Why are we talking about Multigenerational Ministry?

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A retro-style photo of a child looking from a porch toward a calm lake while an adult sits below also gazing at lake

A Multigen Future for Faith Formation

The Death of Sunday School and the Future of Faith Formation (2017), a white paper from the New England Region of the UUA, unpacks the present day failure of the Sunday school model of religious education and calls for reformation of our faith formation ministries. This paper casts a vision for faith formation and invites the collaborative efforts of our religious professionals, lay leaders, families, and congregations.

We need multigenerational faith communities for so many reasons, but our culture conspires to keep the generations apart and isolate them from each other:

  • We are more age-segregated as a society now than perhaps ever before.
  • Younger generations of adults are more transient and mobile than previous generations.
  • Older generations have moved out of the neighborhoods and into retirement communities or age 55+ neighborhoods, nursing homes, and assisted living facilities, often not in the same town or state as their children or families, while children are further segregated in schools.
  • In many of our congregations, the adults go into the sanctuary on Sunday morning, the children go into our Religious Education programs or the basement, and the youth come at an entirely different time or on a different day.

We need these multigenerational connections! The separation in our culture causes us to miss the insights, history, and perspectives of each generation. When contact with multiple generations decreases or is non-existent, we become less in touch with one another's physical, emotional, social, and spiritual needs. And in turn we are diminished by the separation.

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