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Event Calendar

Below are listings for workshops, trainings, and conferences on Unitarian Universalist small group ministry & covenant groups. If you have an event to list, please send details tooffice@smallgroupministry.net. Events listed on this site must be open to the larger UU community (district, regional, national events).

Promoting an event? Make sure to place your event on your district's calendar and the UUA's event calendar.


EVENTS - Brief listings

Following are events that are being planned by or have come to the attention of the Network. We encourage congregations, districts, and consultants to send us information regarding their educational programs. This gives a picture of the scope of opportunities available and presents ideas for development of events.

The Upcoming Events are presented from the earliest to the latest. The Previous Events & Reports go from the latest to the earlier ones.


UPCOMING EVENTS


GROUPS AS VITAL PARTS OF CONGREGATIONS
Saturday, May 3, 2014 9:30am-3:00pm
Unitarian Universalist Society of Bangor
120 Park Street, Bangor, ME

Congregations are invited to bring teams from various committees and parts of the congregation. Many congregations find that Small Group Ministry enhances the life of the congregation, including committees and groups. This workshop explores the collaboration of the groups within the congregation and Small Group Ministry. There will be handouts for participants and a resource packet for each congregation.

Facilitator:  Rev. Helen Zidowecki, a retired UU minister, has been involved with UU Small Group Ministry for over 15 years, from congregation to the UU Small Group Ministry Network. 

See the flier and registration information.


SMALL GROUP MINISTRY OUTREACH: YOUNG ADULT AND CAMPUS MINISTRY

The Network is collaborating with Annie Gonzalez, UUA Youth and Campus Ministry, and Doug Jones, Outreach Director, Channing Murray Foundation of Urbana, IL, regarding Small Group Ministry as Outreach to Young Adults. We would like to hear about:
---Your involvement with Campus Ministry and/or engaging Young Adults in your congregation?
---How Small Group Ministry has been part of your outreach to Young Adults?

PLEASE CONTACT office@smallgroupministry.net



Previous Events & Reports

Announcements of Events is an exciting part of the Network’s clearinghouse function. But just hearing about an upcoming event seems like only part of the story. After an event, we would like to also highlight what has happened. So, if you would like us to announce your event, please also send us a follow-up that notes the range of participants, the key focuses, presenters, and a few comments from people who attended. If you would like to send that information on conferences that you have held but were not announced by the Network, please also contact us.

Healing and Transformation in Small Groups
Saturday, February 1st, 2014
9:30 AM to 4 PM
Hosted by the Unitarian Universalist Church
of Bloomington, Indiana
Registration, coffee and light breakfast starting at 9:00,
workshop at 9:30
Rev. Dr. M’ellen Kennedy, Leader

We are offering a one-day workshop for small group ministry facilitators and would-be facilitators February 1, 2014 at the UU Church of Bloomington, Indiana. This workshop will be led by the Rev. Dr. M’ellen Kennedy, one of the leading voices for small group ministry in the UU denomination. It is intended for congregations that have small group ministry (covenant group) programs or would like to start one.

Any congregation that wants to take advantage of this workshop may do so for $150, and can send as many participants as they wish. We will provide coffee and a light breakfast at 9:00 EST, and will have pizza for lunch available for $1.50 a slice, both vegetarian and meat varieties. The workshop will end at 4:00.

Please fill out a registration form for each participant and mail them to us by January 15th, 2014. We will not turn away late registrants, but it would be nice to have a ballpark number ahead of time.

If you have questions, feel free to email me, or call Rev. Bill Breeden


Healing and Transformation in Small Groups
Saturday, November 2, 2013
9 AM to 4 PM
Registration, coffee and light snacks starting at 8:30
Hosted by the Unitarian Church of Nashua
58 Lowell St., Nashua, NH 03064
Rev. Dr. M’ellen Kennedy, Leader
See Flier and Registration Form


Healing and Transformation
in Small Groups


Saturday, October 5, 2013
9 AM to 3:30 PM
Registration, coffee and light snacks starting at 8:30
Hosted by the Unitarian Church of Montpelier
130 Main Street, Montpelier, VT 05602
Rev. Dr. M’ellen Kennedy, Leader

See Flier and Registration Form


Small Group Ministry Workshop
September 28th, 2013 9:30am to 4:15pm
First Jefferson Unitarian Universalist Church, Ft. Worth*
Presentation of the First Church of Dallas Circles* program
Presenters: Marcia Neiman and Susan Miller
See more at: http://ntuuc.org/SmallGroupMinistry


SMALL GROUP MINISTRY INSTITUTE
Murray Grove Murray Grove Retreat and Renewal Center
Lanoka Harbor, NJ 08734 murraygrove@murraygrove.org
Monday, July 22 (3pm) to Friday, July 26, 2013 (11:30am).


We are planning to have
  • Tracks for New and Revitalizing SGM, Facilitator Training, and Small Group Ministry With All Ages
  • Small Group Ministry Sessions daily
  • Open evening sessions on topics such as Best Practices in Small Group Ministry; Meetings for Ministers, Religious Educators, Lay SGM Leaders; and SGM as Congregational Outreach and Service
  • Material related to various congregational sizes and length of time with SGM program.
Participants will be major presenters of the content.

See the Flier for more information and the sample registration. However, registration is done on line with credit card or by sending a copy of the registration with a check to the address given. Thanks to Metro New York District for making this online registration possible. Cost for full Institute at Murray Grove $400, with early registration and membership discounts. Options are available for commuters.

BRANCHES ENRICHMENT WEEKEND
Unitarian Church of Baton Rouge, LA
April 4/5, 2013

Thirty-five covenant group facilitators attended a 2-day enrichment workshop sponsored by the Unitarian Church of Baton Rouge. Rev. Steve Crump gave the key-note address Friday evening and Rev. Nathan Ryan introduced the Saturday morning session. The guest speaker was Susan Hollister, member of the UU Small Group Ministry Network Board of Directors. Among the topics covered were covenant groups as a pathway to spiritual maturity, the facilitator’s role in establishing the tone and culture of the group, shared leadership, building or re-building group energy, and steps to deepening the covenant group experience. In the final break-out session of the day, a number of typical group scenarios were presented for hands-on practice at discerning the problem and deciding how to manage it.


Boston Area UU Seminarians’ Retreat
A weekend of worship, training, fellowship and fun
At Mt. St. Mary’s Abbey in Wrentham, Mass

Friday, March 8, 5 PM –Sunday, March 10, noon
Featured workshop Leader
Rev. Dr. M’ellen Kennedy

We will be focusing on questions about the future of Unitarian Universalism and our place within it. We are especially interested in exploring the role of small group ministry or covenant groups in the future of our movement. Our featured workshop leader is Rev. Dr. M'ellen Kennedy, who will be providing insight and guidance on the practice of small group ministry.

The Rev. Dr. M’ellen Kennedy loves her work as a Unitarian Universalist minister and a Sufi minister.Rev. Kennedy lives in Lincoln, Vermont and has the honor of serving as consulting minister with the Barre Universalist Church and the Washington UU Church.

Rev. Kennedy has a passion for the healing power of small groups. She completed her doctoral work on world view transformation in small groups at the University of Illinois at U-C.She shares her enthusiasm and expertise leading workshops as a covenant group consultant.About ten years ago, Rev. Kennedy co-founded the UU Small Group Ministry Network.

She is also founder of the Peace and Unity Bridge (PUB), a program dedicated to cultivating friendship and understanding among Muslims and non-Muslims (for more info visit www.peaceandunitybridge.org. The use of small group ministry in these workshops is part of what makes PUB so successful.

Registration Form at http://huumsblog.wordpress.com/
Students are welcome to attend part or all of the weekend.
Fee: $50 (includes room and board) Scholarships are available upon request Questions? Contact Seanan Fong, HUUMS Programs Chair: seanan@gmail.com or Joshua Leach, HUUMS Communications: jfl712@mail.harvard.edu


Small Group Ministry & Covenant Group
Introduction & Facilitator Training

Saturday, September 22, 2012, 9-4:30
Registration and Coffee starting at 8:30 AM

Hosted by the First Church in Barre – Universalist, 19 Church Street, Barre, VT

People come to church seeking an opportunity to make friends and to explore their spirituality. Many congregations across the country are finding that offering healthy, well-designed, facilitated small groups is an excellent way to address these needs of both visitors and long-term members. Why are these groups so powerful? How do these groups revitalize our congregations? How do we design not just a group, but an overall program of small groups to help members and congregations thrive and grow? What is it like to be in a group? What’s necessary to be an effective facilitator? What are the pitfalls and the promises of these kinds of groups?

The Barre Universalist Church is delighted to host this Small Group Ministry or Covenant Group workshop to answer these questions and more. The morning session (9 to 12:30) will be an introduction to Covenant Groups and is designed to help those new to the concept get a firm grounding. The morning will also serve as an excellent refresher for those with some knowledge of Covenant Groups already. The afternoon (1:00 to 4:30) is for those who will be facilitating or are just beginning to consider facilitating, whether this year or in the future. No prior experience is required for either the morning or the afternoon. You are welcome to attend just the morning, or just the afternoon, or both. The training will include two actual group experiences which is the best way to help You understand experientially the power and dynamics of these kinds of groups.

LEADER: Rev. Dr. M’ellen Kennedy is a Small Group Ministry Consultant and co-founder of the SGM Network. She is a UU community minister and community psychologist who has been working with lay-led small groups for over 25 years. Her doctoral dissertation was on world view transformation in small groups. She has offered facilitator training internationally to hundreds of lay and professionals leaders and feedback on her workshops has been excellent. Rev. M’ellen also serves as consulting minster for the churches in Barre and Washington, Vermont. The following is a quote from a participant at a workshop offered by Rev. Kennedy in New Hampshire in recent years.

