The following letter was posted publicly on the UUA Youth Advisor email list. I’m posting it here for the benefit of many in the Geneva congregation who don’t subscribe to any UUA email lists.
March 18, 2005
The UUA Board directed that a consultation on our ministry to and with youth be convened. We (Bill Sinkford, UUA President and Megan Dowdell,youth trustee at large) were asked to serve as co-conveners. The first step of that process occurred February 25th and 26th in Essex, Massachusetts. We gathered thirty youth and adults from across the Association to outline a process that would help Unitarian Universalism redefine and recommit to youth ministry. Participants included youth members of the YRUU leadership, youth who do not take part in YRUU activities, parents, youth advisors, ministers, religious educators, and UUA Administration, Staff and Board Members. A complete list of the participant and their roles are attached to this letter.
Working intensively over two days with an outside facilitator, the group identified five priorities to be addressed. These are:
* Youth Ministry needs to be served at a more robust, flexible, diverse level than YRUU currently offers.
* Denominational youth work needs to serve local congregations and their youth ministry.
* YRUU and UUA administration need to define an authority structure that respects the rightful role of institutional youth and adult leadership at the same time that it supports the growth and empowerment of all UU youth.
* Anti-racism and anti-oppression work is an important part of youth ministry, although there is not only one way of doing it, and the “right” way depends on individual identities. We need to move this work ahead.
* There needs to be more and better communication among continental, district, and local levels, and within congregations.
Together, the group generated preliminary ideas for how these five issues should be addressed and who should be involved in addressing them. A smaller group was charged to synthesize the ideas into one coherent plan. This subcommittee will meet in late April to create a draft plan. Key stakeholder groups will then have the opportunity to respond to the proposal before it is finalized. The goal is to have a viable process finalized by August of 2005. It is expected that implementing the process will take one to two years to complete.
Information about each stage of the process will be shared as the work moves forward.
Rev. William Sinkford and Megan Dowdell
CONSULTATION PARTICIPANT LIST
Jova Vargus YRUU Steering Committee
Lehna Huie YRUU Steering Committee
Sean Fletcher YRUU Youth Council Member
Sean Jones YRUU Youth Council Member
Al Jensen YRUU Youth Council Member
Sara Eskrich Non-YRUU Youth
Dana Dwinell Non-YRUU Youth
Jessica Potts-Mee Non-YRUU Youth
Kelsey Pitcairn Non-YRUU Youth
Michael Salandrea Non-YRUU Youth
Julian Sharp Youth Observer to the Board
Brian Kuzma YRUU Program Specialist
Beth Dana Incoming Youth Ministry Associate
Megan Dowdell Youth Trustee to the Board / Co-Convener
Paul Richter UUA Board Member
Rev. Makanah Morriss LREDA and UUMA Representative
Mandy Keithan LREDA Representative
Janice Marie Johnson DRUUMM Representative
Emily Mitchell Parent
James Buckner Parent
Phillip Pike Canadian Youth Advisor
Frank Filz Non-YRUU Youth Advisor
Rick Roehlk Adult YRUU Steering Committee Member
Dori Davenport UUA District Staff
Judith Frediani Director of Lifespan Faith Development
Jesse Jaeger Youth Programs Director
William Sinkford UUA President / Co-Convener
UT Saunders Independent Consultant
Ethan Field Youth Office Assistant