Wednesday, September 2, 2009

And, friends, I invite you now to worshp

Or at least to worship committee. Or as we call it at my congregation: Sunday Services Committee. I got to attend my first Sunday Services Committee meeting. For a while now their meetings and the Relgious Education Council meetings were on the same night of the month. One time we met together, and that was nice, I think we even sang together. I always figure there is nothing you can't overcome if you can sing together.

Not that it's been an adversarial relationship, not at all. There is overlap, and we have the same goals in mind. It's good.

But tonight was mind blowing for me.

This is a diverse group of adults, none of them with children in the church now, or really, ever. So when the agenda item came to me and the upcoming FIVE Multi Gen services I'd requested, I was a little worried. Did they want me to defend the services? Did they want me to single handedly plan them all? Did they want me to march myself right out onto the roof of the masonic temple we rent and repent for my sins of wanting little ones in the service?

NO! No. they wanted to hear what I thought, and to share what they knew. And they thought that of course all of our people should worship together regularly. Little and big, younger and older. All of us.

It brings tears to my eyes all over again.

They want what I want, what our kids need, what our families are hungry for. Of course they do. Good people all, fine people who know in their bones that this free faith can be the thing that some of our kids may just hang onto when life throws them really fast pitches and curve balls and worse.

Those kids need to sit in worship and be together and learn what happens after we sing them out. They need to feel the immense love during the prayer, and the joy during the song and the reverence during the meditation. Of course they can; they do all the time. We can trust it. It's real and it's good.

I serve a church who knows this all to be true and is fervently working to make it happen.

May it be so. Amen.


boston unitarian said...

Amen indeed! Many blessings, BU
ps. I hope the school year began well at your house and that all the transitions of the season are times of joy and wonder.

Paul Oakley said...

How wonderful that your congregation is open to and supportive of (age-)inclusive services, Kari! Good luck as you move this plan forward.

Maybe it's my small-town Midwest Bible-Belt fundamentalist 1960s & '70s upbringing, but it always bothers me to take the one event of the church week that is theoretically for everyone and segregate it on the basis of age.

Age-specific RE makes perfect sense, certainly. But adults should be getting it too. That means scheduling it at a different time from worship. In the church where I grew up that meant:

Worship came first - an hour that the entire congregation other than babies and tots participated in, at the end of which, the minister stood at the entryway to shake hands with those intent on getting away early, while everyone else went to their Sunday School (RE) class. At the end of the class hour, the entire congregation of all the classes came back together in the sanctuary for a final prayer together followed by singing the doxology before parting.

There was a nursery for the babies and tots and a side room for parents to take a child to who could sit through part but not all of the worship service. Both the nursery and the side room piped in the audio of the worship service so the adults who needed to be there could still participate in worship to some degree.

Worship always included everyone. RE was temporally separate. I still think that's how it should be.

It's like insisting that your family sit down to a meal together at the dining room table - if not every evening then at least once a week. IMO, families are disfunctional without regular sit-down meals together and churches are disfunctional without worship together.

And together does not mean "together except for..."

Best wishes in the endeavor, Kari!

PS: Thanks for the wishes for my partner's recovery. He is home and coming along nicely. :)

Kari said...

B.U. Thanks for the wishes, all is far anyway!
Paul, I hope the recovery speeds along for your partner and that the new mobility is a great gift! I agree about the RE Hour, and I know that some UU congregations have tried it, some successfully, and some not. But it's something to strive for, in my mind. Together really should mean....together.

Blessings friends!