31 July 2005

"It's like deja-vu all over again." -- UU Youth Ministry History Resources

With the upcoming "Consultation on Ministry to and With Youth" happening within the UUA between Fall 2005 and Fall 2007, I thought it would be useful to review the history about where our youth ministry has been in the past and where we might find ourselves in the future.

The Yogi Berra quote seemed appropriate ... especially in light of the recurring issues that have come up in UU youth and young adult ministry since the early 20th century (e.g. how much autonomy is appropriate, non-congregational vs. congregational expressions of Unitarian Universalism, substance use and sexuality issues in conference settings, etc).

These issues predate Young Religious Unitarian Universalists (YRUU) and even the earlier Liberal Religious Youth (LRY). It seems that UU adult and youth developmental needs keep bringing us back to a re-invention of youth ministry every 25 to 30 years.

Here are some suggested history resources for a starting point on a discussion of UU Youth Ministry:
From the UUA Youth Office: 7.20.2005 - All past issues of Synapse are now online!! Thanks to some new technology (and some help from our fabulous interns!) we have been able to scan and post on our website all of the back issues of the YRUU magazine / newspaper Synapse and it's predecessor, the Liberal Religious Youth publication People Soup. It's hours of history and browsing pleasure!

From Rick Roehlk's online collection of LRY and YRUU historical documents - UU Youth History

From Skinner House Books and the UUA Bookstore - We Would Be One: A History of Unitarian Universalist Youth Movements by Wayne Arnason and Rebecca Scott - Documents the challenges, triumphs and far-reaching effects of the UU youth movement. Compelling personal stories capture how important UU youth groups, conferences and organizations have been in peoples' lives from the late 19th-century to the present. Arnason was the UUA's director of youth programs from 1980 to 1984 during the creation of YRUU. Scott was a youth programs specialist in the UUA Youth Office from 1989 to 1990. Revised and updated from Follow the Gleam, published in 1980.

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