Please visit our NEW Youth Ministry Facilitators Page to learn about our new regional initiative to build congregational capacity for excellent youth ministry in New England!
Adolescence is a dynamic time of self discovery rich with opportunities for faith development. According to the discipline of psychology, the three major tasks of adolescence are Identity (who am I?), Autonomy (what makes me special?), and Affinity (to whom and with whom do I belong?). As spiritual communities, there is much that our congregations can offer in service to our youth as they engage in these questions as an exercise in faith formation.
Our Whole Lives (OWL), explores sexuality, relationships, and values-based decision making grounded in our shared faith. OWL curricula are designed to meet the developmental needs for bodily integrity and physical and moral good health for age groups beginning in Kindergarten and moving all the way up to adulthood. Co-written by Unitarian Universalist and United Church of Christ educators, the curricula have been hailed by many as a model in both civil and religious circles. May OWL graduates report that the frank conversations and forthright information infinitely more helpful and effective than their high school health and sexuality classes. OWL facilitators (one male- and one female-identified) attend specialized trainings to lead the classes. Congregations with small numbers of youth sometimes partner with congregations in their close geographical region to create a workable sized group for an OWL class. For more information, visit the OWL pages on the UUW website.
Coming of Age is an opportunity for in-depth faith development and theological exploration for youth in early adolescence. Many congregations have their own traditions and curricula for Coming of Age programming. It frequently includes intentional mentoring from an adult member of the congregation (not the youth's parent) who has been screened and who is trained by the religious educator or minister.
Click here for Worship Web resources to create a Coming of Age culminating worship service.
Click here for the Coming of Age Handbook for Congregations, written by MBD minister Rev. Sarah Gibb Millspaugh.
As youth prepare to become young adults, and often leave their homes and congregations, a Bridging Program and ceremony can provide an additional faith formation milestone and an opportunity to welcom new young adults into the fellowship of lifelong Unitarian Universalism. Many congregations design their own bridging ceremonies for graduating high school youth. It is important to remember that our ministry extends to youth who are leaving to attend college, youth who are remaining at home and entering job searches, and youth who are planning to earn GEDs or completing their homeschooling.
Click here to read the UUA's Bridging resources.
Click this link to find:
The UUA has a number of helpful resources. First and foremost, you should subscribe to the blog of the Office of Youth and Young Adult Ministry, called Blue Boat. You can also read current and archival issues of the monthly Youth Ministry News.
District Library materials:
The district office has some great resources, including library materials that can be checked out of the district office in Watertown for free. You can check out the whole library here.
Specific books we recommend for Youth include:
- Building Your Spiritual Home
- Moving Beyond Icebreakers
- Youth Advisors Handbook
And for High School RE:
- Considering Your Options Youth OWL
- Dare to Know
- Growing Together
- Heresy Apparent
- Life Issues for Teenagers Youth OWL
- Next Time She'll Be Dead
- Our Whole Lives
- Sacred Threads
- Sexuality and Our Faith - Grades 10-12 Youth OWL
- Thinking the Web
- Truth and Meaning
- Worth and Dignity of All People
For more information, please contact
kbellavancegrace [at] uua [dot] org (Karen Bellavance-Grace )
Director of Faith Formation
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