Monday, February 25, 2008

YRUU Article and FAQ - February 25th

Continental YRUU 'will be replaced,' Sinkford says

Frequently Asked Questions about the Status of YRUU and Youth Ministry


Heather said...

This FAQ is doublespeak.

Just because they say that "the youth ministry consultation process was highly transparent and inclusive" doesn't make it so. The dialogue coming out of this decision - and the surprise being expressed by many people including leadership, former staff members, and people who participated in the consultation itself - is testament enough to the falsity of that statement.

Likewise, just because they say "this conversation is not about ending congregational and district youth ministry, whether called 'YRUU' or not. It is about strengthening, deepening and broadening youth ministry at the local and district levels" doesn't make it true. Again, show me some proof. Show me money, resources, programming.

This whole thing (the FAQ) is just insulting. Would it kill them to drop the defensive tone and admit that maybe they were a little surprised by the strong reactions to this? Admit that maybe they weren't as transparent - that they don't have the "broad concensus" - they claim to?

Two more thoughts:

1) Where is word youth empowerment in this piece? I hear "youth ministry" used over and over and over again. But "youth empowerment"? Nuh-uh. They're really, really different things, and the difference between them is, in my mind, the whole reason this decision is forboding and scary. Mark my words - that omission is notable, deliberate, and telling.

2) Why haven't they publically released the names of the 15 people sitting on the Taskforce on Youth Ministry? Doesn't transparency demand that constituents have an ear to voice concerns to? They insist that the taskforce is representative of many different constituents - I'll believe it when I see it. I want names and contact information. Stat.

Donald O'Bloggin said...

You mean the information that's on the UUA website and provides contact information here:

Donald O'Bloggin said...

Here is the link.

Sorry, blogger doesn't like to show the full text of the link...

Heather said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Donald O'Bloggin said...

One thing I'll mention that people seem to be forgetting now and then:

The Continental YRUU structure is its own entity, and if the youth have some adults willing to back them up, the Board can't take that away.

The Board can cut funding.
The Board can restore funding.
The Board can elect to not give Sponsored status to YRUU, or could agree to continue said sponsorship, with conditions.

What is sponsorship? A link to the policy provided by the UUA Board Secretary is here.

The reports from the Consultation are also available on the UUA site. Having been an advisor for my district youth steering committee last year when we had a Consultation, I think it TRULY helped us define our goals, and those goals really have no use of a continental organisation like YRUU, The process also FIRMLY showed our district staff and all present proof of some of the concerns that youth leaders have had of being undermined by DREs, and other systemic issues, and in the 9 months since then, we've seen dramatic results.

Will Floyd said...

The link above is to the "Task Force on Youth Minsitry" which is different than the Youth Ministry Working Group. The Task Force was meant to oversee the Consultation process. That process is now over, and we are on to the "implementation" process.

The members of the YMWG are not published on the UUA website.

Anonymous said...

OK--so first the UUA youth office ignores its constitutionally- mandated directive to hold an annual YRUU continental conference; then they destroy the YRUU newspaper Synapse; then they try to force-feed unwanted directives down the throats of the YRUU youth council members; then they tell the inform the YRUU steering committee they are no longer wanted. And it's a wonder YRUU is now deemed "under-performing" by some hack committee?

The truth is that the Sinkford administration has systematically and deliberately gone about destroying YRUU just as the UUA went about destroying LRY 30 years ago--and out here in the heartland we're supposed to believe that their paranopid and undemocratic actions are somehow done for the youth's own good!

I hope and pray the UUA board will put an end to this and rededicate this denomination to supporting a democratic and empowered youth organization that YRUU should be (and was before Bill Sinkford became president).

Robin Edgar said...

Well I am glad to see that Donald Wilson has decided to chime in here. I expect that he has plenty more to say.

Eric Swanson said...

I was going to question Heather's "doublespeak" accusation, but after rereading the doc I'm starting to think it's right on. Just one bit I want to briefly deconstruct:

This multiple use of “YRUU” to describe a specific continental leadership structure (most visible as Youth Council and Steering Committee), various UU youth activities, a sense of identity within a UU youth community, and UUA services in support of youth ministry, has led to some confusion and concern about what is happening with YRUU.

Waitasec. Really? The fact that the YRUU identity has enough traction to be adopted widely at several levels has led to "concern"? Sure there can be some confusion here and there, but this is evidence of success.

On "empowerment," I guess I'm just glad that they've stopped using the word. The Consultation report was full of "empowerment," used in ways that clearly didn't indicate an actual transfer of power -- as much as I miss the word I'm glad it's absent from the FAQ. * sigh *

Heather said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Heather said...

