International Unitarian Universalism: Torda 450: Celebrating the Anniversary of Religious Tolerance

Small Group Ministry Modules

What are Small Group Ministry Modules?

Small Group Ministry Modules (SGMM) are resources for spiritual sharing groups, also know as covenant groups or chalice circles. These groups are formed to facilitate in-depth and personalized faith formation. With groups normally being no larger than six or eight people, you have the chance to really get know your own faith and that of your friends, family, or co-congregants.

How does SGMM work?

We recommend that you explore the topics in the order that they appear, so that your small group can have these important discussions concurrently with other small groups, all over the world! The UUA International office will provide materials and session plans for each module. If you follow the schedule you will meeting for ninety minutes every other month. Each gathering explores a different topic with materials essays, quotations, and questions. The small groups can also tie into the international conversation by accessing webinars, sermons, and dialogues that will be occurring throughout the year.

Leadership for SGMM

In order to have a group you will need a facilitator. Using the module session plans and materials means that the leader just has to assemble the group and introduce participants to the format. Most sessions follow the same format and rules, making it easy for the group to become comfortable with the flow of the gathering. Once the group has solidified, participants might share the role of the leader.

SGMM Gatherings

Each gathering has a consistent structure in order to promote a feeling of safety and to encourage interpersonal bonding. Each gathering has the following components: ​

  • Words of the day
    • A simple quick prompt related to the topic
  • Highs and Lows
  • Chalice lighting
  • Silence
  • Shared readings
  • Sharing
    • There are two rounds of sharing
      •  Round one
        • Everyone takes a few minutes(around 5) to reflect on the materials read before class. Going in any order, everyone who wants to speak gets one turn. Anyone may pass. At the end of any individual’s comments there is no further discussion, just the leader saying thank you. Then the next person speaks.
      • Round two
        •  Everyone who wants to speak takes turns sharing “second thoughts” or ideas prompted by what other have shared. The leader makes sure that people will focus on their own thoughts, feelings, and experiences. This is not the time for a debate. Ensuring that everyone who wants has the chance to speak and that no one dominates the conversation round two continues until time runs out.
  •  Closing ritual
    • Participants sharing a few words about how they are feeling or an insight gained, extinguishing the chalice, and end with a moment of silence, a song, or a gong from a bowl or chime
  • Announcements

Please stay tuned as this website will be updated regularly as we near Torda450. In the meantime please check out an example module!