Thursday, December 18, 2014

Something New is Starting!


What is a covenant group?

Covenant Groups or Small Group Ministry programs exist in many Unitarian Universalist congregations as a way for people to explore their deepest understanding of life in the midst of a community of faith.

Here at DUUF, they are groups of 6-10 people, DUUF members and friends, who gather twice a month to connect with each other and discuss a predetermined topic. The sharing and deep listening that take place foster intimate connections and a sense of shared community that are often difficult to achieve in a large congregation such as ours. While they are not support groups, members do support each other by listening with empathy and caring for and helping each other when the need arises.

Why are they called covenant groups?

Because each group creates its own covenant or agreement which outlines the guidelines they choose to abide by in their meetings. Covenants usually specify when and list communal expectations such as listening respectfully, speaking one at a time, practicing kindness, and maintaining confidentiality.

When do they meet?

Groups meet twice a month on a regular day, such as the second and fourth Tuesday of each month. Some meet in the evening, while others meet in the morning or afternoon. Starting in January 2015 groups will meet on the 2nd and 4th Thursday from 7:00pm to 8:30pm, the 2nd and 4th Saturday from 10:00am to 11:30am, and the 2nd and 4th Tuesday from 6:00pm to 7:30pm. Groups will continue until the summer 2015. Childcare is available.

Where do they meet?

Groups meet at DUUF in one of the classrooms.

What happens at the meetings?

The way meetings go varies from one group to another, but they follow the same general pattern. First, opening words are read and a chalice is lit. Then members check-in with a brief update on how they are doing. The majority of the time is spent on reflection and discussion of the predetermined topic. In some groups, members check-out with their final thoughts on the topic. To conclude, closing words are read and the chalice is extinguished. Some groups take turns providing refreshments; others do not.

Who leads the meetings?

Each group has a trained facilitator, and most have a co-facilitator as well.

Tell me more about the topics.

Topics are selected by Lifespan Faith Development staff and vary each week. Up to a week before each meeting, participants receive an email about the topic, any related readings and/or pertinent questions for discussion. A sampling of topics includes:

Prayer                       Pilgrimage 
Balance                     Science and Spirituality
Forgiveness               Aspects of Islam
Ethical Reasoning     Gratitude
Aging                         Home
Peacemaking            Money
Play                           Grace

How do I sign up for a covenant group?

Forms are available through the first week in January both online:  http://dentonuuf.webform.com/form/14661/ and in paper form in Fellowship Hall. You may also email covenantgroups@dentonuuf.org with questions or for more information.