February 15, 2008
To: Young Religious Unitarian Universalists (YRUU) Steering Committee
From: William G. Sinkford,
President, Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA)
CC: UUA Board of Trustees
The two-year Consultation on Ministry to and With Youth made it very clear that we need to imagine new and more effective ways to support youth ministry throughout the Association of Congregations. The vision of multi-generational church life and support for congregational youth ministry which was created at the Summit on Youth Ministry last summer is powerful and positive. This year is intended as the time to create that new imagination. It is a time of transition and is, therefore, complicated.
The findings of the Consultation demonstrate that there is a broad consensus that the current structure for continental youth ministry is not serving our faith well. It is true that Continental YRUU, as we have known it, will be replaced at some point by a new structure that will serve us better. It is the task of the Youth Ministry Working Group to recommend that new structure. The decision to hold the Working Group meetings at the same time as your meetings this year in February and April was intended to maximize the opportunity for Steering Committee input in the development of the new structure.
Unfortunately, as a result of failures in communication within the UUA staff, some incorrect information was shared with you at your recently completed meeting. You were told that the Continental YRUU structure would end in June of this year and that there was no funding in the UUA's budget for Youth Council next summer. The reality is that the UUA's budget for next year will not be presented to the UUA Board for approval until its April meeting. No firm decisions have been made about ending support for the Continental YRUU structure. And because of YRUU's status as a Sponsored Organization, the UUA Board will have to approve any decision to end support for the organization. I apologize for the distress that incorrect information has caused.
I've asked the Office of Youth Ministry staff to prepare a set of "Frequently Asked Questions" about this process so that there will be clarity for all of us.
I hope this letter helps clarify where we are in the process. I am very sorry that inaccurate information was reported to you as fact. It is my most sincere hope that we, together, can reclaim the positive energy of the past two years and move toward a youth ministry which will serve Unitarian Universalism well.
William G. Sinkford