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Thursday, March 13, 2008

CGNews #89

In this issue ---- A message from Rev. Bob Hill, a request for your experiences with extra-care-required or "difficult" members, an invitation to participate in and attend the SGM Network workshop at GA and, finally, an invitation to join your peers at the Mountain for a full-week conference, August 17 - 22.

Covenant Group News is a free electronic newsletter on Small Group Ministry and Covenant Groups read by 1300 forward-looking Unitarian Universalists. CGNews is distributed by the UU Small Group Ministry Network. Visit us online at http://www.smallgroupministry.net.

Friends,
I'm honored to be able to communicate with you on a regular basis, following in the footsteps of Peter Bowden and Rev. Bob Hill. After Peter sent out the last issue anouncing that he was passing the editing of CG News to me, I received an enthusiastic thanks for Peter's work, which I echo. His enthusiasm for small group ministry and the support he's brought to many of us has been inspiring. I included that message from Bob Hill below for those of you who began their small group ministry experiences, with frequent communications from and to Bob Hill. I, too, will need your help to get this conversation going. Please send your submissions to office@smallgroupministry.net


The SGM Network Board has been hard at work since September, getting a new membership database, exploring a new relationship with the UUA, shoring up our financial base, and planning educational opportunities. We just completed a workshop at Mainline Unitarian Church in Philadelphia. I hope there will be more regional workshops in our future and that we will get to meet and share with you. The Network is all about sharing.

Send us your sessions and your ideas.

Let us know if you have some time to work in the booth at GA office@smallgroupministry.net.

And finally, join the Network and make sure your congregation is a member.
http://www.smallgroupministry.net/pdf/Membership%20Form.pdf

UU Small Group Ministry is bringing healing mutual ministry to thousands of UU's at hundreds of churches. It is making healthy connections between participants and between participants and their congregations. And when your congregation becomes a congregation "of small groups," it can transform the way you "do church," make your congregation stronger and healthier and then, finally, bigger, if that's what you want. The UUSGM Network allows us to help each other achieve these goals.


In faith, Diana

Diana Dorroh
diana_dorroh@hotmail.com
225-766-2764
President, UU Small Group Ministry Network
Editor, CG News


CONTENTS
* MESSAGE FROM BOB HILL
* CALL FOR EMAIL SHARING ON DIFFICULT GROUP MEMBERS
* SMALL GROUP MINISTRY AT GENERAL ASSEMBLY, JUNE 25-29, FORT LAUDERDALE, FL
* SMALL GROUP MINISTRY INSTITUTE AT THE MOUNTAIN, August 17 - 22


MESSAGE FROM BOB HILL

Dear Small Group Ministry Friends,

I was delighted a few years ago to transfer to Peter Bowden editorship of the CGNews I'd begun toward the end of the last century because I knew him to be a person of great energy, skill, and commitment. I think he's done a tremendous job and I know that the Covenant Group movement owes him a ton of thanks. It'll be fun, watching his multi-media career soar.

I am equally delighted to see that Diana Dorroh is stepping in to take his place as editor. One of the most organized and committed Unitarian Universalists I know, Diana was instrumental in the success of Small Group Ministry work in the Southwest Conference and in her church for many years while I was DE there. With her as editor of CGNews, our cause has a bright future. Good for us! Full steam ahead!

-- Bob Hill
www.2texansdownunder.com


CALL FOR EMAIL SHARING ON DIFFICULT GROUP MEMBERS

On March 1, 2008, The UU Small Group Ministry Network presented a workshop to about 60 individuals from 16 congregations in the Joseph Priestly District. It was hosted by Mainline Unitarian Church in Philadelphia. A hot topic at that workshop was how to handle special-needs or extra-care-required or just plain difficult group members. For our purposes, let's broaden that topic to anyone who needs significantly more attention or handling than the rest. It could be a group member who repeatedly uses more than a fair share of the discussion and check-in time, a member who shares inappropriately or criticizes people inside and outside the group, or simply someone who has special physical needs. I'd like to hear your problems, stories, and solutions to these challenges. Please send your submissions to office@smallgroupministry.net.


SMALL GROUP MINISTRY AT GENERAL ASSEMBLY, JUNE 25-29, FORT LAUDERDALE, FL

The Network workshop is "Strategies and Solutions for Small Group Ministry Challenges" with a focus "extra grace needed" participants and hidden cultural biases that impact small group ministry sessions. A second CALL for Your experiences with the possibility of sharing in the workshop and articles for the General Assembly Quarterly.
Please e-mail us at office@smallgroupministry.net. We look forward to receiving you input.


SMALL GROUP MINISTRY INSTITUTE
August 17 - August 22, 2008
The Mountain Retreat & Learning Centers, Inc.
The Highlands, North Carolina

An opportunity for teams and individuals from congregations of all sizes to learn and practice Small Group Ministry (SGM) with experienced practitioners and leaders. Sessions are designed for new and experienced program organizers, facilitators, ministers and congregational leaders. The week will include presentations, hands-on workshops, small group ministry experiences, sharing, networking, informal 'porch chats, worship - and time to enjoy what The Mountain has to offer! Details and Registration http://www.smallgroupministry.net/events/mountain.html