02 July 2004

Review of The Bridging Program: Workshops and Guidelines by Colin Bossen and Dawn Star Borchelt

Basic Facts: Flexible 2 to 4 workshop series for transitional age range youth and young adults (ages 17-23) from diverse backgrounds, 5 to 15 participants.

Includes suggested resources for Bridging Ceremony worship services.

Can be used in congregational, cluster, weekend camp and conferences, weeklong camp and conferences, and campus ministry settings.

Cost: $15.00.

Ordering information: call 1-800-215-9076 or go online to the UUA Bookstore.

Why This Is Important: In 1989, I learned something about Unitarian Universalism that surprised me. For the first time, I met an adult who was a third-generation UU.

I discovered that it’s possible for our children and youth who grow up in our congregations to have a home in them as adults.

Until that Sunday, all UUs that I had met were adult converts. The only pathway for becoming a UU that I had known was leaving another faith tradition and becoming a UU as an adult ... this has been a common unspoken assumption for many UU adults.

As a parent of one toddler in 1989 and a parent of two youth today, the impact of having only 10% of our members in UU congregations being life-long UUs troubles me (this statistic comes from the 1998 UUA’s Fulfilling the Promise Survey Results). It looks like most of our children raised as UU end up leaving our faith and do not return. As a parent, religious educator, and youth group advisor, I want our children and youth to know that we welcome them to stay with us when they move into young adulthood.

Colin Bossen and Dawn Star Borchelt’s The Bridging Program is an essential element in letting our children and youth know we welcome them into UU adult community.

Colin and Dawn Star have created a flexible workshop series designed for UU youth from diverse backgrounds – youth whose primary experience has been YRUU, youth whose primary experience has been in congregations, and youth who are new to Unitarian Universalism. The workshops sessions focus on these topics:

UU Gifts and Identity – What does it mean to be a UU? What gifts has this faith community given to me?

Dangers and Potentials – What are your fears about growing up? What are your dreams for the future? What does it mean to be an adult?

Courage, Commitment, Claiming Adulthood – What does it take to become an adult? How do you know when you’re an adult?

Preparing for the Bridging Ceremony – Reflection on the Bridging Program and each participant writing a short commitment speech in preparation for the Bridging worship.

The Bridging Program also provides suggestions and resources for planning a worship service that includes youth, religious educators, professional ministry, the social justice movement, and those adults who have participated in earlier Bridging Ceremonies. The bridging worship allows the wider community to celebrate this important milestone.

Colin and Dawn Star write: "Offering the Bridging Program is a concrete, explicit, and nonthreatening way to publicly state your intention of welcoming youth into the adult Unitarian Universalist Community that you serve."

Let us make these words come to life in our congregations and the wider UU community.

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