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Multigenerational Congregations

Many Unitarian Universalist 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.

What does a multigenerational congregation look like? Read thoughts from Judith A. Frediani,  Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) Curriculum Director, 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 Unitarian Universalist (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 UUA Ministries and Faith Development staff group. 

  • The Youth Ministry Working Group Report (PDF, 24 pages)
    The capstone of the multi-year UUA Consultation on Ministry to and with Youth, this report offers specific suggestions and a call for a broad culture change in our faith communities to nurture a vibrant youth ministry and UU faith. User guides for youth, UUA staff, and congregational leaders help explore ways to adopt its recommendations.
  • Mosaic Project Report
    The Mosaic Project Report recommends ways our congregations, districts, and Association can create an environment that supports UU Youth and Young Adults of Color in developing a healthy identity and in transitioning from childhood to adulthood. The positive impact of creating such an environment can reach into all ministry areas; an essential read for anyone who works with youth.
  • 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.
  • New Media for UUs Blog
    People of all ages, and especially youth and young adults, communicate in new ways through online social networking services like Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, and through blogs. These are important tools in reaching many young adults. The archive of the UUA's New Media for Unitarian Universalists blog has tips on how to use new media and improve your online presence and communications strategy.
  • 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.
  • Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria?
    Beverly Daniel Tatum analyzes stages and forms of racial identity development in whites and People of Color in the United States. This book provides deep insight into race and racism in our nation and suggests ways we can develop stronger anti-racist identities in ourselves, in our children, and in our communities.
  • 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.

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