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Singles in the Christian Community
Prepared by: Roger Pannell-Haugen, 1999

Planning Theme: Living as a Creative Single in a Married world.

Target Audience:

  • Single people attending conference workshop. "Single" is defined as a person living outside of a committed relationship and age 18–50
  • Anyone else who attends conference

Objectives:

  • To understand the place of singles in the Christian community.
  • To see creative and abundant living as a goal for all Christians.

Time required: 120 minutes

Materials or Resources (required or *recommended)

  • Bibles
  • Chart paper (4 sheets)
  • Felt pens

Welcome, Introductions and Greetings:
(As appropriate for the group)


Process

E–Experience
(15 minutes)

Divide people into four groups. The groups rotate among four stations to answer the following questions on a sheet of paper: (about 3 minutes at each station)

  1. What biblical characters were single?
  2. What experiences of joy have you had as a single in the Christian community?
  3. What experiences of pain have you had a s single in the Christian community?
  4. When does it feel good to be alone?


I–Identify


Gather responses from the questions. Look for common themes as they arise. Be accepting of all responses. Revolving among the stations has allowed for some anonymity and therefore an opportunity for the leader to name some of the painful experiences that the participants have offered. There is then the opportunity for more information to be shared. As experiences are shared they must be treated with sensitivity and caring.

A–Analyze

  1. What really happened?
  2. What do each question and response say to us?
  3. What preconceptions are evident in the Christian community? In ourselves?


G–Generalize

What does this mean?

  1. What issues are particular to singles?
  2. How do we need to live in community?
  3. Organize ourselves?
  4. Include singles in all aspects?
  5. Refuse to allow stereotypes?
  6. Do others share our feelings?


T–Theologize

Where is God in this?

  • Job 1:21 "Naked I came from my mother's womb, naked I shall return"
  • Matt 10:34–39 "strife within the family"
  • John 10:10 "that you might have life…abundantly"
  • Matthew 22 "love God, love your neighbour, love self"
  • Galatians 3:28 "neither Jew nor Greek…"
  • John 8:32 "You will know the truth and the truth will make you free"
  • 1 Corinthians 7 "best to remain unmarried…"
  • 1 Corinthians 12:4–12 "Now concerning spiritual gifts…."

Hopefully, the conversation will lead into a realization that God's love has nothing to do with marital status. Singles hear messages from the church that God wants them married with children, and the church does not know how to deal with any other configuration.

A leader would want to be sensitive to those who espouse the traditional view of marriage and the church but move the conversation toward an open conversation.

People fearful of the "party line" or who have been victimized by such ideas will need support to speak of their needs and their personal theology of singleness. An openness to other point of views is essential on the part of the leader as is a great deal of sensitivity to what people are really saying.

What gifts have you been given by God?

ConclusionClose with prayer.



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

In full communion with The Anglican Church of Canada
© Copyright 2007 Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada