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April 2010

Small Groups, Deep Connections April 2010
The UU Small Group Ministry Network www.smallgroupministry.net
Covenant Group News
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In This Issue
  • Letter from the Editor
  • Unintended Consequences of Small Group Ministry from Rev. Steve J. Crump, Unitarian Church of Baton Rouge, LA
  • A Continuing Discussion of Ministry Objectives for Small Group Ministry
  • Survey of Congregations from Rev. Helen Zidowecki UU SGM Network VP
  • How to Handle Challenging Situations, Challenges 1 and 2, UU Church in Eugene, OR
  • Note from Julie Hevelone, First Jefferson Church, Fort Worth, TX
  • Note from Lee Veal, UU Fellowship of San Miguel de Allende, Mexico
  • 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 is financially independent of the UUA.
Letter from the Editor

In this issue we have an essay, Unintended Consequences of Small Group, from Rev. Steve Crump, Senior Minister at the Unitarian Church of Baton Rouge. Whether you're a minister, program director, facilitator or group member, I think you'll find something inspiring in this piece. In addition, we get to add three new results of small group ministry to our list. The entire list will be in the final article on this topic.

Please consider filling out the survey in the article from Rev. Helen Zidowecki. The due date is May 7, so you might want to send your answers now. The results will be published in an upcoming publication, "Small Group Ministry 2010: Celebrating Congregations", to be available for sale at General Assembly 2010 and from the Network website, www.smallgroupministry.net.

From Richard Loescher at the UU Church in Eugene, OR, we have some excerpts from their Facilitator Training Manual. Two challenges: people who don't talk often and those who dominate or interrupt. Richard tells me that these challenges were adapted from material on the website of the Unitarian Society in Newton, MA. So, we thank both churches for the contribution. I'd love to have your tips to facilitators. Send them to me at diana_dorroh@hotmail.com. If you'd like to see more emphasis in the newsletter on facilitation, why not get it started by sending me your facilitation tips, problems, and successes. Perhaps others will join you.

And we have two notes about congregational small group ministry program from Julie Hevelone, First Jefferson Church, Fort Worth, TX and Lee Veal, UU Fellowship of San Miguel de Allende, Mexico.

Under Events, there is more information about the Small Group Ministry Institute 2010, August 31-September 3, Camp deBenneville Pines, Angelus Oaks, CA. Sending your facilitators or steering team members to this annual Institute is the best way to give your program a boost, get ready for a restart, or just make a successful program stronger and less at risk from program leadership changes. Most churches spend very little on small group ministry, compared to the benefits to the congregation. This is a very good investment in your program. And it's fun as well. Download a flyer and registration form from the UU SGM Network, website www.smallgroupministry.net.

Also under Events, below, there is a description of our UUA General Assembly 2010 Planning Committee sponsored workshop Enhancing, Revitalizing, Restarting Your Small Group Ministry. The UU Small Group Ministry Network will have a booth in the Exhibit Hall. If you are a Network member, consider volunteering to serve at the booth. It's an opportunity to meet GA participants from every UUA district and talk about a topic dear to all our hearts-small group ministry and covenant groups! A special request goes out to our friends at First Universalist Church of Minneapolis and First Unitarian Society of Minneapolis. Join us at the booth (No. 733)! Sign up at office@smallgroupministry.net

The Spring 2010 SGM Quarterly was mailed to Network members in early April. Every Quarterly is packed with articles by and for coordinators, ministers, and facilitators. If you are a UU Small Group Ministry Network member, I hope you enjoyed this wonderful issue. If not, why not join now and receive this spring issue? PayPal makes it easy to join or to renew your membership. You can check on our website to see whether your congregation is a Network member. www.smallgroupministry.net/membership.html. We offer a member discount of 40% off all our UU SGM Network publications. We are financially independent of the UUA and depend upon membership and publications sales to cover our modest expenses.

