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Future of Faith - November 2013
Transcript of Future of Faith - November 2013
Why are people
Social norms of church
Major upswing of religiosity in America in the post-war era
Weekly church attendance went from 31% in 1950 to 51% in 1957
Church norms come from this era
Changing life patterns
Traditional markers of adulthood (having children, getting married, buying property) are being delayed, reordered, or not happening at all
Younger generations tend to move more often
Lack of faith in institutions
Trust in government, corporations and banks is declining
Can institutions respond to society's challenges?
Institutional form is the cause, not a symptom
by Robert Putnam and David Campbell
"Second aftershock" led youth to turn against the rise of the religious right in 1990's
Closely tied to sexual and morality politics (gay rights, abortion, birth control)
Trust of clergy declining (Gallup)
1981: high trust = 63%
2012: high trust = 52%
Overall perception of hypocrisy
Unitarian Universalism and the
A religion of converts...
... so what happens now?
This logic has driven membership for the past 50 years, but seems unlikely to continue.
Unitarian Universalism *feels* like Mainline Protestantism
85-90% since 1970's
FACT: Every major demographic survey agrees on these trends
(Pew, ARIS, Faith Matters, GSS, Gallup, etc.)
How do these shifts impact Unitarian Universalism?
The Christian Corollary
Reasons young adults report leaving Christian churches (Barna Group study)
1) Churches seem overprotective
2) They experience Christianity as shallow
3) Churches come across as antagonistic to science
4) Church experiences related to sexuality are often simplistic, judgmental
5) They wrestle with the exclusive nature of Christianity
6) The church feels unfriendly to those who doubt
This is why they are not flocking
to Unitarian Universalist churches
Millennials don't see churches as relevant institutions
What is normal, anyways?
The Sunday Morning Decision
UU Fellowship of Beaufort
UU Church of Ogden
UU Fellowship of the Eastern Slopes
Davies Memorial UU Church
UU Fellowship of Mankato
UU Congregation of Peacedale
Westside UU Congregation (Seattle)
UU Church of Sharon
The UU Fellowship of Wayne County (OH)
Carbondale Unitarian Fellowship
All Souls UU Congregation (New London)
UU Fellowship San Louis Obispo County
Bull Run UUs
UU Area Church at First Parish (Sherborn)
Quimper UU Fellowship
Pacific Unitarian Church
UU Church of Peoria
First Parish in Bedford
First Unitarian Church of Des Moines
Unitarian Church of Harrisburg
UU Church of Bloomington
All Souls UU Church (Kansas City)
Unity Temple UU Congregation
The Unitarian Church in Summit
UU Church of Annapolis
White Bear UU Church
UU Congregation of Fairfax
First Unitarian Church of Albuquerque
All Souls Church, Unitarian (DC)
First Unitarian Church of Portland (OR)
The First Unitarian Church of Dallas
First Unitarian Society of Madison
Congregations are ideal labs for innovation and experimentation
...are a big group.
The Unitarian Church in Summit, NJ - Breakthrough Congregation video
How can we support innovation in our congregations and faith communities?
Improve youth retention
Free Range UU's
We already have the vision and leadership we need in our youth and young adults
Tell our story!
Remember, even though religious practice is changing...
...theological beliefs are consistent across generations.
There is still a hunger for spiritual engagement, if we can figure out how to meet it.
Help congregations evolve
Will Millennials display the boomerang effect with their kids?
Baby Boom Generation
of Millennials have no religious affiliation
Generational shifts are changing the American religious landscape.
Generations in our congregations
A place to connect in community, grow spiritually and help heal the world.
