: The UU Book and Gift Shop

Bridging will enhance your Youth and Young Adult Ministry programs, and help make the process of becoming a young adult a spiritually fulfilling community event for your congregation.

Buy This Book

Becoming A Spiritual Guide for Navigating Adulthood

By Kayla Parker

From Skinner House Books

A spiritual companion for young adults and all who live amid transitions and tensions. Dozens of carefully selected readings address themes that are prominent for people in their twenties and early thirties.

Buy This Book

This volume of reflections and readings created by and for UU young adults is a perfect companion for bridgers.

The HubMap

This map displays UU young adult groups and campus ministries. Don't see one where you are? Add a pink marker to show your interest in finding other UU young adults!