Thursday, August 25, 2005

UU's and Study Circles

I've been talking to many UU leaders (after trainings, guest speaking, call me for scheduling at 401 855-0037) and the issue of how to do outreach keeps coming up.

A great way to reach out into the community is to DO SOMETHING in the community. Don't just look for ways to get people to come to your church -- when you become a valued partner in the larger world people will take notice and start checking you out.

So the question therefore becomes what to do... There are endless options. Here is a new one for you. Our congregations are doing amazing things via small group ministry. People need to talk. Why not help the larger community talk about important issues? We can use what we've learned about connection, meaning and engagement in UU small groups and bring it out of the church.

This is an amazing model for social action. And the resources already exist!

There is an organization called the Study Circles Resource Center which is producing incredible resources on making this kind of dialogue happen. They have resources on using what they call "study circles" and I playfully call "secular small group ministry" to explore the following issues:

Civil Liberties and Homeland Security
Criminal justice
Student success / Achievement gap
Growth and sprawl
Neighborhoods and families
Police-community relations
U.S. policy In Iraq

Many of these are topics UU's are already involved with. Why not connect your leaders with the study circle people, the resources, and have your congregation be the group that made these essential conversations happen?

Go forth and get people talking. Its the UU thing to do.