; charset=UTF-8" /> 2014 Annual Gathering Report from the Acting Young Adult Ministry Coordinator : Connecting Voices
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2014 Annual Gathering Report from the Acting Young Adult Ministry Coordinator

Thea Mateu ReportIt has been another great year in our church when it comes to Young Adult Ministries!  I’d like to share some of the highlights of the last year.

I’ve been able to serve as a resource leading workshops for and about Young Adult Ministries at a number of our churches and conferences, and beyond!  This has been a major area of work in our core value of building community as I’ve had a chance to encourage new partnerships, celebrate group accomplishments, and share best practices. This has allowed me to discover the exciting, creative, and connected ways that young adult ministry is being lived into across our conference.  We are a diverse and dynamic group and our ministries reflect that! We have groups contributing to creating sacred space in churches, we have powerful worship led by young adults, we have young families joining together, and we have college students involved in the community.

I have also had the opportunity to be in relationship with some wonderful young adult leaders in our conference and help them connect with leaders and resources that speak to their passions and interests.  This speaks to our core values of equipping leaders and building the future.

I hope you have noticed the greater number of young adult related features in our Connecting Voices newsletter! Keep looking for these articles and let me know if you have some young adult news to share! You can also like the young adult ministries page on Facebook by searching for: Young Adults of the SCNC UCC or click here: Young Adults of the SCNC UCC

General Synod seems like light years ago by now doesn’t it? Our conference young adults were present as participants and we were able to offer some scholarships for young adults to be able to attend as their busy schedules allowed.  This was an important opportunity for people to be involved in the life of our church and experience the powerful worship and community of our general synod.  We hosted an after hours event at a local ‘straight-friendly’ bar that also received one of the get-togethers for the Coalition for LGBT concerns’ annual gathering, which I chaired.  Singing with the General Synod Choir was one of the highlights of synod for me as hundreds of voices joined together in powerful worship.  I also led a workshop at General Synod, along with the Rev. Kelly Burd, Bishop Dwayne Royster, and Deb Ingram entitled “Mercy, Justice, Action.” I have been invited to continue that conversation in a webinar for Justice Leaders Engaging and Developing (Justice LED), date TBA.  Our core value of seeking justice permeates this project, as it does much of my ministry.

At General Synod, I was introduced along with my colleagues as a member of the United Church of Christ Board.  I currently serve on the Investment and Endowment Committee and I chair the Justice and Witness Committee of the UCCB.   I also serve on the Common Global Ministries Board of the UCC and the Disciples of Christ.  It has been a year of many meetings, many important discussions, and a great deal of work as we live into our new UCC Board.

I have been certified to train facilitators for the UCC and UUA Our Whole Lives comprehensive human sexuality curriculum and have begun to lead trainings.  We are hoping to have a training coming up soon in San Diego- keep an eye out registrations will fill up quickly!  The work of Our Whole Lives is grounded in seeking justice as we equip leaders to lead groups of young people in workshops that teach them about sexuality and spirituality in a way that is responsible, informative, inclusive, and affirming.

I have been certified in the Mental Health First Aid program for youth and young adults and I have been working on bringing resources to our churches.  Youth and young adulthood are the period where most mental health disorders initially surface. Our faith communities play an important role in removing the stigma from mental health disorders and in promoting a sense of belonging and connection.

At the most recent meeting of the Council for Hispanic Ministries of the United Church of Christ I was voted in as President Elect. I am excited about this opportunity to connect with the Latina and Latino young adults in our conference! The youth representative to CHM is our very own Sierra Gonzalez who also serves on the Youth Roundtable.

I completed 6 months of Clinical Pastoral Education this past year serving as a chaplain at Methodist Hospital of southern California in Arcadia.  I recently graduated from Claremont School of Theology with my Master of Divinity degree.  I was honored with the Jeanne Audrey Powers award from the Center from Sexuality and Gender in Religion for my commitment to diversity in the church.  I am looking forward to the next season in ministry having completed this important milestone.

As we face the changing financial reality of our church, I am looking forward to exploring ways of supporting young adult ministries that are sustainable and relevant.  I hope that you will continue to call upon me as a resource and I look forward to serving in the ways that are meaningful to all of our diverse communities.

I am looking forward to the year ahead with great excitement as I see some projects coming into fruition with some regional young adult opportunities, a renewed digital presence, increased Our Whole Lives trainings, and new opportunities for community building.

I pray that in the year to come, we continue to be inspired and emboldened by the Holy Spirit as we find new ways of living as God’s beloved community!

Bendiciones,

~Thea Mateu, M.Div., M.Ed.

 

Other Annual Gathering Reports:

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 Conference Youth Minister

Report from the Acting Young Adult Ministries Coordinator

Report form the Urban Mission New Church Start Planter

 

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