Awake Ministries

Awake Ministries

Crowdfunding Completed: August 8, 2014

Amount Funded: $0

Project Owner: Rev. John Crestwell & UU Church of Annapolis

Short Description of Project

As a program of the UU Church of Annapolis, AWAKE Ministries is a faith-based multicultural movement of human reconciliation that uses non-violent communications and emotional literacy strategies and techniques that edify the worth and dignity in all human beings. By strategically partnering with progressive congregations and community organizations we offer interfaith worship, classes, life-coaching, mentoring and consulting that inspires and empowers people to live bold and compassionate lives.

How was this project connected to UU?

This project clearly falls under the "Beyond Congregations" vision shared by Peter Morales. We are supported by the JPD and UUFP and by several individual UUs.
We are a ministry of the UU Church of Annapolis and used as an outreach ministry. AWAKE is led by a called minister of the UUCA. We use the seven principles and six sources as our core teachings.

Full Description of Project

As a program of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Annapolis, AWAKE Ministries has several components that might sound like familiar outreach ministry with its prison, addictions, mentoring, and at-risk youth ministries, but the starting point is different. The focus is not on systemic justice, but personal transformation (that can lead to justice-making). AWAKE’s emphasis is on “emotional literacy.” AWAKE is a spirit-driven and spirit transforming ministry. In this sense, AWAKE Ministries isn’t so much an “outreach,”but an “inreach”ministry.

One of the highlights of AWAKE is Tuesday night worship. This mid-week service is a bold and exciting experiment to strengthen, save, share, serve and stretch Unitarian Universalism. Here are several ways to think about AWAKE ministries and worship; several lenses that can bring clarity. AWAKE is:

Strengthening Unitarian Universalism–One of the traditional ways that UUism grows and strengthens is to create new congregations. Planting new groups has been a successful model, but at other times, a failure because the maintenance becomes overwhelming. Similar to this traditional model, the AWAKE Tuesday worship is a “spinoff”congregation of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Annapolis. What is different with the AWAKE model is that it’s “housed” in and staffed by an existing, stable congregation (UUCA) who is committed to its ministry. Consequently, some of the overhead ordinarily associated with a new congregation start-up is not an issue.

Saving Unitarian Universalism–AWAKE is creating an intentional, multicultural Beloved Community. The target demographic for mid-week worship and its other ministries are those who have traditionally been excluded from or marginalized by UUism: young adults and people of color –AWAKE is drawing from the future of our nation.

Sharing Unitarian Universalism–AWAKE is an interfaith program. In each of its ministries –especially mid-week worship –people from other congregations (and the “unchurched”) are welcomed and participating. Consequently, many are taking our UU message back to their congregations and friends. For many, AWAKE has become a part of their weekly life.

Serving Unitarian Universalism–There is a mix of UUs who attend mid-week worship:

UU seminarians and interns who seek a broader experience of UU worship
UUs from area congregations and UUCA who wish to strike a balance in their worshipping life
UU professionals from area congregations who feel an absence of worship due to their Sunday commitments
Stretching Unitarian Universalism–AWAKE ministries is going to places where UUism has not historically gone. Yes, the populations served are not those who would usually be found among us. In particular, the style and content of mid-week worship is very different: it is emotive, with lots of music, coaching, praying and witnessing –and laughter, singing, dancing, and clapping.