Small Group Ministry
“People come to church longing for, yearning for, hoping for … a sense of roots, place, belonging, sharing and caring. People come to a church with a search for community, not committee.” — Glenn Turner
WRITING FROM THE HEART (for adults)
Our new theme-based writing group begins in September! We have been meeting once a month on a Thursday night from 6-8PM since September 2015. Packets with quotes, poems, and writing prompts are available to both writing group members and others who are interested in deepening their inquiry. Please contact Terri Pahucki at email@example.com for more information.
A Hidden Wholeness ~ Circle of Trust Study
In the book A Hidden Wholeness: The Journey Toward an Undivided Life, Parker Palmer addresses four compelling themes: the shape of an integral life, the meaning of community, teaching and learning for transformation, and nonviolent social change. He explores what it means to live an undivided life, one where our inner truth can find expression and value in our outer lives.
We will dive into Parker Palmer’s book, and examine ways we might apply these ideas in our own lives and in our congregation. We will especially look at the model he presents for “circles of trust” and begin to practice this method of creating safe space for the soul as a way of supporting and guiding one another on a journey toward wholeness.
Please join us on alternate Saturday mornings from 9-11AM in the UUCRT sanctuary. Books with study guides are available for participants. If you have questions or are interested in participating, please contact Terri Pahucki at firstname.lastname@example.org or 845.344.7336. All are welcome!
A different way of doing church
The Small Group Ministry program deepens and broadens personal spiritual growth. Groups vary, but in general, meetings are focused on a spiritual or religious topic. The goals are to:
- Listen and be listened to in a safe place
- Learn about the mysteries of our world and our spiritual paths
- Build new and deeper personal connections
- Serve our community and the needs of one another
- Maintain personal connections and a caring community
Goals of Small Group Ministry
The Small Group Ministry program deepens and broadens personal spiritual growth. This is done through five components:
- Listening: Deep listening is gift for both the speaker and the listener. A connection forms when we share and give this gift to each other.
- Worship: Worship is central to the life of our congregation. Small Group Ministry augments and strengthens our shared experience.
- Community: Small groups meet the need for connection and intimacy that is both a hunger in our society and essential to the ongoing life of a religious community.
- Learning: People come to the church seeking spiritual growth, seeking to know themselves better, to grow into their understanding of the world and to ponder the age old questions of faith: how to live, what to believe, how to act, what meanings we can decipher from the mystery of life.
- Service: A life of faith is a life of service. As human beings, we seek to be of use, and a healthy congregation needs to provide avenues through which we may serve.
How does Small Group Ministry work?
Ministry happens in the meetings, which focus on spiritual or religious topics through a process of deep listening and service projects. Topics that may be shared during meetings include: sacred places, perfection, mothers, community, living simply, music, and healing. Groups choose their own order, direction and pace. Service projects are expected from each group once a year. In general, projects tend to be ones that serve the church community or the local community, but they can be larger projects that reach beyond our church community.
What is expected of members?
Group members are expected to commit to regular meeting times and to practice deep listening. Deep listening is a way of focusing intently on what another person is saying without interruption or simultaneously formulating a response. Deep listening also gives an individual an opportunity to speak without interruption or comment.
What are Small Group sessions like?
- Opening Words: Gathering in, settling down, reminding participants of the special opportunity of the gathering, possibly reflecting the topic of the session. The meeting may begin with the lighting of a candle or a chalice.
- Check-In: Participants share news of what has been happening in their lives. Each group develops its own customs as to the length of sharing. This portion of the meeting may expand from time to time when circumstances call for it.
- Topic/Discussion: A paragraph or two lays out a topic and presents questions that will elicit thoughtful discussion and significant reflection. A group may stay with a topic several weeks or be done in one evening.
- Check-Out: Likes and Wishes: This is an opportunity for feedback.
- Closing Words: This brings the formal session to and end. Groups are encouraged to start and end on time.