Members of the Working Group on Youth Ministry:

Nick Allen: Nick is a past YRUU Steering Committee member and attended the Summit on Youth Ministry in this capacity. He is serving on this Working Group as a representative for YRUU.
nallen_001 at

Laurel Amabile: Laurel is the Director of the Annual Program Fund in the UUA Office of Stewardship and Development. She has been both a UUA District Staff member and DRE and has extensive experience in youth work.
lamabile at
617-948-6513 (work)

Charlie Burke: Charlie is the Youth Trustee on the Board and attended the Summit on Youth Ministry in that capacity. He has been an active youth leader in his home congregation in Milton, MA and the Mass Bay District.
Burke.charlie at

Nancy DiGiovanni: Nancy is the Director of Programs for the UUA Young Adult and Campus Ministry Office and attended the Summit on Youth ministry in this capacity. Before coming to the UUA, she worked as a youth advisor at the UU Congregation of Princeton, NJ and a high school social studies teacher.
ndigiovanni at
617-948-4629 (work)

Caitlin DuBois: Caitlin is a youth from Hobart, IN and is involved in General Assembly Youth Caucus Staff as a co-leader of FUNTIMES, the business meeting. She attended the Summit on Youth Ministry and is a dynamic youth leader.
kei.ght at

Judith Frediani: Judith is the Director of Lifespan Faith Development at the UUA. In this role she has been involved in the Consultation process since the beginning.
jfrediani at
617-948-4373 (work)

Jesse Jaeger (Staff Support): Jesse is the Youth Ministries Director at the UUA. He has been one of the primary staff support people for the Consultation and Implementation process since the beginning.
jjaeger at
617-948-4359 (work)

Andrea Lerner: Andrea is the District Executive for Metro New York District. She has extensive experience in youth work as a DRE and parent.
alerner at

India McKnight: India is a Youth Ministry Associate in the UUA Office of Youth Ministry and attended the Summit on Youth Ministry in this capacity. She has also has also worked in Religious Education at the UU Church of Silver Spring, MD. She is a Groundwork trainer and has been on DRUUMM YaYA (Diverse Revolutionary UU Multicultural Ministries- Youth and Young Adult) Steering Committee.
imcknight at
617-948-4351 (work)

Rev. Alison Miller: Alison is the minister at the Morristown Unitarian Fellowship. She has been very involved in UU youth and young adult communities since she was a youth. Alison was also the coordinator of the UUA’s Mind the Gap Campaign in 2002 – bringing attention to the “gap” that exists between youth and young adult involvement in Unitarian Universalism. She is the UUMA (Unitarian Universalist Minister’s Association) representative to this Working Group and attended the Summit on Youth Ministry in this capacity as well.
amiller at
973-540-1177 x204 (work)

Rev. Beth Miller: Beth is the Director of Ministry & Professional Leadership at the UUA and attended the Summit on Youth Ministry in this capacity. She has 15 years of experience as a congregational minister and was involved in youth ministry in the 1980s, serving on both the Joseph Priestley District and the continental YRUU Youth/Adult Committees.
bmiller at
617-948-6407 (work)

Laura Spencer: Laura is the Program Associate for Racial and Ethnic Concerns: Assessment of Youth and Young Adults of Color Ministry at the UUA, the Mosaic Project. She attended the Summit on Youth Ministry.
lspencer at
617-948-4278 (work)

Rev. Judy Tomlinson: Judy is the Minister of Religious Education at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation at Montclair, NJ. She is the LREDA (Liberal Religious Educators Association) representative to this Working Group.
rejatom at
973-744-6276 ext 16 (work)

Jackie Whitworth: Jackie is a representative of the DRUUMM YaYA Steering Committee. She was very involved in her home congregation in Rockford, IL and now goes to Reed College in Portland, OR.
jcw89 at

Sara Eskrich (Staff Support)
seskrich at
617-948-4352 (work)

Rick Roehlk said...

An old guy asks:
Of the many concerns I have about the announcements and "explanations" one nagging question keeps hitting me:
I have seen no acknowledgment that Youth Council itself has been canceled. The administration seems to paint this as a decision that is yet to be decided by the board. Yet for a YC to come off the planning had to be well underway. The site selection should have been made last summer. The logistics and staffing planning should be well underway.

My guess is that the announcement at the last Steering Committee meeting cut short any planning going on, so that even if the board was pressured to continue funding, the event would be canceled because the SC had failed to make any plan.

So a question to the SC -- Can YC happen if the funding is available? Was a site selected?

Anonymous said...

yo... strange text :)

Anonymous said...

я вот что скажу: отлично... а82ч