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Sharing Faith Among the Generations


Prepared By
: Dianne Yungblut & Pat Rode, Eeastern Synod Learning 2000.

Planning Theme:  Psalm 145: 4.  One generation shall laud your works to another and shall declare your mighty acts.

Target Audience: Congregational Youth and Adults.

Objectives:
To enable participants to:

  • Understand the Key of Caring Conversation as a tool for building relationships.
  • See the possibilities and the value of Faith Sharing among the generations.
  • Explore ways that congregations can foster Faith Sharing among the generations

Time Required: 60 minutes

Materials or Resources (required)

  • 9X12 light–coloured construction paper – one for each participant
  • Large chart paper for charting and brainstorming (2X)
  • Chart with "Just Do It!" printed for posting
  • Diagram for intergenerational relationships
  • Kathi Haab's story from Esprit (Togetherness)
  • Jar containing vignette story strips (Vignettes)
  • Large paper shapes labelled with opportunities for congregations to foster faith sharing (For Discussion)


ProcessIntroduction: (15 minutes)

a) Welcome participants. Introduce the leaders. As they are introduced ask them to describe their relationship to each other (friends, partners in ministry, etc.) Then say 'Life is lived in relationship from the moment of conception until the moment of death.' (Walt Wangerin). Let's think about our relationships.

Hand out 9X12 construction paper to each participant and instruct them:

  • To fold the paper in 3 horizontally, printing their name in the middle space.
  • Someone of their generation in one space and someone from either a younger or an older generation in the remaining space.
  • Beside each name ask that they also print the relationship of that person to them. When finished request that they share with a neighbour something that they enjoy doing with each person whose name they have written.

These cards can be set up as name cards for the remaining time.

Back in the large group share and chart all the relationships discussed – brother, friend, godparent, etc.

b) Outline the major thrust of this workshop – It's all about faith –Faith is about relationships, God's relationship with us, our relationship with God and our relationship with others – others of all ages.

Bible Basis: (5 minutes)

Often when we think of faith sharing we think of speaking with friends or with children but the words of the Psalmist lead us to think about other possibilities.

Psalm 145:4 says 'One generation shall laud your works to another and shall proclaim your mighty acts.' One generation to another. What could that mean? It seems to imply a back and forth sharing among the generations.

Diagram

Looking at the diagram – this diagram illustrates the sharing among the generations.
Note that sharing also happens among people of the same generation.

Establishing Relationships & Faith Sharing: (20 minutes)

When we share faith, what specifically do we share? Our faith is our relationship with God. (Post this sentence.) As we talk to others about our relationship with God what words do we use? Ask participants to orally call out some words that come to mind.

Some examples might be trust, love, respect for others, forgiveness, being a child of God, God's presence, etc. These are some of the features of our relationship with God that impact our whole life.

Before faith sharing can happen trusting relationships must be established. Caring Conversations are a KEY way to build these trusting relationships. Caring Conversations nurture caring relationships and reflect our relationship with God. Caring Conversation is conversation about feeling, values, beliefs – conversation that goes beyond who's going where when, etc.

Let's listen to a story that illustrates this. Read the story (Kathi Haab's story found in Togetherness). Ask how the conversations in this story fits our description of Caring Conversation? Chart responses. Possible responses might be – express an interest in others, requires time, listening, speaking, respect, presence, etc.

To explore some possible faith sharing opportunities, divide into small groups of 3–4. Give each group a jar with slips on which vignettes are written. (see Vignettes) Ask that they choose at least 2 slips, read them and discuss the questions for reflection that follow the vignette.

Emphasize that Caring Conversation crosses the boundaries of time and space – age, distance, family dynamics.

Back in the large group, briefly share the experience. Sum up by – These have been some opportunities for faith sharing. As in these vignettes we must be alert to these opportunities when they are presented to us in daily interaction with those with whom we share relationship. We must be ready to just DO IT!

D Discern the appropriate time and place to share.
O Open your heart to the age, stage and unique characteristics of the individual and   respond accordingly.
I Interpret your thoughts in real relevant ways.
T Trust your own ability and reason for sharing.

 

Some of these faith sharing times will be intentional – times that we set apart in our daily routine. Other times will be spontaneous.

Tell story of little girls on swing.
A father was pushing two little girls on swings across the street from the church. As one pointed out the cross on top of the church, she said " Daddy, why does Jesus have to die on the cross every year?" Before the father could answer the other little girl said, " Until everyone knows why he did it."

Ask how the father might respond in a caring, supportive way. (A response might be that the father honored her comment as he gently explained how God's people gather to understand and appreciate what Jesus did so long ago.)

The Value of Faith Sharing

Faith Sharing among the generations enriches our lives. Children bring joy and wonderment, youth challenge us to honesty and change with their energy and questions. Adults give purpose, structure and vision. The grand generation shares their wisdom, experience and confidence in God. As we share our faith stories others' lives are enriched and our own faith is nurtured as well.

How then can congregations foster faith sharing among the generations?

How Congregations Foster Faith Sharing Among the Generations (10 minutes)

There are ways that our congregation can foster the building of these relationships.

a) Show large paper shape with the title of a ministry. Begin with Worship – discuss what happens in the congregational worship service to foster faith sharing. Discuss each of the other 5 titles in turn:

  • Intergenerational Events
  • Service
  • Confirmation Mentors
  • Milestone Ministry
  • Peer Ministry

(Hint: ideas for each title that are given in For Discussion and can be written on back of the shape before hand for leader's use during discussion).

b) While you give each participant 2 different stickers ask that they consider each one of the paper shape titles and decide which one of those ministry areas that their congregation is doing well and ask that they put a specified sticker in that circle. Ask them to put the other sticker on the ministry area that they think their congregation could be focusing on next.

c) Remind them that their Synod Resource People would be happy to help with this.


Conclusion
Chant and Speech Choir (10 minutes)
Psalm 145: verses 3,4,11,12,13. paraphrased as printed below. Use 2 alternating colours if possible.

Read the Psalm chart in unison. Make it as dramatic and interesting as you can.

The Chant - pdf file

Chant


Divide your group into three separate groups. Ask for volunteers to form 1 group to sing the chant. Two groups will read the psalm antiphonally. The third group will sing the chant while the psalm is read.

They should begin slowly and softly and then increase the volume and the tempo gradually to the end of the reading. The chanters should start first.

You will need to act as the director and start each group. When the readers have finished the Psalm they should stand and join the chanters for 3 final chants that fill the room.

Great is the Lord and greatly to be praised.
His greatness is unsearchable.
One generation shall laud His works to another.
They shall declare His mighty acts.
They shall speak of the glory of His kingdom.
They shall tell of His power.
They will make known His mighty deeds.
The glorious splendor of His Kingdom.
God's kingdom is everlasting.
His dominion endures through all generations.
One generation shall laud His works to another.
They shall declare His mighty acts.

Thank participants for all their work and their sharing.



Permission is granted to reproduce this module for use in ELCIC congregations. Any other use requires copyright permission. Please contact bfast@elcic.ca

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