1 00:03:19,010 --> 00:03:34,349 welcome to this year's 2018 synergy service welcome to the youth who might 2 00:03:34,349 --> 00:03:40,380 be looking ahead to their own bridging welcome to young adults who remember 3 00:03:40,380 --> 00:03:46,769 their own transition to adulthood welcome especially to our Bridgers and 4 00:03:46,769 --> 00:03:52,590 those who have gathered to support and recognize them we know that even though 5 00:03:52,590 --> 00:03:59,360 this is an exciting time transitioning to a different stage of life can be 6 00:03:59,360 --> 00:04:08,160 overwhelming but look around you our faith holds us every face you see in 7 00:04:08,160 --> 00:04:14,880 this room is a part of the tapestry of support and love that sustains us let's 8 00:04:14,880 --> 00:04:19,639 take a moment to thank the GA band 9 00:04:22,230 --> 00:04:32,680 the participants in today's worship service and everyone who helped make it 10 00:04:32,680 --> 00:04:43,060 possible speaking of someone who helped make this possible I'd like to take an 11 00:04:43,060 --> 00:04:47,980 opportunity to take a moment to offer lots of gratitude for the Reverend 12 00:04:47,980 --> 00:05:00,580 Annie Gonzalez Milliken annie annie has served five faithful long loving years 13 00:05:00,580 --> 00:05:06,250 as our young adult in campus ministry associate which she is now departing for 14 00:05:06,250 --> 00:05:11,920 a new parish minister role annie we have a gift for you this stole and it's 15 00:05:11,920 --> 00:05:17,110 swirls and whirls represent the many journeys that you've companioned our 16 00:05:17,110 --> 00:05:23,500 young adults and those that minister to them on the way so any on behalf of all 17 00:05:23,500 --> 00:05:35,800 of us please accept this gift for your service there are so many of us in this 18 00:05:35,800 --> 00:05:39,550 room and across the UA whose lives have been touched and blessed by your 19 00:05:39,550 --> 00:05:47,830 ministry and we all wish you many blessings on your new ministry and now 20 00:05:47,830 --> 00:05:52,180 we'd like to invite Emma merchant our junior youth caucus worship coordinator 21 00:05:52,180 --> 00:05:55,800 to light our chalice 22 00:05:56,580 --> 00:06:10,229 I learned to light the chalice when I was six I carried the delicate flame to 23 00:06:10,229 --> 00:06:16,139 the basin of her faith lit the wick and stepped away only carrying our faith a 24 00:06:16,139 --> 00:06:23,550 short distance here we are again old friend I'm here to take you on a longer 25 00:06:23,550 --> 00:06:29,099 journey this time I've grown into something new and no longer do I fear to 26 00:06:29,099 --> 00:06:35,969 carry you you light my path as I travel to an unknown place and though you give 27 00:06:35,969 --> 00:06:43,729 me light I give you purpose just as my mother does just as my grandfather does 28 00:06:43,729 --> 00:06:50,190 we carry the light and the warmth of community through generations we grow 29 00:06:50,190 --> 00:06:57,750 and we change and so does our faith tonight we light our chalice a beacon in 30 00:06:57,750 --> 00:07:00,439 the Twilight 31 00:07:08,270 --> 00:07:15,710 I have been a Unitarian Universalist for almost my entire life but I only began 32 00:07:15,710 --> 00:07:22,220 calling myself religious a few years ago in my experience the most prominent 33 00:07:22,220 --> 00:07:28,280 aspect of Unitarian Universalism and the most widely shared belief of the people 34 00:07:28,280 --> 00:07:34,100 I have interacted with is not a belief in a particular God but a commitment to 35 00:07:34,100 --> 00:07:38,930 social justice and a general sense of wanting to help make the world a better 36 00:07:38,930 --> 00:07:45,530 place of course I'm not saying that social action can't be spiritual but for 37 00:07:45,530 --> 00:07:51,560 the majority of my life my focus on uu ism has been more geared toward social 38 00:07:51,560 --> 00:07:58,130 and political awareness and activism and spirituality that changed a few years 39 00:07:58,130 --> 00:08:04,370 ago when I began participating in youth events both uu a based national ones and 40 00:08:04,370 --> 00:08:11,180 local youth conferences what Unitarian Universalism has truly given me above 41 00:08:11,180 --> 00:08:17,180 all else is the knowledge that not only can spirituality be a part of activism 42 00:08:17,180 --> 00:08:23,720 but that it is in fact an essential part of it last year I attended summer 43 00:08:23,720 --> 00:08:28,760 seminary a program where I learned about the jobs and lives of religious 44 00:08:28,760 --> 00:08:33,460 professionals made friends that I am still in constant contact with and 45 00:08:33,460 --> 00:08:39,440 explored the option of becoming a religious professional myself well I was 46 00:08:39,440 --> 00:08:44,930 at summer seminary Trump announced the transgender military ban a topic that is 47 00:08:44,930 --> 00:08:51,770 still in the news today almost a year later I was heartbroken as a transgender 48 00:08:51,770 --> 00:08:57,550 individual I felt like I had absolutely nobody to reach out to I was in Boston 49 00:08:57,550 --> 00:09:03,980 thousands of miles away from my home in California and I was not even out to 50 00:09:03,980 --> 00:09:09,200 most of my fellow summer seminary participants that very day we had 51 00:09:09,200 --> 00:09:13,850 learned about the career paths of