Fifth Sundays Offer Fruitful Support – Jennifer Llamas, Youth and Family Ministry Director
Each month with a fifth Sunday provides an amazing opportunity for our entire church family to share our sacred space as one. This Sunday is one such occasion! Fifth Sundays are “Family Sundays” which means in lieu of Youth Ministry holding classes, all ages and stages of life are invited to share together in the full bounty of our sanctuary experience.
While it is true that a compelling reason for our Family Sundays is the bond that is fostered among family members worshipping together, a secondary and equally important factor is the support received from a larger social and faith community. This means that each of us has a crucial role to play. John Bartkowski, a sociologist with Mississippi State University has concluded that a church family provides social support for parents, reinforces parental messages to youth, provides examples of self-sacrifice (volunteerism), and presents a pro-family environment. His research also uncovered the fact that churchgoers appear to live longer, a conclusion also highlighted in the March/April 2006 issue of the Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine (conclusion: physical exercise can add 3-5 years to one’s life, and weekly church attendance can add 2-3 years to one’s life).
To further bolster the crucial role of the faith based community, 2018 Pew Research shows that the role of the church in influencing the character of one’s children is the third most compelling reason for adults to attend services (reasons one and two: feeling closer to God and concern for one’s own comfort).
As the Youth and Family Minister Director, I am continually indebted to our larger church community for the love and support of our YM program. And, on fifth Sundays, I welcome the warm embrace that our congregants offer to our children, teens, and their families. It has been said that “strong families build strong communities,” and the strength of our CommUNITY at UCSA is a thing of beauty!