Offers courses in personal spiritual exploration and justice issues, as well as opportunities to gather using MeetUp
Join project of UU congregations in Denver, CO and South Bay, Los Angeles, CA
Weekly worship, mentoring and life coaching, online engagement, connected to UU Church of Annapolis
Offers youth-led and adult-supported social and educational programs for LGBTQ youth
Project of UU Wellesley, supported by neighboring interfaith congregations
No desire to join a church
Skew younger, male, whiter, more educated, higher income
Some atheists and agnostics, but still a minority
Fluctuating religious affiliation
Often have a family member active in church
More diverse in age, race, gender, income, education
legal standing and documentation
ideas and inspiration
volunteers and expertise
public standing and legitimacy
informal support and supplies
engage new people
serving our mission
raise our profile
Work through networks of key influencers
Use new technologies (speak the language), think visual and interactive
Be clear on who we are, what we do, and why it matters
Communication strategy for the entire faith
high quality production
every congregation is part of the whole
High attrition rate among born UUs (not unique)
Faith formation in high school has made progress
Pay attention to key "bridging" transition
New program for recently bridged young adults
Youth Conference-style spaces that build spiritual identity and pathways to the larger faith
Founded by former Continental UU Young Adult Network (C*UUYAN)
Focus on high quality spiritual experience
Dynamic, mission-driven organizations
Sustained lay and professional leadership
Public witness and justice work
Multigenerational and multicultural communities
Multiple, graduated pathways to engagement
21st Century Faith Formation
Quest for Meaning/
Church of the Larger Fellowship
Empower and support innovators
Explore new modes of faith community and exploration
Take advantage of technology
Fail fast, share results and scale up good ideas
Clear about religious identity AND open to other beliefs
Camps, conference centers, summer institutes
Winter 2011 online survey
UUs who are not current members of congregations
A Distinct Identity Helps Churches Remain Vibrant. (n.d.). Insights into Religion. Retrieved from http://religioninsights.org/distinct-identity-helps-churches-remain-vibrant
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Bowers, L. B. (2008). Designing Contemporary Congregations: Strategies to Attract Those Under 50. Cleveland, OH: The Pilgrim Press.
Brooks, L. G. (1960). Frederick May Eliot: Unitarian President. Retrieved from http://www.harvardsquarelibrary.org/unitarians/eliot_f.html
Brownstein, R. (2010, May 8). Young People Seek Shelter from the Storm. National Journal. Retrieved from http://www.nationaljournal.com/njmagazine/nj_20100505_2490.php
Commission on Appraisal, Unitarian Universalist Association. (2001, June). Belonging: The Meaning of Membership. Retrieved from http://www.uua.org/documents/coa/belonging.pdf
Cowtan, C. (2006, June). Faith Communities Today, 2005: Young Adults in UUA Congregations. Retrieved from http://www.uua.org/documents/congservices/fact/05_ya_report.pdf
Dawson, E. D. (2010, May 18). Report on Young Adult Ministry. Watertown, MA: Clara Barton and Massachusetts Bay Districts of Unitarian Universalist Congregations. Retrieved from http://www.cbd-mbd-uua.org/sites/default/files/documents/Report%20on%20Young%20Adult%20Ministry%20Eric%20D%20Dawson%202010-05-18.pdf
Duggan, M., & Brenner, J. (2013, February 14). The Demographics of Social Media Users—2012. Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project. Retrieved from http://www.pewinternet.org/~/media//Files/Reports/2013/PIP_SocialMediaUsers.pdf
Ford, J. (2013, January 22). Neo-Traditional Liberal Religion? A Sidewise Glance at a Unitarian Universalist Congregation. Patheos: Hosting the Conversation on Faith [Website]. Retrieved from http://www.patheos.com/blogs/monkeymind/2013/01/neo-traditional-liberal-religion-a-sidewise-glance-at-a-unitarian-universalist-congregation.html
Hout, M., & Fischer, C. S. (2002, April). Why More Americans Have No Religious Preference: Politics and Generations. American Sociological Review, 67(2), 165–190. Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org/stable/3088891
Hout, M., Fischer, C. S., & Chaves, M. A. (2013, March 7). More Americans Have No Religious Preference: Key Finding from the 2012 General Social Survey. Berkeley, CA: Institute for the Study of Societal Issues, University of California, Berkeley. Retrieved from http://issi.berkeley.edu/sites/default/files/shared/docs/Hout%20et%20al_No%20Relig%20Pref%202012_Release%20Mar%202013.pdf
Jones, R. P., & Cox, D. (2011, May). Doing Church and Doing Justice: A Portrait of Millennials at Middle Church. Washington, DC: Public Religion Research Institute, Inc. Retrieved from http://publicreligion.org/site/wp-content/uploads/2011/06/Millennials-at-Middle-Chirch-Report.pdf
Jones, R. P., Cox, D., & Banchoff, T. (2012). A Generation in Transition: Religion, Values, and Politics Among College-Age Millennials. Washington, DC: Public Religion Research Institute, Inc., and Georgetown University’s Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs. Retrieved from http://publicreligion.org/site/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/Millennials-Survey-Report.pdf
Kinnaman, D. (2011). You Lost Me: Why Young Christians Are Leaving Church . . . and Rethinking Faith. Ada, MI: Baker Books.
