What Do Young Adults Want from Spiritual Community?

Published on: April 27, 2015

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There are no extra pieces in the universe.
Everyone is here because he or she has a place to fill,
and every piece must fit itself into the big jigsaw puzzle.
Deepak Chopra

I have been impressed with the urgency of doing.
Knowing is not enough; we must apply.
Being willing is not enough; we must do.
Leonardo da Vinci

We want to co-create. We’re ready for action! We are enthusiastic about using the skills we have, and trying out new things as well. Metaphorically speaking, we’re the adult version of the toddler who is discovering new abilities and insisting, “Me do it!” It’s how we learn.

12-NGU-Fall-2014Gathering14_webAt the same time, it feels vital to be a part of something bigger than our own individual lives. We need to know that our presence matters, and that the effects of our actions ripple out to the world around us.

These needs show up in everything we do, and especially in our spiritual lives. We gravitate more readily to spiritual experiences we can actively participate in, rather than something we passively observe or simply listen to. Singing, dancing, drumming and spiritual discussion appeal to us much more than listening to a lecture or a sermon.

At NGU (Next Generation of Unity) events in the Eastern Region, we’ve tapped into the co-creative spirit of young adults in several ways:

  • All events are designed and facilitated by a cooperative team of NGUers. Rather than bring in a keynote speaker, we create opportunities for NGUers to self-reflect and share the wisdom of their own experiences. When we design the schedule, we build in space for flexibility, allowing for the needs of the group and new ideas to emerge during the event.12-NGU-Fall-2014Gathering06_web
  • We take pride in being able to take care of ourselves. At NGU events in the Eastern Region, we enjoy collectively preparing and serving meals, and we work together to care for the church space that is hosting us. NGUers are encouraged to take ownership for their experience, to notice what needs to be done, and to do it.
  • Our events are designed to include some element of community service. We aren’t just coming together to have fun, be silly, and stare inward—we also want our lives to make a difference! We know that the power of many hands can make a huge impact, and we are humbled by what we can accomplish when we work together.

Whether we’re at a regional NGU gathering, in spiritual community on Sundays, or living our daily lives, we want to know that our presence makes a difference. Want to help us get involved? Ask for our opinion. Ask for our help. Ask for our perspective. We have a lot of enthusiasm and ideas to share, and a lot to learn through doing.

Note: The 2015 Spring NGU Gathering in the Eastern Region is May 1-3 in Syracuse, N.Y.

Kate Adamson
Kate Adamson grew up in Unity, and has been serving as Youth Education Director at Unity of Charlottesville, Va., since 2011. She has been serving as the Eastern Region’s NGU Consultant since January 2014, and will be ordained an Interfaith minister in Spring 2015.

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