Throughout the summer, members of the Small Group Steering Team have been chatting with congregation members at a weekly Small Group Ministry information and sign-up table following the Sunday worship service. If you were one of the folks who provided us with input or expressed an interest by placing your name on the interest/sign up sheet, you can expect a follow-up contact from the steering committee soon as small group sessions get underway this fall. As a result of our conversations, the Small Group Steering Committee is pleased to announce a new set of options for participation in small groups during the 2018-19 church year.

Continuing monthly Covenant Groups. Each of the four small groups that met last year plans to continue meeting during the upcoming year. Each group has space available for a few new members. These meet monthly as follows:

Wednesday evening 7:30-9 pm in the Fenn House chapel (second Wednesday each month)
Thursday evening 7-9 pm at participants’ homes (first Thursday each month)
Thursday afternoon 2-4 pm at participants’ homes
Saturday morning 9-11 am in the Fenn House chapel

Depending on the level of interest, a new monthly covenant group might also be formed. If you think you may be interested, contact Doug Richards (drichards@keuka.edu). In addition, the Wed evening group (which meets from 7:30-9 pm) invites “drop-in” participants who would like to “test out” the small group model of spiritual sharing. For more info on this group, contact Bobbi Loney (bobbiloney@gmail.com).

“Affinity” or interest-focused groups: these groups are underway:

Women’s Group to meet monthly at noon, following the Sunday service, over lunch, with childcare provided the first Sunday of the month in Sanctuary Meeting Room starting Oct 7th.. Topics will be selected collectively by the participants. Contact Elizabeth Golden (elizabethgolden@shoreham.net) to join.

Parent’s Group to meet Second Saturday each month, 5:30-7:30pm. Childcare provided in Fenn while parents meet in Sanctuary. Parents with children through middle school age are invited to to get together and develop deeper connections by sharing their thoughts and beliefs around our monthly CVUUS themes within the small group ministry model. Our first gathering will be Saturday, October 13th. Childcare, dinner (mac n cheese) and drinks provided by our amazing Date Night Out volunteers. RSVP preferred but not required. Contact Tracey Harrington, 4.mt.mice@gmail.com

Transition to Retirement group to meet monthly at a time to be determined. Contact Dinah Smith (dinah.smith@uvm.edu, 353-1704) and Faith Lowell (flowell@together.net, 388-3056) if you are interested.

Other possible affinity groups might consist of a limited number of sessions (with an opportunity to extend or refocus). Among those that have been proposed are a “Let’s chat about death” group (proposed by Laurie Borden), a bimonthly reading group about “decentering whiteness” proposed by Margy Levine Young), and a “Spiritual Journey” group (proposed by Scott Smith) If any of these ideas interest you, or if you have an idea of your own for an affinity group, contact the proposers above or Doug Richards.

Finally, yet another wrinkle on “affinity” groups that has emerged consists of regular congregational task- groups taking on a small group inflection as a means of deepening the connections between those en- gaged in a common task. For example, the Hospitality folks might consider a monthly or quarterly gather- ing in which they (and others who are interested) share and reflect on the spiritual dimensions of hospitality, perhaps with a brief common reading or simply a few questions to consider. Similarly, members of the Flower Coop or Landscaping groups might gather to consider the spirituality of flowers or of landscaping. We hope that each of the task-oriented groups in the church will consider deepening their spiritual connections through formal or informal gatherings that draw on the principles and practices of Small Group Ministry. For more information or assistance with this idea, contact Doug Richards or any member of the steering committee (Dinah Smith, Bobbi Loney, Marjorie Carsen, Karl Lindholm)—or perhaps chat with Rev. Barnaby about it next time you see him.

Blessed be!