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Spotlight: First UU Church of Columbus

Posted by Carey McDonald // January 8th 2013 // Featured Young Adults, On Campus, Spotlight, Stories and Voices, young adults // 3 comments

I was recently back in my hometown of Columbus, Ohio, and wanted to share some of the great ideas for young adult ministry that I saw at the church I grew up in: First Unitarian Universalist Church of Columbus.

The Basics – FUUCC is a large church with more than 600 members and 400 adults attending on an average Sunday. Commitment to young adult ministry runs through the church staff and lay leaders, including both ministers and the Director of Religious Education. In addition to welcoming young adults into multigenerational church life and leadership, ministry programs specifically targeting young adults include:

  • Twenties/Thirties Covenant Group (part of the church’s extensive small group ministry program)
  • A campus group at nearby Ohio State University called FOCUUS (Fellowship Of Campus UUs), supported by a local seminarian the church employs to serve as a campus ministry chaplain
  • Monthly Soulful Sundown services, also coordinated by the campus ministry chaplain
  • Past involvement with the Ohio-Meadville District through the district’s Young Adult Ministry Team
  • Young adult Our Whole Lives sexuality education class starting this spring
  • An active Facebook, social media and online presence to remain accessible

Here are two great ideas from Columbus that any church could use:

This banner hangs in the lobby, and serves as a welcoming gathering point after the 11 am Sunday service while coffee hour is going on nearby.




The Sunday I was visiting was the weekend before Christmas, and they offered a lunch after the service for graduates of the church’s Religious Education program. We got a great mix of college students and older young adults like me, with both ministers in attendance. It was a lovely time.


Keep up the good work, Columbus!

About the Author

Carey is the Chief Operating Officer for the UUA.
3 Responses to “Spotlight: First UU Church of Columbus”
  1. Kate Landis says:

    Hey Carey, I really like the idea of hiring a seminarian to coordinate the college group. Do you know how many hours a week the coordinator is hired for? Our congregation (Seattle, WA) is very close to two community colleges and I feel like there is a lot of potential for outreach. Both schools are strictly ‘commuter campuses,’ though, so there are no many sucessful clubs. Do you know of anyone who has done outreach well with a commuter school?

    • Kayla Parker says:

      Hi Kate- There are certainly examples of this. As Carey said, shoot me an email at kparker @ uua.org and let’s chat! 🙂

  2. Carey McDonald says:

    Hi Kate – I’ll send you an email offline to put you in touch with the folks in Columbus, and you can ask them the details. I know that both Portland, OR and Pittsburg, PA have had staff persons who serve multiple campuses, including larger or commuter schools, so those may be some models to consider as well.

    If you get a chance, you can email our campus ministry associate Kayla Parker and set up a time to talk with her (kparker@uua.org). I’m sure she’d have some good ideas for you!


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