Our Intergenerational Community

Greg Shakhovskoy

In the last week Marg and I have been watching the series Downton Abbey.  The second of the series deals with the impact of the First World War on the residents - the Lords and Ladies and the servants who wait on them. There was a great divide between these two sets of people. As the war proceeds and more men are sent to the front, this divide begins to break down.  The Ladies are drawn into working roles supporting injured soldiers.  The Lords and Ladies share dining rooms, rub shoulders on a more regular basis and get to know the servants on a much more personal level.  The servants have to take on new roles.

I have been thinking a lot about the intergenerational nature of the Community, and was struck by the parallels with Downton Abbey.  As the Community is drawn more and more into the battle front of mission, and as the mission intensifies, both young and old are drawn into new roles, and we get thrown together - young and old - more often as we serve.  The battle demands it and we are impelled to embrace working together, because it is more effective.

At our leadership discussion at the O'Sheas last week we ended up talking about this intergenerational service and life and the stories rolled out of where this is happening.  I was inspired at the range of examples across the Community of where older and younger people are sharing life and mission in concrete ways.  I wanted to share those that I am aware of with you, in the hope that it will inspire even more cross generational life and service. Here are some that I am aware of:

  • Kym Keady and the younger people on the small group team have worked side by side with Terry Finn, Kath Brownlow, Cathy Ledwich and Frank Davies  for some years in their pastoral work
  • John and Anna O'Brien, Ron and Maureen Atkins, Mike Dooley, John and Margherita Baker and Leo McMahon have worked hand in hand with Roby and the Blindeye team
  • Kat Paine and Odyn McInnes and their team of young people pray in adoration every week with Michael Curtain, Peter O'Shea, Frank and Christine Davies for the ministry and the young people they reach
  • Frank and Christine underpin many Ignite Youth events in intercession before the Blessed Sacrament
  • Teresa Parker and a number of older people mentor younger people
  • Tom and Sharon are faciliating a course in sound christian financial management with younger couples and singles
  • The Ignite Live team feel very supported as Mike Dooley joins them in prayer teams each Ignite Live
  • Trish, Peter Fitzsimmons, Helen and David work together and support our younger staff in the office
  • Sheila O'Regan faithfully intercedes for the Community including the work of Ignite Youth and regularly shares with the Elders what she hears God saying
  • Lisa and Michael Humphrys lead a small group with younger couples
  • The Agnews invite and encourage older people to join them at open house each month, and share how much richer the celebration is 
  • The McAuliffe’s also invite and encourage both young and old people to join them at open house each month
  • John and Margherita Baker, Rob and Phil DeWeger and Cathy Ledwich are regulars at the Mother Effect group on Wednesdays
  • Caitlyn Bennett and Renee Doyle have joined forces with David and Helen Plant and Barry and Monica O'Shea on the Impact Uganda team

What a rich tapestry of work and life together.  I know I am in danger of not knowing, remembering or mentioning other things that are happening, but perhaps this prompts you to share more of the stories of how God is aligning us together. I would love you to email me with more examples!  So let us listen to the Holy Spirit as He invites us to work together across generations, to support one another, and to watch each other's backs as we push further and further into the mission that God invites us into. 

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