Spiritual formation at UCAN is our approach to building a stronger, more compassionate and more nurturing environment that stimulates transformation, leadership, growth and stamina. Our end goal is a positive youth development experience that leads to an awareness of identity, purpose, self-respect, satisfaction, self-care and service to others.
Spiritual formation transcends religion but can still utilize spiritual practices of meditation, preayer, contemplation, and dialogue to provide an opportunity for people to engage their inner life and to better understand their inspirations, aspirations and motivations. Spiritual formation is not an end in itself, but is formative in nature.
UCAN's founding is rooted in spirituality. In 1869, UCAN was founded by concerned St. Pauls of United Church of Christ (UCC) members in order to provide a home for orphaned children of Civil War soldiers. As a denomination, UCC and its predecessors have a long and proud history of advocating for social justice, including advocating for the abolition of slavery and being the first to ordain African-Americans, women, and openly gay persons as clergy. Today, UCAN is an active member of the Council of Health & Human Service Ministries of UCC, boasts five Diakonal Ministers on our Senior Leadership Team (Tom Vanden Berk, Zack Schrantz, Barbara West Stone, Renita White and Claude Robinson). Further, Reverend Jeffrey Carlson of St. Pauls UCC is a member of our Governing Board. Reverend Matt Fitzgerald, also of St. Pauls UCC, and Reverend Otis Moss III of Trinity UCCC both serve on our President's Board.