ConCentric Staff Report

Staff Report to ConCentric 2006

It has been another amazing year for me working in the Office of Young Adult and Campus Ministry.  I continue to be deeply impressed with the young adults I have the privilege of working with in campus ministry, regional and district organizing, young adults of color, and beyond.  I’ve experienced that organic calling more clearly in working to build community, support our collective search for truth and meaning, and to act for justice in the world.  My UUA work has paralleled my studies at Harvard Divinity School, and I am pleased to announce that I have graduated!  This summer I will have completed my clinical pastoral education, and this upcoming fall and winter I will be student minister with the UU Church of the Philippines until April 1st, 2007.  In all, I have felt a great deal of personal growth and improvement, a richer understanding of UU history and theology, and a clearer perspective of our wonderful young adult community in reality and in potential.  We have come so far!

This is the 9th annual ConCentric conference, the flagship event planned in partnership between C*UUYAN and the UUA for young adult and campus ministry.  As we approach our 10th year in collaboration, in covenant between staff and the grassroots volunteer leadership, it is a beautiful opportunity to take stock and to think about our future with new purpose and meaning.  What is the status of young adults within Unitarian Universalism today?  What is our imagination for the future?  To be frank, we have grown the quality and quantity of our ministry in congregations, districts, nationally in

Canada

, and continentally with C*UUYAN to a peak that was unimaginable to me as a novice C*UUYAN facilitator in 1997.  We no longer have the terrible stigma of our ministry being purely social, irrelevant to congregational life, and self-serving.  Indeed we have reached such a diverse community of UU’s and new UU’s.

            I have learned and come to believe several new things this year:

Outreach=Leadership Development  We often talk about the need for outreach, and are critical and demoralized with our small numbers particularly at the local and district level.  Good outreach means more than getting the word out, that is publicity, it requires intentional identifying and cultivating of new leadership in the communities that are under-represented.  If your group has no one 18-25, be purposeful in recognizing and inviting one or two persons into a discussion about the group, the mission, the activities.  Share your stories, ask them their stories about their experience with UU and their dreams.

Code of Ethics=Deeper More Meaningful Ministry  Our ability to adapt, adopt, and live within a code of ethics strengthens our community and helps each of us feel the love of the group, which ultimately opens us up to liberal religion in more than abstract generalist intellectualism.  Our mindfulness about our relations, our clarity about addressing conflict, our commitment to the caring for every person, empowers us to take risks in our search for truth and meaning.  I want to create a space where I can be vulnerable about my deepest hopes and fears, a place where I can be challenged, and challenge others to understand ideas, realities, experiences.  The Code of Ethics for Young Adult Peer Leaders is an excellent model to start from, schedule time each season with your group to read and reflect on it.

Assessment Skills  This summer and early fall we are conducting a UUA survey of young adults to get to know our community better.  We look forward to sharing this information with all of you to help you better lead young adults in congregations and on campus.  This is something that we should be doing periodically, every few years, to keep ourselves transparent, accountable, and open to feedback and yes, even criticism.  We are not perfect, we do not have to reinvent the wheel, we cannot do this work alone.  Leaders lead best when they collaborate, listen to peers and their members, take time to be mentored.  Reach out and find a mentor for yourself, assess yourself, your community, it will make a difference for your own skills and for the quality of ministry you lead.

Work Projects and Progress

Piloted and institutionalized YACM Professionals 6 session seminar

Published 1st annual YACM Professionals Directory

Updated Regional Campus Ministry Training facilitators guide

Published 1st edition Teleconference Guide and developed teleconference training

Chaired UUA Youth-Young Adult Anti-Racism Identity Development Working Group

Supervisory Consultation with 6 Regional Organizing Consultants

Established YACM consultancy pilot with Ohio Meadville

Co-Chaired UUA Campus Ministry Advisory Committee with Rev. Alison Miller

Staff support for DRUUMM Youth & Young Adults of Color Steering Committee

Initiated, with difficultly, master update of YACM groups in ConnectUU

Developed Young Adult Survey 2006

Each of these projects involved a number of young adults from across the continent, and some entailed additional activities, conferences, meetings, trainings.

I have appreciated working with Petra Aldrich,

Erik Kesting

and Michael Tino this year, in addition to Laurel Albina and Elandria Williams who served as consultants on Anti-Oppression and Anti-Racism.  Welcome to Nancy DiGiovanni who takes over the YACM Program Associate portfolio from

Petra

.  This coming year I will be working closely with Scott McNeil, new Co-Chair for UU Campus Ministry Advisory Committee, new ROCS Lissa Gundlach and Ethan Field, and new District Staff for YACM Ellen Carvill, Sherry Warren and Lyn Cox.

You can reach me while I am in the

Philippines

by email at jsantoslyons@uua.org or telephone (617)648-8123.

With peace,

Joseph Santos-Lyons

Ps – My partner Aimee sez “hi”, Gabriel will be in 1st grade, and we are graced by new life, our daughter Miyka’ela Luwalhati born April 21st, 2007.

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