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#61 of 86 Old 02-14-2010, 06:10 PM
 
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Some days I really really wish there was anybody else near my age in our congregation. I'm the youngest person there who isn't brought my their parents. There's a couple teenagers, a few in the under 7 set, and a 3 month old.

Our minister and a couple other folks are in their mid/late thirties and then basically everyone else is 50+. I love multigenerational stuff, but sometimes it's hard to be the youngest person trying to participate. People just think I'm cute and nice but don't seem to think I can really engage in anything meaningful with them. Whenever I try to say things like "when I was younger" SOMEBODY will jump in with some comment about how I'm still really young.
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#62 of 86 Old 02-14-2010, 09:04 PM
 
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Some days I really really wish there was anybody else near my age in our congregation. I'm the youngest person there who isn't brought my their parents. There's a couple teenagers, a few in the under 7 set, and a 3 month old.

Our minister and a couple other folks are in their mid/late thirties and then basically everyone else is 50+. I love multigenerational stuff, but sometimes it's hard to be the youngest person trying to participate. People just think I'm cute and nice but don't seem to think I can really engage in anything meaningful with them. Whenever I try to say things like "when I was younger" SOMEBODY will jump in with some comment about how I'm still really young.
This is a huge thing for me in our UU churches. The age and the white people thing. Does your church have outreach type events that could attract younger people? Social justice issues maybe? Or the ability to host artistic and cultural events? Maybe a young adults monthly group can be formed with other local UU's from neighboring churches?

I've been told at my church how mice it is to hear a younger perspective when I have anything to say at church. I'll be 40 this summer. And how pathetic is it that really, I am one of the younger members of the church?
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#63 of 86 Old 02-14-2010, 10:00 PM
 
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Well, we live in Maine, so the white people thing is kind of a given. I mean, the fact that our minister is half-Indian is really about as diverse as we get.

But the age thing is really, really hard for me. Maine is old. Maine is white. Maine is pretty rural. Combine those things and you don't have a great, diverse, young congregation.

Our congregation is small, around fifty people on any given Sunday. Some days there's some younger (late thirties) folks around, but there are days like today when we have a guest minister so only the hardcore folks show up. A lot of folks tend to not show when there's a guest minister.

LITERALLY, except for two of my (early thirties) friends who left as soon as the service was over, I was the only person between the ages of seven and fifty two.

I'm 22.
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#64 of 86 Old 02-15-2010, 10:07 AM
 
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ziggy-- Wow! Well one thing, props to you for at least still going to the services despite the age differences and such. Do you have any friends or family members that would possibly be interested in going with you? The race thing I can't relate to because my church is in St. Paul so we have some diversity. But the age thing I can understand! Do you usually go alone then? How long have you been going?

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#65 of 86 Old 02-15-2010, 11:14 AM
 
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I got a couple of friends to try it once, but they made it pretty clear that they were going for me, not because they wanted to explore other religions.

I go every week and have been for about four months. I really enjoy it, and I'm not going to stop going. Sometimes it's just hard.

I live over 3000 miles away from my family, so it's not likely that I'll be getting any of them to go any time soon. And my college is VERY not religious. At all. I can name MAYBE 3 people who go to church even very occasionally.
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#66 of 86 Old 02-15-2010, 12:11 PM
 
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Aww!!! I'm sorry dear well if I knew you and lived in Maine I would go with you! lol. Because I'm near your age too. Hm... =/ Wish we had more ideas for ya!! Good luck!! Maybe try recruiting more people? Start a group at your school and find the religious people who could just be hiding!!??

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#67 of 86 Old 02-15-2010, 04:27 PM
 
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I hear you Ziggy. My DH and I have a similar situation at our church. We're in our late 20's and most of the congregation is 40+ or under 12. What really sucks sometimes is the way they cluck over us and think they have a right to know every detail of our lives just b/c we met there and they got to see some of our courtship.

I don't know what to say about attracting more young people, but one thing that really helped me feel more comfortable with the congregation and to make real friends was joining a covenant group. Are there any small groups in your congregation that meet once or twice a month where you could get to know some of the other members more personally?

Also, getting involved as a volunteer and becoming known that way helped me feel more comfortable, too.

Just sharing my experience, take it for what its worth. HTH

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#68 of 86 Old 02-15-2010, 05:49 PM
 
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I've gotten pretty involved. There aren't any small ministry groups but there are talks of starting some. And I do know some of the members really well. I generally get along with folks, I just feel like I'm in SUCH a different life space than everyone else there.

But I helped cook the religious education breakfast the other morning, and I've had coffee with a couple of members at various times. And I chat with a couple of them on facbeook all the time. Sometimes I just wish there was somebody else there that was closer to college age than retirement.
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#69 of 86 Old 02-15-2010, 06:13 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I did not know that! How awesome! That would be fun to learn more about, definitely!

So since I'm still kind of new with the whole UU-ness, are there different branches for it or what? Like, UU Christian, UU Agnostic, etc? Or how exactly does that work?

