Jessica Laike named Mountain Desert Chaplain to Youth
The Pacific Western Region is pleased to announce the appointment of a new Mountain Desert Chaplain to Youth, Jessica Laike. Jessica is a lifelong UU and grew up attending the First Unitarian Church of Dallas and the UU Congregation of Santa Fe in high school. Active in UU leadership most of her adult life, Jessica recognized her call to religious education and youth ministry while teaching Sunday school classes as a young adult at her home congregation in Dallas. Jessica moved to Colorado in 2011 to pursue this call and since then has served as the Youth Program Coordinator at two congregations, adult advisor to the MDD YAC, General Assembly Youth Caucus staff member, Assistant Director for both QUUest and Spirit QUUest Camps, Summer Seminary Faculty and Leadership Development Specialist for the Mountain Desert District.
Jessica was chaplain trained in 2013 and has served as event chaplain for the MLK youth conference and as camp chaplain at Spirit QUUest Camp for the past two years. Jessica loves serving as the Director of Faith Formation at High Plains Church, Unitarian Universalist where she has been since 2012 and is currently on the faculty team for the upcoming PWR Youth Ministry Revival. Jessica lives in Colorado Springs with her husband, Josh, and their dog, Peanut, where they enjoy gardening, riding their bikes downtown and playing board games with friends.
PWR Youth Specialist Eric Bliss notes that “Mountain Desert and Pacific Western Region are both thankful to have a dynamic leader like Jessica in this role. Chaplaincy to our youth has a real impact in making our conferences safe and healthy communities, and their encouragement and support of youth helps to nurture the emerging leaders in our congregations and churches. Having seen her work in her congregation and the broader UU community, we know that Jessica will bring insight, compassion and energy to this position."
The Chaplain to Youth, a volunteer position, supports vibrant youth ministry in Mountain Desert congregations by helping to ensure well-organized, covenantal and healthy district conferences for high-school aged Unitarian Universalists. Their responsibilities include providing chaplaincy for youth using safe, best practice methodologies; perceiving and responding to the needs of the conference community as a whole; working as part of a team with other chaplains, worship planners and conference staff; and, understanding the legal and ethical considerations to ensure a safe and healthy youth community. The Pacific Western Region hopes to expand the Chaplain to Youth position to other areas in the coming year.