We are using new Small Group Ministry resources this year, from Soul Matters Sharing Circle. The Soul Matters Sharing Circle is a network of around 200 Unitarian Universalist congregations who follow the same monthly themes so we can more easily share small group ministry material, as well as worship, sermon, music and child spiritual development resources.

Visit the Engaging Soul Matters page for the introduction, spiritual exercises and questions for each month. We encourage everyone to engage a spiritual exercise and a question each month, even if you are not in a group.

The Small Group Facilitators have created our usual two page session plans from the Soul Matters materials. The full packets may be accessed password protected from the Members tab and linked here.  You will need to be signed into the website to access it.

​2018-19 Themes
What Does It Mean to be a People of…
September:  Vision  
October:  Sanctuary
November:  Memory
December:  Mystery
January:  Possibility
February:  Trust
March:  Journey
April:  Wholeness
May:  Curiosity
June:  Beauty  

Sample Small Group Ministry Covenant

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. 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.

Join a Group Now!
The available groups are listed below. We will not be starting any new groups in fall 2018, but we have many groups with openings. People are welcome to join any group that fits their demographic. Please contact the group leader or Treva Burger, at sgm@usguu.org or 215-277-5752, for more information or to sign up.

Small Groups with Openings:

Visitor and New Member Group: Rev. Kent Matthies is planning to start a new group in January on the third or fourth Thursday evening at 7:30pm. If you would be interested in this group, please contact Treva Burger, trevawb@gmail.com.

Open Small Group, Second Sunday, 12 noon at USG, Mark Bangela is the leader, 6 openings. This group is open to people who would like to try out Small Group Ministry or who cannot attend regularly. Please just show up. They usually meet in the Daskam Room, but if someone else is meeting there, they will be in the Minister’s Office. Contact Mark at mark.bangela@gmail.com, for more information.

Black, Indigenous and other Peoples of Color First Monday, 7pm at USG.  Parvathy Menon, parvathyvmenon@gmail.com, is the leader.  The group is open to anyone who identifies as a person of color. Meets at USG. 4 openings.

Women, USG Third or fourth Monday, 6:45pm at USG. Carolyn Cotton, CCCOTTON@aol.com is the leader. 3 openings.

Adults, Third Monday, 7:30pm at USG. Treva Burger and Mark Thompson are the leaders.Email Treva, trevawb@gmail.com, for information. 3 openings.

Women, third Wednesday, 11am Leader, Devery Howerton, devhowerton@comcast.net. 5 openings.

Women, Cathedral Village, 4th Wednesday, 7:30pm. Anne Bower, bowera@philau.edu, is the leader. 1 opening.

Young Adults (18-35) Stephanie Bonner, slbonner2@gmail.com, is the leader. Second Thursday evening at 6:30pm at USG. This group functions more as a drop in group. All are welcome.

If there is not a group that meets your need, please email Treva above and tell her what you are looking for and we will attempt to accommodate you in the near future.

What Some USG Members Say About Small Group Ministries

  • “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 2017-18 were:

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

The themes for 2016-17 were:
September: Deepening Connections
October: Memory
November: Blessings
December: Reverence
January: Hope
February: Resilience
March: Fear
April: Transformation
May: Wholeness
June: Radical Hospitality
July: Devotion
August: Mindfulness

The themes for 2015-16 were:
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 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