YRUU: Young Religious Unitarian Universalists
During this time of physical distancing, we meet online via Zoom for a weekly check-in at 2pm on Sundays. Join us for a casual hour of catching up with each other and taking a break from your at-home routine with a group game or activity.
See you there!
Who We Are
“Your unique configuration is the Universe’s expression of what it means to be alive.”theresa soto
YRUU is the youth ministry of UUCC, serving teens grades 10-12. Our name stands for Young Religious Unitarian Universalists, and though that name technically describes who we are, it doesn’t tell you much. YRUU exists to answer the question embedded in our name: Why are you you?
In the words of theresa soto, you are you because your “unique configuration” matters. Our youth group exists because teens sometimes need to be encouraged to live their full selves in community with each other and the congregation. We strive to be a safe space that honors all of the diverse perspectives and voices that are within us, and in doing so, we celebrate each other and what it means to be human.
Together, we grow and learn—both as individuals and as a community. We do so by being intentional about our time together, listening to each other, organizing around issues that matter to us, and acting together in the community.
What We Do
We gather on Sunday evenings from 5-7pm in the Teen Room (Room 180) at the Owen Brown Interfaith Center for connection and fellowship. Sometimes we play a game; other times we engage in discussion. Occasionally, a guest speaker will present a special workshop for us on topics like storytelling and boundaries. And there are always snacks.
These Sunday Gatherings are a safe space where we can forge deep relationships, build trust, and learn from each other. We gather because the UU faith is experienced and practiced in community, and life is simply better when lived with other people.
Once a month, we participate in a service activity somewhere in our Howard County community. We’ve helped prepare a greenhouse at the Community Ecology Institute for growing season, packed lunches for Grassroots Crisis Intervention Center, and planted the green roof at Robinson Nature Center.
By partnering with and learning about the work of various local organizations, we begin to see our responsibility toward the world around us, and we begin to imagine the roles we want to take in it.
Our Current Events & Issues Discussion Group meets monthly after the 11 o’clock service. It’s a space to bounce ideas and thoughts about what’s going on in the world, whether it’s related to topics in the news or has to do with your observations of life at school. But mostly, this group is about listening to each other and wrestling with the gray areas of life today.
The YRUU Climate Focus Group meets on an ongoing basis to spearhead youth-led projects and initiatives in collaboration with the UUCC Climate Crisis team.
Every August we partner with Big Creek People in Action, an organization in McDowell County, West Virginia. First, we learn about the social, political, and economic trends that have shaped the Appalachian region. Then, we travel to spend a week in WV, where we experience what service rooted in local community looks like, following the example set by our BCPIA partners. We get our hands dirty in projects around town and spend time with local families. We reflect on how Howard County, MD may not look as different from McDowell County, WV than we thought at first glance and consider ways we can act and serve at home.
Youth Worship Service
The youth of UUCC regularly participate in worship services in various capacities—as worship associates assisting Rev. Paige, as readers and musicians shaping the worship experience, and as tech crew members ensuring everything runs smoothly.
But once a year, YRUU plans and leads a Sunday morning worship service from start to finish. This exercise is an opportunity for us to recognize that worship—a reflection of what is worthy to us—is yet another way for us to express our values in the world, and to share our values and perspectives with the UUCC community.
Note: Our 2020 service trip to WV has been canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. We will instead focus on ways we can serve local families that have been affected by this public health crisis. Seniors graduating in 2020 will be invited to join us on our 2021 trip.
UUCC’s annual, family-friendly Halloween party has become a tradition and staple in the Owen Brown community. The highlight of the party is the guided haunted house tour created, built, and executed by YRUU. It takes months of teamwork and planning to pull this off, but the resulting fun and joy it brings to families is why we do it!
Warm Welcome Shelter
Once a year, UUCC hosts the Warm Welcome Shelter in partnership with the Grassroots Crisis Intervention Center to provide food, transportation, and a warm place to sleep for county residents who are experiencing homelessness. Individual youth serve alongside their families throughout the shelter week, and the entire youth group prepares and serves dinner together one designated night of the week.
You don’t have to be religious, Unitarian, Universalist, or Unitarian Universalist to be part of YRUU, despite what our name says! You don’t even need to attend services at UUCC. If you are in grades 10-12 and interested in building community and engaging deeply with other people, then you are welcome here.