August 29, 2019: This program is currently on hiatus. Over the past several years, participation/interest has waned, and it has become increasing difficult to find group facilitators. So, we’re taking a break, and will monitor interest to determine when to launch new groups. If you want to be part of a future group, or have interest in becoming a facilitator, please contact Rev. Julie.
Here’s what people say about being part of a Covenant Group…
... “Being part of a group allows me to get to know others on a deeper level.”
….”It fosters a greater sense of connection.”
… “My group encourages introspection in a space to reflect and to be heard.”
A Covenant Group is…
… a circle of trust and deep listening. It is a small group of up to about ten people who meet monthly. Each group has trained co-facilitators who help everyone to stay on track and leave room to “hear the soul speak.” Each meeting follows a standard format and has a theme. Each Covenant Group agrees upon its own guidelines and covenant. They also agree to do one service project together (large or small) each year. Groups meet at someone’s home and occasionally at the Fellowship. To join a group, see below.
A Covenant Group is not …
… a worship service. Nor is it a therapy group, an adult religious exploration course, or a committee meeting. A Covenant Group complements and strengthens your other experiences at the Unitarian Fellowship of Peterborough. It provides an opportunity to seek spiritual growth, to get to understand yourself and others better, and to learn to better live out your most deeply held beliefs and values.
A Covenant Group offers …
… the opportunity to be heard and to learn to listen to others. It deepens connections to others within the church community. It enables you to set aside a special time for spiritual exploration and to dig deep into those questions that take you beyond your everyday self.
The Covenant Group format
Covenant Groups meet once a month. The Covenant Group format differs from that of a traditional discussion group. Perhaps paradoxically, its formal structure encourages an informality that allows people to get to know each other and develop trust.
- Opening reading
- Chalice lighting
- Group discussion
- Closing reading
Each group uses the format in its own unique way to launch topics for exploration and deeper sharing.
Joining a Covenant Group
Our groups form in the fall and meet for the church year. New members are always welcome throughout the year as space is available in the existing groups. Contact Rev. Julie Stoneberg with questions or to ask to join a group.
A Covenant Group FAQ
What kind of commitment must I make if I join?
Each group meets every month for 2 hours. New groups form in the fall, meet through the church year, and have the option of continuing through the summer. If you join, we ask you to make regular attendance a commitment for a year. Each fall, you have the option to join a new group or to opt out.
What is ‘check-in’ all about?
Each member has an opportunity at the beginning of each session to share with the group what is important in his or her life at that time. Sometimes check-ins can be focused on specific questions: What are the headlines in your life? How did you survive the holidays? At other times, check-ins may be very loose.
How are topics chosen for each meeting?
Each Covenant Group chooses its own topics and facilitators help with resources. A broad range of areas and ideas may be covered, from reflecting on our spiritual and religious journeys, to the seasons of our lives, to friendship and family roles in our culture.
What if I am shy about sharing my innermost thoughts?
Each group develops its own covenant around issues of confidentiality. In addition, facilitators are trained to help foster a trusting environment where no one is forced to share and each person’s comfort level with openness is respected.
What is the purpose of the service project?
The service project reflects our Unitarian Universalist mission to live out our values in the world. At the same time, it is a way to deepen relationships within the Covenant Group. Each group determines its own service project.
Want to sign-up for 2018-19? Contact Rev. Julie.