On July 2 UUCF tried a new thing: an intentional multigenerational service. We are planning on having one multigen service every month and one service a month with a Message for All Ages. The July 2nd service was on Improv and being open to new things. It was quite appropriate that the Sunday we try out something new the electricity was out. We made the best of it even though it didn’t go quite as we had hoped or planned. It was definitely an experience in being open to what we do not yet know.
So why are we doing multigen services? Our hope as a congregation in having multigen services is, appropriately, multifold. We hope to build connections between and among the generations of people who are part of the UUCF community. We want our children and youth to feel like they are an integrated and LOVED part of the whole community. We want them to learn about Unitarian Universalism and what we value. We want adults to build their skills around being comfortable with being uncomfortable.
Having multigen services allows us all to learn and grow on many levels. It allows us to try new things, be more interactive, be more open and be okay with not having everything go according to plan (hello power outage!). It gives space to our younger congregants to be part of the whole service, to feel like their presence in the community matters. It helps adults to be silly, to question the constrictions we all live with, and to be excited about the future of our congregation.
The other day I was reading a great article about running skills* and training programs. It gave several points that I think are transferable to our community.
- “Don’t dwell on failure.” I have run many road races over the years. I have started – and not finished – two half marathons. But that won’t keep me from trying again. My goal is to be a runner for the rest of my life. Therefore, I keep running several times a week. I don’t give up just because a race didn’t go how I had planned.
- “Focus on gradual improvements.” Improvements happen by consistently showing up. Consistently trying again and again. Building muscle and body memory. Over time, sometimes years, there will be improvement in your running.
- “Make Changes if needed.” If you realize that the training plan you’re doing is unrealistic or incompatible with your life right now, you can change it. Total freedom, right?!
All of these points apply to creating multigen services as well. At each one of our services, mistakes will be made. One thing – or many things – may not go as we had hoped. But we don’t use that as a reason to stop trying. We focus on gradual improvements knowing that our litmus test for if a service “works” or not is not the same as meeting a pace goal. Instead, we focus on building relationships and connections. We are raising adult Unitarian Universalists which is not easy work! Finally, as we move forward we are open to feedback and will continuously make changes as needed. If you have feedback, please come to me or Jess Sanchez and we will listen to you.
As we continue to experiment and play, remember that everything we teach is Unitarian Universalism. All we have is each other. Let us continue to build the Beloved Community with our whole hearts!
*Article by Jeff Galloway in the Garmin app