UU Youth Explore Their Passion for Ministering
Summer Seminary for Unitarian Universalist Youth
Faith Development, High School-Aged Youth Faith Development

Come to Summer Seminary!

The 2019 Summer Seminary application is now OPEN! Deadline is Monday, May 13th and space is limited, so please apply NOW!

Summer Seminary is a program where Unitarian Universalist youth explore the possibility of becoming a religious professional. Focused on personal discernment and collective inquiry of diverse forms of ministry including parish, lay, community, religious education and music ministry, this 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.

Whether youth enter professional ministry or not, they leave Summer Seminary with a stronger connection to their capacity for ministering from Unitarian Universalist Sources, Principles, and values.

Summer Seminary 2019 is at Iliff School of Theology in Denver, CO from July 23-29, 2019. It is open to those who were in grades 10-12 (or the equivalent for home-schooled youth) during the 2018-2019 school year, including those who bridge into young adulthood in the spring/summer of 2019. 

"To minister means to attend to the needs of others. No matter my path to ministry, I know that the ways that I'm involved with Unitarian Universalism will (continue to) attend to the needs of others. 
Being in Chicago, visiting one of Unitarian Universalism's only theological schools, and preaching in places of worship like the Unity Temple and First U Chicago, gave me a greater appreciation of Unitarian Universalism. A lot of the time, especially when I was younger, I didn't realize how many people there were out there like me -- in love with our faith and determined to work with it to make it better. Being at Summer Seminary, along with nineteen other inspired youth, ministers, scholars, religious educators, chaplains, and those involved in every aspect of our faith, deepened my connection to Unitarian Universalism. I know that this is mine."

— Kari Gottfried, Class of 2018

"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 campus of our host school.

Each morning we gather to center ourselves and prepare for the day with a spiritual practice. Many of the days we eat, play, study, and worship together on campus, and toward the end of the week we head out into our host city to explore and dine out.

Workshop sessions on discernment and calling, planning worship, religious education, history, chaplaincy, exploring different forms of ministry or preaching are taught by our faculty each day. Ample time is left for solitude, reflection, and 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 throughout 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 worship. Toward the end of the week we will visit a local ministry unique to the area for an on-the-ground experience of ministry in community. 

Preach On and Sunday Service

Each student gets to express and share their passion and faith through a homily written by them and presented to their peers from the pulpit of our host congregation on Saturday night. Collectively the group selects several homilies they think best represent our time at Summer Seminary. Those homilies are delivered at the Sunday service of our host congregation, which is led by our students, giving them the experience of ministering to other Unitarian Universalists.

For more information about Summer Seminary including stories from previous participants, read the Blue Boat blog-posts for Summer Seminary.

Apply to Summer Seminary

Deadline is Monday, May 13, 2019 and space is limited, so please apply NOW!

Summer Seminary 2019 Application—the final deadline is Monday, May 13; applications will continue to be accepted until the program is full.

Preview the 2019 application as a PDF so you can prepare your answers ahead of time.

The two-part application process includes the 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 Summer Seminary $525, which covers all programming, lodging and food. You do not need to pay when you apply. Scholarships and need based travel grants are available through the generosity of our donors, and the Unitarian Universalist Annual Program Fund (APF).

Parent/Guardian Questions

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.

For more information contact youth@uua.org.

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