Summer Seminary for Unitarian Universalist Youth
Summer Seminary is a program for Unitarian Universalist youth exploring the possibility of becoming a religious professional. Focusing on discernment and exploring various forms of ministry including parish, lay, community, religious education and music ministry, the program offers youth the opportunity to learn about life as a religious professional, and connect with other youth passionate about Unitarian Universalism considering religious professional career paths.
Summer Seminary 2019 will take place at Iliff School of Theology in Denver, CO (dates have not yet been set; check back here for more details as they are available). It is open to those who were in grades 10-12 (or the equivalent for home-schooled youth) for the 2018-2019 school year, including those who bridge into young adulthood in the spring/summer of 2019.
"It's like an awakening. You get a chance to understand more than just the faith, or just the possible occupations, you get to learn about the communities built and the relationships made, and the infinite beauty that is our faith. For some, it's a way to look into the faith from a new perspective, and for others, it's a renewal."
—Melissa Priese, Class of 2015
A Typical Day at Summer Seminary
You will be supported by four staff members for the week. Meet the 2018 staff team. You'll experience a taste of college dorm life as you spend a week on the campuses of our host schools.
Each morning we’ll gather to center ourselves and prepare for the day with a spiritual practice. Many of the days we'll eat, play, study and worship together on campus, but towards the end of the week we'll get to explore our host city and dine out.
We will have workshop sessions on discernment and calling, planning worship, religious education, history, chaplaincy, exploring different forms of ministry or preaching taught by our faculty each day. We'll have plenty of time for solitude and reflection as well as unstructured social time.
Students will be prepared and trusted to navigate the campus in small groups of three. Students will belong to a “care group” that meets in the evening to reflect on the day and share what’s on their minds. Your care group will also support your self-care through the week, ensure everyone in the group makes it to meals and will be your travel group for site visits. These groups will also plan evening worships. Towards the end of the week we will visit a local ministry unique to the area.
Preach On and Sunday Service
Each student will be asked to write a homily and present it to their peers from the pulpit of our host congregation on Saturday night. Collectively the group will decide on a few homilies they think best represent our time at Summer Seminary. Those homilies will be presented at the following day's worship service, which will be run by our students.
For more information about Summer Seminary including stories from previous participants, read the Blue Boat blog-posts for Summer Seminary.
Apply to Summer Seminary
Space is limited, so please apply promptly. Applications for Summer Seminary open January 1st and the priority deadline is February 15th.
Summer Seminary 2019 Application - check back here for a link to the application on January 1st.
Preview the 2018 application as a PDF (only for reference).
The two-part application process includes an online form and a letter of recommendation.
Letter of Recommendation
You need to submit a letter of recommendation from a minister, religious educator or other religious professional. You can submit it with your application or your recommender can send it directly. Give this information page (PDF) to the person writing your letter. If you have difficulty meeting the requirement that your letter come from a religious professional, please contact us.
The cost to participants for 2018 Summer Seminary was $500, which covered all programming, lodging and food. You do not need to pay when you apply. Need based travel grants will be available through the Katie Tyson Fund. Through the generosity of our donors, the UUA Annual Program Fund, need-based financial assistance is available.
From time to time we hear from parents or guardians who would like to know more about the UUA's policies and practices for providing supervision or assistance during their youth's event, or what they can expect for their travel or lodging, before their youth enrolls. Check out the UUA Youth Event Travel Guidelines for Parents/Guardians (PDF, 2 pages) to learn how we support the youth entrusted to our care.
If you have a special situation, please contact us at youth [at] uua [dot] org or 617-948-4355 and we'll be glad to put you in touch with the lead coordinator for the event to discuss your youth's issue and how we can ensure they get the most out of their experience with the least amount of worry for you.