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
Responding to requests for more opportunities to simply recharge and connect, both virtually and in person, United Parish will be offering a variety of small group opportunities for adults to feed your body, mind and spirit. Some of us are ready to venture outdoors for some socially-distant small group conversation and shared spiritual practices in nature; others will prefer to engage in discussion of a book or podcast from our homes or patios via Zoom or just joining by calling in by your good ol' cell phone.
Watch for Simply Sacred Summer events in the weekly United Parish email and/or on upbrookline.org. These intimate sharing and learning gatherings will offer the opportunity to get to know others in a small group setting, to dive deeper into our Christian faith together, and to exchange hopes, concerns and support strategies for remaining resilient and connected through the summer and beyond!
NOTE: In the spirit of collaborative leadership of the early church that we've heard about in worship from the Book of Acts, we invite your ideas for spiritual practices/programs for July and August - especially if you would be excited about a shared facilitating experience. Please contact Deb H. or Adam S. at email@example.com.
Image credit: Ipswich River Wildlife Sanctuary, by Camera-Lust on Flickr.
The season of Lent is a time to dig deeper into your soul, to find new and creative ways to grow in faith and in relationship with God and others. We are taking time this season to delve into what it means to discern God’s will in our lives, with opportunities to do that individually and collectively at United Parish. We hope you will join us in ways that may unleash your imagination, feed your soul, and help us all connect more deeply with the presence of God in our midst.
Lenten Study Zoom meeting, Wednesday, April 8 at 7:15pm, details here.
Lenten Study Zoom meeting, Wednesday, April 1 at 7:15pm, details here.
Lenten Study Zoom meeting, Wednesday, March 25 at 7:15pm, click here.
Lenten Study Zoom meeting, Wednesday, March 18, 7:15pm, details here.
Lenten Study: Discernment, Finding Clarity in the Chaos, March 1-April 5
How do you find a way when you don’t know what to do? Are you wrestling with some questions you want help answering? Would you like to try walking in partnership with the Divine? We hope you will come for an introductory session on Sunday, March 1 from 12:30-2pm to learn more over lunch in the Parlor. This promises to be a helpful study for all of us. We will hold regular study sessions throughout the season on Sundays and 1-2 weekday times, based on need and availability. For more information, contact Kent (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Deb H. (email@example.com).
Week 1, beginning March 1
Week 2, beginning March 8
Week 3, beginning March 15
Week 4, beginning March 22
Week 5, beginning March 29
Week 6, beginning April 5
We encourage everyone to try having a prayer partner for this Lenten season. 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 12). Sign up here. Please review this 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thursday Lenten Dinner Church, 6:15-7pm, Parlor, March 5-April 2
Join us for a contemplative, candlelit service over a shared meal on Thursday evenings, March 5 through April 2 from 6:15-7:00pm in the Parlor. Doors open at 6pm. Dinner church is a post-modern return to an ancient worship model, just like what the early Christians did in their own homes. We’ll enjoy soup, salad, communion, prayer, confession and music. For more information, contact Seminarian Jaz Buchanan at email@example.com or Associate Pastor Amy Norton at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sunday Lenten Worship
We will follow the themes of our Lenten study of discovering what Discernment means and how to find clarity in chaos, each Sunday morning at 11am in the Sanctuary.
March 1-April 5
How do you find a way when you don’t know what to do? Are you wrestling with some questions you want help answering? Would you like to try walking in partnership with the Divine? Come after worship on Sundays in the Parlor (except March 8 which will be in the Lindsay Room) and learn more about this exciting and provocative Lenten study. This promises to be a helpful study for all of us. We will hold regular study sessions throughout the season on Sundays and 1-2 weekday times, based on need and availability.