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The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

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Making pals in the parish

Sunday school children team up with seniors

Members of Holy Trinity Lutheran Church, Glenview, Ill., found a way to make pals between its younger and older generations.

As part of his internship program at Holy Trinity, Dirk van der Duim started Parish Pals to build bridges between the children, their parents and the senior members. In an e-mail interview he said, “Holy Trinity is a very friendly congregation, but people here had been looking for a way to connect the younger generations with the group that helped build this church 50 years ago.”

Dirk van der Duim<BR><BR>Marilyn Maier
Marilyn Maier (left) and Bridget Burke, members of Holy Trinity Lutheran Church, Glenview, Ill., make cards for U.S. troops in Iraq. Parish Pals is a program that brings together the generations for discussions of faith and a craft project.
The idea for Parish Pals came from a similar program at St. Mark Evangelical Lutheran Church, Pittsburgh, that van der Duim found on the Internet. “Pastor Scott Bryte was very willing to tell me about his experiences with their program, and he helped me quite a bit,” van der Duim said.

The Parish Pals meet three times a year during an adult forum in groups of six to eight people, ideally half children and half adults. Originally, van der Duim was going to follow St. Mark’s lead and have a child assigned to each adult. “But since our program is more event-based, it’s worked out better to assign groups instead,” he said. “If an adult or child was unable to make it to an event, no one ended up partner-less.”


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