military chaplaincy I had even talked to 52 00:09:13,850 --> 00:09:17,330 a few chaplains who were currently serving and I had found their stories 53 00:09:17,330 --> 00:09:24,470 incredible and inspiring I felt like I had been shown an opportunity only for 54 00:09:24,470 --> 00:09:30,410 it to have been taken away from me in an instant so I did something that I do not 55 00:09:30,410 --> 00:09:35,810 do very often I prayed not in the traditional sense 56 00:09:35,810 --> 00:09:42,590 and not to a traditional God but I was praying I asked for the strength to 57 00:09:42,590 --> 00:09:48,500 continue to overcome and to find a way to stand up against what had happened 58 00:09:48,500 --> 00:09:54,620 and in the following days as a part of the program I experienced a 59 00:09:54,620 --> 00:09:57,610 companionship like nothing I had ever felt before 60 00:09:57,610 --> 00:10:04,700 most importantly my hope in the world and the people in it was renewed all of 61 00:10:04,700 --> 00:10:09,740 our movements and everything that we work towards are nothing without the 62 00:10:09,740 --> 00:10:15,710 hope that we can actually make change hope is essential hope is the reason for 63 00:10:15,710 --> 00:10:20,810 fighting oppression in the first place I have been asked to share today what I 64 00:10:20,810 --> 00:10:25,970 have gained from unitarian universalism and what I wish to pass on to future 65 00:10:25,970 --> 00:10:31,790 generations what I have gained is a place in a community of like-minded 66 00:10:31,790 --> 00:10:38,780 people using faith and justice together to make the world a better place what I 67 00:10:38,780 --> 00:10:44,030 hope to pass on to future generations is that same community with a strong youth 68 00:10:44,030 --> 00:10:49,880 presence an even stronger representation and inclusion so they too can feel as if 69 00:10:49,880 --> 00:10:56,150 they belong I want future uu youth to have hope and to be able to use 70 00:10:56,150 --> 00:11:02,650 spirituality and faith to encourage social action and change the world 71 00:11:08,600 --> 00:11:17,990 I too cannot overstate how important participation in national unitarian 72 00:11:17,990 --> 00:11:23,389 universalist youth programming was in shaping my understanding of my own uu 73 00:11:23,389 --> 00:11:30,350 identity and for me these foundational opportunities have been made possible 74 00:11:30,350 --> 00:11:34,850 thanks to generous financial support from programs such as the Katy Tyson 75 00:11:34,850 --> 00:11:41,329 fund which we are honoring tonight this fund exists to honor the legacy of a 76 00:11:41,329 --> 00:11:47,060 Unitarian Universalist young adult Katy Tyson who was a passionate leader in 77 00:11:47,060 --> 00:11:51,670 this denomination and who dreamed of becoming a minister herself 78 00:11:51,670 --> 00:11:57,649 sadly in 2009 her life ended in a car accident while she was returning home 79 00:11:57,649 --> 00:12:05,899 from General Assembly she was 21 the age I am now her parents created the Katy 80 00:12:05,899 --> 00:12:11,240 Tyson fund to help other youth and young adults live their dreams of leadership 81 00:12:11,240 --> 00:12:19,009 like Katy had done Katy's mother Karen died in 2012 but her father herb 82 00:12:19,009 --> 00:12:23,930 continues to give to our faith community through his incredible generosity of 83 00:12:23,930 --> 00:12:31,130 both financial resources and his talents as a singer and songwriter in the summer 84 00:12:31,130 --> 00:12:36,079 after I finished high school this fund allowed me to to be a part of summer 85 00:12:36,079 --> 00:12:41,269 seminary the program that Elliot just discussed which is a powerful space for 86 00:12:41,269 --> 00:12:45,769 any young person working to discern their calling to serve this unitarian 87 00:12:45,769 --> 00:12:51,529 universalist community during the week we explored different types of ministry 88 00:12:51,529 --> 00:12:55,759 and I was open to the world of less traditional and more entrepreneurial 89 00:12:55,759 --> 00:13:01,670 ministry thanks to this experience I have been inspired to seek out my own 90 00:13:01,670 --> 00:13:07,009 path of ministry as I hope to focus on supporting the work of congregations and 91 00:13:07,009 --> 00:13:11,810 youth groups in their social justice efforts and to bring Unitarian 92 00:13:11,810 --> 00:13:16,130 Universalism more fully into the emerging movement of faith communities 93 00:13:16,130 --> 00:13:20,449 working to create a just and equitable world through the healing of our broken 94 00:13:20,449 --> 00:13:24,749 foods after summer seminary I was comfortable 95 00:13:24,749 --> 00:13:28,399 being true to myself as I got my bachelor's degree in religious studies 96 00:13:28,399 --> 00:13:33,269 while beginning to work professionally in the sustainability world where I 97 00:13:33,269 --> 00:13:38,459 discovered my passion for food justice it was the incredible community of peers 98 00:13:38,459 --> 00:13:44,219 and mentors that I gained then that showed me the different and intersecting 99 00:13:44,219 --> 00:13:51,989 passions can coexist beautifully in my calling now I'm preparing to begin my 100 00:13:51,989 --> 00:14:01,049 studies at Harvard Divinity School in late August in this time of transition I 101 00:14:01,049 --> 00:14:05,549 am again filled with gratitude for the Katy Tyson fund because