Unitarian Universalist Congregation at Shelter Rock
Manhasset, NY, USA
|From YA LDC @ Shelter Rock|
With my family’s busy schedule growing up, I didn’t make it to many Cons in YRUU, though there was one amazing weekend at the beautiful Unitarian Universalist Church of Annapolis that may have changed me forever, and a singularly heartbreaking LDC (Leadership Development Conference) that embodies all the pathos that only a 16-year-old with an unrequited crush can understand….
Nevertheless, as I’m sure you can tell, the Cons that I did make it to had a profound effect on how I saw my religion/ spirituality and myself. To some degree, this is merely a reflection of being sixteen, when almost anything can be a fundamentally, spiritually life-altering experience imbued with life-long and global implications; I am only rarely affected that deeply and profoundly in my young adulthood. I’ve become more of a cynic, more likely to filter my experiences through rational, intellectual lenses that can steal some of their spiritual potency; or maybe I’m just more likely to deny and repress my deeper emotional responses.
I’ve been reflecting a lot on this since our last UU Young Adult retreat to Frost Valley, and I haven’t been particularly comfortable with the conclusions I’ve reached. This weekend’s Young Adult LDC, though, has lightened the load considerably.
No doubt this has a great deal to do with the wonderful people I gathered with at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation at Shelter Rock, friends both silver and gold. The purpose for which we gathered, too, helped to focus us on the challenges of inclusive, sensitive leadership in a generation of young people intensely engaged in the pressing issues of white privilege, racial and economic injustice, the New Jim Crow, and gender and sexuality equality.
I was struck by the fact that although, as is usually the case in UU circles, as a white woman I was in the racial and gender majority, I was also surprisingly in the minority as a straight person, which put an interesting spin for me on discussions of majority/ minority and empowerment.
More than anything, I think I took away from this experience and many other conversations post-Frost Valley that I am not the only young UU adult looking for deeper spiritual and religious connection to my community, and certainly not the only UU looking for a deeper connection between my religious and social justice convictions. I’ve gained new energy, thanks to the Shelter Rock LDC, to pursue further opportunities for training and congregation on these issues of racial, gender, sexual and economic justice and how they might be effected by my Unitarian Universalist communities.
Of course, the stunning beauty of the Shelter Rock campus was also a balm to my frustrations!