The Network website, www.smallgroupministry.net, contains information about the UU Small Group Ministry Network, articles by leaders in the small group ministry movement and an extensive selection of sessions that people have contributed, as well as a complete archive of Covenant Group News and the SGM Quarterly. On the homepage, you will find a list of recent additions to the website.

Please share your ideas, questions, and experiences with the other 1,317 Covenant Group News subscribers. Send them to me at diana_dorroh@hotmail.com or send directly to Helen Zidowecki at office@smallgroupministry.net.

Thanks to Anne Haynes, UU SGM Network Board member from the Unitarian Universalist Church of Bloomington, IN, and to our Quarterly Editor, Beth Tiewater, for proofing this edition and to Network Board member Susan Hollister for providing comments.

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

Diana Dorroh
Editor, Covenant Group News
Program Director, Unitarian Church of Baton Rouge
diana_dorroh@hotmail.com
225-766-2764


Unintended Consequences of Small Group Ministry
Remarks delivered at a conference of small group ministry leaders at the Unitarian Church of Baton Rouge
by The Reverend Steve J. Crump on March 13, 2010

(Originally presented with PowerPoint accompaniment.)

When you have a successful small group ministry program, you will know it and feel it. Our job in the church is to nurture and support the program and help other congregations take it to scale. Let's promote the program in our churches. Every chance we get, we should say, "If you're not in a small group, you may be missing out on a key connecting point in our congregation." When something goes awry in some group dynamic, it usually is not too difficult to troubleshoot the problem. What went wrong? What could we have said or done? Have we honored the spirit of our covenant? Certainly, programs require regular and steadfast attention and guidance. For that reason, we hold leader meetings, scheduled about every six weeks, with the minister attending.

One of the pivotal moments in our program occurred when we began to speak of holding symbolically an empty chair for a new member. Later, groups were able to do so concretely, welcoming new members to their groups, and adjusting group dynamics and content appropriately. The act of welcoming a new person shifts the relational dynamics of a group. To the extent we are able to welcome someone new, we learn and get to practice the art of hospitality, one of the key benefits of our small group ministry with beneficial consequences outside the group.

The benefits are twofold: a new person is welcomed and the group gets to practice a spiritual discipline worth cultivating in our lives, in and outside the church. In family life, a grandparent moves in, a child is born, or family members make new friends when they move into a new neighborhood. In congregational life, almost nothing is static: members are joining, moving, dying. Congregations are living, breathing bodies, always in the mode of change. The practice of hospitality genuinely welcomes new persons and their stories, and integrates change.

The presence of small group ministry in a church encourages right relationship and diminishes acting-out behavior in the larger church community because the modeling of right relationship in small groups extends to right relationship in other arenas of our lives as well. In The Company of Strangers, author Parker Palmer describes community as "that place where the person we least want to live with always lives." Want to end a divorce well? Practice right relationship. Want to learn how best to dismiss an employee if you are the one who must do it? Practice right relationship. Want to work through a child, sibling, or parent problem? Practice right relationship. Want to make this a better world? Practice right relationship as part of a simple discipline where ground rules and a covenant are honored. This is not country club membership. Country club membership is about trying to get the club to meet the pleasures of its constituents. Religious community is about taming the ego and sacrificing personal freedoms. In other words, we learn why not saying and doing everything we want to say and do is part of being in loving relationship with one another. Country club membership does not necessarily concern itself with love. We must be concerned with love and right relationship. Being in right relationship is critical in religious community and in small group work. Each time we meet, we hold out to one another mutual respect, hope, and expectation of a better world.

These are what we may call unintended consequences of small group ministry. And there are more. Mutual listening. Good communication. Mutual well-being. Not all of us have had the experience of speaking about our lives in the presence of peers -genuine, intentional listeners. A successful small group sets norms for the conditions of good communication and mutual well-being. Some members call it healing, especially when someone who has not been heard or has been misunderstood in life is heard and understood. Religious community is the place for finding one's voice -the place for healing the soul.

