Skip to main content

One Bold Moment

February 15, 2023
Members from Hebron CRC, Whitby, Ont. (l-r: Nancy McGee, Laura Willet, Barb Willet, and Mary Hosmar) attended the first Generation Spark binational gathering in October 2022.
Members from Hebron CRC, Whitby, Ont. (l-r: Nancy McGee, Laura Willet, Barb Willet, and Mary Hosmar) attended the first Generation Spark binational gathering in October 2022.

There was no time to get the approval of the church council. Two days before the application deadline, 26-year-old Laura Willet applied for Generation Spark on behalf of her church, Hebron CRC in Whitby, Ont.

“You want me, just a regular church attendee, to sign my church up for a program without asking anyone?” she asked on a phone call with Ron deVries, Generation Spark team member and coach.

“Yup. If they don't approve, you can always pull out your application,” said deVries.

It was a moment that was weeks in the making. A few weeks earlier, Willet had received an invitation to join the church’s deacons meetings and contribute where she could. At the first roundtable conversation with the deacons, Willet brought up the idea of intergenerational relationships.

“It would be so nice if we could figure out a way to bridge the gap generationally,” Willet said. “We have so much to gain from each other, and yet there seems to be this big divide on a Sunday morning between the young and old.” The group agreed it was a good idea. But they struggled to formulate any concrete steps or solutions.

A few weeks later, one of the deacons emailed Willet with a link about applying for Generation Spark, an intergenerational mentoring initiative. The deacon mentioned that it sounded a lot like what Willet had brought up in their meeting and asked if she would be willing to look into it.

Willet said she was intrigued, but noted that it also sounded like a lot of work. She emailed the Generation Spark team to see if there was still opportunity to apply. “I was hoping they would respond by saying all the spots were filled, and I could say that I did my part. . . . Well, that’s not what happened.”

Within hours of sending the email, Willet received a response from deVries asking if they could talk on the phone—that same day. She agreed. During the phone call deVries explained a bit more about Generation Spark. “I could feel myself getting excited . . . albeit still overwhelmed,” said Willet. At the end of the call, she asked if the deadline in two days was a hard one.

It was.

“How do I get all of the council onboard in time to meet the deadline?” Willet asked.

“Laura, I would recommend you simply apply and then let the council know,” deVries said.

So Willet filled out the application, calling both the administrative staff and the worship pastor to gather the necessary information, and clicked “send.”

The entire church council supported Willet’s application for Generation Spark. As part of a cohort, developed in partnership with the CRCNA, the Reformed Church in America, and ThereforeGo Ministries, members of Hebron CRC formed a Generation Spark leadership team and completed an introductory exploration of what intergenerational mentoring is and why it is important to the church. Now they are designing an implementation strategy to roll out Generation Spark into the body of Hebron CRC. As part of this process, they will have a coach from the Generation Spark team walk with them.

This strong start owes much to a culture of intergenerational mentoring already developing through Willet and other members at Hebron CRC.

“I have had so many mentors in my life,” said Willet. “They are women that I look up to spiritually and can share my struggles and my victories. People who I can call on to pray with me and for me. People who listen. And they are all women in which it is a two-way street. I listen, and I encourage and advise too. . . . Mentors are literally a part of my day-to-day life, and I am so thankful for them and all of their support.”

Generation Spark is continually scheduling future training opportunities for churches. If you have any questions about the ministry or would like to speak to someone about signing up, call Ron deVries at 780-619-6566 or email [email protected].