I find the space that is created in my small group to be most meaningful. In many ways, it is a place where people can reflect on the past and envision the future. The time during our small group is like suspended time, which in many ways allows for us to simply be.”
– Participant testimonial
At North Parish, spiritual deepening and connection extend far beyond Sunday services. We offer many small group opportunities for spiritual practice, lasting friendships and caring community that are as diverse as our membership. For example, Soul Matters is open to new participants who are interested in exploring themes of belonging and meaning within a covenanted group of eight to ten members. The Book and Movie group meets in the parlor once a month for coffee, cookies and discussion. The Men’s Group gathers regularly for dinner or games. And, many of the women who have participated in the women’s spirituality class “Cakes for the Queen of Heaven” over the last 20 years continue to meet on a regular basis.
Below is a partial list of the small group offerings. If you are interested in joining a group, please contact us.
- Learn & Affirm – Introduction to Unitarian Universalism
- Soul Matters - UU spiritual practice
Soul Matters are covenanted groups of eight to ten members who explore themes of belonging and meaning together. Groups meet once or twice a month in members’ homes or at church usually for two hours. Most sharing circles begin with a chalice lighting and “check-in.” Discussions cover a diversity of topics including sermon reflections, seasonal celebrations, grief and loss, community, and service. Groups are encouraged to “pay it forward” by engaging as a team in at least one service project – for the congregation or the wider community – each year. From local charity walks, house & grounds cleanups, serving food at Cor Unum to cooking for Bread & Roses, donating books to Community Giving Tree and collecting coats for People’s Pantry, our small groups are carrying their faith in to the world. If you are interested in joining a group, please contact us.
- Great Pond Sangha - Buddhist practice
We come together to practice Natural Awareness, Mindfulness, Love and Compassion, and Innate Wisdom. Guided Meditation and Discussion in the Tibetan Buddhist tradition every Wednesday from 7:30-9:00 pm. Silent Sitting and Walking Meditation every Friday 8:30-9:15am. Chapel at the North Parish, 190 Academy Rd. North Andover, MA. Beginners/Teens/All are welcome. Just drop in. Free of charge. Also meditation instruction, Dharma talks, retreats, guest teachers, service opportunities, social gatherings. Great Pond Sangha is affiliated with North Parish Unitarian Universalist Congregation but serves the entire Merrimack Valley community. Sangha director Laura Howell has been practicing meditation since the late 1980’s and is a student of Lama Willa Miller. For information on upcoming retreats and events, visit Great Pond Sangha’s facebook page or contact Mark or Susan at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Cakes for the Queen of Heaven - Women's spirituality
“Cakes” is a woman honoring adult religious education curriculum by Rev. Shirley Ranck. It examines pre-Judeo Christian cultures that may have worshiped the female as divine. The concepts of equality and reverence for the female in a religious setting are eye-opening to many participants. More than Goddess 101, this workshop series examines important elements of today’s women’s lives; personal, interpersonal and societal. It examines how our culture has been influenced by Judeo Christian values. The primary question raised is: How would your life have been different if, when growing up, the divine had been imaged as female? Participants are encouraged to share their own experiences and beliefs, creating trust and strong bonds of friendship. For more information, visit the Cakes website.
- Men’s Group – Fellowship and service
- Book and Movie Group – Fellowship and reflection
- Lunch Bunch with Rev. Lee – Fellowship among retirees and friends
- Vocal Choir – Singing as spiritual practice
- Gardeners and Weekly Weeders – Gardening as spiritual practice
- North Parish Trailmixers – Fellowship among hikers
- Shawl Ministry- Knitting as spiritual practice