Small Group Ministry

The Small Group Ministry consists of groups of 7-10 people within the church community that meet a minimum of once a month. Each group participates in a facilitated discussion about a variety of topics related to spirituality, values, and living one’s life within the context of Unitarian Universalism. The sessions are designed by the minister and include a chalice lighting, check-in, readings on the topic and the facilitated discussion. Each group is led by a trained facilitator.

Topics have included: Trust, Risk, Gratitude, Compassion, Justice, Evil, Forgiveness, Hospitality, Empowerment, and Sources of Spirituality.

Small Group Ministry provides the opportunity to:

  • communicate thoughtfully, deeply, and compassionately with each other about issues we feel are important to ourselves, our spiritual growth, and our life together in this congregation.
  • understand each other’s strengths, needs, fears, beliefs, and values; and to understand our own better.
  • explore our common purpose, to learn from and nurture our different paths to spiritual growth and to understand and consider each other’s perspectives as well as to learn from each other’s experiences.
  • form closer connections among individuals of our congregation and strengthen our commitment to each other.

Small Group Ministry is grounded in a Covenant:

We, the member of the First Parish Small Group Ministry, covenant to create a place and time for nurturing spiritual growth, where all share, are heard, and listen with open minds. We will respect each other’s thoughts, opinions, and feelings, in an atmosphere of mutual trust and confidentiality.

Small Group Ministry requires:

  • regular attendance at the meetings (twice a month for the first three months and once a month or as the group agrees after that)
  • a commitment to attend the meetings for one church year
  • a commitment to uphold the groups’ covenant and expectations for creating an open, non-judgmental, atmosphere for sharing ideas, experiences, and beliefs.

Small Group Ministry is not:

  • a support group. While individuals may share events in their personal lives and confidentiality is honored, the focus is on discussion of the topics and not on helping people resolve personal issues and problems.
  • intended to create permanent groups or cliques. The groups last long enough for trust and deeper connections to grow over one church year but are evaluated and reformed each year, providing new opportunities to learn and grow.

Consider joining. New Small Group Ministry groups will be forming this fall. If you would be interested in joining a group or learning more about Small Group Ministry, contact Rev. Ellen Spero at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 978-256-5555.

Contact Info

First Parish Church
2 Westford St
Chelmsford MA 01824