Sometimes it seems that the only time I find for posting is when I’m waiting in an airport for a flight to or from home. Which is what’s going on at this moment. I’m in the Albuquerque International Sunport waiting to catch a flight back to Minneapolis/Saint Paul. It’s been a long week away from my family and I’m looking forward to seeing them soon. It’s also been worth the time away, both personally and professionally. The most important part of this week has been the LREDA (Liberal Religious Educators Association) Fall Conference. The theme this year was on multigenerational religious community, and there was a lot of good information presented. Rebecca Parker (president of Starr King School for Ministry) was the keynote speaker, and she gave us a theological grounding for multigenerational community based on her new book Saving Paradise. There were also breakout workshops on various aspect of multigenerational programming, which I’ll write more about later. For now, I just wanted to share with you this bit of learning from Jesse Jaeger, former director of the Youth Office at the UUA. It’s a “Congregational Generational Continuum” he came up with that really lays out what’s involved in creating genuine multigenerational communities in our congregations:

Mono-Generational

  • Only one age group present
  • Most often people between the ages of 45 and 60
  • Sunday morning worship usually the only main program
  • If RE is present it is small and more like a childcare program

Generationally Segregated

  • There might be three or four generations present
  • RE is the realm of children, youth and their parents
  • Sunday worship is the realm of the middle aged and seniors
  • Generations rarely mix socially

Pseudo-Integrated

  • Looks like the Generationally Segregated church
  • Main differences are specific and limited intergenerational events like:
  • Yearly youth worship
  • Holiday worship
  • Children attend first part of Sunday service only

    Multigenerational

    • There are programs (and ministries) that are designed to meet the specific developmental needs of all generations
    • There are programs (and ministries) that regularly bring different generational groups together in meaningful ways
    • These two are part of an intentional church plan

    The reason I’m so impressed with Jesse’s continuum is that it was a perfect set up for the workshop that Unity Church-Unitarian DRE Kerri Meyer and I presented today on multigenerational learning, which I’ll write about in my next post. For now it’s a quick bite to eat before boarding.

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