On Supporting People of All Ages in Worship
It has come to my attention that several families have experienced comments and requests about their parenting or their children that have felt hurtful and unwelcoming, including people being outright asked to leave during multigenerational worship services. Please know that these parents are doing the best that they can in parenting their kids and want to be able to bring their full selves here to this community–we all are, I hope, and it is crucial to being a multidimensional religious community to welcome all of it into our spaces. I also imagine that the requests are coming from a place of other people’s needs not being met.
That said, if you are having trouble hearing or paying attention during worship, or if you are concerned about children’s behavior in any of our shared spaces, please do not “correct” their behavior or ask people to leave. The FUUSN staff and lay ministers are all available to help support you. Please talk to us, so we can come up with ways to best accommodate the needs of as many people as possible during worship, coffee hour, and at other times.
We are a multigenerational community. There are blessings and gifts that come with every age, as well as challenges. Regardless of age, some of us cry and some of us can’t hear very well. Some of us find peace in moments of stillness, and others of us need to move around more. We need to all be welcome in this community. In the words of an affirmation that we said in my childhood UU congregation:
We need each other, and so we come to this place To work and dance and laugh and cry and think. We call ourselves a religious community, Not because this place is in itself holy ground, But because what we do here and say here And are here make it so. So let it be. In faith, –Rowan Van Ness