Wednesday, February 13, 2008


Could someone explain to me the politics behind The Dismantling of Continental YRUU.

Though I am a youth advisor at my own congregation, I've always been pretty skeptical of YRUU on a national level. That said, it seemed like a valuable thing to have.

Why kill it?

Didn't UU youth of color have a national organization? Did this kill it, too?

What's going on?

Will the youth still have a voice at GA? Organized by whom?



Robin Edgar said...

:Why kill it?

Well the UUA has to cut something to pay for that $1,000,000.00 80 member U*U mega-church in Dallas Fort-Worth, Texas. To say nothing of its multi-million dollar national marketing campaign that is likely to be just as successful at attracting new members. . .

Chalicechick said...

If I'm recalling correctly, a huge percentage of the money for Pathways came from a couple of very rich people who put it up knowing that the UUA was trying something really different that might not work.

Don't know if the ad campaign will be successful or not. Wouldn't be my preferred approach, but I've been wrong before.



Robin Edgar said...

OK so I was being a bit waggish but the fact remains that getting rid of YRUU probably has more to do with budget cuts and redirecting available funds to other projects than anything else.

The following not so "wild accusation" is found on the YRUU IMP blog -

"LRY did not trade it's financial independence for anything; the UUA seized control of LRY finances in a move that many LRYers felt was unethical at best, if not a downright violation of the terms of LRY's financial endowment."

Here is my response to that "wild accusation" -

This would by no means be the first time that the UUA seized control of finances in a move that many people felt was unethical at best, if not a downright violation of the terms of the charitable trusts they seized them from. Just Google Robin Edgar on Unitarian charitable trusts in Google Groups as well as the main Google site for more information about that. Or just read this sermon by CUC founder Rev. Charles Eddis.

This is worth a read too, for the UUA`s spin on things -

Looks like The Emerson Avenger just might have yet another Unitarian*Universalist abuse to blog about soon. . .

Anonymous said...

The letter from the YRUU Steering Committee explains things succintly:

This doesn't kill DRUUMM YaYA (Youth and Young Adult), which is a continental group of youth and young adults of color. DRUUMM YaYA did get a lot of its funding through the UUA's youth program, so it will be affected. DRUUMM YaYA membership is moving forward on programming as we speak, and is looking at how to develop itself so that it can be financially independent of the UUA, self-empowered, self-determining, and so on ....

Robin Edgar said...

Where have I heard that before?

Oh ya. . .

When the UUA decided to dump the CUC because it no longer needed it to redirect money from charitable trusts intended for use outside of the USA back to its corporate coffers.

Steven Rowe said...

To me, it looks like it ties in with the other decisions made in the recent past - where non-congregational organizations have been defunded and had their voices lessened at GA. It certainly fits that pattern.

LinguistFriend said...

My impression is that SC Universalist is correct about the general pattern; there is partial similarity to the Independent Affiliates mess. On the other hand, to place something under the congregation of course also shifts the funding responsibility from the UUA to the congregation. This seems to miss the point that you can't learn to function in terms of large interconnected organizations by limiting your activity to the congregational level.

Steven Rowe said...

"This seems to miss the point that you can't learn to function in terms of large interconnected organizations by limiting your activity to the congregational level."
or maybe that is the point.
Hasn't one of the enduring complaints about the UUA HQ been about too large unwanted national activity at the expense of local (congregational) activity?

Chalicechick said...

I did read the letter, I just don't see as many explanations in it as other people do.


fausto said...

I suspect it has a lot to do with a recommitment to principles of congregationalism, just like the affiliated organizations brouhaha last year. From the little I can see and discern, top brass at 25 Beacon apparently feels that youth should be ministered to within their local congregations, not through a denomination-wide ministry that is largely apart from the congregations.

Chalicechick said...

Were every church like mine, I would be ok with that approach.

However, for the churches that don't have lots of money, 800+ enthusiastic members and dozens of kids in the youth group, I think the stuff on a national level was quite valuable as it provided opportunities for kids that didn't have a big group in the church to all get together.


Robin Edgar said...

Which is probably the case with the vast majority of the "churches" in the "tiny fringe religion" known as U*Uism.

Chalicechick said...

Not having lots of money, 800+ members or dozens of kids in the youth group is the case with a vast majority of churches in every religion.


Anonymous said...

The letter does say that the UUA will sponsor a GA youth caucus.

Comrade Kevin said...

I must admit that this does not surprise me. I saw the handwriting on the wall which is why I left the Unitarian Universalist church with no small degree of sadness in June.
This is not to say "I told you so" or to throw it back in anyone's face. I left the UUs with tears in my eyes, but not anger in my heart.

I regret many hurtful comments I made when I was actively involved in the movement itself, particularly towards the end when I realized the fullest nature of the situation. I was also going through a horrible time in my life and had not yet found an adequate medication to treat my chronic condition.

What is truly saddening is that I learned, anecdotally then, confirmed, now that I was far from the first former YRUU to experience the same sort of blow-back and experience.

The deeper picture of why YRUU was dissolved is ostensibly due to money, yes, and those who left comments on the blog you referenced are right to say that money is being used as the justification for its dissolution when the real motive were something else altogether. Sacred space being disturbed, yes. Sexual assaults and drug use, yes, particular at Con Con, though I saw the latter at Opus/ConCentric, and not the former. Anti-racism programming being run in a manner that was extremely virulent, negative, and hurtful to all, depending on their stance.

To sum it up, it collapsed for the same reasons LRY collapsed. It got too radical for its own good, it lacked substantive cohesion, it lacked an adequate underpinning of support from the UUA at large, and since it pulled disenfranchised young people from all over the United States and Canada, many of them brought with them their own feelings of being overlooked and under-appreciated by their own individual congregations with them when they went to cons.

Unitarian Universalism is a small denomination, and what is truly sad is that without anything like YRUU, there is no way for young adults to network with those in general sympathy who are in the same age range. The larger problems and issues with UUism that you have discussed on this blog pertain to the youth as well as the middle aged average attendant, so YRUU often served as an effective microcosm of UUism as its exists throughout each US state and Canadian province, for better and for worse.

It needs to be replaced, but what really needs to spring up in its place is a whole different MINDSET that may or may not be contrary to UUism as an entity. Indeed, my pessimism that the faith itself was inherently flawed and beyond reform was why I chose to leave it behind.

Robin Edgar said...

Well that makes a lot of sense too Comrade Kevin but I expect that financial considerations were a large part of the decision to "kill it" as CC puts it. It seems to me that the problems that you raise here could have been responsibly addressed without "killing" YRUU. It's not like the UUA would dissolve the Ministerial Fellowship Committee (to say nothing of itself. . .) due to clergy sexual misconduct, clergy drug use, or U*U ministers behaving in a manner that was extremely virulent, negative, and hurtful to people. . . I mean all that has happened and the MFC is still around. Right?

RandomRanter said...

It seems that part of the issue is that Continental YRUU had become fairly focused on ConCon and that took away the time or resources to assist helpfully at a greater level. But. Ditching ConCon was supposed to help with that and give them the opportunity to provide resources at the continental level. So, this concerns me.

Chalicechick said...

(((The letter does say that the UUA will sponsor a GA youth caucus.))

True enough, but to me that doesn't seem like it would be remotely the same thing to a group that feels disenfranchised. ]