For more info, contact Rev. M’ellen Kennedy at mellenken@aol.comor 802-479-0114.
Flier/Registration Information


UU SGM Network At GA June 2012, Phoenix
WORKSHOP with UU Women's Federation

"Circles of Reflection: Engaging Women in Justice Work" on Thursday, June 21, 10:30am, Room 227 AB, Sponsored by the UU Women's Federation and the UU Small Group Ministry Network.
Rev. Marti Keller, President, UUWF
Rev. Helen Zidowecki, President, UUSGM Network
Jessica Halperin, Women’s Issues Program Associate, UUA

The workshop, "Circles of Reflection: Engaging Women in Justice Work,” was sponsored jointly by Unitarian Universalist Women's Federation, Unitarian Universalist Association and Unitarian Universalist Small Group Ministry Network. The phases of Social Justice Work were noted briefly and the group formed smaller groups, with each small group using one of 6 session plans that had been prepared for the workshop.

The sessions focused on women’s issues.
*Three session plans written by Jessica Halperin dealt with Reproductive Justice.
*Three sessions written by Helen Zidowecki, focused on the influence and power of women with a series title of Failure is Impossible.

Handouts from the Workshop

UU Small Group Ministry
Program Development & Renewal with Peter Bowden
Friday - Sunday, November 4 - 5, 2011
UU Fellowship of Winston Salem
[Winston Salem, NC, 27106   http://www.uufws.org/]
Hosted by the Southeast District

The Southeast District is proud to offer a weekend Small Group Ministry training with Peter Bowden, Unitarian Universalist Growth Consultant and co-founder of the UU Small Group Ministry Network.

This training has been designed for clergy and lay leaders seeking to strengthen congregation-wide small group ministry programs. This program will cover the following core areas, as well as opportunities for worship, networking and hands on small group experience.

Small group that are HEALTHY, GROWING and INTEGRATED into congregational life. Approaches to SELECTING, TRAINING and COACHING small group ministry leaders. Turning FACILITATORS into small group LEADERS and PARTNERS in shared ministry.

Note there are many ways to structure small group ministries and covenant groups! This training will focus on models where small groups led by trained lay facilitators and integrated into the primary work and ministry of a congregation. Contact Peter via his site (below) if you have content questions.

Registration Information: http://www.seduua.org/

Cost is $75 before October 15; $100 after October 15 - Scholarships are available
30 slots available
Cost includes a light dinner on Friday, breakfast and lunch on Saturday.
Conference begins with dinner at 6 pm on Friday, program begins at 7 and concludes by 5 pm on Saturday.

Peter Bowden is a Unitarian Universalist consultant specializing in congregational growth, outreach and evangelism. Peter is one of the founders of the UU Small Group Ministry Network (smallgroupministry.net), a national organization and non-profit dedicated to supporting small group ministries within our movement. Peter has led workshops on small group ministry throughout New England, at General Assemblies, the Ferry Beach and Star Island conference centers, and has consulted with congregations across the United States. You may read more about Peter's work on his website.

To print copies of the above information, please click here for a .pdf of the flyer.


Healing and Transformation in Small Groups
Saturday, October 29, 2011
9 AM to 4:30 PM
Registration, coffee and light breakfast starting at 8:30
Hosted by the First Unitarian Society of Newton
1326 Washington Street, West Newton, MA 02465
Rev. Dr. M'ellen Kennedy, Leader

WORKSHOP PURPOSE: In the past decade many congregations have adopted Small Group Ministry or Covenant Groups to address the needs of friendship and spiritual growth in our congregations. This workshop is aimed at facilitators who are eager to take the group experience to a higher level. The focus of our day will be exploring the question, "What leads to healing and transformation in small groups?" We'll cover topics such as inviting epiphanies; what is spiritual growth and what nurtures it; cultivating respect; creating a compassionate group environment; developing your presence as a facilitator; using all of our capacities as facilitators - heart and mind, left and right hemispheres; facilitation as a spiritual practice; how to recover after goofs and engender a forgiving group environment. The workshop will help You enjoy facilitating more and make the group experience as transformational and vitalizing as possible for Yourself and the other participants. We'll end with how to bring this powerful work back to our congregations and out into our aching, broken world. (Please note that we won't be covering the how-to's and basics of SGM).

WHO SHOULD ATTEND: The workshop is aimed primarily at facilitators who have some experience (preferably at least a year). It works very well to have in the mix a few inexperienced people (such as new facilitators or board members) who can learn from and be carried along by the more experienced members. So, a few inexperienced folks are welcome to participate with a prior okay from Rev. Kennedy.

LEADER: Rev. Dr. M'ellen Kennedy is passionate about the power of Small Groups to feed our souls and help heal our ills. Her doctoral dissertation at the University of Illinois was on worldview transformation in small Groups. She has been involved with lay led small groups for over 30 years as a facilitator, trainer, organizer, researcher and writer. Participants tend to love her workshop and come away with fresh perspectives and renewed enthusiasm about their work as facilitators. Rev. Kennedy is a co-founder of the UU Small Group Ministry Network, and started and served for four years as editor of the Small Group Ministry Quarterly. She lives in Vermont where she serves three Universalist congregations in Barre, Strafford and Washington.

Directions: The First Unitarian Society in Newton, is located at 1326 Washington Street in West Newton, Massachusetts, at the corner of Washington and Highland streets. FUSN is across from the Newton police station, near the West Newton Cinema, where Route 16 crosses the Mass. Turnpike.

Fee, Registration & Lunch :   The workshop fee, which includes an information packet, is $45 for one person and $ 35 for each additional person from the same congregation.  $25 for seminarians. Please bring a sack lunch or potluck dish to share. Please register by October 26, 2011. The registration form is attached or downloadable at www.smallgroupministry.net.


Small Groups, Big Returns

The Unitarian Universalist Church of Chattanooga is delighted to welcome the Rev. Helen Zidowecki, president of the UU Small Group Ministry Network. On Saturday, October 15th, Rev. Zidowecki will lead Small Groups, Big Returns: How to Infuse Your Church with a Solid SGM Program for Teens and Adults, a one day workshop for UUs in the southeast.  Topics will bridge SGM for teens and adults, how churches can develop a healthy long-term SGM program, and the differing roles of ministers, coordinators, and facilitators in SGM. The morning will focus on all ages, and in the afternoon, teens can choose to continue participating in the workshop or join in fellowship together elsewhere in the church. Everyone is invited to attend.

Registration Fees:
Early Bird Registration (until September 15): $35/adult, $15/teen
Regular Registration (September 16-October 5): $40/adult, $20/teen
Late Registration (after October 6): $45/adult, $25/teen

Note: All participants will be provided with a boxed lunch at no additional charge.

For more information or to volunteer to help with the workshop, contact Dez Papendorp or Wendy Sapp at sgm@uuc.org or 706-694-0940 (Wendy) or 706-820-4006 (Dez). Check back for more information on the agenda and local lodging!

Registration Form You can also register online at http://uuc.org/small-group-ministry-workshop

Name:

Address:

Phone Number:

Email:

Church affiliation (if any):

What do you hope to gain from the workshop?

Lunch choice (all lunches include a cookie):

____ Chicken Salad SANDWICH*: choose  ___Fruit OR  ___Chips

____ Club (ham & turkey) Sandwich*: choose  ___Fruit OR ___Chips

____ Veggie Wrap* (three cheeses, peppers, black olives and baby greens in a spinach wrap): please also choose ___Fruit OR ___Chips

Note: Lunch is provided at no additional charge.

Please return form with your payment to
UUCC
Small Group Ministry Workshop
3224 Navajo Dr.
Chattanooga, TN 37411


Small Groups, Big Returns

Rev. Helen Zidowecki is traveling to Chattanooga, TN this fall to assist area Unitarian Universalists Churches enrich (or start) their Adult and Teen Small Group Ministry Programs.

WHEN:October 15th, Saturday, 2011 from 9:30am-4:30pm
WHERE:the Unitarian Universalist Church of Chattanooga, www.uuc.org for directions
WHO:any person ages 13 yrs-100 yrs who is interested in strengthening their ministry for adults and youth utilizing the Small Group Ministry model
BENEFITS:Attendees will gain knowledge and skills related to Small Group Ministry. Adults and teens will have an integrated Small Group Ministry experience during the morning. In the afternoon, teens will branch out to areas of personal interest, while adults address more in-depth matters such as: how to develop a healthy long-term program, roles of SGM participants, and issues your UU church is addressing within its own SGM programming. We will gain expert insight from each other and Rev. Zidowecki. LUNCH WILL BE CATERED and is included in the registration cost.
COST:Registration: $40/adult, $20/teen (See website for early bird discounts.)
Register at http://uuc.org/about-the-uuc/small-group-ministry and/or contact the SGM Co-Coordinators at sgm@uuc.org for more information



UU Small Group Ministry Retreat:
Program Development & Renewal with Peter Bowden
Friday - Sunday, October 14 - 16, 2011
U Bar U Retreat & Conference Center, San Antolnio

First UU San Antonio is proud to offer a weekend Small Group Ministry training with Peter Bowden, Unitarian Universalist Growth Consultant and co-founder of the UU Small Group Ministry Network. This training has been designed for clergy and lay leaders seeking to strengthen congregation-wide small group ministry programs. This program will cover the following core areas, as well as opportunities for worship, networking and hands on small group experience

Small groups that are HEALTHY, GROWING and INTEGRATED into congregational life.
Approaches to SELECTING, TRAINING and COACHING small group ministry leaders.
Turning FACILITATORS into small group LEADERS and PARTNERS in shared ministry.

Note there are many ways to structure small group ministries and covenant groups! This training will focus on models where small groups led by trained lay facilitators are integrated into the primary work and ministry of a congregation. Contact Peter via his site (below) if you have content questions.

Registration Information

Cost: $150.00. Cost includes dinner Friday, three meals Saturday, and breakfast Sunday.

What to bring: Sheets (single flat, long fitted, deep pocket or stretchy jersey), towels, pillow, and personal items (soap, shampoo...) long pants, closed toed shoes if you'd like to venture outdoors.
Sleeping arrangements: Dormitory-style with twin-bunk beds.
Getting to U-Bar-U: Directions to U-Bar-U may be found here. Rides may be available to and from the airport.

Please complete and return this registration form.

