Youth Ministry Blog

Transitions

Happy Friday! 

Transitions have been on my mind a lot recently because it seems a lot of things are coming to an end. The 2020-2021 academic school year is finishing, the crispness of Spring is fading into the heat of a Texas summer, and I am wrapping up my final month at UCC. While it may be tempting to look forward toward the next big thing, it is important to recognize the finality of aspects in our lives. 
It is important to name how difficult this school year has been, as homework is still assigned, friends get into fights, and schedules overflow, all while living amidst a pandemic. Naming the difficulties in our past year is not the same thing as complaining or whining. The release of frustrations and disappointments is one way we can connect with God and ourselves. Through allowing ourselves to feel angry, sad, or even happy, we are living more fully into the creatures God created us to be. 
Just look at the Book of Psalms found in the middle of your Bible (you know, the one you keep nearby at all times). Within this one section, the Psalmist conveys a variety of emotions while praising God, and they are not all ripe with happiness. Meaningful connection within ourselves and with God requires a level of authenticity that means we share all feelings, even the ones we're ashamed to bring to God. 
As I journey through this last month being the Assistant Minister for Youth at University Christian Church, I've had a lot of feelings. Sadness, fear, and guilt name just a few. However, I will not try to shy away from these feelings, or ignore the discomfort that transition may bring because I know God can handle it. God is capable and willing to hold us, no matter what we're feeling or experiencing. 
I invite you to be vulnerable with God this week. Share the thoughts or feelings you've been hesitant to name before, and allow yourself to be holistically present for a few moments. As always, I'm here if you'd like to share any reflections or if you have some questions about transitions in your own life. 

Lots of love, 

 

Addison

Wishing Addison well

Hi everyone, 
 
Today's reflection is actually an announcement. After two years as our Assistant Minister to Youth, Rev. Addison Gardner has accepted a hospital chaplaincy internship at Texas Health Fort Worth. 
 
While I am sad to see her go, this is an excellent opportunity for Addison as she works on her Clinical Pastoral Education unit and furthers her pastoral experience as she wraps up her seminary career. 
 
Addison first came to UCC as a Choral Scholar, singing in our excellent choir during her undergraduate career. She also served as our summer intern, holding that position for 2018 and 2019, while volunteering with the youth during the school year as well. 
 
Upon entering seminary in 2019, Addison joined our clergy team as the Assistant Minister for Youth. She has thrived in every role, and I know that she will be successful in her new role at Texas Health Fort Worth, too! 
 
Addison's last Sunday with UCC will be May 30th, so we still have a month left with her! I hope you'll take the time to send her a note thanking her for her time at UCC and wishing her well. You can do so at 
 
Grace and Peace,
Jamie

experiencing the conclusion of Derek Chauvin's court case

[Content Warning: Police Brutality]
Hey y'all, 
 
I had originally planned to write this week's reflection about Earth Day and our responsibility to care for this planet on which we live. However, after watching and experiencing the conclusion of Derek Chauvin's court case on Tuesday, I think it's important to spend some time talking about the emotions surrounding that day. I was sitting in my pastoral care class when a classmate sent into our Zoom chat "news sources say the jury's decision will be announced within the next hour." Goosebumps covered my arms and legs as I imagined the numerous amounts of outcomes for the officer who killed George Floyd, and my brain was focused on anything other than the ongoing lecture in the background. 
Similar to the goosebumps in this moment was the overwhelming feeling of relief when I listened to the judge announce the word "guilty" three times. I found myself cheering and smiling uncontrollably at one moment, and then fell quiet as I remembered how this court case does not bring George Floyd back to life. Derek Chauvin receiving multiple life sentences does not bring breath back into George's lungs nor does it bring back to life other Black bodies that have been violently harmed. It is okay to celebrate the accountability showcased by the United States judicial system on Tuesday, but we also need to recognize how low our bar has been set. 
We need to recognize that while Derek Chauvin was found guilty, 16 year old Ma'Khia Bryant was fatally shot by a police officer minutes before the judge announced the verdict. We need to recognize that violence targeted at Black bodies is embedded in our culture and that it will take years of dedicated work to bring about true reconciliation. 
Talking about racism can be uncomfortable for white people because it involves naming our complacency and racist assumptions (even the ones we don't recognize). However, it is our responsibility as Christians to engage in anti-racist conversations and dedicate our lives to bringing wholeness and peace to all of God's beloved people. If you ever want to talk about racism or how to begin/continue the journey of being anti-racist, I'm here to try and help. As a white woman, I will not ever understand the pain or oppression experienced by the Black community. Yet, I can listen attentively to the words of our Black siblings and be willing to act when needed. 

With love, 

Addison

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