This group of has met for about three years as a place for writers to share their writing and gain support and critiques. The work by members of the group has included: fiction, poetry, memoir or true story, essays, fables, comedy, and self-help. Writer’s Group had its origin from a previous small group that explored “Writing the Story of Your Life” by Dan Wakefield.
In addition to reading aloud and discussing individual writings done at home, the group will often have a brief writing exercise about an agreed topic that can be written during the meeting and shared. Sometimes the topics are chosen ahead of time and read during the meeting.
The group has also been a source for exploration of a sermon topic which then becomes part of a lay-led service. That has included the topic of spirituality and currently, the Soul Matter’s theme of mystery.
The membership of the group remains around eight people. The group meets on the third Wednesday of the month at 6:30 PM at UUCS.
The women’s group is intended to be a place of discussion and support for women. Events connected to the #MeToo movement and #TimesUp over the last two years have prompted the need for discussion and support for women’s issues. The group has met several times in 2018 in the form of a support group for women. The gatherings have taken place on several Sundays after the service and was led by Kathee Myers.
UUCS Men’s Group
The Men’s Group at UUCS is an informal conversational and support group open to all church members who identify as male. Our primary purpose is to provide a safe space for men to share personal feelings and happenings with other men, to build and deepen friendships, and provide a support network for men. The group currently meets once a month at the church for an hour of conversation. Not having a set agenda allows the group to focus on and provide support for whatever issues the members may bring to it. Typical topics may include personal events or issues that are happening in members lives, or larger more public topics and their effects on our own perceptions of masculinity.
Textile Arts Ministry
For many years the Fiber Arts Committee created hangings for the church and items for our yearly auction. As many members moved away, however, the committee dissolved. Reprised by Kathy Ashland around 2012 as the Prayer Shawl Ministry, our group of knitters, crocheters and quilt makers have worked to provide handmade items for various reasons. We began by making prayer shawls for our minister to bless and present to congregants who were ill or experiencing grief. We also made hats and scarves for the November auction and the Giving (Christmas) Tree. Then the choir’s need for stoles called us to make several for different seasons. Next, our output included small quilts and blankets for babies and children. Finally, we grew our quilts to twin and queen-sized and offer one a year to our November auction. Samples by Hannah Hamilton grace the walls of the minister’s office. The Ministry generally meets once a month at UUCS and holds occasional additional work days in the mezzanine.
The book club, which has been meeting for more than 20 years, currently meets at 10:30 a.m. at UUCS on the second Tuesday of the month. Each year the date and time are chosen by the group in order to best accommodate the majority of those who wish to attend. The books are also chosen by the book club members and include an interesting mix of both fiction and non-fiction. Members also share information about other books they are reading, so the book club is a great way to expand one’s reading list.
Occasionally members have gathered to view a movie based on a book they have read. For example, after reading Devil in a Blue Dress by Walter Moseley, they watched the movie starring Denzel Washington. Over a period of eight years, the club hosted four guest authors who spoke about their books and shared the ways in which their careers led them to write their stories.
Healthy Masculinity Discussion Group
The Healthy Masculinity discussion group is a small group ministry that meets once a month. The general topic is different ideas of masculinity, the way they are taught, the way they are portrayed, and the way they shape our lives. Our goal will be to find ways to question our assumptions about manhood and discover ways to be our truest, healthiest selves. Each month we choose a topic related to healthy masculinity for discussion, and one member leads that discussion, usually bring in some quotes and other discussion points. There are also check-ins and other standard elements of the covenant group format, though it is not explicitly a covenant group. The leader is organizing the group and has extensive training in masculinities. He studied masculinity and feminist theory as a minor field for his PhD in German Literature at Duke and UNC-Chapel Hill and has volunteered through community outreach, including a summer internship with the “Engaging Men and Boys” primary prevention officer of Chatham County Rape Crisis Center in North Carolina.
A Covenant Group is a group of people who covenant (promise) that they will meet over the year ahead (8 – 10 monthly meetings) and explore personal and spiritual themes drawn from either our worship themes or topics available through the UU Small Group Ministry Network. The meetings have a format guided by the group covenant and a facilitator who leads both dialogue and the deep listening. Four covenant groups are meeting this year using the Soul Matters program.