Peter Bowden is a Unitarian Universalist consultant specializing in congregational growth, outreach and evangelism. Peter is one of the founders of the UU Small Group Ministry Network, a national organization and non-profit dedicated to supporting small group ministries within our movement. Peter has led workshops on small group ministry throughout New England, at General Assemblies, the Ferry Beach and Star Island conference centers, and has consulted with congregations across the United States. You may read more about Peter's work on his website.

FMI, Contact Dr. Sheri Phillabaum, Director of Lifespan Religious Education, First Unitarian Universalist Church of San Antonio.

To print copies of the above information, please click here for a .pdf of the flyer.


Unitarian Universalist
Congregation at Shelter Rock
Small Group Ministry Workshop

Saturday, October 8, 2011
8:30 am to 4:30 pm
THIS WORKSHOP IS OPEN TO THE ENTIRE UUA METRO DISTRICT

WHO SHOULD ATTEND?
- Current SGM facilitators (especially those who have been doing this for years)
- Anyone thinking about becoming a facilitator
- Anyone who wants to learn how SGM helps us grow spiritually while deepening our connections to others

WHAT WILL WE COVER?
This SGM workshop goes beyond the nuts and bolts to explore the twin purposes of SGM-community and spiritual growth. What is spiritual growth and how do we encourage it? How do we help develop community? What are the foundations of good facilitation? The day will include presentations, discussions, a small group experience, and a chance to learn from other SGM facilitators.

WHO IS LEADING THE WORKSHOP?
Rev. M'Ellen Kennedy, a community minister with over 25 years of experience working with lay-led small groups. Rev. Kennedy is a cofounder of the UU Small Group Ministry Network.

Bagel breakfast at 8:30; workshop starts at 9:00; lunch provided
$15/person includes Meals & Information Packet

Veatch House at UUCSR (48 Shelter Rock Road, Manhasset, NY 11030)
For directions: www.uucsr.org | For more info: smallgroupministry@uucsr.org
Flier and Registration form




Healing and Transformation in Small Groups
Saturday, September 24, 2011
9 AM to 4:30 PM
Registration, coffee and light breakfast starting at 8:30

Hosted by the First Church in Barre Universalist
19 Church St, Barre, Vermont
Rev. Dr. M'ellen Kennedy, Leader

WORKSHOP PURPOSE: In the past decade many congregations have adopted Small Group Ministry or Covenant Groups to address the needs of friendship and spiritual growth among people in our congregations. This workshop is aimed at facilitators who are eager to take the group experience to a higher level. The focus of our day will be exploring the question, “What leads to healing and transformation in small groups?” We'll cover topics such as inviting epiphanies; what is spiritual growth and what nurtures it; cultivating respect; creating a compassionate group environment; developing your presence as a facilitator; using all of our capacities as facilitators - heart and mind, left and right hemispheres; facilitation as a spiritual practice; how to recover after goofs and engender a forgiving group environment. The workshop will help You enjoy facilitating more and make the group experience as transformational and vitalizing as possible for Yourself and the other participants. We'll end with how to bring this powerful work back to our congregations and out into our aching, broken world. (Please note that we won't be covering the how-to's and basics of SGM).

WHO SHOULD ATTEND: The workshop is aimed primarily at facilitators who have some experience (preferably at least a year). It works very well to have in the mix a few inexperienced people (such as new facilitators or board members) who can learn from and be carried along by the more experienced members. So, a few inexperienced folks are welcome to participate with a prior okay from Rev. Kennedy.

LEADER: Rev. Dr. M'ellen Kennedy is passionate about the power of Small Groups to feed our souls and help heal our ills. Her doctoral dissertation at the University of Illinois was on worldview transformation in small groups. She has been involved with lay led small groups for over 30 years as a facilitator, trainer, organizer, researcher and writer. Participants tend to love her workshop and come away with fresh perspectives and renewed enthusiasm about their work as facilitators. Rev. Kennedy is a co-founder of the UU Small Group Ministry Network, and started and served for four years as editor of the Small Group Ministry Quarterly. She lives in Vermont where she serves three Universalist congregations in Barre, Strafford and Washington.

Directions: The church is at the corner of South Main and Church Street (corner of Route 302 and Route 14). It's the only white church bordering the city park in the center of town and the only one with a clock in its steeple.

Registration& Lunch: The workshop is free to members and friends of the First Church in Barre Universalist. For others, the fee, which includes an information packet, is $35 for one person and $ 25 for each additional person from the same congregation. $10 for seminarians. Soup will be served. Please register by September 21, 2011. The registration form is attached or downloadable at http://www.firstchurchbarreuu.org/small_groups.html.




SMALL GROUP MINISTRY SUMMER INSTITUTE
August 30-September 2, 2011
Camp deBenneville Pines, Angelus Oaks, CA
Registration Information

An Institute designed for:

  • Individuals & teams from congregations of all sizes
  • Youth and young adults
  • New and experienced program organizers, facilitators, ministers, religious educators, and other congregational leaders

As participants, you will:

  • Learn about and practice Small Group Ministry through hands-on workshops, presentations, daily group sessions, worship, and networking
  • Explore the impact of Small Group Ministry/Covenant Groups in congregations
  • Learn to lead your congregation's Small Group Ministry/Covenant Group program
  • Build your facilitator skills, including problem resolution
  • Create and select effective sessions, including the use of art, music, and movement
  • Hone your capacity to build Small Group Ministry for target groups such as elders, armed services personnel, and multi-generational audiences
  • Take home a plan for Small Group Ministry/Covenant Groups specific to your setting
  • Enjoy the facilities, including a swimming pool and other recreational features
    (see http://www.uucamp.org/ )

Institute leaders are directly involved in Small Group Ministry Programs.

Institute Notations: Watch here for additional notes as the planning progresses.
Leaders for various workshops are being drawn from congregations and specific Small Group Ministry Programs. These will be announced here as the program develops.

Program:
* Workshops are designed for new and experienced program organizers, facilitators, ministers, religious educators, and congregational leaders. The week includes presentations, hands-on workshops, daily small group ministry/covenant group sessions, sharing, networking, informal chats, worship.
* We plan on having basic information as well as multiple sessions to explore trends in Small Group Ministry.
* If you or your program has a specific area in which you would like to present from your program, please contact Helen Zidowecki through office@smallgroupministry.net

Travel: There are various ways to get to deBenneville Pines. Last year, people who were flying, came in to Ontario Airport, all arriving between 3-5pm on Monday afternoon, and driving up together in rented cars. Lodging overnight Monday is free, and we bought groceries, as the first meal provided by the camp is Tuesday evening.


Small Group Ministry at General Assembly
June 22-26, 2011        Charlotte, North Carolina

WORKSHOP: Small Group Ministry Across Generations
Thursday, June 23, 2:45-4:00 PM    Convention Center 208 B

Small Group Ministry (SGM) for multi- and inter-generational participants deepens the search for meaning and relationships within congregations. This workshop explores the lifespan covenant group experience and shares successes, challenges and models of implementing Small Group Ministry for all ages, with a focus on families and elders.
Presenters are:
Rev. Helen Zidowecki, author of materials on SGM for all ages
Gail Forsyth-Vail, UUA Adult Programs Director, author of SGM books for children
Jessica York, UUA Youth Resources Director, author of SGM book for youth
Rev. Carie Johnsen, developed SGM resources for UUSC, and in Augusta, ME


UU SMALL GROUP MINISTRY NETWORK BOOTH #922 - Exhibit Hall
Wednesday 3:00-7:00 pm & 8:45-10:00 pm
Thursday through Saturday 11:30 pm - 7:00 pm
Sunday 10:00 am - 2:00 pm

» Purchase resources: facilitation, program management, sessions
» Share Small Group Ministry/Covenant Group challenges and successes
» Speak with Network board members and SGM program leaders
» Get answers to all your SGM & Covenant Group questions

UU SMALL GROUP MINISTRY NETWORK ANNUAL MEETING
Breakfast Meeting, Saturday, June 25, 7:30-8:30 am
Charlotte Westin Dining Room, 601 South College Street

Meet the Network Board and other Network members. Share your ideas for the Network: what you have found helpful as well as suggestions for next year. Please let us know if you will attend so we can include you in the reservation. Breakfast will be on your own. You are welcome to join us even if you are not eating breakfast.

Check the Network Booth for the full agenda and any last-minute changes, or contact office@smallgroupministry.net


Advanced FacilitationWorkshop
For Small Group Ministry

Saturday, February 26, 2011
First Unitarian Society of Newton
1326 Washington Street, West Newton, MA 02465
Registration and Coffee at 8:30
Workshop 9 - 4:30

The twin purposes of Small Group Ministry (or Covenant Groups) are friendship and spiritual growth. What is spiritual friendship? How do we as facilitators foster this sacred relationship? What is spiritual growth? How do we encourage this crucial and subtle process? Have You been facilitating a group for at least a year and a half and mastered the basics? If so and if You're looking for inspiration, support and challenge to enrich your service as a group facilitator, this workshop is for You. It will include didactic presentations and discussions on the foundations of facilitation such as presence, radical respect and non-coercion. The day will include an opening worship and small group experiences on themes related to your development as a facilitator. Small Groups are healing our broken, aching world ten at a time. Your role as a facilitator is vital in this healing work. I hope You'll join us for a day devoted to strengthening and celebrating your ministry as a group facilitator.

Leader: Rev. Dr. M'ellen Kennedy is a Small Group Ministry Consultant, co-founder of the SGM Network, an interfaith minister and community psychologist who has worked with lay-led small groups for over 25 years, offering training to hundreds of lay and professional leaders. If you have questions about the program, please contact Rev. Kennedy at mellenken@aol.com or 802-453-5469.

Directions: The First Unitarian Society in Newton, is located at 1326 Washington Street in West Newton, Massachusetts, at the corner of Washington and Highland streets. FUSN is across from the Newton police station, near the West Newton Cinema, where Route 16 crosses the Mass. Turnpike.

Fee, Registration & Lunch: The workshop fee, which includes an information packet, is $40 for one person and $35 for each additional person from the same congregation. $20 for seminarians. (sheet on next page). Please register by February 22, 2011. Pleaes bring your own sack lunch or a potlcuk item to share.

