What does a Multigenerational Community look Like?

Rev. Rebecca Parker at the 2008 LREDA Fall Conference. "Aren't we part of this church?"

The Rev. Dr. Rebecca Parker, former president of Starr King School for the Ministry, author and noted theologian, shared her vision of our Unitarian Universalist congregations as integrative, holistic sites that foster wholeness and liberation in her keynote address Building a Multigenerational Faith: Creating Wholeness in our Congregations in Albuquerque, NM in 2008.

What would a truly multigenerational congregation look like? It would be the ultimate committee of the whole: a community in which everyone is seen as teacher and learner; in which every age and stage of life is equally valued and equally supported by whatever tangible and intangible resources the community has to offer; in which every age and stage of life is allowed to contribute whatever tangible and intangible resources it has to offer; a community in which no decision is made about the life of the community—whether in the area of worship, physical plant, fundraising, budgeting, social action, the arts, education, or any other—without consideration of its impact on and opportunities for every member of the community. Judith A. Frediani (from Essex Conversations)

What does a multigenerational congregation look like? Every age group is a participant, leader, and recipient of every part of the life of the church (e.g., worship for ALL ages, pastoral care of ALL ages, social justice for and with ALL ages, governances including ALL ages, learning happening with many ages together both as teachers and learners). At the same time each generation is empowered, honored, and uniquely served (i.e., there are still programs and ministry unique to that generation). The NORM is a room filled with people of all ages who choose to be there because of a shared interest, such as singing, cooking, talking about books, planning for a fundraiser, talking about who to hire, or selecting good community-building games to play. Age-based groups can also form alongside of these multigenerational activities in order to meet specific needs or interests. Rev. Linda Olson Peebles

Is your congregation using multigenerational ministry? How has it made a difference in your setting? How have congregants, families, or staff groups been changed through multigenerational ministry? Share your story by emailing religiouseducation@uua.org

Essex Conversations Visions for Lifespan Religious Education

By Essex Conversations Coordinating Committee

From Skinner House Books

More than 30 religious educators explore goals for the new century. A valuable tool for broadening our understanding of religious education and its impact on our future. In the tradition of The Stonehouse Conversations, published in 1979.

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Rev. Rebecca Parker at the 2008 LREDA Fall Conference. "multigenerational and multicultural ministry creates and sustains congregations that embody wholeness"

Rev. Rebecca Parker at the 2008 LREDA Fall Conference. "the manifestation of our divine powers takes education – preparation, rituals, community"

Rev. Rebecca Parker at the 2008 LREDA Fall Conference. "we are all saviors of the world"