it brought me 102 00:14:05,549 --> 00:14:09,899 the community and strengthened sense of identity that I found in this program 103 00:14:09,899 --> 00:14:16,559 meaning makers just two weeks ago I'm seeing many of my friends here in the 104 00:14:16,559 --> 00:14:22,649 audience from that as well as from summer seminary hosted at you bar you in 105 00:14:22,649 --> 00:14:27,359 Texas Hill Country this spiritual retreat provides space for you you young 106 00:14:27,359 --> 00:14:32,159 adults to gather as we navigate this time in our lives as young Unitarian 107 00:14:32,159 --> 00:14:36,269 Universalists and explore where we fit into shaping the future of our 108 00:14:36,269 --> 00:14:41,219 denomination in both summer seminary and meeting makers I built relationships 109 00:14:41,219 --> 00:14:47,129 that taught me so much and that I know will last for many more years so I asked 110 00:14:47,129 --> 00:14:52,769 you to give generously to this fund and I hope that I can be a testament to the 111 00:14:52,769 --> 00:14:56,119 power of supporting youth and young adult leadership in our denomination 112 00:14:56,119 --> 00:15:02,009 today I am encouraging you to give not only of your financial resources but to 113 00:15:02,009 --> 00:15:06,719 reach out to the growing young leaders in your congregations I would not be 114 00:15:06,719 --> 00:15:11,189 where I am today without sustained support of people like you who saw my 115 00:15:11,189 --> 00:15:17,699 potential before I did you can give cash write a cheque payable to the UUA with 116 00:15:17,699 --> 00:15:21,599 synergy and the memo line or fill out your credit card on the envelope 117 00:15:21,599 --> 00:15:25,979 provided or provide or follow the instructions that will appear on the 118 00:15:25,979 --> 00:15:30,790 screen for mobile Giving and I thank you for your generosity and if 119 00:15:30,790 --> 00:15:34,720 you're a young adult just like me and my friends just giving a few dollars of 120 00:15:34,720 --> 00:15:40,140 spare change is amazing and I thank you so much 121 00:25:47,590 --> 00:25:54,580 what do you want to be when you grow up it's a question that I'm positive 122 00:25:54,580 --> 00:25:59,200 everyone in this room has heard and probably quite a few of you have asked 123 00:25:59,200 --> 00:26:07,630 it the question works well enough in theory but as a boy I could never answer 124 00:26:07,630 --> 00:26:14,799 it not because I had no interests if anything there were too many options for 125 00:26:14,799 --> 00:26:19,750 me I've always had a short attention span so finding things that excited me 126 00:26:19,750 --> 00:26:25,029 or intrigued me wasn't a problem when I was seven I wanted to be an architect 127 00:26:25,029 --> 00:26:29,110 when I was nine I wanted to become a Buddhist monk and moved to China when I 128 00:26:29,110 --> 00:26:35,529 turned 16 I considered ministry as a career path nothing ever stuck with me 129 00:26:35,529 --> 00:26:41,830 because the idea of choosing one that one thing and being just that thing felt 130 00:26:41,830 --> 00:26:45,760 like a trap a box I find myself and that would 131 00:26:45,760 --> 00:26:51,490 become a prison as soon as my interest has changed obviously that's not the 132 00:26:51,490 --> 00:26:58,120 case the kids who could say I want to be an astronaut a teacher an artist weren't 133 00:26:58,120 --> 00:27:03,760 doomed to become locked up in a box they just had an answer to a question that I 134 00:27:03,760 --> 00:27:09,730 didn't as jealous as I wanted to be I couldn't help but be amazed that many of 135 00:27:09,730 --> 00:27:15,299 my friends had somehow solved life's greatest mystery for themselves 136 00:27:15,299 --> 00:27:20,260 eventually as I got older I wasn't asked the question as much and it slowly faded 137 00:27:20,260 --> 00:27:26,770 into memory as I stopped hearing it I wasn't introduced to the question again 138 00:27:26,770 --> 00:27:31,630 until I was a youth from the moment I attended my first youth event a summer 139 00:27:31,630 --> 00:27:35,169 camp in the beautiful Southern California mountains I knew that the 140 00:27:35,169 --> 00:27:41,470 community of love and care was something I wanted to be a part of and pursue it 141 00:27:41,470 --> 00:27:46,390 led me to volunteer to be on staff teams for cons and camps attending trainings 142 00:27:46,390 --> 00:27:51,399 and programs like summer seminary it was at these that I found the same question 143 00:27:51,399 --> 00:27:57,809 but under a different name calling the word sounds deeper and it seems to 144 00:27:57,809 --> 00:28:01,440 carry more weight with it a spiritual vocation that leads us to our ultimate 145 00:28:01,440 --> 00:28:08,789 purpose for some crazy reason many of my peers seem to have already found theirs 146 00:28:08,789 --> 00:28:16,490 I desperately wanted to find mine I thought that if I looked hard enough 147 00:28:16,490 --> 00:28:22,950 tried enough things meditated just the right amount of times it would pop into 148 00:28:22,950 --> 00:28:30,990 my head just like that but once again I didn't finds the answer I felt lost 149 00:28:30,990 --> 00:28:39,600 searching again and put off the question for a later date it was only recently so 150 00:28:39,600 --> 00:28:44,299 I quickly approached young adulthood that I began to see what I was missing 151 00:28:44,299 --> 