At our celebratory service on September 16th, we heard about the power of one person’s commanding dream to form a partnership with another Unitarian congregation in Transylvania. Twenty years later it’s amazing to see how that dream has impacted so many of us. The seeds she planted – not so long ago – are allowing all of us to enjoy an ample harvest of friendship and congregational vitality.
A few years ago our youth shared with me that they wanted to get more involved in the larger congregation and Unitarian Universalist movement. It has taken a few years of planting seeds, recruiting and training youth leaders and adult allies, but it feels like we are finally enjoying the harvest. Here is a selection of ways that our youth are getting involved:
- Our youth are providing ways for community-building. The Coming of Age class is offering monthly lunches after second service as their annual fundraiser. The Youth Group is making dinner for our adult Spirit In Practice class as a way to welcome adults into the church on Sunday evenings.
- Our youth are active members of the Social Action Committee and getting more involved in different projects.
- Erin, a high school sophomore, is working with UU Legislative Ministry of NJ to get more teenagers involved. She presented her proposal for a UULMNJ Youth Council to their Board in September, and she is now meeting with other congregation’s Youth Groups to build the momentum.
- Building off the momentum of our 2012 MLK Day Interfaith Youth Training, the Summit Interfaith Clergy Council has invited youth from our houses of worship to plan and lead the annual Interfaith Thanksgiving Service. In early September, our youth – Allison, Sarah & Hazel – met with youth from St. John’s Lutheran Church, the Jewish Community Center and Christ Church to begin planning. It is the beginning of the Summit Area Interfaith Youth Council.
- Two of our high school graduates – Emma and Russell – spent their summer interning at the UU – United Nations Office in New York City. They greatly enjoyed their work there. Consequently, Russell recruited Colby, Sarah and Samantha to serve as Youth Envoys.
- After our successful trip to Transylvania, youth delegates Hayley and Ben are interested in joining the Partner Church Committee to grow our partnership.
- Soon you will also see youth as liturgists at Sunday morning worship services!
It’s very exciting to see our community change and grow in this way. What’s amazing about planting seeds is that you don’t really know which ones will take root, bloom and flourish. Nevertheless you have to be willing to plant.
What harvest are you currently enjoying? What seeds are you planting for the future?