Recently newsletters from both the MN Conference UCC and the MN Annual Conference UMC highlighted creative ways congregations are getting together as meeting in-person – and indoors – continues to be a health risk for our most vulnerable. Thanks to both for these Great Ideas!!

The UCC’s Rev. Amy Wick Moore realized that, “When people get together now, they want to laugh and have a good time… We’re all craving some comic relief.” So, she created an intergenerational outdoor event that included water balloon relay races and Liturgical Calendar Cheerleading Teams, amongst other events, noting that these days, even “adults are very willing to do quirky things”.

Read more of Wick Moore’s intergenerational outdoor activities here.

The UMC’s Rev. Amy Strom, “noticed that her people were exhausted and had lost their ability to talk with and relate to one another”. As an avid kayaker – and aware that “the bilateral stimulation of paddling on water is a powerful tool for healing from trauma”, she invited her parishioners to join her for a weekly kayak. Over the course of the summer, it’s turned into a community-wide event with up to 19 people kayaking together.

Read the full article here.

What sort of fun, intergenerational, accessible activities would stimulate and engage your congregation – and your community? What gives you, as a leader, joy? What has been healing for your soul? How might you share that with your people – and invite them to invite others? What outdoor spaces are available in your context where folx might gather for relaxation or activities that will build community and provide some levity and joy? How can these opportunities reflects and fluctuate with the changing of the seasons?

If you’re drawing a blank and would like help brainstorming, invite members of your community – who aren’t necessarily members of your congregation – who lead Community Education programs, DNR or park programs, or local teachers (especially teachers of students with special needs who can help you consider accessibility issues): these folks have a plethora of [outdoor] games and activities up their sleeves – and inviting their participation or even leadership only broadens the sense of community!

Getting outside of your building – and into your joyful zones – is a great way to relieve stress, develop resilience, and move toward stronger community!