00:28:49,649 as if my time as a youth began to wrap up and my next in the next steps to my 152 00:28:49,649 --> 00:28:56,940 future rapidly came near I recalled the question with newfound urgency it was 153 00:28:56,940 --> 00:29:03,539 now or never if I couldn't decide what I was going to be what my calling was how 154 00:29:03,539 --> 00:29:09,630 on earth could I go forth into the adult world who would I be and that's when I 155 00:29:09,630 --> 00:29:14,159 found it it wasn't that I didn't look hard enough or that I was doomed to 156 00:29:14,159 --> 00:29:19,890 never find the answer that I was seeking I had the wrong question I had to live 157 00:29:19,890 --> 00:29:25,020 it first unknowingly I had begun my journey from the moment that I could ask 158 00:29:25,020 --> 00:29:31,470 myself the question it wasn't about what I was going to do in the world in that 159 00:29:31,470 --> 00:29:36,840 far-off day when I would become a grown-up it was about who I was going to 160 00:29:36,840 --> 00:29:45,809 be along the way and it wasn't just me even if you know exactly what you want 161 00:29:45,809 --> 00:29:52,140 to do that doesn't make it who you are and who you have to be we're more than 162 00:29:52,140 --> 00:29:56,250 the sum of our parts not just labels were sorted into by ourselves or others 163 00:29:56,250 --> 00:30:03,210 who you are is how you choose to live no matter how lost you feel no matter how 164 00:30:03,210 --> 00:30:06,160 confusing your trap the road you're traveling down 165 00:30:06,160 --> 00:30:13,450 comes it's a choice you'll always have I'll probably never finish answering the 166 00:30:13,450 --> 00:30:20,200 riddle of my calling I don't think I'm meant to I didn't get to choose what I 167 00:30:20,200 --> 00:30:26,560 would I didn't get to know what I would be when I grew up when I was a boy but I 168 00:30:26,560 --> 00:30:32,680 do get to choose who I'm going to be as a man and someday years from now when I 169 00:30:32,680 --> 00:30:38,710 remember the question again I don't want to ask my children what they're going to 170 00:30:38,710 --> 00:30:42,550 be when they grow up because whether or not they'll be able to answer it I don't 171 00:30:42,550 --> 00:30:48,190 believe that it's the important question I'd rather ask them who do you want to 172 00:30:48,190 --> 00:30:51,090 be as you grow up 173 00:31:01,990 --> 00:31:08,180 have you ever had the experience of being asked a question so profound that 174 00:31:08,180 --> 00:31:15,290 it stops you in your tracks every time you recall it well one of our young 175 00:31:15,290 --> 00:31:20,360 ministers of color tyler coles presented me with this question last fall what are 176 00:31:20,360 --> 00:31:27,860 you building and how are you building it my heart stopped and I felt the 177 00:31:27,860 --> 00:31:34,040 immediate urge to interrogate my spirit and as the year has gone on after I 178 00:31:34,040 --> 00:31:39,559 first heard the question I've become more playful with it to think of it 179 00:31:39,559 --> 00:31:48,890 think of building as an act of creation as an act of play it is so easy to get 180 00:31:48,890 --> 00:31:54,470 bogged down in the heaviness of destroying reimagining and rebuilding 181 00:31:54,470 --> 00:32:00,590 new worlds the truth is if that work will never end and when adults plan to 182 00:32:00,590 --> 00:32:11,830 our meetings with no snacks bathroom breaks or songs that gets heavy it gets 183 00:32:11,830 --> 00:32:19,880 unnecessarily burdensome and laborious then we lose so much of the wonder and 184 00:32:19,880 --> 00:32:27,140 magic of these ongoing moments of transition so while my charge to you is 185 00:32:27,140 --> 00:32:31,790 to unapologetically interrogate the worlds we are building in the manner in 186 00:32:31,790 --> 00:32:36,050 which they are built my deeper invitation is to make your work play 187 00:32:36,050 --> 00:32:42,410 full to make the transition and to you you young adulthood serious but playful 188 00:32:42,410 --> 00:32:49,880 to make your faith as it grows and shape-shifts playful our uu tradition of 189 00:32:49,880 --> 00:32:57,050 a bridging ritual invites us to surround our uu use with love in this middle 190 00:32:57,050 --> 00:33:01,790 moment as they metaphorically and playfully moved on to the bridge of 191 00:33:01,790 --> 00:33:09,020 becoming uu young adults Unitarian Universalists honor this transition at 192 00:33:09,020 --> 00:33:14,360 our denominational gathering because being here now with you 193 00:33:14,360 --> 00:33:19,820 connects us to the Bridgers who have come before us to those who bridging 194 00:33:19,820 --> 00:33:25,539 congregations and summer camps and to the milestones of transitions and 195 00:33:25,539 --> 00:33:30,370 transformations we share with our friends and family 196 00:33:30,370 --> 00:33:36,230 each bridging youth come forward to the pulpit and say your name and your 197 00:33:36,230 --> 00:33:43,090 congregation so that we can celebrate with you your journey your enoughness 198 00:33:43,090 --> 00:33:48,169 and cross the stage to greet and receive a gift from our uu a president the 199 00:33:48,169 --> 00:33:51,320 Reverend Susan Frederick gray and director of youth and young adult 200 00:33:51,320 --> 00:33:56,570 ministries Bart frost before exiting down the ramp to go and join your young 201 