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Thursday, January 4, 2007

Small Group Ministry event in Westport, CT on 2/24/07

Small Group Ministry: Covenant for the Future Acrobat Reader Required, a workshop sponsored by the District for congregational teams who want to initiate or energize their Small Group Ministry program, will be held February 24, 2007, at the Unitarian Church in Westport (CT). The workshop repeats the program held previously in October. The Rev. Calvin Dame and the Rev. Chris Reed will lead the workshop.

Event Details:

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Covenant Groups at GA 2007 on hiatus

From: Harlan Limpert
Tuesday, December 19, 2006 1:23 PM
Subject: Covenant Groups at GA 2007 on hiatus...

A decision has been made to take a one-year hiatus from having covenant groups at General Assembly.

Plan on covenant groups returning to GA in 2008 -- bigger and stronger than ever. (Around 300 people participated last year!)

Please share this information with anyone who might want or need to know.



Rev. Harlan Limpert
Director for District Services
Unitarian Universalist Association of Congregations

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Q & A in Interconnections Newsletter

Q We started a small group ministry program two years ago and the groups really took off, but now we're starting to see problems with several of them. Is that normal?

A Peter Bowden, a church consultant and a cofounder of the UU Small Group Ministry Network,, says, "In my consulting work I have yet to find a congregation with a 'mysterious' reason for small group ministry failing. Across the board, problems are the result of some failure to implement a viable model or a failure to support this ministry prior to launching. Sustaining a healthy small group ministry requires a great deal of time, energy, and resources. Small group ministry isn't rocket science, but it is hard work. And well worth it."

"After the establishment of a new program," Bowden continues, "it is common for congregations to let small groups run on autopilot, especially when more urgent matters demand attention. However, it takes regular vision casting and support between group facilitators and skill training for small group ministries to not only stay on track, but to thrive."

Another reason for failure, he says, is that while groups are designed to build intimacy and connections they can sometimes become too inward-looking, at the expense of being open and welcoming. Also, over time the focus of groups naturally drifts toward the interests of group members, Bowden says. Such "small group drift" can move the focus of the group away from leadership development, shared ministry, and outreach.

The UU Small Group Ministry Network offers members a quarterly newsletter addressing the "perils and promises" of small group ministry. An email list, covenant_group_ministry, is available at

To join the UU SGM Network mail a check made out to "UU SGM Network"($35 individuals/$60 congregations) to UU SGM Network, 155 Evarts Street, Newport, RI, 02840. Include an email contact and a brief description of your program.

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Event: Mass Bay Strengthening Small Group Ministry

Start Date: January 6th, 2007
Location: First Parish in Wayland

A Meeting for SGM Leaders
9:00 am to Noon

Come, share information about:

  • How we organize and publicize our groups
  • Successful topics we each have developed
  • Advertising the program
  • Sharing of stories and tricks of the trade
R.S.V.P. by email or mail. Send your name, contact data, and congregation to:
Sandy Hoyt
First Parish in Wayland
Attn: Ms. Sandy Hoyt
P. O. Box 397
Wayland, MA 01778

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