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Small Group Ministry

A group of seven meets for deep conversation at General Assembly 2014

Small groups met for deep conversation at General Assembly 2014 in Providence, RI.

Also known as "covenant groups” and “chalice circles,” Small Group Ministry is a vital part of many Unitarian Universalist(UU) congregations. Groups of 10-12 people meet regularly, usually monthly, to reflect on and discuss significant life topics.

Small groups are great places to get to know other people and to get to know yourself. Over time, participants build deep connections with one another, with the congregation, and with the sacred.

Whether the topic is “good and evil,” “mindful living,” "parenting," or “letting go,” the conversation is respectful and caring and leads to greater understanding. In each session, facilitated by a member of the congregation, all participants have opportunity to share their perspectives, tell their stories, and listen deeply. The time together is structured: Groups begin and end with centering readings and often include times for quiet reflection as well as sharing. Many small groups also put their faith into action through service projects.

Many Small Group Ministries have “open enrollment” once or twice a year. Groups may request a commitment of one year or more. Contact a congregation near you to find out about their Small Group Ministries. 

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More resources are available from inSpirit: UU Book and Gift Shop:

Gatherings Small Group Ministry for Men

By Bill Hamilton-Holway, Tony Bushman

From Skinner House Books

Covenant group ministry session plans, with hands-on activities for participants.

Buy This Book

Two women hugging at General Assembly.

New! For Chalice Circles / Small Groups

Since the 2016 U.S. election, many Unitarian Universalists feel challenged by this moment in our nation’s history. Four two-hour sessions by the Rev. Marta Valentín for adult small ministry groups ("chalice circles") guide discernment about how to honor your faith commitments and values in today's political atmosphere. Sessions include readings, audio-visuals, and questions for reflection.

A Call to Faith in Turbulent Times

Small Group Ministry for Young Adults and Campus Groups

The covenant group/small group ministry model of interactions is a great format for young adult and campus groups. Among other things, covenant groups: Foster relationships within community Offer a spiritual setting for personal growth Allow group members to interact on a meaningful level Let...

Young Adults