00:33:56,570 --> 00:34:06,970 adult peers in the seating at the front may we journey together with playful 202 00:34:06,970 --> 00:34:15,770 intentional insightful strategic and light hearts to transition construct and 203 00:34:15,770 --> 00:34:21,159 live in a more just and faithful Beloved Community 204 00:34:33,060 --> 00:34:43,600 Tessa Hall the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Topeka 205 00:34:43,600 --> 00:34:51,070 Bailey Saddlemire First Unitarian Church of Providence Rhode Island 206 00:34:51,070 --> 00:34:55,480 Zach seaman unitarian universalist fellowship of winston-salem North 207 00:34:55,480 --> 00:34:57,730 Carolina 208 00:35:00,070 --> 00:35:09,510 Annalee Durlin Jones Thomas Jefferson Memorial Church a Unitarian Universalist 209 00:35:09,510 --> 00:35:15,620 Jonah goodman thomas jefferson memorial church unitarian universalist 210 00:35:18,770 --> 00:35:26,840 Barton Tomlinson all souls of Kansas City 211 00:35:26,860 --> 00:35:34,090 davis burden First Unitarian society of Madison 212 00:35:35,360 --> 00:35:41,320 Jasmine Kao community unitarian universalist church Plano Texas 213 00:35:44,300 --> 00:35:52,239 Nina Clarke Elliott Chaplin st. Louis Missouri 214 00:35:52,810 --> 00:35:57,350 Miranda Allen Elliot chapel Kirkwood Missouri 215 00:36:01,049 --> 00:36:12,940 Elena Salgado high-plains EU Church in Colorado Springs 216 00:36:12,940 --> 00:36:17,940 Bridgette Lewis First Unitarian Universalist Church of Austin 217 00:36:19,310 --> 00:36:28,550 Henry Hill Gorman First Unitarian society of Madison 218 00:36:28,550 --> 00:36:33,830 Rene Roy First Unitarian Church of Providence Rhode Island 219 00:36:36,770 --> 00:36:45,120 Judah Spahn, DuPage UU church in Naperville Illinois 220 00:36:45,120 --> 00:36:54,900 Cassidy Ells DuPage Unitarian Universalist Church Naperville Illinois 221 00:36:54,900 --> 00:37:04,190 Amy Alberg First Unitarian Church of Providence Rhode Island 222 00:37:04,190 --> 00:37:14,540 Alyson luck and Unitarian Universalist Church of Davis 223 00:37:14,540 --> 00:37:18,610 Hannah Dugan Universalist Unitarian Church of Joliet Illinois 224 00:37:21,250 --> 00:37:29,980 my name is Butter, First Unitarian society of Minneapolis 225 00:37:30,309 --> 00:37:41,530 Joshua Bose Unitarian Universalist Church in Fort Worth Texas 226 00:37:42,390 --> 00:37:51,699 Ben Abernathy unitarian universalist church of Columbia 227 00:37:51,840 --> 00:38:04,270 Eve levy First Unitarian society of Madison Rachel Ann Byerly doux unitarian 228 00:38:04,270 --> 00:38:11,200 universalist church of Columbia Missouri 229 00:38:11,200 --> 00:38:16,460 Bern Dallas Crandall shoreline unitarian universalist church just north of 230 00:38:16,460 --> 00:38:22,150 seattle 231 00:38:22,150 --> 00:38:27,630 Ian Polaris Elliot Unitarian chapel in st. Louis Missouri 232 00:38:30,749 --> 00:38:40,230 Chris Twombly Elliot Chapel st. Louis Missouri 233 00:38:40,230 --> 00:38:49,160 Samantha Miller unitarian universalist church of bloomington-normal 234 00:38:49,160 --> 00:38:55,119 Carolin good unitarian universalist fellowship of Salina 235 00:38:58,920 --> 00:39:05,800 Eliot Ferrell Caratay First Universalist Church of Denver 236 00:39:08,350 --> 00:39:19,150 Luís Catalan North Shore Unitarian Church in Deerfield Illinois 237 00:39:19,369 --> 00:39:25,770 Tracy iscentron West Shore Unitarian Universalist Church of Rocky River Ohio 238 00:39:29,390 --> 00:39:34,350 Eliott Crary Unitarian Universalist congregation in Amato Green Valley 239 00:39:34,350 --> 00:39:41,709 Arizona 240 00:40:18,540 --> 00:40:27,330 Bridgers I invite you to remain standing young adults you may sit down Bridgers 241 00:40:27,330 --> 00:40:36,430 today we recognize your transition into young adulthood the physical move you 242 00:40:36,430 --> 00:40:42,430 made from the stage into the gathering of young adults is symbolic of this 243 00:40:42,430 --> 00:40:49,710 change in your life as you enter young adulthood things will continue to shift 244 00:40:49,710 --> 00:40:58,030 to change to grow but it is important to remember that you do not leave behind 245 00:40:58,030 --> 00:41:04,660 all that you have learned and experienced all that has made you the 246 00:41:04,660 --> 00:41:11,830 person that you are now all that has led you to this moment here 247 00:41:11,830 --> 00:41:19,930 it all comes with you into this new stage of your life all of who you are 248 00:41:19,930 --> 00:41:28,930 all of who you have been all of who you will be is bound up in you and you are 249 00:41:28,930 --> 00:41:35,370 bound up in the tapestries that weave together your various communities 250 00:41:35,370 --> 00:41:41,740 Unitarian Universalism and the wider world today 251 00:41:41,740 --> 00:41:52,230 Bridgers we celebrate you exactly as you are with all your hopes and fears 252 00:41:52,230 --> 00:42:02,100 intentions and dreams and mistakes and missteps fully human no more no less 253 00:42:02,100 --> 00:42:10,260 we cherish your triumphs and Joy's honor your disappointments and sorrows and 254 00:42:10,260 --> 00:42:19,420 recognize that much of life by somewhere in between we bless you today 255 00:42:19,420 --> 00:42:24,569 Bridgers with the knowledge that you are never alone 256 00:42:24,569 --> 00:42:34,809 so many people people who you know and people who you may never meet hold you 257 00:42:34,809 --> 00:42:44,219 