A different way of doing church

Small Group Ministry at UUCB is a way to help people connect at a deeper level within the congregation. Small Group members typically meet every other week and focus on a topic of spiritual growth. Group members attend to the ministry of their fellow group members as they get to know and care for each other.

Groups are a gathering of six to eleven people focusing on a topic or issue, led by a trained facilitator, bound by a covenant that establishes how often to meet and how long each session lasts.

Why Small Group Ministry?

It is a way for people to have opportunities for what James Luther Adams calls “ultimacy and intimacy” which means to have a safe place to explore the spiritual values at the heart of the topics or issues. As a group develops, the topics and level of sharing can grow deep and intimate.

How does it work?

Each group agrees on how to be with each other in pursuing the topics or issues, with the facilitator keeping the process and the group on track. Groups develop at their own pace.

Each group opens the meeting with a chalice lighting, a reading, and a check-in before the topic or issue is pursued, to be followed by “likes and wishes” as a check-out and a closing reading.

How can you join a group?

Any time is a good time to sign up and join Small Group Ministry.

  • January Sign-up: January is a particularly good (and easy) time to join. Just sign up on the lists in the Fireside Room! In February, when the new groups begin, each facilitator will contact all the members about the first meeting.
  • Other Times of Year: During the regular year, you can also join a group. Contact the office for a list of open groups accepting new members. Then get in touch with a facilitator. The facilitator can let you know if there is room in the group and if it is a good time to add a new person to the conversation. The facilitator will need to check with the rest of the group as part of this process before fully responding to a request.

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.

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.

How can I find out more?

Contact the office