As members find their voices, church leaders emerge. Here in our church we proudly recognize our group leaders' involvement. Once a year, we ask them to stand for a brief recognition in Sunday morning church services. We remind them, "You leaders are hand-picked for your listening and group skills." We are not reluctant to call them leaders. A leader is a guide, a conductor, who exercises authority responsibly. Leaders most definitely set limits, often reminding the group of its covenant. "Leader" is the precise word here. A weaker noun sends a weaker message and might yield a weaker group.

One evening, several years ago at a leaders' meeting, we discussed a listening model we might apply if and when difficult or emotional material is shared during the check-in portion of a small group meeting. What should a leader do? Scuttle the format for the evening? Engage in cross-talk about the content of what was shared? What emerged was a better alternative: The leader asks the group members to be silent for one minute before proceeding with check-in. Allowing the evening to proceed after a minute of silence provides two benefits: we acknowledge that something significant was shared and we acknowledge we are carriers of trust by virtue of our covenant with one another. Something difficult having been shared does not oblige us to comment. Singer/songwriter Billy Joel has advice, fitting for a common situation in small groups: "Leave a tender moment alone." Later, outside of the group, any individual has the option for follow-up -a phone call or a conversation over coffee, for example. Even in a follow-up setting, deep listening are the watchwords. Attempting to fix someone's existential situation is outside the bounds of small group ministry.

I submit the benefits of small group ministry are both personal and societal, affecting the public and political realm of our existence. In meeting one another face-to-face, we are confronting a social reality of our culture and its loneliness. Remember the prediction decades ago that one day we would all be living in a high-tech, low-touch world? We now live in that world.

"Loneliness," says Parker Palmer "is not just a personal problem, it has political causes and consequences. We are lonely because a mass society keeps us from engaging one another on matters of common destiny. And loneliness makes us prey to a thousand varieties of political manipulations." (Parker Palmer, A Place Called Community.)

Under the power of strong consumerist influences, our culture appears to be run by the marketplace. But marketplace values must be held in check. The marketplace does not trump spiritual values. Desire fulfillment does not equate with a meaningful life. It is said that our culture is coarsening and we are all suffering from its incivility. Electronic communication has gone viral -insulting at times, promoting pseudo human connection all of the time. And in our era, except for those who serve in the military, American citizens are rarely asked to sacrifice freedoms for the sake of others. Consumerism, incivility, and virtual connection are features abundant in our culture, while meaning goes begging in the streets.

Welcome to the church and its small group ministry where, without a doubt, good leaders set norms. They gently, sometimes assertively, reset a conversation and get people back on track with the ground rules, the covenant. I know of leaders who courageously (after an evening session) spoke to an offending group member's comment about another person -all in a spirit of restoring a sense of the beloved community. Learning to live in right relationship is a spiritual disciple.

We are told Isaiah predicted, and Jesus reiterated, "... the rough ways shall be made smooth." How many rough edged people have we known who were transformed into more comfortable people to be around? Have they not also become more comfortable in their own skins because they have, in fact, changed? From the beginning, to change might have been their unintended consequence!

Adults, to be sure, look to us in a time of trouble. Those who lead successful programs believe adults are looking for maturational and spiritual growth though such needs may not be explicitly stated. We speak of the intimacy involved in meeting face-to-face; listening heart-to-heart. We speak of ultimacy and depth. Leaders, as your group members become more comfortable and trusting of one another, do not be afraid on some evening to say, "I hope we can plumb our souls a bit tonight. Let us risk together the seriousness of the material at hand." Ultimacy and depth suggest spiritual content. Spirituality suggests breath, holiness, ruach, even the breath of God.

Actively engaged, deep listening and sharing are attributes for a community of care. Often in small groups we are counter-poised to mass culture. We speak and listen to the countervailing small voices inside one another. By extension, our practice of right relationship cares for the body politic. The larger world is thus meaningfully touched, moved, and transformed by our work. How could it not be so?

