Tuesday, February 12, 2008

UUA to end funding of Continental YRUU Leadership Structures

Just read about changes to UUA funding of continental YRUU leadership structures on iminister. A quick search led me to the new YRUU UUlogy blog.

While I'm sad to see the change, I've worked with many ministers, DRE's, youth advisors and youth leaders who would love to see funding for more staff to directly support congregational based programming. It would be great to find an amazing and seasoned youth advisor who has gone on to become a minister and pay her to support & develop material for all us locals.

I think we need to treat our youth ministry as seriously as we treat our adult ministries. We need high quality staffing by people who are grounded in experience in congregations. From my experience I can understand the move by the UUA to flip their support from continental everything to support for the congregational level. That's the mandate.

Hopefully this will lead to amazing events and conferences about kick @$$ youth ministry.

Letter from the continental YRUU Steering Committee:

To whom it may concern,

As the continental YRUU Steering Committee, it is with great sorrow that we inform you that on June 30, 2008 the UUA will cease to fund YRUU youth activities at the continental level. Therefore, Youth Council will not be held this summer or in the years to follow and YRUU Steering Committee 2007-2008 will be the last. The UUA will continue to fund and support Youth Caucus at GA and the Chrysalis training program. The work of youth ministry within the UUA will shift to a congregationally based focus.

This change has been in the works for several years. At the Long-Range Planning Meeting in 2003 between YRUU and the UUA, a "Common Ground III" was proposed. “Common Ground” is in reference to the two meetings in the early 1980's that dissolved Liberal Religious Youth (LRY) and created Young Religious Unitarian Universalists (YRUU). The Common Ground III resolution, drafted in consultation with Bill Sinkford and the Board of Trustees, stated that further goal setting and re-imagining of youth ministry and YRUU was needed. At Youth Council 2004 consensus on the resolution of Common Ground III was blocked preventing it from passing, and in the following months the UUA Board of Trustees convened the Consultation to and with Youth that conducted a survey and congregational, district, and stakeholder conversations related to UU youth ministry. The Consultation process culminated with the Summit on Youth Ministry in July 2007. The Summit resulted in a vision for the future of UU youth ministry that focused largely on congregationally based programs. To carry out this vision, the Youth Ministry Working Group was formed, charged with implementing the objectives outlined in the Summary Report on Ministry to and with Youth. The Youth Ministry Working Group has a heavy UUA staff presence but also includes volunteer members, four of whom are youth. The working group held its first meeting February 8-11, 2008.

Although official YRUU structures will cease to exist at the end of June, youth programming on the district and congregational levels will continue relatively unaffected. Current youth resources available from the Office of Youth Ministries will continue to be available.

YRUU Steering Committee will now be advocating for the creation of a strong continental youth leadership body that would have the explicit goal of serving congregations and that would be empowered to direct the resources of the Office of Youth Ministries. We will also be advocating for support of anti-racism/anti-oppression work within youth ministry. The YRUU Steering Committee calls on the UUA to support the Groundwork collective of trainers, the Youth Social Justice Training (YSJT), and identity-based ministry groups like DRUUMM YaYA.

As representatives of the larger UU youth community, we value feedback on our blog at http://uulogy.blogspot.com/. Thoughts, memories, rants, and love notes are appreciated and welcomed. There you will also be able to find current information about the youth ministry transition process.

In Love, Struggle, and Faith,

YRUU Steering Committee

Elisabeth Moore
Rose Roberts
Will Floyd
Kimberlee Tomczak
Kasey Neiss
Paul Rickter
Noah Hurowitz

UPDATE: Feb. 18 Letter from Rev. Bill Sinkford clarifying situation....