A few years ago at an Episcopal Easter vigil I noticed that something was missing. Someone, actually. No teenagers were present and only a few people in their twenties or thirties were in the gathered congregation of about 80—and that included me. I remember thinking, How sad, because this is the most creative, sensual service we’ve got going.
That experience re-sparked questions that I, and many others, ponder: What would it take to make the stories and rituals of our tradition meaningful to our rising generations? And how can we share the gifts of our faith with others who would never, ever, dare set foot inside a church?
A deep consideration of those questions led my partner and me to form an organization called Join the Living, whose broad mission is to connect our next generations with spiritual practices and community. In the spring of 2008 we hosted our first collaborative experiment: an all-night interactive Easter vigil in the desert of southern Arizona. We called it Uprising, a celebration of the force of life that cannot be stopped.
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*The Alban Institute was founded in 1974 as a major resource for American congregations facing the challenges of a changing society. Alban stands at the forefront of knowledge and experience regarding congregational vitality and positive trends across denominations and faith traditions. Our work is helping shape the strong congregations of tomorrow.