There is a lot of talk at First Unitarian Church about Multigenerational Ministry. This can often be a confusing term. What does it look like in practice? How can it work here, at our church?
It is through worship that we most often first approach multigenerational ministry. Over the past few years we have slowly been increasing and improving multigenerational worship services at First Unitarian. Who can forget the wonderful Winter Solstice Service last December? This year’s Ingathering Worship service certainly provided ministry to multiple generations in an energizing and worshipful manner.
The UUA states that multigenerational ministry is congregational life where all are welcomed, included, and encouraged to lead and participate at any age. How have we been doing this? Kindergartner, Ian Jacobs, has been participating in grounds work for a couple of years now. He is quite the expert when it comes to mulching! Grace Laster, currently in 10th grade, has organized and run fire circles at the all church retreat. She also created signs for a variety of church events. Additionally, she aided in the planning and running of many social events over the years. She began participating in the life of the church in this way when she was in 6th grade. Jake Gladfelter, a 12th grader, is serving in his second year as an assistant guide with the Seekers (2nd and 3rd graders). He also plays music in the worship service and at other church events. Recently Audrey Donohue approached me (a third grader) and told me she is now a member of the Pot Luck Team! She is very excited to share her ideas and help in planning these multigenerational events.
But we are ready for more, and our church now seems poised to take the plunge into becoming a more fully multigenerational congregation. Rev. Roberta, Scott and I have added two additional multigenerational worship services to the schedule. One will take place at Thanksgiving and the other at Easter. Additionally, members of all ages have been invited to be part of the Themes Planning Meeting, become Worship Associates and get trained to lead Time for All Ages.
We are also providing opportunities for and asking our youth to participate and lead. Youth are meeting on Sunday evenings this year. This provides the opportunity for youth to participate in the life of the church. On Sunday mornings youth can serve as greeters, ushers, worship associates, sell Booster cards, host the Welcome Table, run audio visual equipment and sing in the choir, in addition to attending worship services. They are also encouraged to join teams/committees such as Building and Grounds, Membership, and Strategic Planning. In the spring we hope to have a youth run for a Board position.
How can you help create multigenerational church? Welcome youth onto committees. Volunteer in the Nursery or in a Children’s Religious Education class. Attend the new Monthly Pot Lucks and socialize with all ages. Welcome and talk to youth who attend choir practice. Come to worship when we have multigenerational services. Think of ways you can ensure that all are welcomed, included, and encouraged to lead and participate at any age in Your Church!