What is Multigenerational Worship?

Many Unitarian Universalist congregations and communities are embracing Multigenerational 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,

Why Multigenerational Ministry?

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. At the same time, children are further segregated in schools and extracurricular 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 each generation’s insights, history, and perspectives. When contact with multiple generations decreases or is non-existent, we lose 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 a 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 community’s life—whether in worship, physical plant, fundraising, budgeting, social action, the arts, education, or any other—without consideration of its impact on and opportunities for every community member.
  • 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.
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