“The closest UU congregation is far away and I don’t have a car”
“There’s no UU group at my college”
“I work the brunch shift Sunday mornings but I still need spiritual community”
“I miss the peer connection of youth group.”
“I was raised UU, now I want to go deeper into my faith.”
Have you ever heard an 18-24 year old Unitarian Universalist say anything like that? I know that I have heard, read and seen statements like these time and time again in my role as Young Adult and Campus Ministry Associate at the Unitarian Universalist Association. Our emerging adults are hungry for connection and faith formation even as they face many obstacles to staying in or finding new UU community. There are many ways to address this un-met need, from shifting our larger culture toward true multigenerational engagement to helping individual bridgers navigate the transition out of youth culture.
One brand new way our office is trying to help is with a program called Meaning Makers. Meaning Makers is a yearlong spiritual development program for emerging adults that combines in-person retreats, virtual small group ministry and mentorship. The first class of Meaning Makers will meet June 6th-9th at UBarU Ranch in Texas. From there they’ll meet monthly online to discuss the themes in the young adult meditation manual Becoming and also meet individually with a UU mentor, closing the year off with another retreat in June 2017. They’ll explore what integrity looks like for them as they move into adulthood; who they are and how they can live their UU faith in the world.
The application to join the program is due February 29th so spread the word! I am so excited to see how this experiment works and what these emerging adults will bring to the experience. Thanks to the generosity of UUA donors, support from the Southern Region of the UUA and the fundraising work of UBarU this program should be accessible to a wide variety of folks including those with limited financial resources. I cannot wait to be surprised by what questions and resources bubble up as we embark on this journey together.
Rev. Annie Gonzalez Milliken is a lifelong UU from the midwest and serves our faith as Young Adult and Campus Ministry Associate for the Unitarian Universalist Association. She currently lives in Boston with her partner Lucas, their baby daughter Moira and two housemates. A firm believer in both traditional and new ministries, she is a member of First Parish Dorchester, founded in 1630, and The Sanctuary Boston, created a few years ago.