Download flier and registration




January 2011 The four sessions of trainings planned by Peter Bowden did not occur due to technical problems. However, Peter has made the material from the planned sessions available. Contact him for more direct information at "Peter Bowden" peterfbowden@gmail.com


Southwest District Leadership Training, November 12 - 14, 2010
Small Group Ministry (AKA Covenant Groups)
Starting, Restarting, or Enhancing Your Program

This training track will cover the basics of how to plan, implement and sustain a successful program. Workshop leaders are Rev. Helen Zidowecki, from Augusta, Maine, Rev. Steve Crump, and Diana Dorroh, both from Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Churches are encouraged to send a team of 2-4 people, including a youth leader or advisor and a minister if possible. Bring your own successes and challenges to share. Topics will include:
* Benefits of small group ministry to your congregation, your members, and the world
* Structure to support your church's program
* Roles and Resources of: Program Director, Minister and other religious professionals, and lay leadership
* Developing and Deepening Group Experience: Things to consider, options and guidelines, cycles of groups
* Facilitator Identification, Selection, Training and Support
* Multi-and Intergenerational covenant groups, including groups for youth
* Selecting and Critiquing Sessions
* Small Group Ministry and Growth
* Assessment and ongoing development of Small Group Ministry in your congregation

To register:
http://swuuc.org/pages/services/conferences/fall-leadership-training.php



The Art of Small Group Ministry Facilitation
Friday Morning, October 29, 2010,
Faith United Methodist Church, Champaign IL
Presented by Rev. M'ellen Kennedy

For more information, please contact Rev. Kennedy at mellenken@aol.com or 802-453-5469.


NORTHERN NEW ENGLAND DISTRICT
SMALL GROUP MINISTRY WORKSHOPS

Saturday, October 2, 2010 (10am-3pm) Unitarian Universalist Church of Saco/Biddeford, Saco, ME

Saturday, October 16, 2010 (10am-3pm) Western part of the District, probably Vermont
Cost: $15 first person from a congregation; $10 for additional participants.
Bring a Team!

Topics to be considered:
*Unitarian Universalist Small Group Ministry continentally and in Northern New England
*Factors for success in Small Group Ministry
*Addressing Challenges discussed at the Spring Conference, including

Increasing interest and participation from the congregation.
Having diverse participation (including gender and age) with general and/or targeted groups.
Developing and maintaining leadership, from Steering Committee to Facilitators.
Planning around geographic distribution.
Openness of groups
Structure and flexibility
Service projects
Facilitator recruitment and training/development
Facilitating to meet the challenges of group dynamics

*Starting, Restarting and Rejuvenating Small Group Ministry
*Small Group Ministry Resources, including each other and networking locally
There will be discussions for those starting/restarting Small Group Ministry, as well as for ongoing programs. The format will include presentations, discussions, and working on congregational concerns.

Look for more information here and registration material in the August packet to NNED churches and on the District website

Do you have questions or suggestions? Contact Peg Herbert (603-746-3490, pherb46@tds.net), Helen Zidowecki (207-582-5308, hzmre@hzmre.com), Carol Hayden (854-2112, cdhayhall@maine.rr.com) or Lauren Katz (603-664-9543, mek@metrocast.net)


Small Group Ministry Facilitator Trainings
The same workshop is being offered at THREE locations in New England on three different dates.

Saturday, September 18th, 2010
Hosted by the Unitarian Church of Montpelier, VT


And

Saturday, September 25th, 2010
Hosted by the Keene UU Church, Keene, NH


And

Saturday, October 2nd, 2010
Hosted by the North Parish of North Andover, MA

People come to our churches looking for an opportunity for friendship and spiritual growth. Many congregations have found that a strong Small Group Ministry (SGM) Program is an excellent way to address these pressing needs of both new and long-term members. A key to maintaining a strong SGM Program is on-going support and training for facilitators. This specialized Small Group Ministry or Covenant Group workshop tailored to the needs of aspiring and current group facilitators. Topics will include the power and purpose of Small Group Ministry; the essential components of a strong Small Group Ministry program; developing shared leadership within a small group; dealing with group challenges, and developing your confidence as a facilitator. There will be two actual group experiences focused on topics of concern for facilitators.

Leader: Rev. Dr. M'ellen Kennedy is a Small Group Ministry Consultant and co-founder of the SGM Network. She is a UU community minister and community psychologist who has been working with lay-led small groups for over 25 years. She has offered facilitator training to hundreds of lay and professional leaders and feedback on her workshops has been excellent. The following is a quote from a participant at a workshop offered by Rev. Kennedy in New Hampshire last year.

The workshop was utterly amazing -- informative, helpful, and inspiring!
I am so grateful to you for offering the workshop, and look forward to spreading the word and the concepts.
SGM has such great potential to strengthen, and deepen, the relationships and spirituality in our congregation.
Thank you, thank you, many times over.

For a registration form and more information, please contact Rev. Kennedy at mellenken@aol.com or 802-453-5469.


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

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 22
$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. Contact 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.

See the Flier and Registration materials

Experiences from UU SGM Institute 2010 Participants -- CGN Sept. 2010
Several institute participants wrote notes about their experiences and how attending the Institute will affect their small group ministry programs:
*I went to the Institute with some misgivings about my abilities in getting the program started in my church. I found my answers and I am more confident that I can assist in getting these small groups started. The trip was well worth it and I appreciate the efforts of the staff in making it happen.
- Richard Peterson, Pacific Unitarian Church, Rancho Palo Verdes, California

*The Small Group Ministry Institute at DeBenneville Pines, CA, was well thought through. AT the conclusion of our four days together, I felt confident to be a Chalice Circle facilitator and a trainer of facilitators. The Institute was enlightening as well as practical. We participated in dialogue, experienced meditative listening, practiced facilitation of a covenant group, and wrote a Session Plan, which included learning how to write open ended questions that prompt dialogue. I learned many tools to take back to the Small Group Ministry Program of my congregation.
- Mary Currey, Unitarian Universalist Church of Las Vegas, Nevada

*Wow...where to start. This adventure started with a flight across many miles. It proceeded with a "perilous" drive up the mountain, and ended at our glorious destination surrounded by huge and spectacular fir, pine, and cedar trees. It could have stopped there, but no. Instead we were graced with the company of 20+ wonderful human beings, sharing some wonderful insights into small group ministry. With the in-depth study of the process from beginning to end, along with a few new pearls, one could not help but be inspired! That was only the beginning. We were each assigned our own small group. For me, our first meeting felt like "being home." With commitment to deep listening (or meditative listening...not my coin) and deep sharing, we all seemed to grow and were each inspired to a new level of dedication to our ministry as facilitators to small groups. Thank you Helen and Diana for both presenting and listening. Thank you de Benneville Pines! MiJa Thompson, Unitarian Church, Baton Rouge, Louisiana
*THANKS Diana for assisting Helen with the institute. You were energizing for me as well. I am still excited about the whole process and looking forward to putting it all into practice soon.
- Michelle Melancon UUC Riverside, California

In response to your request for comments on the institute --- It gave me exactly what I needed to set up a Small Group Ministry program for our congregation, which has never had one before. I came with a lot of questions and uncertainty and left with a feeling of "I can do this." Thanks!
- Loretta Carmickle , UU Congregation of Green Valley, Amado, Arizona

CGN October 2010 Comments from Ariel Sublett, Participant at the UU Small Group Ministry Institute 2010,August 31 - September 3, deBenneville Pines CA
I did not know what to expect going in to the Small Group Ministry Institute. I had never been to a UU camp before, and I was fairly new to facilitating a small group. I went anyway because I'm fairly spontaneous and it sounded like a fun experience. I wound up coming away from camp with so much, I find it hard to touch on everything when I try to share with others.
We were broken into 4 small groups, and it amazed me how quickly and easily I felt comfortable with these people I just met. We learned about each other and we learned from each other. One afternoon we had to write a session plan together, and it was a really interesting process. We worked so well together, and the brainstorming process was fun. I've already used our session plan in my group back home, and everyone enjoyed it.
I felt very fortunate to have Patrick Block in my group because with him he brought a completely new idea, that of no crosstalk. I was skeptical and resistant to the idea at first, but when Patrick led our group and let us experience this new kind of listening, it was an amazing spiritual experience. I had never been in a group like that before. I wanted to share it with everyone I know, but unfortunately it's one of those things you can't describe. People have to experience it for themselves.
I've tried to bring the model back to my own small group, but it's not quite the same. It might be easier to implement with a brand new group. Maybe it just needs to be tweaked a little for my group. My time at the institute gave me so much to think about, but if I had to take away just one thing, it's that there are so many different ways of doing small group ministry. Play around and find what works best for you and your small group or congregation.


UU Cluster of Central North Carolina
Small Group Ministry Facilitator Training

Saturday, August 28, 2010, 9 AM - 4 PM at The Community Church of Chapel Hill, UU, Chapel Hill, NC. Jointly sponsored by Community Church and The UU Small Group Ministry Network. Presenter: Susan Hollister, SGM Network Board Member. Designed for new and experienced facilitators and program coordinators, as well as ministers and congregation leaders starting a covenant group program. For more information and a registration form, contact Liz Bryan, Registrar, at 410-348-5221 or liz_bryan@hotmail.com. Registrants outside the cluster are welcome as space allows.



The Network at General Assembly 2010
June 23-27, Minneapolis, MN

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. 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
Facilitator Training

Saturday, September 19, 2009,
9 AM to 4:15 PM

Registration & Coffee at 8:30

Hosted by the Unitarian Church of Montpelier, VT

People come to our churches looking for an opportunity for friendship and spiritual growth. Many congregations have found that a strong Small Group Ministry (SGM) Program is an excellent way to address these pressing needs of both new and long-term members. A key to maintaining a strong SGM Program is on-going support and training for facilitators. The Unitarian Church of Montpelier is pleased to host this specialized Small Group Ministry or Covenant Group workshop tailored to the needs of aspiring and current group facilitators. Topics will include the power and purpose of Small Group Ministry; the essential components of a strong Small Group Ministry program; developing shared leadership within a small group; dealing with group challenges, and developing your confidence as a facilitator. There will be two actual group experiences focused on topics of concern for facilitators.