in love and support you are connected by invisible threads invisible bonds to 258 00:42:44,219 --> 00:42:53,609 everyone else the strength of our communities lies within these bonds and 259 00:42:53,609 --> 00:43:07,199 within you divinity and holiness lie within these bonds and within you 260 00:43:07,199 --> 00:43:15,549 bridgers as you go forward into young adulthood and the rest of your lives we 261 00:43:15,549 --> 00:43:24,690 bless you with courage with humility and with compassion we wish for you 262 00:43:24,690 --> 00:43:31,839 determination and grace and a willingness and curiosity to learn and 263 00:43:31,839 --> 00:43:39,729 to be wrong and to try again go forth confidently with the strength 264 00:43:39,729 --> 00:43:46,390 of your communities flanking you go forth grounded in the love and support 265 00:43:46,390 --> 00:43:54,969 that you find here go forth knowing that you are worthy and 266 00:43:54,969 --> 00:44:02,309 you are enough you may be seated 267 00:44:11,329 --> 00:44:19,950 in my 22 years as uu I have inherited much of what makes me who I am today the 268 00:44:19,950 --> 00:44:26,220 re League community at ferry beach in Saco Maine has been my spiritual home 269 00:44:26,220 --> 00:44:32,040 since I was 9 years old the other youth there were the older brothers and 270 00:44:32,040 --> 00:44:37,320 sisters I had always wanted growing up you you taught me to be 271 00:44:37,320 --> 00:44:44,040 open-minded conscientious and to value community when I was a junior youth in 272 00:44:44,040 --> 00:44:49,140 high school or junior in high school the youth conference district I was in 273 00:44:49,140 --> 00:44:56,430 was slowly dying while there was a very enthusiastic group of youth they were 274 00:44:56,430 --> 00:45:02,910 hampered by a finite amount of adult resources causing disagreement between 275 00:45:02,910 --> 00:45:08,339 the youth and adults about the number and length of youth conferences that 276 00:45:08,339 --> 00:45:12,900 could be held I found myself put in a position where 277 00:45:12,900 --> 00:45:18,869 as a youth leader I wanted my voice to be heard and as the child of a d-r-e 278 00:45:18,869 --> 00:45:24,720 I had a path through which I could accomplish that my goal was for there to 279 00:45:24,720 --> 00:45:30,089 be weekend long cons during my senior year of high school and after many 280 00:45:30,089 --> 00:45:35,819 meetings emails and late nights of planning we ended up being able to have 281 00:45:35,819 --> 00:45:43,890 - I was at the first of those cons on a night in late January that I began to 282 00:45:43,890 --> 00:45:50,190 believe in myself I realized that if I wanted to do something enough and put in 283 00:45:50,190 --> 00:45:55,800 the effort I could make it happen later that year as I was weighing the 284 00:45:55,800 --> 00:46:01,829 pros and the cons of different colleges I remember thinking to myself that it 285 00:46:01,829 --> 00:46:07,050 would be okay if I ended up somewhere without a pre-existing uu group because 286 00:46:07,050 --> 00:46:12,440 I knew that I could start one fast 287 00:46:17,470 --> 00:46:23,840 fast forward to my sophomore year of college when I first filed the papers to 288 00:46:23,840 --> 00:46:29,770 restart the defunct uu group at my school it did not exactly go as planned 289 00:46:29,770 --> 00:46:35,810 there are not many you use who attend my college in the first place and the 290 00:46:35,810 --> 00:46:40,790 subset of people who won't be part of a campus group is even smaller I also 291 00:46:40,790 --> 00:46:46,010 realized they did not know how to lead a campus group my old youth group was made 292 00:46:46,010 --> 00:46:51,320 up of people who had been friends since childhood starting a group from scratch 293 00:46:51,320 --> 00:46:57,260 was new to me but I persisted because if I could pull a cog district back 294 00:46:57,260 --> 00:47:05,599 together I could lead a uu campus group I started looking for resources writing 295 00:47:05,599 --> 00:47:11,510 curricula and putting together plans so that even on days when I had just run 296 00:47:11,510 --> 00:47:17,330 out of lab I could have something to fall back on our group never did get 297 00:47:17,330 --> 00:47:22,730 that big but I learned a lot about leadership outreach and how to ask for 298 00:47:22,730 --> 00:47:28,580 help when I need it what I plan on passing to the future generations of you 299 00:47:28,580 --> 00:47:34,130 use is a sense of community I've experienced community at ferry beach re 300 00:47:34,130 --> 00:47:41,300 week my youth conference district my home congregation and in my college 301 00:47:41,300 --> 00:47:46,490 campus group what I've learned through the many groups is that I've 302 00:47:46,490 --> 00:47:52,160 been in is how important uu community can be making sure that my fellow young 303 00:47:52,160 --> 00:47:55,790 adults know that they are welcome is paramount 304 00:47:55,790 --> 00:48:02,599 to me because my uu community has helped me to be a better happier more generous 305 00:48:02,599 --> 00:48:07,369 person and I want to make sure that others can have the wonderful experience 306 00:48:07,369 --> 00:48:09,760 I did 307 00:48:16,490 --> 00:48:24,640 I invite you to rise and body or in spirit and join us in singing 308 00:51:22,170 --> 00:51:28,110 as Unitarian Universalists we have