Youth group building intergenerational relationships

Arising out of a need in the congregation, the Maylands Mt Lawley Uniting Church Youth Group began in February 2016. After a year of being in operation, it is a much loved activity of the church.

Rev Kim Francis, Minister at Maylands Mt Lawley Uniting Church, co-ordinates the Youth Group alongside her son, Joel Francis, and Liz Lee, a member of the congregation, with the help of other parent volunteers. The group has about ten members, with around six attending each week. Some are members of the congregation, who also bring along friends.

Each Sunday, from 12noon–2.00pm, young people in years 6–12 share food, activities and discussion. Sometimes the group meet at the church, other times they head out and about. Outings have included activities like badminton, mini golf, kayaking, rock climbing and sailing.

Once a term they hold a cooking competition, and every week they enjoy a simple, but varied lunch together. Occasionally, they also meet with other youth groups from The Billabong, Mt Pleasant and Nedlands Uniting Churches, and they have worked through the Alpha Youth Film Series, a course designed to create conversations for young people exploring life, faith and meaning. Continue Reading

Ecumenical youth ministry convention

The National Youth Ministry Convention (NYMC) will be held from Monday 9–Wednesday 11 October at Sea World Resort on the Gold Coast.

Join people from around the country to take part in workshops, electives and networking, exploring current topics for youth ministry today. NYMC is an ecumenical event for youth ministry leaders.

Keynote speakers for NYMC include Mark Sayers, author, and Pastor of Red Church: More Than Me, in Victoria; Enuma Okoro, award winning writer, speaker and communications consultant; and Steve Chong, founder and leader of the RICE movement, a youth Christian evangelical movement based in Sydney. Continue Reading

Nurturing all-age connection and community

Society around us constantly divides and labels people on the basis of their age. We are divided into generational cohorts and given nicknames that supposedly summarise our most defining characteristic: ‘Boomers’; ‘Gen Y’; ‘Millennials.’

These divisions serve political and marketing purposes, but they leave our community fractured. The Gospel of Jesus, however, reconciles us to God and calls us beyond boundaries of age, gender, ability and culture, into community together, to be formed by one another as together we love and serve a world in need.

Churches are increasingly aware of the need to recover the values, practices and skills for gatherings with all generations together. Multi-generational, multi-age, all-age, crossgenerational and intergenerational approaches offer us different ways of healing the divisions in our gatherings and create the potential for new spaces of engagement with those not yet part of a faith community. Continue Reading

Life’s big questions over Elevenses

With a name inspired by JR Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings, Elevenses at Trinity North Uniting Church is a discussion-led worship group making a big impact in the lives of the people who attend. In the book, Elevenses is a meal break taken by Hobbits at 11.00am. Although they do provide refreshments, at Trinity North, Elevenses is so much more than just a snack.

While the group has been beneficial for the young adults who attend, it is not specifically aimed at young people and attracts members of all ages. Its intergenerational scope has created a space where people can explore life’s big questions with others who have different perspectives.

Jana MacAdam is a member of Trinity North Uniting Church, Greenwood Worshipping Community, and a first-year university student. Feeling too old for youth group, Jana felt she needed more theological discussion than traditional Sunday morning worship could provide. On approaching her church council, she found they too had been discussing how they could provide a space for young adults to explore their faith.

“We found there was a need for something to cover the gap,” said Jana. “We’ve got the youth group and that’s really running well, but then you’ve got nothing for anyone who’s too old for youth group, and nothing on a Sunday.”Continue Reading

All-inclusive games for emerging youth

Having taken part in State Youth Games for a number of years, the Uniting Church team, U Team, this year also took part in the Emerging Youth Games on 22 April at Warwick Stadium, Perth.

While State Youth Games is a weekend event in Bunbury for young people aged 16 and over, Emerging Youth Games invites kids in years 7–10 for a one-day all-inclusive event. Ten people joined  the U Team this year, coming from Nedlands, Mt Pleasant and The Billabong Uniting Churches, with around 20 teams taking part.

Emerging Youth Games is organised by Youth Vision, a division of the Churches of Christ in WA. Churches from across the state put together teams who compete in a range of games designed to  include people of all abilities. Continue Reading

Building ties through service learning

Through the service learning program at Wesley College, a relationship has formed between the Uniting Church WA school in South Perth and Cyril Jackson Senior Campus, in Bassendean.

Cyril Jackson Senior Campus is a school in Bassendean which caters to year 11 and 12. It offers alternative learning, enrolling some students who have been expelled from other schools, and  refugees from around the world.

Five years ago, the Zonta Club of Perth was offering scholarships to female students at Cyril Jackson, giving Wesley College the idea to offer scholarships to the male students. With the aim of  raising enough money to give two $500 scholarships, in the first two years, three were actually awarded. In 2014 and 2015, three scholarships of $600 were awarded. Last year, three scholarships  of $750 were awarded. In addition, the recipients receive a Wesley Sports Bag including a hat, pen, shorts and water bottle. Continue Reading

Intergenerational bonding in Busselton

Finding common ground and activities for people of different ages is not always easy, but when you do, it can be a beautiful thing. The ‘blokes’ of Busselton Uniting Church semi-regularly get together for a meal at a local pub, but their February gathering was different. They were looking for something they could invite younger people to that would help foster relationships and  connection across the generations, so decided on lawn bowling.

On a balmy summer’s evening, 29 of us gathered to compete and eat pizza. Players ranged in age from 7 to 89 with everyone placed in an intergenerational team. There was plenty of banter and no hamstring tears to report.

The best part of the gathering was seeing the interaction between the different ages; common ground was found and relationships formed that will no doubt cross over to Sunday morning and  beyond.

Andy Broadbent