Small Group Conversations
Sharing & Connecting: Reflecting on our life experiences, questions, joys and challenges
What is a Small Group?
A Small Group is a friendly circle of 6-12 people who meet for a series of sessions in which they share their thoughts and feelings around a range of readings related to their life experiences, beliefs, questions, joys and challenges, in a caring, open, and accepting environment. It’s a popular program in many Unitarian Universalist congregations, including ours.
We offer a wide range of topics in a structured format that provides time to share, reflect, and have meaningful conversations. Because these groups are small, every participant has a chance to hear and be heard.
When a new group forms, some members may not know each other at all. Bonds develop as we share thoughts and reflect on some of life’s ultimate questions, spiritual issues, and everyday experiences and challenges. New to our church? A small group is a great way to get to know us. Longtime Member? Here's an opportunity to deepen your relationships and make new friends. Everyone is invited to join our warm and welcoming circles. Participants are asked to try to attend all the dates offered in each series so as to help them get to know one another better and enhance sharing. If space is available, however, newcomers are welcome to join a group after the series has started.
Folks who have taken part in Small Group Conversations say again and again how much they enjoy the opportunity to get to better know one another, forging new friendships - and even when overly busy, find they welcome the change of pace provided by these group sessions.
Our Small Group Mission
Small Group conversations are offered as a way to get to know each other better, as we explore the various topics selected by our Small Group Team, related to our life experiences, questions, joys, and challenges. We are free to share our thoughts and feelings, joys and struggles, as we choose, and are here to listen to and care about each other. (We are not here to be a therapy group ~ or to tackle “church politics”!) We look forward to building closer connections with each other, as we spend this time together, and form new or deeper friendships and build our sense of community.
What happens at a Small Group session?
At a typical session, we start with a “check in,” sharing, as we choose, something currently going on in our lives. The group’s facilitator then provides some focus readings, which we read together, followed by conversation. We try to listen carefully and take time to reflect as we respond to others - there may even be brief periods of silence. Sharing our thoughts, feelings, and experiences - sometimes serious and searching, sometimes light and even humorous - leaves us feeling connected with each other, glad we came, and looking forward to meeting again.
Each series of Small Groups offers a range of focus readings for reflection and in-depth conversation. Here are some examples from our fall sessions:
1.The Art of Imperfection: "Wabi-sabi"
2. Animals: Their Effect on our Lives
3. Loving Kindnesses
4. Questioning and Curiosity
5. Intentional Practices
6. Coziness and Contentment: "Hygge"
Who should join a group?
Everyone and anyone, from newcomers to long-time church members. Because group size is limited to no more than 12, there is ample opportunity for everyone to share.
New sessions start each Spring and Fall. Several options are available this spring, including a “Sampler” session in early October - a great option for those who would like to learn more before signing up for a full series. A Friday evening Family Small Group runs a full-year schedule, starting in Nov. to accommodate busy sports schedules. This group meets for a family-friendly potluck supper, followed by an adult Small Group session, during which separate activities are available for the children.
How do I join a Small Group?
When a new session is announced, you can sign up online, sign up on the easel in the main lobby - or contact us by email or phone (see below).
Where do Small Groups meet?
All groups meet in one of the meeting rooms at the church, usually the Parlor on the main floor. The Family Group uses multiple spaces.
For more information:
Email us: firstname.lastname@example.org
Call us: Anne Bailey, 860-379-7740
Comments from Small Group participants:
I came to Small Group for insight and conversation and I found my church "family." -Judy Englehart
I feel as if church acquaintances became my church friends because of the Small Group meetings. - Lorraine Bulba
There's no better way to get to know the people you sit with on Sundays on a deeper, more personal level. Small Groups are about giving and receiving and sharing of ourselves, our ideas and our stories. Being a part of small groups has become a vital and cherished part of my spiritual practice. - Laura Chomentowski
The Small Group experience in a large church is one of the best ways to get to know people, especially for those new to the church. The variety of topics and outlooks make for interesting and enlightening discussions. - Janet Henderson
I returned to church after a long absence of attending, I wasn't sure why I decided to return to church. Feeling like a fish out of water, I went to a Small Groups meeting. Now I know why I returned. I welcomed the vulnerability and honesty of the group.
- Louise Brinton
I have been attending "Small Groups" for close to 10 years and wouldn't want to miss it. It's a safe and inspiring place to discuss any number of topics. It's a place to make new friends and to make your church experience so much richer. It could be the best 2 hours you spent all week. - Brigit Heidorn
I've been involved in several Small Groups, and they are a wonderful way to get to know others at church; a great way to enhance old friendships and to make new ones. - Linda Scacco
The Family Small Group provided my husband and me the opportunity to consider spiritual questions with other church members in a low-stress environment, while our kids played elsewhere in the church, supervised by caring young people. It helped us all to connect to the church community in a way that attending weekly service simply could not. - Kate Howard-Bender
“One of the realizations I had the other night - is that being in small group is a completely different experience than any other type of church involvement. It's very, very different than being on a committee or volunteering in the church school or in the food ministry etc.
There are a couple of longtime members in my group that I have seen in passing, or in the pews, for years, but who I have never gotten to know. In just one small group - our very first session - I learned more about them than I ever have in all of these years. This was a profound realization to me. The power of our small groups is always revealing itself to me in new ways." - From a regular participant