inherited the freedom to determine and 309 00:51:28,110 --> 00:51:36,840 accept on our own terms how we live out our faith we are urged to seek knowledge 310 00:51:36,840 --> 00:51:44,250 to refine our understanding of the world we live in the fourth principle guides 311 00:51:44,250 --> 00:51:53,310 us on a free and responsible search for truth and meaning for many Unitarian 312 00:51:53,310 --> 00:51:58,800 Universalism provide provides a community in which we are all free to 313 00:51:58,800 --> 00:52:06,690 choose we strive to create a beloved community in which personal choice the 314 00:52:06,690 --> 00:52:15,450 freedom to be who we are is cherished by many our ability to individually and 315 00:52:15,450 --> 00:52:22,470 collectively choose the energy that we put into the world is something that I 316 00:52:22,470 --> 00:52:32,220 believe is distinctive about our faith that being said I encourage you to take 317 00:52:32,220 --> 00:52:39,030 a second and deeply consider really how much of your presence in Unitarian 318 00:52:39,030 --> 00:52:49,470 Universalism your congregation you being here at GA is due to choice are you here 319 00:52:49,470 --> 00:52:54,960 solely because of your power to make a selection of a faith that best 320 00:52:54,960 --> 00:53:02,580 encompasses your morals or is there more at play I speculate that for those of 321 00:53:02,580 --> 00:53:09,060 you who were born or adopted into Unitarian Universalism as well as those 322 00:53:09,060 --> 00:53:15,930 of you who found Unitarian Universalism later on that there is something more 323 00:53:15,930 --> 00:53:21,480 than just personal choice or choice of your caregivers that brought you into 324 00:53:21,480 --> 00:53:29,130 this community I encourage you to explore what aspects of your path to 325 00:53:29,130 --> 00:53:34,300 Unitarian Universalism have been involuntary 326 00:53:34,300 --> 00:53:41,930 what contributions have past generations made to this faith that have made your 327 00:53:41,930 --> 00:53:50,420 dedication to Unitarian Universalism nearly compulsory perhaps my own story 328 00:53:50,420 --> 00:53:58,790 will clarify in 1988 I was adopted into a white Unitarian Universalist family as 329 00:53:58,790 --> 00:54:06,260 a newborn I was dedicated in a uu fellowship in Elkhart Indiana by the 330 00:54:06,260 --> 00:54:13,910 Minister Gordon Gibson my mother and cousin are former dr eaves and my father 331 00:54:13,910 --> 00:54:19,790 spent time as a board member at a couple of different congregations my 332 00:54:19,790 --> 00:54:26,500 grandmother helped found a uu church in South Bend Indiana in 1952 333 00:54:26,500 --> 00:54:32,200 the only faith I have known has been Unitarian Universalism 334 00:54:32,200 --> 00:54:39,710 it has not only been my personal history that has strengthened my identity as a 335 00:54:39,710 --> 00:54:46,130 Unitarian Universalist but also the choices and contributions of my parents 336 00:54:46,130 --> 00:54:53,570 and grandparents generations that have cemented my choice of this faith it is 337 00:54:53,570 --> 00:55:00,980 the contributions of generations past that made way for myself a black woman 338 00:55:00,980 --> 00:55:07,400 and proud Unitarian Universalist to hold both of those identities not as 339 00:55:07,400 --> 00:55:15,640 conflicting or opposed attributes but as simultaneously and harmoniously linked 340 00:55:15,640 --> 00:55:23,030 expects of my existence the space that has been made for me by Unitarian 341 00:55:23,030 --> 00:55:30,080 Universalists of color so that I an anxious uncertain and hesitant black 342 00:55:30,080 --> 00:55:36,320 girl was able to find a community in which I was able to unpack the 343 00:55:36,320 --> 00:55:42,740 degradation that oppression had done to me and supported my exploration of black 344 00:55:42,740 --> 00:55:51,049 joy this is what I pass on it is the offerings of generations past 345 00:55:51,049 --> 00:55:55,169 that have involved and my passion for social justice 346 00:55:55,169 --> 00:56:01,199 it was Unitarian Universalists of color who challenged me and other youth of 347 00:56:01,199 --> 00:56:08,309 color to examine and ultimately confront the internalized racial oppression we 348 00:56:08,309 --> 00:56:14,339 were struggling with additionally white you use predominantly 349 00:56:14,339 --> 00:56:20,640 youth and young adults who showed me that to be to truly be in Beloved 350 00:56:20,640 --> 00:56:27,299 Community that they had their own work to do as well I have inherited a sense 351 00:56:27,299 --> 00:56:34,619 of obligation to confront and question injustice within our denomination and 352 00:56:34,619 --> 00:56:40,949 the world at large this is what I pass on it is the 353 00:56:40,949 --> 00:56:48,959 contributions of generations past that gave me a shy 12 year old the confidence 354 00:56:48,959 --> 00:56:56,009 and assurance to hold my own opinions and thoughts in high regard as those of 355 00:56:56,009 --> 00:57:02,819 adults youth advisors and ministers who truly knew the meaning of youth 356 00:57:02,819 --> 00:57:09,269 empowerment helped me gain a tenacity and self-reliance that can only be 357 00:57:09,269 --> 00:57:16,589 achieved from authentic acknowledgement the courage of the youth community to 358 00:57:16,589 --> 00:57:24,739 speak their truth to power is a mighty force this