Groups address three of our principles:
|Fellowship Groups nurture connections and explore spirituality within our congregation. Through the ministries members and friends make new friends and deepen existing friendships. Participants learn more about others and themselves by sharing and discussing personal understandings about spirituality, Unitarian Universalism, and major life transitions and experiences. Each group chooses its own focus and practices.|
Members and friends are invited each September to make a one year commitment to participate in a group of six to ten people facilitated by a member who also commits to attend the monthly meeting for facilitators' training and support. Enough groups are formed to accomodate the number who wish to participate for the year. Once formed, groups are closed to new members. At the end of the year individuals may opt to participate again the following year in the same group or a newly formed group.
Fellowship Groups became part of Unitarian Universalist practice many years ago and, like all things in our denomination, there are many possible variations from which new groups may take direction. Thandeka and Robert Hill are Unitarian Universalist ministers who have written guides for facilitators. Here are some of their thoughts:
"As Unitarian Universalist (UU) congregants and ministers, we are humanist, Buddhist, atheist, Christian, Jewish, pagan, eco-feminist, and more. This diversity of religious ideas and theological claims often makes it difficult to find a common ground, a place where we might all stand comfortably as Unitarian Universalists. This challenge is difficult, but not impossible if we step outside the language of classic, Christian theological discourse and undertake a social analysis of group power as a religious phenomenon. We can then affirm the foundation of our religious experience as the regenerating power of life itself. This affirmation unites us all as one religious people who have a diversity of theological perspectives on the human experience universal salvation. We thus begin with an explanation of the way in which we work together." Thandeka,The Life of Small Group Ministries.
"Fellowship Group asks us not only to attend to the stresses of getting through the day but also to covenant together to do what we can to make a positive difference. A faith statement is implied in those two purposes." Hill, Robert L.The Complete Guide to Small Group Ministry: Saving the World Ten At a Time. Boston: Skinner House Books, 2003.
"Fellowship groups are a transformational practice through which we, with others, can discover our own underlying assumptions about reality and examine our ways of being, some of which have become so habitual that they seem to us just 'the way things are.' The practice of Small Group Ministry does ask us to suspend judgment long enough to hear respectfully the understandings of others, even those vastly different from our own." Hill, Robert L.,The Complete Guide to Small Group Ministry: Saving the World Ten At a Time. Boston: Skinner House Books, 2003.