CER Resources for Spirituality in Youth Ministry

hands holding flame

As a faith community, spiritual practice is at the core of what we offer each other. We know that spiritual practices of all kinds help us be our best selves, ground us in difficult times, even re-wire our brains to be more compassionate and less reactive. We practice spiritual discipline communally, as in worship, and individually. Both communal worship and learning individual spiritual practices are important!
During adolescence we are helping our youth “pack their backpacks” for their young adult lives. Helping them explore a range of spiritual practices, so they have the support of these practices now and so that they can turn to these practices in the years ahead is critical faith formation work. Read UUA staff Eric Bliss’s personal reflection for more.

Three Keys to Spiritual Development (from this UUCSJ program)

  • Attention...pay attention to the present moment
  • Intention...deliberate engagement of our will
  • Repetition...makes centering activity into a life fulfilling practice

How are these embodied in your youth ministry?

Best Practices

  • Include youth in your congregation’s worship and in youth centered worship
  • Support families in engaging in spiritual practice at home both with youth and younger children
  • Consider a full range of spiritual practices from the Eight Spheres of Spiritual Growth
  • Spiritual practices include interpersonal practices to truly live covenant including active listening and reconciliation. These interpersonal practices are frequently very important to adolescents and core to our theology of covenant
  • Consider spiritual practices that are explicitly for healing including healing prayer and releasing rituals
  • Include prayer--to whom is not important--many UU youth do not get exposed to prayer
  • Ideas to include: gratitude journal, guided meditations, studying a text, and traveling altars.

Neuroscience Resources

Some of the best new resources are coming from psychological and neurological researchers. This is information that can help change the lives of our youth.

Youth talk about spiritual practice

Justice and Resilience Resources

Justice centered spiritual practices are a key part of Unitarian Universalism. And spirituality is central to sustaining ourselves

Learn more

About the Authors

Evin Carvill Ziemer

Evin serves as the Developmental Lead for the New England Region. Evin holds a Masters of Divinity from Earlham School of Religion and Bachelor of Arts from Carleton College.

Shannon Harper

Shannon Harper joined the Lifespan Faith Engagement Office as Co-Director in the summer of 2022. Previously, Shannon worked with the Central East Region since the Fall of 2016.

For more information contact .

Evin Carvill Ziemer and Shannon Harper

Resources Curated by Rev. Evin Carvill-Ziemer (left), CER Program Manager for Youth Ministry and Shannon Harper (right), CER Youth and Young Adult Coordinator

2016 PWR Youth Ministry Revival: Spiritual Practices With Youth

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.

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Voices from the Margins An Anthology of Meditations

By Jacqui James, Mark D. Morrison-Reed

From Skinner House Books

An anthology of meditations. The inSpirit Series was previously known as the Meditation Manual Series.

Buy This Book

inSpirit Series of Meditation Manuals

From inSpirit: The UU Book and Gift Shop

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Spirit in Practice

By Erik Walker Wikstrom

From Spirit in Practice

The Spirit in Practice program was created to help Unitarian Universalists develop regular disciplines, or practices, of the spirit—practices that help them connect with the sacred ground of their being, however they understand it. 

Spirit in Practice