Building Beloved Community with Compassion, Service and Empowerment
Small Group Ministry is intentional lay-led small groups that deepen and expand the ministry of a congregation. SGM helps build community and provides opportunities for deeper relationships – intimacy -- and opportunity for deeper spiritual exploration and search for meaning –ultimacy. ~UUSGM network
SGM groups meet once a month for an hour and a half to two hours. The meeting begins with a chalice lighting and opening words. Then there is a check in when people can spend a few minutes sharing highs and lows of the previous month or other details about their lives. This is followed by a reading and a minute or so of meditation and contemplation. And then each member has an opportunity to share about that month's topic and spiritual exercise, while the others listen "deeply." This deep listening is what makes SGM special.
SGM is not a discussion group, it is more like a spiritual practice where we take time out of our busy lives to think deeply about a topic, share our thoughts with a trusted group and then listen deeply as others share. Together we find practical ways to live out spiritual principles in our lives.
Groups generally consist of 8-12 people. Some of the groups have age designations, some are for couples, and there a number of general adult groups that welcome all adults and couples as well. Group members are asked to commit to the group for a year and each group is asked to do some sort of service together either for the church or the larger community (for example, a church work day, MLK Day, etc.) Everyone is welcome, you do not need to be a USG member to join a small group. Groups with openings list below.
The themes for 2015-16 are:
The themes for 2016-17 are:
September: Deepening Connections
June: Radical Hospitality
(The themes and links to materials for 2010-12 can be found at the bottom of the page)
Sample Small Group Ministry Covenant
Join a Group Now!
The available groups for 2015-16 are listed below. Please contact the group leader or Jenn Leiby, firstname.lastname@example.org or 610-416-7953 for more information or to signup.
Small Groups with Openings (all groups meet at USG):
What Some USG Members Say About SGM:
~ Small Group Ministry is, in my opinion, the heart of the church. There is no other place where I can have the opportunity to hear and be heard in such an intimate setting. The web of trust and support that has developed in the groups I have been a part of over the years have strengthened my heart and affirmed my faith in my fellow human beings. It is unlike anything else out there in our hustle and bustle world today. An island of peace in a storm of life.
~I love SGM because it helps me to connect more deeply with other USG members and to explore my own faith, beliefs, joys and sorrows in a safe, supported environment.
~ I participate in SGM to connect with people with whom I may not get to know in my journey at USG, to strengthen my connection with others and to learn about what makes them tick which to me is both fascinating and enriching. I participate to feel connected and invested in the community at USG and to expand my spirit.
~I find it a wonderful opportunity to get to know a small group of people on a more intimate level. The subject matter is a starting point and the structure keeps everyone on task and keeps it from turning into a social gathering. It also gives voice to matters that are not necessarily discussed in other places or groups.
~I have been a member of two groups and have led two groups in two different churches and I continue to be amazed at the power of this simple format to bring all different combinations of people into a very special shared experience.
~The topics are meaningful, some of the readings are helpful, but what keeps me coming back every month is being in the safe, sacred community we have formed together, a place where I can go deeper, share my truth without fear of judgment or comment, and hold others in that same way.....
The themes for 2014-15 were:
September: Building Beloved Community
January: Honoring Differences
April: Spirit of Life
The themes for 2013-14 were:
September: Deepening Connections
June: Source Beyond Ourselves
July: Independence and Interdependence
The themes for 2012-13 were:
The themes for 2011-12 were:
January: Living Faith