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
Full to the Brim: An Expansive Lent – Adult Deepening Opportunities for Lent
The season of Lent is a time to find new and creative ways to grow in faith and one’s relationship with God and others. As we emerge from winter and the restraints of the pandemic, we hope you consider joining one or more of these Lenten Adult Deepening opportunities, as well as the ongoing Weekly Bible Study on Sunday mornings at 10am.
Living into Lent Spiritual Practices Workshop - Sunday, March 13 (rescheduled from March 6) from 4-5:30pm on Zoom: Adam S. will facilitate an intimate gathering, aimed at helping you carve out some healing space for grace throughout Lent and beyond. “Come as you are” to explore together the joys, brokenness, gifts, and doubts we bring to this Lenten season, a time for emptying and re-filling our cup. Find the Zoom link in the weekly newsletter.
Full to the Brim Small Group Study - 7:30-8:30pm on Tuesdays March 8-April 5* on Zoom. (*Please note the new end date. This series has been extended another week.) During Lent, join us for a small group study to reflect on the themes of God’s abundant and expansive grace, drawing from the Full to the Brim Lenten resources. We will engage Jesus’ parables and promises of God’s lavish love and grace, through scripture, poetry, visual art and music. Find the Zoom link in the weekly newsletter.
Week #1: March 8, 2022 Download Lenten Study Materials
Week #2: March 15, 2022 Download Lenten Study Materials
Week #4: March 29, 2022 Download Lenten Study Materials
Week #5: April 5, 2022 Download Lenten Study Materials
Prayer Partners for Lent - Please email email@example.com by Ash Wednesday, March 2 if you would like a Prayer Partner for Lent. We’ll pair you up with someone, or you can choose a partner you already know, and then you can make a plan with your Prayer Partner to connect at least 15 minutes each week of Lent by phone or in person. The Adult Deepening team 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.
Questions? Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Join us for A Song to Sing - An Advent Journey
November 28 – January 16
This past year has revealed that our faith is adaptable, can respond readily to great change, and can maintain the space to encounter the Divine regardless of distance or lapse of time. Our faith journey is meant to challenge us. For more than 2,000 years, people have been exploring what it means to be a Christian community. 50 years in, United Parish has the opportunity to consider what it means to be a church of three Protestant traditions… and a whole lot more.
Our seminarian Thomas Mitchell, working with the pastors and the Adult Deepening Team, has created a framework for discussing our personal faith journeys, and what it means to be a faith community. Over the weeks of Advent through Epiphany, you are invited to explore these probing questions:
Week 1: Why are you here? Click here for the study materials for Week 1
Week 2: Do you call yourself Christian? Click here for the study materials for Week 2
Week 3: Why do you choose this faith? Click here for the study materials for Week 3
Week 4: What does your faith look like outside of church?
Week 5: Epiphany: Why does this practice of your faith matter in 2022?
Given our hybrid model for church, we are offering three ways you can participate in A Song to Sing – An Advent Journey:
1. In person sessions weekly on Sunday after worship from 12:15 – 1:15 pm (indoors, masked and socially distant) on November 28, December 5, 12, 19, January 9*. Meet in the Parlor.
*UPDATE: The January 9 session has been rescheduled to Sunday, January 16 at 4pm on Zoom.
2. Zoom sessions on Tuesday nights from 7:10 - 8:00 PM (after Advent worship from 6:30-7:00 PM) on November 30, December 7, 14, 21, January 11. Find the Zoom link in the weekly email newsletter.
*UPDATE: There will not be a Tuesday evening session on January 11.
3. Self-scheduled, 30 minute paired weekly discussions of the questions with a United Parish congregant, starting the week of Nov. 28. Similar to the past “Prayer Partners” program, the Adult Deepening team will assign you a partner or you can sign up with a particular person you would like to discuss your faith journey and pray for each other during Advent.
Please contact email@example.com to let us know which type of session interests you, so we can send you materials for each week’s session.
