Wednesday, October 19, 2005

BUYAN!


Hopefully one of the signs of emergence in our faith is a commitment to minister to young adults. Becoming relevant to our society is more than young adult ministry, but young adult ministry has to be a big part of it. So we've now launched BUYAN - the British Unitarian Young Adult Network. Here's an article I wrote that should be in the Inquirer very soon.


The journey of nine British Unitarian young adults to the Opus conference in Iowa this summer was only the beginning of the process of forming a viable young adult presence in British Unitarianism. Those of us who went on the trip have returned with a lot of ideas, and a renewed sense of confidence in our faith and our ability to work for young people in Unitarianism.

During the conference, and subsequent meetings, we have launched BUYAN – the British Unitarian Young Adult Network. It is hoped that BUYAN will act as an overseeing body for national young adult (aged 18 – 35) activities. The exact institutional organisation of BUYAN will be settled in the coming months and years. But for now we want to increase the visibility of Unitarian young adults in this country. The goal of BUYAN is to make sure that the Unitarian community is welcoming to young adults and to help young adults bring all they can into the Unitarian community. It is hoped BUYAN will be a support for:

· Senior Plus Weekends (for 18-25 year olds) – currently supported by Foy.

· A young adult pre-Annual Meetings conference every year.

· An annual national young adult conference and retreat.

· Young adult leadership training (in a range of areas including peer leadership and working with other groups as regards youth leadership and ministry).

· Promoting the young adult voice within the Unitarian community and promoting the Unitarian voice within young adult communities.

· Encouraging local congregations to increase young adult attendance, membership and participation.

· Campus Ministry bringing support and outreach to students in universities.

· Working with all other Unitarian groups to ensure young adult inclusivity and involvement in all aspects of Unitarian life.

· Building up young adult international links (with such groups as the Church of the Younger Fellowship, the International Association for Religious Freedom, the International Religious Fellowship, the International Council of Unitarians and Universalists, the Continental Unitarian Universalist Young Adult Network, the Francis David Unitarian Youth Association and any other appropriate groups)

· Ensuring strong links with all youth activities within the Unitarian movement, in particular, to assist in ‘bridging’ from youth to young adulthood.

We know that many young adults are interested in religion and spirituality. We know that young adults bring unique and important gifts to churches. We bring energy, ideas, enthusiasm and our life experiences. We bring our own sense of spirituality and a strong commitment to social justice. Many young adults do want to belong to a church. Many people who grew up Unitarian miss the intimacy and sense of fun and community they found as children and teenagers. Many other people discover Unitarianism in their young adult years, but are saddened to find there are no people their own age in local congregations. We want to do something about this.

There are many challenges in attracting young adults to churches. Young adulthood is a very transitional period in people’s lives. Young adults leave home, go to university, start new jobs and careers, travel a great deal nationally and internationally, start families of their own and discover who they are as people. All these things present unique challenges for young adult faith. Practically, young adults may only spend a few years in one place making it difficult to settle into the life of a church community. Also Sunday mornings aren’t always the most practical times for young adults to come to church. This is why it is essential to have a national network that can let isolated young adults in congregations know that they are not alone. BUYAN should also keep in contact with young adults that aren’t in congregations to keep them in touch with the Unitarian community during this time in their lives, so we don’t lose them completely.

We now have a good number of young adults who are passionate about our faith and committed to do some hard work. We need to unite to support one another, reach out to isolated young adults scattered around the British Isles and build a national commitment to halt the decline of young adult membership in this community. I believe this is possible. The time is now.

3 Comments:

Blogger Jaume said...

The ICUU biannual meeting is only 2 weeks away. Have you made any moves so that BUYAN has a presence and visibility in the gathering?

3:24 pm  
Blogger Radical Hapa said...

love the banner, and the overview of what is going on with your organizing. Congratulations all!

12:52 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

it looks like you made that banner in five minutes with A4 paper and a pack of crayola...

9:36 am  

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