For many years, UUC has invited members and friends to meet twice monthly over much of the year in our small group ministry program called “Covenant Groups.” These are groups of 6-10 who share with intention and reflection on topics selected to challenge and inspire. In addition to discussion and thoughtful connection, the groups often undertake service projects for the church and community groups.
This year, given the pending move back to our own church building just before the busy-ness of preparing for winter holidays, we are encouraging flexibility in both timing and format of our Covenant Groups. We hope to offer a few groups hosted in homes beginning as soon as mid-October, and other groups that begin later in the year at UUC facilities. We expect that some that will run for several months, and others might meet 4-6 times. Experienced Covenant Group facilitators may wish to choose favorite themes from years gone by. New and returning facilitators alike may wish to take advantage of the process provided through any of the three “Heart to Heart” books we’ve engaged recently.
We are currently seeking facilitators who are interested in helping lead and host such groups, ideally with a co-facilitator. If you’d like to find out more, contact Janine Larsen, UUC Director of Ministries.
Here’s a personal testimonial about the Covenant Group experience, written by Valerie Kreutzer, a co-facilitator:
For 14 sessions over the eight months last year, a group of eight women covenanted to telling each other true and thick stories. Soul to Soul, a book by Christine Robinson and Alicia Hawkins, guided our gatherings.
In their first chapter the authors remind us of the need for deep listening. Only in the safe realm of silent empathy, they argue, dare we unravel our personal, and at times traumatic experiences. And so we listened to stories of betrayal, of sorrow and deprivation while circulating the tissue box. When a story ended we bowed our heads and clasped our hands in gratitude. During the tea-and-cookie break we also bonded in lightness and laughter. Moments of meditative silence, a song, and closing rituals completed our 90 minutes together each meeting.
Extending the abundance of our experience into the wider community, we baked hundreds of cookies at Christmas time for UUC’s coffee hour. And at the end of the course we visited Jubilee, a group of residences where women end the cycle of poverty and homelessness by gaining skills and resources to rebuild their lives, “one extraordinary woman at a time.” Jubilee’s boutique on Capitol Hill offers second hand clothing for all occasions, but the bins of underwear are almost empty. That’s why we delivered a basket heaped with store-bought bras and briefs in all colors and, as requested, large sizes. It seemed fitting that our navel gazing resulted in new underwear!