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Copy of Future of Faith - May 2014
Transcript of Copy of Future of Faith - May 2014
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
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)
misconduct and declining trust
Norms about religion
Unitarian Universalism Across Generations
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 Protestant church
Every major demographic survey agrees on these trends
How do these shifts impact Unitarian Universalism?
Reasons young adults report leaving Christian churches
(Barna Group study)
1) Churches seem overprotective
2) Churches come across as antagonistic to science
3) Church experiences related to sexuality are often simplistic, judgmental
4) They wrestle with the exclusive nature of Christianity
5) The church feels unfriendly to those who doubt
UU's have no problem with 1-5, but 6 is our problem, too.
Millennials don't often see churches as relevant or helpful institutions
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
What can we imagine for our congregations and faith communities?
Improve youth retention
We already have the vision and leadership we need in our youth and young adults
There is still a hunger for spiritual engagement,
if we can figure out how to feed it.
Help congregations evolve
Will Millennials display the boomerang effect with their kids?
Lucky Few Generation
Baby Boom Generation
of Millennials have no religious affiliation
Millennials 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
Includes "free range UU's"
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
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
Streamlined lay and professional leadership
Public witness and justice work
Multigenerational and multicultural communities
Make it easy to participate in many different ways!
Empower and support innovators
Explore new modes of faith community and exploration
Take advantage of technology
Embrace artistic expression
Fail fast, share results and scale up good ideas
Clear about religious identity AND open to other beliefs
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.
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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
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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
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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
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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/
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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 Justice Ministry of California
Currently being duplicated in Boston area by UU Mass Action
Full Week Faith
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.
We are a bold people.
Go forth in faith!
How do these trends match up with what you are seeing in your community?
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 stages of life yearn for in our congregations and faith communities.
involve people throughout the week, not just on Sunday
All Souls New London, CT
Unitarian Universalist Church of Ogden, UT
First Unitarian Church
of Albuquerque, NM
Future of Faith
Why do we keep coming back?
about being UU:
A religion of converts...
85-90% since 1970's
6) They experience Christianity as shallow
What are we willing to for this faith?
Trust of clergy declining (Gallup)
1981: high trust = 63%
2012: high trust = 52%
A man goes to see the wise woman...
Glacier Circle Senior Co-Housing
What did someone else so that we could be here today?
Engage the margins.
@ Rowe Camp & Conference Center
When does the riskiest act become
doing nothing at all?