Leader: Rev. Dr. M'ellen Kennedy is a Small Group Ministry Consultant and co-founder of the SGM Network. She is a UU community minister and community psychologist who has been working with lay-led small groups for over 25 years. She has offered facilitator training to hundreds of lay and professional leaders.

Get flier here


FACILITATING SMALL GROUP MINISTRY
Saturday, October 10—10:00 - 4:00
Unitarian Universalists of Harford County-Churchville, MD

A workshop for program coordinators and facilitators who wish to:

Establish a Small Group Ministry program in their congregation
(Sessions 1 and 2)
Enhance facilitator training in established SGM programs
(Sessions 3 and 4)

10:00-10:15 Registration
10:15-11:15 Session 1—Introduction to Small Group Ministry
11:30-12:30 Session 2—The Covenant Process & SGM Experience

Lunch

1:30- 2:30 Session 3-Cultivating the Facilitator as Spiritual Leader
2:45- 4:00 Session 4-Key Success Factors-Coordinators and Facilitators—Questions and Answers

Presenters:
Ann Davis, Former Steering Committee Member, Coordinator, and Facilitator at UU Society of Mill Creek, Newark, DE Current Facilitator and Steering Committee Member at UU Fellowship at Easton, Easton, MD

Susan Hollister, Small Group Ministry Steering Team, Past Program Coordinator at Main Line Unitarian Church, Devon, PA.
Treasurer, Small Group Ministry Network

Helen Popenoe, Facilitator and most recent SGM Convener, River Road UU Congregation, Bethesda, MD

Get flier here
Vist the website: http://www.jpduua.org/


Sunday, August 16 to Friday, August 21, 2009
The Mountain, Highlands, NC

UU Small Group Ministry Institute 2009

Several congregations are planning on sending teams of people involved in their Small Group Ministry programs to The Mountain conference. Congregations have found it helpful for more than one person to attend:

there are more opportunities available to congregations; integrating the learnings from the conference may become clearer with the discussion; planning for ‘going home' may be done while the energy and information from the conference is fresh.

The 2009 Institute incorporates the varied ways that Small Group Ministry/Covenant Groups enhance our congregations and Unitarian Universalism. There will be general information and in depth sessions around special focuses (example: facilitation or coordination). We will be including resources and developments in the last year.

We are looking for emerging trends and uses of Small Group Ministry. We will have opportunities for participants to present seminars from their own experiences. This distinguishes an Institute from a conference!

AND we will have several hours each day to enjoy what The Mountain has to offer! There are trails on The Mountain and additional trails and other side trips nearby. The food is great. Visit the web site at http://www.mountaincenters.org/

The costs this year are $500 for the lodging and program costs. There is a discount or $25 for registering by July 1, and a $30 discount to UU Small Group Ministry Network members (individual or congregational). We are aware of the cost of the conference. Please consider this as an investment in the Small Group Ministry program in your congregation.

While the early time for registering is July 1, we would appreciate hearing of your interest in attending and what you would like us to be sure to include. This will also help us in planning.

Get flier here
Get registration here


The Network at General Assembly!

General Assembly is one of the most exciting times for the UU Small Group Ministry Network. We - Network members and others -- have an opportunity to share what Small Group Ministry and Covenant Groups mean to us and to our congregations. There is so much to say about what we have been doing as well as our hopes and visions. Together, we move Small Group Ministry and Covenant Groups forward. See you at GA in Salt Lake City, June 24-28, 2009!

WORKSHOP # 3020 - Facilitator Training: The Key to Small Group Ministry Success
Sponsored by the GA Planning Committee
Friday 6:45 - 8:00 PM      Salt Palace - 151 BC

Small Group Ministry facilitators must be chosen wisely, trained well, and supported in their ministry. We will provide a concrete plan for designing and implementing a comprehensive in-house SGM facilitator training and development program. The minister's role in sharing and blessing this ministry will be a special focus.

  • Identifying and Recruiting Facilitators - Rev. Melissa Carvill-Ziemer, minister of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Kent, Ohio
  • The Initial Training - Rev. Dr. Justin Osterman, senior minister of the Main Line Unitarian Church, Devon, Pennsylvania
  • Facilitators Meetings - Rev. Bret Lortie, minister of the First Church of San Antonio, Texas
  • Individual Facilitator Coaching - Diana Dorroh, SGM Program Director of the Unitarian Church of Baton Rouge, Louisiana
  • Leadership Recognition - All

BOOTH # 430 - Exhibit Hall, Salt Palace Convention Center
Your headquarters for:
Resources on facilitation and program management
Opportunities to share SGM challenges and successes
Answers to your SGM & Covenant Group questions

ANNUAL MEETING - Saturday, June 27, 12:00 - 1:00 PM Meeting
Bring your lunch and Come to the Annual Meeting! Become directly involved with the vision and planning for the Network. Connect with other Covenant Group enthusiasts, learn more about the SGM Network, and get involved in Network activities. Meeting location and final agenda will be available at the Booth.

  1. Welcome, Introductions, Opening Words
  2. Minutes of the 2008 Annual Meeting
  3. President's Report: SGM Network status and activities
  4. Financial Report
  5. Nominating Committee report
  6. Election of Board Members
  7. Future Plans
  8. Open Discussion: SGM Network programs
  9. Opportunities with Network projects & activities
  10. Closing Words

NEW CONFERENCE

The Art & Skill of Facilitation For Small Group Ministry
Saturday, June 6, 2009          9AM to 4:15PM

Hosted by the Unitarian Universalist Church of Manchester, NH

Small Group Ministry or Covenant Groups are a powerful approach for making our congregations more vibrant, dynamic and healthy. The groups provide an opportunity for members to building friendships and explore spiritual topics. One of the keys to creating and maintaining strong groups is skillful facilitation.

The UU Church of Manchester is pleased to host this brand new workshop for aspiring and current group facilitators of Small Group Ministry (SGM) or Covenant Groups. The workshop is tailored to the needs and concerns of group facilitators, both new and experienced. In the course of the day we'll cover the following: an overview of SGM, building your confidence as a facilitator, listening, the values and assumptions underlying effective facilitation, preventing and addressing group problems, and additional resources for facilitators. You'll have the opportunity to participate in two actual group experiences focused on topics of concern for developing facilitators.

The workshop leader is Rev. Dr. M'ellen Kennedy, a Small Group Ministry Consultant and co-founder of the SGM Network. She is a UU community minister and community psychologist who has been working with lay-led small groups for over 25 years. She has offered facilitator training to hundreds of lay and professional leaders and feedback on her workshops has been excellent. The following is a quote from a participant at a workshop offered by Rev. Kennedy in New Hampshire last year.

Get flier here


"Building and Sustaining a Strong Small Group Ministry Program"
Saturday, March 14, 2009 9:30 am - 4:30 pm (Snow Date: Saturday April 4, 2009)
Registration and coffee from 9:00 - 9:30 a.m.
All Souls Church UU, 29 South Street, Brattleboro, VT 05303
Get flier here


Saturday, February 7 and Sunday, February 8, 2009
Unitarian Universalist Congregation in Caribou, Maine

"Small Group Ministry in Changing Times"
Rev. Helen Zidowecki
This workshop introduces Small Group Ministry, and its role in strengthening congregations and providing outreach for Unitarian Universalism as a liberal religious presence in a community.
*Changing Times. What is the vision for Unitarian Universalist congregations? Considering the world and economic situations, how do we create "islands of stability" for now and the future?
*Introduction to Small Group Ministry. Experience a Small Group Ministry Session, and reflect on the possibilities.
*Small Group Ministry in Congregation. What are the "basics" of Small Group Ministry, the structure and logistics, and the role of facilitators?
*Small Group Ministry Session
*The Liberal Religious Presence in the larger community. How is or can Small Group Ministry be an outreach mechanism beyond the congregation?
Added section:
Orientation for Facilitators. This is an overview of the role of the Small Group Ministry facilitator, resources and support for facilitators, and facilitator-minister collaboration. This will also be an orientation for facilitators for the Sunday morning Small Group Ministry Session.
Contact: Helen Zidowecki, hzmre@hzmre.com or 207-582-5308

CONFERENCE REPORT:
Twenty-two people from Caribou and Houlton congregations (Caribou 19, Houlton 3) participated in the workshop. The Small Group Ministry Sessions were geared toward considering difficult issues facing the congregations while providing a experience of a session. The Sunday sermon included vision and mission and the components of "doing church". Following the service, the small group ministry session was facilitated by people who were interested in facilitating groups in Caribou. Sermon is available from Helen Zidowecki.


"Building and Sustaining a Strong Small Group Ministry Program"
Saturday, February 7, 2009 9:30 am - 4:30 pm

Mattatuck UU Society, 122 S. Pomperaug Ave., Woodbury, CT
Rev. Dr. M'ellen Kennedy
Get the full flier here


Saturday, January 10, 2009,
Unitarian Universalist Small Group Ministry Facilitator Training

PLANO, TX, Community Unitarian Church of Plano
Program 9:00 am - 3:00pm, doors open at 8am
Presenter: Peter Bowden, UU Small Group Ministry Consultant
This training has been designed for congregations launching or re-launching an intentional congregation-wide small group ministry with synchronized session-based groups. That is, a network of ministry groups coordinated by the minister(s) and a steering committee with all groups using the same session-based content.

The training will include:

  • The vision and purpose of small group ministry
  • Presentation of the congregation-wide session based model
  • Essential skills and practices for small group facilitators
  • Group dynamics and life cycle of small group ministries
  • Approaches to common group challenges
  • The role of ongoing coaching and training
  • The transformational role of service and action in group life
  • Question and answer sessions

Peter Bowden is a Unitarian Universalist consultant specializing in small group ministry and UU outreach and evangelism. Peter is one of the founders of the UU Small Group Ministry Network, a national organization and non-profit dedicated to supporting small group ministries within our movement. Through this network and independently Peter has led workshops on small group ministry throughout New England, at General Assemblies, at Ferry Beach and Star Island. You may read more about Peter's work and this event at his site uuplanet.com.

