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Millennials attend multi-parish brunch in Medford to discuss how to build ministry

March 6, 2017

Following through on a promise to bring together millennials from area parishes to get acquainted and encourage young adult ministry, St. Mary of the Lakes, Medford, hosted a brunch Feb. 25.

“The brunch was an effort to bring area parish young adults into one venue to discuss basically two things: what they would like to see in young adult ministry and how they will proceed to get it done,” said Father Daniel Swift, parish pastor.

The afternoon of food, fellowship and brainstorming was the direct result of the Parish Catalyst conference Father Swift and parish ministers attended last fall in California on the topic of millennial discipleship. Parish Catalyst is a nonprofit organization based in Los Angeles that aims to build vibrant parishes through research and peer collaboration.

The brunch, which was prepared by the parish’s young adult ministry, was held in St. Mary’s Emmaus center. An invite was sent to nearby Cohort parishes and faith communities. In addition to the parish’s young adults, millennials from Our Lady of Good Counsel Parish, Moorestown, attended as well as those from the neighboring Orthodox Church of the Holy Cross, Medford, and Fellowship Community Church, Mount Laurel.

Sean Bell – who leads the parish’s young adult ministry with his wife, Mary, both of whom also traveled to Parish Catalyst – said those who attended discussed what young adults are looking for and what will attract them to get involved.

“Young adults like to be social, so a number of different social activities were mentioned,” he said. “Social events are inviting and fun, which can certainly help get more young adults to join us.”

He said communication was another main point that was discussed, especially at a time when younger people are inundated with multiple ways to communicate.

“In many ways we [young adults] are not very good at communicating,” Bell said. “One thing a few people talked about was extending personal invitations. Face-to-face connections go a long way and are the best way to get to know someone. They are also a lot harder to ignore than email, text, fliers and bulletin ads.”

Correspondent Georgiana Francisco contributed to this report.

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