Study Groups

Small group studies and book discussons are offered periodically throughout the year.  Often there is a study series during Advent and Lent; book discussions happen throughout the year.  These groups offer the opportunity to get to know others in a small group setting, to dive deeper into our Christian faith, and to exchange ideas.  Stay tuned for upcoming study groups.  A sampling of past study groups can be found below. 

Past study groups

Animate: Practices, an adult introduction to the central practices of the Christian faith.

The Parents We Mean to Be: How Well-Intentioned Adults Undermine Children's Moral and Emotional Development by Richard Weissbourd

America's Original Sin: Racism, White Privilege, and the Bridge to a New America by Jim Wallis.

Flight Behaviour by Barbara Kingsolver

Help, Thanks, Wow by Anne Lamott

The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander. In connection with our Social Justice theme, End Mass Incarceration, the Adult Deepening and Stretching into Justice Ministry Teams sponsored a month-long small group study of this book, which Dr. Cornel West describes as “a grand wake-up call in the midst of a long slumber of indifference to the poor and vulnerable.”

Love God, Health Earth by Sally Bingham.  A collection of essays features writings from all parts of the religious and political spectrum, explaining why caring for God's creation is a spiritual practice and social justice mandate.

Animate: Faith, an adult education course that imaginatively explores central topics of Christianity.

Called to Life, an adult education course to explore questions of vocation and calling—how God works in our everyday lives.

Made for Goodness by Desmond Tutu and Mpho Tutu.  Over the years the same questions get asked of Desmond Tutu, the archbishop, Nobel Peace Prize winner, and veteran of the moral movement that ended apartheid in South Africa: "How can you be so hopeful after witnessing so much evil?" "Why are you so sure goodness will triumph in the end?" This book is his answer.

Happiness by Joan Chittister.  Everyone wants to be happy. Many, however, wrongly believe that happiness comes from having enough money, fame, personal comfort, worldly success, or even dumb luck. Happiness just seems to be so elusive and arbitrary—something all too often just out of reach. Joan Chittister sees happiness differently. To her it is not a by-product of wealth or success but, rather, a personal quality to be learned, mastered, and fearlessly wielded. Happiness, she says, "is an organ of the soul that is meant to be nourished."

Latest Study Groups News

A request from your pastor
Posted: Mar 1 2018 - 2:46pm

I would like to give you a small, important challenge this Lenten season - have a prayer partner. Now WAIT, before you disregard this, please take one minute to hear me out. I’m serious about this.

Our congregation is very good at gathering and socializing and enjoying one another’s company. This is a good, beautiful and wonderful thing.

I would like for us all to do more to strengthen our spiritual connections with one another. I believe that by strengthening our spiritual bonds and understanding of one another, we increase our spiritual strength as a body overall. And in a world that needs more hope, more love, more compassion, more God energy, this is a necessary and powerful thing. It’s a way that United Parish can be more of a beacon in the world.

You may think that you are not that spiritual, or that you don’t know how to pray, or even if you do, you don’t want to share that with someone else, that it’s private. That’s OK. Just give it a try. It’s a holy experiment, basically committing to having a spiritual buddy in the congregation with whom you talk for 5-15 minutes each week from now through Easter (April 1).

And believe me, we could all use a spiritual buddy. You will be surprised how enriching this will be. Our Adult Deepening Team has made it so easy, with some helpful guidelines about how it can work, how to structure your weekly check-in.

Men and boys - this is not just a women’s thing. So far only I and two other men have signed up to do this. I would like for ALL of us to do this. I would like all of the guys to lean into this.

To find a prayer partner

Just click HERE to start the process. You can choose your own or the team and pastors will pair you up with someone.

Lenten Study groups - Getting Real with God Click HERE

I also strongly encourage you to check out our Lenten study groups, which start up this coming Sunday, March 4.

Fasting with a purpose click HERE

Also - in traditional Lenten fashion, our Stretching into Justice team invites you to give up a meal each week and donate the money you saved to the Brookline Food Pantry.

We can enlarge our spiritual strength among one another. I believe that God needs us to do this.

In faith,


"Getting Real with God" and Prayer Partners: Adult Deepening Opportunities for Lent
Posted: Feb 5 2018 - 2:20pm

Lent starts on Valentine’s Day and ends on April Fool's Day this year. The Adult Deepening team invites you to use one or both of these two Lenten opportunities as a time to experience God in new and transformative ways, individually and with others, open to love and laughter!

Enrich your Lenten journey with a five session Lenten study “Getting Real With God”. In each session, the group will share readings and exercises, drawing from ancient to modern spiritual practices that help us discern God's presence in our everyday lives. Getting Real with God is designed to recharge our exalting in worship, deepen our faith, and inspire our stretching into justice and gathering in community.

Each session will be offered three times: Sundays at 9:15am (Lindsay Room), Sundays at 12:30pm (Parlor), and Tuesdays at 7pm (Parlor). Please join the session that works best for your schedule.

Session 1 - Sharing the Many Ways we Pray - Sunday, March 4, 9:15-10:30am, 12:30-1:45pm (relocated from Parlor to Lindsay Room), or Tuesday, March 6, 7-8:15pm

Session 2 - Focused Spiritual Practice with St. Ignatius’ Examen - Sunday March 11, 9:15-10:30am, (there will be no 12:30pm session due to the potluck with Temple Shir Tikva), (there will be no 7pm session on Tuesday 3/13 due to low enrollment)

Session 3 - Listening to the Easter Story in a New Way - Sunday, March 18, 9:15-10:30am, 12:30-1:45pm, or Tuesday, March 20, 7-8:15pm

Session 4 - Experiencing God in Body & Spirit - Sunday, March 25, 12:30-1:45pm combined session (Willett Hall)

Session 5 - Doing Justice as Easter People, as Christ’s Hands & Feet in the World - After Easter. Date/Time coming soon.

Sign up online here, at Coffee Hour or email Deb at


A second opportunity: Would you like a Prayer Partner during Lent? Sign up and we’ll pair you up with someone, or you can choose someone you know. Make a covenant with your Prayer Partner to connect at least 15 minutes each week of Lent by phone or in person. In addition to sharing your own prayer needs and favorite techniques for getting real with God through prayer, Adult Deepening will also provide Prayer Partners with a brief guide for ways you might get to know each other, and ways to try praying together or individually on behalf of the other.  For more information, contact Lisa at

Sign up here.

“We want to deepen our personal conversations with God and with each other, since we know that authentic connections sustain the Spirit in us. We value curiosity about the wonders of faith even as we affirm our Christian traditions. We want to equip ourselves and the children among us for life-long spiritual journeys. We find meaningful encounters with God and each other in worship, prayer, study, dialogue in small groups, and other spiritual practices.” From the United Parish Vision adopted by the Congregation in 2009

People Parenting Discussion Group
Posted: Oct 11 2017 - 12:00pm

Join Lisa W. and Rachel S. for a discussion based on The Blessing of a Skinned Knee by Wendy Mogel (copies available in Church Office, $5 donation suggested). Excerpts will be selected to guide weekly discussion for those who are unable to read the entire book. The nursery will be open and available for those who wish to participate or you may bring your little ones along if you prefer. You are always welcome to drop-in as available to any of the 4 gatherings. Sessions will be October 15, 22, 29, and November 5 from 9:00am-10:00am in the Lindsay Room (except October 15 which will be in the Deepening Room). Contact