UU 2023: Innovative Young Adult Ministry

Benjamin Hosking and Ginger Furey are lifelong Unitarian Universalists and co-founders of the largest congregation-based Unitarian Universalist 20s and 30s group in Southern California, at Neighborhood Unitarian Universalist Church of Pasadena. They have grown from four to forty active participants, and from small spiritual discussion group to weekly programming and an expansive community.

In this video, they tell their story to the Rev. Summer Albayati.

Key Points

A dozen young adult UUs sitting in a circle around a chalice on comfortable furniture in a lounge area surrounded by windows at night. They are smiling and facing the camera.
  • Spirituality First, Potlucks Second: The success of congregation-centered Young Adult Ministry comes from addressing the intimate spiritual needs of 20 and 30-somethings to build a tight-knit faith community, before launching into social activities. We come to church for spiritual community first. The potlucks come after that initial bonding.
  • The Snowball Effect: Once regular spiritual programming is in place, social events can percolate. Potlucks, holiday celebrations, etc. came AFTER regular twice-monthly spiritual discussion was in place. Most of these activities are organic, self-sustaining offerings of members who are bonded by our spiritual core of faith, fellowship, and friendship. We build the structural scaffolding, but it’s up to the UUs within to welcome one another into social fellowship.
  • Growth: The important thing is that these young adults are active in congregational life, not a separate group from church or unaffiliated. There is real conversion from attendance to pledging and volunteerism.

Learn more at the UU 2030 website!

Congregational Interconnections Logo with a colorful circle of butterflies?/birds?/chalices? with one just outside the circle, ambiguously flying in or out of the circle.

Congregational Interconnections Series

Our Congregational Interconnections Series includes stories, resources, ideas, and practices shared by congregations in the spirit of creative interchange, group learning, and emerging practices. Does your congregation have something that is working well? Please let us know so we can share it!

Share Your Story or Idea! Email: leaderlab@uua.org

About the Authors

Summer Albayati

Summer, whose last name is pronounced el-bay-EH-tee, is a UU Muslim of Iraqi descent who brings extensive experience in leadership development, strategic planning, multiculturalism, curriculum development/programming, outreach, organizational development, grant writing, interfaith dialogue, confl...

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