“Belonging can be achieved through testimonial, through the telling of one’s story. Small groups. . .then, are places in which we can tell our stories.”

—Carl F. George in Prepare Your Church for the Future

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 twice a month for one and a half hours, in homes or at the church. Each small group includes a facilitator trained and supervised monthly by the minister.

How can you join a group?

If you would like to participate in a small group, please submit your name to the church office, and someone from the Small Group Ministry Steering Committee will contact you. If you have questions about Small Group Ministry, contact the Rev. Margaret Weis 273-7521, ext 22 minister@uuithaca.org or Marsha Kardon 272-6582 mfkardon@gmail.com.

Goals of Small Group Ministry

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, 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 does Small Group Ministry work?

Ministry happens in the meetings, which focus on spiritual or religious topics through a process of deep listening and service projects. Topics that may be shared during meetings include: sacred places, perfection, mothers, community, living simply, music, and healing. Groups choose their own order, direction and pace. Service projects are expected from each group once a year. In general, projects tend to be ones that serve the church community or the local community, but they can be larger projects that reach beyond our church community.

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.