A different way of doing church

Small group ministry is an important part of the life of our religious community. Participants establish new and deeper connections with one another and find a place for religious exploration and spiritual growth.

Small groups consist of 6-10 people and meet once or twice a month, in homes or at the church. Each small group includes a trained facilitator.

The Small Group Ministry program deepens and broadens personal spiritual growth. This is done through five components:

  • Listening: Deep listening is gift for both the speaker and the listener. A connection forms when we share and give this gift to each other.
  • Worship: Worship is central to the life of our congregation. Small Group Ministry augments and strengthens our shared experience.
  • Community: Small groups meet the need for connection and intimacy that is both a hunger in our society and essential to the ongoing life of a religious community.
  • Learning: People come to the church seeking spiritual growth, seeking to know themselves better, to grow into their understanding of the world and to ponder the age old questions of faith: how to live, what to believe, how to act, and what meanings we can decipher from the mystery of life.
  • Service: A life of faith is a life of service. As human beings, we seek to be of use, and a healthy congregation needs to provide avenues through which we may serve.

How can you join a group?

If you would like to participate in a small group, please contact Marsha Kardon 607-272-6582 mfkardon@gmail.com.

What is expected of members?

Group members are expected to commit to regular meeting times and to practice deep listening. Deep listening is a way of focusing intently on what another person is saying without interruption or simultaneously formulating a response. Deep listening also gives an individual an opportunity to speak without interruption or comment.

What are Small Group sessions like?

A small group meeting begins with a chalice lighting with opening words followed by a time to share what is happening in each member’s life. The discussion of a predetermined topic is followed by a check-out time to share a brief impression of how the meeting went, followed by closing words and extinguishing of the chalice.

Members of each small group agree to hold in strict confidence all personal matters expressed by members of the group, to attend meetings regularly and welcome new members, to encourage one another in spiritual growth, to listen and speak from the heart, and to honor the diversity of thoughts and feelings of group members.

Many of our small groups follow the Soul Matters curriculum which ties into the monthly theme including everything from the choice of music during services to the decorations created by the Aesthetics Team.

The 2023-24 Schedule of Soul Matters themes are as follows:

September 2023:  Welcome
October 2023:  Heritage
November 2023:  Generosity
December 2023:  Mystery
January 2024:  Liberating Love
February 2024:  Justice & Equity 
March 2024:  Transformation
April 2024:  Interdependence
May 2024:  Pluralism
June 2024:  Renewal

Current Small Group Ministries

Below are our current Small Group Ministries. If you see one you are interested in, reach out to office@uuithaca.org and we will put you in contact with that group’s facilitator. Groups grow and change continually throughout the year, so check back if you can’t find a group that fits your schedule.

Or, consider facilitating your own group! If you are interested in creating your own Small Group Ministry reach out to office@uuithaca.org.

Soul Matters Group

Facilitator: John Gaines

Meets: 6:30 pm every other Tuesday

Service Project: Raises funds, collects donations, and does deliveries for Village at Ithaca. Cleans cottages between tenants at Second Wind Cottages for Homeless Men.

Accepting: Not accepting new members at this time.

LGBTQ+ Group

Facilitator: Kevin Moss

Meets: 7pm on the 3rd Wednesday of every month

Accepting: One new member at this time

Soul Matters Group

Facilitator: Laura Free

Meets:    9 am-10:15 am on first Sunday of the month

Service Project: Hazel’s Backyard

Accepting: No New Members At This Time

Soul Matters Group

Facilitator: Sue Rakow

Meets:    9 am-10:15 am  on the first Sunday of the month.

Service Project: Tree Up Tompkins

Accepting: No new members at this time

Monday Evening Small Group Ministry

Facilitator: Marsha Kardon

Meets: 10:30 am to noon, every other Monday

Service Project: Supporting the First Congregational Church Sanctuary Apartment

Accepting: No New Members at This Time

Monday Night Group

Facilitator: Mike Mann, and other members on rotating basis

Meets: 7 pm on the first and third Monday of the month

Accepting: Able to accept 2 new members

Trumansburg SGM

Facilitator: Sue Roenke

Meets: Currently not meeting. When we meet a quorum, we will commence on a date, time and location(s) agreed upon.

Service Project: TBD

Accepting: Looking for new members!


Facilitator: Rotating among members (contact June Locke for info)

Meets: 10:30 am every other Friday

Service Project: friendship lunches 4x a year and the UU Book BoUtiqUe

Accepting: One new member at this time