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Introduction, Session 6: All Ages Offer Gifts

In "Windows and Mirrors," a Tapestry of Faith program

The elder cannot be an elder if there is no community to make [them]... an elder. The young child cannot feel secure if there is no elder, whose silent presence gives [them]... hope in life. The adult cannot be who [they are] unless there is a strong sense of the other people around. — M.P. Som?n Ritual Power, Healing, and Community (Portland, Oregon: Swan/Raven & Co., 1993)

While society tends to segregate people by age, our congregations can be places where multigenerational living and learning can happen. However, even here, multigenerational experiences may need to be intentionally appreciated, and sometimes created.

This session guides participants to identify their own age-related characteristics and interests as well as those common in people of other ages, from the very young to the very old. Then participants assess ways people from multiple age groups interact in the congregation and imagine new ways they could interact to better share and enjoy their different gifts.

The story "The Children's Crusade" provides a Civil Rights-era lens to examine different ways children and adults can contribute to a shared purpose. The story describes how schoolchildren joined protests in Birmingham, Alabama , in 1963, despite the concern of many adults.

If it is feasible to conduct this session with a number of guests of different ages and stages of life, we recommend it. All the activities can be done with a larger-than-usual, multigenerational group. To ensure a good representation of ages, you might schedule this session at a time that does not conflict with worship. Invite individuals personally; Leader Resource 1, Invitation to Participate, provides a sample letter. Confirm guests' attendance a day or so before the session.

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Last updated on Thursday, October 27, 2011.

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