Small Group Connection Circles (SGCC)
(formerly Small Group Ministry / SGM)
Communities within Community – Connect, Grow, Serve
Registration: September 1 – 26, 2021 (information below)
Sessions: October 2021 – March 2022
What are Small Group Connection Circles (SGCC)?
Though a series of meetings with a small group of people, we
- To build community with deeper connections and friendships
- To explore personal and spiritual growth
- To provide service.
Why is it named Small Group Connection Circles?
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.
Distinguishing SGCC 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 approximately every two weeks 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.
- When we meet in person, each group does a service project for the church or the larger community. This church year, 2021-22, doing a service project will be optional.
- Small Group Connection Circles are different from a discussion group, study group, debate society, therapy group, problem-solving group, committee, or an affinity group.
What is the meeting format like?
- 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.
- 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
How is the SGCC Program organized at UUCE?
- UUCE initiated its SGCC program in 2003 under the name Small 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 8-21-21 ) or find this attachment at the bottom of the page.
Are Small Group Connection Circles unique to our church?
- 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, www.smallgroupministry.net.
How do I find out more about Small Group Connection Circles at UUCE?
- Contact any member of the SGCC steering committee listed at the bottom of this page.
- Click here for the UUCE SGCC Covenant of Right Relationship and other information to read the guidelines for group interactions to which group members agree.
- See announcements in the Weekly Connections email newsletter.
Topics for 2021-2022
Each session will have a topic that is inspired by our various monthly church worship themes. Proposed topics for the 2021-22 SGCC series are: Getting Acquainted. SGCC Program and Covenant Review; Holding History; Renewing Faith; Opening to Joy; Living with Intention; Widening the Circle; Cultivating Relationship; Facing Challenges; Embracing Possibility; Celebrating Blessings.
How do I join a Small Group Connection Circle?
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, for church year 2021-22, the SGCC groups will meet online via Zoom for 2 hours approximately every two weeks for a total of 10 meetings from late October or early November 2021 through March 2022. If circumstances allow meeting in person, dual platform participation via Zoom will also be available.
- Registration will take place from Wednesday, September 1 through Sunday, September, 26, 2021, by filling out an online SGCC Registration Form.
- The form can be accessed from a link in the Weekly Connections beginning September 1, 2021.
- There will be a drop-in and leave-any-time information session about the SGCC program and registration help each Sunday in September (5, 12, 19, and 26) 2021
from 11:15am-noon via the Zoom link in the Weekly Connections.
- There is no cost to participate in the program.
- A commitment to attend each of the SGCC sessions is requested.
- You will be contacted by your facilitator about the plans in October 2021.
PDF: UUCE SGM Covenant of Right Relationship and Other Information
PDF: UUCE SGCC Facilitator Training Manual
SGCC Steering Committee 2021-2022
- Dick Loescher, Chair, email@example.com
- Bonnie Koenig
- Jennifer Tucker
- Kat Johnson