You may be in your 20’s or 30’s and ready for a night out, connecting with friends. You may be a young adult in need of some deep conversation about the mysteries in life and the spiritual connections that have impacted you. You may be a Millennial and want to network with others to support a current global issue. Perhaps you are fresh out of college and looking to belong to a new circle of friends. Or you may know of a young person, like the above, that at this time of social distancing, needs to connect with others for friendship and fellowship. Millennials’ Ministries provides all of this and more!
Katie Howe, a young adult member of the Woodridge Congregational Church, RI, initiated the original Millennials’ Ministries gatherings in October 2018, with young adults from churches of the historic RI Conference. (Read that story here.) A variety of monthly experiences were planned according to the season: pumpkin carving, apple picking, Christmas gift swap, game night and bowling. Originally from New Hampshire, Katie was eager to meet new people from RI but realized it was challenging to find a Millennial church community. “I have noticed that young adults don’t tend to see their demographic represented in their local church. Millennials’ Ministries is a reminder that people in their 20s and 30s exist within the UCC even though we may not be as visible in each of our churches.”
Fast forward several years and a lot has changed since then! Now into its third year, two impactful situations changed the shape of Millennials’ Ministries. The first occurred in January 2020 with the merge of three conferences into the Southern New England Conference. The second arrived in March 2020, with the pandemic restrictions prohibiting in-person gatherings. However, the COVID guidelines inadvertently provided a new virtual gathering space on a zoom platform and the new expanded regions promoted a broader reach to invite young adults from all areas of RI, CT, and MA.
The Millennials’ Ministries group has had six virtual gatherings since the pandemic began with young adults from all three states attending frequently. Vickey Allen, a member of First Church in Middletown, CT, began attending the group in July 2020 at the first virtual meeting. “I love that Millennials' Ministry is accessible across SNEUCC; it's been great connecting with people from all three states. I also love the wide variety of activities we've been able to pull off over Zoom--the murder mystery was especially fun!”
There have been a variety of topics and themes that keep the virtual event exciting and relevant. Emily Carle, a senior in college, and member of First Congregational Church of South Hadley, MA, enjoys connecting with new friends to discuss issues that make one ponder: Do you believe in miracles? Or themes that make one laugh: Dressing up for the virtual mystery skit in January 2021! “I’m so happy that I found Millennials’ Ministries. It has been a sacred space for young people within the church to be ourselves, talk about the topics that interest us, and even have some fun! Between our more serious Dessert and Discussion nights to our “Whodunit” Zoom Murder Mystery party, Millennials’ Ministries has something for everyone.”
Sharing conversations about the presence of God bring on engaging dialogue. The zoom platform offers the opportunity to create breakout rooms for smaller, more intimate circles for sharing. Jeff Noble, a young adult member of the Seekonk Congregational Church, MA, feels these gatherings are a great chance to interact with “like-minded Christian Millennials”. Lily Clarke feels the same sentiment, a young adult from the United Congregational Church of Little Compton, RI. “I've met people who share a common bond with me of having a strong faith. Our discussions are rich in experience and I always come away feeling more whole and more connected to God than I did before. I feel as though I'm able to share my faith on a deeper level with a community that's in my age group which is so different from my Church family as I'm a younger member in my Church.”
Millennials’ Ministries events will continue to be creative and inviting and meet once a month on the second Thursday, from 7pm-8pm. Join them or share more about this opportunity with a young adult you know. Upcoming themes and topics are:
March 11 - A Virtual Paint Party! (guided by artist, Kristin Putney, supplies needed prior - see list for details)
Millennials’ Ministries is a great space for connections and common bonds for young adults who are looking for a Christian community of friends to engage with. The Gen Z community, who are now approaching young adulthood, are encouraged to join in and some have already been participating in these events. The connections made among each of these 20’s and 30’s age groups allows everyone to feel seen, heard, and valued. Each young adult gives and receives without judgement. It is a sacred space and for now, it is their own unique and interactive virtual gathering space.