Cost: $ 30.00 per person, or $ 25.00 per person for congregational teams of three (3) or more. Lunch provided.
Registration: Registration limited to 60 participants.
To register download registration form at http://www.uuplanet.com/events/jan10-2008
For local information, contact the Rev. Patrick Price at: RevPprice@CommunityUUChurch.org or go to CommunityUUChurch.org.


 “Small Group Ministry Facilitator Training”

This all day advanced workshop will be offered at two locations.

  • Friday, October 3, 6:30 –8:30 PM (Intro for those new to SGM)
    Saturday, October 4, 2008, 9-4:30
    Unitarian Universalist Church of Portsmouth South Church, Portsmouth, NH

  • Saturday, October 25, 2008
    Hosted by the First Church in Barre, Universalist, Barre, Vt

This workshop is for those with some prior exposure to Small Group Ministry who want to focus on developing their understanding of and skill in group facilitation.  It is open to both new and experienced facilitators.  Topics will include facilitation as a spiritual practice, developmental stages of facilitators and of groups, dealing with group challenges and the values and theological assumptions underlying facilitation.  There will be two actual group experiences focused on topics of concern for developing facilitators. (For the Workshop in Portsmouth has those without prior experience with SGM are welcome to attend a Friday evening “Introduction Session” after which they are welcome to join the event on Saturday.

Leader: Rev. M’ellen Kennedy is a Small Group Ministry consultant and co-founder of the SGM Network.  She has been teaching small group facilitation for over 20 years and feedback on her workshops has been excellent.  She has offered facilitator training to hundreds of lay and professionals leaders.

See the description on the previous page for more biographical info. 

Registration and Cost: The fee which includes lunch, is $40 for one person and $35 for each additional person from the same congregation.  $10 additional charge for Friday night in Portsmouth. For a registration info contact Rev. Kennedy at melllenken@aol.com.

Leader:  Rev. Dr. M'ellen Kennedy is a Small Group Ministry Consultant.  She is a UU community minister and community psychologist. who has been working with lay-led small groups for over 20 years


"Building and Sustaining a Strong Small Group Ministry Program"
With Rev. M'ellen Kennedy

This all day workshop will be offered multiple times At the following dates and locations in the fall:

  • Saturday, September 13, 2008 Hosted by All Souls Church, Greenfield, MA
  • Saturday, September 20, 2008 Hosted by the Unitarian Society of New Haven, CT
  • Saturday, September 27, 2008 Hosted by the First Unitarian Universalist Society of Albany, NY

Many Unitarian Universalist congregations are trying Small Group Ministry (or Covenant Groups) as a way to strengthen congregations. This workshop is for lay and professional leaders who are 1) beginning a Small Group Ministry Program or 2) who are in an existing programs in need of revitalization and/or 3) who are seeking inspiration and ideas on how to expand and grow an existing program. The following topics will be covered: the power and purpose of Small Group Ministry; the essential components of a strong Small Group Ministry program; addressing common challenges in an SGM program; developing shared leadership within a small group; handling group difficulties; and a hands-on experience in an actual small group.

Leader: Rev. Dr. M'ellen Kennedy is a Small Group Ministry Consultant. She is a UU community minister and community psychologist. who has been working with lay-led small groups for over 20 years. She has offered facilitator training to hundreds of lay and professionals leaders.

Following is a comment from an attendees at this workshop which was offered at First Congregational Unitarian Church, Concord, NH, Fall 2007. "The workshop was utterly amazing - informative, helpful, and inspiring! I am so grateful to you for offering the workshop, and look forward to spreading the word and the concepts. SGM has such great potential to strengthen, and deepen, the relationships and spirituality in our congregation. Thank you, thank you, many times over."

Registration and Cost: The registration cost. which includes lunch, is from $35 to $40 per person. For more info contact Rev. M'ellen Kennedy at mellenken@aol.com


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

At the Small Group Ministry Institute at The Mountain in August 42 participants and leaders came from 24 congregations shared the power of Small Group Ministry, using the basic elements as the basis for implementation, and gaining deeper insight into the profound changes that can occur within congregations because of Small Group Ministry. Congregations represented the continuum from exploring starting a program to having a program for over 10 years, from newer congregations to those closer to 200 years old, from under 100 members to over 800 members, and from a broad geographic spread. The diversity added richness to the interactions.. See Small Group Sessions for plans developed at the Institute.

CA (Santa Barbara), DC, FL (Bradenton), IA (Davenport), IL (Peoria), IN (Bloomington), LA (Baton Rouge), ME (Augusta), MD (Columbia), MN (Minneapolis), NC: (Ashville, Brevard, Chapel Hill, Charlotte/(Piedmont, Durham/Eon River, Winston-Salem), NY: Brooklyn/Society for Ethical Culture, Stony Brook), OH (Cleveland/West Shore), PA (Boiling Springs, Devon), SC (Greenville), TN (Chattanooga, Gray)


UU SMALL GROUP MINISTRY NETWORK AT GENERAL ASSEMBLY

The Small Group Ministry Network is planning the following activities at General Assembly in Fort Lauderdale, June 25-29, 2008. Check at the Booth for updates and additional information.

ANNUAL MEETING

The Annual Meeting of the UU Small Group Ministry Network is scheduled for Saturday, June 28, 1:30 PM.

EXHIBIT HALL: Please visit us in the exhibit hall at BOOTH #432

Resources, opportunities to talk with people about Small Group Ministry and Covenant Groups, share what is working and what the challenges are for you.

Visit our boothIn addition to the many ongoing resources, there will be new items:

*Behind the Scenes: Implementing Small Group Ministry, a compilation of materials from the SGMN web site and Covenant Group News, with some new material (for sale);

*Directories of resources on and linked with the SGMN website and of Small Group Ministry/Covenant Group Sessions;

*A Prototype of a Facilitator’s Manual and a request for your input on what needs to be included.

Booth Chats are being planned. We appreciate the interest in sharing ideas around specific parts of Small Group Ministry. If you have a topic to suggest for a chat of up to a half hour with possibility of ongoing discussion, please contact us at Office@smallgroupministry.net with your suggestion, something that you have to share, and a suggested time.


WORKSHOP
#3058 Strategies and Solutions for Small Group Ministry Challenges
Friday, 3:15-4:30 pm    Convention Center Grand Floridian F
GA Planning Committee, Small Group Ministry Network

Many congregations are using Small Group Ministry to meet the needs for intimacy and spiritual growth. We will provide strategies to successfully run programs to prevent and avoid common pitfalls. We’ll focus particularly on handling “extra grace needed members,” and hidden cultural biases that can limit program effectiveness.

Presenters are: Diana Dorroh, Baton Rogue, LA; Rev. Russ Savage, Bethesda, MD, Steve Becker, Seattle, WA



Small Group Ministry: Building and Strengthening Programs
Saturday, March 1, 2008
9:00 am - 4:00 pm
Main Line Unitarian Church, Devon, Pennsylvania

The Joseph Priestley District and Main Line Unitarian Church are pleased to offer this workshop for congregations starting new Small Group Ministry/Covenant Group programs and those with established programs. Conference leaders are Rev. Helen Zidowecki and Diana Dorroh of the UU Small Group Ministry Network. The workshop will cover essential elements of small group ministry, start-up basics, facilitator training, strengthening existing programs, and advanced facilitator skills. This conference is designed for program coordinators, ministers, and new and experienced facilitators.

The Small Group Ministry (SGM) movement is continuing to grow in Unitarian Universalist Churches as groups of ten gather with a facilitator to consider issues of spirituality, life stories and challenges. Small Group Ministry strengthens congregations by building connections among individuals, engendering compassion and supporting commitment to serve. Whether you are considering starting SGM or have an established program, join us for a full day of training and inspiration to further your efforts in SGM. A special focus will be on developing skills of current facilitators.

Diana Dorroh, Program Director and Rev. Steve Crump have led the Baton Rouge Program since it’s beginning in 1999. She participated in several workshops organized by Rev. Bob Hill. Her special interest is in using small group ministry to strengthen and grow congregations. She currently serves as volunteer staff at the Unitarian Church of Baton Rouge. Diane is President of the Small Group Ministry Network Board.

Rev. Helen Zidowecki has been involved with Small Group Ministry for 10 years in Maine and in the Augusta congregation, where she is a facilitator and on the Topic Committee. Her special interest is Small Group Ministry in Lifespan Faith Development, and as a process in changing congregations. She was the Program Consultant for the Northeast District until July 2007. Helen resides in Litchfield, ME.

REPORT: Fifty-six participants from sixteen congregations in the Joseph Priestley District shared the experiences and excitement of small group ministry and covenant groups as they moved through logistics related to emerging and existing programs.



Beyond The Basics:
A Gathering and Training for Leaders of Mature Small Group Ministry Programs
Saturday, February 23, 2008, 10am - 4pm
First Universalist Chapel Society, Woodstock, VT

This workshop is aimed at lay and professional leaders working with functioning SGM programs -- that is programs that have been in existence for at least a year. It will be an opportunity to gather for mutual support, in depth sharing and advanced training. Registrants will be asked to bring materials to share from the successes and challenges of their programs. This program is being organized by the NH/VT Small Group Ministry Committee.

REPORT: On Saturday, February 23. Fifteen lay and professional leaders from eight congregations relished in the opportunity for an all day advanced training. They loved being together, learning from each other and sharing an actual SGM experience.



January 12, 2008
Building and Sustaining a Strong Small Group Ministry Program
Northshore Unitarian Universalist Church, Danvers, MA
9:00 a.m. Registration and coffee 9:30 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. – Workshop

For: Congregations starting new programs and those with existing programs

Topics:

  • the power and purpose of Small Group Ministry
  • the essential components of a Small Group Ministry program
  • addressing common challenges – handling group difficulties
  • developing shared leadership within a small group
  • development stages of facilitators and groups
  • a hands on experience in an actual small group

Workshop Leader: the Rev. Dr. M'ellen Kennedy – UU community minister, community psychologist; co-founder and coordinator of the UU Small Group Ministry Network; editor, "Small Group Ministry Quarterly"; consulting minister for the Universalist Society in Strafford, Vermont.

