Introducing Ember Kelley - Youth and Emerging Adult Ministry Central East liaison from Lifespan Faith Engagement

Jennica here from the office of Lifespan Faith Engagement with an update about the ways the UUA is here to support your endeavors in youth and emerging adult ministries. We now have a full team of 5 regional liaisons and an events coordinator and are able to plan strategically and get a rhythm to our work.

Please welcome Ember Kelley who is your new youth and emerging adult liaison for the Central East Region. She has a wealth of experience in religious education and congregational organizing and has the leadership development portfolio for Lifespan Faith Engagement. Ember will be:

  1. Attending LREDA chapter meetings to get to know your ministries.
  2. Available for consultations on safety and organizing for your congregational ministry and events.
  3. Helping you connect with one another as we rebuild youth and emerging adult ministries together.
  4. Providing registration templates or helping to run your registration for your events.
  5. Connecting you with seed money for growing your community ministries.

Check out a list of supports Lifespan Faith Engagement offers. 

Hello CER Folks!

The image shows Ember, a 35 year old trans woman, standing at a pulpit, smiling in front of a microphone. She is wearing glasses and a green dress. Behind her is a circular stained glass window in many colors, and two hanging lights.)

I’m so excited to be joining the Lifespan Faith Engagement team, and so excited to be working with the Central East Region. I find that this region has a lot of personal connections in my life: I have family in Pennsylvania and Ohio, was born in Maryland, raised for the first four years of my life in Virginia, and now have lived in New Jersey for 4 years while working in New York City. So on some level it feels meant to be!

Before joining the LFE team, I have worked at Fourth Universalist Society as Director of Religious Education, and the Unitarian Church of Staten Island as Visiting Minister. I’ve spent time teaching abroad in Vietnam, as well as doing congregational based work in Grand Rapids, Michigan. I am also a 2018 graduate of Chicago Theological Seminary.

My life experiences have instilled in me a thirst for continuous learning and growth, as well as a desire to share big ideas in relatable terms. My passions encompass a wide range of issues, including social justice, LGBTQ+ issues, LGBTQ+ religious inclusion, religious trauma recovery, mindfulness, self-understanding, digital minimalism, and community building through education.

As I begin my work on this time, I am reminded that I feel my life calling is centered around building community- especially a community that encourages belonging and is empowering for youth and emerging adults. I am hoping to help cultivate sustainable youth leadership practices, and helping to envision new ways of doing religious education in these changing times. I’m so excited to journey alongside you.

After I get oriented with Congregational Life regional staff and with the LREDA chapters I'd love to connect one on one- so watch for my calendly in the late summer/early fall!

Ember Kelley
ekelley@uua.org