Transitions and Rituals for Youth

Young adults stand in a line with palms outstretched.

Unitarian Universalists believe in supporting our youth and young adults through times of transition. These life stages are full of changes which include loss, gain, confusion, and growth. Our faith offers resources to help us make meaning of the changes we may experience as youth and young adults.

Lifestage Transitions

It’s meaningful to mark the changes that come with growing older. Many UU congregations hold year long programs called Coming of Age for children who are becoming youth. The transition from youth to young adult is often marked by a bridging ritual in congregations, at camps and conferences and at our national General Assembly. It can also be meaningful to mark the transition out of young adulthood into the rest of adulthood. Some young adult gatherings honor this transition with a bridging ritual as well.

Relationship Transitions

Relationships with family, friends, and romantic partners are a huge part of our lives at any age. Youth and young adults may experience changes in their family structure as parents separate, find new partners, or add children to the family. Committing to romantic partners and ending committed relationships can also be a part of young adulthood. Starting to raise children through birth, adoption, or partnering with a parent brings big life changes, as does the loss that comes with the death of a loved one.

Changes in Home, Work, or Identity

As young people explore the world and their role in it, it is common for us to leave one home and create new homes in new places. Many youth and some young adults are students who go through the joys and challenges of starting a phase of education or graduating from a program. Work is also a part of being young and brings the changes of getting a new job or losing/leaving a job. Lastly, people of all ages may go through transitions in how they experience or express their identities including gender identity.

More Resources

Coming of Age Handbook for Congregations

By Sarah Gibb Millspaugh

From inSpirit: The UU Book and Gift Shop

Comprehensive guidebook for religious educators of adolescents...

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To This I Give My Heart A Coming of Age Journal

By Bart Frost

From inSpirit: The UU Book and Gift Shop

Coming of age in Unitarian Universalism is an important step on your path to adulthood—use this journal as a companion and tool on your journey.

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Becoming A Spiritual Guide for Navigating Adulthood

By Kayla Parker

From Skinner House Books

A spiritual companion for young adults and all who live amid transitions and tensions. Dozens of carefully selected readings address themes that are prominent for people in their twenties and early thirties.

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