Spirituality and Worship
Nourishing the spirituality of young people is a key function of Unitarian Universalist communities. Our faith tradition holds diverse theological perspectives and supports a variety of spiritual practices. Through worship, ritual, small group ministry and other practices, Unitarian Universalist (UU) youth and young adults can find support, inspiration and transformation in our communities.
Unitarian Universalists worship in a variety of ways and so do our young people! From traditional Sunday morning worship to the classic circle worship known in youth and young adult communities, younger UUs attend and create meaningful worship experiences. Young UUs tend to find participatory and emotionally moving worship compelling, but just like UUs of other ages, we are diverse and appreciate many theologies and worship styles.
Because Unitarian Universalism comes from the Protestant Christian tradition many UU congregations hold worship services on Sunday mornings and use a traditional Protestant format with hymns, readings, prayer or meditation and a sermon. However, every UU community is different so worship styles and practices vary widely. Check out a congregation near you and experience what they have to offer!
Many UU congregations and communities also hold worship at times other than Sunday morning and use formats other than the traditional Protestant style. Contemporary worship, contemplative worship, and vespers are just some of the possibilities. Youth and young adults might also hold worship among their peers in youth groups (PDF) or young adult groups (PDF), in campus ministries or at conferences, camps, trainings and other gatherings. Youth can deepen their faith by attending a Spirituality Development Conference or Summer Seminary.
Get Your Worship On
Planning a worship? Try these resources:
- Worship Web (searchable database of UU worship materials of all kinds).
- Unitarian Universalist hymnals: Singing the Living Tradition, Singing the Journey and Las Voces del Camino
- Becoming (book of readings, reflections and hymns for UU young adults).
- Voices from the Margins (meditations by people of color).
- InSpirit series (a collection of UU books of readings, meditations, poetry, etc.)
- Transitions and Rituals (spiritual resources for times of change)
Small Group Ministry
Many UU communities offer small group ministry as a way to deepen connection and spirituality. Small group ministry is also a great practice for youth groups, young adult groups and campus ministries. All you need are some committed participants, a strong facilitator and a curriculum, prompt, or series of questions. Through careful listening and intentional sharing young people can explore meaningful questions and strengthen their own commitments.
Plan a Small Group Ministry
- Covenant Group Manual (PDF) (a “how to” guide for creating a covenant group)
- Finding Your Path (PDF) (a popular young adult curriculum)
- Sharing the Journey (a popular youth curriculum)
- Tapestry of Faith (a wide variety of UU religious education materials that can be adapted to small group ministry)
- Small Group Ministry Network (a group dedicated to providing small group ministry resources)
- Discussion Guide: Grappling with the First Principle (PDF) (based on video sermons by Summer Seminary students)
- Discussion Guide: What is God?" (PDF) (based on video sermons by Summer Seminary students)
Virtual and Personal Practice
Virtual spiritual communities, such as Church of the Larger Fellowship, can enhance our lives whether we have an in-person group we also attend or are unable to participate in local UU community life. The Worship Web mobile app is a great tool to keep on hand as well.
Developing a personal spiritual practice is also a healthy part of spiritual life. UUs draw on six sources for our theology and these sources can inform our practices. Spiritual practices can take many forms, as shown in the Spirit in Practice curriculum or as practiced in the UU Wellspring program. Whether you feed your spirit by keeping a gratitude journal, meditating in silence, singing, studying a text, building an altar, creating your own new practices, or one of the thousands of other ways UUs connect to the sacred, spiritual practices nourish our lives.