~ ~ ~



A Continuing Discussion of Ministry Objectives for Small Group Ministry
By Diana Dorroh, Editor

After reading Rev. Steve Crump's essay, we can add some new results of small group ministry to our list:

  • teaching the art of hospitality,
  • understanding that acceptance is often the first step toward positive change,
  • healing souls through listening and understanding, and
  • transforming society by opposing our mass culture of loneliness, consumerism, and virtual connections.

From my vantage point as Program Director of the small group ministry program at the Unitarian Church of Baton Rouge, I'd like to answer the rest of the questions I've been asking for the last three months. We began our program in 1999 to give new people a place to connect and grow spiritually. We also hoped it might develop church leaders and help us grow numerically. Those goals were all achieved, but we have, indeed, had many unintended consequences. As you can see from Rev. Steve Crump's article, the unintended consequences are now as important as the original goals.

I will continue to focus on this topic of the ministry objectives or goals of small group ministry for the next few issues. Please send me your stories and reasons for doing small group ministry. Send them to me at Diana_dorroh@hotmail.com

Here's a repeat of the questions to get you started:
(1) Why did your church start its program? What were the goals?
(2) Were those goals fulfilled?
(3) Were there other benefits? and
(4) What would you say are the main reasons for having the program now, or main benefits, etc?



Survey of Congregations
From Helen Zidowecki,
UU Small Group Ministry Network Vice President

The Network is compiling the "Small Group Ministry 2010: Celebrating Congregations", to be available for sale at General Assembly 2010 as a fundraiser for the UU Small Group Ministry Network. We are inviting congregations to give us a profile of Small Group Ministry/Covenant Groups, based on the following survey. We have sent this notice and survey to over 100 congregations. If your congregation received a survey and has not responded, or did not receive one, there is still time to participate.

We hope that you are able to complete and return the survey by May 7, 2010, or let us know if you are in the process of completing and need a little more time. Please send:
--electronically to office@smallgroupministry.net OR
--hard copy to Helen Zidowecki, 32 Stevenstown Road, Litchfield, ME 04350.
Also, please contact us even if your program is no longer active.

SURVEY QUESTIONS
Name of the Congregation:
Number of members

If you have Small Group Ministry/Covenant Group Program:
What do you call your groups or program?
When did it start?
How many groups do you have currently?
How would you describe the overall health of the Small Group Ministry?

Briefly list successes of your program.
Briefly name some challenges that you have or are now facing.

If you are in the process of starting or restarting a program:
What actions have you taken to date?
What are your plans for starting/restarting a program?

Contact for more information that can be included in the publication:
Website:
Other, specify:

If your program is not presently active, it would be helpful if you could share some of the factors. These would not be included in the Book 2010, but could be used in a compilation of factors for further assistance to congregations. Thank you.



How to Handle Challenging Situations:
Challenges One and Two

From the UU Church in Eugene, OR, Facilitator Training Manual
(adapted from First Unitarian Society in Newton, Massachusetts)

Most SGM groups will go smoothly because participants are there voluntarily and have a stake in the program. However, there are challenges that occasionally arise in any group process. Here are some of the most common challenges you are likely to encounter, together with some suggestions about effective ways to deal with them.

Challenge One: Certain participants seem shy and don't say anything.
Suggested responses: Try to draw out quiet participants, but don't put them on the spot. It should always be permissible to "pass". Make eye contact, it reminds them that you'd like to hear from them. Look for non-verbal cues that may indicate they are ready to speak. Frequently, participants will feel more comfortable in later sessions of a SGM group and will join in then. Some people simply need more time or more quiet time to process their thoughts and feelings. When someone finally does chime in with a brief comment after staying long on the sidelines you can give encouragement by expressing genuine interest and saying something like, "Please tell me more." It may be helpful to talk informally with people both before and after the formal SGM session.

