Small Group Ministry (SGM) has been present at OUUC for many years under the name “Circles of the Spirit”. This program, born during the ministry of The Reverend Arthur Vaeni, gathered groups of 6-10 people for twice monthly discussions of questions and was a popular and beloved program for many OUUC members and friends.
The program has been gradually changing over time (as all good healthy programs do) and over the course of ministerial and ministry area shifts. For the last three years, small group ministry has been within the portfolio of our Director of Lifespan Religious Education, Sara Lewis, and for the past two years, she has been using monthly themes and materials from a subscription to Soul Matters. During those years, the monthly Soul Matters email and a Soul Matters @ OUUC Facebook group were created.
Many of you participated in a survey about our Small Group Ministry program this year. The results were very mixed: while many respondents indicated a deep affection for the Circles of the Spirit program, most respondents said it was too much of a commitment or that they lacked the time to participate. Respondents were split on whether they preferred to meet at OUUC or in a private home, and the best time and day of the week was also pretty evenly divided. The question of a “drop in” group was interesting to many, but also met with skepticism by those who like to build up trust with one group of people.
And so we will try something new – a flexible approach that seeks to meet people where they are. To honor the source of our materials our SGM program will all be called “Soul Matters” now (farewell to the name “Circles of the Spirit”), and we will have a monthly theme, but everyone can access SGM in a variety of ways:
- Drop-in Discussion circles will be offered once a month on an evening and on a Sunday. Just come and join in the discussion!
- Covenant Circles (more like our previous groups that make a covenant and commitment to one another), will form and meet at the place and time chosen by the facilitator. If you would like to apply to be a Circle Facilitator, please contact Sara.
- People can form their own private groups (your family, you and a close friend or two, etc) and receive monthly materials to use in their own group discussions. To subscribe to this option, just contact Sara.
- On the Facebook group page, we will be posting the quotes, questions, and spiritual exercises and people can engage completely online if they wish.
The hope is that this will bring the benefits of this spiritual practice to more people! Any questions, contact Sara.