The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America


How a congregation can support single parents

Remember that "family" means a great many things, all of them loving.

Make sure all kinds of families — even the one-person ones — in your congregation know they are welcome.

Use inclusive language. "Parent" instead of "dad." "Members" instead of "couples" or "families."

Don't assume. Avoid blunders like "Bobby, is your father with you today?" Bobby may not have seen his father for eight years. Try "Who did you bring with you today, Bobby?"

Father-daughter and mother-son events are wonderful opportunities for families, but make sure posters and announcements make it clear that other adults, like aunts and uncles or special friends, are welcome to attend in place of a parent.

Openly discuss diversity among families and how it adds richness to our congregational life.

Check the church calendar for even-handedness. Are the couples-only events, like marriage-renewal retreats, balanced by events that support singles too?

Follow the lead of many urban congregations, where separating into small ministries of seniors, singles, couples and others is just too divisive to a small and diverse membership.

Study how many suburban congregations address the isolation of singles, who live where the demographic is strongly "family," with special singles retreats and activities.


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February issue


Embracing diversity