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

Adult Deepening Ministry Team Needs Your Ideas!
Posted: Sep 3 2019 - 11:07am

Whether you're a newcomer or long-timer, the United Parish Adult Deepening Ministry Team hopes you will come to a dinner meeting on Monday, September 16 from 7:00-8:30pm in the Parlor to brainstorm and prioritize programming ideas for 2019-2020.

Fall Adult programming is already getting started: the weekly Sunday 10 AM Bible Study begins September 8.

Over the summer we have gathered many great ideas for one-time or multi-session programming. Here is a sampling of the possibilities suggested for programming that we will discuss, distill and augment with your ideas on September 16:

  • Quarterly "Prayer Retreats" in the Saturday morning format launched last year or other timeframes
  • Focused Bible studies on the Old Testament, Jesus' Parables, and gender/sexuality issues in scripture
  • Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson, and other "stretching into justice" themed books on diversity, inclusion, segregation and greening issues
  • Advent devotional writing workshops

On September 16, let's enjoy a meal together and be realistic, creative and focused about how best to help United Parish adults deepen in faith and spirituality this year! Please RSVP to if you can attend or speak with Debra H., Adult Deepening team convener or Pastor Amy Norton if you have additional ideas and interests.

Diversity and Inclusion Book Study
Posted: May 8 2019 - 2:52pm

Adult Deepening invites everyone to embark on an all-parish reading of The Pentecost Paradigm: Ten Strategies for Becoming a Multiracial Congregation by Jacqueline J. Lewis and John Janka, as we continue working for fuller diversity, equity, and inclusion at United Parish!

Copies will be available after worship at Coffee Hour and in the Church Office during the week; we encourage participants to try to read the first three chapters (about 30 pages total) by Sunday May 19, when our small groups will begin. Each group will then have 2 weeks to read the subsequent selection of chapters. Book groups will meet in the Deepening Room.

The group options are:

Chapters 1-3

Groups A & B: Sunday May 19: 9am

Group C: Monday May 20: 7pm

Group D: Tuesday May 21: 9am


Chapters 4-6

Group A: Sunday June 2: 9am, Group B: 12:30pm

Group C: Monday June 3: 7pm

Group D: Tuesday June 4: 9am


Chapters 7-10

Group A: Sunday June 16: 9am, Group B: 11:30am

Group C: Monday June 17: 7pm

Group D: Tuesday June 18: 9am


If you have any questions, please contact Amy Norton (

20/30 Vision Lenten Study
Posted: Mar 6 2019 - 10:12am

Our Seminarian, Wilson Hood, will be leading after-worship sessions on the theme of “Exploring Our Faith” for the 20s/30s group. We'll explore faith and our expression of our faith in the weeks leading up to Easter. This will take place from March 10 through April 14, after church at the time our lunches have been held. For more information, contact or