UU “Americorp” Starts up

John Smith and Christina Larson-Wille (who I know from seminary circles in Boston) are working to develop a year round Unitarian Universalist Year of Service and Spirituality.  They are planning to start with a Summer of Service pilot project next summer 2006.  Sounds like it will have an Americorp feel, in terms of doing community based work for low pay.  Meaningful work but at a minimum wage, hopefully livable, probably with some cooperative housing, shared food, mass transit options.  I am excited by this prospect and hope to get more information to share here as well as with the community of UU Campus Ministry that I staff.  Bill Sinkford says,

"A Unitarian Universalist Year of Service and Spirituality could teach our young people that, alone, neither the inner spiritual quest nor work for justicee in the world are complete."  The flyer goes on to state:

Imagine that Unitarian Universalism, appalled by the fact that 90% of its young adults go off to college and never return to the faith, was determined to find a new way to engage them…

Imagine that a place had been created for post-YRUUers to go after "crossing the bridge"…

Imagine that this "place" was a program that took them to different parts of the country an dprovided thetm with a powerful experience in service and spirituality…

Imagine that our congregations played a role in the program, both sending their own young adults off to participate and receiving into their midst those who came from other parts of the country…

For more information, email Program Coordinator Christina@verizon.net

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One response to “UU “Americorp” Starts up

  1. Matthew Gatheringwater

    Wow! That sounds like a great idea. And then again…why do we need a “UU” Americorps, when we already have Amiricorps? Why must public service be valued not just for its own merit, but for its efficacy as a denominational recruitment (retainment?) tool?

    I am a vocal advocate of national service, partly because of the wonderful time I spent as a volunteer in the Conservation Corps. The experience was broadening because it exposed me to people from backgrounds different from my own. Some were young idealists like me, others were poor folks looking for a way out of their class of origin, some were there as part of an alternative sentence and it was better than jail. It was my first contact with people from the inner city and people involved with gangs, and the experience was a real eye-opener.

    I’m not sure a UU Americorps could offer the same kind of broadening experience unless it was open to a group of people more diverse than currently populate our congregations.

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