Challenge Two: An aggressive or talkative person dominates the discussion or interrupts people who are speaking.
Suggested response: As the facilitator, it is your responsibility to contain and guide domineering participants. Once it becomes clear to you what this person is doing, you MUST intervene and set limits. If you suspect that making eye contact with this person would make her/him feel as though you are encouraging them to speak, then start by limiting your eye contact with them. Remind the group that everyone is invited to participate. "Let's hear from some folks who haven't had a chance to speak yet." If necessary, you can speak to the talkative person by name, "Charlie, we've heard from you. Now let's hear what some of the others have to offer." Be careful to moderate your comments and tone of voice; you are trying to make a point without offending the dominating person.

Ask the person who constantly interrupts to please stop interrupting by saying, "Our covenant calls for us to listen without interrupting and Pat has not finished yet." You may also need to check in with the interrupter outside of the group meeting, since speech patterns can be cultural and the interrupter may not see it as an interruption.

Here are some optional strategies to consider that may be helpful with facilitating each person being able to have a fair share of time for speaking, and for time management.
Use a "talking stick or object" to indicate who is talking and when the person is finished.
Indicate when one is through speaking with a gesture or a phrase such as "I am finished".
Have a clock visible to the person speaking for self-monitoring of time, or have a timekeeper or use a timer or to indicate when the allotted time for a person's sharing is reached.



Note from Julie Hevelone
First Jefferson Church, Fort Worth, TX

Our covenant group, Evensong, developed after some of us completed the Evensong curriculum about ten years ago, and we've been meeting ever since! We have a few members who, for various reasons, have moved onto other UU congregations or other denominations, but they still attend Evensong. There are probably six of the original gang still going strong. We have welcomed in four new members in the past year. Our number is about 12, but it is only about once a year that all 12 of us are there. There have been a couple of times we have talked about splitting into two groups, but none of us can stand that thought!

We meet monthly in member's homes. We try a few times a year to meet for dinner as more of a social outing. And one of our members has a cabin a couple of hours away, so our June meeting is usually an overnight adventure.



Note from Lee Veal
Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of San Miguel de Allende
San Miguel de Allende, Mexico

We are all strong advocates for covenant groups/small group ministry. It is unlike anything else.

Our Small Group Ministry is fledgling but vigorous. Because attendance at our fellowship varies by season, our discussion group varies in size depending on whether we're in the high season (Dec-March, when US and Canadian snow-birds fly south to winter here). We have another moderately high season in the late summer when US expatriates from the sun-belt fly in to avoid sweltering temps.

Other small group activities include weekly lunches. There's no agenda or topic except to make sure that visitors know about it so that they can get to know some of us and we can get to know them better, too.

We've tried Circle Cena (also called Circle Supper, Dinners for 8, or other names); it's difficult trying to coordinate temporary residents and hosting duties, but we need to think through a solution.





News & Events

The Network at General Assembly 2010, June 23-27, Minneapolis, MN
Enhancing, Revitalizing, Restarting Your Small Group Ministry

Presenting strategies used by congregations to sustain and enhance vibrant ministries, and to rejuvenate and restart programs that have decreased in vitality. Holding a vision, the minister's role, and assuring success will be highlighted. Speakers are Rev. Peg Morgan and Steve Becker, Westside UU Congregation, Seattle, WA, and Rev. Peter Friedrichs and Joyce McKee, UU Church of Delaware County, Media, PA. Moderated by Rev. Helen Zidowecki. Time and date TBA.

Booth # 733, General Assembly Exhibit Hall
Stop by the Network Booth Wednesday through Sunday during GA. Board members and Network member volunteers will be on hand to answer your questions and share practical information for small group/covenant group programs at every stage. Our newest publications and resources will be available.

