For over a year, we’ve had multigenerational services at least once a month. This is one of the Family Ministry concepts Rev. Marlene and I decided needed to be established at OBUUC. We design these services with as much movement, music, and participation as possible, so the children and youth aren’t too bored. I realize most of the children and youth would prefer to be in religious education classes, which is a great testament to our Religious Education Program, but it is as important for them to be part of our church service, as it is to be in RE.
I have one thing to say: If we want children to become lifelong UUs, they need to be in church during church services. If they’ve spent their childhood years in the church basement, they’ll never feel like they belong in the service. What happens when they become adults? Why would they return to a situation where they don’t belong? Truth is. They don’t. Statistically only about 20% of the children who grow up in a UU church return to a UU church as adults.
I realize there are a variety of reasons why this 20% statistic is true and spending all their time in RE isn’t the only reason, but it is one of the reasons. We need to do better. Multigenerational Ministry brings all our people together, regardless of age. When we bring the ages together to minister to and with each other – children, youth, young adults, emerging adults, the middle aged, older adults and elders – we build a whole community, not fractured or siloed by age.
Multigenerational Ministry doesn’t only happen on Sunday morning. Just as our Olympia Brown UU Church Ministry/Community is more than Sunday morning, so is Multigenerational Ministry. We are worship, community building, learning, social justice and service. These take place throughout the week and throughout the year. Here’s a list of Multigenerational Ministry that is happening this year.
Children and Youth attend the first 20 minutes of each Sunday service.
Multigenerational Services occur once a month. This church year these services are: Water Communion 9/8/19, Diwali 10/27/19, Thanksgiving 11/24/19, Christmas Pageant 12/22/19, Olympia Brown’s Birthday 1/5/20, Siding with Love 2/16/20, Holi 3/8/20, Easter 4/12/20, RE Sunday 5/3/20, Flower Communion 6/7/20
Family Friendly Diners Circle (all welcome) – 3rd Friday of the month
Multigenerational Choir – 2nd Friday of the month
Halloween Fun Night, October 25th, 6-8 p.m.
Racine Holiday Parade at The Annex, November 9th, 5-7:30 p.m.
Diwali Celebration at Racine Hindu Temple, Date TBD
Glitter Tattoo Volunteering @ Rendering Thanks Community Meal, November 28th 10 a.m.-2 p.m.
Deck the Halls Service with Social Justice Projects, December 8th
St. Patrick’s Day Karaoke and Potluck, March 14, 6-8 p.m.
Spring Brunch, April 26th
Church Picnic June 14th
So, when children are wiggling near you, talking too loud during a church service, goofing around, hiding under the pews, playing nearby, or your children don’t want to go to church because it’s boring. Remember that this is all part of a process to minister to our children and youth; to encourage them to become lifelong Unitarian Universalists. We need the children and youth to remain part of our faith when they become adults, because they have the possibility to change the world for the better.
~Leann Pomaville (DLRE)