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Monday, January 28, 2008

Peter stepping down as CGNEWS editor


I write to you with a sense of excitement as we enter this new year. Let me start with a personal announcement.

After seven years I am stepping down from my formal role with the UU SGM Network. With the addition of new television and UU video production projects I lost the time I dedicated to our network. Time to turn things over to our fabulous board and growing number of volunteers. Those of you interested in my work and keeping in touch, drop my website,

So what is happening with CGNews? Our amazing board will be compiling the news and our president, Diana Dorroh, will serve as editor. You can submit news by writing
I will continue to be involved in with our network, just as a member, not a coordinator/editor. If you are not a contributing member, I hope you will join me. The UU SGM Network is funded in its entirety by your memberships. Existing members, this is a great time to renew.

Your membership form may be found online at:

Thank you for an amazing seven years!

In faith,
Peter Freedman Bowden
Co-Founder, UU SGM Network
Retired editor, CGNews ;-)
I'm a Unitarian  Universalist


Friday, January 18, 2008

The Bucket List - Small Group Movie Session

By Peter Bowden. Need something fun to do with your group? See a movie then discuss it. You could even see the movie with friends and family - a great way to widen your group's circle.

"The Bucket List" Movie Session

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Thursday, January 4, 2007

Q & A in Interconnections Newsletter

Q We started a small group ministry program two years ago and the groups really took off, but now we're starting to see problems with several of them. Is that normal?

A Peter Bowden, a church consultant and a cofounder of the UU Small Group Ministry Network,, says, "In my consulting work I have yet to find a congregation with a 'mysterious' reason for small group ministry failing. Across the board, problems are the result of some failure to implement a viable model or a failure to support this ministry prior to launching. Sustaining a healthy small group ministry requires a great deal of time, energy, and resources. Small group ministry isn't rocket science, but it is hard work. And well worth it."

"After the establishment of a new program," Bowden continues, "it is common for congregations to let small groups run on autopilot, especially when more urgent matters demand attention. However, it takes regular vision casting and support between group facilitators and skill training for small group ministries to not only stay on track, but to thrive."

Another reason for failure, he says, is that while groups are designed to build intimacy and connections they can sometimes become too inward-looking, at the expense of being open and welcoming. Also, over time the focus of groups naturally drifts toward the interests of group members, Bowden says. Such "small group drift" can move the focus of the group away from leadership development, shared ministry, and outreach.

The UU Small Group Ministry Network offers members a quarterly newsletter addressing the "perils and promises" of small group ministry. An email list, covenant_group_ministry, is available at

To join the UU SGM Network mail a check made out to "UU SGM Network"($35 individuals/$60 congregations) to UU SGM Network, 155 Evarts Street, Newport, RI, 02840. Include an email contact and a brief description of your program.

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