VOLUNTEER AT THE NETWORK BOOTH!
General Assembly, June 23-27 -- Minneapolis, Minnesota

Attention Network Members! Here's your opportunity to meet GA participants from every UUA district and talk about a topic dear to all our hearts-Small Group Ministry and Covenant Groups! Facilitators, ministers, and coordinators from more than 6 member congregations have already volunteered. Join us at the booth! Sign up at office@smallgroupministry.net

Small Group Ministry Discussion Group - Join the UUA List Serve
The SGM Discussion Group is the list serve from the Unitarian Universalist Association website, listed there as Covenant_Group_Ministry. The list provides an opportunity to share experiences, questions, comments, and problems with other individuals and congregations engaged in small group and covenant group ministry. Subscribe to the mailing list on the Network's website, http://www.smallgroupministry.net

Networking Opportunities
Network with other congregations in your district, share best practices in small group ministry, and consider hosting a joint facilitator training or enrichment workshop. To view a complete list, visit our website and click on Who We Are: Our Members.

NETWORK ONLINE    www.smallgroupministry.net
The source for session plans, networking opportunities, Small Group Ministry resources, news of events and workshops, membership renewal forms, and back issues of Covenant Group News and the SGM Quarterly. The Fall 2009 Quarterly is now posted on the site.

SUMMER INSTITUTE

Summer Institute Goes to De Benneville Pines, Angelus Oaks, CA
Tuesday, August 31 to Friday, September 3, 2010


Registration Information at www.smallgroupministry.net

Don't miss the fifth Small Group Ministry Summer Institute! The Institute began as a way of introducing congregations to SGM and providing resources for program development. Small Group Ministry is in various stages within congregations, from just an idea to a program. Within established programs there are also phases, and we are learning together as we move into the second decade of UU SGM. Congregations have found that sending several people to the Institute allows for congregational assessment and planning, as well as having people able to attend consecutive sessions.

The Institutes are designed on the premise that we all have things to share and are willing to gain knowledge and understanding. This is what we expect in our Small Group/Covenant Group Sessions - why not at the Institute?

Sessions planned include:
• Developing and maintaining sound groups, and group dynamics
• Starting, restarting and growing Small Group Ministry
• Developing and evaluating sessions
• Assessing your own program and building on your strengths
• Multigenerational Small Group Ministry - a "cutting edge" topic this year

Cost: Lodging and Program Fee: $350
$25 discount for registration before July 1
$25 discount for UU SGM Network members

Contact Helen Zidowecki at office@smallgroupministry.net
or 207-582-5308 with questions and comments.

Camp de Benneville Pines is a retreat and conference center located in the Barton Flats area of the San Bernardino National Forest, about 90 miles east of Los Angeles. At an elevation of 6,800 feet, the camp is surrounded by a forest of towering pines, cedars, and oaks and is affiliated with the Pacific Southwest District of the Unitarian Universalist Association. Facilities include a swimming pool, a hot tub, children's playground, an archery range, and opportunities for many outdoor sports. Cabins are all equipped with modern bathrooms and hot showers, and offer comfortable sleeping quarters. Meals are prepared by kitchen staff and served in the main lodge. Visit uucamp@aol.org for more information.

Read what others have to say about the Summer Institute:
Great practical ideas to take home. The times for sharing beyond the presentations were a fantastic opportunity! Lots of information. Really worthwhile experience.

The conference really reinforced for me the power of the small group ministry process. Three things about the experience made it memorable: the things I learned, the people I met, and the idyllic setting.

In addition to what was "taught," the most enriching aspect was being able to hear and dialogue about what others were doing in their SGM programs and why.

The program was well-planned; the variety of presentation styles kept interest high, as did the continuing movement in and out of different groups and places.


