Multigenerational Worship & Community Connections
Many Unitarian Universalist congregations and communities are embracing Multigenerational Ministry. We are talking about a ministry that brings all of our people together, regardless of age; a congregational life where all are welcomed, included, and encouraged to lead and participate at any age. When we bring the ages together to minister to and with each other — children, youth, young adults, emerging adults, the middle aged, older adults and elders — we build a whole community, not fractured or siloed by age.
To this end, we provide a variety of multigenerational offerings to serve our faith community:
Twice a month, we hold multigenerational worship services at 10:30 a.m. The Minister, Director of Religious Exploration, and Music Director work closely together to ensure that we are crafting worship that can be appreciated by all ages. We encourage children and youth to actively participate by lighting the chalice, collecting the offering, singing or playing instruments, sharing selected readings and more. There are also thematic activities to keep worshipers of all ages engaged.
Each month, we sponsor a multigenerational “Community Connections” event at 10:30 a.m. This is an alternative to attending the traditional worship service, and serves as a chance for folks from all generations to encounter our mission of “Nurturing Spiritual Journeys & Expanding Social Justice.” We engage with opportunities for spiritual growth, social justice, and community building both on and offsite. Such events may include:
- Visits to other houses of worship
- Community service opportunities
- Activities in nature
- Speakers coming onsite to share their gifts of wisdom
- Exploration of various spiritual practices
- Workshops to deepen faith formation as a community
- Partnerships with community organizations
Any children or youth attending must be accompanied by an adult. Any children or youth NOT attending are welcomed to stay in child care for games and activities, or to participate in worship with their families.
From time to time, multigenerational worship services incorporate holiday celebrations, plays and pageants, longer musical performances, child dedications, and coming-of-age ceremonies.
Please check out our FUUFHC CALENDAR OF EVENTS for the most updated information on worship services and Community Connections offerings.
We need multigenerational faith communities for so many reasons, but our culture conspires to keep the generations apart and isolate them from each other:
- We are more age-segregated as a society now than perhaps ever before
- Younger generations of adults are more transient and mobile than previous generations
- Older generations have moved out of the neighborhoods and into retirement communities, nursing homes, and assisted living facilities, often not in the same town or state as their families, while children are further segregated in schools and extra-curricular activities
- In many congregations, worship, educational programs, and other events are geared for only specific age groups and don’t provide opportunities for interaction between and among members of all ages and stages
We need these multigenerational connections! The separation in our culture causes us to miss the insights, history, and perspectives of each generation. When contact with multiple generations decreases or is non-existent, we become less in touch with one another’s physical, emotional, social, and spiritual needs. And in turn we are diminished by the separation.
According to Judith A. Frediani (from Essex Conversations), a multigenerational community is one in which:
- Everyone is seen as teacher and learner
- Every age and stage of life is equally valued and supported by whatever tangible and intangible resources the community has to offer
- Every age and stage of life is allowed to contribute whatever tangible and intangible resources it has to offer
- No decision is made about the life of the community—whether in the area of worship, physical plant, fundraising, budgeting, social action, the arts, education, or any other—without consideration of its impact on and opportunities for every member of the community
- Every age group is a participant, leader, and recipient of every part of the life of the church (e.g., worship, pastoral care, social justice, faith formation, governance, etc.)
- Each generation is empowered, honored, and served by additional programs unique to the needs and interests of that particular age and stage