Covenant Group News

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May 2005

CGNews #74

* How do you keep things hoppin' over the summer?
* How do I get the SGM Quarterly? I loved the sample issue.
* Volunteer to be a GA Covenant Group Facilitator
* Skinner House SGM Page
* Resources/Books for Sessions Content?
* Resource for download/sale: UP CLOSE AND PERSONAL

Covenant Group News is a free monthly electronic newsletter on Small Group Ministry read by 1253 forward-looking Unitarian Universalists. CGNews is edited by Peter Bowden and distributed by the UU Small Group Ministry Network.

Don't forget to register for our Star Island Small Group Ministry Week at

How do you keep things hoppin' over the summer?
We're looking for some great ideas -- Share yours!

In the upcoming issue of the SGM Quarterly we would like to offer a list of ideas on things you can do to "Keep your Small Group Ministry hopping" over the Summer.

Do you have ideas? Success stories? If so, send you ideas and stories to Peter Bowden.

How do I get the SGM Quarterly? I loved the sample issue.

Q: How do I get the SQM Quarterly?
A: Join our Network and we will mail it to you 4 times per year.

Q: How do I do that?
A: Download our membership form. Send it in with your fee of $35 for an individual or $60 for a congregation.

Q: Where can I download it?
A: At

Q: Does this mean I'm not a member even though I get this monthly email?
A: Bingo! CGNews is a free service we offer to UU's everywhere.

Q: Who pays for the time it takes to produce CGNews and answer follow up emails?
A: The people who donated $5 at the top of this message.

Q: Oh! I get it. I didn't donate yet. Is it too late?
A: Nope. Just make your donation after you read CGNews!

Volunteer to be a GA Covenant Group Facilitator
Facilitators Needed For 50 GROUPS!

Last GA the first ever General Assemlby Covenant Groups were a huge success. This year the program is continuing but on a larger scale. Connie Grant, the registrar of this program, submitted the following call for volunteers. Covenant Group participation was integrated into the GA registration process.

From Connie:

Volunteer facilitators are needed for Covenant Groups at General Assembly in Fort Worth. We anticipate filling 50 groups, which will meet four times in hour-and-a-quarter sessions. If you have facilitated a group in your home congregation for one year or more, you are invited to apply to facilitate a group at General Assembly. For an application form or for more information, please contact the Rev. Connie Grant at

Hey! It isn't too late to go to GA.
Vist the GA website at

Resources/Books for Sessions Content?

In response to the growing list of Small Group Ministry sessions on our website a number of people have asked for great books to base sessions on. Maybe you haven't written up all your sessions or submitted them to our Network, but you have developed you own content.

What books have you used?

I have spoken to the UUA Bookstore staff and they love the idea of building a collection of books that are ideal for use with Small Group Ministry and Covenant Groups. By building a list of book titles we can make it easier for people to produce their own sessions. And hey, it doesn't hurt the bookstore either. We might add these titles to our session page or, if the response is good, encourage the bookstore to highlight titles in their e-newsletter.

You may share book ideas by responding to this message or using the FEEDBACK link on any page of our site.

Skinner House Books Launches Session Page

Last GA I spoke with Skinner House Books about using Small Group Ministry sessions to both support this ministry AND get the word out about their books. People are hungry for session topics and Skinner House would like people to read there books. Here's an idea -- make sessions based on Skinner House Books! By making a session on a great UU book, most often published by Skinner House, the need for quality session content is met. When people use the session they get to hear some readings from the book, discuss the core issues it addresses, and know where to go for more reading on that topic. How perfect is that?

Skinner House has now launched a Smal Group Ministry Session Page where they would like to list ALL THE SESSION you have designed based on their books. There are some sessions I developed on the site, plus some basic guidelines for writing them. Many people do not share sessions because of the bother of seeking permissions. Skinner House is making this easy for you. Here is a blurb from their site:

"Book-driven session plans serve to meet the critical need for prepared session plans and support the work of our congregations in promoting spiritual growth. Both reading and small group work are forms of spiritual discipline. Preparing session plans based on book titles is a way to connect the two and support our congregations in a way that encourages deeper exploration of our values and experiences through reading."

Isn't that the truth. On your mark, get set, go - write - sessions! Write them, then submit them through the Skinner House website. They will handle the permissions and post them online. That is, unless there is a permission issue. You may also email it to them directly at

Visit the Skinner House Website

Resource for sale/download by Donna J. Moore
Donna J. Moore submitted the following information
about a resource available through her church:

UP CLOSE AND PERSONAL: Experiential Exercises for Building a Spiritual Community

Designed for those who want to conduct adult interactive exercises within their churches, fellowships, and covenant groups, this book contains:

5 Ice Breaker and 6 Closure Exercises, 7 Getting Acquainted Activities, 6 Mini Programs (Applied Spirituality and Values for the 21st Century are just two of the titles), 5 Rituals and Ceremonies, Complete instructions on how to conduct Experiential Exercises

We Unitarian Universalists often miss opportunities to build relationships within our congregations. All too often our programs consist of "talking heads" and participants leave feeling hungry to be heard and participate on a deeper level. The exercises in UP CLOSE are all built on the experiential model: They are designed to involve participants! Abstract ideas must be experienced and reflected on, personally and with others. In the process, deeper learning is accomplished; intimacy is fostered, which leads to a greater sense of community. Just the kind of thing covenant groups are all about!

Donna J. Moore, a veteran trainer and designer of adult training materials, first published this book in 1997 based on programs she created especially for UU groups. Hundreds of copies were sold at $18.50. Out of print for several years, it's now available as shareware at a suggested donation of $10.00. Make checks or money orders to Cedars Unitarian Universalist Church and send them to PO Box 10175, Bainbridge Island, WA 98110. All proceeds go to the Church.

To download your copy, go to (The UU Fellowship of Bainbridge Island and North Kitsap recently changed its name to Cedars UU Church. However, the website is still listed under the old name.) About half way down the first page, you'll see the link to UP CLOSE. Copy any of the pages you wish to use or the whole book.

For more information of if you have any questions, contact Donna directly at or phone her at (206) 842-2170.