Small Group Ministry

The Small Group Ministry (SGM) program is an active part of the ministry of First Parish, and it is one of the largest ministries within the Parish. Members cite multiple reasons and benefits from participating in a Small Group. One of the most commonly acknowledged benefits is the opportunity to get to know other members of the Parish on a deeper level. Having the opportunity to reflect on and discuss topics that can offer guidance and enrichment in our daily lives is another frequently cited benefit of SGM membership. Some participants attribute participation in a Small Group as enhancing their spiritual and/or ethical practices and awareness.

SGM groups have 6 – 10 members and are led by trained lay people. Groups meet twice a month, such as the first and third Tuesday, either at the Church or in group members’ homes. Meetings last one and a half to two hours, and may include refreshments. SGM groups serve to enrich our community, allowing time and space for the types of conversation and attentiveness that can be difficult in the busy life of a congregation. Group members listen to each other, but don’t attempt to solve each other’s problems. Small Groups are not therapy or encounter groups.

Session plans – each of which focuses on a specific topic – are provided for each meeting. Some discussion topics are spiritual or ethical in nature (faith, prayer, ethical living); others reflect universally human themes (compassion, loss, forgiveness, humor). Discussion topics are supported by questions to stimulate conversation. Members respond to the topic questions by sharing their insights, readings, experience, etc. SGM groups are not study groups or debate teams. The focus is on respectful listening, reflection, and thoughtful interchange among group members.

Each group makes and abides by a covenant that defines the group’s relationship to the Parish and to each other. Covenants typically include elements such as non-judgmental listening without interrupting, allowing time for all members to participate, starting and ending on time, attending regularly, and respecting the confidentiality of the groups’ discussions. SGM members are respectful of one another, but SGM groups are not support groups. When a member is in need, the other group members may provide assistance as a way of connecting with each other. The Caring Committee, the Pastoral Care Team or minister can fill in as needed.

SGM Groups are part of a religious community–the Church, and may choose to take on a service project in support of the Parish’s operation or Mission. Groups may choose to usher or set up and serve at social hour as a service to the congregation. Groups are encouraged to take on other service projects for the church and/or the larger community.

Information about our current SGMs – including information about meeting times –is listed below. Our SGMs – depending on space availability – accept new members in the months of October and February each year. If you are interested in joining a group, please contact one of the facilitators listed below. Any of the facilitators will be able to answer any questions you may have; however, if you have time constraints and have identified that a specific group is the best fit for your schedule, please contact the facilitator of that group. Before joining a group, new members are asked to meet with the group’s facilitator in advance of joining a group. This initial meeting provides you with an opportunity to learn more about how a particular SGM functions and to review the Covenant




7:15 – 9:00 PM
1st & 3rd Monday each month
Meets at Helen’s home
Helen Lane
Begins: 09/18/2017


9:30 – 11:00 AM
2nd & 4th Tuesdays each month
Meets at participants’ homes
Helen Lane
Begins: 10/10/2017


7:30 – 9:30 PM
1st and 3rd Tuesdays each month
Meets in participants’ homes
Carol Alper
Kristin Neff

Begins: 09/05/2017


7:30 – 9:00 PM
2nd & 4th Wednesdays each month
Meets at First Parish
Cathy Livingston

Begins: 09/13/2017

9:30-11:00 AM
1st & 3rd Thursdays each month
Meets at First Parish
Grace Rising

Begins: 10/05/2017

7:30-9:00 pm
2nd and 4th Thursdays
each month
Meeting place TBD
Rebecca Keller Scholl
Begins early October