is what I pass on 359 00:57:29,999 --> 00:57:36,179 I did not choose Unitarian Universalism until later and what I came to 360 00:57:36,179 --> 00:57:53,650 understand is that Unitarian Universalism chose me 361 00:57:55,480 --> 00:58:02,920 Unitarian Universalism is our shared faith it is our gift our 362 00:58:02,920 --> 00:58:11,960 responsibility our legacy as we heard in these stories our faith has helped us 363 00:58:11,960 --> 00:58:20,480 pray when we needed it most supported us in discerning who we were going to be on 364 00:58:20,480 --> 00:58:30,880 our journey taught us what we are capable of and this faith has chosen us 365 00:58:31,570 --> 00:58:39,400 during the past five years in this job I have tried to live into the 366 00:58:39,400 --> 00:58:47,930 responsibility of making this faith a better home for younger generations but 367 00:58:47,930 --> 00:58:56,220 sometimes I made mistakes like getting stuck in my ego and sending 368 00:58:56,220 --> 00:59:03,109 defensive emails maybe you've done that 369 00:59:03,229 --> 00:59:09,479 like getting caught up in the busy and totally forgetting to set up a meeting 370 00:59:09,479 --> 00:59:19,309 with my 18 to 24 year old meaning makers participants sorry sometimes I just 371 00:59:19,309 --> 00:59:26,339 prioritized other things sometimes working on white supremacy within the 372 00:59:26,339 --> 00:59:32,160 UUA came first sometimes my organizing work 373 00:59:32,160 --> 00:59:37,309 supporting our undocumented neighbors came first 374 00:59:37,309 --> 00:59:48,720 sometimes my kid came first so I cannot say that this work is easy and I cannot 375 00:59:48,720 --> 00:59:56,369 say it should always be on everyone's priority list since I've been paid to do 376 00:59:56,369 --> 01:00:04,979 it full-time and still sometimes had to shift my focus but I can say this with 377 01:00:04,979 --> 01:00:16,979 certainty this ministry belongs to all of us and without this ministry our 378 01:00:16,979 --> 01:00:21,170 faith is already dead 379 01:00:25,030 --> 01:00:36,050 all of us are called to strengthen ministry for our youngest adults to add 380 01:00:36,050 --> 01:00:44,349 a few stitches to the tapestry of our faith so I invite you to do something 381 01:00:44,349 --> 01:00:52,790 simple and difficult this afternoon I invite you to figure out what's the next 382 01:00:52,790 --> 01:01:00,380 thing you are gonna do to make this faith a better home for these Bridgers 383 01:01:00,380 --> 01:01:08,580 and all their peers all throughout our movement 384 01:01:09,540 --> 01:01:17,380 so maybe you're already doing 1 2 or 15 things for this ministry but I invite 385 01:01:17,380 --> 01:01:25,330 you now to think of a thing a real thing a thing like text that young adult I 386 01:01:25,330 --> 01:01:30,790 mentor during coming of age who I haven't talked to for a while a thing 387 01:01:30,790 --> 01:01:37,360 like go home and email my religious educator and see about organizing a care 388 01:01:37,360 --> 01:01:44,680 package making party for our youth alumni a thing like get together with 389 01:01:44,680 --> 01:01:50,430 some students and maybe we can plan a small group worship on our campus a 390 01:01:50,430 --> 01:01:58,060 thing like go home and educate myself more on gender identity terms that are 391 01:01:58,060 --> 01:02:06,090 common in younger generations but maybe unfamiliar to me just pick a thing 392 01:02:09,210 --> 01:02:14,920 okay do you have your thing if not you'll have another moment but I want 393 01:02:14,920 --> 01:02:21,130 each of you to find a partner for this exercise so if nobody's sitting near you 394 01:02:21,130 --> 01:02:26,319 and you can move easily I invite you to do so if it is less easy for you to move 395 01:02:26,319 --> 01:02:31,869 please signal someone to come be your partner and then you're going to share 396 01:02:31,869 --> 01:02:37,599 with your partner the one thing you're gonna do and how you're gonna remember 397 01:02:37,599 --> 01:02:44,500 to do it after you leave GA so you'll each have a minute to share with your 398 01:02:44,500 --> 01:02:46,530 partner 399 01:04:53,530 --> 01:05:04,090 thank you thank you thank you all and you can keep making those commitments 400 01:05:04,090 --> 01:05:10,450 find somebody who wasn't here tonight tell them about it and now we're going 401 01:05:10,450 --> 01:05:18,460 to bless these commitments with the buttons you received earlier I want you 402 01:05:18,460 --> 01:05:22,950 to hold that button in your hand 403 01:05:23,900 --> 01:05:31,770 beloved a button by itself is not of much use but a button sewn on to a 404 01:05:31,770 --> 01:05:43,150 garment can help to close gaps it makes the whole thing function these buttons 405 01:05:43,150 --> 01:05:49,480 are the actions we are going to take to support ministry to and with our 406 01:05:49,480 --> 01:05:56,350 youngest adults when you return home and you add your action to your faith 407 01:05:56,350 --> 01:06:03,580 community you will help to close those gaps and make our communities function 408 01:06:03,580 --> 01:06:11,470 better so keep this button as a reminder of the work and a reminder that we need 409 01:06:11,470 --> 01:06:19,650 to be connected by the threads of faith and community for this work to matter 410 01:06:19,650 --> 01:06:28,800 may we do this sacred necessary joyful work together