Communities within Community – Connect, Grow, Serve
SGM Steering Committee 2016-2017
- Bonnie Koenig
- Dick Loescher, chair (firstname.lastname@example.org, 541-485-1157)
- Connie Newman
What is Small Group Ministry (SGM)?
The purposes of the SGM program are to build community with deeper connections and friendships, to explore personal and spiritual growth, and to provide service, implemented through a series of meetings with a small group of people.
Why is it named Small Group Ministry?
Group size is limited to enhance the opportunity for personal sharing and the development of trust and friendships. As we share our own truths and listen to the truths of others our connections deepen, and we are better able to lend care and support and to “minister” to each other. Each group also does a service project, which broadens our ministry and adds meaning to our lives by contributing to the well-being of others.
Distinguishing SGM characteristics
- Each group has a facilitator trained to lead in an environment of open exchange, kindness, and trust.
- The members of the group agree to a covenant (agreement) about how we treat each other, including elements related to respect, privacy, attendance, and time keeping.
- The groups follow a specific meeting structure.
- Group size is up to 10 people.
- Any member or friend of the church may register.
- The groups meet for 2 hours twice a month for a specified number of sessions, and then disband.
- The topics of the sessions are a means to get know each other, and to explore values, beliefs, and experiences.
- Most of the time is spent in respectful listening to the sharing.
- Each group does a service project for the church or the larger community.
- A Small Group Ministry is different from a discussion group, study group, debate society, therapy group, committee, or an affinity group based on a specific area of interest. Its purpose is not to solve problems.
What is the meeting format like?
- Opening: Each meeting starts with chalice or candle lighting or sounding a chime and a relevant reading.
- Check-in: Each person is asked to share how s/he is feeling.
- Readings: Quotes, questions, and readings are provided to stimulate responses to each session’s topic.
- Sharing: Each person has a time for uninterrupted sharing of his/her responses, as a reflection of his/her individual journey. After all have shared there may be time for open discussion if the group agrees.
- Administrative matters.
- Check-out: Likes and wishes from each person, how s/he is feeling.
- Closing: Reading, extinguishing the flame or sounding a chime, and optional closing ritual.
Frequently asked questions
How is the SGM Program organized at UUCE?
UUCE initiated its SGM program in 2003. It is directed by a steering committee working closely with the Minister. They select and train facilitators and develop topics for the sessions. For more information click here: UUCE SGM Facilitator Training Manual, revised Dec. 7, 2013; or find this attachment at the bottom of this page.
Are Small Group Ministries unique to our church?
Small Group Ministry Programs are thriving all across the country in our denomination. They have been hugely successful in creating a true sense of community in UU churches, especially congregations whose size has grown to the point where it is difficult to know everyone. More information is available at www.smallgroupministry.net.
How do I find out more about Small Group Ministry at UUCE?
- See the SGM pamphlet in the pamphlet rack.
- Contact any member of the SGM steering committee.
- Click here: UUCE SGM Covenant of Right Relationship 9-16-10 (pdf)or open the attachment at the bottom to read the guidelines for group interactions to which group members agree.
- For questions and comments please click on this link: email@example.com.
Theme and topics
- For church year 2016-17 the theme for the church and for the SGM program is the UUCE Covenant of Right Relations. “We covenant to build a religious community guided by respect and sustained by our principles. We will listen appreciatively, speak with care, express gratitude, honor our differences, and assume good intentions. We will communicate directly, honestly and compassionately – particularly when we are in conflict. When we hurt one another we will ask for forgiveness and make amends, and when we are hurt we will try to forgive and reconnect in a spirit of right relationship. In celebration of the common mission that unites us, we will abide by this covenant. (Modified by the UUCE Board on Jan. 12, 2012)”
- Proposed topics for the sessions include: Religious Community; Gratitude; Compassionate Communication; Honoring Differences; Hurt; Forgiveness; Making Amends; What Do We Celebrate?
How do I join a Small Group Ministry?
For church year 2016-17 the SGM groups will meet for 2 hours twice a month from January 2017 through May 2017, and then disband.
- Registration will occur after the church service on four Sundays: Oct. 23 and 30, Nov. 6 and 13, 2016.
- You may also get a registration form by calling our church office at 541-686-2775 or by printing the SGM Registration Form 2016-17, revised 10-17-16.pdf after opening the attachment at the bottom of this page. Registration forms are due by Nov. 13, 2016.
- A one-time voluntary donation of $20-$40 is suggested to support the church budget and the cost of the programs (cash, check written to UUCE with SGM on the memo line, or use the Donate button on the UUCE website, www.uueugene.org).
- Commitment to attend each of the sessions is requested.
- The church can provide child care for groups that meet at church, if needed.
Web page revised November 3, 2016, by Dick Loescher