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Thursday, June 14, 2007

CGNEWS #89 - Update on Small Group Ministry at General Assembly

Covenant Group News is a free electronic newsletter on Small Group Ministry and Covenant Groups read by 1300 forward-looking Unitarian Universalists. CGNews is edited by Peter Freedman Bowden and distributed by the UU Small Group Ministry Network.


Here is an update on Small Group Ministry events at General Assembly. Please take note of our Annual Meeting announcement. There are lots of changes with Independent Affiliates and the UUA, something we'll certainly discuss. Also, I wanted to let you know that the slump in CGNews messages has been a result of my going to film school. Fortunately that is coming to an end. You can read about the UU Video I'm making over the next two weeks at Going to GA? You may even get to be in it.

Now on to General Assembly!

* For complete GA information, registration forms, and live updates visit

* We invite you to join our network. Your support makes our ministry, website and resource development possible.

Small Group Ministry at General Assembly 2007

Once a year representatives and members of our Unitarian Universalist congregations and organizations gather for the annual meeting of our association. This meeting is called General Assembly (GA). This year, GA will be in Portland, OR and will feature opportunities for Small Group Ministry (SGM) or Covenant Groups.

UU Small Group Ministry Network Booth #852
“Small Groups, Deep Connections”

The UU Small Group Ministry Network is offering a booth in the Exhibit Hall this year at General Assembly. Come learn more about Small Group Ministry, receive free consulting about your SGM questions, talk with the experts, hear mini-workshops, join the Network, pick up free materials, purchase materials, meet SGM enthusiasts from around the country, and tell us about your SGM Program. See You there!

Hours: Wednesday: Noon to 7 PM
Thursday through Saturday: 11 AM to 7 PM
Sunday: 9 AM to 4 PM

UU Small Group Ministry Network Annual Meeting
Saturday, June 23, 1-2

Meet at the UU Small Group Ministry Network Booth ("Small Groups, Deep Connections") # 852. From the
booth, we’ll go to the Lounge Refreshment Area in the Exhibit Hall and find a table where we can conduct
the Annual Meeting. We will conduct the business of the Network including: vote on a slate of officers for the coming year; hear a report from our out-going p President, Rev. Calvin Dame; hear a financial report from our treasurer Susan Hollister; and discuss the UUA affiliate Status changes. We’re open to hearing your ideas and suggestions on making a strong SGM Network. If You’ll be at GA, please join us.

#2043 Emerging Models of Small Group Ministry
Thursday, June 21, 1-2:15 PM, Rooms D133-134
UU Small Group Ministry Network

Congregations across our denomination are developing successful and exciting variations on Small Group Ministry or Covenant Groups. This panel of members and friends of the Small Group Ministry Network will share our significant innovations including theme groups, short-term groups, groups in the community, use in Religious Education and by religious professionals. Panelists are Rev. Ken Beldon, Dr. M’ellen Kennedy, Rev. Helen Zidowecki, and others.

# 3053 Facilitator Training for Small Group Ministry
Friday, June 22, 2:45-4 PM, Room E 145
UU Small Group Ministry Network

Small Group Ministry or Covenant Groups are transforming how we do congregational life. One of the challenges that lay and professional leaders face is how to adequately train facilitators. In this workshop, members of the Small Group Ministry Network will share our collective wisdom on what makes for quality leadership development.Presenters: Dr. M’ellen Kennedy, Rev. Marti Keller, Diana Dorroh and Peter Bowden.

Covenant Groups at GA
On Hiatus In Portland 2007

Harlan Limpert, Director for District Services of the Unitarian Universalist Association, has announced that 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!) If You have a story to share about your Covenant Group experience at GA in past years, please send it to for inclusion in future issues of this Quarterly or in our Covenant Group News. We'd love to hear from you.

UUSC's Announces the launch of
Covenant Group Ministry
web based Resources

"This is one of the most exciting developments in the Small Group Ministry movements. It combines for me two of the more important aspects of Small Group Ministry -- connections among the people and concerns of the world."
Rev. Calvin O. Dame

"The power of deep sharing among seekers, the essence of the Small Group Ministry, is key to my own vision of Living Democracy. It is through such common seeking that we gain clarity and courage to express our truest selves."
- Frances Moore Lappe

With these resources, UUSC supports members of the UU community in: the search for connection with each other and the larger global community; the quest for meaningful engagement with life’s most challenging questions; and the pursuit to engage more effectively with local, national, and global social justice initiatives.

Through the Covenant Group model of intimacy and ultimacy, members will be inspired to take action on human rights issues that affect our global community. Small group worship and community building changes lives and enlivens commitments with purpose and passion. Individuals will find the strength and courage to take simple action steps or lead social justice projects that will ultimately help to change the world.

In modules of four to six session, Covenant Group Ministry resources address such topics as:

  • Living on Democracy's Edge
  • Drumbeat for Darfur
  • Wage Justice
  • The Human Right to Water

For more information and to download these free resources visit The UUSC Covenant Group resource page. New resources will be added throughout the summer of 2007.

For more information or to participating in a Small Group Ministry Circle at General Assembly in Portland, OR please contact Carie Johnsen, UUSC Ministerial Intern at

Peter Freedman Bowden
UU PLANET Ministry & Media

Independent Unitarian Universalist Consulting & Media Services
(401) 855-0037
155 Evarts Street
Newport, RI 02840

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Moving Beyond Icebreakers: An Innovative Approach to Group Facilitation, Learning, and Action

Last month I facilitated community building activities at the First Parish (Arlington, MA) canvass celebration. There I met Stanley Pollack and Mary Fusoni, authors of the book Moving Beyond Icebreakers: An Innovative Approach to Group Facilitation, Learning, and Action. Always fun to meet people in our congregations doing great work with groups!

Take a look at their website. On it about 100 pages of the book is accessible.

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