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Wednesday, January 4, 2004

CGNews #82

Covenant Group News is a free electronic newsletter on Small Group Ministry and Covenant Groups read by 1209 forward-looking Unitarian Universalists. CGNews is edited by Peter Freedman Bowden (www.uuplanet.com) and distributed by the UU Small Group Ministry Network (www.smallgroupministry.net).

Friends,

I hope this first CGNEWS of 2006 finds you well. I've been sticking to the "PERIODIC" nature of CGNEWS as originally maintained by its founder, the Rev. Bob Hill (www.farfarsouthwest.blogspot.com). Yes, I aim for monthly but there have been very few submissions. Ah, but which comes first? CGNEWS or the SUBMISSIONS? I'm not sure, but if you have anything newsworthy send it my way.

In faith,
Peter Freedman Bowden


IN THIS ISSUE
* TECH UPGRADES
* THE NEXT SGM QUARTERLY
* TREASURE TROVE FOR TOPIC IDEAS
* MARGARET FULLER AWARD FUNDING SMALL GROUP SERIES
* SMALL GROUP MINISTRY SUMMER INSTITUTE
* SMALL GROUP MINISTRY at GA CENTER DAYS


TECH UPGRADES FOR CGNEWS AND
www.smallgroupministry.net

There are number of tech upgrades I'm looking at for CGNews and our Network. Some for enhanced functionality, others to address network growth and our desire to get more people involved in producing content for our site.

A few tech issues to be addressed over the Spring:

Spam filtering and related issues is preventing a number of people from getting this mailing. Some of you have requested we use a higher tech e-mailing system (and some don't). For members of our network there have been requests to upgrade the login system of our website so password reminders may be requested. Apparently there's a problem with the integration of our database and e-mailing system as a number of people have reported bounced emails to my @smallgroupministry.net address. If that has happened to you please write to me at peter@uuplanet.com and I'll assist you immediately.

Over the Spring and Summer look for improved automation for our site, membership, better content management, and so on. I look forward to this site upgrade as I'm sure many of you do. If any of you have special expertise or opinions on any of this I welcome your input! Any recommendations on content management software is greatly appreciated!

Thank you!


THE NEXT SGM QUARTERLY
WILL GO OUT MID FEBRUARY

The WINTER issue of the SGM Quarterly, our member journal, is will be mailed out mid February. The theme of this issue is Social Justice. Interested in getting the Quarterly? Join by February 10th to get this as your first issue.

More about membership
http://www.smallgroupministry.net/membership

Have feedback about previous issues of the quarterly? Let us know.
http://www.smallgroupministry.net./contactus.html


TREASURE TROVE FOR TOPIC IDEAS
Submitted by Rev. Glenn Turner

It's exciting when you come across some new resource for SGM topics.
Recently while surfing the net, I found a reference in the "Guardian" to the question: "What Is Your Dangerous Idea?" It came from "Edge: The World Question Center."

http://www.edge.org/questioncenter.html

Stephen Pinker, author of "The Blank Slate" (the most challenging book I've ever read about human nature) solicits answers to a provocative question once a year and puts the answers people send him online. Check it out.
Lots of good material to wade through.

Rev. Glenn Turner


MARGARET FULLER AWARD TO FUND SMALL GROUP SERIES ON RELIGIOUS FEMINISM

Small Groups are inherently feminist in construct and intention, being both non-hierarchical and honoring individual experience. The Unitarian Universalist Women's Federation's Margaret Fuller Awards Program has recognized this by funding the development of a series of sessions exploring feminist theology and theologians.

Dr. Mellen Kennedy, MDiv (www.smallgroupministry.net/mkennedy) has been awarded $3,000 to research and write a small group ministry demonstration project on Encountering Feminist Theologies. Dr.Kennedy is a community minister, a consulting parish minister and community psychologist in Vermont, and co-founder and co-coordinator of the UU Small Group Ministry Network. She hopes this project will increase the exposure to feminist theologies within congregations through sessions on images of the divine, violence and non-violence, spiritual experiences of women, and the language of God Talk. The sessions will include material from a wide variety of theologians such as: Rita Nakashima Brock, Susan Griffin, Rebecca Parker, and Alice Walker.

She expects to pilot test these sessions in the spring and summer of 2006 in a Small Group Ministry program at a UU congregation. Pending adequate funding, the product of this demonstration project will be an exportable booklet, available at the UUA General Assembly and on line.

Since 1989, the Margaret Fuller Awards Program has given over 35 grants to UU women doing scholarly, creative and prophetic work in religious feminisms.

More information is available at www.uuwf.org.

Submitted by the Rev. Marti Keller (www.revmartikeller.com)


SMALL GROUP MINISTRY SUMMER INSTITUTE
Ferry Beach, August 12 – 18, 2006

The UU SGM Network's 2005 Ferry Beach week was a huge success with 35 participants including ministers, program coordinators, facilitators, coaches and teams getting ready to launch new ministries! We are pleased to announce that this event will be held again this Summer.

Registration Now Open!

You may learn more about this week and/or register by visiting the Ferry Beach website www.ferrybeach.org.

PHOTO of 2005 participants is now online at http://www.smallgroupministry.net/events.html


SMALL GROUP MINISTRY at GA CENTER DAYS
St. Louis, MO, June 19-21, 2006

The UU SGM Network will be offering the following workshop for religious professionals at CENTER Day on June 20, 2006.

The Possibilities and Perplexities of Small Group Ministry

More than half of our congregations have tried Small Group Ministry (SGM) or Covenant Groups as a way of meeting the needs for intimacy and spiritual growth. Groups hold the promise for revitalizing our churches. Yet many of us are encountering challenges and frustrations as we use this approach. This session will provide a candid review of SGM and explore ways to successfully run programs to prevent and avoid some of the common pitfalls. We'll explore the hidden, cultural biases that can limit program effectiveness. We'll invite sharing with colleagues on their views of and experiences with SGM.

Presenters will be Dr. M'ellen Kennedy, MDiv, Rev. Helen Zidowecki, and Rev. Marti Keller. The time of the workshop is yet to be determined.

More information at www.uuma.org