Cost: $40 for first member of a church; $35 for each additional person



June 20-24, 2007, General Assembly, Portland. OR
The UU Small Group Ministry Network Is Offering the Following Workshops:

#2043 Emerging Models ofSmall Group Ministry
Thursday, June 21, 1-2:15 PM, Rooms D133-134

Congregations across our denomination are developing successful and exciting variations on Small Group Ministry or Covenant Groups. This panel of members and friends of the Small Group Ministry Network will share our significant innovations including theme groups, short-term groups, groups in the community, use in Religious Education and by religious professionals.

Panelists are Rev. Ken Beldon, Dr. M’ellen Kennedy, Rev. Helen Zidowecki, and others.



#3053 Facilitator Training for Small Group Ministry
Friday, June 22, 2:45-4 PM, Room E145

Small Group Ministry or Covenant Groups are transforming how we do congregational life. One of the challenges that lay and professional leaders face is how to adequately train facilitators. In this workshop, members of the Small Group Ministry Network will share our collective wisdom on what makes for quality leadership development.

Presenters: Dr. M’ellen Kennedy, Rev. Marti Keller, Diana Dorroh and Peter Bowden.



UUSGM Network Annual Meeting

The Annual Meeting of the UU Small Group Ministry Network will be held at GA in Portland. We will vote on a slate of officers for the coming year. Details on the Meeting will be available at the SGM Network Booth.



UUSGM Network Booth #852 “Small Groups, Deep Connections”

The UU Small Group Ministry Network is offering a booth in the Exhibit Hall at General Assembly. Come learn more about Small Group Ministry, receive free consulting about your SGM questions, talk with the experts, hear mini-workshops, join the Network, pick up free materials, purchase materials, meet SGM enthusiasts from around the country, and tell us about your SGM Program. See You there!

Hours: Wednesday: Noon to 7 PM, Thursday through Saturday: 11 AM to 7 PM

Sunday: 9 AM to 4 PM



April 12, 2007 (7-9 PM), Sustaining a Strong Small Group Ministry Program

First Unitarian Congregation of Cleveland, Ohio (21600 Shaker Boulevard, Shaker Heights, Ohio)

Dr. M’ellen Kennedy

This First Unitarian Congregation of Cleveland is pleased to offer a training opportunity for SGM enthusiasts. The workshop will cover the following topics:

- the power and purpose of Small Group Ministry (or Covenant Groups)

- the essential components of a Small Group Ministry program

- addressing common challenges in an SGM program

- developing shared leadership within a small group

- handling group difficulties.

This event will be of particular value to those serving as group leaders or facilitators in a small group ministry program. Others, including professional ministers, those serving on steering committees for SGM programs, or those with an interest in being part of small group ministry are also welcome and will benefit from this workshop.

The workshop leader is the Dr. M'ellen Kennedy, a UU community minister and community psychologist. She is co-founder and co-coordinator of the UU Small Group Ministry Network and serves as editor of this organization's "Small Group Ministry Quarterly." Dr. Kennedy has been working with lay led small groups for over 20 years and has offered facilitator training to hundreds of lay and professionals leaders. She also serves as a consulting minister for the Universalist Society in Strafford, VT.



January 6th, 2007, A Meeting for SGM Leaders,  First Parish in Wayland, MA , 9:00 am to Noon

Come, share information about:

How we organize and publicize our groups

Successful topics we each have developed

Advertising the program

Sharing of stories and tricks of the trade

R.S.V.P. by email or mail. Send your name, contact data, and congregation to:
Sandy Hoyt, First Parish in Wayland, P. O. Box 397,Wayland, MA 01778



November 12, 2006, Baton Rouge, LA
Southwest District Conference Fall conference Successes and Challenges of Covenant Groups

Workshop leaders: Jonalu Johnstone and Diana Dorroh. Bring your stories. We will start with a brief review of the critical factors for successful covenant groups and then hear your stories and take time to do some troubleshooting and support. Wrap-up will include identifying some of the themes and common elements in our challenges and successes.



December 8-10, 2006 Rindge, NH

Small Group Ministry and Worship Leadership Weekend, Sponsored by the New Hampshire/Vermont District Church Leadership Committee. M’ellen Kennedy will be the instructors on Small Group Ministry. Register by Nov. 20th. Total cost $200 including room and board.



CENTER Day and General Assembly St. Louis, MO
June 19-21, CENTER Day (For Ministers) in St. Louis, MO

The UUSGM Network will be offering the following workshop for religious professionals at CENTER Day on June 20, 2006.

The Possibilities and Perplexities of Small Group Ministry

More than half of our congregations have tried Small Group Ministry (SGM) or Covenant Groups as a way of meeting the needs for intimacy and spiritual growth. Groups hold the promise for revitalizing our churches. Yet many of us are encountering challenges and frustrations as we use this approach. This session will provide a candid review of SGM and explore ways to successfully run programs to prevent and avoid some of the common pitfalls. We’ll explore the hidden, cultural biases that can limit program effectiveness. We’ll invite sharing with colleagues on their views of and experiences with SGM.

Presenters will be Dr. M'ellen Kennedy, MDiv, Rev. Helen Zidowecki, and Rev. Marti Keller.



June 21-25, 2006, General Assembly
#2003 Small Group Ministry: Enhancing Faith in Action
Northeast District
Thursday, June 22, 8 - 9:15 AM, America ’s Center 242

Explore how Small Group Ministry enhances service to the congregation and the larger community and how service vitalizes Small Group Ministry. Explore the connection, share your stories. Faith in action is a result of spiritual community and connectedness.

Presenters: Rev. Judith Smith-Valley, Rev. Helen Zidowecki



#3021 Introduction to Small Group Ministry
UU Small Group Ministry Network
Friday, June 23, 11AM –12:15 PM, America’s Center 266

Small Group Ministry (SGM) or Covenant Groups are being used successfully in hundreds of congregations to build community and encourage deeper spiritual exploration. This workshop will provide an introduction to SGM, how and why it works, and to the essential components of a healthy SGM program.

Presenters: M’ellen Kennedy, Elizabeth Barrett, Rev. Marti Keller



#3049 Accessing Women’s Heritage Through Small Group Ministry
UU Women ’s Heritage Society
Friday, June 23, 2:15 – 3:30 PM, America’s Center 262

Experience and develop Small Group Ministry Sessions that bring the lives and words of UU women to today’s congregations. Balance historic information and dialogue to create materials to use in your own setting, and ways to engage your own story. Take-home packers will be available. Presenters: Rev. Helen Zidowecki, Phyllis Rickter



#3082 Strengthening Existing Small Group Ministry Programs
UU Small Group Ministry Network
Friday, June 23, 4-5:15 PM, America ’s Center 241
#4022 Repeat Programming Sat., June 24 8:30-9:45 AM,

America’s Center 262

Small Group Ministry or Covenant Groups, are transforming our congregations by encouraging deeper spiritual growth and the development of friendships. This workshop will focus on the leverage points for strengthening or revitalizing an existing program. We will explore how to maintain a healthy program and avoid and overcome common pitfalls.

Presenters: M’ellen Kennedy, Rev. Helen Zidowecki.



Experience Covenant Groups at General Assembly 2006

General Assembly 2006 in St. Louis will offer dedicated time and space for Covenant Groups to meet. Covenant Groups at GA 2004 in Long Beach and GA 2005 in Fort Worth earned rave reviews from participants, proving to be a highlight of the GA experience for many.

Whether you are an experienced GA attendee or a first-timer, whether you are a member of a Covenant Group in your congregation or Covenant Groups are new to you, this program offers the opportunity to enhance your experience at General Assembly 2006 in St. Louis. If you have facilitated a Covenant Group (or Small Group Ministry by whatever name) in your home congregation for one year or more, you are invited to apply to be a GA Covenant Group facilitator.

Facilitator Training will be provided by staff and board of the UU Small Group Ministry Network.

If you would like to participate, please register on-line. There will be no on-site registration in St. Louis.



November 4-5, 2005, Madison, WI

With forty-nine people in attendance from five states in the Midwest, this conference was a big success. It included a Friday evening and all day Saturday program led by Rev. Calvin Dame and Dr. M’ellen Kennedy. Here are some comments from attendees. Seminary intern Bret Lortie of the UU Society of Geneva, IL, attended with a lay leader, Tom Peters. Bret reports:

Tom and I came away from the conference energized and armed with some great ideas.

Since I'm an intern, I'm glad to have brought a key lay leader along: he's going to be able to follow up more than I can since he's here for the long haul. Dick and Mary Ramsdell, Board members of the Unitarian Congregation of Rock County, Janesville, WI, write: “Thank you so much for the workshop. We are members of a small, emerging church where each of us wear many hats and are becoming tired out. Your presentation on Small Group Ministry has been energizing and instilled us with a desire to bring this program to our congregation. Thank you for sharing your enthusiasm and expertise.”

Joyce Carey, of First Unitarian Society of Madison reports: The highlight for me was a one-hour mini-covenant group, one of seven that met in various locations in the church. We had a clear agenda to follow, from opening reading, through check-in, discussion and closing. We followed the recommendation that check in be SHORT, and then dove right into the topic, which was fear. Having such a short check in made us think carefully about what we said. It also left most of the hour for discussion, which grew surprisingly deep considering that we were all strangers to each other. It was a great example of how well the recommended format for small groups works in action.



October 29, 2005, Los Angeles, CA

A Report from Carol-jean Teuffel, Santa Monica, CA

On October 29, 2005 the Pacific Southwest District presented, and our Santa Monica Small Group Ministry (SGM) program hosted the workshop “Possibilities of Small Group Ministry” with Dr. M’ellen Kennedy. As a co-founder of the UUSGM Network, M’ellen is passionate in guiding this program’s growth. Seventy-five people attended from Santa Monica, San Diego, Sacramento, Fullerton, Santa Barbara, West Hollywood, and from Arizona. We enjoyed a daylong instructional workshop for UU churches starting and nurturing Covenant Groups (CG). As a CG has a distinct purpose and a unique structure, stressing support through deep respectful listening, it takes dialogue and practice to help leaders fully understand why and how to proceed. M’ellen highlighted having a clear purpose, format, and commitment to agreed upon ground rules, and shared leadership among all members. This workshop helped us understand how these small relational group assist people to connect, engage in shared spirituality and draw newcomers in, giving them “a place at the table.” In these groups, members become a lay ministry to one another through honoring and supporting one another, service, and joyful celebration of life. This training energized and helped us grow in our understanding and practice of Small Group Ministry.



