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The Cliff, the Bridge and Beyond in Unitarian Universalism

Many youth who grow up Unitarian Universalist experience a cliff between youth and adult UU life. How do we change and navigate this metaphorical landscape? This prezi offers a framework and resources for bridgers and supporters alike!

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Transcript of The Cliff, the Bridge and Beyond in Unitarian Universalism

But, we're not quite there yet...
Stay in touch
local UU group life
At their best, UU
are multigenerational in membership and leadership. Young adults can and do get involved with all aspects of congregational life!
Rope Ladder
intensive experiences
Hang Glider
UU milieu
so while we work on this...
...we still have all these ways to navigate the cliff!
youth-centered UU religious life
adult-centered UU religious life
- focused on youth
- co-led by youth and adults
- set apart from congregation
- different style of worship
- focused on adults and families
- led mostly by older adults
- standard Sunday worship

I just turned 18...
how do I get down there?

Once upon a time...
...there was a cliff
so some dedicated UUs
decided we needed a bridge!

bridging ritual
connections to new communities
youth-centered UU religious life
adult-centered UU religious life
a good move!
still, in an ideal world, we'd have less of a cliff and more of a multigenerational landscape...
multigenerational UU religious life
for children!
for youth!
for adults!
for young adults!
for elders!
...in the meantime...
Here are some ways to navigate the cliff!
youth-centered UU religious life
adult-centered UU religious life
youth-centered UU religious life
adult-centered UU religious life
youth-centered UU religious life
adult-centered UU religious life
youth-centered UU religious life
adult-centered UU religious life
new young adults can stay in touch
with their home UU communities whether they live near or far
- start or join social media groups for alumni of the youth program
bridgers can:
home communities can:
- send care packages to their bridged members for birthdays, holidays or final exams if in school
upon closer look...
...you can see this is a multi-lane bridge
the lane to congregations
- intentionally seek out young adult perspectives and ideas when planning events and programs

- find a congregation:
congregation members can:
bridgers can:
young adult groups
Many UU congregations or other communities have
or 20s/30s groups, designed for fellowship and mutual support. They may also engage in service, worship or public witness.
- support their young adult groups with space and funds

- find a young adult group:
uua.org/youngadults -> look for HubMap on the right side
community members can:
bridgers can:
the lane to young adult groups
campus ministries
UUs have over 50
at schools across the country. Some are student run, some are sponsored by their schools, others are supported by congregations, some have professional staff.
- start/support a campus ministry:
uua.org/campusministry -> Get Involved -> Create -> Campus Ministry Handbook

- find a campus ministry:
uua.org/youngadults -> look for HubMap on the right side
community members can:
bridgers can:
the lane to campus ministries
the lane to covenanting communities
covenanting communities
also appeal to young adults. These groups take many forms: small group ministries, worship communities, intentional living spaces, artist collaboratives and more!
- pay attention to young adult inclusion and outreach in their covenanting community

- seek a covenanting community in your area: try Google, Facebook and Meet Up to find one!

community members can:
bridgers can:
welcome to this UU experience!
new young adults can get involved with young adult camps and conferences, or multigenerational events such as camps, institutes, and general and regional assemblies
bridgers can:
- find camps and conferences they wish to attend
supporters can:
- be intentional about young adult inclusion and outreach in their gathering
some young adults stay in UU community by hanging out with UU friends, reading UU blogs, connecting virtually online or through mail and attending occasional UU events
bridgers can:
- get involved with the Church of the Larger Fellowship (CLF), a UU congregation without walls:
supporters can:
- donate to or otherwise support the Church of the Larger Fellowship (CLF):
- host reunions for alumni of their youth program
- welcome new young adults into leadership if local, or have them participate in worship during visits if far away
- reach out to members and leaders of home community for support
- come visit or attend when schedules and location allow
The bridge is made of local UU groups, but each lane is a different kind of UU group. Some are multigenerational and some are for young adults or students
- support young adults who show up: offer rides, childcare, help finding housing if they're new to town, etc.
- use "Coffee Hour Caution" when greeting:
uua.org/youngadults -> Quick Links -> Coffee Hour Caution
- attend a Faith Architects conference for leadership tools:
- build co-mentoring relationships with children or older adults in the congregation
- read about existing young adult ministries:
- focus on sustainable models of leadership for the young adult group; one person can't do it all!
- read about existing young adult ministries:
- start a young adult group: contact
for support
- collaborate with partners such as UU congregations, progressive student orgs, other faith groups, student life offices to support UU campus ministry
- start doing campus outreach: contact
for support
- read about existing campus ministries:
- start a campus ministry: contact
for support
- support expanding our Association to include covenanting communities along with congregations
- donate to support covenanting communities; many are on Faithify:
- learn more about emerging ministries:
- stay involved in camp and con communities in age appropriate ways (counseling children, bridging into young adult communities, etc.)
- reach out to new young adults between intensives to offer support
- donate to and otherwise support UU camps, conferences, institutes and assemblies
- CLF also does ministry to those in prison and those in the military; find more info on their site!
- check out our blog:
- learn about UU military ministry; 50% of enlisted members are under 26
- remember that young adults may be in prison, working abroad, or in isolated communities; long distance connection is invaluable!
I coordinate a service team that offers rides to folks of all ages who have transportation difficulties
I lead a Religious Exploration class on daily spiritual practices for all ages
I help lead worship and choose music as a junior worship associate
I co-facilitate a small group ministry for ages 14+ with a youth facilitator
I work with the minister to plan multigenerational public witness events for issues our youth group votes on
The cliff, the bridge, and beyond
a tale of Unitarian Universalist landscapes
brought to you by the Office of Youth and Young Adult Ministries
of the
Do I even want to?
so whoever you are, whatever your age
we hope you'll join the
in changing our UU landscape in the long run
and improving our methods for navigating the cliff in the meantime!
Full transcript