Recipes for Meaningful Multigenerational Gatherings

Published on: June 1, 2013

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sixsecretsI have always believed it is essential that we create communities where all ages come together and experience Spirit in a mutually profound way. Youth who grow up being an integral part of their Unity ministry, including Sunday services, feel they are valued members of that community. They are an important part of the church of today, not only the church of tomorrow.

Some of my favorite memories of my 30+ years of ministry are of 80-year-olds and 3-year-olds sharing in multigenerational stories, rituals and activities. I call it “getting out of your chair” ministry. It brings a freshness and an element of surprise to the service. Yes, there may be wiggles and giggles, an unexpected question, or a child may simply decide to take a nap. But what adult has not wanted at some time to do the same?

Yet, for some of us, when it comes to bringing kids and adults together in our Sunday services, our knees may shake. We may think the adults won’t like it, the kids will misbehave, and it will be chaos. My experience has been just the opposite. Adults and youth both enjoy doing something experiential that engages all learning styles.

There are many possibilities for incorporating and illustrating spiritual principles that all ages can understand. A good way to start is by planning a 10 to 15-minute segment at the beginning or end of the service. Everyone loves a good story, learning a simple chant, being a part of a call and response, or doing something that gives them the opportunity to participate and get out of their chairs. For example: a memorable moment can be created by handing out objects like “prayer rocks,” reading the story Everyone Needs a Rock, and then inviting the age-blended congregation into a moment of silence and prayer while each person holds “their” rock.

Themes are always great: Hat Sunday, Rock & Roll Sunday, Hawaiian Sunday, Pet Blessing Sunday, Interdependence Day, Affirmation Sunday—just to name a few. Use of a theme can spark the imagination to create wonderful, interactive experiences. These ideas can be used for Sunday services, 5th Sundays, family nights, summer camps or special services.

In Unity, we teach we are all One, and we believe in an inclusive and supportive Universe. I encourage you to take a holistic approach and embrace your multigenerational congregation.


Victoria Etchemendy
Senior Minister at The Unity Center

Rev Victoria Etchemendy is minister at The Unity Center in West Linn, Oregon. She has been active on various Unity Worldwide Ministries ministry teams and has served at the regional level.

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