Minister’s Moment, September 2018
Everyone is welcome at Peoples Church!
We announce this good news every week during worship, we share it with our friends and neighbors when we talk about our church, and it is time now to demonstrate it to our children. For children to grow up into well-grounded Unitarian Universalists and lifelong seekers, they need to feel welcome in church right now, as young people, exactly as they are, every single week, in every aspect of our common life, especially worship.
I say this based on all of my research, training, and personal experience. All the research indicates that if we send our children away every week into segregation during community worship time, we risk isolating them and sending them the message that they are not wanted in Unitarian Universalism. They miss out on being part of the full common life of the congregation and so do the adults.
This happened to me.
As a UU child I hated being ushered out of the Sunday worship service with the rest of the kids after 15 minutes (just when things really started to get interesting!) It compromised and shortened both my Religious Education experience with the other kids my age and my worship experience. I craved having a full experience of both – although I doubt I could have articulated that at the time. I wanted to explore spirituality and faith in a small group of my peers and I wanted to worship with the whole muti-generational community.
I may have missed out on this as a child, but I believe we can offer this level of full, quality religious experiences to our young people at Peoples Church today. They deserve nothing less.
“A congregation has to have a clear vision that it is their responsibility to start creating lifelong UUs. If we don’t teach them (our children) our songs, our theology, our readings, no one else will.”
–Jennifer Nichols-Payne, District Director for Lifespan Faith Development for the UUA SW Conference
So, as you have probably heard, starting this month our Sunday morning Faith Formation Program (formerly Religious Education or RE) will move to an earlier starting time and meet from 9:45-10:45AM. Afterwards, our children and youth will join us in worship for the entire service every week.
I am so excited! I hope you are too. Multi-generational worship is a gift to all of us at every age. It enriches our time together, challenges us to expand our welcome, and gives us a chance to practice what it means to be a human being in a multi-generational world.
After all, everyone is welcome at Peoples Church. No matter what age you are.