Echo #6 – April 12, 2011: “Echo Spirituality” – Six Types of Young Adult Spirituality

Generalizing about social trends among Canadian youth and young adults can be misleading. “Listening to The Echo” is a research project that concentrates on “adulto-lescents” who are not active in formal religious communities. But I don’t want to suggest that the entire generation or cohort is behaving in a unified, coherent way.

Many different social dynamics are occurring at the same time in our society. Parents and grandparents notice that children and grandchildren may be more religious or more traditional than they are; and, of course, some see their children and grandchildren drop out from religious community.

This true for Christians and Jews, Muslims and Hindus – everyone.

We don’t know how this breaks down in our Canadian population, and I am not attempting to discover that in any statistically-reliable, quantitative study. But there is recent American research that may serve as a reference point.

Download the full document:

Next week: Echo #7: an “Echo moment” in Holy Week.

Echoes #1 to 5 are posted at

If you would like to receive new Echoes via email, you can address me at

I’ll be sending out weekly Echoes for the next two months.

Echo #5 – February 14, 2011: The UCC – the Unknown Church of Canada

I’m hearing a lot of ignorance about the United Church, confusing us with Catholicism and American fundamentalists without distinctions. To me, as a United Church leader, that’s so disappointing. The official theology of the United Church is something that many of these young adults would embrace if they knew about it. They often articulate it.

Download the full document:
Echo 5 February 14, 2011 (.doc format)

Echo #3 – January 31, 2011: Listening to an Echo

This young woman, from a United Church background, graduated from high school in 2006.
If you could do a follow-up interview with this individual, what would you like to ask her?

“I grew up attending a United Church every Sunday.
I attended church every Sunday from pre-school until it came time for me to take
confirmation classes, around the age of twelve. At which point I decided that organized
religion was not what I wanted to commit my life to.”

Download the full document:
Echo 3 Listening to an Echo (.doc format)

Echo #1 – January 17, 2011: Introduction

“Listening to The Echo” is a research project which seeks to hear and re-present the wisdom, spirituality and perspective of young adults who are not participating in organized religion.

There are more than 8 million people in Canada who were born between 1978 and 1999, nearly 100 million in the United States. Their parents are the Baby Boomers, the Big Generation born after the Second World War. This younger cohort is often called the Echo Generation – the Echo from the Boom… The Church might call them the Lost Generation…

Download the full document:
Echo 1 January 17, 2011 (.doc format)