There are people who self-identify as UU Christian, UU Buddhist, and lots of other things. There are also people who simply think of themselves as Unitarian Universalists with no additional label. I usually like to put myself in this last camp, but I have been known to describe myself as an agnostic Unitarian Universalist on occasion. It is my impression that most UU congregations are made up of individuals with all these different ways of labelling themselves and more besides. I think there are very few congregations that would define themselves as something other than just Unitarian Universalists as a whole, so not branches exactly, but there are groups for UUs with a particular approach to spirituality such as Christian or Pagan.

How does it "work"? Well, that's the interesting part. In my opinion it works through a dynamic process of people intentionally engaging with people who don't necessarily believe the same things with the hope of both people growing spiritually. I think this kind of interaction is integral to being a Unitarian Universalist. My minister gave a sermon on this very topic in 2007 You can read the sermon here. Look at the first paragraph of the sermon itself and you'll see what I mean. Keep in mind, of course, that I don't consider this sermon a definitive answer to the question of "how does it work"? but rather my minister's perspective of how it could work. Or ought to work. Or does work in our congregation. Some of the time. Or something . . .

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#70 of 86 Old 02-15-2010, 06:49 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Some days I really really wish there was anybody else near my age in our congregation. I'm the youngest person there who isn't brought my their parents. There's a couple teenagers, a few in the under 7 set, and a 3 month old.

Our minister and a couple other folks are in their mid/late thirties and then basically everyone else is 50+. I love multigenerational stuff, but sometimes it's hard to be the youngest person trying to participate. People just think I'm cute and nice but don't seem to think I can really engage in anything meaningful with them. Whenever I try to say things like "when I was younger" SOMEBODY will jump in with some comment about how I'm still really young.
I am lucky that my congregation has a great mix of ages, but I know what you mean about being the youngest. I am an avid bridge player and most of the time I am the baby of the group and I'm 40! My regular partner has kids who are older than me.

I think artgoddess and gfreelishy have a great idea about some sort of outreach or recruitment. The UUA has a few resources for campus ministry. You might also enjoy reading this talk given by a lay member of our church who is also a professor at a local university (she quotes some of her students and talks about research done on the spirituality of adults in their 20s).

I am glad you are going to keep going to your church and that you are enjoying attending despite the age discrepancy. Good luck if you try to entice some more people closer to your own age!

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#71 of 86 Old 02-17-2010, 12:21 PM
 
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There are people who self-identify as UU Christian, UU Buddhist, and lots of other things. There are also people who simply think of themselves as Unitarian Universalists with no additional label. I usually like to put myself in this last camp, but I have been known to describe myself as an agnostic Unitarian Universalist on occasion. It is my impression that most UU congregations are made up of individuals with all these different ways of labelling themselves and more besides. I think there are very few congregations that would define themselves as something other than just Unitarian Universalists as a whole, so not branches exactly, but there are groups for UUs with a particular approach to spirituality such as Christian or Pagan.

How does it "work"? Well, that's the interesting part. In my opinion it works through a dynamic process of people intentionally engaging with people who don't necessarily believe the same things with the hope of both people growing spiritually. I think this kind of interaction is integral to being a Unitarian Universalist. My minister gave a sermon on this very topic in 2007 You can read the sermon here. Look at the first paragraph of the sermon itself and you'll see what I mean. Keep in mind, of course, that I don't consider this sermon a definitive answer to the question of "how does it work"? but rather my minister's perspective of how it could work. Or ought to work. Or does work in our congregation. Some of the time. Or something . . .
Oh! Well that makes sense, about the different "branches" of the UU-ness. I think if I had to identify I'd be agnostic too.

And I am totally going to read that sermon! But that's probably why I like the UU churches the most in general is because there can be people from all different beliefs and views, but they're all coming together to celebrate the spirit and such despite the slight differences. Woohoo! Ha.

~Lisha
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#72 of 86 Old 03-11-2010, 06:32 PM
 
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Hi everyone! I'm going to try this again...I went to the local UU (West coast of Canada) last summer and it was very interesting, sat in on a Sunday School session. Did notice a bit of lack of diversity of ethnicity and age, but was ok with that as most people were friendly enough.

I'm going to try again with my DH in tow this time - I went with a friend the first time around. My 'thing' is wanting to build a community for the kids...of families who celebrate and embrace diversity, and are striving to become good...humans

Q - is there any 'community' building in UU churches, eg. dinner circles, etc.?

TIA
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#73 of 86 Old 03-11-2010, 08:32 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Cascadian!

I'm glad you are here.

Regarding community building in UU churches: absolutely!

Of course, I must always add the caveat that all UU congregations are different, but in my church we are all about the community building. After service to the outer community and/or Social Justice work, I would say community building within the church is our next most important thing. First off we have Wednesday night programming during the school year which starts off with a dinner each week and then there are choices of activities for adults and kids that change from month to month. Just last night I attended a Nia class at my church. I had never heard of Nia before. Very cool!

