A Unitarian Universalist Multigenerational Ministry Resource

I encountered this thread last week on Facebook, and was granted persmission to share it with you all here.  I hope you find it as though provoking and affirming as I did!
Tandi Rogers  is wondering… what if congregations passed a policy that every committee/team has to have every generation represented in their group (including the board.) How might that change our congregations? Is anyone out there doing that right now?
  • Stefan M. JonassonOr if they’d even just ask the question, “who’s not here who could be?,” and then act on what they learn from their answers!
  • Julian McDuffy Michels IIII don’t know that everyone (or every generation) needs (or wants) to be involved in every decision, but I sure do appreciate the sentiment Tandi is expressing here.
  • D. Houston HallTandi , love the question and should a good one to ask- for me I like to find people who have a call- passion-gifted for the committee/team they are working on – for people who have a passion seem to work with joy on the task assigned. Peace
  • Emily Meixell SullinsWell, meetings would take a lot longer.
  • Sierra-Marie GerfaoStefan, you made me think of this. Rather than a policy requiring someone from every generation, what about making it practice when it is time to invite new committee members (through the nominating committee or whatever), the first question that is always asked is “who is not at the table yet?”
  • Kayla ParkerAfter reading “Salsa, Soul and Spirit” some of us in Ministries and Faith Development had a lunch discussion yesterday, and talked a lot about how the need is not to invite people to an already created table, but rather push that over, and invite everyone to create the table and establish table manners that represent everyone who needs to be present. (the problem of congregational governance not being inclusive of folks from many different generations is because it was not created by folks of many different generations.)
  • Sierra-Marie GerfaoPractically speaking, Kayla (something I rarely say), what does pushing over the table and creating the table with everyone look like? Just curious because I am not sure yet that I have fully understood what you mean by your metaphor.
  • Kayla ParkerI think I was just trying to point out that including younger folks into a system that wasn’t created to include them would probably not help the problem Tandi was getting at (although I was making assumptions about that what would be). I know very very little about congregational polity and governance, so take this all with a couple shakes of salt. Radically, I think it would look like a whole community working together to figure out what issues and programs they cared about and how to address these within the context of their communities. Who knows, the answer may not be hundreds of committees! Especially if newcomers and folks not raised in UU culture were invited to this visioning process. Less radically, perhaps there would be board positions that didn’t have a three year commitment necessary. And RE classes would spend time talking about the budget and write up their concerns and proposed actions. Which the finance committee would read and then send a representative to their class for discussion and clarification questions. This would happen because all members of the community would be able to weigh in on what they care about and how they are capable of expressing this. And because more folks would understand how their congregation actually runs and be able to point out what parts of that system weren’t working for them. There are youth who don’t join the choir or don’t ask for voting privileges just because they don’t know the can because no one told them the rules. Alright, ranting done. :0)
  • Sierra-Marie Gerfao‎”Radically, I think it would look like a whole community working together to figure out what issues and programs they cared about and how to address these within the context of their communities. Who knows, the answer may not be hundreds of committees!” –> I am totally with you on this point!
  • Erik WikstromWould we, in fact, continue to have the same Board/Committee structure or something else? New table! New table! New table!
  • Tandi RogersI love it when my peeps pull me into new ways of thinking and connecting. Viva l’evolution of my imagination! Thank you, y’all.
  • Tandi RogersNow, I’m thinking… what would happen if a congregation established a practices of disassembling every 7 years and starting all over from scratch with everyone who is there?…
  • Jan GartnerDuring one of my congregation’s bylaw review processes quite a while ago, I noticed an obscure rule saying something to the effect of: every year, at least one male and one female need to be on the slate for the board. I had (at least) two issues with this. One had to do with not wanting to reinforce the notion of a male-female dichotomy. But I also questioned why gender mix/balance was so purposefully addressed but not other kinds of balance (age, ethnicity, Myers-Briggs type, and so on). As I recall, this particular bylaw was not up for amending at the time I raised my concern. I don’t know if it was ever revisited.
  • Karin Van VlackMaybe it won’t be a table at all. But more seriously, down with policies and up with practices. Policies seem to distance people, but practices engage and excite!

Comments on: "Multigenerational debates on Facebook" (1)

  1. Good to read the dialogue. One might reframe the question by playing with definitions for the generations you have and/or want to have well-represented and balanced in your congregation… then look about at different areas of leadership and activity and see where the generations clump up and where they spread out… and ask not just why, but how might the conversations and work change if different generations were present in different arenas…. if the goal is to make the faith community not just relevant but essential in the lives of the people who are part of it.

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