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TOPClara Barton District

of Unitarian Universalist Congregations

Newsletter - April 2010
In This Issue
Multigenerational Ministry
Resources for Multigenerational Ministry
Mass Bay District Invites CBD to its Spring Conference
Upcoming Programs
MBD Spring Conference: Using Social Media to Fuel Congregational Mission
May 1

Adaptive Leadership: Leading Through Change
May 8

What is the Future of Unitarian Universalist RE?- a collegial conversation for DREs and Ministers in CBD and MBD
May 13

Creating and Leading Dynamic Lay-Led Worship
June 12

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Multigenerational Ministry
Deb Leveringby Deborah Levering
Program Consultant

"The faith formation of children is too hard for most of us as parents to do alone. The individual family is too small a unit. A larger We is necessary - families coming together in community."
(Dr. William J. Doherty, Unitarian Universalist, Marriage and Family Psychologist)

Unitarian Universalism is at a cultural crossroads. Are we, as a faith institution, relevant? Is our commitment to theological diversity, personal freedom, and justice making enough? It may be for those of us sitting in the pews on Sunday mornings. But, ironically, it may not be for our children and parents working hard in our religious education programs.
American families today live in a world encumbered by too much information, too many choices, and too little time together. Both the families in our midst, and potential seekers - those searching for a religious home - hope for support and affirmation for the push-me, pull-me, do, do, do craziness of their daily living.

While it is one of our great aspirations as Unitarian Universalists to give hope and comfort to struggling people, the reality is that we dismiss the children and youth from our midst regularly, and soon after ask parents to join their children, as volunteers in RE.

Resources for Multigenerational Ministry
Clara Barton ImageTending the Flame:
The Art of Unitarian Universalist Parenting
by Michelle Richards
A mother and experienced religious educator, this author encourages a practical and proactive approach to raising Unitarian Universalist children. The book includes information about developmental stages, suggestions for incorporating spiritual practices into family life, teaching the Principles in age-appropriate ways, answering difficult questions on religious matters and dealing with religious disagreements.
[Available through the UUA Bookstore here.]

Tandi Koerger
Putting Religious Education in Its Place
a website and blog
about religious education across the generations
by Tandi Koerger,
Program Specialist for the Pacific Northwest District

Mass Bay District Invites CBD to its Spring Conference
Social MediaUsing Social Media
to Fuel Congregational Mission

May 1, 2010 - 9:00 AM to 4:30 PM
First Parish Church of Weston

Facebook. Twitter. Websites. Flikr. Podcasts. YouTube.

This dizzying array of social media is the cutting edge of communications in our 21st century culture, especially for youth and young adults. And yet we grapple with how to lasso this technology to serve the mission of our Unitarian Universalist faith and the purpose of our congregations.

MBD's Spring Conference will introduce participants to a host of new technology and expand our imagination about how to use social media to support our faith. We'll identify and reflect on the potential and limitations of social media to nurture spiritual depth, faith development, and community building, and we'll explore the theological and ethical implications of this media.

  • presentations and leadership from Shelby Meyerhoff (UUA Public Witness Specialist) and Peter Bowden (Ballou Channing District Growth Consultant), both experts in new technology and its theological implications
  • facilitated conversations for the following affinity groups:
    • DREs and people working with children and youth
    • Lay leaders
    • Ministers 
Click here for more information and schedule.
READMORE Multigenerational Ministry - continued from top
We do this from a place of best intentions. We want our children and youth to be religiously educated, well equipped to engage in spiritual discovery and discernment, to articulate their values, to understand and integrate the richness of diversity, to work for fairness and justice in the world, and to be just and peaceful people. The opportunity to do this has been realized, for the most part, through children and youth religious education programs. And these programs need volunteer staff to make them a reality, thus our plea for parent help.

Here's the rub: there is a deep longing on the part of parents (and others) for their own faith formation, as well as support for their role as chief religious educators to their children. Families long for deep connections with other Unitarian Universalists both for themselves and their children.
A commitment to multigenerational wholeness may be an answer. Congregations with a commitment to multigenerational ministry are intentionally working to connect our people to the wisdom of other age groups and to help bridge the phases of our lives to the generations before and after us. We cannot easily access what the people who have gone before us have learned. We are losing that wisdom across all generations. Imagine parents sitting with others and talking about spirit, struggle, appreciation, love, and loss. Imagine an old-timer congregant, advanced in age, partnered with a young family or a young adult, just talking about life, just connecting through sharing stories of faith.
Faith communities may be the only places left in our society where multigenerational intention is still acceptable. Other than within our own families,where else can we find multi-generations sharing their stories, wisdom, perspective? It's counter cultural. Multigenerational community is essential congregational witness in a cultural storm.
I look forward to continuing to work with the good people of the Clara Barton District. I am hungry for your ideas and concern about how our faith communities can be relevant and vital for all UU, current and potential.