Oct. 22, 2018.

By Tyler Coles.

Like many who grew up in the rolling hills of the Appalachian Mountains, I always found autumn a welcome relief following the tedious days of summer. The cool temperatures and falling leaves form a picturesque memory in my mind as my friends and I would take part in one of our favorites activities – building forts. As we would wander through the woods just beyond our neighborhood, we would assemble crude structures with whatever materials we would come across. Sometimes the work of creation would be easy. Yet, more often, our work required copious amounts of time and energy as we gathered materials that would aid in our fort’s longevity and stability.

In the dense forests of poplar, oak and elm, the options for building materials were endless. In this abundance we would be meticulous in what we would include as each piece had to connect in the most perfect of ways. Since those early years I can see the forces of both playfulness and meticulousness working themselves out as we constructed. Holding in tandem these often opposing forces I have started to ask myself, “What am I building? And how am I building it?” I have found these questions useful as they guide me to be both intentional and abundantly creative.

Since joining UUCF as the young adult community leader, I have used these questions to envision and call into being what could lie ahead for us. The task of co-creating an innovative young adult (18-35+) community starts small and intentionally, much like selecting the perfect branch from which to form a childhood fort. Like those forts, this space also invites us to live out our values in relationship to ourselves, each other and the greater world in playful and joyful ways. We build this collective by forming connection, generating meaning and doing the work of right relationship.

It is my hope that we, young adults, might craft a new way of doing the old work of church (i.e. community) in the here and now. Come, let us dream and build together.