Covenant Group News

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June 18, 2001

CGNews #36

An occasional newsletter about a new/old way of organizing your church read by 699 forward-looking Unitarian Universalists.

Want on/off this list? Go to:, and look for the "Rev. Bob Hill" section.

Can't go to GA? Feel free to skip to the bottom for some good news from upstate New York.

Thanks to the replies of those going, I KNOW that 50 of you will be attending our Association's General Assembly, which causes me to GUESS that at least 10% of our 700-member subscriber base will be in Cleveland this coming week to meet each other, to find out what folks have been learning about Covenant Groups, and to share problems and solutions. (And, perhaps even, attend Plenary sessions, take in workshops on other subjects, and explore the wonders of Ohio that happen to be near your hotel.)

Here are some of the small-group ministry events of which I'm aware.


On Center Day, Wednesday, June 20, at 2:45 p.m., I'll be facilitating a workshop entitled: "What Practitioners Have Learned." Joining me to share experience and answer questions will be Helen Zidowecki, Mellen Kennedy, Michael McGee, Thandeka, and possibly one or two more.


The Center for Community Values (CCV), will present a workshop at 10:00 a.m. Friday in Room 230A of the Convention Center. Title: "The Spiritual Power of Covenant Groups." Thandeka, President of CCV, will present a paper offering a way of understanding the source of the power many of us have found in small-group ministry and several others who have been involved in such work will respond. The Revs. Connie Grant and Mellen Kennedy will also do presentations and I will do a brief report on some of the progress that I know has been made in small-group ministry work in the last year.


The Rev. Calvin Dame, UUA Trustee and minister in Augusta, ME, is leading a workshop called "Sharing Small Group Ministry" on Saturday from 7:15 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. in Convention Center 205A. He and Kathy Kellison will invite the sharing of experiences by those who have Covenant Groups under way. (See Page 33 of your GA Program.)


Visit the CCV Booth in the Exhibit Hall between noon and 6 p.m. Thursday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sunday, or 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday to look at printed materials and/or just hang out. If you'd like to meet and talk, one-to-one, with some folks who have been working with small-group ministry for a while, plan to show up at one of the following Special Guest Periods:

Thursday, June 21, Noon to 2:00 p.m.-- The Rev. Michael McGee, minister of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Arlington, VA.

Friday, June 22, 12:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m.-- The Rev. Jane Bramadat, minister of the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of London, London, ON. and from 2:30 to 4:30 -- Dr. Mellen Kennedy, Life Span Religious Educator, All Souls Unitarian Universalist Church, Kansas City, MO.

Saturday, June 23, 3:30 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.-- The Rev. Calvin Dame, minister of the Unitarian Universalist Community church of Augusta, ME, and member of the UUA Board of Trustees.

Sunday, June 24, 4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.-- The Rev. Dr. Thandeka, Associate Professor of Theology and Culture, Meadville Lombard Theological School, Chicago, and President, CCV.

Monday, June 25, 10:00 a.m. to 12 noon-- The Rev. Robert L. Hill, District Executive, SW Unitarian Universalist Conference, and editor, "Covenant Group News."


The Rev. Whitney Herriage of our Binghamton, NY, reports that about 25% of this congregation is involved in Small Group Ministry although the program began earlier this year. Rev. Herriage comments, "(We have) had great success with it so far. The congregation had a lot of energy for it when they called me last spring, and we started working on it in the fall.

"Glenn Turner came and gave a workshop in October, and by March, we had seven groups up and running. Several of the groups are full now. We made the commitment to the groups that we would not split the groups in any way for at least 9 months. So instead of birthing, we are beginning new groups. Right now, we are in the process of starting two. We have needed a few new groups for a few months, but have had trouble finding facilitators. The program has definitely enhanced congregational life for many people. This is especially true of newer people."

This 200-member congregation has 52 people active in their seven groups. Small Group Ministry is the name they're using so far, but Rev. Herriage says, "The facilitators and I have talked about settling on a new name, since people all too often slip and say, 'Small Ministry Groups'!"

Know someone who might be interested in this topic? Feel free to forward Covenant Group News to others. Unitarian Universalists may feel free to use this material in any manner consistent with the growth of our liberal religion. Otherwise, all rights are reserved.

The Rev. Robert. L. Hill,
District Executive for the SW District, UUA,
713 660-7164