Creating Effective Intergenerational Worship Services
(Without Going Insane)

See also Joys and Concerns Survey and Results

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  Intergenerational services can be among the most intriguing, moving and memorable worship services a congregation produces. Some of us have been lucky enough to see it work well. But most confess that success does not come as often as we'd like. The truth is that it's not easy to structure worship so that it engages, challenges and satisfies a wide array of ages, needs and learning modalities. 

If yours is like most, the congregation you belong to may have many nay saying voices when it comes to intergenerational worship.  They insist Intergenerational worship is something that rarely works for them.  And complaints will often fall into one of two categories:

(1)   It coddles to the younger members and leaves the adults craving substance and moral transformation; or

(2)   It is over the heads of the children who are invited and when they end up squirming, the parents and other worshippers end up feeling distracted. 

But effective, engaging Intergenerational Worship is not only possible - and a growing favorite experience of children and young families - but it is also becoming a valued format among older members under the right circumstances. 

Many of the people who come to our churches express a strong need to foster closer relationships with children, whether or not children are presently part of their lives. Much of our spiritual growth as adults has to do with reconciling experiences we had as children. Further, our mandate as religious educators calls us to create environments where our children have trusting relationships to the people around them - people of all ages. We seek for them to understand their own values and articulate them. And we want them to know there is a place where they can feel at home and know they belong. Intergenerational worship makes all these goals possible. Moreover, it is fun, memorable and meaningful.

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Finally, I would like to thank again the Unitarian Sunday School Society for renewing our grant to produce this website.  Without their continued and faithful support, none of this would be possible.  Id also like to thank the First Unitarian Congregation of Toronto for originally listening to my crazy ideas and giving me a  place to try them out.  Id like to thank the Mid South District which has offered tremendous support and encouragement and provided many opportunities for me to share my love of this kind of worship with UUs of all ages.  And finally, my greatest thanks goes to the Unitarian Universalist Metro Atlanta North (UUMAN) who are the best folks in the world, and especially Karen LoBracco who is the best DRE and professional partner any minister could ever ask for.  They take all this work and infuse it with love and purpose.
Last updated January 01, 2013