* SGM FACEBOOK
The Small Group Ministry Network is now on Facebook! Join us and contribute to the ongoing conversation around Small Group Ministry and Covenant Groups. The link is: http://groups.to/smallgroupministrynetwork



UU SGM Network Publications

Order forms available from http://www.smallgroupministry.net

COMING THIS SUMMER!
NEW! Small Group Ministry 2010: Celebrating Congregations

The 2010 compilation acknowledges and celebrates the work of over 80 congregations that have contributed to the UU Small Group Ministry movement since 2004. Now all in one place, this collection features articles published in Covenant Group News, the SGM Quarterly Journal, and the UUA e-list in the last year. Each article is introduced by a profile of the contributing congregation, including when and how their program started, how many groups and participants, and their unique challenges and success stories. The vitality of covenant group ministry programs across the denomination is clearly demonstrated in this compilation, the only one of its kind. Available at General Assembly and for mail order in June 2010. Advance orders welcome.

Network Members: $15 plus $5 shipping     Non-members: $25 plus $5 shipping

NEW! Spiritual Journeys: 101 Session Plans for Small Group Ministry Programs
Looking for fresh, inspiring topics for your small group ministry program? This exciting new book offers a wide range of original, ready-to-use sessions covering Getting Started in a Group, the UU Seven Principles, Spiritual Journeying, Attitude Adjustment, Personal Beliefs and Values, Spiritual Challenges, Holidays, Just for Fun, Being Human, and Special Use subjects for events and national tragedies that affect our lives. Themes are drawn from art, literature, UU liturgy and hymnals, current events, and religious scriptures. Available at General Assembly and for mail order in June 2010.

Network Members: $20 plus $5 shipping     Non-members: $30 plus $5 shipping

Implementing Small Group Ministry:
For Starting, Restarting and Enhancing a Program
October 2009
How do congregations decide on group duration and meeting frequency? Does it take a team to manage a program? Drawing on current information from congregations, the SGM Institutes, and Covenant Group News, this evolving document presents a series of considerations for Small Group Ministry program development, ongoing administration, groups, facilitators, session plans, and visibility, with a new section on uses of small group ministry in multiple settings. Mix and match features to build a SGM program that meets your ministry objectives.

Network Members: $6 plus $5 shipping     Non-members: $10 plus $5 shipping

Ten Years of UU Small Group Ministry June 2009
In celebration of the Network's fifth anniversary, this collection traces the Small Group Ministry movement through classic articles from 1998 to the present. The book focuses on the introduction of the small group ministry concept, the rise of enthusiasm, the facilitator's role, the nature of groups, and the element of service. A special history section features the visionaries who made UU Small Group Ministry a reality.

Network Members: $15 plus $5 shipping     Non-members: $25 plus $5 shipping

Facilitator Training and Development Manual December 2008
Facilitator training and ongoing support are the keys to a successful small group ministry program. This training manual guides you through the process from recruitment and initial training through Facilitators Meetings and coaching. Part One is a plan for developing and implementing an in-house training program. Part Two, the Facilitator's Guide, is an interactive training module on CD to customize for your program, use in your training sessions and distribute to all group leaders.

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

Unitarian Universalist Small Group Ministry June 2008
A collection of 50+ articles from 5 years of the SGM Quarterly Journal, Covenant Group News, and website publications. Articles are arranged by topic, from basic elements of SGM, through the minister's role in shared ministry, sustaining your program, and the application of SGM principles in multiple aspects of congregational life.

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

Small Group Ministry for Youth
This dynamic format for middle and high school youth includes a session and discussion for facilitators and session plans for the Five Steps to Building Community and the Six Components of a Balanced Youth Program. Twenty-five session plans in all!

Network Members: $15 plus $5 shipping       Non-members: $25 plus $5 shipping

  To order any of the above publications: http://www.smallgroupministry.net/forsale.html.


Small Groups, Deep Connections

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

Steve Becker, President (stevebecker7@comcast.net)
Rev. Helen Zidowecki, Vice President (hzmre@hzmre.com)
Diana Dorroh, Secretary and Past President (diana_dorroh@hotmail.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 © 2004-2010 the UU Small Group Ministry Network