Inclusive Youth Group Dynamics
If you've found yourself here on Blue Boat it's a fairly safe assumption that at some point in your Unitarian Universalist
life, you've created a covenant
with a youth group
or religious education class
Eric Bliss, Youth Ministry Specialist for the Pacific Western Region
of the Unitarian Universalist Association
is a champion of covenant and works with groups all the time to create them. He notes that when we do this essential activity, it might at times feel...how do you say... tedious or awkward.
Eric says that covenanting is essential because, "Capital “C” covenant is the basis of our faith
. In other words, rather than doctrine or creed, how we choose to be in relationship with one another, including the promises that we want to make in community, are truly the foundation upon which our religion is constructed." Eric adds, "I would anticipate that a great many [folks] have also had that 'ho hum' covenanting experience when creating a set of norms upon which the class or group is to be mindful."
Creating covenants are a way of fostering an inclusive youth ministry
that can center introverts, believers, new youth, youth in the margins and other cohorts within youth community. There are two webinar opportunities in February to help your congregation deepen its strategies for inclusion. I recommend identifying a team of staff and volunteers who are passionate about creating inclusive environments for our children and youth to watch both of the webinars offered then spend some time together afterwards, sharing what you’ve learned.
On Tuesday, February 21, 2017, 1:00PM EST & Wednesday, February 22, 2017, 8:00PM EST, Eric Bliss will be co-presenting a Youth Ministry Training Series webinar with Natalie Briscoe, Congregational Life Staff in the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) Southern Region
and Larissa Hunt, young adult in the UUA Mountain Desert District
. You can register for either date at uua.org/ymwebinars
. During this Inclusive Youth Group Dynamics webinar they will be looking at creative, healthy ways to center introverts, believers, new youth, youth in the margins and other cohorts within youth community. They’ll also be sharing some REAL TOOLS for engagingly creating your group covenant, which by the way, will help do that very centering!
Also, on Tuesday, February 14, 2017, 1:00PM EST and Wednesday, February 15, 2017, 9:00 p.m. EST Melissa James, Alex Kapitan, Lisa Rubin, UUA Our Whole Lives
Program Associate Melanie Davis, and webinar host Gail Forsyth-Vail are facilitating a webinar titled "Supporting Gender-nonconforming Children and Their Families
You can register for either date at uua.org/re/teachers/webinars
. Discover some ways to support and welcome gender-creative and transgender children and their families in our congregations. Learn practices and resources that can enrich faith development for children of all genders.
So don’t miss out. Sign up for both today with a team of volunteers and staff from your congregation (or neighboring congregations!)