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

Advent at United Parish Calendar
Posted: Nov 23 2022 - 3:46pm

We have a lot of wonderful programs happening over the next month. To help keep it all straight, click HERE to download a calendar featuring our special Advent events as well as our usual offerings, or pick up a handout on the welcome tables on Sunday.

Advent Adult Deepening Opportunities
Posted: Nov 17 2022 - 10:52am

Join us for Advent Adult Deepening opportunities in December

From Generation to Generation…

The work of God is always unfolding in and through us – as individuals and as a community of faith. This Advent, we will explore again how our lives intersect with this story about Love that connects us from generation to generation. 

There will be several ways to connect, create and contemplate during the December weeks of Advent: 

  1. The first In-person Class will be at 12:15pm after church on Sunday, December 4 in the Lindsay Room, and the second two classes will be “Saturday Suppers," on Saturdays, December 10 and 17 from 6-8:30pm in the Parlor. A vegetarian main dish will be provided, and desserts & beverages will be potluck. Guided conversation will be augmented with art, poems and creative journaling.
  2. Three Weekly Zoom Classes/Conversations on Tuesdays, December 6, 13 and 20 from 7:30-8:30pm.
  3. “Prayer Partners” - self-scheduled, 20-30 minute weekly shared prayer and discussion with someone at United Parish, starting the week of December 4. The Adult Deepening team will assign you a partner or you can sign up with a particular person, and the pairs will be provided Advent devotional materials to support your time together.

Since the first week of Advent starts on November 27 – at the end of the Thanksgiving weekend, the sessions starting in December will cover these themes:

Advent 2: God Meets Us in Our Fear (Luke 1:26-38, Isaiah 11:1-10) (View Lesson Plan Here)
Advent 3: We Can Choose a Better Way (Matthew 1:18-25, Isaiah 35:1-10)
Advent 4: We See God in Each Other (Luke 1:39-45; 56-58, Luke 1:46-55)

Ongoing Weekly Bible Study on Sundays at 10am will also engage these scriptures and themes, since they will also be part of weekly worship.

Please contact or speak to Deb Hall if you have questions or to let us know which opportunities interest you. Then we can email materials for prayer partners and classes, as well as prepare materials for the in-person sessions. All are welcome!

Adult Deepening Opportunities for Lent 2022
Posted: Feb 23 2022 - 8:59pm

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 ZoomAdam 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 #3: March 22, 2022 Download Lenten Study Materials plus Supplemental Handout

Week #4: March 29, 2022 Download Lenten Study Materials

Week #5: April 5, 2022 Download Lenten Study Materials

Prayer Partners for Lent - Please email 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