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2013 Annual Gathering Report from the Acting Young Adults Ministry Coordinator

By Thea Mateu, Acting Young Adults Ministry Coordinator

Thea Staff     It has been an exciting year in Young Adult Ministries! I’d like to share some highlights of our work since I received your warm welcome into this position at our 2012 Annual Gathering.

I’ve focused a lot of my initial work on finding out what is happening across our conference in Young Adult Ministries and I’m delighted to report that there are some powerful and creative ministries emerging from Santa Barbara to San Diego, and everywhere in between!  From back pew fellowship to contemporary worship services; from home groups to Sunday dinners; service projects and socializing; intergenerational song, dance, and worship and contemplative practice– the Young Adults in our conference are active and involved.

I’d like to share a few exciting projects that have been surfacing: A campus group organized by Bronson Farr at CSULB.  As a response to people preaching hate on the campus students got together to respond with love as a group called “Love Thy Neighbor.”  They chose dance and laughter as a way to combat the hate and while a group preached a message of condemnation, they had music, breakdancing, and tumbling across the lawn.  I was very excited to be able to do the Harlem Shake for a good cause along with clergy and students.Thea Report1

Some great projects are in the works: a partnership with Bienestar, a Latino community service and advocacy program to create a program for Latino families; an immersion and mission trip to the border with Centro Romero this summer for Young Adults; a number of Young Adult Ministries projects supporting local Pride efforts; and of course Young Adults volunteering at this year’s Pilgrim Pines Summer Camp!

This year I was trained along with Neal Washburn to become a trainer in Our Whole Lives, Lifespan Sexuality Education Curricula of the United Church of Christ and Unitarian Universalist Association.  I will be attending a training in Boston to be equipped to train more trainers and make this resource widely available to our conference.  Our Whole Lives has developed curricula on spirituality and sexuality for grades K-1 through High School, Young Adult, and Adult.

I’ve been reaching out to Young Adults to participate in General Synod 29 in Long Beach and offering scholarships to help make that possible. I’m also working on an after-hours Young Adult event to be announced!

Thea Report2I’ve been chairing the gatherings committee of the Coalition for LGBTQ Concerns of the United Church as we prepare for this year’s National Gathering in Long Beach.

I’ve also had the opportunity to participate in workshops on Ministry and Diversity which are enriching the work I’m doing with diverse Young Adults across our conference.

I’m a few weeks away from completing the second year of my Masters in Divinity program at Claremont School of Theology.  In 2012, I was sponsored by Claremont School of Theology’s Center for Sexuality and Gender in Religion to deliver research at an international interdisciplinary conference held at the University of Puerto Rico (my alma mater) and recently received the completed proceedings including my own work.

I have been selected by the Twenty-ninth General Synod Nominating Committee for nomination to the United Church of Christ Board as member at-large to be presented for election at General Synod 29.

I am looking forward to the work ahead with a great deal of hope and excitement.  I look forward to providing some opportunities for connection around young adult ministries; to providing opportunities to share best practices, and some young adult events that bring us together in service.

Our Young Adults are offering a prophetic voice that challenges us to look at the ways we live into our call to be the church.  I pray that we have the boldness to continue to expand our understandings of ministry, that we continue to be extravagantly welcoming, that we continue to build powerful communities that are invested in justice and living into the kin(g)dom today!

Thank you for all of your ongoing encouragement, support, questions, challenges, ideas, and prayers! I look forward to another year of ministry together.

Bendiciones,

~Thea Mateu, M.Ed.
Acting Young Adult Ministries Coordinator

 

Other Reports to the 2013 Annual Gathering:

Report from the Conference Board Chair
Report from the Executive Associate Conference Minister
Report from the Associate Conference Minister for Church Relations
Report from the Associate Conference Minister for Border & Latino Ministries
Report from the Youth Minister

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