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Spotlight: UU Church of Davis

Posted by Kayla Parker // August 2nd 2012 // Guides and Tools, On Campus, Spotlight, young adults // 2 comments

The Unitarian Universalist Church of Davis, CA is one of the two congregations awarded Anchor Congregation status in 2012. The other is Buckman Bridge Unitarian Universalist Church in Jacksonville, FL.-Ed.

The Unitarian Universalist Church of Davis, CA simply does young adult and campus ministry right. And they have for a long time. They are a model I cite often, would like to be able to clone.

Perhaps the most successful part of their program is their internship program for those seeking ministerial fellowship. Young adult and campus ministry is half of the intern’s position. Now, putting campus ministry in the portfolio of an intern is a model commonly used by many. And most are. Unsuccessful because the new intern is often starting anew every year.

The Unitarian Universalist Church of Davis, CA is different because they have a campus ministry committee that reports directly to their board and  is responsible for campus ministry work along with the intern.  They hold the knowledge of past programming, and are able to maintain relationships with students – along with coordinating weekly meals for the campus ministry group’s meetings.

The ministerial intern is present at meetings, and active in the interfaith councils on campus. The church h done an amazing job of training our future leaders to not only be skilled at congregational leadership, but also campus ministry. Proof of this includes former intern, Rev. Greg McGonigle, who currently serves as Director of Religious and Spiritual Life at Oberlin College and Conservetory.

By instituting campus ministry into the identity of the congregation so effectively, the church has also seen more and more students coming to service on Sunday. My guess is this has something to do with the entire committee and others it recruits to help out with meals building relationships with students – not just the one intern who leaves after a year or two.

The campus ministry group even has an annual dinner with the church elders, and the congregation hosts quarterly retreats for the group.

There is also great inclusion of young adults throughout the congregation, including a YA who serves on the board of trustees, another who is a worship associate, and many other who are involved in re programming. The congregation also sent campus ministry members to GA this year,giving them the opportunity to connect with others on a national level

Anyone who walks into the door is given a welcome card, and on here is the option to check a box if you are interested in learning about young adult or campus ministry. This is a great example of how being intentional and inclusive really makes a difference. No pigeoning of people who ‘look like they may be students’. A welcome to anyone who wants. So smooth and flawless! Let’s get all of our congregations to take this easy step!

There is a bi-weekly gathering for young adults at moving locations, as well as a small group ministry for older young adults. Additionally, the congregation is intentional about being in relationship with Xenia House, a co-op living facility of 6 Uu YAs, and many of the young adults at the church hangout there.

My favorite thing on UU Davis’ application honestly made me tear up a little. They wrote they are currently working on creating one year service term options on all of their committees so that their more transitory members are able to serve. All are truly welcome to fully engage in this community. It is clear that young adult and campus ministry is something that is an important part of this congregation, and it can be beautifully see in everything from their welcoming card to their bylaws.

Thank you,  Unitarian Universalist Church of Davis, CA for showing us all the way. I look forward to hearing about your next steps.

About the Author

Kayla Parker is editor of Becoming: A Spiritual Guide for Navigating Adulthood. She is currently a seminarian at Yale Divinity School, and Ministerial Intern at the Unitarian Universalist Church in Meriden, CT.
2 Responses to “Spotlight: UU Church of Davis”
  1. carol says:

    My 15 yr old son wants to go to Davis in part because of the congregation there. This is how we build lifelong UUs! Great adolescent programming, then University / young adult activities.

    • Kayla Parker says:

      Such a great story to hear! Thank you for sharing it , and I’m sure the folks at Davis will be delighted to hear this testimony.

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