colorful circles

Small Group Connection Circles

Communities within Community - Connect, Grow, Serve

First Series: November 2023 through March 2024

Second Series: February through April or June 2024

Registration for both series is now closed.

What are Small Group Connection Circles (SGCC)?

Though a series of meetings with a small group of people, we strive:

  • To build community with deeper connections and friendships
  • To explore personal and spiritual growth
  • To provide service.

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 each other.

  • 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 approximately every two weeks (or possibly weekly) for ten sessions.
  • 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 and sharing.
  • Each group has the option to do a service project for the church or the larger community. 
  • Small Group Connection Circles are different from a discussion group, study group, debate society, therapy group, problem-solving group, committee, or an affinity group.
  • Opening: Each meeting starts with chalice lighting or sounding a chime and a relevant reading.
  • Check-in: Each person is asked to share how they are feeling.
  • Topic:
    • Readings.
    • Questions and requests to stimulate responses to each session’s topic.
  • Sharing: Each person has a time for uninterrupted sharing of their responses as a reflection of their individual journey. After all have shared, there may be time for open discussion.
  • Administrative matters.
  • Check-out: Likes and wishes from each person, how they are feeling.
  • Closing: Reading, extinguishing the flame or sounding a chime, and optional closing ritual.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • UUCE initiated its SGCC program in 2003 under the name Shared Ministry Groups (SMG). The name was changed to Small Group Ministry (SGM) in 2006. The name was changed to Small Group Connection Circles (SGCC) in 2021.
  • The program 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 UUCE SGCC Facilitator Training Manual, revised 9-16-23 or find this attachment at the bottom of the page.
  • Similar programs (using various names, such as Small Group Ministry, Chalice Circles, Covenant Groups, and others) are thriving all across the country in UU congregations. These programs have been hugely successful in creating a true sense of community, especially in congregations whose size has grown to the point where it is difficult to know everyone.
  • More information is available on the UU Small Group Ministry Network website,
Each session will have a topic that is inspired by our various monthly church worship themes. The topics for the 2023-24 SGCC series are:
  1. Getting Acquainted, SGCC Program and Covenant Review
  2.  Heritage
  3. Generosity
  4. Mystery
  5. Liberating Love
  6. Justice and Equity
  7. Transformation
  8. Interdependence
  9. Pluralism
  10. Renewal

An service project serves the church or larger community. It is agreed upon by the group and will be optional for the 2023-24 year.

Examples of previous service projects include:

  • providing food for a work party
  • working on the church grounds
  • being greeters or ushers for a Sunday
  • volunteering one day at Food for Lane County
  • helping with a fundraiser event

The SGCC groups will meet via Zoom-only, in dual-platform format (some attending via Zoom and some attending in person), or in-person. The content of the second series, which will begin in February 2024, is identical to that of the first series.

  • Registration for the first and second series is now closed.
  • There is no cost to participate in the program.
  • A commitment to attend each of the SGCC sessions is requested.    
  • The meeting frequency for the second series is weekly or twice a month. You will have the option to select your preference, but there is no guarantee that your preference will be available.
  • Registrants for the second series will be contacted by their facilitator in late January or early February 2024 with the details about their first meeting.

PDF: UUCE SGCC Covenant of Right Relationship and Other Information
Revised: 8-21-2023

PDF: UUCE SGCC Facilitator Training Manual
Revised: 9-16-2023

SGCC Steering Committee 2023-2024

Small Group Connection Circles web page revised February 1, 2024