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Multigenerational Congregations

Many Unitarian Universalist (UU) congregations and communities recognize the importance of growing multigenerational community throughout the life of the congregation – in worship, religious education and in living our faith in the world.

Several Tapestry of Faith curricula are designed for multigenerational groups:

  • Wisdom from the Hebrew Scriptures 
  • Gather the Spirit
  • Circle of Trees

Resources for multigenerational worship are available.

What does a multigenerational congregation look like? Read thoughts from Judith A. Frediani or an essay by the Rev. Linda Olson Peebles.

Annotated List of Resources

Use these resources to plan multigenerational events and worship, build relationships across generations, and create a UU faith community that honors the gifts and milestones of all ages. If you do not find here what you seek, please reach out to the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) Ministries and Faith Development staff group. 

  • The Multigenerational Congregation: Meeting the Leadership Challenge
    “Congregations need to learn new cultural languages and practices in order to speak to and be heard by new generations of people.” In this Alban Institute book, Gil Rendle explores generational dynamics and provides important insight into how to go about making the changes needed to make your congregation relevant to people of all ages in the 21st century.
  • When Youth Lead
    Teens are an enormous generative force for our faith communities, and social justice work is an effective way to bring generations together. Use this Tapestry of Faith Toolkit Book by Jill Schwendeman to build rich partnerships among children, youth, adults, and elders. Includes practical tips for 101 social action projects.
  • Creating a Multigenerational Culture (PDF)
    In this short essay from Volume 3: Drive Time Essays for Small Congregations, Michelle Richards provides concrete ways your congregation can better welcome children and families and become a truly multigenerational community. Geared toward small congregations, yet useful for all. You can also listen (MP3) to this essay.
  • Full Circle: Fifteen Ways to Grow Lifelong UUs
    Kate Covey, a lifelong UU, surveyed 82 men and women, ages 25 to 87, who were raised UU. She identifies fifteen common threads as critical to their commitment to the faith. An excellent, UU-specific resource for building multigenerational community.
  • Nurturing Children and Youth: A Developmental Guidebook
    Useful for understanding children and youth at each stage of their faith development. In this Tapestry of Faith Toolkit Bbook, Tracey L. Hurd outlines typical progressions in physical, cognitive, social, emotional, moral and spiritual development from infancy to early twenties. Includes key characteristics at each phase of development and suggestions for supporting the child in the context of UU values.
  • Tribal Church: Ministering to the Missing Generation
    Presbyterian Pastor Carol Howard Merritt describes how churches might approach young adults on their own terms, outlining the financial, social, and familial situations that affect many young adults today. The book suggests ways a congregation can provide a safe, supportive place for young adults to nurture relationships and foster spiritual growth.
  • The Power of Stories: A Guide for Leading Multiracial and Multicultural Congregations
    Rev. Jacqueline Lewis shares examples of congregational leaders who have met the challenges of leading multicultural congregations. Lessons from this approach are very relevant to leading multigenerational congregations, as well.

For more information contact