This Sunday we go boldly into the future with a new model of worship and learning. We are excited to experiment with this model which allows children and youth to worship and offers adults a chance to learn. Join me at 10:30am for a service on community as sanctuary, and then we join Pamela, the DLL, to learn about water issues. The service will be slightly shorter than usual, then we will all head upstairs to Founders Hall for an interactive experience. We will be done by 12:00pm, at which time we will head back to the Great Hall for coffee and conversation.
Look below for Pamela’s explanation of why we believe this to be a great model for children and youth. We will try this model out for four Sundays over this church year; the UUA curriculum on water helps us achieve Green Sanctuary status. This is an innovative Sunday structure and a meaningful opportunity to be all together as a community.
I look forward to being with all of you this Sunday.
NEW Multi-Age Sundays
After a couple of decades as a youth minister, Mark DeVries recognized that youth ministry was failing in its goal to foster spiritual growth and mature faith in teens. His diagnosis of the problem was that in typical youth ministries, teens had been systematically separated from adults, isolating them from the very relationships that are most likely to lead them to maturity.
Ivy Beckwith, a longtime children’s minister, claims in Postmodern Children’s Ministry that children’s ministry is broken. She came to see that the systematic separation of children from all other cohorts of the church was detrimental to them…Beckwith says, “A church program can’t spiritually form a child, but a family living as an intergenerational community of faith can.” (Allen, Ross, 2012)
Our faith communities are one of the last places in our society where people of all ages can and sometimes do gather. And we need to do better. We need to because it matters for us, for our kids, for our society. Creating intentional multi-generational communities means doing things differently. It means thinking creatively and constantly asking, are we considering the needs of all of our people? Are we able to include a wider span of ages in meaningful ways? Meaningful here is key.
The Search Institute, which has been conducting global research on spiritual development for fifty years, notes that one fundamental aspect of spiritual development is interconnecting, that is “linking oneself to narrative, communities, mentors, beliefs, traditions, and/or practices that remain significant over time.” The best way for the most people to link to the narratives, communities, mentors, traditions and practices of their faith communities is to participate in actively inter-generational age-integrated experiences with others in those faith communities.” (Allen, Ross, 2012)
Many Unitarian Universalist congregations and communities are embracing multi-generational 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.
Join us for our first of four Multi-age services! Together we will worship in the Great Hall and move into the Founder’s Hall to participate in a multi-age workshop. Each workshop has been adapted from the UUA Gather the Spirit program that teaches stewardship with a focus on water. UCM is pursuing the Green Sanctuary accreditation which calls us to engage, study, reflect, and act in response to environmental challenges- grounded in justice and Unitarian Universalist values. Perhaps, today, there is no more compelling focus for our stewardship than the clean, drinkable water all life on Earth requires. Through a lens both scientific and religious, using activities a wide range of ages can do together, this program addresses the importance of water, the inequity of access to clean water, and actions we can take as Unitarian Universalist stewards. It asks: Can water sources be owned? Why is clean water scarce in parts of the world? If clean water is abundant where I live, what difference does it make if I conserve it? What can I do to promote global water equity? — Christine T. Rafal, Richard S. Kimball collaboration
Pamela Smith-Loeters, Director of Lifespan Learning