Sharee Rogers tells of taking her young Sunday-school class on a tour of the church. One room, she recalls, “had a group for young men, another for fifth and sixth graders, another was the minister’s study. In the basement area the choir was rehearsing, and the vacant kitchen was immense. Finally we returned to our room just beyond the glass windows enclosing the nursery for infants. Room after room, all the doors were closed. What was the impression we got? It certainly was not a place of wholeness or newness. Church was divisions—divisions on the basis of age, divisions on the basis of sex, divisions on the basis of abilities. We found it hard to talk to others. We found closed doors. Perhaps we had best stay in our room for a while. Pressed back into our nook we sought other resources” (The Family Together: Inter-Generational Education in the Church School, by Sharee and Jack Rogers, Acton House, 1976).

The often repeated allegation that eleven to noon on Sunday is the most segregated hour of the week normally refers to the dearth of interracial worship, but an honest look at most congregations shows other formidable divisions.

Churches supposedly encourage wholesome family life. Yet programming is usually geared to anything but a family concept. As one sociology professor reportedly told his class, “There is a family night series at Plymouth Church during January. That means that the family gets into a car, goes to church, and each member goes to a different room.” Mary Duckert, who quoted the professor in her book Open Education Goes to Church (Westminster, 1976), also cited the minister of a city church who wrote of “the offense to the aged, the single, and the one-parent families” ...

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