December's Theme is Expectations. "We must learn to reawaken and keep ourselves awake not by mechanical aid, but by an infinite expectation of the dawn." - Henry David Thoreau.
Learn what others say about Theme Based Ministry
Testimonials for Theme-Based Ministry
Faith Development

Theme-Based Ministry Brings a More Holistic Approach to Spiritual Development in Our Congregations

Is your congregation using theme-based ministry?  How has it made a difference in your setting?  How have congregants, families, or staff groups been changed through theme-based ministry?  Share your story by emailing themebasedministry [at] uua [dot] org

Soul Matters at First Unitarian Church of Rochester, NY

Unitarian Universalism is about connection.  We are a religion that sees people struggling, not against our own sinful souls, but against a shallow, frantic and materialistic world that all-too-often leaves us disconnected.  Our congregations—at their best—work to heal that divide by helping each other listen to our deepest selves, open to life’s gifts and serve needs greater than our own. Soul Matters, worship, religious education, and faith in action supports this theology by embracing deep listening, which in turn sets the stage to welcoming in grace and the needs of the world.—Rev. Kaaren Anderson, Senior Minister, First Unitarian Church of Rochester, NY

Theme-Based Chalice Circle in Piedmont UU Church, Charlotte, NC

Theme-based ministry combined with small group ministry just makes sense. Our chalice circle members report that they now feel a deeper engagement with the congregation. They are excited for the Sunday service on the monthly theme and discover new ways of thinking about important spiritual topics. In addition, by gathering in small groups to discuss personal experiences of grace, hope, love, and loss they find personal connections that strengthen their own spiritual journey. The themes add depth to our sessions and the small groups enrich our worship! —Rev. Robin Tanner, Minister, Piedmont Unitarian Universalist (UU) Church, Charlotte, NC

Theme-Based Ministry at the UU Church of Tallahassee, FL

The people in our congregation have found new ways of connecting to each other across generational, theological, and participatory lines by adopting theme-based ministry.  By ensuring that our worship services, religious education classes, affinity groups, and communications are consistently focusing on monthly themes that are relevant to our lives, we've created more opportunities for people to have meaningful conversation and experiences of differing perspectives.  It allows us to move beyond simply a group of people who are comfortable with each other to a people who experience the diversity among ourselves and transform each other into vessels of shared wisdom.—Anna Bethea, Director of Religious Education, UU Church of Tallahassee, Tallahassee, FL

Theme-Based Small Groups in Augusta, Maine

At the Unitarian Universalist Community Church our love affair with small group ministry continues. From the beginning, our intention was to offer ministry to one another and provide opportunities for spiritual growth through the art of listening and responding to each other. We believe that wide-spread participation in Small Group Ministry (SGM) has significantly improved our ability to manage the challenges of congregational life. Kathy Kellison, Small Group Ministry Coordinator, Unitarian Universalist Community Church, Augusta, ME

Connection Circles in Wilmington, Delaware

Our church is in its fifth year of worship themes, and just last year we expanded the themes to include our small group ministry program, which we call Connection Circles. Our themes encompass the regular church year, running from September through May, and our “general themed” Circles line up with the themes for their sessions each month. This year our themes include Courage, Faith, Brokenness, Joy, Empowerment, Generosity, Peace, Confession, and Grace. The assistant minister creates three sessions each month based on the monthly theme. The facilitators are able to choose which of the sessions their groups will work with. The only complaint we’ve gotten so far is that they like all the sessions and have trouble choosing! —Rev. Michelle Collins, Assistant Minister, First Unitarian Church of Wilmington, DE

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