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June 2009

Small Groups, Deep Connections June 2009
The UU Small Group Ministry Network www.smallgroupministry.net
Covenant Group News
is an interactive
Small Group Ministry and Covenant Group
newsletter read by 1300 forward-looking
Unitarian Universalists.
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by the UU Small Group Ministry Network.
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In This Issue
  • Letter from the Editor
  • Questions of the Month
  • Full Circle - May Questions and Responses
  • News and Events
  • Publications
  • Who We Are
  • Contact Us

Join the Network
If you are not already a member, please join the Network and make sure your congregation is a member. The UU Small Group Ministry Network facilitates networking among SGM practitioners and makes current, practical information and resources available to ministers, program coordinators, and facilitators. Your membership funding will enable us to continue this important work. Download a Membership form:
http://www.smallgroupministry.net/pdf/ Membership%20Form.pdf.

Individual and congregational memberships are our major source of revenue.
The Network does not receive financial support from the UUA.

Letter from the Editor

Please share your questions and experiences with the other 1300 subscribers. Send them to me at diana_dorroh@hotmail.com.

The Mountain Small Group Ministry Conference (August 16-21, 2009) is a way to make your group facilitation experience more meaningful to you and your group members. It is also an investment in growth in your program and enhances Small Group Ministry within the entire denomination. The deadline for registering at the basic rate is July 1. Please let us hear from you. A flier and registration form are available on the Events Page of the UU Small Group Ministry Network website. http://www.smallgroupministry.net/events.html

This month we celebrate the 5th anniversary of the Network! If you're attending GA, please stop by the Network booth in the Exhibit Hall. For the 6th year, we'll be doing a workshop sponsored by the Planning Committee. It's at 6:45 on Friday night.. Facilitator Training: The Key to Small Group Ministry Success with Diana Dorroh, Rev. Melissa Carvill-Ziemer, Rev. Dr. Justin Osterman, and Rev. Bret Lortie

The Network website, http://www.smallgroupministry.net, contains articles and sessions that people have contributed and is updated twice a month. The last update added four new sessions. We depend on memberships and publication sales. You can check on our website to see whether your congregation is a Network member. http://www.smallgroupministry.net/membership/index.html.

As this June issue goes out, I'm hoping to hear from some of you. Please send me your thoughts and experiences with small group ministry.

In faith that we're making this a better world,
Diana

Diana Dorroh
President, UU Small Group Ministry Network
Editor, Covenant Group News
Program Coordinator, Unitarian Church of Baton Rouge
diana_dorroh@hotmail.com
225-766-2764

Question of the Month

Question One: How has your experience been with emails sent from individual group members to the whole group, between meetings, of course? On the one hand, it can allow members to keep in touch and to invite other group members to join them at an informal social event. On the other hand, it can be a risky form of communication, where hurt feelings may be hard to mend. Send me your thoughts and experiences?

Question Two: What techniques do you use to recruit new members to your group? (submitted by Fred Van Deusen, First Parish Church in Concord, MA. See his full submission below.)

Question Three: (Repeat Question): What is the minister's role in small group ministry? If you are a minister, what part do you play in your church's program? If you are a facilitator or program coordinator, what part do you need for your minister to play? If you are a participant in a group, what role do you see your minster playing? If you don't have a minister, how have you compensated?




Full Circle
Share your small group ministry experiences with others.

Last month's questions:

Question One (a repeat request): Facilitators, what are your questions? Please send them and we'll get answers. You are UU's. I know you have questions. Just send me one at diana_dorroh@hotmail.com.

Answer from Fred Van Deusen, Covenant Group Facilitator, First Parish Church in Concord, MA.

Hi Diana,
I have a question I would like your readers to address.
"What techniques do you use to recruit new members to your group?"
I'll be interested in their approaches. Thanks!

Question Two: What is the minister's role in small group ministry? If you are a minister, what part do you play in your church's program? If you are a facilitator or program coordinator, what part do you need for your minister to play? If you are a participant in a group, what role do you see your minster playing? If you don't have a minister, how have you compensated?

Answer from Cathy Barnett, First UU Church, Houston, TX.

I am a facilitator of a small group, and have also been a facilitator in the past. To the question: "What role does a facilitator need a minister to play for SGM?", the answer for me is the role of mentor. I think of myself as a junior assistant minister :-), so some input on how to handle different things that come up is very useful. I attended a few facilitator meetings in the past, and it was also good to hear how other facilitators were handling things, but I think that group met too often (once a month). Usually, there are not a lot of problems.

Of course, the minister needs to be available if one of the group members is having a crisis or serious difficulty in their personal life. It's important that the facilitators keep the minister informed about that kind of thing.

Hope that's helpful.

