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a young white woman with long blonde hair looks down and walks forward, while young adults form rows on either side with hands outstretched

Youth cross the "bridge" into adulthood at the Synergy Bridging Service at General Assembly 2013.

Bridging from Youth to Young Adulthood

Unitarian Universalists recognize that the transition from youth to young adulthood is a moment to be celebrated, a process to be supported, and requires a lifelong commitment from all of us.  We use the term “bridging” to refer both to the ritual used to honor this transition and the process of leaving youth community and finding one’s place in young adult community.  UUs of all ages can support young people making this transition by increasing our capacity for multigenerational ministry and reaching out to emerging adults.

A Moment

The bridging ritual is often celebrated during a worship service in our congregations, in youth communities, and at camps and conferences.  We also celebrate bridging nationally during the Synergy worship service at our annual General Assembly.  In preparation for this celebration, some communities work through the Bridging Handbook.  In addition to planning the ceremony, many communities purchase simple gifts for the bridgers to take with them.  You can check out the UUA bookstore for ideas, such as a copy of Becoming or a campus ministry kit.

A Process

Like many transitions that young people go through, bridging can be joyful, sad and challenging.  There are many ways to navigate this process and stay connected with Unitarian Universalism.  Emerging adults can find a congregation or other young adult ministry in your area, learn about campus ministry or join the Church of the Larger Fellowship.  You can also join a UU young adult group on Facebook, sign up on the Young Adult Leaders List, read Blue Boat or follow our Facebook page to stay connected.  And don’t forget to check the HubCalendar for young adult events!

A Lifelong Commitment

UUs of all ages are called to support newly bridged young adults in finding faith homes.  Our congregations can reach out to emerging adults (PDF), which may include engaging in campus ministry (PDF). From multigenerational pastoral care to using Coffee Hour Caution (PDF), we can make our congregations more welcoming to emerging adults and work to build a faith for all of us within, between and beyond congregations.

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For more information contact youngadults@uua.org.