“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.” — Glenn Turner

A different way of doing church

A Small Group Ministry program, which we call Covenant Groups, deepens and broadens personal spiritual growth. A group usually consists of 8-10 members who meet at the church building or by Zoom videoconference, usually once every two to four weeks. Each meeting is focused on a topic, usually the monthly ministry theme. The goals are to:

  • Listen and be listened to in a safe place
  • Learn about the mysteries of our world and our spiritual paths
  • Build new and deeper personal connections
  • Serve our community and the needs of one another
  • Maintain personal connections and a caring community

Goals of Covenant Groups

The Covenant Group 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, parents, caregiving, 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 Covenant 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 two lays out a topic and presents questions that will 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.

How can you join a group?

Currently, we are building the infrastructure for Covenant Groups that meet together for an entire program year. After the year has ended, anyone is free to register again for the next year, to build relationships and connections in a new group.

Our goal is for new Covenant Groups to begin in Fall of 2020. Until then, we have an all-ages Saturday Morning Drop-In group that meets at the church the second Saturday of each month from 10 am – 11:30 am. Bring a snack or come as you are. No registration is required. Childcare is provided downstairs.

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