Small Group Ministry

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:

September: Home
October: Forgiveness
November: Gratitude
December: Celebration
January: Freedom
February: Courage
March: Story
April: Privilege
May: Curiosity
June: Pride
July: Creativity
August: Joy 

The themes for 2016-17 are:

September: Deepening Connections
October: Memory
November: Blessing
December: Reverence
January: Hope
February: Resilience
March: Fear
April: Transformation
May: Wholeness
June: Radical Hospitality
July: Devotion
August: Mindfulness

(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, or 610-416-7953 for more information or to signup.

Small Groups with Openings (all groups meet at USG):

  • Adults, Fourth Monday at 7pm, Mark Bangela is the leader. Contact Mark (click on his name) to sign up. 4 openings.
  • Parents Group with Adrianne Wolkenberg, at USG, third Sunday at 7:30pm. Contact Adrianne (click on her name) for info or to sign up. 2 openings

  • Young Adults (18-35) group with Carly Danielsen,, second Thursday evening at 6:30pm. Contact Carly at  for info or to sign up. 2 openings
  • Adults with Treva Burger,, third Monday at 7:30pm. Contract Treva for info or to sign up. 2 openings.

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
October: Compassion
November: Service
December: Empowerment
January: Honoring Differences
February: Humor
March: Leadership
April: Spirit of Life
May: Busyness
June: Wonder
July: Change
August: Harvest

The themes for 2013-14 were:
September:  Deepening Connections
October:  Doubt
November:  Tradition
December:  Innocence
January:  Beginning
February: Solitude
March: Generosity
April: Self-Esteem 
May:  Civility
June:  Source Beyond Ourselves
July:  Independence and Interdependence
August: Balance

The themes for 2012-13 were:
September: Atonement
October: Belonging
November: Prayer
December: Revelation
January: Mindfulness
February: God
March: Courage
April: Awakening
May: Creation
June: Sexuality
July: Vision
August: Vulnerability

The themes for 2011-12 were:
September: Forgiveness
October: Quest
November: Gratitude
December: Hope
January: Living Faith
February: Hospitality
March: Brokenness
April: Transformation
May: Justice
June: Transcendence
July: Joy
August: Memory

The themes for 2010-11 were: 
September: Humility
October: Belonging
November: Blessings
December: Radical Hospitality
January: Trust
February: Discernment
March: Money
April: Who's Keeping Score?
May: Strength
June: Play
July: My Musica Sacrae
August: Connectedness

Giving to USG

Click here to go to the Online Payment Center for Pledges and Contributions, Share the Plate, Service Auction, Spiritual Development Courses, Special Events and Rentals

Stewardship at USG

Online Statement of Financial Intent Form (Pledge Form)

Suggested Fair Share Giving Guide

Service Auction

Seder Dinner

Blog Posts

Kent's TrUUmpet May 2016

Dear Friends,

Here at USG as our 150th celebration winds down, we are coming off another wonderful visit from a past USG Minister.  Returning for the first time in 20 years, Rev. Bill Gardiner and his wife Peggy brought many…


Posted by Kent Matthies on April 29, 2016 at 9:30pm

Kent's March TrUUmpet

Dear Friends,

     My gratitude abounds for February Study Leave.  Thanks to everyone who worked to afford me the opportunity to take a full month of study, reflection and creativity.

     During time away from my regular duties I…


Posted by Kent Matthies on March 23, 2016 at 11:00am

“Committee on Ministry for the Assistant Minister” What’s That?

USG AM COM Button.jpg


As the assistant  minister in this congregation I work with our minister Kent, professional staff, various committees…


Posted by Daniel Gregoire on January 20, 2016 at 11:30am

Kent's January TrUUmpet

         Dear Friends,

          Alongside an historic drive sitting on six acres of grassy hills and live oaks our steeple reaches to the sky from lovely greening copper roof. Inside warm, brown beams and lovely stained glass windows…


Posted by Kent Matthies on December 22, 2015 at 4:30pm

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