NEW: Nurturing Faith in CommUNITY Together/Apart — Introducing CommUNITY Groups!
Jesus’ ministry began with an invitation to two curious young adults: “Come and see.” Soon, a small circle of men and a few women followed Jesus, leaving behind their old ways of life and learning about and living into the Kingdom of God. Through this small group, lives far beyond its members were healed and transformed and the good and subversive message was spread.
Jesus’ followers today are also invited to “Come and see.” It is through deep, often challenging relationships that we experience the living Christ, that lives are upended, and the very world we inhabit is made new. Forming bonds of kinship, however, is difficult in normal times, even more so in this age of physical and social distancing. But it is clear that connection and supportive fellowship is more important than ever.
That’s why Westminster’s Christian Education teams for Adults, Children, and Youth decided that a primary goal for this fall needed to focus on nurturing faith in CommUNITY – together/apart. Key to this effort will be a new initiative that offers the opportunity to join a small group. These groups are for older and newer members of the congregation. They are for those well-connected and those struggling to make connections. In other words, these groups are for anyone willing to go on a new adventure in relationship-building here at WPC. We are even creating space on Sunday mornings for these new groups to meet once a month! We trust the Spirit of God is at work and will lead us and this endeavor so that we can form bonds even in this together/apart time.
What are CommUNITY Groups?
CommUNITY Groups strengthen the bonds of Christian connection and support in the Westminster congregation. CommUNITY Groups connect two to four households around a shared topic or study. These groups will be limited to 8 to 12 members so that they may meet in person or online as the group chooses.
What is CommUNITY Sunday?
CommUNITY Sundays will typically fall on the first Sunday of the month coinciding with Communion in worship. Groups may choose to meet during the Church School hour. To make room, children’s classes and some of our youth classes will not meet on CommUNITY Sundays. The first CommUNITY Sunday is October 4.
Who should sign up for CommUNITY Groups?
Everyone! On the form, you will have the option to request joining with one or more individuals and/ or with one or more families while keeping the group size small.
Who are the leaders?
Each group will be self-led. Resources and a general format will be offered, and groups can decide how they will conduct their gatherings
When will groups meet?
Groups meet at least once a month and may choose to meet on CommUNITY Sunday. Groups may meet during the Church School hour, but may also choose to meet at a time that is convenient to the group. Groups will commit to meeting for the 2020-2021 year.
Will there still be Sunday School?
WPC classes for adults will continue to be available on CommUNITY Sundays. If you want to be a part of a Sunday School Class, but also wish to join a CommUNITY group, indicate that on the sign-up form. (Please note: Classes for children and youth through 7th grade will not meet on these Sundays. Confirmation will meet online and High School Church School will meet in person outdoors at WPC. )
Where will CommUNITY groups meet?
Group size will be kept small so they may choose to meet online or in person, if they feel comfortable. In an abundance of caution, we request that all groups follow the WPC Regathering Operating Guidelines, even when meeting off campus. For those that want to meet at WPC, they will need to complete the WPC Activity Request Form. Guidelines for Attendees provides some assistance in following state and local recommendations to reduce the likelihood of spreading COVID-19. Hosts for each meeting will send an Attendee List – Outdoor Event to the church office within 24 hours of the gathering, to help with contact tracing should that become necessary.
What will CommUNITY groups do?
Types of groups may include Connection groups that meet mostly for fellowship, groups that focus on one or more spiritual practices, or groups that focus on a Bible study or topic such as racial equity. Resource options will be offered, but groups may also choose their own materials.
What kinds of Groups are there?
Here are a few offerings. In addition, a group design team will prayerfully create the groups, taking into consideration group size, interest, and other preferences and needs. We may not be able to accommodate all preferences, but we will do our best!
- Connection groups (for fellowship, devotions + prayer). Use a resource such as “Taking Faith Home” to have a brief time of devotions. Get to know one another and enjoy fellowship. Groups may also choose simple outings such as going for a walk together/apart.
- Spiritual Practices Group: Choose one or explore a variety of Christian practices such as Lectio Divina or Centering Prayer.
- Bible Study
- Yale Bible Study: The Gospel of Matthew. Individuals work on their own through the study and then discuss during small group time.
- Short Stories by Jesus: The Enigmatic Parables of a Controversial Rabbi by Amy-Jill Levine. Select a chapter to read on your own and then discuss.
- Discuss upcoming or previous sermon + scripture
- Topical or Book Study
- Racial Equity: Getting started by taking the 21 Day Challenge and discuss what you’re learning together. Or, go deeper and read and discuss a book such as White Fragility, by Robin DiAngelo
- Parenting Topics: Parent Cue Live is a podcast featuring parenting experts designed to help parents do family better. Listen ahead and discuss together.
- Choose a book such as “TThe Story of God, the Story of Us” by Sean Gladding (a “Doorways” Study Group selection). Read on your own and discuss together.
- Listen to a podcast such as the On Being Podcast on your own, and then discuss in your small group time.
- Other: Maybe none of these seem quite right? You are open, but want to decide within your group.
Ready to join a CommUNITY group? Please contact Marietta Wynands, Director of Christian Education.