1. America’s Changing Religious Landscape, Pew Research, 2015. http://www.pewforum.org/files/2015/05/RLS-08-26-full-report.pdf
Other countries summarized at: http://thankgodforevolution.com/node/1764
3. UUA, Office of Young Adult Ministries, Rev. Christina Wille Mcknight Slide #7. for other churches see ref. #1, pg. 39. https://uugrowth.files.wordpress.com/2010/06/cmcknight_ga2010slides.pdf,
4. Pew, pg. 43. also see generational data pg. 42
5. The data suggest that we aren’t keeping our members. UUCB and others show a loss rate of ~11% (a 9 year average stay). National UU data here would be welcome. A study of Baptist churches gave an average loss rate of 6% (a 16 year stay). Bolitho, E.E. Hole in the Bucket. Seminar, October 1997, and http://www.uua.org/sites/live-new.uua.org/files/documents/laskowskilinda/080626_congs_count.pdf Slide 14.
Also, a basic congregational membership model shows that the distribution of current members by how long they have been members can be used to estimate the average length of membership. See the graph below, which calculates the number of members in each bin assuming a constant congregation size and a given average length of time a member will stay. For instance, say that members, on average, stay for 18 years after joining or after coming of age. If so, then (using the yellow bars), your congregation will be made up of members as follows: 29% will have been members less than 5 years, 15% will have been members for 6 to 9 years, 14% will have been members for 10 to 14 years, 11% will have been members for 15 to 19 years, and 32% will have been members for 20 years or more. The assumptions and methods of the model can be discussed and developed if there is interest.
6. Our visitor rate appears to be very high - 60 to 100% of congregation size. Ibid, laskowski, Slide 15, UUFOM data (National UU data here would also be welcome)
Other reference information:
Are anti-science and evidence denialist views driving teens from traditional religion? Here is the Barna data: https://www.barna.org/barna-update/millennials/528-six-reasons-young-chr... Point #3
Dr. David Bumbaugh’s Meadville Lombard address from 2009 is very relevant. Here are two excerpts, and the entire address can be found by at http://www.meadville.edu/uploads/files/144.pdf
Missing in all of this is any coherent theological foundation. Over and over, we hear each other and officials of the Association proclaim the conviction that we have a moral obligation to grow, to spread our word because we possess a vital message, one that is of central importance to the world and to the crises in which the world is entangled. When, however, we are challenged to say what that message is, what our faith consists of, what defines us as a religious people, often we are driven to an embarrassed silence, or we smile smugly and confess that no one can speak for all Unitarian Universalists….
Let me suggest to you that what the world needs from Liberal Religion, or at least from our version of Liberal Religion, is clarity about who we are and what matters to us; clarity about what vision has called us into being, and what promise we serve. Nor is this such an impossible challenge. While we proudly proclaim the great diversity among us, every study I have seen of Unitarian Universalists suggests that our diversity rests in a powerfully homogeneous core of shared beliefs and attitudes. Indeed, the studies suggest that at the core we are far less diverse than many other religious groups. Let me suggest to you some of the content of that core:
We believe that the universe in which we live and move and have our being is the expression of an inexorable process that began in eons past, ages beyond our comprehension, and has evolved from singularity to multiplicity, from simplicity to complexity, from disorder to order. We believe that the earth and all who live upon the earth are products of the same process that swirled the galaxies into being, that ignited the stars and orbited the planets through the night sky, that we are expressions of that universal process which has created and formed us out of recycled stardust. We believe that all living things are members of a single community, all expressions of a planetary process that produced life and sustains it in intricate ways beyond our knowing. We hold the life process itself to be sacred. We believe that the health of the human venture is inextricably dependent upon the integrity of the rest of the community of living things and upon the integrity of those processes by which life is bodied forth and sustained. Therefore we affirm that we are called to serve the planetary process upon which life depends. We believe that in this interconnected existence the well-being of one cannot be separated from the well-being of the whole, that ultimately we all spring from the same source and all journey to the same ultimate destiny. We believe that the universe outside of us and the universe within us is one universe. Because that is so, our efforts, our dreams, our hopes, our ambitions are the dreams, hopes, and ambitions of the universe itself. In us, and perhaps elsewhere, the Universe is reaching toward selfawareness, toward self-consciousness. We believe that our efforts to understand the world and our place within it are an expression of the Universe’s deep drive toward meaning. In us, and perhaps elsewhere, the Universe dreams dreams and reaches toward unknown possibilities. We hold as sacred the unquenchable drive to know and to understand. We believe that the moral impulse that weaves its way through our lives, luring us to practices of justice and mercy and compassion, is threaded through the universe itself and it is this universal longing that finds outlet in our best moments. We believe that our location within the community of living things places upon us inescapable responsibilities. Life is more than our understanding of it, but the level of our comprehension demands that we act out of conscious concern for the broadest vision of community we can command and that we seek not our welfare alone, but the welfare of the whole. We are commanded to serve life and serve it to the seven times seventieth generation. We believe that those least like us, those located on the margins have important contributions to make to the rest of the community of life and that in some curious way, we are all located on some margin. We believe that all that functions to divide us from each other and from the community of living things is to be resisted in the name of that larger vision of a world everywhere alive, everywhere seeking to incarnate a deep, implicit process that called us into being, that sustains us in being, that transforms us as we cannot transform ourselves, that receives us back to itself when life has used us up. Not knowing the end of that process, nonetheless we trust it, we rest in it, and we serve it.
Authors of the pamphlet has included dozens of UUs, most of whom are listed among the signatories. Most didn’t give a specific spiritual path, but among those who did, there are Pagans, Christians, and Humanists.