27 May 2008

YAYA Resolution Journey

Early on, one of the first things that Victoria and I had to decide as a team was how to deal with the myriad of criticism on and about our attempts to craft a resolution. I think it is always a bit shocking when you are trying to do something positive to discover a crowd of critics. Yet to do something this large and perhaps offbeat, a bit bold, that you believe in, maybe naively, invites in the full spectrum of dialogue and debate. I do believe this conflict can be good and healthy, yet difficult to plot a route through toward a goal and we quickly agreed that we did not have the time or energy to commit to responding to all.

I feel the need to say that both Victoria and I have worked in our congregations, communities, campuses, district and continent for many years in doing work as staff, committee members and volunteers to grow and support youth and young adult ministry; yet we are naïve to many of the larger politically processes we are attempting to navigate. Here is a scary fact, over eighty percent of Unitarian Universalist youth leave our faith and never return. We wrote this resolution as a response to a difficult transition period for youth and young adult ministry. We did this because we felt that there was a need to articulate some clear values in how and why this ministry can be supported, is vital and necessary in our Unitarian Universalist faith. In this time of transition, it is necessary to focus on what we know works and what we do agree on. If we are to make some positive steps and changes in our attitudes and practices in youth and young adult ministry it will require a culture shift if how we think and invest in this ministry. It is critical that we do this work now, every day we spend navel-gazing on what ideal youth and young adult ministry is we lose our people; it is the time to do. This resolution will not make this change, it is a institutional response to a larger issue, but is it a piece of the puzzle and perhaps if the plenary body can leave thinking and knowing more about youth and young adult ministry it can serve in making a positive change and action.

On a visit to New Orleans , I had the privilege of meeting Gini Courter at the 175 anniversary of UU’s in the city. She had received our first draft of the resolution via e-mail and we spoke about the concerns of it being a responsive resolution. Responsive resolutions are at the end of plenary and receive little to no attention or debate. Gini was interested in bringing this resolution to the board and we arranged through e-mail to hold a conference call with board members Paul Richter, Lyn Conley, Justine Urbikas, Gini Courter and Victoria and me. During our call, it became clear that there was an interest in presenting the resolution to the UUA board of Trustees approval as a full business resolution. Yikes and Hurray! We discussed some concerns and ideas about the resolution, and agreed to contact members of the youth transition working group and other stakeholders such as DRUUMM, Diverse Revolutionary UU Multicultural Ministry to receive feedback on the resolution.

Also, as the adult advisor on the YRUU steering committee, I submitted and reviewed the resolution with the YRUU SC and was pleased to receive their full support of the resolution. We submitted a final draft to the UUA board and anxiously awaited the board meeting.

Well it passed! The board voted for it to be a full business resolution and unanimously supported the resolution. You can read the details in the UU World article, http://www.uuworld.org/news/articles/107505.shtml.

So we will see you at GA! Hoping for a good debate and now I am back to end of planning the school year lessons, a large Keith Haring inspired mural, CMWD Spring Young Adult Conference (Check out http://cmwd-uuyan.org ), CMWD Youth Council and YA Regional Radius Conference.


No comments: