Chalice Groups: Sessions (A-M)

After Life? (doc): Almost all religious traditions have a concept of life after death. Unitarian Universalist thought accepts a wide variety of beliefs concerning the afterlife. We can grow by exploring the diversity of beliefs in our congregation.

Aging (doc): Aging is a fact of life. Our perceptions of the aging process and its significance may change over time, and may be influenced by our spiritual beliefs. By sharing and questioning our views on getting older, we hope to better understand and accept this natural process.

Applying Your Values to the Real World (doc): Many of us find it is hard to put our values in to practice. Certainly harder than simply saying them! May we find ways to walk our talk and ways to work together in this challenge.

Ask Me What I’m Living For (doc): We are more than our jobs, more than our bodies, more than our roles. We are also our passions, our loves, our longings, our aspirations. Ask me what I’m living for and I will ask you.

Asking for Help (doc): One of the most difficult things for most of us to do is ask for help even when we are in desperate need. Why do we close ourselves off and deny others the privilege of helping us? Is it pride? Is it ego? Fear of admitting we are not in complete control or independent? How can we learn to ask for the help we need?

Being Loved (doc): Every one of us longs to be loved. Most of us have been deeply and fully loved in our lives. How does the experience of being so loved bring us more fully into ourselves? How can it help us learn to live with our faults and use our gifts most fully?

Belonging and Committing (doc): To what do we belong? How do we commit ourselves? When we move out of our isolation and individual lives and join with a larger whole, our lives are transformed. How have you experienced this?

Compassion (doc): What is compassion? By definition, it means a deep awareness of the suffering of another coupled with the wish to relieve it. It’s an act and human virtue seldom discussed. How has compassion touched your life?

Cultivating an Open Heart (doc): Our experience of the world often teaches us that to keep walls around our hearts will keep us safe. Yet those walls also deaden our lives and imprison our spirits. Let us learn from each other how to crack those walls and open our hearts.

Earth Stewardship (doc): “We covenant to affirm and promote respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part.” Each day we face decisions that have ramifications far beyond our own lives and impact our whole planet. None of us has clean hands and each of us lives with the burden of this knowledge. By sharing our hope and despair, our stories and ideas, let us be inspired in the presence of each other that we may yet see a healed Earth.

Examining the Soul (doc): Some believe in the existence of the soul while others do not. Many find the concept difficult to articulate. By sharing our perceptions of the concept of the soul, perhaps we will better understand our own spiritual beliefs and find common ground with others.

Experiencing Our Aliveness (doc): Remember that moment when you came alive-fully awake to joy, to grief, to beauty? The moment when the preciousness of life washed over you? By sharing these stories we can learn to be more fully alive.

Exploring the Meaning of Community (doc): Per the dictionary, “community” means a social, religious, occupational or other group sharing common characteristics or interests and perceiving itself as distinct in some respect from the larger society within which it exists. Within our Unitarian Universalist faith and our personal lives, community may take on a variety of meaning and importance. What does community mean to you?

Femininity and Masculinity: Beyond Pink and Blue (doc): Do you remember the old adages “sugar n’ spice and everything nice, that’s what little girls are made of” and “snips n’ snails and puppy dog tails, that’s what little boys are made of”? Have you noticed in the infant and small children’s clothing secion of a store that all you see is either bubblegum pink or powder blue? Even the card displays for Mother’s and Father’s Day are pink & floral or blue & related to golf or fishing respectively. Let’s discuss how we developed our definitions and expectations of femaleness and maleness, femininity and masculinity.

Forgiveness (doc): Forgiveness is an important part of many religions and spiritual paths. Through forgiveness we can release ourselves from the torments of our past. By exploring forgiveness together we may be able to discover how forgiveness fits into our unique spiritual journeys.

Global Living (doc): An Interconnected World: As people, we sometimes forget that we are one with the earth, that we are part of the earth, that the earth is part of us. Let us take some time now to appreciate the web of life of which we are a part, to understand a little better our place in it and its place in us.

Good and Evil (doc): Much of Western philosophy, religion and psychology assume that humans are born competitive, greedy and aggressive, requiring laws and religious authority to ensure societal stability. However, others believe that humans are born as cooperative social beings and that the evolutionary process ensures that cooperative societies have a greater likelihood of surviving. What do you believe is the basis for good and evil behavior?

Happiness (doc): Therapists, TV commercials, and even our constitution state that we should pursue happiness. How do we define happiness and how do we know when we’re happy? Let us explore the meaning of happiness as individuals and its application on a universal level.

Healing Power of Humor (doc): In 110 B.C. author Sima Xiangru commented on one of his most treasured entertainments: “Then come jesters to delight the ear and eye and bring mirth to the mind.” Over 2000 years later, humor still plays an important role in our spiritual life. By exploring the role of humor has played in our lives, we can better understand how humor enhances our spiritual journeys.

Learning Through Mistakes (doc): We all make mistakes. How often are we open to learning from them? Humility, the kind that is open to wisdom from all places, even our own mistakes, is not easy to learn. By sharing our stories of learning from our mistakes we may each be more open to learning the lessons our next mistake has to teach us.

Let Your Life Speak (doc): We each bring gifts and talents to this world. Taking time to reflect on what these are helps us know how to give them and how to use them to bless the world.

Living in a Committed Relationship: Americans today express their life commitment to a partner in different manners – some through the traditional institution of marriage, some by a shared living arrangement, and others through commitment ceremonies. Some partners could get married but choose not to, and demonstrate their commitments to one another by living together. Yet others who wish to marry are legally forbidden to do so. Divorce is on the rise. Has the institution of marriage changed? Is it still relevant? Let us explore what marriage means.

Meaningful Meals (doc): We all eat and we enjoy eating but in our busy lives we seldom take the time to truly savor and find meaning in our meals. It’s time to slow down, remember traditions, discern and embrace the role of food in our daily lives and in our congregations. {This session requires advance preparation and is recommended for either a holiday or closing session. Please read preparation notes at the end.}

Moments of Grace (doc): We all need help, maybe all of us more than we know. We like to imagine ourselves independent and capable, and often we are, but that doesn’t mean that we aren’t also battered and worn at the same time. But maybe when we need it, grace comes as a gift freely given. By sharing these moments with each other may we be made more open to the moments of grace in our lives.

My Music (doc): Your music will shape the center of this experience. Each participant should bring one favorite piece of music to the Small Group Ministry session. You are welcome to play the song yourself if you are a musician or bring a recorded piece to share with the group. The host for this session should have the capacity to play tapes or CDs.

Mystery (doc): Mystery, we are intrigued by it, we are inspired by it, we want to know it better. Mystery is part of our everyday lives; many people think of it often in terms of the natural world. Mystery can be a spiritual topic as well, as it challenges us to recognize our limitations, to accept what is before and around us, to see what we lies within us.