We have something called "Silver and Gold Suppers" that pairs up longtime members of the church with newer members (maybe two families or couples of each in a group?) and I believe they have monthly dinners for six-months to a year and then regroup. We have a women's potluck group that meets monthly and a men's group that does something monthly. We have several lunches and gatherings for new members and people contemplating joining throughout the year. During the summer we usually have two or three church picnics/barcecues that are great for the kids. For more focused spiritual discussion and forming connections we have Small Group Ministry. There are lots of other ways to engage and make connections too.

I hope you find what you are looking for at your local UU. Good luck!

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#74 of 86 Old 03-11-2010, 08:37 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Is anyone planning on attending General Assembly this year?

I am tempted to go because it probably won't be this close to me again for a long time, but it is hard for me to justify the expense. I have never attended a GA before.

Anyone have any thoughts to sway me either way?

Thanks!

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#75 of 86 Old 03-11-2010, 09:01 PM
 
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Thank you Adele Mommy I hope that our local UUC does those...I will report back when I go. Reading these threads closely
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#76 of 86 Old 03-12-2010, 11:27 AM
 
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Hey fellow UU-ers!

So, I was in class the other day (I'm studying abroad in Granada, Spain right now. It was my oral and written class I was in) and someone was talking about an issue that usually isn't allowed in churches because it doesn't follow the religion. Then a girl in my class brought up the UU church and how it's excepting of everyone and our teacher had never heard of it (since she's from Spain and it's mostly Christian based religions here)! So we looked it up online for her to show her what the UU church is all about; I was proud to say I was a part of it!!!

Just had to share that story with you all!

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#77 of 86 Old 03-12-2010, 02:42 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Great story!

Thanks for sharing, Lisha.

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#78 of 86 Old 03-13-2010, 10:31 PM
 
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Is anyone planning on attending General Assembly this year?

I am tempted to go because it probably won't be this close to me again for a long time, but it is hard for me to justify the expense. I have never attended a GA before.

Anyone have any thoughts to sway me either way?

Thanks!
If you can swing it I'd say go. I grew up going to GA and as a child it was always great. The last adult experience I had was 2004 in Long Beach. there is something so amazing about being together with THAT many UU's from all across the country. You really get a sense of belonging to something bigger more than any other thing I can think of as a UU. I'm trying to find a way to pay to go to our District Assembly the end of June.
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#79 of 86 Old 03-18-2010, 11:09 PM
 
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I'm pretty excited right now. This weekend I'm going to this Sexuality Education and Advocacy Training conference put on by the Unitarian Universalist Association, the United Church of Christ and the Religious Action Center for Reform Judaisim. I really hope it goes well. The schedule looks really fun!
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#80 of 86 Old 03-18-2010, 11:14 PM
 
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I'm pretty excited right now. This weekend I'm going to this Sexuality Education and Advocacy Training conference put on by the Unitarian Universalist Association, the United Church of Christ and the Religious Action Center for Reform Judaisim. I really hope it goes well. The schedule looks really fun!
Wow!!! That sounds absolutely wonderful!!!

Let us know how it goes, please??

~Lisha
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#81 of 86 Old 03-18-2010, 11:32 PM
 
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I went to a UU Church for the first time the Sunday before last, and am thinking about going back this weekend (I was busy last Sunday with some Real Estate stuff.) I had to cut out early because of a personal emergency, but I really enjoyed meeting everyone and listening to the messages that were preached, they really seemed to resonate with me and reflect human values rather than specific, doctrinal values. The people were very nice and interesting. This group was mostly very elderly folks, and I was wondering if this was normal, as there didn't seem to be anybody my age (23) there at all.

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#82 of 86 Old 03-19-2010, 12:59 AM
 
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I lurk around here but I'm coming out to ask a question:

Can you link to congregations that have podcasts or post sermons online? I'd really like to be able to read and study the UU sermons in my free time.

Thank you Adele Mommy for the link to the sermon you posted. It made me hungry for more.

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#83 of 86 Old 03-19-2010, 01:58 AM
 
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You can find lots here

hth
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#84 of 86 Old 03-20-2010, 01:05 AM
 
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That is excellent, thank you. I never would have thought that there would be such an organized list.

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#85 of 86 Old 03-21-2010, 06:18 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Spring is (finally) here! No matter what I may think from looking out my window.

Come join us at the new Spring Unitarian Universalist Thread.

Adele

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#86 of 86 Old 03-22-2010, 03:38 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I went to a UU Church for the first time the Sunday before last, and am thinking about going back this weekend (I was busy last Sunday with some Real Estate stuff.) I had to cut out early because of a personal emergency, but I really enjoyed meeting everyone and listening to the messages that were preached, they really seemed to resonate with me and reflect human values rather than specific, doctrinal values. The people were very nice and interesting. This group was mostly very elderly folks, and I was wondering if this was normal, as there didn't seem to be anybody my age (23) there at all.
Welcome, frontierpsych!

I kept meaning to craft a response to your post and then Spring came and it was time to start a new thread. I am going to post a reponse in the new thread. I hope you come join us there.

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