King, N. (2013). Ministry in the Age of Collaboration: Congregations in a Hyper-Connected Generous World. The Minns Lectures. Retrieved from http://www.minnslectures.org/2013Series.php
Kosmin, B. A., & Keysar, A. (2008). American Nones: A Profile of the No Religion Population. Hartford, CT: Trinity College. Retrieved from http://commons.trincoll.edu/aris/files/2011/08/NONES_08.pdf
Kosmin, B. A., & Navarro-Rivera, J. (2012, May 31). The Transformation of Generation X: Shifts in Religious and Political Self-Identification, 1990–2008. A Report Based on the American Religious Identification Survey 2008. Retrieved from http://commons.trincoll.edu/aris/files/2012/05/ARISGENX2012.pdf
Laderman, G. (2013, March 20). The Rise of Religious “Nones” Indicates the End of Religion As We Know It. The Huffington Post. Retrieved from http://www.huffingtonpost.com/gary-laderman/the-rise-of-religious-non_b_2913000.html
Lim, C., MacGregor, C. A., & Putman, R. D. (2010). Secular and Liminal: Discovering Heterogeneity Among Religious Nones. Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, 49(4), 596–618.
Mercadante, F. (2012, Summer). Engaging a New Generation. Lifelong Faith: The Theory and Practice of Lifelong Faith Formation, 6.2, 42–56. Retrieved from http://www.lifelongfaith.com/uploads/5/1/6/4/5164069/lifelong_faith_journal_6.2_summer_2012.pdf
Mercadante, L. (2012, June 13). The Seeker Next Door: What Drives the “Spiritual But Not Religious”? MTSO: Methodist Theological School in Ohio. Retrieved from http://www.mtso.edu/what-drives-the-spiritual-but-not-religious/
Mertz, A. (2010, June). Too Many Old Folks? Newsletter of the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of the South Jersey Shore, 12(6), 6. Retrieved from http://www.uucsjs.org/newsletters/news_2010_06.pdf
Muir, F. J. (2012, June 20). From iChurch to Beloved Community: Ecclesiology and Justice. Berry Street Lecture presented at the Ministerial Conference, Phoenix, Arizona. Retrieved from https://uuma.site-ym.com/page/BSE2012/
Odyssey Networks [Website]. (n.d.). Jefferson Bethke on Loving Jesus but Doubting Religion. Retrieved from http://www.odysseynetworks.org/video/jefferson-bethke-on-loving-jesus-but-doubting-religion
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Roberto, J. (2013). A Guide to 21st Century Faith Formation. Naugatuck, CT: LifelongFaith Associates. Retrieved from http://www.21stcenturyfaithformation.com/uploads/5/1/6/4/5164069/guide_to_21st_century_faith_formation.pdf
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Spiritual Activist Leadership Training
Young adults discern their path and deepen their spirituality as justice makers
Meet on weekends
Started by UU Legislative Ministry of California
Currently being duplicated in Boston area by UU Mass Action
Ogden Outreach Resource Center
Center for LGBTQ youth in Ogden, UT
Started by UU Church of Ogden
Profiled by UU World magazine
Generational shifts have happened before, and they will happen again. Recall the difference between a typical UU congregation in 1970 versus 2010.
This is not about changing who we are, it is about uncovering the truth of who we are as the world changes around us.
Go forth in faith!
How do these trends match up with what you are seeing in your community?
What do you hear in this congregation's story?
Started by UU minister in Washington, DC
Building network of neighborhood faith community circles
Opportunities for spiritual growth, shared meals, creativity, discussion, connection
What do you see in the faces of The Sanctuaries?
Using the lens of the Millennial generation, we see the changes that people of all ages yearn for in our congregations and faith communities.
Only modest changes in last three generations