Saturday, July 12, 2008

Youth Empowerment

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the 2008 General Assembly of the Unitarian Universalist Association urges the Unitarian Universalist Association, its congregations and district structures to:
1. Invite ministerial support to youth and young adults through inclusive worship, intentional presence, and
2. Invest financial support in youth and young adult leadership bodies and programs when viable; and
3, Provide support for youth and young adult staff and volunteers to receive suitable training and resources, including self-directed anti-racism and anti-oppression trainings; and
4. Attend to the needs of youth and young adult constituents with marginalized identities by providing resources and opportunities within the congregation and at the district and continental levels.

They stood 150 strong behind the pro mikes, cheering as the resolution was passed. These were our youth - learning about the democratic process by participating in it with a resolution created by their own. The history behind this resolution is covered in a previous post (see "Youth Ministry"), and there is also a good description at uuworld.org. I also attended one of the FUN TIMES (Folks Unanimously Networking to Imagine, Manage, and Execute Sessions), that elected the next Board Youth Observer and General Assembly FUN TIMES co-manager. It was inspiring to see these young people deal with the issues of fairness, representative, and respect for each person who spoke and/or stood for election. Both young people elected, including Nick Allen who is the new Board Youth Observer, were thoughtful, bright and articulate and will represent Youth and UUism well.

How could anyone oppose this kind of youth resolution? Some did because they felt it did not go far enough, but what I found most interesting was the opposition by Denny Davidoff, a highly respected former moderator, who said "I fear this resolution will be asking this delegate body to make promises that many congregations cannot keep." This went to the heart of my next post: to what degree are decisions passed by delegates at General Assembly binding on the congregations that make up the Association?

2 comments:

Hi, It's Kari. said...

It was a powerful moment. The youth you name is Nick **Allen**. My son (the FUNTIMES Sr next year, who you said very kind things about) wants us to be sure we have the name right because he thinks someday Nick will be president of the UUA!

Karin L. said...

Hi Linda,

I'm greatly looking forward to your next post. The attitude in my own congregation seems to be that because of congregational polity, whatever resolutions are passed at the district or national level are non-binding. I struggle with this myself, because while I agree in principle with the idea of congregations making their own decisions, I don't know what it means to be "part of a movement" if we can choose to ignore anything with which we disagree. I've heard UUism described as "individualism on steroids" and this is only one example. We will not make much progress if we cannot stand united.