In a large congregation like ours it can be difficult to find ways to sink deeper into our spiritual selves (ultimacy) as well as create stronger bonds with our fellow congregants and community at First Parish (intimacy). We have created a Small Group Ministry model we call Covenant Groups to provide the ultimacy and intimacy needed to further develop our beloved community. This is our sixth year doing them. Covenant Groups are open to all members and friends of First Parish. Covenant Groups are comprised of 6-11 members who meet for two hours each month to discuss spiritual issues and practice compassionate listening (listening without judgement, interruption or trying to fix or advise others). We bear witness to each other and to our own true selves. Each group is guided by a trained facilitator. These facilitators are in turn guided at monthly ministerial support and problem solving meetings. Discussion topics are pre-selected by the Covenant Group Facilitators, with ministerial support and guidance, from a number of sources including:
- Other Unitarian Universalist congregations
- Small Group Ministry website
- Sermons preached by our ministers
- Subjects the congregation is grappling with
- Past topics have included:
- Simplicity in Our Lives
- Our Place in the Universe
- Deep Listening
- Asking for Help
- In addition, each group will do a service project, giving back to the church, the community or the wider world. This project will be done as a group and is meant to both be of service to others as well as strengthening the bonds of the group. Projects in the past have included painting the food pantry at the Margaret Fuller Neighborhood House, planting for the Food Project, and organizing and managing social hour after Sunday services. To learn more check our Frequently Asked Questions or contact Patrick Sullivan at Covenantgroups [at] firstparishcambridge [dot] org
Groups will meet once a month for two hours beginning in October and continuing through early June. On-line registration will begin the week of September 9 and continue through September 25. Paper registrations will be available during social hour beginning Sunday, September 16.
Please remember you do not have to be a member of First Parish to join a Covenant Group. In fact,Covenant Groups are a good way to meet people and learn more about First Parish.