Dear Ministers, Religious Educators, & Youth Advisors,

The January 25th-27th Building Beloved Community: Loving Beyond Belief event at Jefferson Unitarian Church is a celebration of our continued commitment to building Beloved Community. Over this past decade we’ve been moving closer to our vision of Full Community in the Mountain Desert District. We are all in this learning process together and January is an excellent opportunity to take the next step by creating teams that include youth and adults of all ages. This experience will allow adults and youth alike to companion each other through spiritual deepening and faithful leadership.

Who would be a good candidate for your congregational team you may ask? Gather your colleagues and lay leadership together and ask yourselves: Are there people, youth and adults, in our congregation who are either currently in a leadership position or in whom you see great potential for leadership? Are there people in whom we recognize spiritual maturity, leadership or dedication to Unitarian Universalist values? Are there certain folks in whom we see the stirrings of budding change agents? If so I strongly encourage you to invite them to be on your congregational team.

This is a multigerational experience. All participants will be having parallel experiences. We recognize the need for age appropriate programming, so children will be participating in Heart Talk for Kids, a spiritual daycamp. Middle schoolers with strong leadership potential can be involved as counselors in the daycamp or participate in Saturday programming. High school youth and adults of all ages will be participating in an interactive, inspiring experience featuring the Affect Theology of Rev. Thandeka.

This multigenerational leadership development opportunity could be the experience that builds the foundational relationships that transform or deepen the overall culture of your church. Bringing individuals of all ages into the conversation of building Beloved Community – or using love to correct anything that stands against love – is of vital importance to our justice ministries within and beyond our congregations. While many of us have already experienced restorative justice, small group ministry, and intentional learning communities, there is always learning to be done. This experience will help us articulate our wisdom and deepen our understanding of Unitarian Universalism and our role in it. As we nurture and companion one another on our faithful journeys, we become full participants, more effective leaders and more spiritually mature members of our congregations. Highlights include:

  • A shared meal Friday evening followed by lively youth/adult lead worship
  • Friday night coffee house/open mic (all welcome: including youth and adults not registered for the conference and non-UUs)
  • Film clips, interactive exercises, skits and group discussions to build our learning community all day Saturday
  • Housing at La Quinta Inn for $18/youth/night in a room of 4 or home stays.

Please note: As you are thinking about youth participation and who to recruit, this is not a youth con. This experience will not fit with every youth personality. Please choose youth for your team who you think will truly benefit from this experience and whom your congregation will benefit from sending.