Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Somerset Hills

Open minds, loving hearts, helping hands


Small Group Ministry on “Invitation” Monday Sep 28, 7-9 p.m.

Author Sarah Ahrens, Written Sep 23, 2015

Here are some more details on the first Small Group Ministry drop-in session being offered Monday September 28, 7-9 p.m. in the sanctuary of UUCSH at 123 East Cliff St. Somerville NJ 08876.
This month’s worship theme is “invitation”, as in, what does it mean for Unitarian Universalists to be a people of invitation?  The large group worship services on Sundays explore the theme of invitation from different angles.
The monthly small group ministry drop in session is an opportunity to explore and share on the theme of invitation further in a small group setting of 10-12 people.
A reminder of the exercise and question that was offered to all via the September newsletter and subsequent weekly emails:

“What does it mean to be a people of Invitation?

All members and friends are invited to engage with this theme through the following exercise:

An Invitation to Redefine Success

The Invitation by Oriah Mountain Dreamer is one of the most referenced spiritual writings among all liberal religious groups–for good reason. It invites us to completely rethink what this game of life is all about. Forget “what you do for a living” or “how much money you have,” it says. Instead tell us about your ability to “risk looking like a fool for love,” “disappoint another to be true to yourself” or be “weary and bruised to the bone, but still do what needs to be done for the children.” It represents an entirely different spiritual metric. It invites a radically counter-cultural vision of “the good life.”

This exercise asks you to engage its invitation. Here’s your assignment:

  1. Spend a week with the poem. Read it at least once a day for a few days.
  2. Pick the one line that you hope will most characterize your life. Don’t worry about whether or not you are currently living up to it. This is about aspiration.
  3. Come to your group and share why this particular invitation is one you want to aspire to.

You are invited to join us on Monday, September 28 at 7pm in the Sanctuary to share your experience with the exercise and also to walk together on some questions related to the theme. One set of the questions, you might want to think about ahead of time include:  Are you living your “calling”? Most religions speak of God or Life – something beyond ourselves inviting us to some unique mission or cause. If it is true that each of us has a unique calling, what’s yours? Have you found it? Or are you too distracted to notice the invitation?

In addition to the exercise and question above, small group ministry participants may have an opportunity to share on the following questions:

  1. Is there enough silence, stillness and space in your life to hear the “invitation”?
  2. How are you handling Life’s invitation to live gracefully and even gratefully with uncertainty and change?

Those who participated in previous offerings of Heart to Heart and Soul to Soul will recognize a familiar format to these small group ministry sessions as follows:

Gather in sanctuary
Welcome and Covenant Review
Chalice Lighting
On Our Hearts Sharing
Shared Readings
Sharing (multiple rounds, time permitting)
Closing Activity
Closing Words
Extinguishing the Chalice

Please note the distinction that this year’s small group ministry sessions happen on a monthly basis and are open to all in a drop-in fashion- you do not need to commit to attending all of the sessions- come when you can!  While small group ministry is optimal in a group of 8-12 participants and facilitators, none will be turned away- though if more than 12 are present we will probably start as a large group and then divide into smaller groups for sharing.  If there is consistently more than 12 participants we will consider having 2 or more groups happen concurrently or on different days and times of the week.
While it is a drop-in session, it is still important that participants arrive on time so that the session can proceed uninterrupted.

Consider this an invitation to take some time out of the hustle and bustle of our daily routines, to just “be” for a couple hours, and listen and share more deeply as you feel so moved.  See you Monday September 28 at 7 p.m. in the sanctuary!