Kinship Circles Demystified

UUCWC’s groundbreaking new model for inter-generational relationships has begun its second year of operations. Kinship Circles is based on a perceived need for intentional cross generational connections between young families with children, midlife empty-nesters and older adults in their wisdom years. We use the word Kinship as a way of thinking about these Circles. K stands for families with kids. I stands for independent families or single persons without children at home. N stands for nurturing adults.

These three generations come together through intentional planning and with the help of a seasoned group of facilitating and supporting helpers. Kinship Circles began over a year ago and their experiences have led to a refinement of the principles and methodology of the program. We have learned enough to be optimistic about the mission and implementation of Kinship Circles. We recognize how some families struggle as their former connections fray because of changing circumstances, miles of separation and the tendency to isolation in our fragmented communities. Kinship Circles attempts to intentionally provide some of the connections that define extended families.

So what do the participants in a Kinship Circle do? They may gather for meals together. They may attend church services together. They may sit and talk together. They may play together. They may help one another during times of stress or loss. They may celebrate together. These are some of the connections we have noted. Not always. Not everyone. Not without disappointments. Just like traditional families.

Kinship Circles is only open to Members and/or Friends of the congregation. Our scope is still limited because successful connections do not develop without enthusiasm of the participants and careful supportive help from a Kinship Circle Coordinating Team. There is an application process and not all applicants can be ensured of entering a circle. We take into account a number of variables and attempt to match participants accordingly.

Applications can be found in the UUCWC Administrative Office. The Kinship Circles Coordinating Team is composed of Tony Panzetta, Kevyn Malloy, Penny Gardner, Lori Rahn, Mike Makowsky, Andrew Conrad and Nancy Cox. Talk to any of them if you are interested and have more questions.