|UUnity Circles Small Group Ministry|
A UUnity Circle is a group of about 7-9 people who meet regularly to build community, develop caring relationships, and nurture their spiritual lives. We offer UUnity Circles as a part of our vision of being a creative and caring religious community that invites our members and friends to fully enter the life of the church.
Small group ministry programs like UUnity Circles exist in many Unitarian Universalist congregations as a way for people to explore their deepest understanding of life in the midst of a community of faith. Here at UUCW, UUnity Circles will also serve as small communities of listening and caring in the midst of our growing congregation. Every UUnity Circle will have a facilitator, and the facilitators meet monthly in their own group for ongoing training and support.
UUnity Circles are not “drop-in” groups — they are usually formed at the beginning of the church year — and agree to meet through the year. The groups are large enough to promote group interaction but small enough to allow intimacy and equal participation. Once started, a group is not “closed,” but may have new members added to it as long as the group has no more than nine people.
Each UUnity Circle gathering follows a format that helps us set aside daily distractions and make connections with one another. It includes:
Groups are open to everyone in the church from youth (age 16 and older), through seniors. Members and active non-members or friends of the church are invited to take part.
Making connections with other people is easier when we understand how they like to be treated. In the first few meetings of a UUnity Circle, members develop a covenant— a list of promises— describing the ways they commit to interact with one another. Members also contribute to the ongoing activities of the group: choosing readings, hosting gatherings, and reminding members of meeting times and places. Having clear expectations for communication and sharing responsibility for group activities ensures that all members benefit from the experience.
Once or twice a year, each group engages in service to the congregation or the larger community. They get to perform service as a group of Unitarian Universalists, rather than as individuals. By serving together, group members get to know each other in a different way and understand how values and actions shape each other. In addition, UUnity Circle members will often perform services for each other in times of need, such as bringing meals or providing transportation.
Each group meets often enough for group members to create meaningful connections, at least once a month. Groups meet for about two hours, long enough to follow the format and engage in deep listening. Groups are encouraged to meet in members’ homes, for when we share our homes, we share our stories and a little bit about who we are. However, since some groups may have special needs, e.g., accessibility or child care, UUCW is also available as a meeting place.
The focus of each UUnity Circle meeting is a topic or activity that serves as a springboard into reflection on deeper issues about who we are and what gives our lives meaning. UUnity Circles always have an emphasis on deepening relationships among group members.
Participants are expected to make a one-year commitment and to attend all meetings, if possible. Members are in a UUnity Circle not only for themselves, but to care for one another, so attendance is vital.
Registration for the UUnity Circles — which meet from late September through late June — begin in August. We are continually adding new groups, so check with the UUnity Circles Administrator Susan Cadkin for the most up-to-date list of offerings.
If you think you might like to facilitate a UUnity Circle, please contact the UUnity Circles Administrator, Susan Cadkin. There are three required training sessions, and facilitators meet monthly as a group.
To sign up for a UUnity Circle, fill out an expression of interest form and mail or deliver it to UUCW, c/o UUnity Circles, 13001 W. North Ave., Brookfield, WI 53005. Members and non-members are invited to participate.
If you need a UUnity Circles expression of interest form, or a Facilitator application form, or if you have ideas or questions, please contact UUnity Circles Administrator Eva McCrossin.