Communities within Community – Connect, Grow, Serve


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 ten 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 and 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, 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.
  • Readings: Quotes, questions, and requests are provided 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 if the group agrees.
  • 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 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 UUCE SGM Facilitator Training Manual, revised 11-12-18 or find this attachment at the bottom of the 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

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 listed at the bottom of this page.
  • Click here, UUCE SGM Covenant of Right Relationship, Other Information, 11-20-17.pdf or open the attachment at the bottom to read the guidelines for group interactions to which group members agree.
  • Announcements in Weekly Connections and the Sunday Handout.
  • To email questions and comments, please click on this link.

Theme and topics

  • For church year 2019-20, the overall SGM theme is “Themes of Life.”
  • Topics will be inspired by our various monthly church worship themes. Proposed topics of the SGM sessions include: Belonging, Awe, Wisdom, Expectation, Integrity, Liberation, Resilience, Play, and Thresholds.

How do I join a Small Group Ministry?

For church year 2019-20, the SGM groups will meet for 2 hours twice a month from January 2020 through May 2020, and then disband.

  • Registration will occur after the church service on four Sundays: October 20 and 27, November 3 and 10, 2019.
  • You may also get a registration form by calling our church office at 541-686-2775×3 or by printing the SGM Registration Form 2019-20, Revised 10-5-19.pdf after opening the attachment here or at the bottom of this page. Registration forms are due by November 10, 2019.
  • A one-time voluntary donation of $10-$40 is suggested to support program expenses and the church budget (cash, check written to “UUCE” with “SGM” on the memo line, or donate online at > Support UUCE > Online Giving).
  • A commitment to attend each of the sessions is requested.
  • The church can provide childcare for groups that meet at church, if needed.

Web page revised October 17, 2019, by Dick Loescher       

UUCE SGM Registration Form 2019-2020, revised 10-5-19

UUCE SGM Covenant of Right Relationship, other information, 11-20-17

UUCE SGM Facilitator Training Manual, revised 11-12-18

SGM Steering Committee 2019-2020

  • Dick Loescher, Chair. Click to email or call 541-485-1157
  • Bonnie Koenig
  • Connie Newman