October 21-24, 2005, LREDA Liberal Religious Educators Association Fall Conference

Philadelphia. Rev. Helen Zidowecki, Litchfield, ME

Small Group Ministry was an integral part of the LREDA Fall Conference. A Small Group Ministry session was part of the orientation at this continental gathering of 180 Unitarian Universalist religious educators. The groups then had several additional session plans for meetings during the conference. The material for each sessions was developed to complement the presentations of the theme speaker, Rev. Lawrence Peers, Consultant, The Alban Institute, whose theme was "Mapping Uncharted Territory: New Directions for Growing Learning Congregations." The session plans are available on my web site at www.hzmre.com/sgm and look under LREDA Fall Conference 2005.



September 17, 2005, Oak Ridge, TN

The East Tennessee Cluster of UU Churches offers an annual fall gathering for their congregations. This year’s featured topic was Small Group Ministry with a presentation by Dr. M’ellen Kennedy. About thirty-five people attended from five congregations. Here’s a comment from Rev. Jake Morrill of the Oak Ridge UU Church which has just launched their SGM program this fall. “Thank you for your inspirational visit. It was a great success. Thank you for getting us off on the right foot.”



August 13-19, 2005 Small Group Ministry Conference at Ferry Beach, Saco, Maine

Separate articles in Quarterly.



General Assembly 2005

The UU Small Group Ministry Network will once again have a booth in the Exhibit Hall. In addition, as a new UUA Affiliate Organization, this year we’ll offer the following two events.

 

“Creating An Effective Small Group Ministry Network”

Annual Meeting of UU Small Group Ministry Network

Saturday, June 25, 2005 from 3:45 PM to 5 PM

Small Group Ministry is re-vitalizing our movement. This Annual Meeting of the UU Small Group Ministry Network (UUSGMN), is an opportunity: to connect with other SGM fans; to learn how we can help each other create vital SGM programs; and to learn about and get involved in the UUSGM Network.

 

“Small Group Ministry: Beyond the Basics Workshop”

Saturday, June 25, 2005 from 2 PM to 3:15 PM

Repeat Programming of “Beyond the Basics” Workshop

Sunday, June 26 from 3 PM to 4:15 PM

The UU Small Group Ministry Network provides energizing information and ideas to move your small group ministry program to a deeper level of health and vitality. We’ll discuss integrating small group ministry into the life of your congregation, deepening facilitator training , understanding various models of small group ministry, and more!

Presenters are Rev. Calvin Dame, Dr. Mellen Kennedy, and Peter Bowden.



Covenant Groups at GA 2005:  (From UU SGMN Quarterly, Spring 2006)

A Review by Erica Baron, Newton Centre, MA

I love attending General Assembly. There’s so much to do, to see, and to learn. But all the wonderful things that go on at GA can get overwhelming. It is really great to have a place to slow down, process, and reconnect. The Covenant Group I belonged to at the Fort Worth GA was this haven for me. We met everyday, and talked about our lives, our spiritual histories, and our experiences at GA. At first I was a bit hesitant about adding another event to my already full days, but after one or two meetings, I really came to look forward to them.

The Covenant Group was the only place at GA where I got to know people on a deeper level, who had just been strangers. It was the only place where I got to share myself and my experience in a meaningful way. And while I had many friends and fellow seminarians in the crowds at the Convention Center, it was also great to have another five people who I could say hello to in passing or sit with in workshops. In fact, my group leader and I started seeing each other everywhere we went, which was really fun. I would definitely recommend GA Covenant Groups to others.   Participating in my group gave me a new group of friends, a chance to slow down and connect in a deeper way than is possible in workshops, a consistent time to look forward to everyday, and some really amazing conversations.



Comments on CG at GA by Marv Pulliam, Manhattan Beach, CA

What impressed me about the Covenant Group I participated in at GA was the diversity of the group-in terms of age, where people came from, and personal background. We had a special experience in our group and got into personal sharing rather quickly, after all. Maybe it is easier to share one's innermost feelings with strangers. Most of the group members were experiencing covenant groups for the first time. We used the proposed covenant and the openings and closings that were provided by the organizers, which was quite helpful to me as a facilitator.

All participants attended all sessions, so they were voting with their feet. They expressed an interest in pursuing Covenant Groups at their respective congregations upon their return home.

After GA, I went to St. Louis to visit my family. One of the members from my GA Covenant Group, was Rich, a member of Eliot Unitarian Chapel, in the St. Louis area. I attended a service at Eliot Chapel with my niece, and had the opportunity to meet Rich there and have a chat during coffee hour. My GA Covenant Group experience has given me connections with UU s far and wide. It's a small world, after all.



April 7, 2005, CULTURAL CREATIVES AND COVENANT GROUPS  CGN Dallas, TX

       PAUL RAY SPEAKS AT DISTRICT CONFERENCE

Paul H. Ray, theme speaker last week for the Annual Meeting of Unitarian Universalists in the SW District, says he expects a sea-change in American politics and society that will be led by Cultural Creatives for whom the exchange of personal stories is central and activism is linked with spirituality.  Covenant Groups, he said, are a natural fit for these people.

"Cultural Creatives see no conflict between spirituality and activism, for them, it's both/and," Ray said, adding, "For them it's all one big thing.  They say 'I want the big picture, but my own personal experience is incredibly important, too.'  And in that they include the spiritual."  Stories, he said, are a primary means of sharing and integrating differing cultural values, and values are what tie together the Cultural Creatives as a rapidly-growing segment of our population.

Ray, with his wife, Sherry Anderson, is the author of "Cultural Creatives: How 50 Million People Are Changing the World."  He spoke April 7th at Dallas 1st Unitarian Church, addressed delegates to the District meeting, and gave a brief introduction to a workshop on Covenant Groups.

Ray believes we are moving toward a "Wisdom Culture" that will bring change on a scale not seen since the Industrial Revolution.  It is invisible to the major media and to most pollsters because what links Cultural Creatives is shared values.  Values changes, he said, can't be detected in a poll.  It is his belief that up to 45% of America's voters can be united behind a vision that is neither left nor right, Democrat nor Republican, but is green and progressive.   His views can be found at http://www.culturalcreatives.org.

Bob Hill, DE in the SW and author of the UUA's Guide to Small Group Ministry, said he found Ray's remarks encouraging and affirming for the SGM movement:  "Ray's descriptions of Cultural Creatives as a group needing the sort of community we offer though Covenant Groups highlighted for me the importance of sharing stories and of offering people a chance to manifest their values through service.  Ray says these folks want personal growth, for sure, and they want to work together toward a better world for their children and grandchildren.  To me that means we must not forget the service components of each Small Group Ministry."



February 17-20, 2005 Small Group Ministry for Large Congregations, Congregations in Good Company:

The 6th National Conference for Large Congregations in the Unitarian Universalist Association

Boston, Massachusetts

The special gathering for large congregations offered by the UUA will feature three presentations on

covenant groups or small group ministry. The Conference program states: “After several years of rapid adoption of Small Group Ministry techniques, we now have greater basis for judging the extent to which Covenant Groups, by whatever name, enrich, deepen, and widen church programs and the lives of individuals. We can also see where programs have faltered and some reasons why. “Three practitioners of this new (to us) type of ministry have agreed to share their successes, disappointments, and insights.

Rev. Michael McGee, Lead Minister of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Arlington, Virginia; Rev. Jennifer Brower, Minister for Pastoral Care at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation at Shelter Rock, Manhasset, New York; And

Rev. Calvin Dame, Minister of the Unitarian Universalist Community Church in Augusta, Maine.” Rev. Dame is also a member of the Board of Trustees of the UUA, and the president and co-founder of our UU Small Group Ministry Network.


January 22, 2005, UU SGM Network Regional Conference. First Unitarian Church, Providence, RI.

Join us for a day long regional UU Small Group Ministry conference. This event is being geared for those who are already working with small group ministry. We'll focus on the issues that come up particularly after the second or third year. Those getting ready to explore or launch should consider attending either the November 20th or December 18th events listed above. All may attend but presentations will assume basic working knowledge of small group ministry.



Saturday, December 18th, 2004
SGM Introduction, UU Church of Greater Lynn, MA.  
Calvin Dame.

Here is a program for churches that would like to introduce Small Group Ministry into the life of the congregation. We'll cover these and other questions and provide participants with the tools to go home and get started. This training will be most effective for congregations that are be to send teams. And for new leaders in churches with existing programs, this might be a useful day to be grounded in the basic theory and practice of Small Group Ministry.



Saturday, November 20th, 2004
SGM Foundations Seminar, First Unitarian Church, Providence, RI
Peter Bowden.

Considering small group ministry? This half day seminar cover the foundations of small group ministry including the role of lay and professional leaders, issues related to designing, launching and nurturing a small group ministry, and review available resources. No knowledge of SGM required. Contact Peter Bowden.



October 9, 2004, Small Group Ministry Conference,  Devon, PA

Building Connections: Starting and Strengthening Small Group Ministry programs.

With The Rev. Calvin O. Dame & Mellen Kennedy.

Sponsored by the Main Line Unitarian Church, the Joseph Priestley District and the UU SGM Network.
The Small Group Ministry (SGM) movement is sweeping Unitarian Universalist Churches as groups of ten gather with a facilitator to consider issues of spirituality, life stories and challenges. Small Group Ministry strengthens congregations by building connections among individuals, engendering compassion and supporting commitment to service. Whether you are considering starting SGM or have an established program, join in this full day of training and inspiration to further your efforts in SGM.

 

 

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