News & Events

UU SGM Network at General Assembly
June 24-28 2009, Salt Lake City, Utah

The Network will present Facilitator Training: The Key to Small Group Ministry Success with Diana Dorroh, Rev. Melissa Carvill-Ziemer, Rev. Dr. Justin Osterman, and Rev. Bret Lortie. The workshop will provide a concrete plan for designing and implementing a comprehensive training program. The minister's role in sharing and blessing this ministry will be a special focus. Visit the Network booth in the Exhibit Hall where our newest publications and resources will be available.

Small Group Ministry Institute, August 16 - 21, 2009
The Mountain Retreat & Learning Centers, The Highlands, NC

Join us in the majestic Appalachian Mountains for a week-long immersion in small group ministry! The Institute offers general and in-depth sessions to match every program, and features daily small group experiences plus a take-home plan. Emerging resources and developments included. Discounts for early registration and UU SGM Network membership. Flier and registration form available on the Events Page of the UU Small Group Ministry Network website. http://www.smallgroupministry.net/events.html.

Small Group TUBE!

Peter Bowden, co-founder of our Network, has launched a new small group ministry video series, making the content of his consulting and trainings available to all our congregations, a boon to church budgets. Find the new videos and subscribe to the video channel on Youtube™ at http://www.youtube.com/smallgroupministry.


Publications

The SGM Quarterly journal is distributed to members of the UU Small Group Ministry Network four times a year. Issues are added to the web site after the subsequent issue has been sent to members. The Quarterly features articles by ministers, program leaders and facilitators, as well as tips and other resources on Unitarian Universalist small group ministry and covenant groups. Join the Network to subscribe. Download a membership form from www.smallgroupministry.net.


Coming Soon: Ten Years of UU Small Group Ministry. The Network's 5th anniversary compilation of SGM articles published throughout 2008-2009, plus rediscovered articles from the earliest years of Covenant Group News, beginning in 1999. Available late June 2009.


Facilitator Training and Development Manual, UU SGM Network, December 2008
The guide to implementing in-house training programs. Covers facilitator selection, initial training, and on-going facilitator support. Includes the Facilitator's Guide to customize for your program, use in training sessions and distribute to all group leaders.

Network Members: $15 + $5 shipping     Non-member: $25 + $5 shipping

Unitarian Universalist Small Group Ministry, UU SGM Network, June 2008
A compilation of more than fifty articles from five years of the Network's website and newsletters. Arranged by topic: basic elements of SGM, program structure and design, starting and promoting your program, the minister's role in shared ministry, facilitation, group development, session plans, and the application of SGM principles in multiple aspects of congregational life.

Network Members: $15 + $5 shipping       Non-member: $25 + $5 shipping

To order: http://www.smallgroupministry.net/forsale.html.


HEART TO HEART: Fourteen Gatherings for Reflection and Sharing, April 2009
by Christine Robinson, senior minister of First Unitarian Church of Albuquerque, NM, and Alicia Hawkins, SGM program director at First Unitarian Church of Albuquerque.

Resources for fourteen group conversations on topics such as forgiveness, loss, nature, money, and friendship. A reimagined model of small group ministry, Heart to Heart offers readings, journaling suggestions, and thought-provoking exercises to help participants prepare for the spiritual practice of sharing in community.

From Skinner House Books, UUA Bookstore, www.uuabookstore.org, April, 2009, $14


Who We Are

The UU Small Group Ministry Network is a grassroots organization of Unitarian Universalist congregations, ministers, small group ministry/covenant group leaders and participants.

Our mission is to help create healthy Unitarian Universalist congregations and a vital Unitarian Universalist movement by promoting and supporting Small Group Ministry.

The purpose of the Network is "to support small group ministry and related shared ministry models in Unitarian Universalist congregations through developing new resources, networking, and training opportunities."

In addition to the SGM Quarterly journal for members and the free, online Covenant Group News, we publish new resources for program coordinators and facilitators, sponsor a consultation booth and SGM workshops at General Assembly, offer a week-long SGM Summer Institute, help local leaders plan regional SGM conferences, and give workshops in congregations and districts across the nation.

The UU SGM Network is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization supported solely by congregational and individual memberships, donations and publication sales revenue. Network Board members donate their time and personal resources to spread the good news of small group ministry.


Contact Information

Diana Dorroh, President (diana_dorroh@hotmail.com)
Steve Becker, Vice President (stevebecker7@comcast.net)
Rev. Helen Zidowecki, Secretary (hzmre@hzmre.com)
Susan Hollister, Treasurer (sbhollister@juno.com)

The UU Small Group Ministry Network office@smallgroupministry.net
The UU Small Group Ministry Network, http://www.smallgroupministry.net

Write to us by email: office@smallgroupministry.net, Attn: Rev. Helen Zidowecki

or by mail: UU Small Group Ministry Network
c/o Treasurer
4303 Swarthmore Rd.
Durham, NC 27707

Copyright © 2004-2009 the UU Small Group Ministry Network