by Jaimie Dingus
Two years ago I was finishing up a conference call for a youth leadership program at the Unitarian Universalist Association when Jeremie Bateman asked if I thought there would be any youth interested in a weekend program for youth considering ministry. I was incredibly excited about the idea then, but I was even more excited while writing my application for the program two years later.
Summer Seminary, as it came to be called, was a weekend program in Boston for Unitarian Universalist youth considering ministry and other forms of religious leadership. There was an application process from which sixteen amazing Unitarian Universalist high school students were selected from all over the nation. We assembled at Picket and Elliot House, the UUA’s Bed and Breakfast, for what would be an incredibly affirming and life-changing weekend.
The weekend was a whirlwind of activities and experiences. We had several speakers including representatives from: Andover Newton Theological School; UUMassAction, a faith-based justice organization in Boston; and the UUA’s Ministerial Fellowship Committee. We got to go on a tour of Harvard Divinity School and see up close a pulpit that Ralph Waldo Emerson preached from. We had a visit from a Harvard homiletics professor who led a workshop on preaching. The following evening we got to participate in the first annual Summer Seminary “preach-off” in the chapel at the UUA’s current headquarters on Beacon Street.
Throughout our time together we shared deeply in conversation and worship. We explored our own calls to ministry and had the privilege of discussing this call with our peers. I left the weekend absolutely full of enthusiasm for Unitarian Universalist ministry. Spending time with other youth who share my passion was incredibly valuable and eye opening. I feel so grateful for the experience and proud to have gotten to spend time with all the wonderful youth and adults who made this weekend happen.
Jaimie Dingus grew up at the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of the Peninsula and recently served as Worship Coordinator for the UUA’s Youth Caucus. This reflection was featured on “Blue Boat”, a blog of the UUA’s Office of Youth and Young Adult Ministries.