The season of Lent is an ideal time to find new and creative ways to grow in faith and one’s relationship with God and others. This Lent, we are delving into what it means to cultivate “the fruits of the Spirit,” (inspired by Galatians 5:22-23). Each week we will choose one of these Christian spiritual virtues and explore what it means to practice humility, gentleness, gratitude, generosity and service, patience, self-control. In Holy Week, we will look at love (Maundy Thursday), compassion (Good Friday) and joy (Easter).
This year, we hope you will make time to join these Lenten Adult Deepening activities:
Small Group Study: During Lent, United Parish worship services will be exploring Christian virtues such as humility, love, patience, joy, gratitude, self-control - the “Fruits of the Spirit” discussed in Galatians 5:22-23. Weekly Small Groups will explore how we can cultivate the Fruits of the Spirit in ourselves and as a church community.
Monday evenings, 7:30pm on Zoom, Contact: Deb Hall (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Sunday afternoon, 20/30s Group at their regular time on Zoom 12:45-2:15pm. Contact: Katharine Henry (email@example.com)
Sunday morning: our regular Drop-In Bible Study, 10-10:45am on Zoom. No prep necessary. Contact: Deb W. (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Lenten Study Archives
February 21: Humility
February 28: Gentleness
March 7: Gratitude
March 14: Generosity and Service
March 21: Patience
March 28: Self-Control
Mini-Prayer Retreat: "Leaning into Lent: Deepening Your Personal Prayer Practice": A virtual mini-prayer retreat for the United Parish community. Sunday, February 21 from 4-6pm on Zoom. Please join us for a Lenten mini-prayer retreat, “Leaning into Lent; Deepening your personal prayer practice” via Zoom on Sunday, February 21 from 4-6pm. We will look at our own personal relationship to prayer, applying a spacious and inclusive definition of prayer in all of its beautiful and sacred manifestations. We will explore together how we might deepen our own personal prayer and contemplative practices during Lent, moving towards a more hope-full and inspired Easter. Lightly facilitated by Adam Sutton, United Parish member and ordained interfaith minister and coach. Gathering will be limited to no more than 15 participants, to allow for more intimate sharing and community-building.
Prayer Partners for Lent: One of the best ways to help us strengthen spiritually as a community and to ward off some loneliness during this continued pandemic is to have a prayer/conversation buddy. We strongly encourage you to try this. Please contact email@example.com if you would like a Prayer Partner for Lent. 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. The Adult Deepening team 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.
Tuesday Lenten Dinner Church: 7pm-7:45pm on Zoom — February 23-March 23
During Lent, we invite you to join us on Tuesday evenings from February 23 through March 23 at 7pm for Lenten midweek worship on Zoom. Prepare your own meal at home and sit down with us for a worship service of prayer, contemplation and song. Dinner church is a postmodern return to an ancient worship model, just like what the early Christians did in their own homes. (This will replace the regular Tuesday Evening Prayers.) For more information, contact Seminarian Katharine Henry at firstname.lastname@example.org or Associate Pastor Amy Norton at email@example.com.
Morning Midweek Meditation - Thursdays from 8-8:30am via Zoom
If you are looking for a calming, caring congregational connection in the middle of your chaotic week, join Adam Sutton on Thursday mornings on Zoom. We will hold space for some simple prayer sharing and will offer a relaxing and centering guided meditation that will leave you relaxed and renewed, ready to move into the rest of your week. Sign up by contacting Adam Sutton at firstname.lastname@example.org or find the Zoom information in the weekly newsletter.
Lenten Dinner Church
Music and worship over a sacred meal on Zoom
Tuesdays, February 23-March 23
7pm on Zoom
Sunday, March 28
11am Worship on YouTube
Thursday, April 1
6:45pm Guided Foot and Hand Washing Ritual on Zoom
7pm Worship and Communion on Zoom
Friday, April 2
7pm Tenebrae Worship on YouTube
Sunday, April 4
11am Festival Worship on YouTube
1-3pm Easter Flowers Available for Pick-Up on the Front Lawn