Friday, July 14, 2006

Still trying to become the most dangerous church in America?

Dear Visionary UUs,

This August the UU Small Group Ministry Network is offering a weeklong Small Group Ministry conference at Ferry Beach. We offered this last year and it was a huge success. This is an opportunity for visionary and passionate UU's of the Small Group kind (SGM leaders, coordinators, ministers, lay coaches, etc...) to celebrate this ministry, learn new techniques, explore new dimensions in small group ministry and covenant groups, for us all to review the essentials for SGM health, growth and transformation and much more. Sounds fun, doesn't it?

Register on-line at

Whether your group ministry is just getting started or well under way, I'd like to personally invite you to join us for this exiting week. Come and share your passion, learning, questions and vision for our faith and this powerful ministry.

Why am I so excited for this week?

For me, its about us working together to figure out how to realize our potential, both individually, as congregations, and a religious movement. I'm looking forward to talking to you about taking our movement to the next level. My passion is sharing our faith, doing faith development and spiritual growth via ministry in groups, and turning our small group ministries into leadership (and ministry) development machines.
Have you noticed the buzz around growth?

Our congregations, the UUA Board of Trustees, UUA Staff -- seems like they are all talking growth these days. And remember the call a while back for us to "GET DANGEROUS" -- you know, the story about a top Mormon leader saying if we knew how to retain newcomers as well as they do we'd be the most dangerous church in America? For me, Small Group Ministry is the means by which we can accomplish this.

Take a look at this.

The following is the Rev. Bill Sinkford's conclusion from his "The most dangerous church in America" UU World column:

How can we become the most dangerous church in America? We can stand up in the public square and consistently and clearly voice our commitment to the inherent worth and dignity of every person and our commitment to a world community with peace, justice, and liberty for all. We can take action inspired by these commitments. We can offer visitors to our congregations a liberal religious home, a sanctuary from the uncertainty and isolation that may have brought them to our doors, a community that will help them develop spiritually and grow emotionally—and as we do, they will stay with us...

If you look at faith communities that are THRIVING, they know how to do their ministry via small groups. You can't retain masses of people without doing church in groups. In my opinion the only way we’re going to thrive long term as a movement and realize our potential is if we MASTER accomplishing our work and ministry via intentional group ministries.

I hope you'll seriously consider mobilizing someone from your congregation to join us for this very special week. If you can't make it but want to get serious about Small Group Ministry, talk to me about setting up another training.

In faith,

Peter Freedman Bowden
401 855-0037 Office


Ferry Beach Small Group Ministry Week
A.K.A. the UU SGM Network Summer Institute
August 12 - August 18, 2006
Ferry Beach, UU Conference Center
Saco, Maine
Register on-line at


Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Did you miss GA?

If you missed General Assembly, have no fear! You can order audio tapes/cd's and videos of many GA programs. I've talked to many people who don't go to GA because of the expense. Because they've dismissed GA all together they haven't realized this service is available. I ordered CD's of the programs I missed last year -- it was great. To see a list of available programs and to order online visit the following site:

If you are a committee leader, check out the available programs and consider having a group viewing (or listening) of programs related to your committee's work. You might even encourage your congregation to start a library of great GA programs for lay leaders.

If you are one of the many congregations struggling to get people to go to GA, showing a video of GA events after a service is a great way to build interest.

LIVING A CALL now available via the All Souls Church Bookstore

You can now order the latest title from Jenkin Lloyd Jones Press at All Souls Church. Living A Call is now available through the All Souls Bookstore. Discounts are available for bulk orders. To order a single copy order online. For larger orders print out the order form.

If you've read Living A Call already I'd love to hear your thoughts on it.