People come to church longing for, yearning for, hoping for … a sense of roots, place, belonging, sharing and caring. People come to a church with a search for community, not committee.” — Glenn Turner

A different way of doing church

Do you ever wish

  • you had a time and place to discuss spiritual and philosophical topics?.
  • you had time to make connections to church members that lasted more than a few minutes over coffee?
  • you could share something that doesn’t quite fit on those little pink slips?

Small Group Ministry meets these wishes by providing a safe way for small groups of people to discuss spiritual topics, build deep and lasting connections, learn to really listen to others and share their own stories.

The intent of Small Group Ministry, sometimes called covenant groups, is intimacy or connection, and ultimacy or the opportunity to consider life issues. Small Group Ministry is a profound way of “doing church” that uses deep listening and sharing to nurture spiritual growth and a different way of being together.

Membership and Meetings

Groups generally consist of 6 – 10 members, with a facilitator. Meetings are twice a month. Each meeting is focused on a particular topic (see examples below). 

What are Small Group sessions like?

  • Opening Words: Gathering in, settling down, reminding participants of the special opportunity of the gathering, possibly reflecting the topic of the session. The meeting may begin with the lighting of a candle or a chalice.
  • Check-In: Participants share news of what has been happening in their lives. Each group develops its own customs as to the length of sharing. This portion of the meeting may expand from time to time when circumstances call for it.
  • Topic/Discussion: A paragraph or list of thoughts or questions lays out a topic to elicit thoughtful discussion and significant reflection. A group may stay with a topic several weeks or be done in one evening.
  • Check-Out: Likes and Wishes: This is an opportunity for feedback.
  • Closing Words: This brings the formal session to and end. Groups are encouraged to start and end on time.

What is expected of members?

Group members commit to attend the first 4 introductory sessions, and then decide whether to commit to regular attendance for the remainder of the meetings. In addition, group members commit 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. Each group also agrees to participate together in one service project. Examples of SGM Service Projects

How can you join a group?

Groups and facilitator training are being planned now for the new year. If you are interested in joining a group beginning early next year or in attending facilitator training, please contact Rev Maria Cristina, Bob Britton, Kathryn LaMar, Diane Meyerson, or Mileva Lewis.

Some Discussion Topics

Aging and Life Stages
Loneliness and Aloneness
Atheism
Church – What Starr King Church means to me
Difficult Emotions
Ethics
Eulogize Me Now – My epitaph
Forgiveness
Holidays & Family Issues
Junk or Treasure?
Listening
Living Simply
Money
Music
New Year Resolutions
Pastimes
Peaks Plateaus Valleys
Pets – The role of pets in our lives
Spirituality
Summer Indulgence
Time