Covenant Group News
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Small Group Ministry and Covenant Group
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In This Issue
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:
Individual and congregational memberships are our major source of revenue.
The Network is financially independent of the UUA.
Letter from the Editor
This is a somewhat abbreviated beginning-of-summer issue. The UU Small Group Ministry Network Board is in the process of reviewing the content and format of Covenant Group News. If you'd like to share you ideas about would be most valuable to you, send them to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We have a note from Rev. Helen Zidowecki on a new resource: Sharing the Journey: Small Group Ministry with Youth, by Jessica York and Helen Zidowecki, Judith A. Frediani, Susan Dana Lawrence, Editor.
From Richard Loescher at the UU Church in Eugene, OR, we have some additional excerpts from their Facilitator Training Manual. Again, we thank the Unitarian Society in Newton, MA, since their website contained the original version of these challenges.
As I mentioned last month, The UU Small Group Ministry Network has two new publications. Small Group Ministry 2010: Celebrating Congregations will include information on small group ministry programs at 150-200 churches. A second new publication, Spiritual Journeys: 101 Session Plans for Small Group Ministry Programs, will also be available at GA 2010 and from the Network website. See more information on both publications below.
Under Events, below, there is a description of our programs and meetings at General Assembly, including the UUA General Assembly 2010 Planning Committee- sponsored workshop #2010, "Enhancing, Revitalizing, Restarting Your Small Group Ministry," Thursday June 24, at 4:30 in 101 H.
Also under Events, you will find information about the Small Group Ministry Institute 2010, August 31-September 3, Camp deBenneville Pines, Angelus Oaks, CA. Rev. Helen Zidowecki and I plan to be among the faculty there. I'd love to meet and work with people from your church. Sending your facilitators or steering team members to this annual Institute is the best way to maximize the benefits your congregation receives from your small group ministry program. Your team's attendance can give your program a boost, get you ready for a restart, or just make a successful program stronger and less at risk from program leadership changes. Download a flyer and registration form from the UU SGM Network, website www.smallgroupministry.net.
The Summer 2010 SGM Quarterly has been mailed to Network members. Every Quarterly is packed with articles by and for coordinators, ministers, and facilitators. If you are not a member, why not join now and receive this summer issue? We are financially independent of the UUA and depend upon membership and publications sales to cover our modest expenses. You can check on our website to see whether your congregation is a Network member. www.smallgroupministry.net/membership.html. As an added incentive to membership, we offer a member discount of 40% off all our UU SGM Network publications.
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.
Please share your ideas, questions, and experiences with the other 1,342 Covenant Group News subscribers. Send them to me at email@example.com. Thanks to Anne Haynes, UU SGM Network Board member from the Unitarian Universalist Church of Bloomington, IN, for proofing this edition. Our Quarterly Editor, Beth Tiewater, provided much needed assistance with solicitation and assembly of articles and Susan Hollister and Helen Zidowecki provided comments and content.
In faith that we're making this a better world,
New Resource: Sharing the Journey: Small Group Ministry with Youth,
by Jessica York and Helen Zidowecki, Judith A. Frediani, Susan Dana Lawrence, Editor.
See this Lifespan Faith Development Tapestry of Faith offering at http://www.uua.org/religiouseducation/
How to Handle Challenging Situations:
Challenges Six, Seven, Eight and Nine
From the UU Church in Eugene, OR, Facilitator Training Manual
(adapted from First Unitarian Society in Newton, Massachusetts)
The final article in our series on challenges in the group process focuses on the most important part of groups: the people, and how they interact with each other. Below are some of the more common challenges you are likely to encounter, together with some suggestions on how to handle them.
Challenge 6: Tension or open conflict in the group arises: two participants lock horns and argue, or one participant gets angry and confronts another.
Challenge 7: One member engages in ax-grinding, telling negative stories about a third party of group who is not in the room.
Challenge 8: People start offering unsolicited advice and trying to problem solve for a group member.
Challenge 9: A member uses categorical language or engages in slurs presenting some category of people in a stereotypical way; often this can be presented under the guise of humor.
Editor's Note: I agree that it is important to respond in some way to all three of these situations. My response is to call a moment of silence followed by an "I statement" from me. During the moment of silence, I try to think of something to say that is loving but calls attention to the violation of the covenant. I also like to acknowledge, implicitly or explicitly, that we all violate the covenant at some point. The main point is to give these situations some thought before they occur and to be prepared to address them.
Share your insights, strategies and experiences.
Send your comments to Diana at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We'll print them in the next CGNews.
News & Events
Small Group Ministry at General Assembly
We Look forward to seeing you!
WORKSHOP # 2010 - 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. Starting with the rationale for restructuring a covenant group program, the workshop features two congregations that underwent extensive rejuvenation and re-launch of their small group ministries within the last two years, doubling participation as a result. Presenters:
SMALL GROUP MINISTRY DISCUSSION GROUP # 007
Saturday, June 26, 9:00 AM to 10:00 AM, Hilton Minneapolis Hotel, Marquette I.
BOOTH # 733 - The UU Small Group Ministry Network
Your headquarters for:
» Resources on facilitation and program management
» Opportunities to share SGM challenges and successes
» Answers to all your SGM & Covenant Group questions
ANNUAL MEETING - Friday, June 25, 12:00 noon to 1:00 PM, in the dining area near Booth # 733. Bring a lunch and join the Network Board of Directors for an opportunity to connect with other Covenant Group Ministry enthusiasts, learn more about the SGM Network, and get involved in Network activities. Meeting location and final agenda will be available at the Booth.
VOLUNTEER AT THE NETWORK BOOTH!
Small Group Ministry Discussion Group - Join the UUA List Serve
NETWORK ONLINE www.smallgroupministry.net
Summer Institute Goes to De Benneville Pines, Angelus Oaks, CA
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:
Cost: Lodging and Program Fee: $350
Read what others have to say about the Summer Institute:
For more details and events see the Event Announcements
UU SGM Network Publications
Order forms available from http://www.smallgroupministry.net
COMING THIS SUMMER!
Network Members: $15 plus $5 shipping Non-members: $25 plus $5 shipping
NEW! Spiritual Journeys: 101 Session Plans for Small Group Ministry Programs
Network Members: $20 plus $5 shipping Non-members: $30 plus $5 shipping
To order any of the above publications or to get a list of all our 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.
Steve Becker, President (email@example.com)
Write to us by email: firstname.lastname@example.org, Attn: Rev. Helen Zidowecki
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