First Parish currently has four chalice circles/covenant groups—part of First Parish’s small-group ministry—designed to foster trust and deep listening among their members. These small discussion groups of six to twelve members follow the Soul Matters “curriculum,” which is a companion piece to each month’s worship theme (printed at the top of the first page of each Sunday’s order of service). Rev. Anne explores aspects of the worship theme—a spiritual value that our UU faith promotes as a way of being in the world—in most or all of her sermons in given month.
The Soul Matters curriculum gives chalice circles/covenant groups opportunities to explore the worship themes in more depth through questions and spiritual exercises for individual exploration.
As noted on the Soul Matters website, group members are asked to read all of the month’s questions to find the one “speaks to and challenges them personally” and then to “live with . . . that question for a couple weeks leading up to the group, coming to their meeting, not with an answer to each of the questions on the list, but with a story about how this one particular question lead them to deeper, personal learning. This technique leads us away from abstraction and intellectualizing and challenges us to think about how the topic (and question) apply to our daily living.”
The spiritual exercises are another way for members to apply the worship topic to their daily lives. For example, one exercise on the worship theme of what it means to be a community of grace involved finding “a way to bring grace (a gift one doesn’t expect, earn or even deserve) into another person’s life.”
If you would like to be part of an established group or a new group, please talk to Rev. Anne. If you cannot join a group for one reason or another, please look to this column, which will publish questions and spiritual exercises for the month’s worship theme. Then engage in the topic with someone at coffee hour!